Thomas Jenkins, the most prominent man among the proprietors of Hudson, died in the 1808. . . . The organization of the proprietors continued less than two years after his death, their last meeting being held May 23, 1810, of which Stephen Paddock was moderator, and Erastus Pratt clerk. They had some years before deeded all the streets, highways, and lands intended for public use to the common council, to be by them opened when, and as, the public interest might require, and it was now arranged and understood that their existence as an association should cease, and that their records should be formally delivered to the city. This action was most energetically, fiercely, opposed by Cotton Gelston, although it was into his own hands, as city clerk, that the documents were to be surrendered. In his antagonism to the proposition he seized the books and declared his resolve to destroy them if he could not otherwise prevent their transfer, and so heated did he become, that it was necessary to assign to three of the strongest men in the room (of whom Gilbert Jenkins was one) the task of his subjugation; but in the scuffle which ensued Mr. Gelston succeeded in partially destroying the papers by fire, and thus almost made good his threat. But the surrender was made, and the proprietors' organization became a thing of the past.Whatever went on at City Hall last Tuesday, behind closed doors in executive session, seems pretty tame by comparison.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
The More Things Change . . .
On Thursday, apparently at the mayor's behest, Tom Casey saw fit to report about a stormy moment that took place during an executive session at the Common Council meeting on Tuesday night: "Remarks trigger council's concern." Yesterday a reader brought to my attention the account, in Ellis' 1878 History of Columbia County, of the end of the Proprietors' association. Although it wasn't the reader's intention, the first paragraph of the account reminded me that there has always been a certain amount of volatility involved in the business of governing Hudson.