Paper By Durland Shows Importance Of Chester In History
Historical Society Meeting At Middletown Proves Highly Instructive; Increased, Interest In Local Lore Indicated
The historic old Yelverton Inn, at Chester, which played an important part during the Revolutionary War days, was the subject of an interesting paper, prepared and read by Frank Durland, of Chester, at the March meeting of the Historical Society of Middletown and Wallkill Precinct, Friday night, in the Chamber of Commerce rooms. The meeting was largely attended and an informal discussion followed the reading of the paper by Mr. Durland. President William T. Doty presided. The minutes of the two previous meetings were read by Mrs. C. A. Pellett, associate secretary.
A number of valuable articles of historic interest that have recently been presented to the society were on exhibition.
Three books, pertaining to the history of Middletown and the Wallkill Precinct, were given by Dr. Lillian Morgans. A book, compiled by Dr. Morgans, on the History of Medicine in Middletown and the Wallkill Precinct, heads the collection. The book contains many pictures of state hospital buildings, Thrall Hospital, Home For Aged Women, Children's home, Day Nursery, pictures or various local physicians, a picture of the staff of Thrall Hospital in 1906, a picture of the Middletown Sanitarium, and in addition, a complete record of various doctors in this locality.
A history of ??? by Mrs. L. E. Kellogg, of Middletown, who is now 82 years of age, and a book containing the history of orange county, clipped from local newspapers, together with many photos of the historic old homes in Orange county, were in the group presented by Dr. Morgans.
An early type revolver, manufactured by D. Williamson in 1864, was presented the society recently by Clarence W. Hunter, Orange county Boy Scout Executive.
A picture of the State Armory and the 24th Separate Company taken in 1890, was presented the society by Mrs. Maud D. Whitlock. The members of the company are photographed dressed in the uniforms of that time, white helmets, blue coats and white trousers.
The order of ceremonies for the consecration of Hillside cemetery, on Thursday, August 8, 1861, was given the society by Ira F. Swalm, from the personal effects of his father. Joseph B. Swalm, who died recently. The program for the day was given in full detail.
A fire proof steel case for housing the old newspaper files presented the society has been installed. A picture of the first building erected at Orange Farm, showing Mt. Eve and Mt. Adam in the distance. Printed by Dr. Julia Bradner was given to the society by her. Another picture showing the old type of wood burning locomotive was also a gift to the society.
A valuable article recently given to the society by the Misses Harriet and Elizabeth Tidd, is an old spinning wheel and reel, more than 100 years old.
Clifford A. Owen stated that he had 15 or 20 varieties of colonial currency and some of the time of the Civil War, which he had placed in the society's safe deposit vault. He, at his own suggestion, Was authorized to purchase transparent celluloid cases, in which to keep this currency, as well as many other old documents, in a state of preservation. The donors of these valuable gifts were given a vote of thanks.
President Doty spoke of the recent meeting at Goshen, where delegates from the five historical societies of Orange county, made further plans for the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the honoring of the memory of Henry Wisner. He told of the plans made for the service in the Goshen Presbyterian Church, on Sunday, July 4, and of the tentative plans for an outdoor meeting shortly after at Forts Clinton and Montgomery, Bear Mountain. The next meeting of this committee, of which J. W. Gott was appointed chairman and L. A. Toepp, secretary, will be March 26, at Goshen.
Some time within the next few years, celebrations will be held at Yelverton Inn, and at Ramapo and Port Jervis, President Doty said, to celebrate historical events in those localities.
A resolution was adopted, offered by Franklin B. Williams, to the effect that valuable documents, records, letters, books, etc., by which the history of Orange county could by preserved, may be found throughout the county. So that these valuable sources of information might be catalogued and preserved in convenient form, it was resolved that the president appoint a committee of five to collect information on all such historical matter and that a preliminary appropriation of $5 be made to cover postage and all other incidental expenses, also that other societies in Orange county be asked to co-operate in this work.
library was incorporated with
President Doty appointed as a committee of five, Franklin B. Williams, John D. Stivers, Clifford A. Owen, Mrs. C. A. Pellett and Miss Frances L. Amstalden.
At the conclusion of the literary program, Mr. Durland told that much of his information as to the fact that Washington had stayed at Yelverton Inn, had come from a friend of his, Mr. Banker, who told him that his grandfather had often said that he knew Washington had spent some time at Yelverton Inn. Mr. Durland was asked to describe the Inn at the present time and said that it is the same as it was when built. The house, he said, had been re-shingled and at present is a private dweling. His son, W. Sanford Durland resides there. He added·that there are eight fire places in the house. Mr. Durland was accompanied by his daughter, Nancy Durland, and his son, W. Sanford Durland.
Mr. Durland's paper follows: Chester, located as it is on the King's Highway between New Windsor and North Jersey, is in the course traveled by the earliest settlers and Chester naturally is proud of the fact that the noble George Washington was entertained at its public inn on his way from Philadelphia to join the main army at the Hudson River on July 27, 1782, as is recorded in General Washington's expense account filed in Washington, D. C.
The early settlement of Chester, in the precinct of Goshen until 1845, is included in the land grant from Queen Anne, dated March 5, 1703, and called the Wawayanda patent. All local histories give the date as March 5, for the original papers state the following: "It was necessary before the granting of the patent by the government that the Indian ground right should be extinguished." So on March 5, the twelve Indian chiefs of the twelve tribes then living on this patent sold outright their title for consideration of money and goods. The Indians did not come on this land again to battle but April-29th of that same year is the date of the granting of the patent by Queen Anne. The Wawayanda patent covers about one-half of Orange County, as will be seen from the following quotation of the original land grant: "It was bounded on the eastward by the high hills of the Highlands and patent lands of Capt. John Evans, on the north by the line which divides Orange and Ulster, on the westward by the high~ hill to the eastward of the Minisink, on the south by the division line of the Province of New York and east New Jersey." The reason that the indefinite description of the land grant is cited here is that in 1785 the hearing, to determine finally the definite boundaries of the grant, was held at the Yelverton Inn in Chester.
The record states that Philip Rockby sold his undivided interest in this Wawayanda patent on June 16, 1704, to Daniel Cromline and two others. Again, Hendrick Teneyck on Dec. 8, 1704, sold his undivided interest in the same patent to Cromline and ten years later Cromline sold two-thirds of his purchase to Messrs, Everett and Clews, retaining one-third or 1,706 acres, English measure. This is the tract of land which is now the township of Chester, embracing the site on which, Cromline made a settlement. In 1716 he erected the first dwelling to which he gave the name Greycourt. This dwelling house mentioned was located on the road from Chester to Craigville, not far from the Greycourt cemetery and it, known as the Cromline House or the Greycourt Inn, was probably the main public building between New Windsor and New Jersey prior to 1765, when the Yelyerton Inn was opened.
About 1721 John Yelverton of New Windsor came to this section. In later years he purchased land, and erected the first dwellings of which we have any record today. The following is taken from a copy of the original deed recorded by his grandson and executor, Abijah Yelverton. The deed conveys three parcels of land in Goshen to John Yelverton in trust "for a Parsonage, Minister's House, a burying; place; also to build a Meeting House thereon or public edifice for the worship of God in a way and manner of those of the Presbyterian persuasion," signed by 24 land owners in the different parts of this Wawayanda patent. The Meeting House mentioned has reference to
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[ Image ] Where law and learning have their home Imposing Structure at West Point Courtesy of Moore Printing Co., Newburgh, N. Y.
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