George Hoard

I am looking for any records of the George Hoard family. He married Jerusha Leonard on 06 Feb. 1803. They had a daughter Jerusha born in Stephentown on 03 Dec. 1803. I believe his father Another George Hoard also lived there, his wife’s name was Ester. I think she may be buried there. Debbie Jacoby

WeRelate Experiment

So, I want to have a family tree of Stephentown ancestors so that I (and you) can see how everyone was interrelated. I had thought about using Second Site and The Master Genealogist to do so, but then I was struck with inspiration to make a secondary tree over at So, feel free to search the Stephentown Genealogy family tree at WeRelate. If you are a member of WeRelate (or if you’d like to be), I’m not certain how you can add to that tree, but once I know, I’ll add an explanation here.

Syllinda Jane Kittle

I’ve been helping my grandmother on a genealogy project because she would like to join Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The patriot in our family is Edmund Kittle (DAR #A065291). DAR has a few of his children documented, but not the one we need: Syllinda Jane Kittle. I have census data and other records all the way back to her son, but she is the missing link. I do have a Family Data Collection resource showing her, but DAR does not consider that hard evidence.

Syllinda was born in Stephentown in 1792 and I’m hoping there is a record of her birth or something else on file that might get us to the finish line. Here’s the vital info. that I do have:

Edmund Kittle- Born 04 Nov 1758 in West Greenwich, Kent, RI / Died 05 Jul 1833 in Colesville, Broome, NY

Syllinda Jane Kittle- Born 12 Jul 1792 in Stephentown, Rensselaer, NY / Died 23 Mar 1863 in Union Co., NY

Unfortunately, there are tons of variations on the spelling of both people. Edmund vs. Edmond is about a 50/50 in usage. Syllinda is how the Family Data Collection records her name, but later census documents have it as Celinda. The last name is the real challenge: Kittle and Kittel appear to be the most common, but Kittell, Kettell, Kattel, Kattell all make appearances as well.

I would really appreciate any help or advice. We have been working on this for quite some time now and appear to be stuck on the last generation.  Unfortunately, we both live on the West Coast so we can’t spend the time we would like in the library. –Ryan

George W. Johnson, 1864 (Surrogate’s Court)

court caption - George W. Johnson's surrogate record

In the matter of the application for Administration on the Estate of George W. Johnson, late of the town of Stephentown:
Julia E. Johnson deposed that she was the widow of the late George W. Johnson, and lived in Stephentown. He died a natural death in Stephentown on the 11th day of March 1864, without leaving a last Will and Testament; she further deposed that his personal property did not exceed the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars; that he left surviving him the following:

his widow Julia E. Johnson and five children, namely: Adeliea Johnson, Sarah A. Johnson, and Nancy C. Johnson all of Troy, and George W. Johnson Jr and Arvilla M. Johnson of the town of Stephentown. Signed this 9 day of May 1864 in front of Moses Warren, Surrogate.

Administrator bond was signed 9th day of May 1864 naming Julia E. Johnson, Clinton D. Doty of Stephentown and Peter Cooper of the City of Troy in the sum of Five hundred dollars. Sealed and Delivered in the Presence of Moses Warren, Surrogate.

Appraisers were appointed the Twentyeth day of May 1864, having signed their declarations on the 19 day of May 1864 before James C. Enos, Justice of the Peace:

  • I, Ira Tifft do solemnly swear and declare that I will truly, honestly and impartially appraise the person Property of George W. Johnson deceased, which shall be exhibited to me, according to the best of my knowledge and ability.
  • I, Isaiah B. Colmain do solemnly swear and declare that I will truly, honestly and impartially appraise the person Property of George W. Johnson deceased, which shall be exhibited to me, according to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Inventory documents signed 15 day of August 1864 before James C. Enos, Justice of the Peace and were filed 18 August 1864:

  • One Spinning wheel
  • ” Weaving Loom
  • ” Cooking Stove and Cooking utencils
  • ” Parlor Stove
  • ” Family Bible
  • 3 Family Pictures
  • ” Family Library, which does not Exceed $50 in value
  • 5 Sheep and Three Lambs
  • 1 Fleece of wool
  • ” Cow
  • ” Hog
  • ” Clothing for the family including the widow
  • 4 Beds and Bedsteds
  • 1 Table 6 Chairs
  • 6 Knives and forks
  • 6 Plaits
  • 6 Tea cups and saucer
  • 1 Sugar dish
  • ” Grain Cup
  • ” Teapot
  • 6 Spoons
  • —– Next Column —–
  • One Yearling Bull $10..
  • ” Bay Horse 25..
  • ” Sorrel Horse 25..
  • ” Set of Double Harness 3..
  • ” Hay fork .25
  • ” Lumber-two horse wagon and Box 25..
  • ” Set of Whippletrees 1.50
  • ” Stone boat .50
  • ” Bob Sled 1.50
  • ” Wood Sled .50
  • 2 Hoes .20
  • 1 Ox Chain 2.00
  • ” Dog Wedge .10
  • ” Market wagon 8.00
  • ” Bar of Iron .50
  • ” Set of Stoneboat plank .50
  • ” Wraping chain 1.00
  • ” Drain Shave .25
  • A lot of old Iron including old stove pipe 1.50
  • ” Crop Cut Saw 1.50
  • ” Pare of Sled Runners .25
  • ” Sithe and Stick .25
  • ” Ladder .75
  • ” Share Horse .25
  • ” Grindstone and hangings .25
  • 2 Plank for bed sills for Cole Box .50
  • 1 Plow and Clovis 1.50
  • ” Cheese Press 2.50 (added in different handwriting: Cored oven)
  • 114.05
  • —– Next Page —–
  • Brought forward 114.05
  • A lot of Cole wood cut for Pit 20.00
  • Hemlock timber for logs 9.00
  • One clock .50
  • ” Bedsted .50
  • ” Meal Chest or Box .50
  • 144.55
  • No Bonds, Mortgages, Notes or other securities for the payment of money belonging to the deceased. No [illegible] or Bank Bills or other circulating [illegible] belonging to Deceased has come into the hands of the Administratrix as she the the[sic] Administratrix informed the above named appraisers.

View a pdf of the record at Stephentown Genealogy: a visual history.

Looking for my grandfather

I am looking for information on my grandfather Burton Alfred Finch, who sometimes went by B.A. Finch. He was a preacher and teacher in the Baptist tradition in Stephentown, New York likely between 1890 and 1910. I have some letterhead of his with Rev. B.A. Finch, Stephentown, New York printed on it. Any information regarding him or his descendents would be appreciated. Posted by Barbara Jo Finch

Researching Carpenter family

I sell identified antique photos on eBay – my id is 4hearts. I’m currently researching some photos I bought this month of the George H and Mary Kittell Carpenter family of Stephentown. I found your “up in flames” page, which has info about the death of their son Milton – now I know that Mabelle Carpenter’s married name was Ferris. Wondering if the photo I have labeled “Ellen Lewis June 1896″ taken in Reading, Pa is related, since his sister married a Lewis. Great web site!
4hearts Photos and Treasures

Abigail Warren / Hannah Warren

I am looking for any information available on the birth of Abigail Warren or Hannah Warren. Abigail was born 20 Aug 1791; Hannah was born in 3 Aug 1794 in Berlin, NY. Both are daughters of Nathaniel Warren. Nathaniel Warren was born 29 March 1757 in Sharon, CT but lived most of his life in the Stephentown area. Abigail married David Cartwright of Stephentown first, second Truman Pratt.

Any information on Abigail’s birth records or her mother would be greatly appreciated.

(originally posted at by Craig Lanham on September 05, 2010 at 11:06:54)

Early Physicians

Featured Article

Medicine in the Past and Today

Medicine was discovered around the 1500’s. In the middle ages around the 1500’s astronomy was basically what scientists where focusing more on. Later on people began to wonder about the human body and how each different element such as the muscles, nerves, bones, and tissues activated together. Galen lived from 130-200 A.D. he was a ancient Greek physician who studied the anatomy of animals such as sheep, pigs, goats, and apes. Galen never really dissected the human body so he assumed that the human body was similar to that of a animal’s. Galen’s textbooks on medicine were published around 1543 the same year that Copernicus published his book on astronomy. In that same year another doctor named Andreas Vesalius published a medical book by the name of “On the Fabric of the Human Body.” The book showed well how the human body looked with drawings illustrating almost every detail. The next discovery was made by a man named William Harvey who published a book in 1628 that contained information on the human heart.

In the early 1800’s however doctors did not have enough equipment and medicine that can successfully fight diseases. In the later 1800’s medicine started to conveniently advance. Around 1875 Europeans began to live 15 years longer than they used to. One very beneficial discovery was made in the 1840’s which was anesthesia. Anesthesia was used to put people to sleep during painful surgery. Anesthesia helped surgery become less painful, but around that time patients were dying of infections after the surgery and the reason why was mysterious to doctors. A man named Joseph Lister was a Scottish surgeon who connected the conditions of the hospital to the infections. The conditions in hospitals were not very clean the patients were not really bathed and the doctors did not work with robes or gloves and the worse part was that the same instruments were used on every patient without cleaning them. Lister was the man who came up with cleanliness in hospitals which can be related to a quote in the movie Gattaca, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” Joseph Lister found that after his observation that cleanliness is healthy 85% of the patients were surviving.

A French scientist named Louis Pasteur followed up on Joseph Lister’s theory that tiny invisible particles called bacteria caused infection. Pasteur discovered ways to destroy organisms that caused disease. Pasteur worked with the virus by the name of rabies caused when a dog bites you. In 1885 he cured a young boy that was infected with that disease.

In the late 1800’s scientists were equipped with new knowledge of medicine to which later other scientists followed up on and continued to find cures for deadly diseases. One of the most important discoveries at that time was how keeping things clean and killing bacteria can dramatically help people live longer.

Medicine has advanced tremendously since the 1800’s. Medicine such as antibiotics were discovered and what it does is it kills bacteria that causes infection or disease. In the 1980’s the study of genetics began to take place. Scientists began to learn how the human genes acted on the human body. The study of how each human gene worked lead to a discovery of how to alter genes and put together genes to prevent disease which eventually developed into genetic engineering.

Medicine has been the human race best progress because it helped people survive and battle diseases. Medicine and the study of human DNA however was what eventually lead to genetic engineering which is not progress because it doesn’t help the human race. A conclusion that can be made is that we keep progressing, but in reality we eventually will fall because their only a certain limit to which humans can tamper with mother nature.

Medicine in Stephentown

Shortly after the Revolutionary War, in 1787, Dr. Ezekial Baker opened the first medical practice in town. He has been recorded as making his calls dressed in buckskin knee breeches and carrying saddle bags over his shoulders as he walked or rode on horseback long distances to attend the sick.

Dr. Baker practiced in the southeast part of the town nearly 90 years ago (written in 1880). He was probably one of the earliest physicians in the town. The oldest inhabitants but can recollect his buskin knee-breeches and immense saddle-bags filled with his magic potations. (He died on March 20, 1866 at the age of 69 years. His wife was Harriet)

Dr. Nicolas Harris practiced very early in the northeast section of the town. He and Dr. Baker were contemporaries in practice. They were both charter members of the Rensselaer County Medical Society, organized in 1806. The honor of being the first physician to practice in town lies between them. Dr. Harris was noted for his elegance in diction and the beauty of his penmanship. A gentleman in his polite manners and conversation, he was considered by those who knew him as an earnest Christian. His was an extensive practice, reaching beyond Stephentown to other areas of the county. He served as a private in Colonel Kiliaen Van Rensselaer’s Regiment of the Albany Militia and fought in four major battles of the Revolutionary War: Johnstown, Charghuawage, Oriskany, and Saratoga.(Nicholas Harris – b. 8/26/1749-4/22/1819, married Phebe Tibbits. He was from Scituate, RI, the son of Patience and Jedediah Harris). Dr. Brighton lived on the “East Road”, and practiced in 1802.

Dr. Calvin Pardee was one of the earliest physicians of the town He came originally from Connecticut and settled first at Lebanon Springs, Columbia Co., and finally on “Presbyterian Hill,” where he passed his life. (Pardee was born 1/26/1757 in Connecticut and died 10/27/1795 in Stephentown. He married Rachel Johnson)

Dr. Joshua Griggs came early, about 1810 and lived at Stephentown “Flats,” where William Chevevoy lives. He was a surgeon in the 5th Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He died in town, at at the age of 43 and is buried in the Baptist Cemetery. (died 1/6/1813. He married Nancy)

Dr. Cuyler Tanner was in practice at Stephentown village fifty years ago, 1828. He was a member of Friendship Masonic Lodge #95.

Dr. Elijah Graves studied with Dr. Griggs, practiced for years at the “Flats” about 1810, and died there at the age of 84y and is buried in Garfield Cemetery. He was a member of Friendship Masonic Lodge #95. (d. 9/1/1869 at 84y)

Dr. Philander H. Thomas practiced from 1825 to 1840. He had practiced in the east part of the town. He was a physician of rare excellence.

Dr. Beriah Douglas practiced for a short time about the year 1820. he moved to Albany and then to Wisconsin. He was a son of Benajah Douglas, married a daughter of William Douglas and lived on the old homestead. (Douglas Genealogy) Dr. Frederick A. Carpenter, son of Benjamin H. and Asenath Carpenter, was born in Stephentown in the late 1790’s. He studied medicine with Drs. Thomas and Tanner around 1835, practiced in North Berlin for one year, then moved to Lebanon, Illinois, where he died in 1865.

Dr. George H. Dickinson practiced from 1845 to 1878, having studied under Dr. Graves. His home and office were located on Presbyterian Hill. The house, built in 1843, is now owned by Georgiana Atwater Beebe. Dr. Dickinson is buried in Garfield Cemetery.

His son, Dr. George F. Dickinson, worked in his father’s practice for a short time about 1866, before moving to East Chatham.

Dr. George H. Day began his medical careet in 1872; he also pastored the Stephentown Baptist Church.

Dr. Charles N. Reynolds practiced in the area about 1870. He is buried in Garfield Cemetery. (1848-1891; married Harriet E. Manchester. He was the son of nathan and Sarah Collins Reynolds)

Dr. Lawrence D. Green (1896-1963) began his medical practice in 1920 after receiving his degree from Albany Medical College. He started the Order of the Eagles in Stephentown and was a member of the Petersburgh Masonic Lodge. An ardent sportsman, he was an exceptionally good catcher on the Stephentown baseball team, sponsored by McClintock’s in the ’20’s and ’30’s. One game was interrupted for over an hour because a dog was hit by a car and Dr. Greene left to administer to it. The dog lived and the game continued.

Letters to the Editor by the doctors

This is a Letter to the Editor of the Berkshire Eagle, dated July 29, 1948, written by Lawrence D. Greene, M.D.:

“You pointed out editorially on December 18, the catastrophic effect of the high cost of hospitalization for a major operation or prolonged illness on the head of the average profident family. You also pointed out the large popular approval of any plan which would eliminate the worry over this condition. I think those statements are true. You say the American Medical Association has offered no proposal to combat these hazards. I am not a member of the AMA and I have no brief for its opinions, but I had supposed that they favored voluntary insurance for which I believe agencies already exist.

You seem to me further to imply that compulsory health insurance would correct the condition in question. Perhaps it would this particular one, but thorough consideration of all the reasonalby expected effects of any compulsory insurance plan proposed to date lead one to conclude that on balance they are definitely not in the public interest.

I am sincerely convinced of this conclusion after 30 years of general medical practice during which I have had an opportunity to observe human behavior that may be justifiably predicted under the conditions of such a plan would ruin any chance of reasonable success. I regret very much that this is true. I have always been in the position of your hypothetical case and I can sympathize with him deeply.
I hope a voluntary plan may be found which will lessen the inequities of our present dilemma to a bearable degree. At least let us expose all probable expectations and consequences before taking action.”

Lawrence D. Greene, M.D., Stephentown, NY

This is another Letter to the Editor, written by Dr. Greene and some of his area colleagues:

Hazardous Highway

“As physicians inured to travel the secondary and territory roads of the countryside of Eastern Renssealer County in all hours and weather, we do not lightly complain about road conditions. But the 16 miles of highway from the border of Columbia County north through Stephentown and Berlin to the ourskirts of Petersburgh have deteriorated beyondthe point of repair. This road lies sadly illin beautiful surroundings, contorted, twisted and deeply pocked amidst scenic hills and valleys.

All who travel it do so at their peril. Witness the two accidents on February 23, one involving five people near Petersburgh, the other involving a car hurled into the ditch near Stephentown. As physicians there are special handicaps that hardly need to specified; danger of accidents in making night calls, patients being ‘all shook up’ on the rough road, loss of time in making calls and so on.

Relief is twice blessed that is prompt, and part cure is often no cure. Hence, we request and urge friendly consideration by the New York Department of Public Works of the immediate reconstruction this spring of 1959 of Route 22 for the full 16 miles of roadway, not simply of part thereof, from Peterburgh south to the border of Columbia County.”

Peter W. Borecki, M.D. Petersburgh, NY
Lawrence D. Greene, M.D. Stephentown, NY
F.J. Lancaster, M.D. New Lebanon, NY
George Miley, M.D. West Lebanon, NY
Sidney Schlesinger, M.D. Berlin, NY
Andrew H.P. Swift, M.D. East Nassau, NY
Marvin L. Thompson, M.D. Berlin, NY

Note from Tina: I can verify that these men did indeed make house calls, in a day and time long past. I remember well, Dr. Thompson coming to my parents house when my brothers and I came down with the measles. We always called him “I’m going to give you a shot Thompson.” It seems that there was a shot for everything!! Dr. Swift was the man who pierced my ears when I was 16 years old. By that time, though, housecalls were on the way out and after much begging and pleading, I convinced my parents that I was old enough, and my Mom took me to Dr. Swift’s office for the piercing.

The above was written in part by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester in “The History of Rensselaer County, NY” and in part by an unknown writer in “Stephentown Historical Society’s Bicentennial Album 1784-1984″

Women in the Medical Profession

By David Flint

Dr. Antoinette E.C. Russell in 1914. Photo courtesy of Helen Vedder.

Women in the medical profession have had a hard time gaining the respect of their peers. Berkshire Eagle Columnist, naturist and literary magazine editor Clellie Lynch presented an interesting historical perspective to members of the Stephentown Historical Society Monday evening at the Heritage Center. It’s not that women didn’t have the respect of those they served. For centuries birthing was the province of women practitioners known as midwives. People depended on women, too, for treatment of cuts and scrapes and minor illnesses. It was the women who preserved over centuries a store of knowledge about herbal remedies and even minor surgery. They passed on their knowledge and skills from generation to generation right up to the latter days of the 19th century. For major illnesses throughout most of that century men who called themselves doctors were still practicing what was known as “heroic medicine” which relied on techniques such as bleeding, leeching, intestinal purging, vomiting and ungoverned use of opiates such as laudanum. Their efforts were usually well meant but more often than not resulted in the death of the patient rather than a cure. According to Lynch, the often preferred alternative to heroic medicine was known as “therapeutic nihilism” or essentially doing nothing.

Toward the end of the 19th century the practice of medicine started to become more scientific with more precise diagnoses and cures. True medical schools were established, replacing the diploma mills that earlier enabled just about any male to set himself up as a doctor. Hygiene and prevention therapy were great advances made by the end of the century. Though midwives had for centuries been aware of the need for cleanliness, it had not been uncommon for doctors to go direct from an autopsy to delivering a child, with no hand washing in between. But things were changing, and the now more professional doctors looked around and found the continued practice of midwifery not to their liking. A concerted effort was made to label midwives as ignorant and incompetent and shunt them to the side. Childbirth was now, at least for those who could afford it, to take place in the hospital and doctors would do the delivering, usually with forceps. If the baby or mother died it was something that couldn’t be helped. But if death in childbirth occurred with a midwife attending, it was the result of ignorance and incompetence. Midwifery came close to being stamped out. It never disappeared completely, largely due to the fact that women continued to serve the needs of the poor and blacks especially, both in rural areas and in inner cities.

There were not many woman doctors in the 19th century, but there were some. The first to earn a medical degree in this country was Elizabeth Blackwell who graduated at the top of her class from Geneva Medical College in Geneva, NY in 1849. Her sister Emily followed her in earning a medical degree. After that the male students at Geneva voted to ban the acceptance of women there. Barred from practicing at most hospitals, Elizabeth Blackwell opened an infirmary for indigent women and children in the slums of New York. Later she and her sister established Woman’s Medical College connected with the infirmary. It took persistence and perseverance of the sort that the Blackwells possessed to buck the male chauvinism in the profession, but by 1900 there were actually some 7,300 woman doctors in the country.

One who had that persistence and perseverance was a Stephentown native. Program Chair Pat Bowman received a letter from Helen P. Vedder who had seen a notice of the Historical Society’s program on Women in Medicine. Vedder said she was the great grand-niece of Dr. Antoinette E.C. Russell who was born in 1861 on the family farm at Wyomanock Road and Presbyterian Hill Road in Stephentown. Russell graduated from the State Normal School – now SUNY-Albany – and taught for a period before moving on to New York Medical College for Women, graduating in 1891. She worked for many years at the Medical, Surgical and Maternity Hospitals of the Women’s Homeopathic Association in Philadelphia where she became Superintending Physician and Surgeon.

In 1919 Dr. Russell traveled to Serbia to do post-war volunteer work sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). She opened a dispensary in Serbia and later became Administrator for a hospital in Kosovo. There she not only opened a dispensary in the courtyard but also put together a traveling dispensary in a Ford ambulance which she took out to the countryside “to help people out of reach of a physician.” Working out of Pecs, she opened stations at Deschani and at Djacovitza which also served several villages across the border in Albania. Dr. Russell reported back to the Friends Service Committee on conditions in Serbia, which included scarcity of clothing and housing and fuel shortages. She noted that the Serbs, “are 2-3 generations behind the times and need help to establish themselves. There is much sickness there and a dearth of good physicians with only a few native ones.” She emphasized too the dire need for public health and sanitation. Arriving back in the USA in May 1921 she spoke at numerous meetings of organizations and churches begging for supplies and money especially for the hospital she had established in Pecs. That hospital was eventually taken over by the Serbian government. An article in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reads: “Woman Physician Returns – Dr. Antoinette Russell, former resident physician of the Women’s Homeopathic Hospital, has returned to this city after nineteen months in Serbia with the Friends’ Service Committee. While in Serbia, Dr. Russell treated 1,200 patients a month, administering a hospital and three dispensaries.”

Vedder noted that Dr. Russell was licensed in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. At some point she opened an office in Stephentown and delivered many babies in town, many of them Russells. Vedder says her father, Harold Provost, was the last born at the Russell family farm. She believes she herself, although born in Pittsfield, was the last of Dr. Russell’s family home deliveries. Dr. Russell died on January 1, 1928 at the House of Mercy Hospital in Pittsfield and was buried in the Presbyterian Hill Cemetery in Stephentown.

Vedder said she thought people might be “impressed with the persistence and perseverance of a woman born just before the Civil War into a humble, but proud farm family, who realized her potential and acted upon it.” She believes Dr. Russell “had a will of iron and was never dissuaded from convictions nor decisions thoughtfully and carefully made. She never married, but cared lovingly for all, be they Serbs, Turks, patients in her care, or her own family.” Vedder says it was because of the legacy left by Dr. Russell that she herself chose to become a Registered Nurse.

(This article was found in the Eastwick Press Sept. 15th, 2006 issue)

Name: Antoinette E C Russell
Birth Date: 1 Dec 1861
Birth Place: Stephentown Rens CO, New York
RESIDENCE: Philadelphia, Penn
Passport Issue Date: 28 Aug 1919
Father Name: William F Russell
Father’s Birth Location: Stephentown, NY
Father’s Residence: Now Deceased
Passport Includes a Photo: Y
Source: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925 (M1490)

The Russell sisters are featured at Stephentown’s Visual History subsite.

Last Will and Testament of Hart Bateman


The people of the State of New York by the Grace of God Free and
To Rhoda Seede,Hiriam Bateman,Armina Feilds,Elviria Coleman,Alonzo
Bateman and Betsey Lester all of Nassau Rensselaer County, Laura
Waterbury and Nancy Waterbury now or late of Rose, Ontario County and
all of the State of New York and Harriet Lasher of Wisconsin Territory,
the particular town not known, heirs at law and next of kin of Hart
Bateman late of the town of Nassau in the county of Rensselaer deceased.
You and each of you are hereby cited and required personally to be and
appear before our Surrogate in our county of Rensselaer at the
Surrogates office in the City of Troy in said county on Monday the 10th
day of April 1843 at ten o’clock in the fournoon of that day to attend
to the probate of the last will and testament of the said Hart Bateman
deceased which will then and there be offered for that purpose by Clark
Bateman an exceutor named in said will who has applied to the said
Surrogate for the proof of said will and which will relates to Real and
Personal Estate.

This last will and Testament of Hart Bateman of the town of Nassau in
the county of Rensselaer and State of New York. I Hart Bateman
considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind
and memory (Blessed be God for this Amen) do make and publish this my
last Will and Testament in manner and form following, which is to say
First I give and bequeath unto my son Clark Bateman the one equal
undivided half of all my Real Estate, to have and to hold the same to
his self, his heirs and assigns forever.

Secondly I give and bequeath to my daughter Rhoda, the wife of John
Seede the remaining equal undivided half of all my Real Estate for and
during her natural life and after her death I give and bequeath the same
as follows. The one fourth part there of to my son Clark Bateman, his
heirs assigns forever, one other fourth part thereof to the children of
Stephen Van Rensselaer Bateman share and share alike, to them their
hiers and assigns forever, hereby intending that the same shall be so
divded after the death of my daughter Rhoda as to rest the title to the
one sixth part of the said one quarter to each of the children which
shall then be living and if any of them shall die without issue then
there share or shares of such shall be equally divided amonsgst such of
said children as sahll then be living and the child or children of such
(if any) as shall die lieaving issue and of any of the said children of
my said son Stephen Van Renssealer Bateman shall die previous to the
death of my said daughter Rhoda leaving a child or children living then
I will that such child or children take the same portion of share as his
or hers or their father or mother would have been entitled to had the
said father or mother been at the death of my said daughter Rhoda, and
to hold the same to themselves their hiers and assignts forever.
Notwithstanding the above divide to my daughter Rhoda is made subjuect
to the following conditions that if her present husband John Seede shall
be living at the time of my death then it is my will that the same be
used and occupied by my son Clark Bateman intending for my said daughter
Rhoda for and during the life of the said John Seeds hereby binding the
said Clark Bateman to account to my said daughter Rhoda and to her only,
for the accural profits thereof during the life of the daid John Seeds
hereby explicitly declaring that the said John Seeds shall in no manner
whatever participate in, recieve or injoy any part there of. The one
other fouth part there of th Harriet, the wife of Frederick Lasher, his
heirs and assigns forever and the remaining fouthe part to Laure and
Nancy the children of my son Guy Bateman their heirs and assigns
thirdly I give and bequest to my daughter Rhoda all the rest residule
and remainder of my estate both Real and personal in manner following,
that is to say It is my will that my ececutors herein after named shall
collect and recieve the interest annulally on all such sums of money as
shall be due or owing onto me at the time of my death and to pay over
the same to my said daughter Rhoda when recieved and to her only so long
as her said husband John Seeds shall live,if the said John Seeds shall
be living at the time of my death. But if not, then I will that my said
executors shall pay both interest and principal of such money to my daid
daughter Rhoda immidiately or as soon as practical after the death of
the said John Seeds and I further direct that my executors herein after
named shall hold the rest residule and remainder of my personal estate
about bequeathed to my said daughter Rhoda in trust for her and her only
until the death of her said husband John Seeds if he shall be living at
the time of my death and to account to her and her only for the use
thereof annyally during the life of the said John Seeds and at his death
to deliver up the same to my said daughter Rhoda or her heirs, executors
or Administrator in as good condition as the same shall be recieved by
them but if the said John Seeds shall not be living at the time of my
death then it is my will that my said daughter Rhoda go into immidiate
possission there of as her own rightful property. And lastly I hereby
nominate and appoint my son Clark Bateman and my friend Aaron V.
Waterbury executors of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking
all former wills by me made.
Signed by her mark and witnessed by Adam Casey, Rensselaer David, Wm H
Waterbury. Written May 15 1828

Thank you Lisa McKern for this transcription.


Rutland Engine No. 40

“It takes a little imagination on a quiet day to make yourself hear the rumble of a train and its whistle blowing as it passes through Stephentown, heading toward Bennington, Vermont from Chatham, NY.

The railroad line ran through Brainard, the Lebanons, Stephentown, North Stephentown Center, Cherry Plain, Berlin and on to Bennington. The voice of the conductor was heard calling out the names of the stations along the way.

A charter for the railroad was granted by the New York State Legislature in 1851. In 1852 a group of men got together and formed the Lebanon Springs Railraod. They had just enough money to go from Chatham to Lebanon Springs. In 1853, an attempt was made to persuade Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt to invest in this project, as all they needed was enough money to extend the railroad from Lebanon Springs to Bennington. He refused, saying that in his estimation it wouldn’t last three generations (about 100 years). Shares in the railroad sold at $10 a share.
This railroad operated for several years. At Lebanon Springs the train had to turn around and go back. Many visitors came to the Springs for the curative waters there.

In 1869 another group of men put up the money and the railroad was finished all the way to Bennington, where it connected with the Bennington and Rutland Railroad. The two lines consolidated in 1870 and were called the Harlem Extension Railroad.

In 1877 the Bennington and Rutland Railroad backed out of this merger and the Harlem Extension reverted to its original 57 miles. It finally went broke in 1893. The name was changed in the hope of getting more response, but it lasted only three more years.

After repairing it as requested by the State of New York, the railroad ran out of money again and was foreclosed. A new company called the Chatham and Lebanon Railroad Company was formed in 1896, which then ran the rail line until about 1901.

Rutland Engine No. 40

It changed hands again. This time the Rutland Railroad bought it and operated a passenger service until 1931.

Town Board minutes from 1923 showed that on August 17, the Board ordered the Rutland Railroad to install a danger signal light at the crossing near the depot.

High water damage to the railroad on November 3, 1927 caused it to shut down. By December 16 all trains were back on schedule except the 6:25 a.m. trains numbered 202 and 205 leaving Stephentown and Chatham respectively.

Finally the railroad became a freight line and lasted until 1952. It was called “The Corkscrew Division”. Well known trains on this line were #401 and #31.

People shipped their milk, vegetables and other produce to New York City. There were many landslides between Cherry Plain and Berlin along the line. Rocks, dirt, and rubble slid down onto the tracks after snows and heavy rains and held up the trains until the tracks were cleared.

Many interesting stories have been told and still can be recalled by the older generation of today. The younger generation has missed the sound of the whistle blowing and the rumble of the old steam engine chugging along at all hours of the day and night.

The passenger service was never a paying proposition for the railroad, but it provided communities service along the line such as transporting students to high schools and for those working in Albany via transfers for Boston or Albany. Freight and milk were transported and it brought the vacationers to the area.

In 1951 the operators of this railroad sent in a request to the Interstate Commerce Commission to completely abandon the Railroad’s Chatham Division running the 57 miles between Bennington, Vermont and Chatham.

With the closing of the stations along the line the services of four station agents, two section foremen and six trackmen were terminated. Lewis Putnam, who was the chief executive officer of this road, said this would help the railroad deficit of $205,097 during 1951. The last piece of track was removed in 1953.

(Article was printed in the Stephentown Historical Society Bicentennial Album 1784-1984)

Below are newspaper articles printed in the North Adams Transcript and Berkshire Eagle, recounting various activities of the ever changing railroad.

September 28, 1899

“It is expected that the old Lebanon Springs railroad will be reopened under the name of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley road within sixty days. Three engines and the roadbed are being put in repair.”

September 29, 1899


Lively Scenes Along Line of Old Lebanon Springs Road

“Mention was made yesterday of the fact that the old Lebanon Springs railroad was expected to be opened for traffic within 60 days as the Chatham and Lebanon Valley road. William C. Roberts of New York, who purchased the road for $100,025, has placed H. McGonigle, a mechanical engineer, in charge of the work of putting the old road in shape again.
The latter began immediately the work of getting the road ready for the resumption of operations along the entire line from Chatham to Bennington. He established temporary headquarters in the old passenger station at Chatham. John Fearon, the former section master at that place, was reinstated in his old position and he was furnished with a gang of men to clean up the yards and shops, while others were set at work overhauling the rolling stock. New ties will be laid and new rails are expected shortly.

Of course time will be needed to place in first class conditions a road that has been absolutely wrecked until it is nothing more than a “double streak of rust.” It will be accomplished, however, for there is now brains, energy and money to back the enterprise. Temporary repairs only will be undertaken at present to enable the company to open the road about December 1, for freight traffic. The freight trains will make slow time in order to ensure their safe movement, but they will be a great accommodation to the farmers along the Lebanon Valley. A passenger coach will be attached to these trains.”

Lebanon Springs Road

October 26, 1899

The work of putting the Chatham and Lebanon Valley railroad in running order is being pushed as rapidly as possible. Supt. Hiram McGonegal is working hard to get it in a condition that will warrant the running of trains over it within the sixty days after the beginning of rehabitation in order that the residents in the towns along the line may be able to move their produce and to receive their winter supplies. Much difficulty is being experienced in securing a sufficient number of ties, although a fair price is offered for their delivery at the different stations. People who doubted that the road would be opened are now convinced that the new company means business.

December 28, 1899


The Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad Company has posted a notice that January 1, it will begin to carry passengers. The news is welcomed by the people located on the line of this once popular railroad. A large force is daily employed in putting the new ties and rails and soon the road will be in first-class condition. With a good railroad and a state road from New Lebanon, NY to Pittsfield, residents expect a dawn of better days in the New Lebanon Valley.

February 4, 1900


Six Miles of Lebanon Springs Road For Sale

It appears from an advertisement in a Bennington paper that the portion of the former Lebanon Springs railroad in Vermont, which is about six miles long from the stateline in Renssealer County to Bennington, is to be put up for sale at auction in Bennington February 28.

When the New York end of the road was sold in Troy last August, it was supposed that that was the end of the long litigations with which the road has been involved and which had lasted nearly thirty years. The purchasers at the sale in Troy orgainzed the Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad with a strong directorate, including Russell Sage, the presidents of the Broadway National Bank and the Chatham National Bank of New York, the secretary of the plant system of railroads, former Governor Black and Hon. Louis F. Payn. The new company has made extensive improvements on the old road, having in fact, made it practically new from Chatham to Petersburgh Junction. The company commenced operating the road January 1 and the people of that section of the country for the first time enjoyed the luxury of modern cars, beautifully decorated and railway stations which are an ornament to the towns in which they are placed. It was then supposed by the people along the line that they would have facilities for through freight and passenger traffic from Chatham to Bennington.

William C. Roberts, president of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley railroad was in Troy yesterday and when asked concerning the sale at Bennington said: “The Chatham and Lebanon Valley railroad is not concerned in that sale at all, We run only in Petersburgh Junction, although we own the road to the state line in the town of Hoosick. That sale relates to the Vermont end of the old Lebanon Springs railroad. Our company acquired and is now operating the New York end, which is practically the whole of the road. The sale in question is under a decree recently made by the Supreme Court of Vermont in an action which has been pending more than ten years.”

April 26, 1900


Vermont Section of Old Lebanon Springs Sold to Lebanon Valley

That part of the old Lebanon Springs railroad in Vermont, six miles long, was sold at auction in Bennington, VT, yesterday morning to the Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad Company for $21,000. Another bidder was the Rutland Railroad Company, which desired to control a terminus of the road.

It is stated that the road will be immediately ut in order for the running of trains to Bennington. That portion of the road has not been operated in nearly four years.

May 15, 1900

The force of men at work in re-opening the 12-mile strip of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad between Bennington and Pertsburgh Junction is being increased almost daily, and it is now thought the road will be ready for the running of construction trains within three weeks. Men began this week to repair the trestle near the Dewey Crossing in Bennington.

May 21, 1900


Burglars made a clean haul of everything portable at the depot of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley Railroad at Berlin, NY, last week Thursday night. It was supposed they gained entrance by means of skeleton keys, for the doors were found locked yesterday morning. D.H. Johnson, general passenger agent, is at Berlin investigating, but there is no clue to the robbers.

The iron safe belonging to the express company was carried down the track a distance of twenty rods and blown open. A revolver, the only thing of value it contained, was taken. This is the third time the depot has been broken into in the past few years.

November 19, 1900


Robert E. Westcott of the Produce dispatch is about to establish five creameries on the line of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley railroad. They will be located at North Petersburgh, Berlin, Stephentown, New Lebanon and Brainard. Good buildings will be erected and will afford farmers excellent facilities for disposing of milk.

June 8, 1901


Meaning of the Purchase of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley Road

The announcement that the Chatham & Lebanon Valley railroad, formerly the Lebanon Springs line, has been purchased by Dr. W. Seward Webb, managing director of the Rutland system, as published in yesterday’s Transcript, caused a good deal of excitement along the line of the road.

December 21, 1949

Bert Simmons, agent at the Stephentown railroad station, is ill with pneumonia at this home in Petersburgh, NY.

April 9, 1952

Following the winter season at the Stephentown Railroad Station, Fuller Hewitt has returned to the Berlin Station as station agent. Bert Simmons of Petersburgh is now at the Stephentown station.

November 22, 1901


Lebanon And Chatham Valley Railroad Being Improved by Rutland Road

The Rutland Railroad, which recently acquired the Chatham and Lebanon Valley railroad, is making many improvements, straightening the line and doing other things that make it evident that it meant business when it said that the road would be made part of a through line from New York to Montreal.

John Esposito working on the Rutland Railroad in Stephentown

A party of surveyors and engineers are now at work making a survey of the proposed short route from North Bennington to a point on the line of the Chatham and Lebanon Valley division in the town of Hoosick. The distance is about three miles and the “cut off” route will be used by the Rutland road in handling the through trains. As soon as it is completed it is understood that the line from Bennington that now runs around the base of Mt. Anthony will be entirely done away with. There will be quite a deep fill on the spur, and one bridge over the Walloomsac. The bridge engineer has been on the ground this week making plans and measurements. The grade will be comparatively slight and a well known railroad man says that the cut off ought to be completed within four months after the work is fairly commenced. A distance of some nine miles travel, besides the steep grades and sharp curves, will be saved.


by Tina Ordone

When I was a young girl, I lived in Lebanon Springs, on Old Post Road. Next to where we lived, there was a “road” of cinders. I used to walk on that old road, and never knew that there had been a railroad that had once passed through there. I lived in the house that was owned by Arthur Clark. He lived upstairs and rented out the bottom of the house, the same one that his parents moved into in 1890. Next door to the house was what we called “the old bake shop”, though we didn’t know why it was called that, because at the time we lived there, it was an old greasy garage. In its day, though, it was a bakery, making bread to be transported on the railroad to Bennington, VT, and points in between. See “The First Bread Wrapper” for the whole wonderful story.

The Rutland Railroad’s Corkscrew Division

The following article appeared in the “Eastwick Press, in the September 13, 2001 issue:

“The Lebanon Springs Railroad Company, chartered in 1852, consolidated with the Bennington & Rutland Railroad Company in 1870 to form the Harlem Extension Railroad Company, with Bennington to Chatham service. A succession of mergers and acquisitions involving the New York, Boston and Montreal Railroad Company, the New York, Rutland & Montreal RR, the Lebanon Springs RR and the Chatham & Lebanon Valley RR, ended in 1901 with the “Chatham Division” now part of the Rutland Railroad. The New York Central company assumed control of the Rutland in 1904.

Derailment of the Rutland railroad train known as the “Corkscrew Run.”

A Corkscrew derailment, n.dat. (Pictures found in Stephentown Historical Album No. 2)

Men who worked on the railroad brought their lunches in pails (shown on left of picture)

Many people came to see the derailment.

The first milk train ran from Ogdensburg to Chatham in 1909. By 1938 better roads and motorized transportation had reduced the need for trains and the Rutland went into receivership for the first time. The company recovered and attempted with equipment upgrades to win back freight business. Passenger traffic on the Chatham or “Corkscrew Division” ceased in 1926. The company then provided bus service up until 1931. Passenger excursion trains ran once a year for four years starting in the fall of 1948. In 1952 the Interstate Commerce Division granted the Rutland permission to abandon the Chatham branch and 50 years ago, on August 7, 1953, the last rail on the line was taken up. Then years later, the Rutland Railroad ceased operation altogether. The State of Vermont later purchased some sections of the railroad.

Many stations were on the Corkscrew Division. They included: North Bennington, Bennington, Mt. Anthony, Bee Hive Crossing, Petersburg, Petersburg, Berlin, Center Berlin, Cherry Plain, North Stephentown, Stephentown, Wyomanoc, Lebanon Springs, New Lebanon, Center Lebanon, Adams Crossing, Brainard, Riders, Old Chatham, and Chatham.

The Stephentown railroad station building is one of the few that remain, but it is in a sad state of decay. Picture on the left is the Stephentown Rutland Railroad Station in 1908. The one on the right is how it looked in 1978. It is much worse now (2004). The building would make a wonderful Railroad museum, but it seems that no one wants to do anything with the building, and that is a shame.

The Stephentown railroad station building is one of the few that remain, but it is in a sad state of decay. Inquiries have been made in the past as to the purchase of the building and it seems that when this was done (1983), the parties were worlds away in terms of price.

Rutland Railroad – Interactive Map

Rod Doty is creating an interesting page, which is a history of the Rutland Railroad as well as an interactive map of it’s route. This page is definitely worth a look. Lots of hard work has been done on this. Hats off to Rod!