Simon Vandercook
Simon Vandercook

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

He was born in 1788, September 29th, in the Cooksborough neighborhood, Pittstown, and is therefore now in the ninety-second year of his age. He is still active, his step elastic and firm. His mental faculties are well preserved, and he successfully conducted a lawsuit in his own behalf a few months since. His father was a native of Holland, but came to this county from New Jersey in 1763. He was a millwright, and soon after he came here he erected both saw and grist mills on the Deep Kill, at the point where the east line of Schaghticoke intersects the stream. His children were Michael S., who spent his life in Pittstown; Henry, who lived in Cooksborough, but later in life went to Ohio, and died there; Peter, who lived in Cohoes the latter part of his life, and died there; Simon, who relates this history of the family (October, 1879); Mrs. Joel Northrup, of Lewis County; Mrs. Smith Filkins, of Pittstown; Mrs. Jacob Snyder, of Lansingburgh. Of Simon we add the following: He was married to a daughter of Christopher Snyder, Sr., of Towhannock. The marriage ceremony was performed March 12, 1812, by Rev. Jonas Coe. Mr. Vandercook lived until about 1830 on a farm near Towhannock, on what is known as the Middle road. He then came to Lansingburgh and bought the old Village Tavern, which he kept about five years. He then bought out the old Wickware Tavern, and kept it fifteen years.

Mr. Vandercook had twelve children, eleven of whom lived to mature years. Seven of them, and also his wife, have since died. Four are now living: Simon Adolphus, in the Southwest; Mrs. Kendrick, of Troy; Mrs. Baker, of Ohio; and Mrs. Mariner, of Lansingburgh. With the latter Mr. Vandercook resides.

When his father came to Cooksborough, Mrs. Alexander Weatherwax was there, having just come before. Mr. Vandercook had brothers, who came with him to Pittstown at that early date.

Simon Vandercook recalls the names of early settlers at Speigletown as John Vanderspiegel, William Follett, William Douglass, the Storms family, and the Stingerlands.

In the war of 1812, Simon Vandercook was orderly sergeant of Capt. Samuel Storms' company, in the 155th Regiment, Col. William Knickerbocker commanding. In the alarm previous to the battle of Plattsburgh, Simon Vandercook, orderly sergeant, received orders to warn out his company and make the draft. He left his plow in the field, and was four days warning the company and making the draft. The draft took place at the tavern of Henry Vandercook, on the Middle road to Towhannock. The names of the men were put into a hat, and one in four drawn out by Sergt. Doty. The drafted men were turned over to Capt. Downey, one of Col. Knickerbocker's captain, selected to make up the drafted company. Mr. Vandercook states that after the whole brigade was called out, they broke camp at Troy two thousand two hundred strong. After their perilous march of fourteen days to Granville, Washington Co., they were reduced to fifteen hundred, having lost seven hundred men on the way. Mr. Vandercook thinks those who survived are entitled to a pension.

He confirms the common story of the slow march, forty-four miles in fourteen days, but he gives an explanation in part, which has never traveled as far as the joke has. The next morning after reaching Speigletown it began to rain, and fairly poured for three days and three nights. Marching was next to impossible, and the roads were bad after the rain stopped. Mr. Vandercook served about seventeen days, and is therefore entitled to a pension, under the law of 1878, if the facts can ever be worked through the routine of red tape at Washington. The officers of his company were, Samuel Storms, Captain; Henry Vandercook, First Lieutenant; Thomas Weatherwax, Second Lieutenant, Simon Vandercook, Orderly Sergeant; Peter Doty and Thomas Follet, Sergeants.

Mr. Vandercook remembers as an early teacher at Cooksborough Mr. Baxter, grandfather of Dennis Baxter; also a Mr. Daly.

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