Town of Lloyd Historical Preservation Society
When our new nation was formed at the end of the Revolutionary War, New York State decided some governance was best done at the local level. In 1788, they divided counties into towns which were primarily responsible for keeping the peace and maintaining roads. Lloyd was not one of the original towns; it was part of the Town of New Paltz.
New Paltz stretched from the Shawangunk Mountains to the Hudson River, an area of about 40,000 acres. At first, the area along the Hudson was sparsely populated, but as its population grew, governing such a large area became difficult – the fastest form of transportation was a horse and post offices were few and far between. Residents of the remote parts of New Paltz felt they were being neglected. Finally, on Apr 15, 1845, New York State created a new town from the eastern part of New Paltz. They declared the town would be named Lloyd, and its first town meeting would be held on the first Tuesday of May at the house of Lyman Halstead.
The town's residents assembled on May 6 in the ballroom of Lyman Halstead's hotel. The "ballroom" was the room over the stables – perhaps "Dance Hall" would have been a more accurate description.
The men (only men with property worth more than $250 were allowed to vote) elected the first town supervisor, three justices of the peace, a town clerk, a superintendent of schools, a highway commissioner, an overseer of the poor, and , of course, a tax collector. Apparently quite a celebration ensued after the meeting.
Thanks to a summary of the 1845 census, we know a bit about the new town. The population of 2035 consisted of 1036 men and 999 women. There were 239 married women under the age of 45 and 187 unmarried females between the ages of 16 and 45. (As historian Sherwood remarked "Quite a range of old maids" note – he never married). In the year preceding the census, there were 19 marriages, 77 births, and 24 deaths. 212 Men were subject to military service and 464 were entitled to vote. There was 1 pauper, 2 deaf and dumb, 3 blind, 1 idiot and no lunatics.
There were 10 merchants, 6 manufacturers, 126 mechanics, 1 attorney and 1 physician but most of the men, 312, were farmers. Here's is a summary of what they produced.
Much of the unreported acreage was probably orchards; fruit production was a big part of the economy. And, of course, there were animals.
Much of this produce was shipped to New York City, as reported in this article "Receipts of Produce by North River Boats" published in New York City on Apr. 29, 1847.
Bark Berkshire, L. Elting, from New Paltz – 2500 bushels corn
200 bbls rye flour 50 bales hay 80 tubs butter 20,000 eggs 180 calves
30 bbls apples to the captain.
The women also contributed to agricultural output by spinning and weaving 1611 ¾ yards of cloth, 1928 yards of flannel and wool, and 485 ½ yards of linen. Supporting the farms were 8 gristmills, 3 saw mills, 1 carding machine, 1 woolen factory, 7 tanneries and no distilleries.
The town included 5 inns, 9 retail stores, 2 Presbyterian churches (the old meeting house had not yet been removed) and 1 Methodist church. At the time of the census, no ministers were recorded, so the churches must have been temporarily vacant.
There were 9 district schools for 306 pupils; the average daily attendance was 174.
As Sherwood summarized "Altogether the Town was rural, productive and didn't care too much for "book larnin." But it was a good town full of the promise of good things to come."