Many of the transcriptions found here are now in published form. They have been published by the Orange County Genealogical Society (in Goshen, New York). Volume 3 includes my Volume 3 and Volume 5. Volume 4 includes my four parts of New Milford history. There is a planned Volume 5, which will include my Volumes 6, 7, and 8, Part 1, which is about 250 transcriptions. They can be purchase through the Genealogical Society. Just Google them and print out the order form. Or they can be purchased from the Warwick Historical Society. They are also on sale at the gift shop at Baird's Tavern. I would like to thank the Genealogical Society and Dan Burrows for their efforts. Started a new blog for images of Warwick. Go to:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Milford Beauty Contest

This photo is from the Warwick Advertiser, dated August 22, 1963. The caption is as follows: ANOTHER BEAUTY QUEEN -- Miss New Milford (Gwenda Scheuerman) poses Thursday after being crowned at carnival at the home of of Mr. and Mrs. Casper Hann. Gwenda, James Hann, and Jay Odell conducted the affair raising $25.50 for the crusade development fund for the New Milford Church. About 50 children attended the carnival, with Mrs. James Park and Mr. Clinton Odell serving as judges for the beauty contest. Kneeling at left are Vera Scheuerman and Jane Wilbur. Standing are James Hann, Patty Van Strander, Gwenda, Mrs. Park, Jay Odell and Sherly Ferguson.

I think this was the first and only Miss New Milford Beauty Contest. That means that Gwenda Scheuerman stills holds the title.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 2

This is a transcription of an aritcle from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated December 20, 1950. It appears to be from a series of articles on the history of the villages and hamlets of Warwick Township. I redid the numbers on the photos because some were hard to read. The quality of the photos is not good because they are coming from the microfilm records of the paper. Not sure where Photo 5 and 9 are. If any reader could help out, let me know. Article used with permission.

Warwick Township Communties in 1950
Amity --- Edenvillle

Driving through the quiet streets of Edenville and Amity or viewing these rural hamlets from a distant hill, one geneally sees first the community church. The story of these churches is the story of the community - of the people who first settled it - early hardships when land was uncleared, roads difficult to travel and transportation methods primitive - of outstanding clergymen who served the congregation - of pioneer farmers and homemakers who bequeathed intiative and courage and a fine philosophy of living to their present-day descendants, many of whom still make their homes on the same lands or on those not so far removed.

And today, though once famous industries and enterprises have disappeared, the church remains to unite and give idendity to its respective community, to enrich its spirtual life and to serve as a place of meeting and fellowship its country folk and their neighbors. The community's church is its bulwork and to it we indebted for the gracious community life that still exists for the opportunity to take a quiet drive past charming homes, to stop perhaps for a neighborly call.

We will not attempt to give detailed histories of these churches here. Mrs. Carrie Timlow Feagles of Narrowsburg, a former resident of Amity and a relative of two of its pastors, gives interesting historical information in her book, "They Went to Church in Amity," a story of the church from 1796 to 1896. The book contains illustrations of the original log church began in 1797 and finished in 1800, the meeting house as it appeared after being rebuilt in 1828, the larger church building erected in 1868 and the building as it appeared after remodeling about 1830-31. This, the present structure, is shown in Photo 1.

Amity residents recall the high circular balcony and dome which formerly adorned its tower and regret that it was not practical to retain this section when the building had to be repaired.

Miss May Houston, Edenville historian, tells us that the present Edenville church building (Photo 2) was built in 1868. The two churches are part of the Amity-Edenville-New Milford circuit. Rev. Douglas Verdin is the present pastor. In former times it was common for the minister to serve several smaller churches and many of the districts served by the itinerant preachers of "circuit riders" of those times are served similarly by one minister today. Older residents recall the preachers of former days traveling from church to church and calling on members on horseback, often making their rounds through mud and snow.

The air view (Photo 3) shows Edenville only (Amity lies out of range at the lower right) but gives one an idea of the beautiful valley and fertile farmlands and the brooks and streams surrounding the two communities. We find various stories about the naming of the villages and whichever one prefers, one agrees that such names come naturally to the peaceful rural scene. Writing of the year 1796, Mrs. Feagles says, "They were not then known as residents of Amity, but were called 'Pochuckers' because of the proximity of the stream called by the Indian name of 'Pochunk.' Later, we are told, when a church was considered it was called the Amity Presbyterian Church from the French word "amitie," meaning friendship, and the houses clustered nearby gradually came to be the village of Amity."

"Historical Papers" (Part One, No.2) of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick, gives the following story of the naming of Edenville based on a newspaper clipping loaned by the Houston family of Edenville. "A post office at the present village of Edenville, known as Purling Brook, existed for twenty-five years. Among the earliest settlers were the Houstons and the Posts. The property on either side of the village was owned principally by two gentlemen of the above families. One day, in a jocular way, it was said, these gentlemen agreed to toss up a cent to determine whether the village should henceforth be known a Houstonville or Postville. The toss was made and the village was known for a number of years as Postville. After Dr. Young took up his residence in the place, he suggested that inasmuch as Mount Adam and Mount Eve were located near town, it would be porper to the name the place Eden. It was so named for ten years. When the matter of establisihing a post office of that name was put before the Postmaster General he informed the people that it could not be Eden because there was a place in the state bearing that name. He suggested Eden Town, Eden Valley and Edenville. A meeting of the inhabitants was called and the later name selected. Mr. S.C. Young of this village has in his possession the minutes of the proceedings which occurred on the 4th of April, 1826. Since that time until the present our little hamlet has been known all over the world as the everglorious Edenville.

Just as the churches served as the spirtual center of the community, the stores served (and two still serve) as centers for sociability, for cracker barrel conversations and lively banter. The Amity store, operated until 1942 (Photo 4, right) is now owned by Jame Savchuck of Warwick and has been remodeled as an apartmen house. It once supplied residents with the thousand and one items of a typical country store and with a post office until Warwick rural free delivery service replaced it. Miss Mabel Trusdell, former postmistress, whose father was the last to own and operate the store, tells us of the use of the second story of the building as a dance hall and of many memorable dances held to the gay tunes of Dayton & Tannery's Orchestra. Amity residents had other musical activities, too. The Amity Cornet Band held band concerts every Tuesday night on its own bandstand on the corner(many Warwick residents bicycled out to hear it) and on the second floor of what is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stringer, singing lessons were taught by Robert Wheat, Middletown muscian.

Amith once boasted another store which stood on the property now owned by George Langlitz and the salemen who travelled about the area with their wagonloads of merchandise were frequent visitors to both centers of trade. These same merchant often stayed overnight at the village hotel (Photo 4, left) which is now owned by Wisner Masker and remodeled into a 4-family apartment building. The old Dispatch files tells us that the hotel was often host to automobile parties, who enjoyed its famous chichen dinners.

Looking at the quaint old buildings, now converted into other uses, one may try to imagine how Amity looked in the days gone by. To help one reconstruct the scene, here is an essay written by a schoolgirl in 1883 - "My native village consists of about one hundred and thirty inhabitants and does not increase much in size on account of there being no manufacturers and no railroads, the nearest one situated at Pine Island about fourteen years. It has a school house, post office, church, cemetery, public hall, two stories, two creameries, shoemaker, wagonmaker's shop, blacksmith and harness, one clergyman, two physicians, two painters, one carpenter, several farm laborers. It is situated upon a hill and has beautiful surrounding sceneries." The community once had its own barber ship too.

James Carr & Son's General Store (Photo 5) and George Paffenroth's General Store of Edenville (Photo 6) continue in operation today. The Carr Store was originally a wagon factory operated by John Dusenberre and later by his son Wallace, who added a blacksmith shop. The old building was remodeled into a store by Mr. Carr, himself once a blacksmith at Amity. The century-old Paffenroth store, the subject of a Dispatch feature article in June 1949 has an interesting history, some of which we repeat because it is typical of the part the country store plays in its locality. Miss May Houston supplied much of the information carried in the article.

The store was founded around 1850, its first owner being Wheeler Roe. It then passed down to Silas Young, Legrand Mead and Dr. Holly and later became Mead and Young. Silas C. Young was a venerable resident and a noted minerologist, known in this country and abroad. His divided collection of minerals of the locality is to be seen in the State Education Building at Albany. The business was then sold to Rev. H. R. Edwards, better known as Dominie Edwards, who tolled at the store six days a week and on the Sabbath was a faithful worker in the Sunday school and the church on the hill. It was characteristic for him to wear a tall white silk hat.

From 1878 - 1883, the store belonged to James W. Houston, uncle of Miss Houston. George S. Everett, father of Seely Everett, took over the store in 1883. He did a thriving businesss due to the Mt. Adam Granite Company which he supplied with a two-horse wagon load of merchandise twice a week. The company employed close to 200 men, some of whom lived in the village, and others in the three large boarding houses on the premises. The company was once awarded a contract to supply the city of Brooklyn with one million paving blocks of granite, a tremendous order since all the labor had to be done without the aid of modern machinery. Mr. Everett remembers his father telling of being able to see the Hudson River from the mountain top before buildings and foilage obscured the view.

In 1897, the business was sold to Marsh and Demaree, who ran it in partnership for one year. Then Demaree sold out to Charles Sargeant and the store became known as Marsh and Sargeant. Seely S. Everett acquired the store in 1912 and ran it for its longest term until May 1, 1949, when he sold it to George Paffenroth, who had worked for Mr. Everett since his thirteenth year.

Mr. Everett tells of the days when carloads of flour and freight were carried from Florida or Pine Island, taking several days to haul. Before the days of refrigeration, butter and lard were kept in tubs in the coolness of the cellar. Then the furnace came to replace the old Crock stove which devoured anthracite coal at five-forty per ton. Here the men folks gathered for cards or dominoes or exchanged homespun yarns and chatter of the day and days gone by, interspersed with raids on the cracker barrel.

Edenville children have attended Warwick schools since Edenville became a part of the Warwick school district and Amity children attend the Pine Island Central School. The little schoolhouses their ancestors attended have been fitted to serve new uses in present times. The Edenville school (Photo 7) is a community center where card parties, socials and wedding receptions take place and the Amity school (Photo 8) has become the headquarters of the Amity Fire Department. The Amity department was organized a few years ago and we don't know of a community of comparable size which can boast of having its own fire company.

The homes in the three photographs are only a few of the many interesting old Edenville homes. Photo 9, the home of Seely Smith, was built in 1828 by Dr. James P. Young, a community physician referred to previously. Dr. Young's son, Silas, the minerologist, has also been noted previously in this article.

Another old home is that of George Drew (Photo 10) which was built in 1834. It was formerly one of the community's blacksmith shops. Photo 11 is a shingle house, also very old, formerely owned by the Houston family and recentlly purchased by Mrs. Beatrice Purdy of Mt. Vernon.

Those traveling through the community have often noted a sign pointing to an art studio at the rear of the Paffenroth store. This studio is located in a beautiful garden which was created by the late Mrs. Seely Everett. The studio houses many of Mrs. Everett's fine oil and crayon paintings. The garden and studio are one of the showplaces of Edenville and have served as a delightful background for church affairs.

Amity and Edenville history have been touched only briefly in this article as our communtiy series is designed to paint a picture of the neighborhoods today rather than be purely historical accounts. We trust that the fleeting glimpses we have included have been informative and will arouse further study of whatever the reader finds of greatest interest.

We hope if you have never enjoyed a drive through these pictureque communities you will do so, particularly now when the country is beautiful with the winter's first real snow.

Here indeed is a picture of the best in American rural life - sturdy people we are fortunate to know, interesting places we are fortunate to have "next door."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 4, Part 1

This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwcick Valley Dispatch, dated April 26, 1950. It appears to be part of a series of articles on the villages and hamlets of Warwick Township. I redid the numbers on the photos because they were hard to read. Used with permission of owner.

New Milford

A Sunday drive in spring is sure to take you where blossoming orchards and neat dairy farms stretch out in view and on such a country tour you're likely to find yourself travelling the winding lanes of New Milford, glimpsing its gracious homes, its interesting old buildings that whisper of bygone days and the friendly people who live comfortably there, enjoying the present while proudly recalling the past.

New Milford is a quiet rural hamlet now, quite different from a century ago when mills stood on almost every piece of land and it could number among its industries grist, saw, cider, plaster, clover huller, ax handle and woolen mills, a wagon-making shop, a distillery, a milk condensory, a tanney, an iron forge and black smith shops.

Most of its present residents are fruit or dairy farmers though some have unusual businesses of their own such as Roy Vail, famous custom gunsmith and antique collector. New Milford may yet see another industrial boom for it has an ardent promoter in The Land Merchant, Harry Vail, whose crisp almanacs are a joy to read, whether you are in the real estate market or not.

Should you visit the Parks Baird farm, you'd see a grist mill still in use , serving the present generation of Bairds as it did its original owner, William Baird. His great-great gandson, William Baird, and the latter's son, Bobby, are shown in Photo 1 inside the mill. The mill is still operated by the same water turbine and the original stones and machinery. The French Burr stones, a superior type imported from France, have been used for a century and a half. Silos have done away with much of the grinding formerely done, but custom grinding is still for neighboring farmers.

How Jockey Hollow Got Its Name

The two buildings in Photo 2 and 3, the Old Inn building and the Russell Ferguson homestead, one of the Township's oldest homes, once marked the boundaries of a neighborhood race track, which according to an article by Mrs. Mary Bahrman McPherson, resulted in New Milford being dubbed "Jockey Hallow." "In the old days," Mrs. MacPherson says, "a favorite pastime of the neighborhood farmers was racing their steeds between the old inn nowed owned by Mrs. Doray (also known as the Dr. Wilson place) and the Russ Ferguson farm... They would return to the inn to talk things over, sometimes swap horses and in all probability do a little betting - hence the name, Jockey Hallow.

One of the last mills to close was the tannery (Photo 6) built by Mrs. MacPherson's grandfather, Samuel Webb Clason, in 1833 on his arrival here from Massachusetts. Fine show and harness leather was turned out in the building, the largest tannery this side of Middletown. Mrs. MacPherson's father, Morris Bahrman, bought the business in 1869 and kept it running until 1920 - 87 years in all. Mr. Bahrman's widow, Mrs. Abbie Bahrman, is New Milford's oldest resident. She observed her 91st birthday last month.

School Day Memories

With many school districts now centralized, few one-room schools such as New Milford's (Photo 4 ) are now in use: this and the one at Bellvale being the only two operating in this supervisory district. Many are the memories of a favorite teacher - a shiny red apple - or pigtail in ink.

The apple handed to a teacher or a favorite beau might well have come from one of New Milford's many fruit orchards which will soon be bursting into fragrant bloom. Miss Prudence Green (Photo 5) is shown enjoying one of New Milford's famous apples with her school lunch.

In Photo 7 Emmet Leeper, born 88 years ago in a log house between Mt. Taber Road and Plank Road, who has lived in New Milford all his life. Mr. Leeper, who taught himself to play the violin at the age of 14, has furnished the music for many a gay dance and still entertains with a lively tune. Clinton Edsall, the friendly postmaster and operator of the former Jacob Stanaback general store, is shown in Photo 8 and in Photo 9 are Mr. and Mrs. John Helt, unique collectors of second hand things. Their collection includes everything from a used washer to a locomotive cab. Gathtered from near and far from auctions and sales and overflowing barn and yard, it never fails to contain just the item you seek. Mrs. Helt is the New Milford correspondent for the Dispatch.

Old Country Stores

The Edsall store and the New Milford branch of Conklin & Strong, Inc., shown in Photo 10 with Manager Herbert Odell standing in front, are two of the Township's remaining stores. Here one can settle the world's problems with neighborhood friends and trade in the leisurely manner early residents enjoyed.

Perhaps the most historically interesing residence in the locality is the Wilford Raynor home on the Warwick-New Milford road, built by General John Hathorn in 1773. (Photo 11). In the southern gable General Hathorn had fashioned in red brick an H above an old-fashioned J for John and E for Elizabeth, his wife. Martha Washington is said to have been an overnight quest at the Hathorn House.

Good Neighbors

New Milford and its neighbors worship in the 112-year old Methodist Church (last photo) built on land given by David McCamley,III, grandson of the first settlers in the Town. Neighboriness is the keystone, too, at good old fashioned suppers and sociables enjoyed in the Community House nearby. Folks from all over the Township gather for New Milford card parties and St. Anthony's Hospital at Warwick receives many expertly sewed garments from the energetic members of its Sewing

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Warwick Institute: 1866

This is from an advertisement in the Warwick Advertiser, dated March 24, 1866. Question: How far did public support for local education of its children go at this time ? I am thinking it was 1st grade to 8th grade and then it's done. If you have any information on this I would like to hear from you.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Roy Vail

I have been posting historical articles written by Roy Vail. It appears that he was working on a book called, "Before I Forget." I don't think it ever finished it and these articles published in the Dispatch may be all there is. I consider them important articles on local history because they shed some light on the history of the hamlets and areas outside of the Village of Warwick. The Village was not always the center of Warwick Township. Some of the hamlets, like New Milford and Bellevale, probably had more going on in the early days than the Village. This was due to industry and the streams that powered it. The Vail family lived in the Amity/Blooms Corner/ New Milford areas of the Township. I have enjoyed his articles and want to thank the owner of the Warwick Valley Dispatch for allowing me to post them on this site.

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 1

"Before I Forget ..."
(This is the final installment of excerpts from "Before I Forget," a book written by Roy Vail of Warwick, noted antique collector and gunsmith. the DISPATCH is grateful to Mr. Vail for allowing us to share these articles with our readers. - THE EDITORS)


The Mayflower was one of the first flowers of spring and I'd always gathered a bouquet for mother. Then the arbutus would come out and Uncle Lewis would get sap buckets out and tap the five maple trees in front of the house and mother would boil the sap down on the stove and we'd have maple syrup for our pancakes. It had a distinctive flavor all its own. Most of today's commercial maple syrups have about half to three quarters cane sugar in them. Mother would boil some till it thickened and pour it into a little heart shaped fluted tin receptacle to harden into maple sugar. It was poured in small granules and used to sweeten cookies, pies and parched sweet corn, the old Indian method. It was real tasy. When our children were small we tapped the maples on our front lawn so they'd know what maple sugaring was all about. For a joke I tapped and hung a huge bucket on a pine tree on the lawn. A neighbor, Tom Dekay, stopped on day and wanted to know what I got out of the pine tree. I said I hoped to get some pine cough syrup. A city couple who had a home just above us tapped a couple of trees. In boiling down they evaporated so much steam that all the wallpaper came off the wall in the kitchen and living room. It was on the furniture and everything.

The first day of July Dad would always sow a field of buckwheat and in the early all as it matured he got Cliff Roberts from Amity to come and cradle it. Cradling is a very graceful performance. He'd start at the left of the field taking a swing with a scythe and dump it in a small pile and continue the same width of swath across the field. He used a wood rake to gather small bundles which he'd tie with twisted straw, enough for a small shock. It was my job to gather several shocks and make one big one, put one or two shocks on top to keep the rain off. How we dreaded the rain and showers till the grain was dry and we could thresh it on the barn floor and take it to Day's mill (ed. the mill on Iron Mountain Road, which is still standing) to be ground in buckwheat flour for the winter pancakes, with maple syrup.

Father gave me a beautiful heifer calf Milly, which I raised and we turned her out with the rest that spring. I went to see her to take her salt 4 or 5 times that summer on the Burrows farm on the mountain above the Dekay place. She would follow me all over like a pet dog. When we came to get the heifers that fall she was missing. I looked all over the farm and called and called. My feet were terrible heavy as I came down the mountain that day. In fact I was sick all over. On the way home we passed a farm whose owner had also rented pasture on the Burrows farm. As we were going by the farm I saw Milly in with his cows. She show me at the same time and came running to the fence. She was different from the rest of the heifers - she showed the attentiion I had lavished on her. Her eyes sparkled, there was luster to her coat from constant brushing. She had a sense of belonging and she didn't belong in with a bunch of from heifers and she knew it. I ran and told the farmer he had my heifer and he insisted that he had raised her and his wife came out and gave me a very hard time. When on raises an animal from a baby calf there is no question about recognition. I was really sicker going home than I was coming down the mountain. As I got home I realized I had 2 or 3 pictures of her from a baby calf up. I got them and rushed them on my bicycle to show the farmer. Black and white spots never change on an animal except to grow larger with the animal. When I showed the pictures to him he said, "You can take her." But the wife threatened and cursed me and said if I did she'd sue me. He was gentleman enough to quiet her down and he said to her, "He has photos to prove the heifer belongs to him." (I took the pictures with a little 2A Folding Brownie Camera. The one of the jack rabbit and me was taken with the same camera which I have to this day.)


I always liked to hunt, mainly tramping the fields with my dog Shep. Jack Beattie's grandfather would come three or four times in the fall to hunt quail in our back lots near the swamp. There was always quail there as father always planted wheat and buckwheat in those fields. Wheat, for grain and flour and buckwheat for pancake flour. Enough grain was left in the field to carry the birds over the winter. The judge took me with him one day, my first introduction to sportmen's hunting with bird dogs. I really enjoyed going along. I was too young to carry a gun. The judge had a double barrelled Colt hammer gun and he was a real fine shot. He drove a pair of horses and a one-seated wagon and Mrs. Beattie would come and visit mother. She was quite a small lady. I had often seen them riding about the country, he with a modified high hat, very dignified.

Bob white quail nest in a circle, each bird facing out for protection. The blizzard of '18 snowed them under and the warm sun melted the snow so that crust formed and the quail were trapped and very few of them survived that winter. (ed. I think the Vail family was at Sutton Road at this point in time.) When spring came, one could tell by the paucity of (?) - 3 or 4 compared to the previous spring. They never recovered. Also about this time Eastern famers weren't growing much grain. The railroads brought it in from the west cheaper than they could grow it.


Frank Forester, one of the early leaders in conservation was worried about the diminished population of the game bird. How pleased he would be if he could know what the sportmen of America have done to bring back the population of game - a tremendour increase and something that hunters and sportment can be very prout of because they are ones who through license fees and their self-imposed 11% federal tax on guns and ammunition have paid for these programs including the purchase of wetlands in the United States and Canada. The wonderful increase is not the result of those who oppose hunting. On the contrary it is the result of those who approve of hunting and participate in it who provided the financial support for management and restoration programs that we enjoy today. Many states have abused this sportmen's program by building ski runs and other facilities that people are enjoying who haven't contributed one worthless dime toward their creation. Sportmen aren't complaining but it's nice to air the facts once in awhile.

Father planted peach and apple trees. Peach trees would come to bear first. They were only good for 8 to 10 years and would be cut down when the apples came in bearing. My brother and I had the soft peaches that wouldn't stand shipping to our customers along the Erie. We sold them in New Milford for 25 cts. a half bushel. They were perfect for canning and table use. I think about 25 people worked in the creamery and on the railroad. Mother had some gooseberries that we'd pick and sent them to a jam kitchen in Monclair.

Once in a while we'd have a severe freeze and most of the buds would be killled. In those times mother would take in boarders from the City. I remember one in particular. Her name was Kit Heanes. Her husband was a taxi driver in the city. He brought her up in a big Stanley Streamer and when she returned to the city she asked us what we wanted and I told her I wanted a small pipe. I don't knwo why as I never intended smoking and I never did. It came and it was a little beauty made to hold cigarettes - an ivory bowl and a real ivory stem. I have it to this day. She was a lovely person and her husband, who was about 20 years older. Then we got a boarder who brought us lice and we all got itching. Mother called our doctor, Dr. Pitts, and he said to put kerosene on our heads. It's a good thing none of us smoked or we would have been a bunch of human torches running around. That was the end of the boarders. Many country farmers took in boarders in the summer - the reason for so many large porches on the old country houses and little round summer houses called gazebos.

I am indebted to Mr. Morris Bahrman and his daughter, Mrs. John McPherson, and my Uncle Lewis, for the information about early settlers in Jockey Hallow and the early industries carried on there.

This is transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated September 6, 1978. Used with permission.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 1

Before I Forget ...
(The following schoolday recollections are from Roy Vail's "Before I Forget." Mr. Vail, a noted antique collector, historian and gunsmith, has been kind enough to allow the WARWICK VALLEY DISPATCH to publish excertpts from the book in its current issues. We're sure pupils and parents looking forward to the start of another school year will enjoy the account of a one-room school.)


Since we are so isolated in the little old country school we hardly ever got sick or had colds or sore throats. (It wasn't until we went to Warwick schools that we got the measles, mumps, and tonsilitis.) On the boys side of the school there was a ledge of rocks that left only a couple of feet of room between them and the school. The boys brought picks and shovels and crowbars and at noon recess we'd work away on those rocks and actually removed another two feet. We took pleasure in working and accomplishing something.

We had a coal stove at the school and Melvin had the contract with the teacher to take care of the stove. It only had 3 legs and a brick for the 4th leg. Two of us had to hold the stove while Melvin shook it. Finally another leg broke and the trustee bought us another brick. It was so wobbly, it was dangerous. Finally someone said when I say the word give it a shove which we did and over it went and broke in two in the middle. Coals came out on the floor and we were really scared. We got the water pail and put the coals out. Abbie Riggs who wore glasses sat just in back of the stove and the pipe opened right over her head and dumped a gallon of soot all over her. Her face and hair were black except around her glasses. She was the funniest sight I ever saw. We has a vacation for 3 or 4 days until the trustees got another stove but it was good and safe to use. I suppose today we'd be classed as juvenile delinquents.

Nick, the ice cream man, would come with his horse and candy wagon every Thursday and we'd go down to Drews Corner and buy Cracker Jacks or ice cream cones from him. Most of us only had a few cents to spend. On the corner there used to be a cabinet maker called J. Bloom and the corner was called Blooms Corners and the road is known as Blooms Road. He was a fine cabinet maker much before my time or my father's time or grandfather's. He specialized in finelight graceful Windsor chairs, arm chairs with a continuous arm some of which he branded J. Bloom. The early ones had nice deep bulbous turnings and later he used the bamboo turnings. I don't know how long he worked but I have receipted bills dating back to 1800 and one of 1830 where he sued a man in Warwick for six wooden chairs.

At the school there was a big fat boy that none of us like very much. He's hold me at the foot of the hill after school until my brother got out of sight over the hill and get me crying. Then he'd let me go. He'd pull his sister's hair at lunch time and when she crying he'd steal her cake. One day we were skaking on the ice and one of the boys said when the bell rings all jump on him and pummel him good. He had his skates on and couldn't get after us. He was late that noon and had to stay in after school and that us a chance to get home. The next day he took it out on some of us until we told him if he didn't quit we'd all jump him again. He went Warwick in a couple of years and we were one big happy family again. After Miss Wood, Miss Jones came, then Dora Brooks from Chester. I don't know who followed her as we went to Warwick with our neighbors, the Howells. We'd drive one week and they'd drive the next. We'd put our horse up at Van Nesses livery stable in the rear of the Dispatch building. On real cold wintry days we were so cold we couldn't unbuckle the harness but Uncle Lewis would be there or father or the hired man. Then a few years later Mr. Howell got a Motel T and took us to school. We'd walk over there and home too. It was about a mile. We'd wait at the bakery near West Street, Bantas or in Mr. Sayre's store where the Masonic
building stands now. A fine man, the father of Dr. Harry Sayre and grandfather of our fine Dr. Sayre, II, now practicing. Petere Rhode's barber shop was next door. He did taxidemy work and we'd be fascinated by the small animals and birds. It was here I first saw a mounted passenger pigeon, that I had heard about so much about, red breast and real long tail.

It was the winter of 1914 that Tommy Scanlon and I sent to Sears Roebuck for a 6' pair of hickory skis. We had a lot of fun with them. Tommy read when you waxed them they's run much faster. He had no wax so put lard on them and when he tried them he couldn't move. He had to scrape it off so he use them. There were no bindings. Just a strap with iron uprights. I think we paid $3.50 a pair for them and the express was 35 cents. I had them for my children to learn on. When a camper and his borrowed them, they couldn't stop at the foot of the hill so they put coal ashes in the trial so they could stop. What the ashes did to those skis was really unbelievable.

This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated August 30, 1978. At this point in time I think Roy Vail was living at the house on Sutton Road. The Blooms Corner School was at the corner of Blooms Corner Road and Drew Road. Article used with permission.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

George F. Ketchum

G. F. Ketchum's Funeral Service Thursday at House
Veteran Newpaper Man, Founded Dispatch in 1885

During the early hours of Monday morning, George F. Kethcum, one of Orange County's oldest and most known newpaper men, died at his home, 10 Linden Place. In June of 1885 he established this newspaper, The Warwick Valley Dispatch, and continued as its editor and owner, except during the years 1889 - 94 when he was in parnership with the late Issac W. Litchfield. After Mr. Litchfield's retirement from the partnership Mr. Ketchum's ownership continued until1917 when, because of pressure of other business, he turned the turned the paper over to his daughter Florence L. Ketchum its present owner.

Mr. Ketchum was a son of Elizabeth Strange Wright and George W. Ketchum of Brooklyn and he was born September 23, 1856. When a youn lad the family moved to Bellvale and he attended the one room school, meeting there an auburn curly headed lass, Squire Samuel Wilson's daughter, Grace Evelyn, whom he married June 6, 1876. He had taken a red apple to school for the teacher, but the lass got the apple! Later he was a pupil of Warwick Institute and attended Williams.

His love of printer's ink started when he was a devil in the Warwick Advertiser, then owned by Daniel Welling. Later he was a printer in the composing rooms of the New York Times and the Harper's magazine.

Warwick Valley was dear to his heart, and when the opportunity came for the establishment of a second weekly paper in Warwick he came back here from Brooklyn where he and his wife and children had lived on Cambridge Place.

In Warwick the pattern of his vivid personality will long be remembered. His brillant mind and retentive memory established a leadership civic, educational, historical, literary and politcal circles.

Dogged always by a frail constitution he learned early in life to protect it and as one old friend expressed it, "fought every inch of the way," living to the ripe old age of 86. "Borrrowed time" he called it.

The Warwick Valley with its beautiful little vale, Bellvale, ("Bellvale agin" the world) were cherished in his heart and their interests paramount. Since 1922 Mr. Ketchum's time was devoted to real estate and insurance, his G. F. Ketchum Agency being in the Dispatch Building, in the office of the Dispatch. There he could still hear the hum of the presses and his keenest enjoyment centered in his weekly column. "Weekend Chat," which were his contributions to this paper. His column covered a wide range of subjects and it was the most widely read and the best in the paper.

He was one of the oldest members of the Warwick Lodge No. 544, F. & A.M.; he helped organize the Warwick Valley Telephone Company and was one of its directors; a trustee of Union Free School District No. 12 for ten years and its president for two; honorary member of Excelsior Hose Company No. 1 and a former president; a charter member of the Fortnightly Club, a member of Warwick Grange No. 948, a member of Greenwood Forrest Tall Cedars of Lebanon, a trustee of the Warwick Building Association, a member of Forester Fish and Game Association, and president of the Historical Society of the Town of Warwick.

He was a life long Democrat, an ardent New Dearer and had enjoyed the acquaintance and friendship of many leading political men of his day. For twenty-five years he was chairman of the Democratic Committee of Orange County. He was twice postmaster of Warwick, serving three terms. He was Deputy State Superintendent of Elections for Orange and Sullivan Counties and confidential representative of the governor in the Highway Department when the old macadam state road was built between Warwick and Greenwood Lake. Both of these were one term only, during the time when William Sulzer was governor.

Through all those busy years he always had time for his family, neighbors and friends. The children of his neighborhood callee him "Uncle George" and regarded him as a pal. Many experienced their first camping days with him, or discovered what fun it was to fish, or learned about birds, or went hiking ... for these with horseback riding were his outdoor hobbies.

His wife died April 24, 192(?), their children were the late Dr. Jane K. Banes who died January 4, 1936, and Florence L. Ketchum of Warwick who survives; a also surviving is a granddaughter, Miss Betty Jane Banes of Warwick and New York city. Funeral services will be held at his late home 10 Linden Place tomorrow, Thursday afternoon at two o'clock, the Reverend Mr. Oliver D. Carberry, rector of Christ Church offiiciating. Burial will be in the family plot in Warwick Cemetery.

The pall bearers will be two nephews Raymond C. Ellis of Brooklyn and William Burt Sayre of Warwick; a cousin, Charles Wisner Barrell of New York; Lawarance Stage , Kenneth Black and Samuel Meyers of Warwick.

This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated January 27, 1943. Mr. Ketchum was the founder of the paper. I believe that Florence Tate was the driving force in getting the old issues of this paper and issues of the Warwick Advertiser on microfilm. I think this was done in the early 1980's. If this is correct, then those of us that are interested in local history owe Miss Tate a big Thank You.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 1

"Before I forget ..."

(THE WARWICK VALLEY DISPATCH is again honored to have been selected to publish excerpts from Roy Vail's current book, "Before I Forget." The anthor is a noted collector, historian and gunsmith whose previous articles were quickly sold out on all news stands. We will prvent Mr. Vail's article with their many valuable items of local history in installments in the coming weeks. THE EDITORS.)


When I was young I wanted to visit some of the iron mines in the Warwick area so I asked Mr. Bahrman what part of New Milford mountains the Layton mine was located in and he gave me explicit directions. I asked him how deep it was and he said at the mine they were about eighty feet deep but in New York where they sold stock they were down over two hundred feet and had hit an ore bed of several hundred feet with no end in sight. It was remored on the street that the ore was of pure quality and they had also located some silver there. Most of the Eastern mines folded when pure iron was found in the Mesabe Range in the Midwest where they scooped in up with early steam shovels and transported it on oar barges on the Great Lakes to the smelters and manufactures near the West Virginia and Pennsylvania coal fields. The local ore costs too much to mine, cart to the railroad and ship to the smelter. But this part of the Appalachian chain is loaded with ore and one day when the easy to mine fields are depleted in the nearby foreseeable future there will be modern mining in the Eastern mountains again, probably smelted right in the mines and pure iron delivered direct.

At the foot of the Iron Mountain Road where it level off one of the ore wagons broke down and the ore was shoveled off at the side of the road. As a boy I collected about forty pieces of it. It was black and real heavy and somewhat shiny. It seemed to me much freer from sulphur than ores from the Raynor and Forester/Dean mine. I have some of it around yet and about forty years ago I purchased the ore bucket used at the mine. I suppose I better take it to the old mill or give it to the Historical Society where it will be preserved. I am told there was a little settlement around the Layton mine which was called Mount Tabor and there was a church there. Just how large this settlement was I have been unable to find out. This was just about on the New York/New Jersey line. In my wanderings up there and hunting I've run across several foundations.

While we are on the subject of the Layton mines, Dad and Mr. Carey bought the farm of Mr. William Wallace, Charles Wallace's father. They sold the farm to Dr. Willis Boughton, Paul Boughton's father. Paul had a Model T Ford and one Sunday he taught by brother Harry, Melvin Kreymer, and me to drive it. We had a about 15 minutes each on an old country road and that was all the lessons we ever had. They call them pleasure carts but actually they are the most destructive instrument ever invented by man. The past July 4 weekend, over 700 people were killed and no one knows how many thousands were crippled and injured for life which is worse.

There were four big hickory trees in the back of the house and I'd go there about twice a week in the fall to gather nuts. They were large and crack so the meats would come out in halves. I bought a girl's bicycle from Elsie. It was a small 24 inch wheel bike and had outgrown it. It was green and had enamel plate on the front marked Earl. No coaster brake - I had to use my foot on the tire as a brake. One time coming down Iron Mountain Road with about twenty pounds of nuts I was going too fast and my foot got so hot I had to change and the use of the other one. I was going too fast to make the turn at Twin Bridges in Jockey Hollow and ran into the stone bridge wall and nearly went over the bridge and into the creek, smashed the front wheel and blew out the tire. I walked home with blisters on both feet. I ordered a new wheel and tire from Charles Williams' store in New York.

The Charles Williams' store was similar to Sears Roebuck and Wards. And while I am on the subject of the catalog store in New York I must mention an incident that took place.

The Lehigh and Hudson Railroad had a shack of a house just north of the New Milford mill where some track workers lived. One of the women went to the agent, Arthur Berger, and had him order a hat for her. When it came it wasn't quite up to expectations. She went to Berger and said, "Write a letter: Mr. Charlie Williams, son of a bitch. Hat looks nice in picture, looks like hell on head. Send money."

The Earl bicycle I got had small 24" wheels, not the standard 26". It was painted in a grey green baked on enamel and was a very hard durable finish. After I got it I put kerosene on a rag and polished it all over. The kerosene cut the old oil off the frame and hub and spokes which were nickel plated. The rims were of natural wood maple color and they were finished in varish in red stripping. After I cleaned it I waxed it all over with beeswax and turpentine, mother's furniture polish so it looked nearly new. When I blew the front tire out at the Twin Bridges, the one I ordered from Charles Wlliams' store in New York was a different make, U.S. Rubber Company, with small 1/4" square treads with a light blue thin rubber trim circling the sides. It was pretty. It cost me four dollars and forty-five cents. The parcel post was eighteen cents or one cent per ounce. I never left the bike out in the rain like today's kids do. One of the Weymer boys had a bike and it had a leak in one of the tires. Someone told him to pump a can of condensd milk in it and it would seal up the leak. In going down a hill he hie a sharp stone which enlarged the hole and it spewed the condensed milk all in the street, up and down his back, and in his hair. What a gooey mess that was. I doubt if he ever got the gooey mess out of his hair, as he soon came to school with his hair clipped short. After I got the bicycle I'd go to post office about every other day for the mail and so forth.

Twin Bridges at Jockey Hollow

This is a transcription of an article from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated August 23,1978. Used with permission.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Todd's Dry Goods and Notions

The end of an era - Todd's dry goods to close
Joan Becker

I'm going to miss the people so much and the store. "You don't see stores like this anymore," said Grace Todd, operator of Todd's Dry Goods and Notions on Main Street. She is retiring from business in Warwick, a business that was started in 1924 by her father John H. L. Todd, Jr., when he bought Montross and Shiner, a department store that did a thriving business in the old building that now houses Gilvan's Department Store. The building went up on Main Street in 1890 and then the home of Anderson's Department Store which sold men's and women's clothes, shoes and dry goods.

Grace Todd took over the business in 1963 althought she sold the orginal building to Mike Myrow for Gilvan's. He moved from the smaller building next store which is now a camera store, and Miss Todd moved into her present store on the other side of the big building.

Formerly filled with fabric, buttons, zippers and all the paraphernalia of sewing, the shelves are now almost bare. One of the factors which brought on he decision to close was prices. (A check of the DISPATCH from January 5, 1927 shows muslin in 36 inches wide cost 17 cents.) "It took me a long time to make up my mind to sell out," Miss Todd said, " but prices have gotten so high on everything that it forced my mind." Todd's will close its doors on the first of December.

Grace grew up in Warwick in the beautiful big home on the corner of Oakland and Galloway which was built by her grandfather, M.N. Kane, a prominent lawyer. The Todd family farm at Bellvale was operated by her father, former Mayor John H. L. Todd, Jr. She and her sister, Emman McClennan, will share many memories when Miss Todd joins her in retirement in the town of Hendersonville, North Carolina.

This is from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated November 22, 1978. Used with permission.

New Milford Players

This is from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated May 5, 1954. Click on photo. Used with permission. Not a bad crowd for a hometown (home-hamlet) production.

Opening of the Landmark Inn

This is from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated June 9, 1954. Used with permission.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (119) Jessup House, 49 Spanktown Road.

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of (118) Stony Creek, 34 Spanktown Road 1840 (owner). Currently a Bed and Breakfast.

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (117) James Nanny House, once a hotel, 4 Blooms Corners Road, 1794 (owner and

Monday, May 18, 2009

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (116) Garrison House, 312 County Route 1. c. 1903, (1903 Map). I think this is earlier, but can't find it on the earlier maps.

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (115) Waterbury House, 199 County Route 1. c. 1850 or later. (1850 map)

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (114) Farier House, 85 Waterbury Road. c. 1850 or later. (1850 Map)

Historic Houses: Edenville/Union Corners

This is a photo of the (113) Rowlee/Waterbury House, 4 Waterbury Road. 1790 stone section, c. 1860 wooden section. (Clark)

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of a house (220) on Newport Bridge Road, 163 Newport Bridge Road. Probably an old farm house. Needs research.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

These photos are of the (219) Amity Farm, 44 Amity Road. 1875 ( It is probably much older than that.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of an (218) Unknown House, 72 Amity Road. This house needs to be researched.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of the (217) Edsall/Utter House, 80 Amity Road. 1790 (Clark). This house is old and bit of a historical challenge. 1875 Map shows Mrs. Utter; 1863 Map shows (Richard ?) Edsall; 1850 Map shows maybe G. Russell or not named. It is written up as an Edsall house going back to 1790. Probably needs a deed search. If you readers of this blog have any information about the history of this house, let me know.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 2

A Bicentennial Quit
by Joan Becker

Warwick's Bicentenial quilt shows many of the historical sites and buildings which are scattered all over the 107 square miles of the Town of Warwick. The first picture is of the Old School Baptist Meeting House in the Village of Warwick. Mabel Pellerin, one of 18 women responsible for all the quilting, once lived on High Street and can remember seein people being baptised from the Church even in the cold of winter by immersion in the Wawayanda Creek in back of the church. Mrs. Pellerin also told of the Hasbrouck House, another of the quitl's squares. She remembered Miss Hylah Hasbrouck who was her first teacher, after her family moved to Warwick, in the school on High Street which burned down in 1941. Miss Hasbrouck was a Stanley in later years. . Miss Hasbrouck is now 97 and last November went to the Andover Nursing Home to recuperate from a brocken shoulder.

Stanley Pellerin nows works for the Lehigh and Hudson Railroad, another picture in the quilt, which was started in 1862. He is the oldest employee of the line. He will have been a brakemen for 30 years and this January, Mabel Pellerin can recall many pleasant excursions on # 12, the engine seen in the L & H square, called the "milk train" to go shopping, after it connected with the Erie Railroad at Greycourt. Another scene in the quilt, the old Warwick Hospital on Forrester Avenue founded in 1916 largely by the efforts of Dr. Morris Renfrew Bradner, also ties in with Pellerin history since Stanley was born there.

One scene shows the Amity School. next to the Presbyterian Church, which has been reborn for the people of the area and is a going school again after 100 years. Next to that is a picture of the Black Dirt in Pine Islalnd, the marvelously fertile land which has made Warwick such a large farming community. Other squares show the orchards and cornfields ot the first settleres, dairy farming, and farming in Bellville.

Fun is not left out for pictured are Winter recreation, the Appalachian Trail and summer fun at Greenwood Lake. Greenwood Lake is also noted for the first Air Mail delivery which was made by a rocket across the Lake, and the artist Jasper Craprey who painted scenes of the Lake at the time of the Civil War. Churches are represented by the Forrida Presbyterian Church and the Old Methodist Church in Warwick built in 1867. The Stone Bridge at Wisner over the Wawandy Creek, Day's Mill in New Milford, are seen along with a representation of Frank Forrester, naturalist and author whi visited Warwick in 1835 and after wrote the book, " Warwick Woodlands."

The Wawayanda Patent in 1702-3 is pictured on the top now recalling the tract of land called Wawayanda, most of which is now Warwick, which was purchased from the Delaware Indians by a group of N.Y. land speculators, the John Bridges Co. The patent to the tract was granted by Queen Ann in 1703 the Company.

Sterling Iron Mine, which forged the chain that stopped British ships in 1778 from going up the Hudson River at West Point. The Iron Works were also responsible for making in 1773 the first anchor procuded in this country, and many bullets used during the Revolutionary War. Iron was an important industry in this area but so was agriculture for which Day's Mill in New Milford and the Mill beyond the Stone Bridge in Wisner were necessities.

Florida is again represented by William H. Seward's "folly," the purchase of Aaska, by then Secretary of State and a square showing the Highland Engine Co. # 2. The last square to be completed meant a great deal to the quilters since it was passed from person to person until all 18 women had done some work on it. All their signatures can be seen at the bottom of the quilt surrounding the Bicentennial Symbol. The Official Seal of the Town of Warwick is the center or the quilt.

History is represented by the Staat's house, the oldest in the Town and in Orange County which was built in 1700. The kitchen of the Shingle House, the oldest in the Village of Warwick, is pictured as is the 1810 House and Hathron House built in 1773.

No story about the Revolutionary War can be complet without a place where "George Washington slept." Well, he didn't sleep in Warwick but he stopped two different times at Baird's Tavern for a glasss of grog with his aide, Col. Rouchebault of the French Army. However, according to Genevieve Van Duzer of the Historical Society, Martha Washington stopped here on her way to Mt. Vernon from the army's headquarters in Newburg. Mrs. Washington was seen by a boy named Christe as noted by William B. Sayer in a ledger of his written in 1881-82. He had come to town to have a plowshare worked on and heard that Lady Washington had spent the night in the Tavern. For some reason he hid in the bushes by the creek where the Chester Bank is today, and saw Mrs. Washinton in her coach with postillions in red uniforms. Mr. Sayer was from the Sayer family which lived in the old stone Sayreville House on Route 17A (now an antique shop).

Another old house. The House was built by Daniel Burt back in 1740 at a time when his brother Benjamin settled on what is called the Welling Farm. The Burts were called back to Connecticut by his family soon after because it was too wild in Warwick and he did not return until 1760. He then tried to buy his home back from Welling but could not so he bought and settled in Bellvale.

Daniel then bought about 190 acres and built a house there (now McFarlalnds home on Route 17A). He also built the Shingle House on Foreste Avenue for his son and bride.

This beautiful quilt, now on display in the Warwick Library, does much to whet the appetite for more of the history of this Bicentennial Town.

This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated January 21, 1975. Misdated, should be 1976. The quilt is on display at the Town Hall. Transcription of article used with permission.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of the (216) Amity Parsonage, 91 Newport Bridge Road. I think it has been sold and is now a private residence.

This is a photo from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated January 21, 1976. Used with permission of owner. This quilt is on display at the Town Hall. The article that goes with the photo is coming next.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of the (215) Amity School, 101 Newport Bridge Road.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of (214) Amity Presbyterian Church, 103 Newport Bridge Road.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of the (213) Amity Hotel, (?) Newport Bridge Road. Right next to 106 Newport Bridge Road.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of the (212) Trusdell Store, 106 Newport Bridge Road.

Historic Houses: Sanfordville/Amity

This is a photo of (211) The Luft Farm House, 4 Newport Bridge Road.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 6, Part 2

History as it should be
by Roy Vail
Amity, New York

The Appalachians a few miles from Amity are older than the Rockies. The volcanic upthrusts which formed them and Mts. Eve and Adam 10 million years ago, brought brought to the surface some of the oldese rocks visible in North America. They were fromed about two and a half billion years ago.

Fresh and salt water covered those rocks. Ancient animals died and sank into sediment which hardened into stone tombs above the bedrocks.

The Appalachians and Mts. Eve and Adam were much higher than today. Glaciers advanced in the valley at least twice carving the cracking the sides and levelling the tops, depositing silt and gravel all over the valley. Huge lakes were formed - most of them washing through the hills and mountains like the Delaware Water Gap. Then came the worms about two hundred and sixty million years ago, the fishes and trilobitas, clams and crocodiles, the giant wolf and tiger and smaller prehistoric animals, some of which are with us today such as the snapping turtle, opossum, eels, the whale and many fishes.

About this time the larger land reptiles evloved despite their huge size and slow movements at first on two huge legs and feet and later on four with small forelegs, which it is presumed they held their food. Some of these species attainted enormous size form 12 to 22 feet. Some had rows of sharp conical teeth which they used to capture and crush the numerous Ammonites fish and shell fish upon which they lived. In this period or a little before, as the galciers melted and the climate became milder, lush vegetation covered the land. This was food for the largest of the creatures - the mammouths and dinosaurs, strickly vegetarians, whose skeletons and gastroliths (gizzard stones we find today) that they used to grind their food. These stones are highly polished and have a peculiar feeling, perhaps from being imbedded in the gastric juices. Dr. Philhower and I found four of these in the Wickam Lakes area and I found two on my great grandfater Edsall's farm at Amity.
Three of the mines are argilite, one quartz and one quartz and one jasper. The quartz is solid, not crysalized, and has a thousand tiny pits over its entire surface that I presume are from the acid in the gastric juices. The argilite ones are a black grey; they show small depressions where other harder one have been rubbing against them.

These prehistoric monsters were so huge and bulky they had to spend most of their time in the water for buoyancy. They weighed tons and like snakes were cold blooded. If left in the sun too long they would dehydrate and die. Their fossil remains are found throughout Orange County. About a hundred years ago one was found in swampy ground on my great grandfather's farm in Amity.

I have a small eighteen inch section of one of the tusks about 4 1/2 " in diameter. It was an extinct member of the mammal order, Probiscides. They lived in North America during the Pleistocene Epoch (for Ice Age) which began about three million years ago. They were similar to the African or Indian elephants.

When the earth was forming and its caldrons were boiling, it opened and left a fault through the valley from Mt. Eve to Ogdensburg in North Jersey and hundreds of different minerals were formed - iron through the Appalchians and a huge kettle shaped ore body of zinc at Ogenburg and Franklin.

In Amity on my grandfather's farm and at Gabrater as Dr. Young from Edenville and a Mr. Thompson collected many varieties of minerals that Dana lists in his minerology book. Dr. Young's collection was presented to the New York State Museum in Albany. (It is in the State Education Building.)

My brother and I would often spend a week at grandfather's farm in Amity. (ed. Roy Vail's father was Harry Vail, Sr. Harry married an Utter. I think this was the farm of "Honeybee" Utter and the old farm house sits on the corner of Amity Road and Feagles Road.) He'd tale us fishing in the Pochuck or Wallkill at Newort Bridge. We'd go in the evening and fish all night. Set lines were legal then and w'd catch carp, perch and bass and once in a while a big snapping turtle. One had to get him mighty quick or he's straighten out the and be gone. We'd come home with 20 or 30 pounds of fish. Grandfather made bows and arrows for us and always spent at least a couple of hours of his busy day with us. He had no boys.

Grandad had a huge aviary on his farm and did scientic research on bees. A.I. Root, in his volume, The A.B.C. of Beekeeping, gives him credit for his discoveries even to winnng a law suit.

My mother as a little girl recalled Dr. Young's workings and showed me the ledges he worked. He'd come in the morning and would drill a hole in one of the ledges and about noon fill it with black powder and blow it. Then he'd sit down and eat his lunch while the fumes blew away, and then go look over the specimens he'd brought to light. Garnet, granite and zinc spinels, purple ones, Corundum, Edinite, pink and white dolomite and about 15 others. There was a seam of Black Jack which miners hated as it would take the edge right off a drill it was so hard. I have a pink Corundum crystal imbedded in granite. As a boy I spent many hours looking for Indian relics with my grandfather Utter. There was an Indian cave in the ledge and one day I found a Folsom Point. These date ancient man to 8,000 B.C. Then some years later I found a Folsom knife and a scraper.

Some of the early invading European settlers after Folsom man about 8,000 B.C., and the Amerindians, around Amity were Henry (Weesner) Wisner who settled at Mount Eve on land he purchased from Christian Sendicore in 1715. Wisner was a member of the Continental Congress and one of America's foremost citizens. He made gun powder in Ulster and Orange counties that was so desperately needed for the cause. Other early names around Amity were Blain, Alsop, Ecott, Luckey, Shepard, Holley, Walling, Hamill,Edsall, Dolson, Bailey, Wood, and later in my day, Trusdell, Doty, Pioch, Rhodes, Utter, Masker, Feagles, Caten, Noonan, and more than I can remember.

There was a big spring between my grandfather's house and Amity where a cheese factory was located. They made cheese and sent it by wagon or sleigh to New Windsor to go to New York on the boat. An old settler in Amity told me about a girl who worked in the cleaning room. She became pregnant and said the man who worked with her there was the quilty party. The lye vats were over waist high. Suddenly one day she fell in the lye bath and was scalded to death. Of course there never was any investigation in those days. One of those cases where one falls up into a tree instead of down out of it. Amity was rather backward at that time and probably hadn't heard of Newton's law of gravity or perhaps Congress hadn't gotten around to passing it into law.

The factory started before the Civil War and grandfater didn't know why it closed. Perhaps when the railroad came to Pine Island in 1869 or 1870 it closed. In the later days they raised a great many peaches. "Nick" Walling had large peach orchards and others that I do not recall. His daughter Anna studied art in Paris and had a studio in Middletown when she returned and was very successful.

In my day there was a blacksmith there named Jim Carr. My brother and I were so fascinated we'd watch him work by the hour. He made wagon bodies and did repair work at his forge.

A Jewish peddler named Jakey lived with his wife just beyond the blacksmith shop. He'd carry huge packs of dry goods and notions about the country and unstrap the pack on one's floor and display all his goods - stockings, socks, shoestrings, underware, shirts, etc. Like people in general, some peddlers were very ethical and made out real well.

I once bought two shirts . One was real good and the other very shoddy. The shoddy one would fit a small boy after two or three washings. Some of the socks were the same way. Some of them made bad names for their people and some were very ethical and made great names for themselves like Altman's in New York and Levi in the West and thousands of others.

When my father was in his late teens, with the backing of a Mr. Lovett, in Amity, he started the Amity Telephone Company and had about seventy subscribers. It was quite a thriving company at that time with quarying at Welches and Mts. Eve and Adam. Tammy of New York sent hundreds of Irish workers to get granite stone for the streets of New York and large stepping stones for horses and carriages.

There were two saloons in Amity at that time and bloody fighs every Saturday night.

Father and Lovett later sold the Amity Telephone Company to the Warwick Valley Telephone Company for a small pittance.

My father had a meat market in Amity before he purchased the Sutton farm a mile from New Milford.

We'd go to Amity Presbyterian Church. The first one was built in 1796; the second one in 1868. John Wilcox was the janitor. The church had a large pipe organ, one of the first ones around and still there today. Wilcox asked me if I wanted to pump the bellows one Sunday. The bellows had a lot of air holes and it was real work, as about as much air came out of the holes as went up the pipes. I got the experience and he got a good rest and I presume had a good laugh.

The steeple on the church was architecturaly beautiful. The bronze bell which weighed over half a ton had made the belfry a little shaky from its constant ringing over the years. Instead of fixing it with proper supports to strenghten it they decided to tear it off. It took them a month or more to dismantle the steeple. It was so well built and would have lasted another 100 years. Then they built the present low monstrosity that is there today and to add insult to injury they had the church stuccoed.

The Sunday School was in the basement and spring, summer, and fall it was very damp down there and certainly not comfortable.

"Ed" Waterbury bought a Maxwell touring car and drove it to the church about 1909 or 1910. After that other families started coming in cars. We were just about the last family to have a car. It was a Model T Ford. It looked out of place parked next to the Chandlers and Hudsons, Olds, E.M.F. Hummobiles and Cadillacs and Reos. It seemed to me some would try to outdo the others.

Every year they'd have a big clam bake at the church sheds. "Bob" Doty was the chef. A large pit was dug about 8 to 12 feet in diameter and filled with stones. He get up at 2 A.M. and build a huge fire on top of stones and keep it roaring until about 11 o'clock. Then they'd cover the red hot stones with woven wire and heap the washed clams on. Over that would come the partly husked corn and sweet potatoes and quartered chicken and fish wrapped in cheese cloth. The whole heap several feet high would be covered with damp hay with buckets of water poured over the whole to produce steam and finally whole sheets of huge canvas weighted at the edges with stones to keep the steam in. As dessert, hundreds of watermelons were served. It took about two hours to bake and was delicious. I think they charged a dollar and later a dollar fifty and it was something to look forward to until the horrible World War came and put an end to it forever. And in many ways with the high wages and silk shirts, the war changed American life and ruined many families with loss and hardships.

When my brother and I would go the Grandad's we played and went swimming in the Pochuck or Walkill with very nice children our age - Herbert Hamill and his sister Mable. The Hamill's mother was a Bloom, daughter of J. Bloom of Bloom Corners near the Long Swamp School where he made fine Windsor chairs, benches and furniture in a small shop. Later when I was in the antique business I purchased a child's bureau and some furniture of hers that he made. And a few years ago I let the New York State Museum have one of his fine labelled chairs where I hope it will always be preserved.

There were two other boys there that we always played with, Herb Bond and Russell Van Ness whose father worked in Truesdell's store. Russell still stops in my shop as he comes to see his sister, Helen, in Warwick.

Albert Phillips from New Milford came around once a week with a team and wagon of meat. Later he bought a truck, a very early one, and he was always getting stuck. Trucks in those days were of very little horsepower and were always getting stuck. They had hard rubber tires about two inches wide which sank down in mud and horses. The boys would all shout, "Get a horse!."

Miss Clute was the teacher there for over forty-five years and when I was young she told me she had over 45 pupils at one time. The school is still standing and has started up again with the new generation in the old country style. It's funny how we run in circles.

Miss Clute's father did plastering about the country. He made walls to imitate marble. On the top coat he'd use plaster of Paris and trowel in powdered graphite. His signature was a horse. I have found it as far away as New Paltz. The Rickey house over the state line has a nice horse at the head of the stairs.

Steve Truesdell was the barber and at one time there were two stores. Truesdell's store was the most popular with the younger group as it had a candy counter running the entire length of the store.

Over Truesdell's store there was a big long hall running the full length of the store where they had grey benches and held the Grange, had minstrel shows and dances and meetings. This was also where the Amity band practiced. About twice a year, the Kickapoo Indian show would come and put on juggling acts and magic. There would be a couple of Indians. One night the juggler wasn't doing too well after imbibing in one of the local hotels too long. Instead of keeping four king pins in the air at one time he had a tough time doing it with two, which I quess most any of the audience could do.

They'd sell rattlesnake liniment and medicine that would cure all ills and I quess if you don't have any it would make one for you. I remember buying a cake of soap, green in color. It had a very pleasant smell and cost me twenty five cents. I don't know why I needed it when I could have gone down in the store and bought a cake of cuticura for a dime. I quess I just wanted to help that Indian out.

A friend of mine bought a bottle of rattlesnake liniment . It was laced with turpentine and red pepper and nearly took the skin off his sore arm. They had medicine for the back door trots or disentary. I once bought a bottle of it. It was in 3 sections in the bottle. Sand on the bottom, ammonia in the center. Not the ammonia that one buys in a drug store but the kind you wash clothes with and old crankcase oil on top. The directions which were written read: shake real well. Well, I did, and before you could pour it out, it all separated into three layers again. So I shook it up good and took a swig out of the bottle. All the breath left me and I thought I'd choke to death but it cured the diarrhea and me, too. I am sorry I didn't keep it and have it analyzed. I'd make a fortune on it. Kill or Cure.

Fourth of July, they always had a big celebration at night. Fireworks. Roman candles. Sky rockets and giant firecrackers and about every half hour, Mr. Truesdell would send up a hot air balloon. One floated over to our farm two miles away. Uncle Lewis found it in our orchard. I never heard of anyone getting hurt with firecrackers, perhaps 3 or 4 in the country compared with today's pleasure car that does in several hundred and cripples and wounds thousands more.

After Mr. "Lou" Truesdell passed on, his beautiful daughter Mable ran the store and Post Office. She'd drive a horse and carriage to Pine Island with the mail and pick up the Amity mail. She ran the store and Post Office a good many years. Post cards were one cent and letters were two cents. Parcel Post cost a few cents more. One didn't have to insure packages; they would arrive without damage or theft.

People were pleased to have a job most of my life; not likely today when a union calls a strike every month or two.

Mr. Favre, the minister, started a Boy Scout troop at the curch. Although I'd been a lone scout for a number of years , I was grateful for the opportunity of joining the Boy Scouts. The camping, hiking and other activities came in handy over the years. There was another minister there before him, a Mr. Hansel, a fine person too.

Perhaps the ultimate feeling Amity instills is that time is like space, and that which has been lived through does not seem to exist any more than a place one has travelled through vanishes because one has left it behind.

This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated March 17, 1976. It is the best article I have found on the history of the hamlet of Amity. Used by written permission of the current owner of the Dispatch.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Warwick Historical Papers Volume 5, Part 1

July 4, 1875
by Jean Strong
(Winner of English IV Prize of W.H.S.)

July 4, 1875, may not have been a very important day in the history of our country, but it was a day dear to the heart of every youngster, if not every inhabitant of Warwick. On that day, one of the old fashioned community Fourth-of-July celebrations took place; celebrations which have seldom been equaled in the six decades that have since passed. It seems fitting the an account of this period in the history of Warwick be recorded while people are still living who enjoyed and participated in these events.

The Warwick of 1875 differed greatly from the Warwick of 1935; the railroad track ended at the "depot" which was then a frame structure, but on the other side of the building; the engine house stood near the spot where the freight house is now, while a long wooden platform, where milk cans were unloaded, reached nearly to the main street. Great piles of wood were stacked along the creek, for at that time, the engine burned wood instead of coal. Below the station was another platform and switch where ore from the Raynor mines was loaded upon the railroad cars. The road, which is now called South Street, led to the mines, and carts filled with the ore could be seen plowing up and down the muddy road all day. On Saturday nights, the miners came to town after they had been paid and livened the village with rather noisy carousing.

The Demerest House was then a frame building, while the present "Dispatch" offices housed the Ten Eyck Hotel. The Wawayanda Hotel was situated on the square by the fountain, and along side of it was Randall's Hall, where town meetngs were held; for at that time there was no Village Hall. The Reformed Church was in the same location, but it was a frame building , later moved , which serves as the present Village Hall. Warwick Institute was on High Street, as it is today, but it was also a frame building.

According to an "Atlas of Orange County" surveyed and engraved by F. W. Beers in 1875, the streets in Warwick at that time differed greatly from our present streets. Colonial Avenue, which led to Newburg, and was widely travelled, was called "Hudson Street," Forrester Avenue was named "Lake Street," while Front Street became the High Street of today. Main Street was, as the name implies, the main thoroughfare, and it extended from one end of the village to the other, includig our present Oakland Avenue, Main Street, and Maple Avenue; Oakland Avenue was lined by the same spacious houses, owned by
W.D. Chardavoyne, W.C. Eager, W.S. Benedict, J.L. Welling, and Dr. J.S. Holly. Oakland Court , Welling Avenue, Hamilton Avenue, Campbell Road, Linden Avenue, Clinton Avenue and Galloway Road were entirely undevelped. West Street was short, and Van Buren, Howe, Factory and Division Streets were only open meadows. Welling Place and Wheeler Avenue had not yet been constructed.

With these impressions of the Queen Village, we can now begin our account of the "great day." Everyone participated in the celebration. People came from all parts of the township; from Mt. Eve and Pine Island, from Decker Hill, from the Ridge, from the Raynor mines, and from Florida. They walked or drove horses down the dusty country roads into town, early in the day. The entire family came and brought lunch, prepared to stay all day.

However there was a reason for the enthusiasm, which both proceded and followed the affair. There was a good time for all; there were games and music. In those days there were no automobiles, movies, or radios for pleasure. The only amusement that most people had was reading or playing dominoes by lamplight. As life was very monotonous, they welcomed this day of sport.

Also, there were prizes, which were special inducements, because money was so very scarce in the senventies; a silver dollar looked as large as a cart wheel to many people.

At the annual Fourth of July celebration, the welcoming speech was delivered near the Demerest House. We can well imagine that Charles Cline, who was president of the village, officiated on the upper porch of the hotel. It was from this same place that the program of the day was announced. The first events were of especial interest to the boys of the town. It was indeed an accomplishment to be able to climb up to the top of a greased pole. which stood on the lawn of the railroad station, and it was red-letter day for the boy who suceeded because he won the coveted silver dollar.

Soon after this, a young greased pig was turned loose on Railroad Avenue. A mad scramble ensued, as a crowd of boys dashed pell-mell under the railroad platform after the little pig. It was finally cornered under the stables of the Ten Eyck Hotel, where the unfortunate pig nearly lost its head because of the kicking of the angry horses. But how proud the lad must have been who captured the pig for it might keep it for his very own .

There were many other amusing contests: a race in which the men blindfolded, ran with wheeelbarrows, and a sack race, in which each contestant had his legs tied in a sack, and had to make his way the best he could.

A "washtub" race was held, each year, on a small, very round pond which was situated in back of the store now owned by Cornelius S. Lazear. There was two contestants equipped with washtubs for boats, and shingles for paddles. The race covered a distance of three times around the pond, but on the very first lap, one contestant capsized, and his rival had to finish the remaining two rounds by himself.

There was a parade, a band, and an orator. The speeches and music took place near the green of the Old School Baptist Church. The people thronged from one event to the next, and from one part of town to another.

Horseracing was a very popular sport in Warwick, and every Fourth of July celebration had at least one race. This race was on the Berry flat on the New Milford Road. It started at the Samuel Pelton farm and ended at the old Sanford school house. On this occassion the race was won by a good old sorrel mare, belonging to a Mr. Ferguson, who was the owner of the mill at New Milford.

However, we have yet to hear of the bit event of the day - a balloon ascention. In a day when airplanes and even automobiles were unheard of, we can imagine the impression made by such a daring feat. It was announced with great gusto, although there was at least an hour's wait before the actual accent, which took place in the open space just south of West Street. Inflating the balloon was a long and tedious task. A trench was dug and a fire was built in it, so that the gas and black smoke might be conducted to the gas bag without igniting it. The balloon gradually filled and the exciting moment arrived when the gaily bedecked aeronaught appeared on the scene. He made his bow, and stepped forward to supervise the final steps of the inflation. He ceremoniously grasped the dangling trapeze, then he ordered the ship cut loose. It quickly rose to what seemed an alarming height at the time possibly eight or nine hundred feet.

At this point, the daring acrobat performed some thrilling stunts, while the balloon headed for the open fields, which are now the golf links. From there it drifted toward the hill on Welling Avenue, where the old high school stands. The crowd immediately hasten to the spot because it seemed a feasible place for him to land. In the hope of making a safe landing, he had already pulled the ripcord, relaesing the valve which allowed a dense volume of thick black smoke to escape.

But "the best laid schemes o' mice and men, gnag oft a gley." The ship in its descent gradually drifted toward the center of town, and precipatated the unfortunate aeronaught into the top of a large elm tree, just south of the Elm Street bridge, where many such trees were then to be seen. After a great deal of scrambling about on the limbs of the tree, the aeronaught was reported to be safe, but his ship was badly damaged.

There are other intersting stories about similar balloon ascensions, for there were several of these old fashioned celebrations. On one occassion the balloon landed in the square where the fountain is now. Miss Fanny Cowdry, who lived adjacent to the spot, immediately seized the opportunity to ascend in the balloon. Mrs. W. C. Eager did likewise on another occassion. In the basket of the balloon, was a man who was very unpopular in the village. When the ship had gone up as high as the rope would permit, the people cried, "Cut the rope, and let old skinflint go." Then they saw Mrs. Eager and her baby in the basket, and so they allowed the passengers in the balloon to land safely.

The most regrettable thing about these affairs was that they were attended with more "hilarous" celebrating in the evening. This usually brought forth an argument and a rash boost of one's proficiency with one's fists. However, these encounters did not go far because a fellow could be fairly certain that his friends would intervene, and he could still retain his pride, and felt what would have happened to that other fellow, if he had been allowed to do his worst.

There was usually an encounter between the town boys and the boys who came down from the mountain. Some Ashley boys had acquired the reputation of being bullies, and it was a well known fact that all the town boys would wait for them on the steps of the "Valley Hotel," where a free for all often happened.

In the evening there were fireworks, and after the last rocket had sputtered away, the people hitched up their teams, gathered their tired little ones and left for home by the light of lanterns.

Thus ended what appeared to have beena perfect day in milling about the town, in the company of good old friends, and perhaps, in the eyes of Doctor A.W. Edsall, Miss Fanny Cowdry, alnd Mr. George F. Ketchum, who were young at the time, we can really see and appreciate the Warwick of 1875.

NOTE - the date 1875 is not the exact date of this celebration, but since very similar ones took place all throuth the seventies, the people who gave me the information say it is entirely correct.

This is a transciption of an article from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated July 3, 1935.