Columbia County,

New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis360


     Ghent occupies a central position among the towns of the county.  It was erected from Kinderhook, Chatham, and Claverack, April 3, 1818, and received its name from Ghent, in Holland1.  Before this division, the territory comprised within its bounds was locally know as Squampamock* and Kline Kill.  The town has an irregular shape, and was reduced to its present area--27,649 acres--in 1833, when a part of Stockport was taken from its western border.

     The surface is somewhat hilly in the east, but becomes pleasantly undulating towards the west, with long belts of level land intervening.  The largest of these are the Squampamock flats, along Claverack creek, whose beauty and productive nature are not excelled in the county.  It is said that a portion of these lands were cultivated by the natives, and that several Indian orchards were found in this locality by the early settlers.  The soil of Ghent is gravelly loam, except in the western part, where it is clayey.  Along the water-courses is some alluvial land.  The whole is generally productive, and the town holds a prominent position on account of its agricultural resources.  The principal stream is the Kline Kill, which enters the town from the east, near the northeast corner, and after flowing southwest several miles turns abruptly towards the northwest, passing out between Kinderhook and Chatham.  Claverack creek has a general southerly course, east of the centre of the town; and in the western part is a brook of considerable size, emptying into the Claverack at Stockport.  The former has high, rocky banks in the eastern part of the town, affording limited water-power, which is well utilized.

     The western part of the town was covered by the Kinderhook and other patents of that town.  East of these extended the lands of the proprietor of Claverack, whose claims were generally respected, the early settlers securing leases at merely nominal prices. 

*This is an Indian name signifying "the meeting of the waters," so called from the joining of the two small affluents of Claverack creek.

1Sent to me by Wouter Lemaitre, the city of Gent (Ghent in English, Gent in it's original Flemish) is NOT located in Holland.  It is a Flemish city (in Flanders, you know, where the poppies grow). I'm not aware of any city existing in Holland with that same name. However, We do speak Dutch in Flanders.