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Putnam County, New York

History of Putnam County
Chapter XXVII
Town of Kent


This is a village situated near the north-east corner of the town and at the intersection of several important roads, and during the Revolution was on the direct route between Hartford and West Point and Fishkill. The stream that runs through the place affords an excellent water power, which has been used from a period before the Revolution. The following sketch of the person from whom the place derives its name, will be of interest to all who feel any pleasure in keeping in remembrance the names of the worthies of the past. The mill at this place, which was the foundation of the village, was built previous to the Revolution.


Col. HENRY LUDINGTON, who was one of the foremost citizens of this county, and a prominent officer in the Revolution, was descended from William Ludington, of Branford, Conn., who died in 1662. He had children: William, Henry (who died in 1676), Hannah, John and Thomas. William, 2d, married Martha Rose, and had children: Henry, Eleanor and William (born September 25tli, 1686) and several children by a second marriage.

Henry married Sarah Collins, in 1700. Their children were: Daniel, William, 3d (born September 6th, 1702), Sarah, Dinah, Lydia, Nathaniel, Moses, Aaron, Elisha (born January 7th, 1716), Sarah and Thomas.

William, 3d, married Mary Knowles, in 1730. Their children were: Submit, Mary, Col. Henry (born May 25th, 1738), Lydia (wife of Aaron Buckley), Samuel, Rebecca, Anna and Stephen. This family lived in Branford where their house was burned May 20th, 1754, and Rebecca and Anna perished in it.

Elisha, son of William, 3d, came to Dutchess county before the Revolution and had a large tract of land in Rumbout Precinct, the present town of Fishkill. He died about 1778, leaving children, Comfort, Asa, Elisha, Lydia, Abigail. The last, who was married to her cousin, Col. Henry Ludington, was born May 8th, 1745.

Colonel Ludington, at the age of seventeen, enlisted in the 2d Regiment of Connecticut troops commanded by Col. Nathan Whiting, and formerly by Colonel Goodrich, and was a member of Captain Foote's company. He served in the old French war, from 1756 to 1760, and was at the battle of Lake George where he saw his uncle and cousin killed only a short distance from him. He served, through the war as a private until near its close, when he was put in charge of a band of invalid soldiers, whom he conducted home from Canada in safety through the wilds of the northern portion of New England, which was then but sparsely settled. In 1760 he married his cousin, Abigail Ludington (May 1st), and removed to Fredericksburg Precinct soon after. Here he leased a tract of more than 200 acres, at the north end of Lot No. 6, and built the mills at the place which has since borne the name of Ludingtonville. The exact time when he came to this part of the county is unknown, but as his name is not mentioned in the survey of Lot 6 in 1762, it could not have been before that year. The tract of 229 acres was sold to Col. Henry Ludington by Samuel Gouverneur and wife, July 15th, 1812. Previous to that time it had been held by lease.

From the time of his coming to this county to the day of his death, he was prominently connected with public affairs of this section of country. As a member of the committee of safety, and as a military officer, his career was marked with the greatest energy and patriotism. He was member of the Legislature from Dutchess county, from 1778 to 1781, and from 1786 to 1787. Colonel Ludington's children were: Sybil, born April 5th, 1761, died 1839, married Henry Ogden1; Rebecca, born January 24th, 1763, married Henry Pratt, May 7th, 1794; Mary, born July 31st, 1765, married David Travis, September 12th, 1785; Archibald, born July 5th, 1767; Henry, 2d, born March 28th, 1769, went to Catskill (his sons, Lewis and Joseph, were the builders of three of the "monitors"); Derick, born February 17th, 1771, died unmarried, December, 1840; Tertullus, born April 19th, 1773; Abigail, born February 26th, 1776; Anna, born March 14th, 1778, married Joseph Colwell; Frederick, born June 10th, 1782, died July 23d, 1852; Sophia, born May 16th, 1784, married Mr. Ferris; Lewis, born June 25th, 1786, died September 3d, 1857.

1 A grandson of Sybil, Major Edmond A. Ogden of the United States Army; died at Fort Riley, Kansas Territory, in 1855, where the soldiers under him built a monument to his memory.

Colonel Ludington died January 24th, 1817. His wife, Abigail, died August 3d, 1825, aged 80. Frederick and Lewis Ludington commenced keeping a store at Ludingtonville, May 6th, 1806. Here they conducted the business with great success till 1838, when the latter went to Milwaukee, Wis., and engaged extensively in business and was recognized as one of the leading men of the State, though residing at Carmel in Putnam county. He died at Kenosha, Wis., September 3d, 1857, and was buried in Raymond Hill Cemetery at Carmel. Mr. Ludington married Polly, daughter of Samuel Townsend. Their children were: Laura (wife of John Hustis), Delia, William Edgar, Robert, Charles H. (of New York city), James (of Wisconsin), Lavinia E., Emily (wife of Philip Rountree), and Amelia (wife of John C. Angell).

Frederick Ludington died July 23d, 1852, at the age of 70. He married Susannah Griffiths, and their children were: Harrison, born July 30th, 1812, governor of Wisconsin in 1876; George, born June 11th, 1814; Caroline, wife of Rowland Patrick; Nelson, born January 18th, 1818; Oliver, born April 26th, 1820; Harriet, wife of Benjanin Denton; Ann M., wife of John Townsend; Emily, who died young; Abby J., wife of Lyman H. Burchard; Joseph, born February 4th, 1829; Samuel, born August 30th, 1830; Cornelia, wife of Moseman Barrett; Frederick H., born. March 10th, 1834, now living at Ludingtonville; Frances, wife of Rev. John L. Benedict; and Lewis, born May 1st. 1838.

George Ludington, the second son, married Emiline C. Travis, and his family now reside in Carmel.

From an old account book of Colonel Ludington's are taken the following memoranda:

"Monday November 1776. The Committee2 for inquiring into and detecting conspiracies formed against the State of New York, to Henry Ludington Dr. To 4 days service riding with Nathaniel Sackett in order to collect evidence, 4 days at 21 S. 4 d., £4-5-4."
"Thursday Nov. 21st, 1776. Then began the service of buying hay and grain for the use of the Continental army by an agreement of Wm. Duer. "
"Jan. 1st, 1777. Then stopped in the service of buying hay being in all 41 days at 20s. per day."
"Nov., 1777. Then engaged in the Commissary Department under the deputy Commissary General, and continued on service until the 8th of January, 48 days in all, at 32s. per day. £58, 16, 0."

Hon. William Ellery, who was a member of the First Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Independence, left behind him a very interesting and amusing account of a horseback journey from his home at Dighton, Mass., to York, Penn., where he was going to attend to his Congressional duties.

2 Wm. Duer, John Jay, Nathaniel Sackett and Mr. Platt, were the Committee of Safety at that time.

He started October 20th, 1777, and reached his journey's end (450 miles) on the 13th of November. On his route he stopped at Colonel Ludington's. We quote his words:

" Road to Danbury, Nov. 5th, We intended when we reached Litchfield to have gone to Peekskill, and there crossed the North river, but when we got to Danbury were dissuaded from it by the Person at whose house we breakfasted, who told us that there were Tories and horse stealers on that Road. This account occasioned us to take the Fishkill road. Accordingly we sat off, bated at the foot of Quaker Hill about 7 miles from Danbury, and reached Col. Ludington's 8 miles from the foregoing stage at night. Here mens meminisse horret! We were told by our landlady the Col. was gone to New Windsor, that there was a guard on the road between Fishkill and Peekskill, that one of the guard had been killed, about 6 miles off, and that a man not long before had been shot at on the road to Fishkill not more than 3 miles from their house and that a guard had been placed there for some time past, and had been dismissed only three days. We were now in a doleful pickle, not a male in the house but Don Quixote3 and his man Sancho and poor Pill Garlick, and no lodging for the first and last, but in a lower room without any shutters to the windows or locks to the doors. What was to be done? What could be done? In the first place we fortified our Stomachs with Beefsteak and Grogg and then went to work to fortify ourselves against an attack. The Knight of the woeful countenance asked whether there were any guns in the house. Two were produced, one of them in good order. Nails were fixed over the windows, the Guns placed in a corner of the room, a pistol under each of our pillows, and the Hanger against the bed post, thus accoutered and prepared at all points our heroes went to bed. Whether the valiant Knight slept a wink or not, Pill Garlick cannot say for he was so overcome with fatigue, and his animal spirits were so solaced with the beef and the grogg that every trace of fear was utterly erased from his imagination and he slept soundly from evening till morning, save that at midnight, as he fancieth, lie was waked by his companion, with this interesting Question, delivered with a tremulous voice, 'What noise is that?' He listened and soon discovered that the noise was occasioned by some rats gnawing the head of a bread cask. After satisfying the Knight about the noise, he took his second and finishing nap."

3 By Don Quixote and Sancho, Mr. Ellery alludes to his companion in travel, Hon. Francis Dana, and his servant, and employs the title of Pill Garlick for himself.

The next day it snowed. The fire wood at this place gave out and Mr. Ellery and his companions were forced to ride five miles in the storm to the next stopping place. The description which he gives of the house and its occupants is exceedingly interesting, and gives a fair idea of the manner in which families at that time lived in all parts of this section of the country.

"We were ushered into a room where there was a good fire, drank a dish of tea, and were entertained during great part of the Evening with the Music of the Spinning wheels, and wool cards and the sound of the Shoemaker's hammer. For Adriance had his Shoemaker's bench, his wife her great wheel and their girl her wool card in the room where we sat. This might be disagreeable to your delicate macaroni gentry; but by elevating our voices a little, we could and did, keep up a conversation amidst the music; and the reflection on the advantages resulting from Manufactures joined in the good nature of the landlord and his wife made the evening pass off very agreeably."

This was a picture of domestic life in which each member of the family performed their full part, and constant labor from morn till late at night, was the daily order of things in all well regulated and thrifty families at that time.

May 4th, 1777, Col. Henry Ludington, John Jay and Col. Thomas were appointed commissioners to quell and subdue insurrections and disaffections in the counties of Dutchess and Westchester, and directed to cooperate with Robert R. Livingston, Zephaniah Platt and Matthew Cantine (the committee for a like purpose in the Manor of Livingston) and to call aid from the militia of George Clinton and McDougall whenever needful. The commissioners were also commanded to use every means in their power (torture excepted) to compel the discovery of spies or other emissaries of the enemy.

Col. Ludington received from Gov. William Tryon, a commission as captain in Col. Beverly Robinson's Regiment, February 13th, 1773. As soon as the Revolution broke out he joined the patriot side, and soon after received a commission as colonel of this regiment from the ""Provincial Congress for the Colony of New York." This commission, dated June, 1776, and signed by Nathaniel Woodhull, president of the Congress (who was killed at the battle of Long Island) is now in the possession of Mr. Charles H. Ludington of New York. It is now in a dilapidated condition, but a fac simile of the remaining portion is given in this work. His command included all the militia of Philipse Precinct and part of Fredericksburg. In May, 1778, another commission as colonel was given him by George Clinton, the first governor of the State. A fac simile of this is given and also of his commission from Gov. Tryon.

His activity and energy were so conspicuous and successful in thwarting the plans of the tory emissaries of Gen. Howe, that a large reward was offered by that officer for his capture, dead or alive. At one time he came near being captured by one Prosser and a band of tories under his command, who surrounded his house at night. They were discovered by two of his daughters who were acting as sentinels. The family were (sic) aroused, candles were immediately lighted in all the rooms, and the inmates commenced passing and repassing the windows, giving the impression of a large number of persons in the house. The ruse was successful and Prosser and his gang retreated. After the war Prosser, who for some reason escaped banishment, came back and lived not far from Col. Ludington. The latter, for some misdeeds of his former enemy, gave him a severe beating with a cowhide, having met him one day on horseback. Col. Ludington's life was often in danger, and once on his return from Patterson, he was shot at by a band of men in ambush. One Joshua Nickerson, a noted tory, collected a 1arge band over the swamp in Patterson, and was about to march with them to New York. The fact became known to a tenant of Col. Ludington, who, joining the company, learned that the captain kept his muster roll concealed in a hollow cane. The result was the capture of the entire gang, and they were quickly marched off to jail in Poughkeepsie.

Capt. John Holmes was another royalist who was on terms of enmity with Col. Ludington, and often boasted that the colonel would yet go with him (as a prisoner) "on a visit to Gen. Howe." Col. Ludington, however, surrounded his company one night, and captured them after a desperate struggle.

Col. Ludington was one of the few who knew the secret of Enoch Crosby, the original of "Harvey Birch," the hero of Cooper's novel, the "Spy," and Crosby often found needed rest and refreshment at his house. When the British under General Tryon in April, 1777, surprised and burned Danbury and the military stores there collected, Col. Ludington was summoned by messenger to aid in its defense. His regiment arrived too late to be of assistance in saving the town, but joined the forces of Gen. Wooster, Silliman and Arnold who attacked the enemy at Ridgefield, where Gen. Wooster was mortally wounded, and continued to harrass (sic) them until they re-embarked for New York in their boats on the Sound.

His regiment was brought into active service at various other times during the war, occupying as it did a responsible position on the northern portion of the border land where the cowboys and skinners were a perpetual terror, and where Gen. Howe was constantly seeking supplies for his army in New York. At the battle of White Plains, Col. Ludington was detailed as aid-de-camp, by Gen. Washington, who afterward complimented him on his active assistance. Washington was at Col. Ludington's house, on several occasions, and once in company with Count Rochambeau.

"Fredericksburg in Dutchess County, March 15th, 1776."

"Pursuant to a resolve of the Provincial Congress of New York, passed the 9th of August, 1775, the Committee proceeded to call together the several companies of militia in this Precinct, for choice of officers as follows: "

"Beat No. 1, Friday March 8th, the company did meet and under the inspection of Joshua Myrick, Daniel Mertine and David Myrick, three of the Committee did choose Ebenezer Robinson, Capt.; Nathaniel Scribner, 1st Lieut.; Hezekiah Mead Jr., 2d Lieut.; Obadiah Chase, Ensign. "

"Beat No. 2, Monday, March 11th, the Company met and under the inspection of David Waterbury and Moses Richards, two of the Committee did elect David Waterbury, Capt.; Isaac Townsend, 1st Lieut.; Jonathan Webb, 2d Lieut.; Timothy Delavan, Ensign. "

"Beat No. 3, Sept. 20th, 1776, the Company met and under the inspection of — Paddock, Simeon Tryon, David Crosby, three of the Committee made choice of Jonathan Paddock, Capt.; Jeremiah Burges, 2d Lieut.; Joseph Dykeman, Ensign. N. B. Simeon Tryon is appointed a Lieutenant in the Continental army. "

"Beat No. 4, Tuesday, March 12th, the Company met and under the inspection of Solomon Hopkins, David Myrick and David Smith did elect John Crane, Capt.; Elijah Townsend, 1st., Lieut.; David Smith, 2d Lieut.; and John Berry, Ensign. Beat No. 5, Wednesday, March 13th, the company met under the inspection of Solomon Hopkins and Joshua Myrick, two of the Committee did elect Wm. Colwell, Capt.; Joel Mead, 1st Lieut.; Stephen Ludington, 2d Lieut.; and David Porter, Ensign. "

"Beat No. 6, Thursday, March 14th, the Company met under the inspection of Isaac Chapman and Joshua Crosby, of the committee did choose David Hecock, Capt.; William Calkin, 1st Lieut.; and Moses Sage, Ensign. "

"The above gentlemen are all persons of respectable characters, have been friendly to liberty, and have signed the general association recommended by the Congress. "

"By order of the Committee,
"DAVID SMiTH; Chairman Pro tem. "

"A true copy, "
"N.B.-Increase Bennet afterwards refused to serve as lieutenant "

On the 6th of May, 1776, a letter was sent to the Provincial Congress, by the committee of Dutchess county, stating that the southern regiment of militia was so large and covered such an extent of country, that it was deemed advisable to divide it into two regiments. Of these, one was to contain all the militia in the Southeast Precinct, and the militia in the northern and middle short lots in Fredericksburg Precinct. Of this regiment, John Field was colonel; Andrew Morehouse, lieutenant; Col. Jonathan Paddock, 1st major; Isaac Tallman, 2d major; Isaac Crane, adjutant; and Reuben Crosby, quartermaster. This regiment included also the militia in Pawling.

The other regiment included all the militia in Fredericksburg (except as above) and Philipse Precincts. The officers were: Moses Dusenbury, colonel; Henry Ludington, lieutenant colonel; Joshua Nelson, 2d major; Joshua Reuben Ferris, 1st major; Myrick, adjutant; Solomon Hopkins, quartermaster.

" Sir: We esteem it our duty to suggest to your Honorable House, that we think the raising a company of rangers or county guards in the southern part of Dutchess County is very necessary. Our external enemies seem to strain every nerve to carry their insidious plans into execution. We have too much reason to believe we have daily spies from the British army in our neighborhood. We are now, Sir, in pursuit of two persons whom we have lately discovered, of whose villainous purpose we have sufficient evidence; our treacherous neighbors are in a continual agitation, we wish they and their connections may be now laboring under the last expiring struggles of that inhuman spirit which has so long possessed them. However that may be, we beg leave to say that a strict attention to their motions is our duty, and that the concurrence of the Convention with what is above recommended, we think may serve to detect them in a great degree. If the Honorable House should honor us with their concurrence, we beg leave to recommend Nathaniel Scribner, of Fredericksburg Precinct as Captain, and Joseph Field in Southeast Precinct as lieutenant, of the Company, and that they are authorized to enlist their Company as soon as possible. For further intelligence in this matter, we would refer the House to our worthy friend Doct. Crane.
"We are, Sir,
"Yours and the Conventions very humble Servts.,

""Poughkeepsie, Oct. 11th, 1779.

"Brigade Orders:
"Agreeably to General orders of the 10th inst., issued by his Excellency the Govnr, 1078 men including non commissioned officers Drums and Fifes are to be detached out of Col. Commanding Swartwout's Brigade of Militia to continue in service for the term of three months unless the particular service for which they are drawn shall be sooner completed. The detachments from the several Regiments in this Brigade to be as follows: "
From Col. Grahams Regt   196 Men
Col. Frears   156
Col. Hopkins   192
Col. Fields   117
Col. Ludingtons   144
Col. Van Derburgs   118
Col. Brinkerhoffs   155

" The above detachments to be formed into two Regiments under command of Cols. Graham and Hopkins, Col. Graham's Field officers to be Lieut. Col. Birdsall and Maj. Hill, Col. Ludington and his officers being absent, he will with advice of his field officers, nominate and furnish one captain and three subalterns to join Col. Hopkins' Regt. The above detachments to be completed, and at the place of Rendezvous without delay, completely equipped agreeable to Genl. orders to which the most strictest attention is to be paid.
"By order of Col. Comndg.,

Source: pages 690 through 700.

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