By Captain Franklin Ellis106




       The articles of agreement subscribed by the proprietors of Claverack Landing were as follows:
 "We, the subscribers, being joint proprietors of a certain Tract of Land lying at Claverack Landing, on the banks of the Hudson River, purchased by Thomas Jenkins of Peter Hogeboom, Junr., and others, for the purpose of establishing a commercial settlement, on principles of equity, do enter into the following Articles of Agreement, to wit:
"ARTICLE FIRST.--That each proprietor subscribe for such part of the above Tract, in proportion as near as may be to his Stock in Trade, with the others concerned.

"ARTICLE SECOND.--No proprietor shall be permitted to purchase lands within two miles of the said landing, unless he shall give the Proprietors the refusal thereof at the rates at which he himself purchased it.

"ARTICLE THIRD.--That each and every one of the proprietors shall settle there in person and carry his Trading Stock on or before the first day of October, A. Do., one thousand seven hundred and eighty-five, unless prevented by some unavoidable event that shall be esteemed a sufficient reason by some of the proprietors for his non-compliance, and his going immediately after that obstruction is removed. In case of Death, his heirs, executors, or administrators, with fully complying with these Articles, shall be entitled to the same privileges as other proprietors.

"ARTICLE FOURTH.--That no person be permitted to dispose of his share who has not fully complied with these Articles, but said share revert to the other Proprietors, they paying the first cost of said share, without interest, and that the proprietors which have complied with the foregoing shall hold possession of said lands according to their several proportions.

"ARTICLE FIFTH.--That no proprietor be permitted to enter any building on any proprietor's land until it shall be divided, and they shall be subjected to such regulations as shall be hereafter made for regulating the Streets, Lanes, Highways, Gangways, &c.

'ARTICLE SIXTH.--That we further agree that if any one or more shall forfeit the right of his or their interest in the aforementioned lands, according to the true intent and meaning of the preceding articles, that he or they shall, if furnished with Deeds or other Instruments of Conveyance from Thomas Jenkins, give up the same to the Proprietors, or furnish them with a clear Deed or Deeds of all their right, title, and interest in said lands, they paying such person or persons the first cost, as described in article fourth.

'ARTICLE SEVENTH.--That the subscribers do solemnly agree to abide by the preceding Articles and regulations, and that this Instrument be signed and sealed by each individual proprietor, and the original be lodged in the hands of the Proprietors' Clerk.

"Stephen Paddock,†
Thomas Jenkins, *
Joseph Barnard, †
Reuben Macy,†
Benjamin Folger,†
Cotton Gelston,*
Seth Jenkins,*
John Alsop,*
William Wall,*
Charles Jenkins,†
Hezekiah Dayton,*
Ezra Reed
David Lawrence,*
Gideon Gardner,†
Titus Morgan,§
John Thurston,*
Reuben Folger,†
Nathaniel Green"*

     Besides these subscribers to the agreement, the list of proprietors included the following names: Alexander Coffin,† William Minturn,§ Shubael Worth,† Paul Hussey,† Marshal Jenkins,‡ Deborah Jenkins,† Lemuel Jenkins,‡ Benjamin Starbuck,† John Cartwright,† John Allen.‡ The names of Benjamin Hussey, Samuel Mansfield, Walter Folger, Daniel Paddock, and Peleg Clark also appear afterwards on the record book of the proprietors, indicating that they were members of the association; but the time of their becoming such cannot be given, nor is the reason known why only a part of the proprietors signed the articles of agreement.
     Having completed the purchase and perfected their plans, they proceeded without delay to the business of settlement. In the fall of the same year there arrived at the landing the brig "Comet," of Providence, Captain Eleazer Jenkins, having on board three of the proprietors with their families. Two of these were Seth Jenkins and John Alsop, and the third is believed to have been Joseph Barnard, as it is known that he arrived during that autumn. Another of the brig's passengers was a youth of nineteen years, named Marks Barker,Ά who continued a resident here during the remainder of his long life, and is yet well remembered by many of the citizens of Hudson.
     The other proprietors came in the following spring. It was purely a business enterprise which they had planned, and they came prepared to push it with the true New England energy. They made the journey from their former homes in vessels owned by members of the association,€ and some of them brought houses framed in Nantucket or Providence, and ready for immediate erection here. One of these portable dwellings was brought by Stephen Paddock, and formed his first residence in the new settlement. Upon his arrival at the landing, his vessel was boarded by a stout, fine-looking gentleman, evidently of Dutch descent, and wearing a scarlet coat. It was Colonel John Van Alen, the most considerable personage among the inhabitants of the neighborhood. He came to welcome them to their new home, and to invite them to disembark, and to remain at his house until their own was made ready for occupancy. Mr. Paddock accepted the kind and courteous invitation, and remarked that if his host was a fair specimen of their new neighbors, then their lines had surely fallen in pleasant places. The colonel lived but a short time after this,** but until the day of his death he ever proved a steadfast and generous friend to the settlers.
     In the employ of Colonel Van Alen, at the time of the proprietors' arrival, was a young man not yet twenty-four years of age, who afterwards became well known in the annals of Hudson and of the county. This was Samuel Edmonds. He was born in New York city in 1760; entered the Revolutionary army when but a youth; served through the war, and became a commissioned officer; was present at Monmouth and Yorktown; and on the close of hostilities, started out to seek his fortune, being then the possessor of a horse, saddle, bridle, two blankets, and a little Continental money. With this outfit he journeyed northward, and (probably by accident) came to Claverack Landing, where Colonel Van Alen engaged him as a clerk in his store; and there in that capacity the proprietors found him. After the death of his kind patron he entered business for himself in a small way, and a few years later married Lydia, daughter of Thomas Worth, and by her became father of Judge John W. Edmonds. He afterwards became paymaster-general of militia, member of Assembly, and sheriff of Columbia county. He died at Hudson in 1826.
     When the pioneer arrives at his place of settlement, the duty to which, first of all, he gives his attention, is the construction of a shelter for his family. This was the first need of the settlers at Claverack Landing; but a necessary preliminary even to this, in the minds of those practical men, was the business of laying out and defining public highways, and the adoption of measures to secure regularity in the location of buildings thereon. On the 14th of May, 1784, immediately after their arrival, the proprietors held their first business meeting, of which David Lawrence was chosen moderator, and Reuben Folger clerk. At this meeting Seth Jenkins, John Thurston, Daniel Paddock, Joseph Barnard, Thomas Jenkins, Gideon Gardner, and David Lawrence were appointed a committee "to regulate streets, and attend in a particular manner to fixing the buildings uniformly." It was also voted, "that no person shall fix his house without such direction from a majority of the committee as they may think proper;" and, "that no person shall extend his steps more than four feet from his door or seller ways."
     The committee proceeded to the work assigned them, and laid out Front, Main, State, Diamond, Union, Second and Third streets, though they were not immediately so named. It is not probable, however, that at this time the "laying out" included an accurate survey and marking of street boundaries,₯ except at places where it was necessary to locate buildings that were to be immediately erected. Excavating and blasting were at once commenced in Front street, to open a passage to the river, and also to furnish stone for building purposes, but, beyond this, very little was done towards the grading of streets until the succeeding autumn.
     The main street of the city was judiciously located along a ridge of land, commencing in a bold promontory at the river, and running thence eastwardly to the foot of a lofty eminence, now named Prospect hill. The peculiarity of this location was very favorable for the securing of a dry and solid road-bed, and also for giving excellent drainage to the future business portion of the city.
     On the north side of this street the ground descended to the wooded shores of the North bay, and on the other side it sloped to the South bay through the orchards and other farm-lands of the Van Hoesens. A ravine of considerable depth crossed the street just above the intersection of Third, and another and deeper one at Fourth street. This last mentioned was more than thirty feet in depth, and was known as "the great hollow." On the 24th of October following their arrival, the proprietors voted "that a bridge be built over the great hollow in Main street, with stone buttments," and Seth Jenkins was charged with the execution of the work. The lesser hollow was also spanned by a bridge, but a few years later both ravines were filled with earth.
     This street, which was laid out and intended as t he principal east and west thoroughfare of the city, retained the named of Main street until Oct. 10, 1799, when by an ordinance of the common council, it was changed to Warren street, as at present. The old country road, so often mentioned in the early annals, crossed it diagonally about the present intersection of Sixth street.
The first dwellings were those of Seth Jenkins, John Alsop, and Joseph Barnard, built in 1783, before the arrival of the main body of the proprietors. The two first named stood on the north side of what is now Franklin square. It was in Jenkins' house that the first business meeting of the proprietors was held. It stood until the great fire of 1838, and was for many years known as the "Swain house."
The portable house of Stephen Paddock was erected on Front street, and the old frame is still standing, but has lost its identity, being now a part of a later structure. It was used by Mr. Paddock as a residence only until he could complete a more commodious one; this next being the Robert A. Barnard house, on the northeast corner of First and Warren streets. Originally it might have been termed a wooden house with brick ends; but in later years it was remodeled and materially changed in appearance.
     Jared Coffin built on the south side of Union street the house now owned and occupied by Henry Hubbell, directly opposite First street. The first house on Main street was built by Peter Barnard, who was not one of the proprietors, but was a most worthy and respected man. His house was on the south side of the street, midway between First and Second streets. Its frame is said to form a part of the present residence of Mr. Van Bergen.
     Several of the first buildings of the proprietors were constructed of bricks, which were not difficult to be obtained at Claverack Landing, even at that early day. They had been burnt in the vicinity long before the arrival of the New England colonists, as was proved by the existence of several brick houses in the neighborhood, among which was the residence of Colonel Van Alen, a Dutch-built structure with peaked gables, that stood where is now the store of Guernsey & Terry, at the southeast corner of Ferry and Water streets. The settlers opened clay-pits and made bricks at a place on the north side of the old wagon-road, near Third street, and also on or near the present site of Traver's planing-mill on Diamond street.
     One of the first matters to receive the proprietors' attention was the extension and improvement of the wharf which they had purchased of Peter Hogeboom.ƒ  It was transformed into a substantial and commodious landing-place, and was named "Hudson wharf," when, a few months later, the present name of the city was given to the settlement; and it was at this wharf that Hudson's first sea-going vessels received and discharged their cargoes. Among the first of the river craft which made regular trips from Hudson wharf was John and Peter Ten Broeck's fast-sailing sloop "Free Love," which traded hence to New York in 1784. If the time had been three-fourths of a century later, the name of the little vessel would have caused moral people to look askance at the community which was settling here; but in those days it carried no evil significance and produced no unjust suspicions.
     The ferry was still run by Conrad Flock, but the canoe had given place to a gunwaled scow, presumably more safe and capacious than it predecessor.
      Merchandising was commenced early in 1784, by Cotton Gelston, in the same building which was also his residence, on the south side of Main street, above Second, where now is J. T. Burdwin's paint-shop. This was the first store opened in the new settlement, but it was a very short time that it remained the only one, for the settlers who were flocking to Claverack Landing were an enterprising people, and eligible locations for trade were eagerly sought for then as now.
     At a meeting held June 28, it was "voted that a house be immediately built, at the expense of the proprietors, twenty feet by thirty, to be appropriated for a Marker-House," and the superintendency of the work was placed in the hands of Daniel Paddock. This building was erected on the northwest corner of Front and Main streets, the site where its successor, the present brick market-house, was built in 1807. The space adjoining the old market was named Market square, and here soon after Thomas Jenkins erected a hay-scale, which the proprietors voted him permission to do "at his own cost,. . . .he promising not to exact more than ls. 6d. per load for weighing."
     On the 2d of September, Gideon Gardner, Cotton Gelston, and Daniel Paddock were appointed a committee to carry into effect the proprietors' vote "that the three wells be stoned and masoned up." It has been supposed by some that these wells should more properly have been termed reservoirs. S. B. Miller, Esq., in this "Historical Sketches of Hudson," says, "They were probably three reservoirs then commenced, one of which is afterwards spoken of as the well in Third street, another in the vicinity of Second street, and the third near the market-house." But as the time of their construction was about one and a half years prior to the introduction of aqueduct water, and as there seems to have been no other means of filling them except by gathering the rainfall from roofs immediately contiguous (which last-named source would be so precarious and insufficient as not to be thought of for public supply), we are compelled to believe that the three excavations were not merely cisterns or reservoirs, but, in reality, wells, as spoken of. And (as it is well known that the few wells which have since been sunk in Hudson have invariably failed to supply good water) it is reasonable to suppose that the proprietors, being disappointed at the inferior quality of the water found in these wells, moved more quickly than they would otherwise have done towards the construction of the aqueduct, which they commenced in the following spring, and had completed in January, 1786; an instance probably as remarkable as any on record of prompt and energetic action in furnishing a new settlement with an abundant supply of pure water from distant sources.


† From Nantucket

*From Providence

§ From Newport, R.I.

‡From Edgartown

Ά Marks Barker was born in Northamptonshire, England, in 1764, and came to America in the winter of 1778.  He was for some time a student with the celebrated Dr. Pfeifer, of Philadelphia, and was his assistant during the season of great mortality produced by the ravages of the yellow fever in that city.  He was a member of the Society of Friends, and a resident of Hudson and vicinity for more than half a century.  He died January 24, 1839, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

€It is a little remarkable that of the vessels which brought the settlers in 1784, the name of only one is now known,--the schooner "Joseph," on which came the family of Jared Coffin, and on board which they lived while a house was being prepared for their reception.

**The land of Colonel Van Alen not being embraced in the original purchase, and the proprietors being desirous of securing it, they, on the 23d of November, 1784, appointed Thomas Jenkins, Gideon Gardner, and David Lawrence a committee "to wait on Colonel John Van Alen, empowered to purchase his real estate for £2500, and a one-thirtieth interest in the first purchase made."  The offer was accepted; but Colonel Van Alen died (Dec. 15, 1784) before the sale was consummated.  The same committee were then directed "to ascertain from the widow Van Alen whether her late husband left her power to ratify the bargain, and if so, to get writings drawn and executed immediately."  This resulted in the conveyance of the property in question by Catharine Van Alen to Thomas Jenkins, Feb. 8, 1785.  This purchase embraced all the land south of Ferry street, and between Front street and the river, and included the "store and wharf lot."

   The lands lying east of Front street and below the old "Waggon-Way" (Partition street), owned by Hendrick Van Hoesen and Gerrit Van Hoesen, were sold by them to the proprietors about the same time, but the date of the conveyance cannot be given.

     To the eastward of these were the lands of Casper Huyck, who also sold to the proprietors.

₯ A committee of proprietors was appointed, June 9, 1785, "to survey and plot the city."  The work was performed by or under the direction of Cotton Gelston, who received from the proprietors "one house lot for his trouble in laying out and making a plot of the city."  This plot embraced the streets laid out by the committee in 1784, viz., Front and Main streets, each sixty-six feet wide; State street, sixty feet; Union and Diamond streets, each fifty feet; and Second and Third, each fifty feet.  The first laying out had not included Fourth and Fifth streets, but these were now added, each fifty feet wide.

    Between the long streets running eastward from Front street were laid out lanes or "gangways" twenty feet in width, forming the rear lines of the town lots.  These lots were laid out fifty by one hundred and twenty feet in size, and a block of thirty lots was, in Quaker language, termed a "square."  The plot extended southwardly to the old country road, and in the opposite direction to the alley next north of State street.  The streets were named by Thomas Jenkins and David Lawrence, who were appointed a committee for that purpose.

    This plot was presented by the proprietors to the city, and thereupon (July 13, 1876) the council resolved "that this council do approve of, order, and establish a plot presented by Benjamin Folger, esquire, proprietor's clerk, of all the Roads, Lanes, Alleys, and Gang-ways therein specified."  In September, 1785, leave was obtained from Peter Van Hoesen "to lay out a road to the South Bay," and the road so laid out is now South Third street.  In the same autumn the road from Claverack bridge to the Hudson river was widened to the width of sixty-six feet, and a similar widening was made of the road from the manor of Livingston "until it intersects the Claverack road near the house of John Mandeville."  Partition street was laid out forty feet wide from Front to Third street, May 16, 1794.  Long alley was widened and named Chapel street in May, 1796.  The road up the Academy hill was opened by the Columbia Turnpike Company in 1800.  This was the third turnpike company in the State, chartered in 1799.  Seventh street was laid out in 1810, and Union street and Cherry alley extended at the same time.  It was not until forty years after the survey of the original plot that First street was laid out, on the burnt district of the great fire of 1825.  The permanent grading of the streets and the construction of sidewalks and sewers, was not actively and systematically entered on until about 1792.

ƒ This old wharf (a "cob-house" structure of logs) was found beneath the surface of the ground, yet undecayed, in digging the channel for the inlet-pipe of the Hudson water-works in 1874, and it is said to have cost nearly one thousand dollars extra to remove it.