« ForrigeFortsett »
raised, and considerable quantities of wheat, rye, and barley. Butter, cheese, wool, and pork are produced in great abundance. In the quantity of wool grown, it was, in 1845, the second county in the state.
Munufactures are increasing in importance. Flour, lumber, cotton and woollen goods, leather, and iron, are the principal articles manufactured.
Commerce. The Champlain and Hudson canal affords a convenient mode of transportation to the produce of the county, which is well improved. The tolls received on produce passing through this county in 1845, were about $70,000.
STAPLE PRODUCTIONS. The staples of the county are potatoes, oats, corn, flax, butter, cheese, wool, and pork.
SCHOOLS. The county contained, in 1846, 246 district schoolhouses, in which were taught 13,414 children, at an expense of $16,950 for tuition. The schools were maintained, on an average, eight months each. Number of volumes in the district libraries, 27,656.
It had also twenty-two select schools, with 327 scholars, and five academies, with 345 pupils.
Religious DENOMINATIONS. Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, and Universalists. Churches, eighty-eight. Clergymen, seventytwo.
HISTORY. The first settlement in the county was made at Argyle, in 1742, by eighty-three families of Highlanders, who emigrated from Scotland, under the direction of Capt. Laughlin Campbell, who had obtained a grant of 30,000 acres from Governor Clarke.
These emigrants were intended to serve as defenders of the frontier, from incursions of the French and Indians.
As they were scantily provided with food and clothing, application was made to the colonial legislature for aid, till they should be able to sustain themselves. This the house of assem. bly refused to grant, on the ground, it is said, that they had discovered that the Governor and Surveyor General insisted upon their fees and a share of the lands.
Captain Campbell sought redrees, but in vain, and with the remnant of his fortune, purchased a small farm in the province. His unfortunate followers were rescued from starvation, by enlisting in an expedition against Carthagena.
In 1755, Fort Edward was erected, by Generals Lyman and Johnson, and in 1756, Fort Ann.
Salem was settled the same year, by two companies of emi. grants, one from Scotland and Ireland, the other from New England. In 1764, Alexander Turner and others, who had received a grant in 1761, settled in the town of Salem. Not far from the same period, settlements were made in Kingsbury.
In 1758, an obstinate and bloody battle occurred, between a body of 500 American troops, under the command of Major (afterwards General,) Putnam and Major Rogers, and a party of French and Indians, under the command of a French officer, by the name of Molaire. The battle ground was two miles north of the village of Kingsbury.
The French commander had stationed a part of his troops in ambuscade for the Americane, and hoped to surprise them; but Putnam, with the coolness which always characterized him, maintained his position, and a fearful conflict ensued. Putnam was taken captive by the Indians, but the bravery of the American troops prevailed, and they finally routed the enemy, who left ninety dead behind them. The Indians bore off Putnam as a prisoner, to Canada, inflicting on him the most cruel tortures;
but for the interposition of the French commander, would have burned hiin at the stake.
In May, 1775, Whitehall, then called Skenesborough, from its first settler, Major Skene, was seized by a detachment of volunteers from Connecticut. In 1777, the American force stationed there, not being sufficient to protect it against Burgoyne, the fort, stores, and a large number of batteaux loaded with provisions, were burned by the Americans, to prevent their falling into his hands.
In July, 1777, a severe skirmish took place at Fort Ann, between the 8th British regiment and a body of 400 or 500 invalid American troops, under the command of Colonel Long. The British suffered severely, and would have been taken or destroyed but for the want of ammunition on the part of the Americans.
On the 27th of July, 1777, Miss Jane Mc Crea was murdered by the Indians near Fort Edward.*
* The following version of this tragical affair is compiled from Neilson's “ Bur. goyne's Campaign," and is professedly derived from the most authentic sources. It will be seen that it differs materially from the accounts heretofore published.
Miss McCrea was the daughter of a New Jersey clergyman, and had come, some years before, to reside with her brother on the west bank of the Hudson, five or six miles below Fort Edward. David Jones, her suitor, resided about five miles above, on the same side of the river. He had embraced the royal cause, and was in the army of Burgoyne. On the 26th of July, 1777, Miss McCrea came from her brother's to the house of Peter Freel, who lived close under the walls of Fort Ed. ward, on a visit. She remained there over night, and the next morning went to the house of Mrs. McNeil, afterwards Mrs. Campbell, a cousin of General Frazer, who was at that time in Burgoyne's army. This house was at a distance of about eighty rods from the fort. While at the house of Mrs. McNeil, the commander of the fort sent out a party of fifty men, to reconnoitre the position of the enemy. When about a mile fiom the fort, this party fell into an ambuscade of Indians, about
VILLAGES. Sandy Hill, in the town of Kingsbury, is a half shire village of this county. It was incorporated in 1810. The village is well laid out, the streets enclosing a triangular area in the centre of the village, which was once the scene of Indian barbarities. The Hudson furnishes an immense water power which is but partially improved. Population 1200.
SALEM, the other half shire village, was incorporated in 1803. It is situated in the midst of a fertile agricultural region, and is celebrated as a mart for wool. The Washington Academy is an old institution, and has sent out a considerable number of eminent scholars. Population 800.
Whi'ehall, in the town of the same name, is eligibly situated at the foot of Lake Champlain, of which it is one of the principal ports. It is connected with the Hudson river by means of the Champlain canal, as well as by several lines of stages running to Troy, Albany, and Saratoga; and with Montreal by steamers which ply daily upon the lake. Thus favorably situated for commerce, its growth has been rapid and healthful. Population about 25..
Union Village, situated in the towns of Greenwich and Easton, is a thriving and pleasant manufacturing village, with a flourishing academy, and a number of large manufactories. Population 1400.
North White Creek is a pleasant village, in the town of White Creek, in the midst of an agricultural region. It is a great mart for wool. Population 750.
Cambridge, in the town of the same name, is the seat of Washington Academy, a flourishing and highly popular institution.
Fort Edward and Fort Ann are small villages, worthy of notice principally on account of their historic interest. 200 in number, and fled towards the fort. The Indians pursued and killed eight. een of their number. As they passed the house of Mrs. McNeil, six of the Iny dians rushed in and seized Mrs. McNeil and Miss McCrea, and hurried with them to the main body of the Indians. Both of the ladies were placed upon horses, which they had probably stolen from the vicinity.
As they ascended a hill about a mile from the fort, Miss McCrea was shot by one of the Indians, and fell from her horse. The savage who shot her, scalped her, and having secured the most valuable articles of her clothing, rolled her body down the declivity of the hill. On the ensuing day her body, and that of a young American officer who had also been killed by the Indians, were found and buried near a small creek about three miles from Fort Edward, by the Americans from the fort. Mrs. McNeil was not killed, but plundered of most of her clothing, and brought to the British camp. Jones, Miss McCrea's suitor, had never sent for her, nor is it certain that he knew that she was in the vicinity of the fort. He is reported to have been killed at the battle of Bemis' Heights, on the 19th of September following.
1. Hudson, 1785.
11. Taghkanic, 1803. 2. Canaan, 1788.
12. Austerlitz, 1818. 3. Claverack, 1788.
13. Ghent, 1818. 4. Clermont, 1788.
14. New Lebanon, 1818. 5. Germantown, 1788.
15. Stuyvesant, 1823. 6. Hillsdale, 1788.
16. Copake, 18:24. 7. Kinderkook, 1788.
17. Gallatin, 1830. 8. Livingston, 1788.
18. Stockport, 1833. 9. Chatham, 1795.
19. Greenport, 1839. 10. Ancram, 1803. Mountains. U. Taghkanic range. Rivers and Creeks. C. Hudson river. b. Claverack creek. c. Co
pake. d. Ancram. g. Roeliff Jansen's. h. Vallitje. i. Kinder
hook. Falls. Kinderhook falls. Lakes and Ponds. k. Copake lake. 1. Charlotte. m. Fish,
j. Whiting's pond. Villages. Hudson, Kinderhook. New Lebanon. Valatie, or
BOUNDARIES. North by Rensselaer county ; East by the state of Massachusetts and Dutchess county ; South by Dutchess county; and West by the Hudson river.
SURFACE. The surface of Columbia county is greatly varied, but may be regarded as composed of two long and broken valleys, on the east of which the Taghkanic range forms a natural boundary between the county and the state of Massachusetts; the high banks of the Hudson form the western boundary, and the Peterborough mountains constitute the dividing ridge through the centre of the county.
The western valley rises on the north and south, causing its waters to flow towards the centre; while the eastern, being highest in the centre, sends its streams north and south. The western valley being much the broadest, gives the county the form of a basin, retaining all the waters that rise in it, and discharging them into the Hudson, through the Kinderhook and Roeliff Jansen's creeks.
RIVERS. The Hudson is the principal river; the other streams of the county are Kinderhook, Claverack, Copake, Roeliff Jansen's and Vallitje creeks.
Lakes. Fish, Whiting's pond, Copake and Charlotte, are the only lakes worthy of notice.
RAILROADS. The Hudson and Berkshire, and the Great Western railroad pass through the county; and the route of the Harlaem railroad is laid out through it.
CLIMATE. The climate varies with the surface. In the valleys it is mild and pleasant, with early seasons; on the moun