Old Map of Yorktown, 1867 Makes Interesting Study

The Yorktown Herald, Pauline G. Stanley, editor and publisher, Vol. XX No. 36, January 27, 1944 [with permission from The Patent Trader]

“Study of an old map of the Town of Yorktown, published in 1867, provides an interesting hour or two for one who knows anything at all about the history of the town.

“At first glance, the map seems unfamiliar, and there are many pauses to ‘catch yourself.’ There are 13 school districts shown in different colors, and several familiar points of orientation are missing—the Parkway, the railroad, Highway 118 and a large part of Croton Lake.

“No village of Yorktown Heights appears, as there was no settlement until the railroad was put through in 1884. The village is built on three estates—that of Edward B. Underhill, now owned by Judge Beaver, col. N. E. Paine, now the Haylan estate and Silas C. Whitney, now the John Weyant place.

“Post offices were located at Shrub Oak, Pines Bridge, Yorktown (Crompond Corners) and Halleck’s Mills. Joseph Halleck was postmaster, and owned the mill on the south side of the Mill Pond, since burned down. The house of J. B. Van Houten nearby was the first meeting place of the Methodist Society of Yorktown. The house on the corner of Amawalk Road and Crompond Road behind the Wagon Wheel, was the residence of General Bernardus Montross, a Revolutionary General.  

“George Mekeel owned the house on top of the hill now owned by J. H. Dewsnap. The Friends’ Church was located across the road on the site of the present Friends’ Church. The Friends school was located on the site of St. Patrick’s church. Going on down Hanover Road, one finds the Andre house marked with a note, “In this house Maj. Andre ate breakfast just before his capture.” Now the property of Julius J. Goldstein, it was then owned by R. M. Underhill.

“Several families by the name of Griffen, who were Quakers, lived along the road through what is now Croton Heights. J. and D. Birdsall are listed in the accompanying business directory as dealers in champagne and cider. In what is now the H. W. Wilson house, officers and men of an American outpost were massacred by the British, and Col. Greene, of General Washington’s staff, died.

“C. Flewwellen, as the name is spelled on the map, was postmaster at Pines Bridge. There were also an M. E. church and parsonage, school, cemetery and blacksmith shop in this settlement.

“G. H. Hilliker, grandfather of Roy Hilliker of Ossining, proprietor of Hilliker’s in Ossining and the Jones Store in Peekskill, owned French Hill Farm, later the Baldwin property, and now owned by Otis L. Wiese. G. H. Hilliker, the son, worked in Ossining for $3.00 a week and every Saturday night after the store closed at 11 p.m. walked back to Yorktown to spend the weekend with his folks.

“A cider mill and grist mill were located on streams along the Baptist Church road. The estate of J. W. Fowler operated a cider mill near Mohansic Lake now the property of J. L. Murphy. J. Moseman, great grandfather of our present tax receiver, owned the Patron house on Underhill road.

“Croton Lake in 1867 extended only to the site of the present Gatehouse, near which was located the hotel of J. F. Palmer, famous for years as the gathering place for political conventions. Chauncey Depew came down often to address the groups at dinner meetings, so we take it the food was good. General James W. Husted, a militia general, was Assemblyman from this district, which included most of Westchester County, for twenty-one years. He was Speaker for eight of those years. His son succeeded him in the Assembly and later went on to Congress. The General’s picture still hangs above the Speaker’s desk in Albany.

“South of the Lake N. Cornell had a cider house near the south town line. The area which is now in the third election district was more thickly populated than the area north of the lake. Many names, familiar in that neighborhood now, are shown on the map—Chadeaynes, Lounsburys, Flewwellins, Purdys, Formans, and Outhouses held property there.

“In the Hunterville area—north of the Croton river along the west town line—were located a saw mill, grist mill, plaster mill, shingle shops, two blacksmith shops and a shoe shop, the latter owned by A. H. Wright. The Baptist Church and parsonage seem to have been the center of this rather extensive settlement. Most of these sites have disappeared beneath the Lake.

“Then, as now, Strangs, Lees and Whites owned property all around Crompond Corners and up Crompond Street. Enos Lee’s grandfather, Enos, occupied the Lee farm on Crompond Street. On this property is located a cemetery of Revolutionary times.

“Stoney Street had been rechristened Wall Street, and Lexington Avenue was then Hog Lane. Shrub Oak was well settled, and many houses on the map are still standing. A small supplement shows Shrub Oak and Jefferson Valley settlements in detail.

“The John C. Hart residence, now the Library, is shown with sweeping dotted lines, indicating the driveways. The William Roake house, now occupied by C. A. Olson, is shown. Mr. Roake was a dealer in dry goods and groceries. The J. W. Horton residence at the junction of the present Highway 6 and Crompond Street still stands.

“The old Methodist Church, a beautiful Revolutionary building which was long since been torn down, stood south of the cemetery, across the road from the present church. New Road was laid out on the map, and there is said to have been a big fight to make it the main highway. As only one residence, that of J. B. Reed, is shown on the road, one concludes the fight had already been lost.

“R. Henderson had a blacksmith shop and carriage factory near the site of the present Geis garage. L. Purdy had the Shrub Oak post office, and was the oldest postmaster in point of service in the U. S., having been appointed by President William Henry Harrison in 1840.

“J. C. Conklin was a blacksmith and machinist, Dr. J. H. Curry was the physician and surgeon, and one of the leading politicians in his day. Charles D. Morris and brother were proprietors of the Mohegan Lake School. Dr. J. Richards is listed as owning and operating the Willow Brook Preparatory School west of Shrub Oak, property how [sic] known as Willow Brook Lodge.

“At Jefferson Valley, Lane and Biven were dealers in dry goods and groceries. Osceola Lake is shown with the alternate names of Magnegnnus Lake or Jefferson Pond. (Bolton’s history of Westchester called it Magrigories Pond.) H. Rankin was the proprietor of the hotel which was famous as a summer resort. It still stands. In winter, trotting horses were held on the ice at the pond. Drivers came from miles around, even Connecticut, to participate. Prizes were horsewhips and blankets.

“Editor’s note: The map, which has been lent by the owner, Jules Gotlieb, is at the Herald office. Come in if you would like to see it. Also please let us hear if we have many any errors or omissions in describing the map.”