GHENT, named from Ghent, in Holland, was formed from Chatham, Claverack and Kinderhook, April 3, 1818. A part of Stockport was taken off in 1833. It is an interior town, north and west of the center of the County. In the east the surface is hilly, in the west undulating. The town is watered by several small streams, tributary to Claverack and Kinderhook Creeks. It contains some excellent land, the soil being mostly a gravelly loam, but in some parts it is clayey. It is well supplied with mill sites and mills.
The population of the town in 1870 was 2,886; of which number 2,470 were natives, and 416, foreigners; 2,731, white, and 155, colored. During the year ending Sept. 30, 1870, the town was divided into 11 school districts, in which 12 teachers were employed. The number of children of school age was 1,068; the average attendance 291.068; and the amount paid for school purposes, $5,314.62.
Ghent, (p. v.) situated at the junction of the Hudson & Chatham Branch of the Boston & Albany R. R., and the Harlem R. R., contains about forty houses, four stores, one hotel, one church, (Reformed,) two wagon shops and two blacksmith shops. This is the central point from which a large freight business for the surrounding country is conducted; and since the railroads were introduced it has drawn most of the business from what was formerly the principle village of the town, situated about one mile south-west from the station, and which contins one hotel and one church. The Indian name of this locality was "Scom-pa-muck." It is three miles south of Chatham Village.
West Ghent, (p. v.) from the creek, near which it stands, to a mile north of it, contains two grist mills, one saw mill, one church, (Reformed,) two schools, a blacksmith shop and about twenty houses.
Pulvers Station, in the south part of the town, is on the Hudson & Chatham branch of the Boston & Albany R. R.
About one and one-half miles south of Chatham Village, in this town, there is a grist mill, saw mill, blacksmith shop, one paper mill, and another in the process of construction, and a school. The County Poor House, for description of which see history of the County, is located about one-half mile north-east of Ghent Station. The Ghent Mutual Fire Insurance Co. was organized about 1859.
The Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Ghent was originally organized in 1775, and re-organized May 14, 1819, by the Classis of Rensselaer. The number of members at its organization was 125; at present there are 79. A house of worship was erected in 1816; and the present one, which will seat 350 persons, in 1870, at a cost of $12,000. The first pastor was Rev. Peter S. Wynkoop; the present one is Rev. John B. Drury. The organization of 1775 was in connection with the Reformed Church of Claverack, and a house of worship was erected about 1780. The Second Reformed Church of Ghent, the Reformed Church of Mellenville and Reformed Church of Chatham Village were organized wholly or in part from members of this Church.
Second Reformed Church of Ghent was organized in 1843, with 90 members, by Rev. Dr. Gosman, and with Rev. Theodore F. Wycoff as its first pastor. The first and present house of worship, which will seat 300 persons, and whose present estimated value is $7,000, was erected the same year. Rev. Elbert N. Sebring is the present pastor, and the present membership is 125.
Columbia County, N. Y.
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