MILLS AND MANUFACTURING IN VALATIE,
COLUMBIA COUNTY, NEW YORK
By Capt. Franklin Ellis57
Before 1700 there were saw-mills at this point; and sixty-three years later there were saw and grist-mills on the Kinderhook, owned by Hans and Derick Hoes; and still later, there were four grist-mills in this locality, owned by Mallory and others. These gradually gave place to other interests, principally cotton manufactories.
The "Kinderhook Manufacturing Company" was the pioneer in this industry. Some time about 1820, it put up a frame building, on the site of Davis' paper-mill, in which it manufactured warps and other cotton goods, increasing its business until it was an important interest, and created a little hamlet in this locality, from which has sprung the present village.
Adjoining the old mill, Wm. P. Rathbone & Co. erected a brick mill, in which were placed two thousand two hundred spindles and fifty-seven looms, and which were successfully operated many years. This became, in time, the property of A. Abbott, and was destroyed by fire, while belonging to him, a few years ago.
A portion of the old frame mill was transformed into a paper-mill by Abbott, and the manufacture of that article is now carried on at this point by C. F. Davis. The mill is supplied with two forty-eight-inch machines, and has two engines. It is capacitated to produce nine hundred reams of light wrapping-paper per day, and employs fourteen men.
On the next rapids below John Van Alen had a small frame cotton-mill. Some years after the Kinderhook company established its mill, which was also destroyed by fire. A brick building was erected in its stead by Van Alen & Co., which was long known as the "Beaver Cotton-Factory." In 1851 Jeremiah Carpenter became the proprietor of this property, and by him the mill was enlarged to its present large dimensions in 1858. It is two hundred and ninety feet long, forty-four feet wide, and four stories high. The motive-power is furnished by a dam, yielding twenty-three feet fall, and a steam-engine of one hundred and fifty horse-power. The establishment has been known of late years as the "Canoe Mill," and is supplied with six thousand mule and three thousand five hundred Danforth's spindles, and two hundred and twenty-four looms. These are run on the celebrated Canoe shirtings, and are capacitated to produce ten thousand yards per day. About one hundred and sixty operatives are employed, under the superintendence of Jeremiah Carpenter. E. J. Wendover is the present proprietor.
Opposite this mill, on the south side of the stream, are the Baldwin, or Hanna mills, now idle, but which were last operated by A. Abbot & Sons, in the manufacture of satinet warps. The building is a substantial brick, and is supplied with motive-power from a twenty-foot dam and a sixty horse-power engine. Formerly sheetings were here also manufactured, the product being ten thousand yards per week, in addition to the large weekly product of satinet warps.
Adjoining this property were extensive machine-shops, which have also been abandoned; and south is the "Crystal Spring Knitting-Mill," occupying a large four-story brick building, which was enlarged to its present size in 1872. The motive-power was a twenty-five horse-power engine, and the machinery was capacitated to produce forty dozens of underwear per day. Henderson & Hoffman were the proprietors. The mill suspended work in 1875.
Near the mouth of Valatie Kill, Rensselaer Reynolds operated a factory for the manufacture of weaving machinery, before his removal to Stockport in 1852; and on the hill, west of the old Wild mill, William P. Rathbone established a wadding-factory, in 1866, in a large stone building, the capacity having been three thousand pounds per week. This had been idle the past few years, and the former has been removed.
On Valatie Kill, and employing all the power of that stream afforded by two dams, fifteen and twenty feet in height, are Charles Wild's cotton-mills. They embrace two large and well-arranged brick buildings. The upper mill was erected in 1828 by Nathan Wild, a pioneer cotton-manufacturer, and is forty by sixty feet. In 1846 he erected the lower mill, which is fifty-four by one hundred and forty-four feet, and has a wing twenty-four by fifty feet. In addition to the power from the lower dam, this mill has a one hundred and fifty horse-power engine. They are now operated supplementary to each other, in the manufacture of cotton printing cloths,--seventy-five thousand yards per week. The mills are supplied with twelve thousand eight hundred and eighty spindles and two hundred and fifty looms, giving employment to one hundred and seventy-five operatives. Nathan Wild continued the sole proprietor until 1850, when he associated his son with him until his death, in 1858. Then the firm became Nathan Wild's Sons, and continued as such until 1871, since which the mills have been the sole property of Charles Wild.
The village also contains a large number of mechanic shops, some of which are conducted on a large scale.
Among the first to engage actively in merchandising were Baldwin & wild, in the house now occupied as a residence by C. F. Davis, having the store in connection with the cotton-factory. Orin Carpenter was afterwards a merchant in the same building. Others prominent in trade have been Richard Kirk, A. H. Van Slyck, Samuel Hanna, Conant & Penoyer, E. O. Carpenter, Solomon Strauss, Lewis and Martin Gerst, George W. Cornwell, J. B. Richmond, Isaac Van Alen, D. Palmer, James Miller, T. Shaughness, John H. Corning, and Martin Lederer.
Jonathan N. White was an early innkeeper in a small building on the site of the present United States Hotel. Another tavern was soon after opened by Oliver Squiers, on the site of the "Valatie House." Among the keepers here were William Bradley, Henry Iler, and E. H. Plass.
The post-office at Valatie was established in May, 1832, with Dr. John Vanderpoel as postmaster. Others who have held the office have been I. Van Alen, John H. Corning, Charles B. Osborne, Elizabeth Osborne, S. G. Tallmadge, and E. H. Tallmadge. It is a British International office, and became a postal money-order office in August, 1855. It receives and sends four mails daily.
The learned professions in Valatie have been represented in medicine by the able and respected Dr. John Vanderpoel, who died in 1851, after having been in practice thirty years; and by Drs. S. G. Tallmadge, Geo. Beman, Geo. E. Benson, E. B. Boice, A. P. Cook, C. H. Masten, A. Abbott, P. B. Collier, J. H. Lent, and T. Roberts, the last three named being still in practice.
As attorneys there have been Geo. W. Bulkley, W. C. Benton, Geo. K. Daley, Edward R. Peck, Gershom Bulkley, A. B. Gardinier, A. H. Farrar, Geo. D. Earle, and W. H. Silvernail. The last six are yet in successful practice in the village.
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