Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York

By Capt. Franklin Ellis44



    An old -time tavern, and the first of which we have any account, was kept by a man named Quackenboss, on the post-road, four miles north from Kinderhook village.  Besides having been credited as one of the best inns from Albany southward, it became celebrated as the place where the commission appointed to divide the Kinderhook patent among its grantees sat, from Aug. 10, 1762, on sixty-eight days.  It is said that the surveyor of the party, Volkert Douw, was fond of the good things of life, and besides doing justice to the host's larder had a special fondness for his liquor.  His bill for this luxury amounted to thirty-one pounds, one shilling, and sixpence, which was generously paid by the commission.  The entire expenses of the body amounted to nine hundred and six pounds, seven shillings, and three pence, and was paid by selling seventeen hundred and twenty-one

    "The attractive town of Kinderhook, with its broad, shady streets, was an old tavern center, and several of the buildings survive.  The present Kinderhook Hotel is not old, but it replaced one burned in 1880.  In The Grey Swan, opposite, a square and very old building forms part of the rear of the present hotel.  Two years ago, while making repairs, a local builder discovered what he believes proves that this old part was Kinderhook's first Reformed Church, which makes it very old indeed.  An old resident says that it next became a school-house, and later it was Major Hoes' Inn.  Part of a very old cornice, with the dentil pattern, which was seldom used on early dwelling cornices but was used on churches, remains, but only one section, the rest crumbled to pieces and was removed.  A succession of landlords kept this house and added to it.  The predecessor of the present one had had the hotel for almost fifty years.

    Farther down the street, so altered into a two-family house that one would never suspect it, is an old stage-coach inn, and almost opposite it a frame house called  Martin Van Buren's birthplace.  It is not, however, for it was built only about seventy years ago, but the story and a half stone house in which Van Buren was born, and which his father kept as a tavern, did stand on this site, and possibly the stone foundation is old.  The Van Buren Inn is mentioned as early as 1759.

    On the highroad to Hudson is a two-story house, built of bricks imported from Holland in 1770, as a date close under the eaves, almost undecipherable now, states.  This was first the residence of Dr. Quilhot, then a tavern, and was given the name of the Benedict Arnold Inn after that general was brought there wounded.  It is much modernized, its old fireplaces have been removed, but the old rafters in hall and living-room may still be seen, as may the marks where a piece of an inner door-jamb was cut away to allow Arnold's stretcher to pass, and then later replaced.  The house has been a dwelling again for many years.

    Kinderhook had a Mansion House which old residents can not now located. In 1798, Elijah Hudson attracted attention to his inn here by advertising that he would provide lodging and clean sheets for one shilling, in answer to the advertisement of a Tarrytown in that 'lodging and clean sheets, 3 sh; dirty sheets, 1 sh.' might there be had."45


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