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:

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.

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