Early Settlement of the Town of Greenville
from the History of Greene County, New York With Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men
1884 by J. B. Beers and Co.
Sent to us by Stephen Allen Dodge
The first authentic grant that can be traced, was given by George III, of England to Johannas Hallenbeck, and covered the whole site of the old Indian settlement, and embraced within its bounds 1,000 acres of land. The consideration for it was the sun of two and sixpence to be paid to the governor-general of the province of New York and it was stipulated that three per cent, should be improved each year. The deed for this property is quite a curiosity in its way and is evidently in the handwriting of the king himself. It is a very carefully worded document and ends with this paragraph. "This properly shall be held the same as his own paternal patrimony the Duchy of Kent in England." A portion of this grant was sold to the Becker family in 1720. They belonged to the early Dutch settlers of Schoharie and were noted for their industrious habits. Many of the descendants of this family are located in the county and some of them near this village. There were several others located not far away, among whom were Christopher Kniskern, Morris Hazzard, and the Truesdell family. These have completely disappeared and not a lineal descendant remains in this part of the country. The only records left behind them are a few field stones in the village cemetery, rudely lettered and most of them bearing date previous to 1795.
About this time immigration began to pour in more rapidly and the ancestors of many of the leading families of the present day came. Among these were several men who were afterward identified with the business interests of the place. Prominent among them were Stephen Platt, Judge Perkins King, Captain Tunis Dodge and his nephew, Andrew and Henry Clark.
Stephen Platt was one of the active spirits, and at his house the first town meeting of the town of Freehold was held. He lost his life in 1800 in trying to save the bridge in time of a flood. His influence was felt long years after his death, and the descendants of his family are at the present day among the most prominent business men of our country.
The King brothers came from Berkshire county, Massachusetts, and were men of education and culture. They immediately purchased land and water power in the vicinity and began developing the same. They soon had the first woolen-mill in this part of the country in operation. Both of them were active men and one took the woolen-mill in charge, and the other the farm. In 1818 Perkins King was elected justice for three years and was afterward reelected for several successive terms of three years each. He was then appointed by Governor Tompkins as county judge, which office he held for 24 years. He was a member of the State Assembly in 1826, serving two sessions. In 1830 he represented his district in Congress. At the time of his death, which occurred December 1st 1875, he was probably the oldest Ex-Congressman in the United States. He lived to the age of 96 years. Each of the brothers had several children, who lived to grow up. Some of them are quite eminent men. One adopted the legal profession, another is a prominent divine, a third is the head of the Saxony Knitting Mills at Little Falls N. Y.
Andrew Dodge was another to whom the place owes much. He worked himself up from the ranks and became one of the prominent merchants of the county. By strict attention to his business and prompt payment of his bills, he soon became known to many business men of New York, and his credit was such that he distanced all competitors. He continued his mercantile career for almost 40 years, besides carrying on a large farm, which is now in the possession of his son Rodman, who has held the office of justice for 24 years in succession. He is the legal adviser for quite a large portion of country. Three of this family are prominent business men of Chicago at the present time.