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New Kingston Historic District

Middletown Town, Delaware County, NY

The New Kingston Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. []


The New Kingston Historic District encompasses nearly all of the small, unincorporated hamlet of New Kingston, in the town of Middletown in southeastern Delaware County, New York. Middletown is within the northern part of the Catskill Mountain region. The hamlet is named for the 5,000-acre New Kingston Tract, set off by Robert Livingston after the Revolution, which also gave its name to the surrounding valley. Most of the hamlet lies in Lot 5 of the 5th Class of the tract's plat. The New Kingston Tract was a portion of Great Lot 40 of the 1.5 million acre Hardenburgh Great Patent.

The New Kingston valley encompasses the narrow upper reaches of the Plattekill watershed, and the hamlet of New Kingston is located near the meeting of the three main upper hollows — Winter, Thompson, and Sanford, each formed by a tributary of this watercourse. The New Kingston Historic District is composed of about thirty properties, which line both sides of Delaware County Highway 6 as it runs generally north-south through this part of the valley. The road rises as it passes through the hamlet until it reaches the site of the New Kingston Presbyterian Church (National Register listed, 2002) at the northern end of the district. Steep hillsides, mostly wooded, rise to the north, east, and west of the hamlet; to the south, the valley levels out somewhat before descending again towards the village of Margaretville.

The main and west branches of the Plattekill parallel Route 6 on the east and west sides of the hamlet and serve as its traditional boundaries. Near the south end of the hamlet, the West Branch passes under a steel girder bridge supported by pilings that carry Route 6 over the stream. Both upstream and downstream of this bridge, earlier stone retaining walls, or docking, line the banks. Large slabs of native rock cap the pilings near the crossing.

Most of New Kingston's buildings date to the second half of the nineteenth century. The earliest ones are vernacular examples built using the low, broad proportions and stylistic details characteristic of the Greek Revival taste, popular here from the 1830s into the 1860s. All but one of the houses are side-gabled, one-and-a-half-story frame buildings with regular fenestration and deep cornices with partial returns. The only two-story example thought to have been built using published plans, is a sophisticated design featuring an elaborate center front entrance and recessed window above. The earlier block of the store, which is associated with this house, has the distinctive frontal gable characteristic of Greek Revival style commercial buildings. This feature was designed both to stand out from the surrounding houses and to provide easy access from the road to the upper story. A later flat-roofed wing expanded the store southward The building retains its wagon-height porch and the hoist in the peak reaching the storage areas above.

Overall, New Kingston retains a predominantly post-Civil War era appearance, with more than half of New Kingston's houses dating to the 1870s and 1880s. A few more were added in the 1890s, and at least one earlier Greek Revival style house was enlarged and embellished with new trim during that decade. All of these buildings have prominent frontal gable blocks, usually overhung by deep eaves. Most have open porches with squared and chamfered posts spanning much or all of their front facades. Several retain elaborate trim schemes made of turned and scroll-sawn components applied to porches, gable ends, and sometimes window casings. They are mostly clad in wood clapboards and feature detailing using a variety of wood shingle. The outbuildings associated with several of these houses have board-and-batten siding or later asphalt shingle siding. With few exceptions, support structures — mainly carriage sheds and outhouses — appear to be similar in date to their associated dwellings. A few properties retain gambrel-roofed garages or shops that were built a little later. The northernmost house in the hamlet, an intact Foursquare type, was built during the first quarter of the twentieth century. While the houses are all in good condition, some of the outbuildings have deteriorated.

A two-story frame shop building constructed at the turn of the twentieth century faces the store and post office across Route 6. This building is among the last to be built in the hamlet of New Kingston, and it retains the deep eaves and articulated front facade typical of this later period. It was sited to take advantage of the stream passing directly behind it, as was the dilapidated creamery (ca.1900) on the opposite bank of the watercourse. The dam further upstream provided ice for the creamery, and the wide steel bridge allowed access from the main road. In the 1930s or 40s, the creamery moved to a location in the southeast corner of the New Kingston Historic District, now the site of Route 6, where it continued operations into the post-World War II era. Although the contemporary house on the site is non-historic (constructed 1970s-80s), the property was included because of the strong possibility that it may contain archaeological remains related to its earlier use.

The Presbyterian Church, the New Kingston Historic District's largest building and only public gathering space, was built in 1900 at the top end of the hamlet to replace an earlier Greek Revival style meeting house. The church has been individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. New Kingston retains an outstanding level of integrity. Nestled into a sparsely settled mountainous landscape, the tiny hamlet presents itself as a tightly knit and well-defined "urban" space unlike anything else in the New Kingston Tract. Its distinctive natural features, buildings, and streetscapes have changed very little over its long history.


The New Kingston Historic District is significant as a representative and highly intact example of a small, rural, nineteenth-century hamlet in Delaware County and for its role in the history and development of the New Kingston Valley, a large, 5,000-acre settlement area derived from an eighteenth-century patent in southeastern Delaware County. Settled primarily by Scottish immigrants in the early nineteenth century, the settlement area is a steep, mountainous region characterized by scattered upland farms. The hamlet developed around the establishment of a church, store, and several small shops and is the only social and community center within the New Kingston Valley. New Kingston follows a linear plan, with small lots dispersed along either side of Route 6, the main north-south thoroughfare through the valley. The New Kingston Historic District includes approximately twenty residences, including vernacular interpretations of various popular period domestic styles, including Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival. The New Kingston Presbyterian Church (National Register listed individually, 2002) and a number of the houses in the hamlet were constructed by members of the Scott family, a locally prominent family of builders descended from one of the valley's early settlers. New Kingston remains virtually unchanged since the early twentieth century, preserving a remarkable record of local history. It also provides information about community planning and development in the small, rural hamlets characteristic of the northern Catskill Region and Upstate New York in general.

The New Kingston Valley and the New Kingston Tract

The New Kingston Valley, named for the 5,000-acre New Kingston Tract, encompasses parts of the Towns of Andes, Bovina, Middletown, and Roxbury in the southeastern part of Delaware County. The hamlet of New Kingston, however, lies wholly in Middletown, which was incorporated in 1789 as part of Ulster County. As the landscape was settled and developed, additional civil divisions allowed for easier administration of local and regional affairs. Delaware County was set aside eight years later, in 1797.

The New Kingston Tract was once part of the 1,500,000-acre Hardenburgh Great Patent, located in the ancestral lands of the Esopus Indians to the north and the Minisink Indians to the south and encompassing the Catskill Mountain region. Lying west of the Hudson River, this mountainous area was less accessible to seventeenth-century European settlers than land on the east bank and less economically important than either Albany or New York City. As land there was acquired from the native tribes and patented to servants of the British crown, the land on the west bank became the next object of the overwhelming land greed of the period. Land formed the basis of wealth and control in the New York colony, where a landed aristocracy patterned on the British model developed the land and derived a large part of its income from it.

The Hardenburgh Patent was the largest one ever granted by the British crown, but the letter of patent signed on the 20th of April 1708 provided no actual description of the tract granted to the patentees. Named for Johannes Hardenburgh, the patentees formed a cartel of eight entrepreneurs and gentry linked by family, religious affiliation, and business relations. They included Hardenburgh himself; William Nottingham, a justice of the peace in Marbletown and the son-in-law of Jacob Rusten, who was Hardenburgh's father-in-law; Benjamin Faneuil, a Huguenot trader and rum distiller from New York City; Leonard Lewis, Hardenburgh's brother-in-law; Peter Fauconnier, a Huguenot merchant of New York and also a cohort of the notorious Lord Cornbury, who acted as the manager of the patent; Philip Rokeby, acting as a front man for Attorney General Major Bickley; and Robert Lurting, acting for Thomas Wenham, a member of the Governing Council. Augustine Graham, surveyor general of the province, was a silent partner.[1] The patent languished unsurveyed and unsettled for nearly forty years, although shares in it were traded regularly. Over time, these shares diminished in value due to irregularities in the grants and an inevitable proliferation of heirs. The ongoing Franco-British struggle also contributed to the devaluation, as the patent lay beyond the protected frontier, and potential settlers would be unprotected. The low price of shares, however, encouraged Robert Livingston (1688-1775) of Clermont to begin buying them, and the New Kingston Valley's development history is inextricably intertwined with the interests of the Livingston family.[2] Livingston, the younger son of the first Robert Livingston and brother of Philip Livingston, purchased shares in the patent with proceeds garnered from privateering interests and planned to establish an estate for his family in the aristocratic landholding tradition.[3] Partly due to pressure from Livingston, who had acquired a little less than a third of the Great Patent by 1751, the enormous parcel was surveyed into lots to divide it among the shareholders.[4] A deed of partition drawn up on the 15th of November 1749, and the lottery was held a week earlier on the 8th.[5]

Robert Livingston's plan for subdivision and settlement of his Hardenburgh lands used at least two models. Evers states that Livingston planned to retain the land closer to Clermont and the Hudson River as tenant lands, while selling the more remote lands to generate cash. A road originating at the Hudson crossed the interior as far as Cooper Lake in the present day town of Woodstock. From land along this route, farms were carved out at tenants's expense. Each was meant to include bottom land for arable croplands, gentle hillsides for grazing, and steep hillsides for woodlots.[6] The more remote areas, including the New Kingston Valley, remained largely unsold and uncleared until the late 1780s due to several occurrences. Both Robert Livingston of Clermont and his son, Robert R. Livingston (b.1718), died in 1775. This put their leases and sales on hold. Further, hostilities between British and American forces again rendered the Catskill Mountain region beyond the defensible frontier. Finally, the Indian claim that they had never sold the land between the east and west branches of the Delaware River arose in the late 1760s. Through a series of legal challenges and Sir William Johnson's 1771 decision that the land indeed had not been transferred, father and son recognized the challenge to their claim.[7] When the British burned both Kingston and Clermont in 1777, Robert R. Livingston (1746-1813), son and heir to Clermont, seized the opportunity to initiate settlement of the land between the branches (possession being, after all, nine-tenths of the law) by making a gift of 5,000 acres in that region to the "Kingston Sufferers" who had lost their houses.[8] Being beyond the frontier and with no access through thick woods, however, this New Kingston Tract, as it came to be called, may not have been even surveyed until 1784.[9]

In the post-Revolutionary period, Robert Livingston divided his 500,000-acre holding in the Hardenbergh Patent into tracts ranging from 20,000 to 30,000-acres among himself, his siblings, and his mother.[10] These tracts were assigned Great Lot numbers. The New Kingston Tract is located in Great Lot 40, which went to Janet Livingston Montgomery.[11] It differs from the surrounding Livingston lands in two ways. First, the square tract was laid out on a ten-by-ten lot grid of square 50-acre parcels, which were divided into ten classes and numbered 1 to 10 within each class. Second, freehold for each parcel was given on a fee simple deed to one of a hundred designated "sufferers" from the burning of Kingston in 1777. This created a pocket of individual freeholders within the larger landscape of tenancy in the region. Neither the 1790 nor the 1800 federal census shows that any of the freeholders took up their lots.[12] Assuming that those who lost houses in 1777 had been established residents of handsome, almost urbane city of Kingston, probably few of them would have been interested in starting again in the trackless wilderness after the close of hostilities in 1783. Some of their descendants, however, did transplant to the New Kingston valley.

Development of the Hamlet of New Kingston

Land within the New Kingston Tract itself may have been settled a little earlier than the rest of Great Lot 40, which was let on long leases. Early settlers, including the Dumond, Van Benschoten, Swart, and Delameter families, probably ascended the Esopus Creek from the mid-Hudson region. Until the 1840s, deeds for property in the tract area appear to have gone largely unrecorded, possibly due to the distance over rough roads to Delhi, the county seat. The hamlet itself includes parts of four original farm lots. Based on later deeds, it appears that Samuel Ackerly, a local land speculator (as suggested by deeds filed for several other parcels), owned all of Lot 5 in the 5th Class of the New Kingston Tract by the 1830s. He seems to have used the road called the Main Plattekill Highway, now Route 6, as a dividing line when he sold parts of the lot later. A 1842 deed for this land to Henry P. Reynolds from his father, Cornelius, stated that the elder Reynolds bought 21.5 acres from Ackerly earlier.[13] Isaac Birdsall and William Swart acquired most of the land in Lot 5 east of the highway, roughly 12 acres, from Samuel and Jane Ackerly in 1848.[14] The Reynoldses and the Birdsalls, in turn, platted and sold most of the house lots that now form the hamlet of New Kingston between 1855 and 1889. At the north and south ends, Abraham Yaple and James Archibald sold a few additional contiguous properties.

Until the 1850s, the Main Plattekill Road passed through open farmland in the New Kingston Tact. In 1828, the Yaple family, who held Lot 6 in the 5th Class, less than a half mile north of the New Kingston Historic District, had apparently seen the commercial opportunity of a location near where the upper hollows of the valley met and operated a store out of their house, but little more is known of it.[15] Instead, Swart & Birdsall's store, which opened soon after 1848 on a site a little farther south than the Yaple store, appears to have provided the initial commercial impetus for the hamlet. The site's frontage on the main highway connecting Bovina Center with Margaretville gave it the advantage of being closer to local farms than either of those larger villages. Next to the new store, Isaac Birdsall built a handsome two-story Greek Revival style house, possibly using a published plan. With its recessed center entrance set off by fluted Doric style columns, corner pilasters, and full returns, it must have been a prominent house in a landscape largely occupied by tenant farmers living in houses of considerable less worth.[16] The Birdsall house appears to have been the inspiration for the later remodeling of a house in Thomson Hollow, north of the hamlet.[17]

In 1854, Birdsall was appointed postmaster at New Kingston. The 1856 Gould Map of Delaware County notes the post township of New Kingston in uppercase letters, but the hamlet was composed of only a handful of buildings. These include Swart & Birdsall's store and post office, a blacksmith shop, and one additional unlabeled building on the east side of the road. The houses of H.P. Rendell (a misspelling of Reynolds) and R.M. Faulkner and two additional unlabeled buildings are shown on the west side. Faulkner bought three-quarters of an acre from Samuel Ackerly in 1854 for $100 and built a house and a shop, where he made shoes, near Swart & Birdsell's store. Across the road, John Dumond had bought a similarly sized lot for a house and his blacksmith's shop from Walter E. and Jane Thomson in 1856.[18] Missing from the map is the Associate Reform Church of Middletown, built on land bought from Henry P. Reynolds in April 1856.[19] By this time, deeds referred variously to the area as the neighborhood or village of New Kingston; however, they still used the old-fashioned term for the Plattekill tributary running up Sanford Hollow — the West Sprout. The highway bridge over it was called the Sprout Bridge. Later, the stream is called simply by the more prosaic "West Branch."

Lincoln Long, a local historian of the 1920s, posited that the hamlet might have developed around a mill and the necessity to house its operatives, but the census recorded neither a group of mill workers in New Kingston nor a mill in the industrial schedules.[20] It appears that the advantageous location at the base of the three upper hollows combined with the entrepreneurship of Swart & Birdsall sufficed to plant the seed of a small hamlet. The "neighborhood now known as New Kingston," as it was described in Ackerly's 1855 deed to Faulkner grew noticeably over the next thirteen years, so that the 1869 Beers Atlas of Delaware County shows a bona fide hamlet of a dozen houses, a church, the store and a storehouse, the blacksmith's shop, and a wagon shop.[21] Three businesses were listed in the atlas's directory: Birdsall & Winter, Dealers in Dry Good, Groceries, Hardware, Butter &c.; J.L. Dickson, Manufacturer of Wagons, Sleighs, & Ornamental Painter; and A. (Alexander) White, Horse Shoeing, Wagon Ironing, & Gen'l Blacksmithing.

While no industry was recorded in the census, carpenter-builder James R. Scott — newly arrived in New Kingston in 1869 — bought a water right "to run machinery" from Egnos D. Reynolds for $40 in 1870. Located on the west side of the West Branch, it included a 39-foot x 16-foot parcel on the north side of Weaver Hollow Road and touching the west bank at the lot's northeast corner. It allowed for building leaders to run a wheel five feet in diameter. Blacksmith Alexander White was to maintain the docking, or stone walls, bounding the stream. It was also stipulated that Scott would "not take water so as to interfere with churning purposes."[22] This last suggests that a creamery just west of the stream was already in operation. Possibly Swart & Birdsall were involved in wholesaling it.

Scott's water right lay in the mechanical part of town, oriented to the West Branch near where it passed under the highway to meet the Main Branch. The 1869 Atlas labeled the road leading to Weaver Hollow "Mechanic Street" and showed J.L. Dickson's blacksmith and wagon shops there. South of Faulkner's house stood Dickson's house. The house lot was sold in 1863; the shop lot's deed is more difficult to trace. Also more difficult to trace is the lot held by A. (Alexander) White just north of Mechanic Street's intersection with the main highway (5057 Route 6); however, this lot came out of the Reynolds farm.[23]

While his water right lay at the south end of the hamlet, James R. Scott, his wife, Mary, and their eight children lived near the church at the north end; their house had been built by William and Nancy Happy on land bought from Henry P. Reynolds in 1858. The 1875 census recorded the four oldest children, all sons, working as carpenters. The boys' cousin Adam J. Scott also lived and worked in New Kingston, and their uncle, stonemason John C. Scott, lived nearby. Together, members of the Scott family played leading roles in the building boom in New Kingston, where about a dozen houses were built between 1870 and 1900. The Scotts are also documented as the builders of a number of barns in the New Kingston Valley, and it is likely that they also constructed many of the late nineteenth century houses found on New Kingston Valley farms. By the early 1870s, many of the old leases were bought out, and the dairy industry generated steady income for area farmers to improve properties they now owned.[24] Scott's water right would have provided enough space for the machines — lathe, scroll saw, planer, and shaper — to run the slightly idiosyncratic millwork that still distinguishes many of the New Kingston houses built by the Scott family. The six Scott family carpenters would have provided ample manpower to run a private mill for their own work, and the mill would have a good commercial advantage in saving travel to a proprietor farther down the valley.

While businesses undoubtedly provided the services that give rise to hamlets, the largest number of buildings are usually dwellings. In New Kingston, these were built on small lots with road frontage, mostly between the bookends of the emerging hamlet — its church at the north end and the store and shop area at the south end. Early hamlet houses include the Dumond house (5030 Route 6), just north of the West Branch on the east side of the highway, which stood on a newly subdivided lot in 1856. Across from it, but south of the West Branch, stood R.M. Faulkner's house (4995 Route 6) and shop on land bought only the year before.[25] Soon after the survey for the 1856 Gould map, Henry P. Reynolds sold William Happy a house lot (5131 Route 6) on the west side of the highway in 1858, and used the back line of the church lot to strike the rear boundary for the new parcel.[26] North of the church and across the road going up the west hollow, Abraham Yaple sold a house lot to the newly formed United Presbyterian Church, renaming and joining of two congregations, for a parsonage (18 John Tuttle Road), in 1859[27] In 1863, Swart and Birdsall sold a house lot across from the church to John Dumond.(5150 Route 6)[28] All of these were new house lots, and since they were nestled in farm country, each deed was written with the requirement that the new owner held responsibility for building and maintaining a sturdy fence. The loss of these fences, which protected houses from the depredations of roaming livestock, is probably the most notable change in New Kingston's appearance from the late nineteenth century.

From 1870 to about 1884, the number of new house lots carved from the farms of residents Egnos D. Reynolds and Isaac Birdsall grew quickly. Five houses were built on the road frontage of Reynolds's farm on the west side of the highway. Egnos D. Reynolds (b.1839) had purchased the 21.5-acre farm from his parents in April 1870.[29] He seems to have built a new house for himself (5069 Route 6) directly across from the store soon after. In 1875, he sold a 1/4-acre lot to Adam J. Scott (b.1849), James R. Scott's nephew, and Susan Hewitt Scott (m. to Adam, 1871).[30] Reynolds used the back line of the church lot, like his father before him, to set the rear boundary of Scott's new lot and required him to build and keep fences. South of the old family house, Egnos Reynolds sold a 1/4-acre lot, carrying the established rear boundary to Robert W. Winter in 1877, for $200, a price that became standard for such a parcel for the rest of the century.[31] When James R. Scott's second son, Thomas (b.1852), married Jennie Ormiston in 1880, Reynolds sold them the parcel between the church lot and Thomas's parents' lot. Thomas built a house with a variety of unusual trim details, including cornices clad in wood shingles and applied decorative motifs, on the prominent raised lot. Surely, he meant it to display his abilities. He and his wife Jennie sold the house in 1884 for 40,000 feet of pine lumber and moved to Walton, where he continued his trade, building houses and selling them until 1894.[32] Six years later, in 1883, Egnos D. Reynolds sold the last two rods (33 feet) of road frontage to Elizabeth Dumond for $100. To compensate for its narrowness, the lot ran all the way to the bank of the West Branch.[33]

Isaac Birdsall (b.1824) sold the remaining road frontage on the east side of the highway, excepting a generous eight-rod (132 feet) frontage for his handsome dwelling, in four 1/4-acre lots north of his house on the east side of the highway between 1877 and 1889; each lot was sold for $200. This very orderly subdivision may have been a storekeeper's business acumen responding to the episodic sale of the Reynolds frontage across the way. Birdsall's lots all measured 4 rods by 10 rods and shared a back line that ran up to the line of the lot he sold to John Dumond years earlier. He sold the first in the row going north to Adam J. Scott in 1877.[34] Scott built a house and sold the property to Henry P. Reynolds, then in his sixties, in 1886 for $1,400.[35] James H. Thomson bought the next lot north in 1877.[36] Egnos Reynolds's sister, Sarah Adee, bought north of Thomson a few months later.[37] William Ward bought the last lot in 1889.[38]

The houses built in this period on both sides of the road display the eclectic variety of form and detail possible due to the wide availability of decorative millwork and dimensional lumber by this period. Several houses have L-shaped plans, while a few have cross-gabled roofs above rectangular plans. The latter provide the appearance of irregularity, with both frontal gable and side-gabled components of the roof, to otherwise simply built single-block buildings. This form is seen frequently throughout eastern and southern Delaware County. A variety of verandas, most with decorative splat skirting; squared, chamfered supports; and scroll-sawn corner braces; grace the fronts and south sides of most of these houses. While fenestration is regular, in keeping with the relatively simple footprints of the buildings, these houses had embellishment with different shingled and scroll-sawn motifs. Lathe-turned spindles grace vergeboards, some porch railings, and rooflines. New Kingston is notable for the variety of such decoration displayed, from the Italianate taste through the Queen Anne and early Colonial Revival styles, and for the degree to which these elements survive.

Two additional house lots were platted in New Kingston before the end of the nineteenth century. At the north end of the hamlet, James A. Scott (b.1851), James R. Scott's eldest son, assembled an irregular lot from the Yaples and the Dumonds in 1884.[39] Here he built a large frame house combining elaborate Queen Anne spindles and vergeboards with more restrained Georgian Revival columns and window details. Like the house his brother built across the road a few years earlier, this showcased his skills. The same year, at the south end of the hamlet, James Archibald and Janet Ward Archibald subdivided a parcel (83 feet square) to her mother, Jeannette Ward, from their farm.[40] In contrast to James A. Scott's house, this dwelling exhibits the simplest form and a minimum of detail.

Around the turn of the century, as those who built the hamlet aged, many New Kingston properties changed hands. Isaac and Isabella Birdsall sold their house and remaining land to their son, Samuel (b.1869), in 1895 for $1,000.[41] They'd sold their interest in the store to partner William Swart and two others in 1880, also for a $1,000.[42] Scottish-born blacksmith Alexander White sold his property to Alexander Chisholm. The latter replaced the house built by John and Isabel Dickson with one influenced by the Stick style and graced by a pyramidal-roofed corner tower (4979 Route 6); Chisholm also replaced the old shop with a larger two-story building (5041 Route 6). In 1900, the United Presbyterian Church replaced its Greek Revival style meeting house with a new eclectic style frame church designed by Kingston architect James W. Hillyer and constructed by second generation New Kingston builder James A. Scott.[43] By the turn of the twentieth century, except for the Foursquare house at the top of the hamlet (5219 Route 6) built ca. 1915, New Kingston had achieved the appearance and density that survives virtually intact today.

New Kingston continued as a small commercial center into the first half of the twentieth century, but with the increasing use of automobiles, more people traveled to Margaretville for their purchases. The store, now run by the Faulkner Brothers, finally ceased business, but the building is still leased by the United States Post Office. Until the mid-twentieth century, a creamery based in New Kingston continued to process milk drawn from farms in the upper reaches of the Plattekill. This was transported to the railroad at Margaretville by wagon and later by truck. A 1903 deed to the Hudson Valley Dairy Company from Alexander Thomson described a half-acre parcel that paralleled the west bank of the West Branch upstream to a dam built of large blocks of native stone that impounded water for running the large churn.[44] This site appears to take in James R. Scott's 1870 water right, which he apparently shared with an early creamery. The last creamery occupied a building, now gone, at the site 4990 Route 6, on the east side of the highway. Two additional houses were built in the post-1960 era on lots divided from the Isaac Birdsall property. These, which are located west of the Main Branch and east of the store lot and 5030 Route 6, are reached by Isaac Birdsall Road. Like many upland hamlets, New Kingston is no longer a commercial center, but it retains an active post office, its church, its largest shop building, nearly all of the houses, and many outbuildings dating to its period of significance. It preserves a strong sense of how the Delaware County's upland hamlets, which served far-flung farms scattered across a mountainous landscape, looked and functioned during the historic period.


  1. Norman J. Van Valkenburgh, The Hardenburgh Patent: The Largest Colonial Grant (Phoenicia, New York: West and Brooks, 1988): synopsis of 1-19. Also, see Shirley A. Houck, The Evolution of Delaware County, New York, Being a History of its Land (Nashville, Tennessee: Express Media Corporation, 1995): 9.
  2. Alf Evers, "The Livingston Presence in the Great or Hardenburgh Patent," The Livingston Legacy. Three Centuries of American History (Annandale-on-Hudson, New York: Bard College, 1987): 397.
  3. Evers, 398.
  4. Evers, 398; Van Valkenburgh, 19.
  5. Van Valkenburgh, 36.
  6. Evers, 399.
  7. Van Valkenburgh, 36.
  8. Van Valkenburgh, 24.
  9. Lincoln R. Long, The Long Papers. Historical Sketches of the New Kingston Valley (n.p., [1925, printed in book form, edited by Gilbert M. Palen, n.p.]: 7.
  10. Evers, 400. Evers states this was done in 1782, the year that primogeniture was abolished in New York. A map of the area between the branches states in a typed note that the division was carried out in 1779. The exact date is probably not so important as the fact of the subdivision.
  11. This is evident from the 1869 Beers Atlas, which showed the lot lines. A number of these lots can still be traced on modern tax maps and on the landscape itself as stone walls.
  12. Van Valkenburgh, 24.
  13. Book of Deeds 53, p387.
  14. Book of Deeds 32, p141. (Office of the Delaware County Clerk, Delhi, New York).
  15. Shirley Davis and Kathleen LaFrank, National Register of Historic Places nomination, New Kingston Presbyterian Church, March 2002.
  16. Review of the census records for 1850 (federal) and 1855 (New York State) shows that this house was much more valuable than any in the neighborhood.
  17. The house owned by James W. Dumond in 1875 and located at 694 Thomson Hollow Rd was remodeled extensively in the early 1860s, at the same time as many properties in this area were improved. While the quality of the workmanship on this house is not as high as on the Birdsall house and the building's proportions differ, the stylistic details clearly mimic the valley's handsomest dwelling.
  18. Book of Deeds 48, p463.
  19. Book of Deeds 47, p154.
  20. Long, 92-93.
  21. Book of Deeds 47, p7.
  22. Book of Deeds 71, p234.
  23. Book of Deeds 57, p45.
  24. This pattern is readily traced in the censuses of the period using house valuations, real estate ownership, and agricultural schedules recorded. The statistics recorded here strongly support the notion that ownership generates improvement more readily than tenancy.
  25. Book of Deeds 47, p7.
  26. Book of Deeds 50, p47.
  27. Book of Deeds 52, p567.
  28. Book of Deeds 56, 147.
  29. Book of Deeds 71, p233.
  30. All genealogical information drawn from the IGI database maintained by the LDS Church (www.familysearch.org).
  31. Book of Deeds 84, 427.
  32. Book of Deeds 95, p493; Biographical Review of Delaware County. (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Co., 1895): 522. Several subsequent deeds filed in the Delaware County Clerk's Office find Thomas and Jennie living in the Village of Walton.
  33. Book of Deeds 95, p422.
  34. Book of Deeds 92, p54.
  35. Book of Deeds 102, p15.
  36. Book of Deeds 83, p716.
  37. Book of Deeds 89, p162.
  38. Book of Deeds 108, p168.
  39. Book of Deeds 97, 132, and Book of Deeds 97, 131.
  40. Book of Deeds 97, p495.
  41. Book of Deeds 123, p299.
  42. Book of Deeds 87, p630.
  43. For a more complete discussion, see the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the New Kingston Presbyterian Church in 2002.
  44. Book of Deeds 138, p687.


Beers, D.G. Atlas of Delaware County from Actual Surveys. New York: Beers, Ellis, and Soule, 1869.

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Brandt, Clare, and Arthur Kelly. A Livingston Genealogy. Rhinebeck, New York: Friends of Clermont, 1982.

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Street Names
New Kingston Road • Route 6