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The History of Horace Greeley, Chappaqua and its Waters When in the history of Chappaqua was the water quality of Greeley Brook and the Saw Mill River.

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Presentation on theme: "The History of Horace Greeley, Chappaqua and its Waters When in the history of Chappaqua was the water quality of Greeley Brook and the Saw Mill River."— Presentation transcript:

1 The History of Horace Greeley, Chappaqua and its Waters When in the history of Chappaqua was the water quality of Greeley Brook and the Saw Mill River better or worse than today? Presented by the New Castle Historical Society

2 Who were the original inhabitants of Chappaqua? When Henry Hudson arrived in 1609, Mahicans dominated the east bank of the Hudson River, which they called Mahicanituck. The Chappaqua area was occupied by Mahicans from the Wappinger tribes, most likely the Tankitekes, Sint-Sinks, and Siwanoys. They were part of the larger Algonquin language group. Hierarchy: Mahicans; Algonquin language group; Wappinger Confederacy; nine tribes. Local tribes led by Sachem (local chief) Wampus Villages or sites included Chappaqua Hill (between Quaker Road and railroad, next to Saw Mill River), the foot of Roaring Brook, Byram Lake, Wampus Lake A reminder of the Native Americans that lived here are place names we continue to use: Wampus Pond, Armonk, Shappequa (Algonquin spelling on a 1609 map of the area under “Mohegan Indians.”

3 What does the name “Chappaqua” mean? “Shappequa” is variously translated as “running water” or “laurel swamp”. “Chappaqua” has possible translations of “boundary” or “place of separation” or “unoccupied land,” from the native words chadchapunum and chipohke.

4 Who was the first owner of property in New Castle? Native Americans did not share the European concept of property ownership. In October, 1696, in council with Chief Wampus, an Englishman named Caleb Heathcote paid 100 pounds to become the owner of the land which is present-day New Castle. This land was available because it was located between established Dutch and English Manors and Patents along the Hudson River and those in Connecticut along the Long Island Sound. This explains the shape of New Castle looking like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Caleb Heathcote’s land in 1696 was described as “feeding woods, underwoods, meadows, marshes, lakes, ponds, rivers, rivulets…”

5 Who were the Quakers? 1652 In England, George Fox gathered together those who were finding the Light within, people of faith desiring simplicity in their religion. They believed God, the Inward Light, was in every man. 1657 Eleven Quaker missionaries arrived in New Netherland (NYC area). They found religious tolerance on Long Island and new English supporters. Quakers had plain speech, clothing, furniture, behavior. Quakers used intimate forms of pronouns, like “thee” and “thou.” Quakers were against fighting with weapons and war. Quakers were self-sufficient farmers and part-time millers and craftsmen.

6 Why did Quakers settle in Chappaqua? It was the abundance of water that attracted them. The streams became the source of power which ran their mills. 1740 John Reynolds moved from Long Island to Shapiqua (Quaker spelling) buying several hundred acres near the mill pond close to Kipp Street. His farm house on Quaker Road continues to be a private residence.

7 1753 Built Chappaqua Friends Meeting House on two acres given by John Reynolds. The meeting house was the hub of the growing Quaker settlement, the center of town. 1782 First school in Chappaqua established at the Chappaqua Friends Meeting House.

8 The oldest gravestone in the graveyard is dated 1774 and is engraved with the initials of Phebe Vail Quinby. It is a simple field stone, yet she was from a wealthy Quaker family. The Quaker Meeting House was used as a field hospital for George Washington’s troops after the Battle of White Plains in the Fall of 1776.

9 What is a gristmill? A gristmill is a building where grains, especially the customer’s own grain, are ground into flour. Grist is grain carried to a mill that is to be ground or has been ground. Gristmills contained rotating mill stones. Water wheels, propelled by falling or running water, powered the mills.

10 There was a large mill pond just south of Kipp Street off Quaker Road, made by damming the current stream. This pond, no longer in existence, was later known as Chappaqua Lake. A smaller Duck Pond was added. Before the advent of steam power, these mill ponds supported three mills: a sawmill, a gristmill, and a fulling mill for treating wool fabric.

11 What industries could be found in 19 th Century Chappaqua? Pickle Factory Farmers sold their cucumbers to the factory near the railroad (near present-day Rite Aid) for 25 cents per thousand. Disposal of the brine was a public health issue. Shoes, Golf Balls, and Hardware Spencer Optical Manufacturing Co. on the Kisco River in Mt. Kisco made spectacles and lenses. It was the largest eyeglass maker in the world. The factory used water power to drive its machines. The water came from Leonard Pond (now Leonard Park). The pond was drained because it was thought to be causing malaria.

12 How did the railroad bring change to Chappaqua? 1846 The railroad brought a new town center of businesses and houses when the first train station was built near King Street (behind Penny Auntie). The location of the railroad was partly decided by the topography along the Bronx and Saw Mill Rivers. The trains were wood burning steam locomotives. Freight service caused farmers to shift from subsistence farming to selling dairy products, apple products, and farm produce to a market outside of Chappaqua. Commuter service, as early as 1856, allowed the area to be suburbanized. Horace Greeley was the town’s first commuter.

13 Who was Horace Greeley? Founder and editor of the New York Tribune Ran for President of the U.S. against Ulysses S. Grant in 1872 Gentleman farmer

14 Why was Horace Greeley an important figure in American history? The New York Tribune was the most widely read newspaper and it influenced people throughout the nation. He influenced political leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln. He posted bail for Jefferson Davis after the end of the Civil War.

15 Why did Horace Greeley come to Chappaqua? To provide a healthful country life for his children. Mrs. Greeley’s specification for property to have “three requisites, - 1. A peerless spring of pure, soft, living water; 2. A cascade or brawling brook; 3. Woods largely composed of evergreens.” Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 297 The railroad made Chappaqua within week-end commuting distance of his NYC office. He wanted a farm on which to experiment with his ideas on farming, enabling him to write about his results in the New York Tribune.

16 Where was Horace Greeley’s property in Chappaqua?

17 Was Horace Greeley a typical gentleman farmer? A Gentleman farmer is defined as a farmer having an independent source of income, who farms for pleasure rather than money. Horace Greeley farmed for pleasure on weekends. “I should have been a farmer…I would have been a farmer, had any science of farming been known to those among whom my earlier boyhood was passed.” Recollections of a Busy Life, p.295 Horace Greeley experimented with new ideas about farming. He wrote about his experiences in the New York Tribune. Farmers across the nation read his first hand accounts. He influenced the farming practices of farmers in all sections of our expanding country.

18 What kinds of problems existed for Greeley as a farmer? The inferior land presented a challenge on which to experiment with irrigation, fertilization, drainage, tree conservation, pest control, and other new ideas. “My swamp … has been my chief difficulty. …have seamed the entire flat with underdrains … burying tiles … have cut down the little runnel [small brook] [from] its centre, … collecting the waters of a dozen springs.” But the slope of the land was too gentle to effectively drain the water into the brook. “… I am still flooded at intervals with back-water, which chokes my drains and threatens to inundate my fattest acres.” Horace Greeley brought in an engineer experienced with working on Central Park (New York City) and Prospect Park (Brooklyn) to help. Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 307

19 Did the flooding continue into present times? The South Greeley Avenue section of Chappaqua, including the Bell School fields flooded at intervals. The Town of New Castle brought in the Army Corp of Engineers to help with the drainage of this area. This photo shows flooding on South Greeley Avenue in 1975.

20 Why was Greeley Brook so important to Horace Greeley? “In the … glen through which my brook emerges from the wood wherein it has brawled down the hill, to dance across a gentle slope to the swamp below, is the spring, - pure as crystal, never-failing, cold as you could wish it for drink in the hottest day, … It determined the location of my house, …” Recollections of a Busy Life, p. 305 Near the brook on the gentle slope were his vegetable and flower gardens and greenhouse, sheltered by the evergreen trees (transplanted from his woods) we see today.

21 Was water quality an issue? 1885 The Town Board established a Board of Health. An ordinance forbade “any vegetable, animal or other offensive matter … allowed to flow into or be thrown or deposited into any Branch of the brooks…” The first Health Officer was to “ascertain whether refuse from Pickle Vats emptied into streams passing through the Village of Chappaqua is a nuisance or detrimental to health.”

22 An Invitation To Visit Horace Greeley’s House 100 King Street Hours: Tues., Wed., Thurs., Sat. 1-4pm


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