1880 town history

The 1880 History of Ulster County compiled by Nathaniel Bartlet Sylvester was one of a number of advanced subscription vanity publications centered on county-based histories produced by Sylvester. The information basically duplicates the gazettes, commercial white papers and census records of the day and utilized the writing skills of reporters in the local press who gathered their research directly from the wealthy businessmen that paid the subscription. Saugerties had a wealth of information already collected from The Pearl published five years earlier and has the most pages of any town in this volume.

This history is the predecessor to later studies by Benjamin Myer Brink and Alfonso Clearwater as well as Marius Schoonmaker (links are to Library of Congress and Hathi Trust full text scans) after the turn of the century. When all of these are taken together and discounted for the lack of accurate translation of the earliest Dutch and German documents the result is a history of the Kingston territory of the mid Hudson valley generally referred to as the Kingston Commons. Interest in this larger history is the natural outcome of a reading of this history of Saugerties.

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The Great Knot, April 27, 2011

Michael Sullivan Smith, 2015
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