John Buckley – the First Buckley in Marlborough
John Buckley[ii] was one of the earliest manufacturers in New York State. He was born in Jaffray, NH May 3, 1786 and was educated there. He became a wheelwright and machinist. In 1805 he was employed by Almy & Brown, of Providence, where he became acquainted with Samuel Slater of Pawtucket, a driving force in manufacturing at that time. After three years he was hired in 1809 by the Pleasant Valley Manufacturing Company in Dutchess County, to oversee construction of their water-wheel and other machinery. From there he became a stockholder and supervisory engineer at the Cornwall Cotton Machinery, chartered in 1811. The war of 1812 spurred demand for domestic goods produced in the new cotton and woolen manufacturing facilities. Despite the slump in demand after the war, Buckley purchased the carding and spinning mill which had been established in the town of Marlborough around 1810-11, and also a farm. He added looms and began making cloth. In 1822 a partnership was formed with his two brothers-in-law, James and John Thorne under the name of Thornes & Buckley. The mill was expanded again and renamed the Marlborough Woolen Factory. The firm enjoyed a reputation for durable and brilliant colors for their sought-after fabrics, which were exhibited in fairs around the region. In 1823 a prize of a silver pitcher was awarded the firm for the best piece of blue broadcloth woven from American wool. The firm was dissolved in 1830, although Buckley continued the business until 1855, converting the factory into a cotton mill, making twine and cotton warps. He continued until the onset of the Civil War, in 1861, when he quit manufacturing, and sold all the machinery after a few years and retired from business. He died in Marlboro June 1, 1870 at age 85. He is buried in the churchyard of of Marlboro, on the land adjoining his, where he served on the first vestry. He was a successful businessman in the town for fifty years, and a warden and vestryman for thirty years.
Thomas Townsend Buckley of”RiverView”
John Buckley and his wife, Phebe Thorne, had six children, Thomas Townsend, John, Margaret, Mercy, William and James. In 1863 Thomas Townsend and his wife Amelia bought the 58 acre parcel and house from Daniel Elliott that we now call the Elliot-Buckley house. He named the house “Riverview”.
Thomas Townsend[iii] was born in Marlborough July 11, 1817. After attending the district schools he, at the age of fourteen, began as clerk in a general store in his native village. Shortly after he accepted a position as clerk in Newburgh. In 1838 he went to New York, engaged in the wholesale drygoods business and soon became largely interested in the importing and jobbing trade. In 1874 he retired from active business, spending the summers in Marlborough and the winters in Brooklyn. During his career he was vice-president of the Bank of the Republic, receiver of the Atlantic and Pacific RR Co., director of the Metropolitan Gas Co. and the Home Insurance Co. He was one of the executive committee of the Great Sanitary Fair of 1864, and was a member and patron of historical and art societies. He married Amelia A., daughter of William R. Thompson of New York, on July 24, 1844 at the Garden Street Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. They had three sons, John, Charles and William.
The Buckleys lived in the house for fifty years. John’s daughters Margaret and Mercy taught in for many years. Their Bibles, with notes for a lesson, are in the house library. John and Charles married the Bronson sisters. When the sisters were widows, they sold the house in 1918 and moved to Newburgh.
[i]The History of the Town of Marlborough, by Charles H. Cochrane
[ii]Sylvester’s History of Ulster County
[iii] The History of Ulster County, Alphonso T. Clearwater, p562
The History of Ulster County, New York [Paperback]