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The Town of Tusten was part of the Town of Mamakating from 1743 to 1798. In 1798 the Town of Lumberland was formed from Mamakating which included the Towns of Tusten and Highland. In 1853 Highland and Tusten broke away and each became a town of its own. Tusten was one of the first areas in the county to be settled. The first settlement originated around 1757, founded by the Delaware Company under the authority of the State of Connecticut. It was located on the Delaware River at the mouth of Ten Mile River. Little is known about these settlers other than Indians wiped them out in 1763.

A later settlement grew at this same spot when vast amounts of lumber began the journey down the Delaware from the holding bank located here. For over a century the rafting industry was a successful enterprise throughout the Delaware Valley from Deposit to Port Jervis. Another area industry was the quarrying of blue stone. Stone harvested in the region was transported from here across the river to the Erie Railroad by ferry scow.

The community that formed here was named Tusten, in honor of Colonel Benjamin Tusten, Jr., who had two claims to fame. He was among the first doctors in this country to introduce inoculation for small pox and he died in the infamous Battle of Minisink in 1779. Col. Tusten was tending 17 wounded soldiers under a ledge of rock when overtaken by Captain Brant, a Mohawk chief fighting for the British and his band of Indians and Tories. Although Col. Tusten’s disabled men pleaded for mercy, they were killed along with Col. Tusten. In 1853, when the new town separated from Lumberland, it was also named Tusten.

Samuel Hankins, Sr. became a most prominent man of the area. He operated a sawmill, conducted a tavern for the accommodation of rivermen, as well as being a steersman of wide repute. The Erie Railroad erected a station about a mile above the village where its tracks crossed the Delaware from Pennsylvania to New York. This station was first called Delaware Bridge then Tusten Station.

For many years the Tusten community was considered the seat of the town. It became the most important business community in the town that shared its name. Tusten peaked during the mid 1800’s. It boasted a sawmill, a gristmill, a brickyard, several stores, a church, a school and a post office. However, with the end of the timber and stone industries, the community steadily declined until it was essentially abandoned.

The Town of Tusten did not fare well in the twentiety century.  The trees by then were gone and the local supply of bluestone used up.  Automobiles and trucks took business away from the railroad and motels and large resorts of other areas attracted the summer visitors.

 

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