Known for beautiful scenery and stately mansions, the Hudson River was once home to some pretty radical thoughts and actions.
Among my paternal ancestors in this area was a family of 18th century Dutch settlers called Dederick. Jury William Dederick lived in Saugerties, NY, and was active in local politics at the very beginning of the Revolutionary War. In May of 1775, a full year before the Declaration of Independence, he and 224 other men got together at the home of Pieter Bronck, whose family the Bronx was named for. In response to British taxes and the Boston Massacre several years before, they signed a radical document that declared:
“Freeholders and Inhabitants of Coxsackie District, in the County of Albany, being greatly alarmed at the avowed Design of the Ministry to raise a Revenue in America, are shocked by the bloody Scene acting in the Massachusetts Bay; Do in the most solemn manner, resolve never to become Slaves; and do also associate under the Ties of Religion, Honor and Love of our Country to adopt and endeavor to carry into Execution whatever Measures may be rendered by our Continental Congress, or resolved upon by our Provincial Convention for the purpose of preserving our Constitution and opposing the Execution of several arbitrary and oppressive Acts of the British Parliament.”
The document was pointedly addressed on the back to “George III, Last King of America”.
The declaration was lost for many years among old papers in an Albany attic, but was eventually found by Albany historical society president John M. Clark, in the early 20th century.
Another interesting event that occurred up the Hudson River in Kinderhook, was NY’s version of the Boston Tea Party. Some housewives in the town were angry at the high price of tea due to the taxes the British had imposed. They took matters into their own hands, storming the local tea shop and tying up the shop owner. They then sold the tea at prices they thought were fair, even going so far as to deposit the proceeds in the owner’s cash box.
- Hudson Valley magazine website, “Colonial Clamor” 2009: story behind the Coxsackie Declaration of Independence
- The Old Dutch Settlement of Coxsackie, E. Wilson 1935: Coxsackie Declaration
- rootsweb website: The Coxsackie Declaration, Olive N. Woodworth
- The Hudson, Carl Carmer, Fordham University Press 1989: description of the tea shop incident in Kinderhook