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Carmel Town

Carmel Town Hall is located at 60 McAlpin Avenue, Mahopac NY 10541; phone: 845-628-1500.

Beginnings [1]

This town was taken from Frederickstown, at that time embracing the now towns of Kent and Patterson, in 1795; and is centrally distant from New York City about 55 miles, 106 from Albany, 16 east of the Hudson, and 18 from Peekskill. Its soil is a mixture of loam and gravel, with a rolling surface, indented with slopes and vales. It is well adapted to grazing; and large quantities of beef, lambs, sheep, fowls, and other species of "marketing" are produced here for the New York market.

The New York and Harlem Railroad, which is now being extended near its eastern boundary, will greatly facilitate the transportation of its products to market, and enhance the value of the land. It is named after a mountain in Palestine, on the southern frontier of Galilee, constituting a part of Lebanon, in the pachalic of Acca.

From its supposed resemblance to Mount Carmel, "which consists of several rich, woody heights, separated by fertile and habitable valleys," it was christened, at its organization, as above.

The first settlement that we have been able to ascertain, was made in this town by George Hughson, who located himself on the ridge just north of Lake Mahopac, and west of the residence of Nathaniel Crane, Esq., about 1740. A year afterwards William Hill, father of the present William, now living in this town at a very advanced age, and his brother Uriah, came up to the Red Hills, when William, who was the younger of the two brothers, was only 12 years old. Their father was Anthony Hill, who came from Holland about the year 1725 ; and after remaining a short time in New York City, removed to the Fox Meadows, where he made a purchase and settlement.

On the voyage, the whole family, except himself and two sisters, died. Anthony, at about the age of twenty, married Mary Ward, who also came from Holland, by whom he had five sons and four daughters, Uriah, William, Anthony, Andrew, Cornelius, Charity, Jane, Mary, and Merriam.

Anthony Hill died at the Fox Meadows, and his wife at the Red Mills, aged 93. He having bought a tract of land of the Indians, near the Red Mills, he sent his two oldest sons, Uriah and William, to clear it up. Uriah, in some way or other, became obnoxious to the Indians, and was compelled to go back to Westchester.

William remained, and one night going out to look for the cow, which the brothers had brought from their father's farm at the Fox Meadows, he was attacked by some wolves. By climbing up a tree and remaining on it nearly all night, he escaped from them by a circuit to the north side of Lake Mahopac, whereas early in the morning he came to the log-house of George Hughson. This was the first he knew of a white man residing there. Hughson told him that he had settled there about a year before. At 25 William Hill married a sister of Abraham Smith, the father of the Hon. Abraham and Saxon Smith of Putnam Valley.

William, son of Anthony, and father of the William now living, had eight sons, viz.: Noah, Solomon, William, Cornelius, Abraham, Andrew, two having died in infancy without a name; and four daughters, viz.: Phoebe, Mary, Chloe, and Jane. Noah lived near the Red Mills, and died there in 1830. Solomon lived at the Nine Partners in Dutchess County.

At this time the first house erected in this town was about one mile south of the Red Mills, occupied by a man named Philips, where Ezekiel Howell resides; the next, north, was William Hill's; and the next, George Hughson's. Soon afterwards, the Cranes, the Berrys, Hedyers, Austins, Roberdeaus, and others, settled down in the vicinity of the Hills and Hughsons.

Jabez Berry settled where Elijah Crane now lives, about one mile north of Lake Mahopac. A family of the name of Shaw soon settled at Carmel village, on the north and south shores of the lake which still bears their name.

A short time after the Hills and Hughsons settled, John Carpenter came from North Castle, now called New Castle Corners, and settled where the Hon. Azor B. Cranes resides.

The Carpenter family were Quakers, of English origin, and came from England to Plymouth; but were driven, by persecution at that early day against the Quakers, to Long Island, from there to North Castle, and from thence it came to this town.

John Carpenter's old house stood at the foot of the hill, just south of the residence of the Hon. Judge Crane, on the east side of the road. The tories, royalists, and the friends of the King, called him the "damned old rebel." He was a patriot of the staunchest kind; and if adherence to the cause of his country and her rights constituted a rebel, he was one in every sense of the term and in the widest latitude of the expression.

He left his farm to John Crane, who married his daughter. John left it to his brother Joseph Crane, who devised it to its present owner, Hon. A. B. Crane, Judge of the Putnam County Court.

A family by the name of Hamblin settled in this town about the same time with the Carpenters, in the vicinity of Lake Mahopac.

  1. Blake, William J. Esq., The History of Putnam County, N.Y., 1949, Baker & Scribner, New York
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