686 WASHINGTON COUNTY.
and lieutenants in the Provincial army. Rev. Thomas Clark was the first minister.1 The Salem
Washington Academy was incorp. Feb. 15, 1791.2
WHITE CREEK.3—was formed from Cambridge, April 17, 1815. It is the s. e. corner
town of the co. The surface of the s. portion is gently rolling, and the central and n. portions are
occupied by the Taghkanick Mts. The summits of these mountains are rocky and broken and
covered with forests, and their sides are bounded by abrupt declivities and perpendicular ledges.
The principal streams are Hoosick River, Owl Kil, Pumpkin Hook,3 Center, White, and Little White
Creeks. The upper course of Owl Kil is through a deep and narrow valley abounding with pictur¬
esque views. A small vein of lead has been discovered three-fourths of a mi. e. of Posts Corners.
The soil is a fine quality of gravelly loam. More sheep are raised in this town than in any other in
the co. Garden seeds and flax are largely cultivated. North. White Creek (p. v.) adjoins Cam¬
bridge. Wkite Creek, (p.o.,) Posts Corners, Center WMte Creek, (p. o.,) Ask
Grove, Horrs Corners, Pumpkin Hook, and Martindale Corners are hamlets.
The Walloomsac Patent, lying partly in this town, on the s., was settled by the Dutch. Among
the other grants were the Bain, Embury, Grant and Campbell, and Lake and Yan Cuyler, Patents.
A colony of Irish Methodists settled near Ash Grove about 1770; and here was organized the second
M. E. ehurch in America,4 by Thos. Ashton (from whom the locality was named) and Rev. Philip
Embury. James and Thos. Morrison made the first settlement, near White Creek.5
WHITEHALL 6—was incorp. by patent March 31,1765, as “ SkenesborougTi ”8 Its name was
changed March 23, 1786. It lies at the s. extremity of Lake Champlain. Its surface is moun¬
tainous in the w. and level and undulating in the center and e. Saddle Mt., upon the w. border,
is nearly 900 ft. above the surface of the lake. The principal streams are Wood Creek, Mettowee
(or Pawlet) and Poultney Rivers. Upon Wood Creek, near its mouth, is a fall which furnishes a
valuable water-power. The soil of the greater part of the town is a hard, stiff clay and is best
adapted to grazing. Considerable manufacturing is carried on in town.9 Wkitekall (p.v.) is
situated near the mouth of Wood Creek, on Lake Champlain. The r. r., canal, and lake trade give
this place commercial importance. The Whitehall Academy is in the e. part of the village. Pop.
3,225. This town was the scene of stirring military events during the French War.7 The first
settler was Maj. Skene, who located here, with 30 families, in 1761. Nominally associating 24
others with himself, he obtained a patent of 25,000 acres, March 31, 1765; and a patent of 9,000
acres in the town of Hampton and Whitehall, July 6, 1771, known as Skene’s Little Patent.
About 1770 he built a massive stone house and barn, a forge, and one or two sawmills. He also
built a sloop upon the lake, and a road, known as “ Skenes Road,” 30 mi. through the wilderness
toward Salem. He appears to have been a man of great energy of character, and he endeavored
to secure solid and permanent advantages to the infant settlement.11 Upon the approach of the
Revolution, Maj. Skene espoused the royalist cause, and his house was taken by the Americans
in May, 1775.12 In 1776 an American garrison was stationed here, and a small fleet was fitted
9 The manufactures consist of lumber, machinery, vessels,
boats, carpets, and sash and blinds. An extensive lumber trade
is carried on with Canada and with ports on the Hudson,
through Lake Champlain and the Champlain Canal.
10 Maj. Israel Putnam was stationed here in the summer of
1758, with 35 rangers, to watch the motions of the enemy and
prevent the passage of small parties. A point—now known as
Puts Rock—three-fourths of a mi. n. of the village, overlooking
South Bay, and completely commanding the passage of Wood
Creek, was chosen, and a stone breastwork was built and con¬
cealed by bushes. Soon after the work was finished, a party of
500 French, led by the partisan Molang, upon a secret expedi¬
tion, attempted to pass up the creek in the night. They were
received by a most destructive fire, and before they could re¬
cover from their surprise, one-half of their number were killed.
Finding that the enemy had landed below and that he was in
danger of being surrounded, Putnam quietly withdrew, with no
loss, and but two men wounded.
U Maj. Skene became acquainted with this place while accom¬
panying the expedition under Gen. Amherst, in 1755. Soon after
he planted his first settlement, of 30 families, he was obliged to
go to the West Indies; and upon his return in 1763 he found
but 15 families remaining. He brought a number of slaves from
the West Indies, and employed them and a large number of
discharged soldiers upon his works. His house was 30 by 40 ft.
on the ground, and 2-J stories high; and his barn was 130 ft. long,
W'ith massive stone walls pierced with portholes. The other
buildings in his settlement were a few frail houses belonging to
12 He was very popular with the settlers, and hence he was an
object of both fear and dislike to the patriots. His place was
captured by a party of volunteers under Capt. Herrick, and
Rev. Thos. Clark (Asso. Presb.) was the first minister; and
his church, formed in Ireland, was transplanted without re¬
organization. In 1769 a Presb. society was formed, Rev. John
Harford first pastor. Their church, then unfinished, was forti¬
fied by Capt. Jos. McCracken in 1777, and soon after was burned
by the enemy. There are now 7 churches in town; 2 M. E., Asso.
Presb., Asso. Ref. Presb., P. W. Bap., PreBb., and Morav.
For a great number of years this school was one of the most
noted in Eastern New York. Among the distinguished persons
who have received a portion of their education here were Hon.
Samuel Nelson, of the TJ. S. Supreme Court, Hon. John Savage,
formerly Chief Justice of N. Y., and Rev. Dr. Bethune, of Brooklyn.
Said to be a corruption of the Indian Pom-pa-nuck, the name
of a tribe of Indians who removed hither from Conn.
Embury preached the first Meth. sermon in N. Y., 3 or 4 years
before. The census reports 8 churches in town; 2 Bap., 2 M. E.,
Friends, Presb., R. C., and Asso. Ref. Presb.
settlers in the e. part of the town were Thomas Ashton, Edmund
Wells, John and Ebenezer Allen, David Sprague, Seth Chase,
John Harroun, Thos. MeCool, John Woods, Simeon Fowler, John
Young, Josiah Dewey, and John Corey. John Rhodes built the
first clothing works, at Pumpkin Hook.