From what I have gathered and based on the property’s abundance of stone walls, the land had been cleared for agricultural use in the 1800’s along with most of Columbia County. Forested portions are definitely second growth, a mix of hard and softwoods.
Looking at topographical maps dating to the early 20th Century, you can see that more than half the property was open fields. There was an apple orchard and the dam that created the lake was yet to be built. Undoubtedly, this property and surrounding lands were grazed by dairy cows.
Claverack owes its existence to early Dutch settlers, part of the patroon system that dominated the Hudson Valley. The Town of Claverack website has a thorough history of Claverack including mention of the Esselstyn Estate that borders the property on the west and Hollowville, the hamlet to the immediate south of the property.
The Town of Claverack has a number of historic buildings and sites, summarized here on the Town’s website.
The natural history of Columbia County is thoroughly explored in Conrad Vispo’s book, “The Nature of the Place.” Conrad is director of the Hawthorne Valley Association’s Farmscape Ecology Program.