COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Captain Franklin Ellis106
On the 14th of November, 1784, at a meeting of the proprietors, it was resolved, without debate or dissent, that in future the name of Claverack Landing should be discontinued, and the settlement known by the name of Hudson. It was understood to be Governor George Clinton's desire that the place should receive the name of Clinton in his own honor; and indeed it is said that he made such suggestions to the proprietors, and was much displeased at their disregard of his wishes. The name adopted was suggested by the supposed fact that Henry Hudson's first landing upon the shores of the upper river was made near this place.
The opening of the year 1785 found the "commercial settlement" in a far more advanced and prosperous condition than had been anticipated by even the most hopeful of its projectors. In its shipping it already stood the second port in the State, and its vessels were profitably employed. Ship-building, too, was promising, two yards having been established,† and one large ship was nearly ready for launching. Ship-carpenters and caulkers, riggers, shipsmiths, and sail-makers were numerous and busy. But it was not alone navigation and ship-building and the trades connected therewith which prospered in Hudson, nor was it the case that all, or nearly all, its business was in the hands of the proprietors. A few of these were largely engaged in it, but there were some of them who, instead of entering into active business here, became farmers, and retired upon lands purchased in the vicinity, and still others were upon the ocean in command of their ships. But the story of Hudson's remarkable progress had spread far and wide, and attracted hither throngs of settlers,--largely artisans and tradesmen from New England,--who, a year before, had never heard of Claverack Landing, and scarcely of the Hudson river.
Among the persons and firms engaged in business here in 1785 were Thomas Jenkins, merchant, advertising for sale, "at his store opposite the house of Ezra Reed, the best West India and New England Rum, Iron, Salt, and Dry Goods;" Green & Mansfield, merchants, in a similar line of trade; Cotton Gelston, merchant, on Main Street; Shubael Worth, merchant, northwest corner Main and Second streets; David Lawrence, merchant; T. R. Bowels, general store, "also Dilworth's spelling-books, by the Dozen or single;" Bunker and Easton, tanners; Latham Bunker, blacksmith; Jenkins and Gelston, ship-builders; Titus Morgan, ship-builder; Tristam & Barzillai Bunker, sail-makers; John R. Bolles, "saddler, next door to Thomas Jenkins' store;" Richard Bowles, saddler; Phineas June, tailor; Dennis Macnemara, "Taylor for Ladies and Gentlemen;" J. Pritchard, "Taylor and Lady's Habit-Maker, from London;" Peter Field, watchmaker and jeweler; Thomas Worth, who notified the ladies that he had "Silk and Stuff Shoes for sale at his Shop near the Market;" Gideon Taber, boot and shoe maker; Walter Johnson, "from Newport, Baker" (at the corner of Front and Ferry streets); Lot Tripp, drugs and medicines; Dr. Levi Wheaton,* drugs and medicines; Ezekiel Gilbert, lawyer, (the first of Hudson's attorneys); Webster & Stoddard, printers and publishers of Hudson's pioneer newspaper (the Gazette, first issued March 31, 1785); James Robardet, "instructor in the polite accomplishment of dancing."
The above list, embracing but a small part of the business of the settlement, shows that the tastes and requirements of the people of quakerly Hudson, in the year 1785, were not wholly utilitarian.
† Titus Morgan commenced a ship-yard immediately after his arrival, in 1784, and Jenkins and Gelston followed with a second one very soon after.
*One of the first two physicians in Hudson. Dr. Joseph Hamilton having been the other. Dr. Wheaton's office and store were on the south side of Main street, near Front.