Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis53


        The village was vested with municipal privileges April 18, 1838.  The charter provides for the election of a president, six trustees, a clerk, a treasurer, and a collector, who, and their successors in office, were to represent the "Corporation of the Village of Kinderhook."  A common seal was provided, having the foregoing words, a plow, rake, and scythe engraved thereon.

    The first principal officers were:  President, John P. Beekman; Trustees, Mordecai Myers, Teunis Harder, William B. Shaw, Willard Bradley, John V. Salmon, Peter Van Schaack; clerk, David Van Schaack.

    The latter was also appointed the attorney of the corporation, and drew up the first village ordinances.  Two fire-wardens were appointed, and provision made for protection against fire by purchasing an engine and organizing a company in the fall of 1838.

    "On the 4th of September, 1838, the president reported that he had received five dollars for a license for the exhibition of the giraffe and other wild animals, and the sum of five dollars for the exhibition of a man without arms."  This money was received by the board, which immediately voted "that no license shall be granted to any circus exhibitions."

    The subsequent acts of the board have conduced to the present handsome and well-kept appearance of the village, whose streets and walks compare very favorably with those of larger places.

    The corporation was empowered by the Legislature, Feb. 18, 1874, to borrow eight thousand dollars, to be paid in yearly installments of one thousand dollars, for the purpose of erecting a public hall, engine-rooms, etc.  The building occupies a central location, north of and near the park.  It is a substantial and attractive brick structure two stories high, and is surmounted by a centre tower which contains a bell.  The corporation also owns an excellent clock in the tower of the Reformed church, and a very attractive grove adjoining the cemetery.

    The first fire company was recognized by the trustees, Aug. 13, 1838.  Lucas Hoes was appointed engineer of the department, and Homer Blanchard of the company, which had twenty members.  This company went down, and its place was taken, Jan. 14, 1856, by Engine Co. No. 2, whose organization is yet preserved.  Of this company, C. M. Van Valkenburgh was the foreman and George W. Hoxsie the secretary.  It had thirty-five members.  A new Button & Co. engine was purchased and other apparatus provided the same year, 1856, to equip a first-rate company.  The department was further strengthened, Aug. 13, 1864, by the organization of Hook-and-Ladder Co. No. 1, having William H. Rainey as foreman and Calvin Ackley as secretary.  The company had fourteen members.

    Both of these bodies have a good membership, and form a department of creditable importance.  They occupy rooms in the public hall.

    The presidents fo the village from its incorporation to the present time have been:  in 1838, John P. Beekman; 1839, Mordecai Myers, 1840 Lucas Hoes; 1841, Julius Wilcoxson; 1842-43, Laurence Van Buren; 1844-46, William H. Tobey; 1850-51, G. Van Santvoord; 1852, Thomas Beekman, 1853-54, David Van Schaack; 1855-58, Thomas M. Burt; 1859, Chester Jarvis; 1860, John Frisbie; 1861, William H. Tobey; 1862-78, William R. Mesick.

    The clerks for the same period have been: 1838-46, David Van Schaack; 1847-48, G. Van Santvoord; 1849, J . C. Sweet; 1850-51, A. V. S. Witbeck; 1852-53, George W. Hoxsie; 1854-61, Peter Van Schaack; 1862-72, John a. Van Bramer; 1873-78,  William S. Hallenbeck.

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