This is a transcription of an article published in the Warwick Valley Dispatch, date August 24, 1974. It is used with permission. I have been thinking of this as the Servin Mansion, but it appears it goes back to another builder.
First brick house in Warwick redesignated Smith-Welling house
by Betty Rutledge
The house-warming and open house festivities must have been quite exciting for the inbabintants of the Town of Warwick in 1830 when the properous merchant John W. Smith and his wife, Catharine Welling Smith, moved into their new brick mansion in the village.
The members of the Wheeler clan would have called on Mary Wheeler Smith, John W. Smith's mother. Catharine Smith's many Welling relatives would have whished them happiness. Catharine's Post cousins across the lane in the Shingle House would have helped them celebrate. Down the road a piece Catharine's Burt retatives would have come to the quest list. In the countryside the Wisners, Blains, Bairds and Forshees would have hitched up their buggies to visit their relatives' new home. Dozens of cousins and uncles and aunts representing most of the early pioneer families of Warwick must have toured the mansion - "the pride of the Village" according to Frank Forester's account in his Warwick Woodlands, a book about his first visit to Warwick around 1831. No doubt hospitaliy was shown to the customers of John W. Smith's thriving store and stables next door.
John W. Smith was active in civic responsibilities during his lifetime. He served as Town Supervisor from 1831 - 1836. He was the School Supervisor and Inspector of the schools at various times. He was an original trustee of the first Warwick Library.
History books seldom mention the wives of illustrious forefathers. Yet this first brick home in the tiny village of Warwick was as much a contribution of Catharine Welling Smith as of her husband. It was through her family that the land was acquired and very likely some of her inheritance paid for and furnished the home.
The Historical Society of the Town of Warwick has decided that this historically signifcant building should be designated for landmark statuss as the Smith-Welling House.
Those of us latecomers and recent newcomers are very fortunate that the home is still standing as a reminnder of the heritage of the past. Many of us can relate to it in its use as Warwick's first hospital and more recently as the headquarters of the V.F.W., where so many persons have contributed to the welfare of the village through service and recreational projects.
The next time you pass the Smith-Welling House let your imagination soar and picture the mansion as it was in the early days - the focus and nucleus of the social life of the orginal Warwick Village.
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: www.imagesofwarwicknewyork.blogspot.com.