This county was formed from Albany, April 4, 1786.1 It lies upon
the e. bank of the Hudson, between Eensselaer and Dutchess cos.,
and extends e. to the Massachusetts line. It contains an area of 688
sq. mi., and is centrally distant 29 mi. from Albany. The Taghkanick
Mts. extend along the e. border, and the adjoining parts of the co.
are broken by numerous irregular ranges of hills which constitute
the outlying spurs of those mountains. The w. part of the co. con¬
sists of an undulating plateau terminating in bluffs on the Hudson
Eiver. The principal streams are Eoeliff Jansens Kil2 and Claverack
and Kinderhook Creeks. Upon these streams and their tributaries
are numerous valuable mill sites. In the e. and n. parts of the co.
are several picturesque lakes, the principal of which are Kinder¬
hook, Copake, and Charlotte Lakes, and Whitings, Eobinsons, Snyder, and Ehoda Ponds. The
prevailing rocks are the Hudson Eiver shales. The slate rocks in this co. crop out toward the w.,
usually at an angle of 45°, but sometimes almost vertically. Limestone crops out in different parts
of the co. Brown hematitic iron ore is found in numerous localities in the e. part of Ancram and
Copake.3 Lead has been mined in Ancram,4 and manganese, peat, and marl are found in different
localities. In New Lebanon are the celebrated thermal springs; in Stockport are other mineral
springs, and in Chatham is a small sulphur spring.
The various branches of agriculture form the leading industrial pursuits of the people. Hay,
(of which large quantities are pressed and sent to market,) rye, oats, corn, potatoes, and buck¬
wheat, are the staple productions. Stock raising and dairying receive considerable attention.
The manufacture of paper, cotton fabrics, vegetable extracts, and iron, is largely carried on.5 A
greater quantity of paper is made in this co. than in any other in the State, and the co. also takes
precedence of all others in the amount of tinctures and extracts prepared from medicinal plants.
The city of Hudson is the county seat.6 The courthouse and jail is a fine building, fronting on
Washington Square. It has a marble front, with* an Ionic portico, and contains the court and jury
rooms, and the co. clerk’s, sheriff’s, and district attorney’s offices.7 *The poorhouse is a spacious
brick building located upon a farm of 200 acres in Ghent.8
The most important works of internal improvement are' the Hudson Eiver E. E., extending
through the w. part of the co., the Albany & West Stockbridge E. E., through the n. part, the
Hudson & Boston E. E., terminating at Hudson, and the New York & Harlem E. E., terminating
at Chatham Four Corners. Four newspapers are published in the co.9
i By this act the N. boundary was defined as the N. line of
“ Kinderhook District,” and the s. boundary as the s. line of
“ Kings District.” The latter line was more accurately defined,
* Named from Roeliff Jansen, Overseer of the Orphan Cham¬
ber (an ofiice similar to that of surrogate) under the Dutch Gov¬
ernment. The Indian name was “ So.uk-henrcik.”—Doc. Hist., III.
8 Large quantities of ore have been taken from these localities.
It is obtained near the surface, and its depth is not known.
* This ore is found near the junction of the slate and lime¬
stone strata, and occurs in strings and bunches.—Geol. Hep.,
1838, p. 59.
* There are 15 paper mills and 8 cotton factories in the co.
The first paper mill was erected at Stuyvesant Falls, in 1802, by
Geo. Chittenden; and tho first cotton factory, in 1813, by Nath’l
® Tho co. seat was formerly located at Claverack. The first
meeting of the board of supervisors was held at the house of
Gabriel Esselstyne, in Claverack. An appropriation of £2000
was made for a courthouse, and Wm. B. Whiting, Abraham J.
Van Alstyne, John Livingston, Henry I. Van Rensselaer, Mat¬
thew Scott, Seth Jenkins, and Wm. H. Ludlow were appointed
commissioners to superintend its erection. In 1788, an addi¬
tional appropriation of £1200 was made, and in 1798 another of
£400. The first co. officers were Peter Van Ness, First Judge;
Peter Sylvester, Peter R. Livingston, Henry I. Van Rensselaer,
and Wm. B. Whiting, Judges; Killian K. Van Rensselaer, Sur¬
rogate; Lawrence Hogeboom, Sheriff; Robert Van Rensselaer,
Cle.rk; and Walter Vrooman Wemple, Treasurer. By the act of
Feb. 25,1805, the co. seat was removed to Hudson on condition
that the city appropriate for the use of the co. the city hall, a
The courthouse was erected in 1835, at a cost of $3500.
8 This building was erected in 1857, at a cost of $22,000, and,
together with the surrounding buildings, has accommodations
for 500 persons. The farm is mostly worked by the inmates of
9 The Hudson Gazette, the first paper published in the co., was
established April 7,1785, by Ashbel Stoddard and Chas.
R. Webster. Webster soon after withdrew, and the
paper was continued by Stoddard until 1803-04.
The Bee was removed from New London, Conn., to Hudson, Aug.
17,1802, and was published by Chas. Holt until 1810.
It then passed into the hands of Sami. W. Clark, and
afterward into those of John W. Dutcher. It was
changed, about 1820, to
The Columbia Centinel, and two years afterward it was united
with the Columbia Republican.
The Balance and Columbia Repository was started in 1802, by
Ezra Sampson, George Chittenden, and Harry CroswelL
It was removed to Albany in 1808, and discontinued in
The Wasp was edited a short time by “ Robt. Rusticoat,” in the
early part of the present century.
The Hudson Newspaper and Balance Advertiser was commenced
in Oct. 1806, by Harry Croswell.
The Republican Fountain, established in Dec. 1806, was published
about 1 year, by Sylvester Roberts.
The Northern Whig was begun in 1808, by W. B. Stebbips.
Wm. L. Stone became the publisher in 2 or 3 years,