Poughkeepsie's First Courts

Transcribed by Debbie Axtman

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Poughkeepsie's First Courts

The following is a copy of the order for the establishment of such court, issued July 6th, 1721, by his excellency, William Burnett, Esq., Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey, and Territories depending thereon in America, and Vice Admiral of the same, etc.:


"In Council, An Ordinance For establishing a Court of Common Pleas and a Court of General Session sof the Peace in Dutchess County, in the Province of New York:"

"Whereas in the Establishment of the Courts of Common Pleas and the General
Sessions of the Peace, hitherto in the County of Dutchess, on the East side of the Hudson River, over against the County of Ulster, there has been no Courts of Common Pleas of General sessions of the Peace Erected and Established to beholden and kept within the said County, but inhabitants of the said County have sometime formerly been subjected to the Jurisdiction of the Justices of the aforsaid County of Ulster, For remedy whereof for the future I have thought fit by and with the Advise and Consent of his Majesties Council for the Province of New York, and by virtue of the power and authority unto me given and granted under the Great Seal of Great Britain, and do hereby Erect, Establish, and Ordain, That from hence forward there shall be held and kept at Poughkeepsie, near the center of said County, a General Sessions of the Peace on the third Tuesday in May, and the third Tuesday in October yearly, and every year forever; which General Sessions of the Peace in every Sessions shall not continue for longer than two days, but may finish the business of the Sessions possibly in one day, and that from hence forward, there shall be held and kept at Poghkepson, near the center of said County, a Court of Common Pleas to begin the next day after the said Courts of General Sessions of the Peace terminates, and then only if business requires, hold and continue for two days next following and no longer, with the like power and jurisdiction as other Courts of Common Pleas in other Counties within the Province of New York have used, and enjoyed,
any former Ordinance, Practice or Usage to the contrary hereof in any wise notwithstanding.

"Given under my hand and seal at arms in Council at Fort George, in New York, the Sixth day of July, in the Seventh year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lorg George, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, & c. V. V. Burnet."

By order of his Excellency in Council, Robin D. M. Coun, the Court House was soon after erected, and was destroyed by fire in the time of the Revolution,
when a new one was built which was also burned down in 1808, and the present
structure was erected in 1809. The original cost was $29,000. Putnam County, which then belonged to Dutchess, raised $4000. The building was repaired and a new Jail built separate from the Court House about 1860.

At a meeting of the Supervisors, held in January, 1721, among the items of expense allowed are the following: To Trynte Van Kleeck, widow, for victualing the assessors and supervisors, justices and clerks, sider shuger, candles 13L 9d. To Col. Leonard Lewis, for two gallons of rum for assessors and supervisors, 9s. To Jacobus Vander Bogart, Esq., for the assessors and for horse fodder, 3s.

The list of expenses allowed at a session of supervisors and assessors in 1726, the following are among the items allowed: To Col. Leonard Lewis, for three gallons of rum for assessors and supervisors, at two meetings, at 5s per gallon 15s. To Widow Vander Bogart for victualling assessors and supervisors, and clerk, and sider furnished, L1 7s. To Hendrick Bass, for destroying a wolf, allowed in the act 6s. To Harmanus Reynders, for tending and waiting on the justices and assessors and supervisors, clerk, is allowed for a year's service, L2. To Cornelius Van Der Bogart, Collected for two people that ran away out of  his tax list the last year, which he did not receive, their taxes in all three shillings, 10s.

Local Tales and Historical Sketches, by Henry D. B. Bailey, Fishkill Landing, John W. Spaight Publisher, Fishkill Standard Office, 1874, pages 308 - 313.

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Transcribed by Debbie Axtman

HTML by Debbie

Copyright Dutchess, ALHN October 10, 1999

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