in 2005 by David Baker Town of Hurley Historian
Indians, the northern group of the Delaware Indians, were the first inhabitants
of the hamlet of Hurley. The first European settlement was in June of 1662 when
five business men in Albany, NY petitioned Governor General Peter Stuyvesant,
head of the Dutch New Netherland Colony, to establish a second village to the
south west of Kingston, allowing more of the Esopus Valley to be cultivated. It
was given a temporary Dutch name, Nieu Dorp, (new village) until a better name
could be chosen.
with their general treatment by the Dutch authorities, the Delaware Indians
attacked the villages of Hurley and Kingston in June 1663; called the Second
Esopus War. The village of eight houses was destroyed and several women and
children were taken as captives. It was a year before all the captives were
returned to their families.
September of 1664 the entire New Netherland Colony, extending from Albany, NY to
Dover, Delaware, was surrendered by Governor General Stuyvesant to an English
Fleet under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls. He renamed the colony New
York, after the Duke of York. Although Col. Nicolls was a reasonably benevolent
ruler, he did place the former Dutch colony under military control. In 1668, the
second Governor, Richard Lovelace took over the management of the New York
Colony and placed more control in the civilian government, which was appointed
by him from a group of names submitted from the local populace. One of his acts
was to rename some of the Dutch settlements with English names, done in 1669.
Thus Nieu Dorp became Horley, (pronounce Hurley) after the Lovelace ancestral
home in Horley, England. The new hamlet was also given specific boundaries,
making it a township. He also relocated, the same year, the troublesome English
garrison into its own township, Marbletown, greatly easing tensions in the area.
earliest houses, before and just after the Second Esopus War, were one-story
wooden cottages. Unfortunately, none have survived from that period. In 1708,
under the rule of Queen Ann, the roads of the colony of New York were
straightened, and the present road system in the hamlet was established. Main
Street was resurveyed and stone houses were constructed next to the road,
replacing the old wooden ones. In 1966 Main Street was declared a National
Landmark, its eight stone houses being the oldest, best preserved examples of
local architecture for that period.
after its formation, the hamlet was a self- sustaining community. Wheat, rye and
barley were grown on the river valley using an old, German method of growing two
crops a year. Each homestead had its barn, kitchen garden and orchard, growing
apples and pears, for family use. Cattle were grazed on the upland pastures, and
one enterprising individual, Roelof Swartwout, raised hops in such quantity that
his market extended from Albany to New York City. By 1680 the commercial part of
the hamlet contained a grain mill, brewery, distillery, blacksmith, and a
resident carpenter. By 1720 the tradesmen had increased with a shoemaker,
commercial weaver, tannery and a quarry for building stone. The public burial
ground, back of Main Street, was established prior to 1708 and has been in use
first school building was established in 1786; prior to that school was held in
various private homes. This building remained in use until 1836 when a new,
larger stone school was built. The new building had a second floor added to it,
in wood, and continued in use until the present Hurley School was started in
County has had a militia force since 1669 and it participated in local Indian
defenses, the French and Indian War as well as the Revolution. Hurley supplied
its share of Privates and Officers to defend the colony. Col. Rutson, Col.
Wynkoop, Col. Dewitt and Major Wynkoop to name a few. During the months of
November and December of 1777, when the British advanced up the Hudson River,
Hurley served as a military outpost and the temporary Capital of the State of
New York. In October 1783, General Washington visited the hamlet, on one of his
tours, to thank the inhabitants for their support during the War.
after the Revolution the Western area of the Town, called the Hurley Patentee
Woods, was subdivided and settlement rapidly occurred, generated in a large part
by the discovery of easily worked sand stone called "Blue Stone". This
industry continued until the late 1890s. In the Southern part of Town, now the
Town of Rosendale, new settlements appeared with the building of the Delaware
and Hudson Canal and the development of the cement industry. During that same
period the old section of town, depending on it production of grains, fell into
a depression as the price of grain sharply declined with the building of the
Erie Canal. The local agricultural products quickly changed to raising sheep and
cattle, with the emphasis on milk and milk products. Cottage cheese was produced
in such quantity that it was rumored that there were cheese mines in the hills
keeping with its volunteer militia past, over 175 men from the Town volunteered
for duty during the Civil War, participating in all parts of the conflict. One
resident, Charles Dumond, survived the horrors of Andersonville, while August
Kauss is the only known resident to receive the Purple Heart.
Town, was visited by such notables as Governor Clinton, General Washington,
Washington Irving, Senator Van Buren and Winslow Homer, who used the area as a
background for some of his paintings.
1906 the valley of the Beaverkill, in the Patentee Woods area of the Town, was
purchased by the New York City Water Department and the Ashokan Reservoir was
created. Eight hamlets, four of them in Hurley, were razed in its creation .
William Saxe, a local landowner, purchased two large parcels of land for the
resettlement of the refugees. The first settlement became the core of the
present hamlet of West Hurley, and the second was along the Esopus Creek and is
now called Riverside. Glenford was relocated by T. Sherman Lennox when he opened
a general store at the foot of Lennox Lane and the old Boulevard (old Rte 28) in
the Town of Hurley is a rural/suburban community, principally noted for its
quiet neighborhoods, large sweet corn farms and the Historic District with its
ties to a very vibrant past. Twenty- six stone houses, from one-room cottages to
two story buildings, dot the landscape of the Town. The majority of the stone
houses are privately owned, but some are opened to the public once each year on
Stone House Day.
Distributed by the Hurley Heritage Society
PO Box 1661, Hurley, NY 12443. (845) 338-1661 www.hurleyheritagesociety.org