In 1951, in an old dresser bought at an auction sale at Arena, was discovered the deed of what was the village of Arena conveying 250 acres of land. The seller was Gulian Verplanck of New York City, holder of vast tracts of Catskill wilderness he had never seen. The purchaser was Benjamin Ackerly, first Supervisor of Middletown, when it was in Ulster County comprising nearly two-thirds of what is now Delaware County. The deed was in immaculate handwriting and refers to Arena lands as "the River flats" and "The Lowlands." The consideration was 250 pounds of "lawful New York State moneys" and the description was "on the South Side of the River 'Packatackan'." The name was later simplified to "Mill Creek" then "Millbrook" and "Lumberville" and finally Arena. This area was the early scene of the great lumbering industry.
In an old Atlas of Delaware County, dated 1869 and published by Beers, Ellis, and Souls, is the actual survey of the village of Margaretville and a Business Directory. This shows the fast growth of the village for twenty-six years from 1843 to 1869 and fills in some places of business and residences not given elsewhere in this history.
A street branching to the west from Academy Street and running parallel with Main Street is listed as Allaben Street. The only building on it is the old Academy at the end of Allaben Street to the east and at the place where Academy Street then ended. Allaben Street was never developed. The area is covered now by the road, parking lot, and a portion of the Central School grounds.
The early tannery of J. Chamberlain was located between Allaben Street and Main Street, nearer to Allaben Street, not far from Scott's brook.
On Main Street a leather shop was located below the Hotel of E. L. O'Connor later known as the "Riverside Hotel." S. Tompkins had a residence below the leather shop and J. Y. DuMond one just above.
Next on lower Main Street was a residence of E. L. Osterhoudt and a carriage-and-harness shop of J. C. Osterhoudt. Next were the stables and hotel of O'Connors, then the residence of P. Elmendorf, Att. A. P. Carpenter's office, and the mansion of Dr. Orson M. Allaben on the corner of Main and Academy Streets.
Places listed on Main Street from Academy Street up were: a wagon shop of Dr. O. M. Allaben, next the residence of Mrs. Race, and the R. O. Scott residence, then the sheds of the Methodist Church, the first early Methodist Church, and the parsonage. Next in order were the residences of P. Elmendorf, N. Kelly, W. R. Swart, a blacksmith shop, and residences of G. Gilbert, A. George, and L. Crosby. Next there was H. Rotermund's shop where wagons, carriages, and sleighs were manufactured. Then came the residence of C. Mead followed by a store operated by S. E. Scott men's furnishings, dry goods and groceries, wholesale and retail. Next in order was the store of W. R. Swart and Bros. which is now L. Bussy & Co.'s supermarket. J. H. Banker then had his office over the store. Also a printing office of Henderson and Becker was over the store.
The only homes then on Walnut Street on the west side were S. Swart, O. S. Decker, G. Gilbert, J. McCadden, who was a carpenter and joiner, G. Hendricks and School No. 17, probably the little red schoolhouse on the hill where the Clarke Sanford home is now located.
On the east side of Walnut Street was the "Ackerly Hotel" operated by J. B. Ackerly on the corner. Then came the residences of S. A. Baker, Rev. W. N. Allaben, and Dr. S. W. Reed.
Continuing up Main Street from the Ackerly Hotel was a store operated by J. C Colville, groceries; next was the Decker & Co. store - dry goods, groceries and general merchandise. This store was later the Swart Mercantile Co. store. Then came the G. G. Decker residence, which is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Jenkins. Following that was the residence of E. Laidlow and Mrs. M. Sanford, then the foundry of E. Laidlow, where agricultural implements were manufactured.
A cooperage shop was across the Binnekill opposite the foundry. The residence of W. Bellows was above the foundry. A tannery was located quite a little distance further up the Binnekill about opposite the cemetery, and G. Osterhoudt had a residence near the tannery.
The street now known as Church Street between Walnut Street and Maple Street, then called Ackerly Street, had but one house on it, the residence of Mrs. Halcott. The house is now owned and occupied by the LeRoy Monroe family. The J. G. Clum farm was listed on the upper end of Ackerly Street, as Pleasant View. The farm is now owned by Arenson.
On the south side of Main Street, beginning at lower Main, these places are listed in the survey beginning just above Academy Street: the residences of W. Edson, S. Coles, A. H. Henderson, J. Swart, then the C. Gorsch cabinet shop, and a paint shop operated by E. Shaittkan. Next came the Charles Gavett wagon shop. Then came Rotermund & Co., blacksmith shop, and E. Laidlow, H. Rotermund wagon shop, J. T. Glum residence and, next, stables. After that is listed a store, post office and doctor's office. Next, P. Elmendorf store - manufacturer of boots and shoes, general grocery. Next came the store of N. Kittle with J. C. Osterhoudt harness shop upstairs.
Bridge Street had a grocery store operated by H. P. Scudder and a Mrs. Barrett had a residence on Bridge Street just before it crossed the river bridge.
The only places on upper Main Street on the east after Bridge Street were residences of W. Olmstead, A. Ackerly, J. Chamberlain, and A. Olmstead.
This is the Business Directory for Margaretville given in the survey of 1869:
Allaben, O. M., Physician and Surgeon. Residence, Main Street. Ackerly, J. B., Proprietor of Ackerly House. Main Street. Banker, J. H., Physician and Surgeon. Walnut Street. Carpenter, Attorney-at-law. Main Street. Colville, J. W., Dealer in Groceries, etc. Main Street. Decker, G. G. & Co., Dealers in Dry Goods and Groceries. Main Street. DuMond, J. Y., Dealer in Leather. Main Street. Elmendorf, P., Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries and General Merchandise. Main Street. Gorsch, Chas., Cabinetmaker and Undertaker. Main Street. Gavett, S., Manufacturer of Wagons and Sleighs. Main Street. Henderson & Becker, Publishers, Book and Job Printers. Main Street. Kittle, J., Manufacturer of Gloves and Mittens, Fur Overcoats and Robes. Main Street. Kittle N., Manufacturer of Boors and Shoes, also Dealer in Groceries. Main Street. Laidlow E., Founder and Manufacturer of Agricultural Implements. McCadden, J., Carpenter and Joiner. Walnut Street. Osterhoudt, J. C., Manufacturer of Harness. Main Street. Rotermund, Henry, Manufacturer of Wagons, Carriages and Sleighs. Main Street. Scott, S. F., Dealer in Men's Furnishing Goods' Dry Goods and Groceries. Main Street. Scudder, H. P., Dealer in Groceries. Bridge Street.
The Business Directory given for Griffin Corners (later Fleischmanns) in the 1869 Atlas is as follows.
Angle, E. F., Cabinetmaker and Undertaker. Main Street. Biehler, J., Manufacturer of Carriages, Wagons and Sleighs. Main Street. Crandall, W. H., Carpenter and Builder. Main Street. Ford, A., Jeweler and Confections. Main Street. Griffin, D., Attorney-at-Law. Main Street. Johnson, A., Proprietor of Livery Stable. Main Street. Kelly, E. C., Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries and Men's Furnishings Main Street. Lasher, A., Proprietor of Hotel and Store and Dealer in Butter. Main Street. Lasher, M. A., Proprietor of Hotel. Main Street. Maben, A. J., Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Butter and General Merchandise. Main Street. Slover, D., Firkins, Tubs; and Residence District No. 21. Ten Broeck, William A., Attorney-at-Law and Justice of the Peace. Main Street. Vandermark, J., Manufacturer of Flour, Mill and Feed.
The Business Directory given for Lumberville (later Arena) in the old Atlas of Delaware County for year 1869 is asfollows:
Conklin, N. E., Proprietor of Lumberville Hotel. Main Street. Haddow, W. A., Wagon Ironer and General Blacksmithing. Pleasant Street. Haddow, R. E., Dealer in Groceries. Pleasant Street. Mead, V. P., Manufacturer of Wagons, Carriages, Sleighs. Pleasant Street. Sines, L. & Co., Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, General Merchandise. Main Street. Tompkins, N., Manufacturer of Lumber; also Builder. Pleasant Street.
With the coming of the automobile and the passing of the boarding-house business as in days gone by, "tourist homes" sprang up in the village and many others, along much traveled roads. There are several tourist homes in our village.
In late years "motels" have become the leading places for tourists. Many motels are very modern and beautiful. The one nearest our village is "The Valli-Hi Inn and Motel" at nearby Dunraven operated by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Sedorowitz. Another one is planned to be built just above the village on the Margaretville-Arkville Road by "Dutch" Merritt.
The largest inn near our village is "Kass' Inn," a short distance above the village. It has become a very well-known inn through the years since Mr. Kass began operating. In the beginning it was a farm home and was bought by Mr. Kass forty-three years ago. The location is ideal for summer guests, with spacious grounds, a pretty pond near the Inn, and the largest and best kept golf course in this area. A large swimming pool is built near the back of the Inn. The Rotary Club holds its meetings at the Inn and dinner is served for the Club members. The seating capacity of the spacious dining rooms is between four and five hundred. Wedding receptions, dances, large political gatherings, and many other events take place there. The Kasses have two daughters, who have married, and the families are connected with the business. Each has built a beautiful modern home across from the Inn. The Inn has been enlarged from time to time, and more room needed for guests is in surrounding homes nearby that Mr. Kass has bought and remodeled. A little colony has sprung up around the Inn. Many skiers are taken care of in the winter on weekends of good skiing.
Dances are held in the ballroom most weekends during the year. At night the place is so brilliantly lighted that, passing by, one would think they were nearing the big city of New York. This year (1960) Kass Inn, Inc., has started an eight-unit motel located west of the main inn. It is expected to be completed in July.
In 1946 the upper section of the old Fair Grounds was used as a landing field. A hangar was built to house two planes. The first plane used was an Aeronca. Dr. Gilbert M. Palen later owned a Stinson plane. Local men to obtain a pilot license were Dr. G. M. Palen and Dr. William Kavanaugh. "Doug" White of Roxbury was also a licensed pilot and did considerable did considerable flying in this section. They were instructed to fly by a Mr. Rose of Oneonta. Later "Dutch" Merritt was bitten by the "flying bug" but he never became a licensed pilot. At that time "Margaretville," in large white letters, was painted on the roof of Olympic Hall, the present Dugan & Taber feed store, for information for flyers not familiar with the village they were passing over.
Archeologists find evidence of Indian life on all sides. Many valuable and interesting relics of Indian usage have been discovered on the site of the ancient village of Pakatakan. A short distance from the site of Pakatakan back of Arkville Village is a cave which was explored a few years ago, and very valuable relics dating back at least five hundred years were unearthed. Near where Union Grove Village was located were remains of earth works of Indian origin. It is now covered by the waters of the Pepacton Reservoir. A banner stone in the shape of a turtle, once carried atop a pole at the head of a ceremonial procession, was found while plowing on a farm near Balsam Lake. From the cave at Arkville were taken out one hundred different pieces - pottery, flint knives, a soapstone-scraper, drills, a crude stone hammer, a pestle for grinding corn, and other relics. Indian arrows and spear tips are found in many places in this area. Several people in this area have large collections of the Indian relics. In 1949 Willard Sanford of this village took a piece of stone from the site of the ancient Indian village of Pakatakan, near Arkville, and it was sent by express to the Lightner Museum at St. Augustine, Florida. The stone was to be engraved with the name of the donor and the site from which it was taken and was to be inserted into a stone bridge being built near the museum. The bridge was to be made up of stones from each battlefield or historical site in the United States.
Since so many changes came to our little village with construction of the Downsville Dam and Pepacton Reservoir for New York City water supply, I am including some facts about it in this history.
The contract for the Diversion Tunnel, Coffer Dam for stream control, and the cut-off wall for Downsville Dam was awarded November 18, 1947. Work began November 28, 1947, and was completed July 26, 1950. Four villages were submerged - Arena, Union Grove, Shavertown, and Pepacton. Ten cemeteries were removed. Permanent population displaced was 934.
The maximum height of the dam above river bed is 204 feet. The length of dam at elevation is 2450 feet. Storage capacity of the reservoir is 147 billion gallons. The length of the reservoir is 18.5 miles and the watershed area is 372 square miles. The elevation of the Coffer Dam diversion tunnel cut-off wall across the valley is 1130 feet; 559,756 cubic yards of concrete were used in the cut-off wall. The finished diversion tunnel measured 40 feet in diameter. The length is 2155 feet and the capacity, 40,000 gallons.
Our little village lost a great deal of trade from the villages that were destroyed with the building of the Pepacton Reservoir. We gained a sewer system for the village. A large disposal plant is built on the flats below the village that were formerly part of the old Fair Grounds. The disposal plant was finished and ready for operation in the fall of 1959.
There are still many homes to be connected up this spring.
The cost of the sewer plant was just under two million dollars. Twelve men are employed there. The village was in a deplorable condition over two years with the building of the sewer system, the relocating of water pipes, and the streets torn up. We hope we never have to live through another upheaval like that.
The Pepacton Reservoir is the largest reservoir built to supply New York City with water. It is 18.5 miles long. The Ashokan Reservoir is 12 miles long, and the Gilboa, 5.8 miles long. The final estimate for the Pepacton Reservoir was $12,099,846.95.
The Ashokan Reservoir took ten years to build, at a cost of 32 million dollars. With the building of this reservoir, seven villages were removed, 2,000 people displaced, eleven miles of railroad relocated, sixty miles of highways discontinued, and forty miles of new highway built. The aqueduct, which conducts water from this reservoir to New York City, is seventy-five miles long. The work was started in 1907 and completed in 1917. The entire work cost of the Ashokan Reservoir was $140,000,000.
Around 1940 a small library was opened in a room over the L. Bussy & Co. Store where Attorney Gleason Speenburgh now has his office. Mrs. Norris Bull (Lillian Bussy) was instrumental in getting it started. The present library was opened in 1952 in the brick extension of the Fire Hall building, formerly a section of the old high school. It is opened twice a week with all volunteer workers. Around five thousand books are cataloged.
Before the State law was passed prohibiting general sale of fireworks, the Fourth of July was a noisy day, from before dawn to late in the night. The older boys would start early with the larger fire crackers that sounded like cannons as they exploded and echoed in the mountains arousing everyone from their slumber All day long the noise continued. There were fire crackers of various size, torpedo caps to throw on the sidewalks, guns for cap shooting, canes for shooting caps, and the small size fire crackers strung together, which when lighting one, the others fired one after another. Good-size fire crackers were placed under tin cans and as they exploded, the can shot high in the air. Then came the evening display of fireworks - the sparklers, the pin wheels, shooting stars, rockets, and other more elaborate displays.
It was a great day for the youngsters, but a sigh of relief, when; the day was over, went up from the parents if no one had suffered powder burns or more serious injuries.
Village postmasters during the past fifty or more years have been: J. Henry Hitt, Dr. John Telford, J. Stanley Bussy, George E. Gladstone, Dr. C. C. Faulkner, Morgan Garrison, "Dutch" Walter Merritt, Emery Jenkins, Willis Marks and Richard Gavett, our present one.
Mayors of our village for fifty years or more have been: Harry Eckert, J. Stanley Bussy, Frank DeSilva, Emery Jenkins, Harold Finch, Howard Dairs and Ray Marks, our present one. Mr. Eckert was Mayor of the village at two different times.
Supervisors of Middletown for the past fifty years and more have been: The late Edward Dickson of Arena, the late Dr. John Telford Samuel Dugan, the late George Merritt, the late Seager George of Arkville, Norman Sanford of Dunraven, Dr. Reuben Smith, and our present one, James Cantwell of Fleischmanns. Samuel Dugan served at two different periods as Super visor, serving seventeen years altogether.
We of the older generation have lived through a period of three wars, or two wars and the Korean conflict. During the period of the first and second world wars, food, especially meat, coffee and sugar, also gasoline and fuel oil, were rationed or conserved. Ration books were issued for the food that was rationed. An auto use stamp costing five dollars was issued for gasoline, and it was necessary to have one of these in order to obtain gasoline. All pleasure driving was restricted with gasoline rationing.
In 1942 an air-spotting post was operated by volunteer townspeople. The observation post was on the village ball park.
Several drives were put on to buy War Bonds, and a house-to-house canvass was made in 1942 to reach a certain quota.
Black-out tests were held, the signal for them being a certain number of blasts of the siren on the Fire House. Air raid wardens saw to it that the black-out was properly carried out. Scrap drives were held with collection of scrap iron, news papers, and magazines. The local Boy Scout troops aided with the drive for collecting newspapers and magazines. Victory war gardens were also planted during the wars, and much canning of food was done at that time. The local Red Cross Society was very active during the wars making surgical dressings, rolling bandages, and making hospital garments. All material was turned in to the National Red Cross. Many others were busy knitting sweaters and wool socks for the boys in service. With the wars came the tragic news of the supreme sacrifice of loved ones. Local boys of our village to lose their lives in service were as follows: Lieut. Donald Baker, a bomber pilot, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Baker, was killed in a plane crash in Mississippi in 1941. He enlisted on July 23, 1941. Cpl. Frederick Myers, a radio operator, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Myers, died when a bomber crashed in the Caribbean Sea in 1941. Cpl. Harry W. Franks, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Franks, joined the Army in 1941. He was killed in action in Africa February 14, 1943. First Lieut. Roland Hill, Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Roland Hill, was killed December 27, 1942, on a bombing mission over Northern Burma. He was acting as lead navigator. Lieut. Hill had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and was as awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star posthumously. Everett Paine, a paratrooper, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Paine, was killed in action in France in 1943. His death June 7th was on the day following the Invasion. Everett was the sixth Margaretville Central schoolboy to give his life in the war. No other Delaware County village had been hit so hard. Lieut. Barnet, who lived in the village with his grandparents, Rose and Albert Barrett, was killed in an Army plane crash at Missouri when flying from New England to Texas.
Private First-Class Donald R. Douglas, son of Ruth Decker, who lived in the village with his grandparents, the late Charles and Mrs. Viola Gavett, was killed in Germany April 8, 1945. He was with the Engineers.
Pvt. Fred Donaldson Swart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Swart of Poughkeepsie, died March 20, 1952, from wounds received in the Korean conflict. He had spent all but the last ten years of his life in Margaretville. His father was a native of this village. Pvt. Swart was with the 7th Infantry Division, a member of a tank company, attached to the 3rd Regiment.
Other boys from nearby, who lost their lives in the war were Pvt. William Todd, who was killed in the Philippines, and Lieut William Monroe of Fleischmanns son of Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Monroe, now of Roxbury. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on December 27, 1940 and was killed in action in England November 30, 1943.
Jet Pilot Thomas K. Smith of the U. S. Air Force, son of Dr. Reuben E. Smith and the late Polly Smith, was killed in Germany November, 1954. At the time of his death he was a fighter pilot with the Tenth Fighter Bomber Squadron working out of the Hahn Air Base in Germany.
Staff Sgt. Marshall Stoutenburgh, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Stoutenburgh of Kelly Corners, and James Cantwell, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Cantwell of Roxbury, were both held prisoners of war in Japan and survived the infamous "Death March" from Bataan to Camp Odaro. The two boys enlisted together on January 12, 1940, nearly two years before Pearl Harbor. On the Death March they received no food for seven days, and Marshall was delirious at the end of the journey. His weight shrunk from 200 to 121 pounds. When he returned home, he was still suffering from beri-beri, a disease caused by a diet deficiency. Marshall was released in January, 1945. James' health was better through the prison term. He was not released until a later date. Then he returned to his Roxbury home. He was held three and one-half years as prisoner of the Japs.
The first world war ended in 1918 lasting from 1914. The surrender of Bataan came April 9, 1942. The year 1945 marked the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. Gas rationing ended then and other war-time restrictions were lifted. The Korean conflict began in June 1950. The long-awaited Korean armistice was signed Sunday, July 26, 1953, halting three years and one month of undeclared war. More than 3,000 American prisoners awaited freedom after the armistice was signed. The American Legion, Middletown Township Post No. 216, was organized shortly after the close of World War I. The first meeting for which there are recorded minutes was on September 24, 1919.
The charter members of Post No. 216 (year 1919-1920) were the following.
J. S. Bussy R. W. Marks Marcus Korn Loren H. Hubbell Harvey Andrus W. K. Reynolds Edward J. Kittle Gordon Adee Ray Kittle Howard Henderson Ernest Gavett Clifton B. Hitt Austin Stewart Harold Smith Ralph George Reginald Todd Louis McFarland Ralph Eignor Harry Hubbell Frank DeSilva John Hubbell Howard Sanford W. E. Truesdell Harry Halcott Hanford Hull Winton Ruff Albert E. Morse Clifton Henderson Francis H. Sanford Lorenzo Brezee Ralph Mungle
The present charter of Middletown Township Post No. 216 is dated April 15, 1929.
Commanders of the Post and the years served are as follows:
1919-20 Ralph Mungle 1921- Marcus Korn 1922- J. Stanley Bussy 1923- E. W. Walker 1924-25 Reuben Smith 1926- John Hubbell 1927- Winton Ruff 1928- Arthur Hill 1929- 1930- Frank DeSilva 1931- Laurence Weber 1932- George Barrett 1933- Ralph Reed 1934- Reginald Todd 1935- Waldron Dumond 1936- Ivan Cairns 1937- William Miller 1938- Lewis Low 1939- Scott Clark 1940- Herman Wickham 1941- Morgan Garrison 1942- Reid Webster 1943- Harold Smith 1944- L. L. Woolheater 1945- Claude Kelly 1946- Harold Finch 1947- Richard Bunting 1948- Willis Marks, 8 months 1948- Douglas Sweetland 1949- Donald Neff, 9 months 1949- Harold Finc, 3 months 1950- Harold Davidson 1951- Herman Godfried 1952- James Cantwell 1953- John Baird 1954- Francis Sweeney 1955- William Hubbell 1956- Edward Meister 1957- Robert Hill 1958- Thomas Smith 1959- Walter Odell
Before the Post bought its present Legion House on upper Main Street, meetings were held over Edmund's garage (now Ladenheims and in the Fire Hall on Church Street. There are at present in May, 1960, 200 members of Post No. 216.
Delaware County American Legions now have 1,130 members, which moves Delaware County Legions into second place in the District and sixth place in the State.
The following is to bring earlier history, of our school, hospital and Fire Department up to date.
The fire company of our village has greatly increased in efficiency since early days. There are now seventy-five members of the fire department. The department covers most of the area, including small settlements outside of the Middletown fire district. There are three large pumper trucks. One is for use in the village and two for use in the district. Also there is a general purpose truck or an emergency truck that can be used as an ambulance. Two of the three trucks are equipped with two-way radios which are controlled from Delhi, N. Y. The trucks are housed in the fire hall, formerly the old Margaretville High School built in 1907 on Church Street. A loud siren controlled from the local telephone office warns of a fire.
The farms and residences about the country are numbered, so that the firemen know at once the location of a fire. Present Fire Chief is Roy Saxhauer. James Sanford is fire coordinator for this district. Mr. Sanford for several years taught first-aid classes in connection with the fire department.
Our school is a most essential part of our little village. The information about it is for this year (1960): The first Principal in the Margaretville Central School, built in 1939, was Hon. E. F. S. Shaver. He has continued and is still Principal in 1960. His salary is at present $10,000.00.
The number of pupils attending school from the village is 165 and from the surrounding area 425. These pupils are brought to the school by the operation of ten school buses. School bus supervisor is Mr. Reid Webster, and the mechanic for the buses is Mr. Irvin Eckert.
Janitors of the school at present are Mr. Lionel Mead, Mr. John Reside, and Mr. Frank Trowbridge.
The number of teachers in the school is forty. The salary of the highest paid teacher is $6,500.
The largest graduation class was in the year 1939 when forty students graduated.
The school band is composed of forty-six pupils, and there are thirty in the school chorus.
School activities and sports are baseball, basketball, soccer, The Keyhole, Log, and Student Association.
An evening adult class is taught in art. A driver-training course is taught by Mr. Thomas Matalavage. A dual control car is used and is owned by the school.
Our school was built in 1939 at a cost of $500,000. The Federal Government paid $281,000 of this amount.
With a young surgeon, Dr. Gordon B. Mauer, in our midst, who was struggling so hard on his own to bring modern facilities for the sick to our little village, it became apparent that the community should be more interested. A meeting of a few leading citizens with Dr. Maurer was held in September 1930.
On October 21st, 1930 incorporation papers were signed by the State Welfare Institution. A hospital drive was put on. This was conducted by professionals and $16,000 was raised. The farm home in West End of the late Sinclair Archibald, then owned by Dr. H. J. Gladstone, was purchased for $10,000. The front section of the hospital is the former farm home. A nearby older farm house, or tenant house, was converted into a nurses' home. Many in the community gave freely of their time and money during the Hospital Drive.
The late Sam Bluestone was a faithful worker for the project, helping with the annual hospital benefit balls that were put on in early days. Father Barry was another diligent worker for the cause. The hospital was first opened for patients on January 13, 1931.
It is unfortunate that the late Dr. Gordon B. Maurer could not live to see our present-day hospital. A first addition was added in 1943-1944 and a second one in 1946-1947. An Otis elevator was installed in 1947 in conjunction with the addition of the latest wing. Six physicians are now on the active medical staff. The present bed capacity is forty. Average number of patients per day in 1959 was twenty-three.
The offices of Dr. Gilbert M. Palen and Dr. C. Ray Huggins were installed in a first-floor wing of the hospital in 1959.
The hospital has an excellent X-ray department. The Roentgenologist is Dr. William C. Gallo. Miss Ruth Sanford is a registered X-ray technician and has been there since 1942. There is one assistant technician in training for registration.
A 220 KV X-ray therapy machine was installed in 1955 and a 200 MA X-ray diagnostic machine installed in 1958. There is one registered laboratory technician, Miss Ruth Dickman, and one assistant lab technicians "Hal" Church.
On the hospital office staff there is one administrator, Mr. Donald Roberts, following Mr. Harry Eckert who had held that position for seventeen years resigning in June 1959 on account of failing eyesight. There is one credit manager, Mr. William Hubbell, and three business office girls.
There is a three-bed Pediatric ward. The Obstetrical wing has five private rooms and one two-bed semi-private. There is a two-bed labor room and a large delivery room. The nursery has a capacity of six bassinets. A formula preparation room and facilities were added in 1954.
On the main floor, near the ambulance entrance, is an emergency room and room where fracture work is done. This was added in 1954.
Mrs. Ruth Church is in charge of the record room. Four helpers work in the large modern kitchen. Mrs. "Peg" Mead has been a faithful worker in the kitchen, this being her seventeenth year.
A hospital has been a wonderful and much needed addition to our little village. One great need for it is seen on a winter week end when thousands of skiers are in our section. This is to take care of the many skiing accidents.
The first baby born in the Hospital was Clark Tyler, who now lives in Michigan. The first Board Members of the Hospital were: C. M. Kelly, H. Valente Carrere, Martha Sanford, Nelson Kelly, Rev. Marion E. Combs, Father Barry, Albert Rosa, George H. Patrick, and P. O. Hess.
There have been numerous Supervisors or head nurses at the hospital since it started, some of them were: Miss Mary Gorman, Mrs. Oril Lunn, Mrs. Bruce Kilpatrick, Miss Margaret Kilpatrick, Mrs. Mildred Alexander and, at present, Mrs. Norma Burgin.
The Ladies' Auxiliary renders invaluable service in sewing and mending. In 1947 a "Grey Lady" Corps was started. This is a volunteer organization sponsored by the American Red Cross. Mrs. Grace Dugan is chairman of the Grey Ladies.
The service station, most centrally located in the village, is the "Esso" Station on Main Street operated now by Burton Jenkins. It occupies a portion of the lot where the Pocantico Inn was located.
Andre's garage and service station is located on Bridge Street near the entrance of the village from the east. Mr. Andre purchased the business from Earl Jenkins in 1954 when Mr. Jenkins retired. The Delaware Valley Oil Co., Inc., and Gulf Service Station, built and operated by Leyden Smith and his son Thomas, is also on Bridge Street. It had been built about a year when, in 1950, it was badly damaged by a flood, but repairs were soon made.
Davidson's large service station on lower Main Street was built in 1955. It occupies the site of the early mansion of Dr. O. M. Allaben, later known as the "Bee Hive." "Emil's Service Station" is at the south entrance to the village on lower Main Street.
When the late Dr. C. C. Holcomb purchased the old Laidlow house on upper Main Street, he converted the home into three apartments and a service station. The station is now not operated.
Insurance offices in our village include Close & Sluiter on Main Street in the Week's Building. This was operated many years earlier by Mr. Arthur Close but not in the same location. It is now operated by Mr. Sluiter. The H. J. Miller Insurance Agency was operated many years by the late Harry Miller, now by Walton Heley. It is located in the Pereira Building on Main Street. The Archibald Insurance Agency, operated earlier by the late John Archibald now by Herman Wickham, is located on Main Street over the Christian Drug Store. Frederick W.
Numann's insurance office is located on Bridge Street.
Margaretville Electric and Gas Co. on upper Main Street is operated by William Sperling.
The Granite Shop is operated by LeRoy Monroe on Maple Street near his home.
Smith's plumbing, heating and electrical supply store is operated by Harold Smith and located on the corner of Maple and Main Street. A garage operated by Arthur Soderlind is located on East Main Street.
The Royal Tailors and Cleaners Shop is in the upper Main Street block in the concrete block building built earlier by Edward Muller and occupied by him as a bakery.
The Sigrist Liquor Store is in the O'Connor building on Main Street; it was operated before Mr. Sigrist by Mr. Louis Levy. Earlier, for many years, the jewelry store of the late Don Stewart was located there.
The Pereiras operate a bake shop in their building on Main Street opposite Bussy's Supermarket.
"Weeks' Hardware Store" is the large store on Main Street that from early days has always been a hardware store. Mr. Weeks also owns the next building above his main store and this summer expects to make the two stores in one, modernize, and put a new front on the building.
The brick building, that is now Jo Christian's drug store, on the corner of Main and Walnut Streets, occupies a section of the location of the early "Ackerly House" and later the Pocantico Inn. It was built by Waldo Parson and there Mr. Parson operated a drugstore for several years before he sold to Mr. Christian. In the other side of the building Mr. Marsico operates a department store. Over the store, an office is occupied by Dr. William Kavanaugh, a dentist. Wickham's insurance office and one apartment are also on the second floor.
Bussy's Supermarket in later years purchased the lot next to their market and made it into a parking space. The lot formerly belonged to the Tom Winter residence back of the Bussy store which is now occupied by LeRoy Scott. In early days on the lot was always a well kept vegetable garden of the Winters. At that time the lot was fenced along Main Street.
The Dick Miller Drugstore occupies the site of the first early drugstore in the village. It is in the O'Connor Building. It was operated by the O'Connors for sixty-six years. Then it was operated a number of years by Arthur Kelly who later sold the business to Mr. Miller on May 1st, 1956.
The Roy Scott furniture store occupies two buildings. The lower store was the early establishment of the late Charles Gorsch who operated on undertaking and furniture business. After Mr. Charles Gorsch, his son Hugo operated the business for many years. Then Kevida Holmes from Walton bought the business. Later Mr. N. L. Lattin owned and operated it for a number of years. Mr. Lattin sold to Mr. Everett Herrick and Mr. Eglinger. They dissolved partnership and Mr. Herrick sold the furniture end of the business to Mr. Scott but retained the undertaking business. He bought the large house on Walnut Street, known for many years as the Noah Olmstead home, where he lives and conducts a funeral home.
Otis Whitney operates a garage on lower Main Street and lives in a new apartment recently made over his garage. The Whitneys moved here from Arkville.
The G. L. F. Service is located below the East entrance to the village. The old Delaware & Eastern Railroad Station and freight house are used as some of their buildings.
The Fairbairn Lumber Corp. is located on the South Side road below the village.
Tourist homes in the village are operated by Mrs. Marguerite Van Benschoten on lower Main Street, and one known as "The Play House" is operated by Miss Jane Ackerly and Miss Viola Sowers, also on lower Main Street. Miss Ackerly is a relative of one of the earlier settlers of the village who built the "Ackerly House" and is one of our oldest residents in 1960. Mrs. Squires operates a tourist home on upper Main Street in the village.
The first A & P. store in the village was opened in the Hubbell Building on Bridge Street. The late Mr. and Mrs. Elliott, parents of "Chick" Elliott of the village, were managers. Then the store was moved to the present Jo Christian Building where at present Mr. Marciso operates a department store. Later it was moved across the street to the Masonic Building where it is now operated. Mr. and Mrs. Herman Veit, moving to the village from Oxford, N. Y., have been the managers of the store since it moved from its first location.
The large building on the Margaretville-Arkville road that was constructed by Donald Stoutenburgh and Sam Craft and operated as "Stout-Craft," a garage and car sales service, is now the Middletown town building The office of the town clerk is located there. Mrs. Sarah Hull is the present town clerk. Joseph Langsfeld, a native of Vienna, Austria, once practiced his ancient art as a silversmith in a little workshop on Maple Street at the rear of his home. His shop was the early office of Dr. Banker, one of the early physicians in the village. With the machine age, the art of a silversmith is fast disappearing. The large building to house the Victory Store Market was built on lower Main Street in 1958. The early Gorsch home and the Clute home were removed to make space for the store and parking lot. Present-day lawyers in our village are Attorney Donald Fenton and his mother, Mabel D. Fenton, who both have offices in the O'Connor Building on Main Street on the second floor; Attorney Layman Snyder whose office is over the Weeks' Hardware Store on Main Street; Attorney Gleason Speenburgh has his office over the Bussy Supermarket; and Attorney Herman Godfried, whose office is in the Masonic Building, over the A. & P. Store.
Our section, though failing in later years to be a thriving dairy section, is fast becoming a great playground and resort area during all seasons of the year. Spring brings the trout fishing. In summer the Catskills offer many attractions. It has warm days and cool nights for comfort. It is one of the greatest scenic areas of the State. Large areas are State-owned parks and forest preserves and many State picnic areas and camp sites are developed. Within a radius of seventy-five miles of the village of Margaretville are the following interesting places to visit: there are the Old Fort at Schoharie, Howe Caverns near Cobleskill; Pratt's rocks and picnic area near Prattsville; the Jay Gould Memorial Church at Roxbury; "Woodchuck Lodge," the home of the great naturalist-poet John Burroughs; Boyhood Rock, memorial field and burial place of Burroughs on the Hardscrabble road above Roxbury and a fine view from there of Montgomery Hollow.
There is the Old Forge in Dry Brook and the old covered bridge nearby. There is the State-built "Belleayre Ski Center" between High Mount and Fleischmanns with the only chair lift in the state. It is operated in the summer season and an excellent picnic area is laid out on top of the mountain. There is a marvelous panoramic view from the chair lift and the summit of the mountain. There are the Catskill Game Farm near Catskill, N. Y. and Mt. Ulsayantha near Stamford.
Historical Cooperstown is the home of baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum located there, also the Farmers Museum.
The village borders on beautiful Otsego lake. There is Palenville Mountain Lookout and "Bridal Veil" Falls, the scenic Rip Van Winkle Trail. The trip over Palenville Mountain is the most beautiful ride to be found anywhere in the East.
The "Devil's Tombstone" camp site derives its name from a boulder of peculiar shape in the vicinity. From this camp site Route 28 takes you through the scenic Stoney Cove. The camp site is located at the southerly entrance to the Cove.
The large State park camp site and picnic area at North Lake is surrounded by virgin spruce forests. This camp site has been greatly developed in the past few years. It is three miles north of Haines Falls. There are many marked trails for hiking in this area of the Catskills. A separate area at North Lake camp site accommodates house trailers Campers at North Lake camp site pitch their tents near the spot where Rip Van Winkle slept his monumental sleep. There is the interesting state fish hatchery at DeBruce.
The well developed Beaverkill camp site is on the stream of the same name. There is fishing for the public in several miles of this stream owned by the State. It is one of the most noted trout streams of the East. One of the picturesque old covered bridges is located at the camp site.
There is the Woodland Valley camp site; Slide Mountain, the highest of the Catskill peaks, rises from this valley. Its elevation is 4,240 feet. It was one of the favorite spots of the great naturalist John Burroughs; a trail which he traveled from the valley to the summit of Slide Mountain is commemorated by a bronze tablet set in a rock near the summit.
There is the Artist Colony at Woodstock and the beautiful mountain panorama in that section. Woodstock is famed as the most popular "Art Colony" of the eastern states.
Overlook Mountain near the village has an elevation of 2,500 fret.
There is the trip around Ashokan Reservoir and the aerating plant connected with the reservoir. It is second in size of reservoirs to supply New York City with water.
The Old Senate House, built in 1676, is at Kingston, and a museum nearby. Many historical markers are around the city.
The very early Dutch Reformed Church and graveyard are right in the center of the uptown business district. The old Dutch Church charter dates back to 1719.
The Stone house built in 1700 at 97 Wall Street was the only home left standing when the British burned down the town in 1779. It has undergone many changes since that date. A second story was added as well as back and side wings and a terrace in the back.
There is the drive around Gilboa Reservoir and the petrified forest display there that was unearthed with the building of the reservoir. These petrified trees are claimed by geologists to be the oldest ever to be discovered. The approximate age is fixed at 3,000 million years and the oldest known forests in the world.
There is East Windham and the great expanse of view from the lookout there. On a clear day it is possible to see seven different states and the Hudson River.
About sixteen miles from our village there is beautiful Perch Lake located on top of a mountain. It is a natural lake of which the Catskills have few. It covers sixty acres. Mountain laurel and rhododendron grow near the lake. It is surrounded by private camps and two large camps for boys and girls, "Camp Oquago" and "Camp Pakatakan."
The beautiful scenic drive around Pepacton Reservoir, the largest of the reservoirs to supply New York City with water, is around ninety miles. Several nearby ski slopes have been developed for winter sports. The large State-owned ski center called "Bellayre Ski Center" is nearest to our village. It attracts thousands on a week end when skiing conditions are favorable; 130,000 skiers jammed the lifts and trails during the ninety days of skiing this season-- 1960. The season closed this year on April 2nd. It is the only ski center in New York State with a chair lift. The nearby "Bellayre Mountain Ski Center" was opened early in 1950. The summit elevation is 3,325 feet. In addition to the chair lift, there are two T-Bar lifts available for uphill transportation. The huge log lodge at the foot of the chair lift has a lounge, cafeteria, and rest rooms. It is opened summer and winter. The lift operates through the summer to reach the picnic area with open fireplaces, tables and benches. The lift also extends operation into the period of the brilliant fall foliage. A summit shelter has large picture windows, a fireplace, and cafeteria facilities. From the summit, a magnificent panorama of the Catskill area is visible. Greater development is greatly needed at "Bellayre Ski Center" to take care of the increasing numbers that come on holidays and week ends.
Since the Bellayre Ski Lodge has been built, annual sunrise services for community Protestant churches have been held at the Lodge at six a.m. on Easter Sunday mornings.
With the building of the Thruway our village is but a two-to-three-hour drive from New York City.
Skiing has brought good business to our village and surrounding area in the winter months. Besides the "Bellayre Mountain Ski Center," the Jay H. Simpson Memorial Ski Slope is also maintained by the Conservation Department. It is at nearby Phoenicia at the mouth of Woodland Valley. The land on which this slope is located was a gift to the State from members of the Simpson family.
"Toe Path Mountain Camp Site" is a new development located on Route 30, five miles south of the village of Middleburgh in the heart of the scenic and historic Schoharie Valley. It is near scenic Bouck's Falls on the Pantherkill. There is excellent fishing nearby in Schoharie Creek. Picnic facilities, a softball field, and horseshoe courts were available at "Toe Path" for the beginning of the season 1959, and camp sites were ready about midseason.
The past few decades have seen a rapid development in means of access to the mountain regions, and what was once a trackless forest is cut by a network of roads and trails that reaches most of the major peaks in the mountains.
The Catskill regions offer excellent opportunities for camping and enjoyment of life in the open. The Catskill Park includes 657,000 acres of which the State owns 227,091 acres. The scenery in all parts of the Catskill Mountains is unsurpassed throughout the State. Besides the many State Camp Sites that are developed, there are many marked trails for hiking in the Catskills and many open camps or leantos located on the "Central Catskill Trails" at logical overnight stopping points.
On the extreme high slopes of the Catskills balsam has taken the place of the early hemlock with the exception of a mile square stand of virgin spruce lying between Cornell and Slide Mountains, and through which the Whittenberg-Cornell Slide trail passes. The Catskill region is a land of picturesque waterfalls. A lovely one is on the Margaretville-Andes road at nearby Dun raven called "Canada Hollow Falls." It is to be regretted that a State picnic area was not early developed at this lovely spot before it was spoiled with nearby buildings.
In 1960 a "now or never" program was to he promoted to have more facilities in the Catskills for sports and enjoyment. Commissioner Wilm's report calls for the State acquisition of 67,000 more acres of land by 1965 and 22,000 more by 1975. This would permit seventy two new camp sites in the forest preserve and thirty-four outside. The State would acquire 400 miles more of public fishing streams by 1965 and 800 miles more by 1976. These, together with 853 now held, would give unlimited access to more than 2,000 miles of public fishing streams.
"Ye Olde Delaware Inn" at Stamford, N. Y., dates back to the 1700's. It was first known as the "Delaware House." History relates that in 1876 a stable was located near the hotel. A school was located nearby and a law office was built in 1870. Also nearby is the site of a cemetery. Excavations made found traces of the early cemetery but no records of date of those buried there. The school was in existence as early as 1821 at this location.
The Stamford Chamber of Commerce is embarking on a program to re-develop Mt. Utsayantha. The peak of the mountain is 3,365 feet above sea level. It is a trip of three miles from the village. Tourists from all parts of the world have visited the sightly place as well as the grave on the road up the mountain of the legendary maiden Utsayantha. The early development was by Col. R. W. Rulliffson. In 1882 a tower was erected on the extreme summit and a carriage road graded to the tower. A formal opening to the public with a basket picnic was on August 19, 1882. At a later date the road was graded for automobile travel and widened for passing. The property is now owned by the village. A mile from the base of the mountain, on the outskirts of Stamford Village, is a little lake named Utsayantha in honor of the Indian princess whose father's wigwam stood on its shore. The name Utsayantha means "beautiful spring" in the Indian language.
With the destruction of the village of Arena and the Advent Christian Church that was located in that village, a property in Margaretville was purchased. This was the property on the corner of East Orchard and Maple Streets, early known as the J. H. Hitt home and later as the Jacob Trylone home. This became the parsonage of the Advent minister. And the first Advent Church services were held in the parsonage. In a lot below the parsonage on Maple Street the new Advent Church was erected. Rev. C. William Bailey was at that time the minister. He drew up the plans for the new church and did a great deal of the labor in its construction along with other volunteer laymen of the church. The large bell erected at the front of the church is from the Shavertown Advent Christian Church, that also had to be destroyed when the village went. Mr. Bailey served as minister at the Advent Church for nine years, first at Arena and then in this village. In 1956 Mr. Bailey received a call to teach English at the Margaretville Central School and another minister Rev. Larcombe was chosen for the village church. For the past two years Mr. Bailey has been taking a course at Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City. Mr. Bailey has been active in the village as assistant chief of the Fire Department, a member of the village board, and at one time was a driver of one of the school buses. After leaving the ministry, he bought the large home of Charlotte Sanford on Orchard Street and moved there with his family. A History of the Methodist Church:--In 1794 the "Delaware" circuit appears in conference minutes for the first time. The circuit riders were ministers who traveled about on horseback in early days to preach in settlements or to groups of people where no churches were yet established. One of the outstanding 8 circuit riders of Methodism in Colonial days was Freeborn Garrettson, who, in 1793, married Miss Catherine Livingston of Rhinebeck, N. Y. She was one of Chancellor Livingston's daughters, a sister of Margaret, for whom Margaretville was 8 named. Catherine owned about 20,000 acres of land between Mount Pakatakan and the Roundout Valley, a part of the lots in the Livingston Patent. Garrettson was a preacher who where ever he found people made it an opportunity for preaching. It is likely that he encouraged the early circuit riders who traveled into this area. The "Delaware" Circuit became a part of the New York Conference in 1804. In 1830 the "Middletown" Circuit was set off from the "Delaware" Circuit; by 1836 the Circuit covered a vast area of the Western Catskills including communities now known as Hancock, Colchester, Andes, Shavertown, Millbrook, Dry Brook, Clovesville, Middletown, and Stone Schoolhouse (Dunraven).
In the fall of 1849 Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Decker moved to this community. Services at that time were being held in the little schoolhouse on Academy Street early known as the "Utilitarian" School and later as an "Academy." Services were held once a month. Mr. Decker liked the village very much but deplored the lack of any church in the community. It is almost certain that Mr. Decker would have urged the building of a church anyway, but perhaps matters were hastened by a painful experience which befell Mr. Decker while attending services one Sunday at the little schoolhouse. During the service he accidentally got a finger caught in a knothole in the slab seat. The minister hurriedly dismissed the service, a carpenter had to be called to saw the slab and release Mr. Decker. Immediately after this experience Mr. Decker began collecting contributions for starting a church. Dr. O. M. Allaben headed the list by giving one hundred dollars. Mr. Decker gave fifty dollars but later gave fifty more. The Methodist Episcopal Church in Margaretville was incorporated in 1850, and a church erected on Main Street was dedicated in 1851 with Russell Scott as the first minister. The original building is still in existence. It has been moved back from its Main Street location and for many years has served as a barn back of the Mrs. Elizabeth Rotermund home on Main Street. Looking at the building one may still observe the wide front door and the high window frames along the sides. In 1880 a new Methodist Church, the present one, was erected on Church Street and the parsonage built. The cornerstone of the new church was laid on the third day of June 1880. The first couple to be married in the new church was the late Mr. and Mrs. Agustus Boyes, parents of Grace and Susan Boyes now living on Swart Street in the village. In 1939 the Methodist Episcopal Church became the Methodist Church. The Ladies' Aid Society became the Woman's Society of Christian Service and the Epworth League became the Methodist Youth Fellowship. On June 19, 1949, the Methodist Church dedicated a new memorial pipe organ and chimes at a cost of a little over $5,000. Pastors of the Methodist Church for the past fifty years: Lincoln R. Long, 1906-1909 James Douglas, 1910-1913 Gilbert Fisher, 1914-1915 Earl Hubbard, 1915-1921 E. C. Tamblyn, 1922-1923 John S. Lull, 1924-1927 Robert C. Reynolds, 1928-1929 W. B. Chandler, 1930-1933 Wesley Gebhard, 1934-1936 Russell Young, 1937 D. B. Cordes, 1937-1942 Eugene L. Crabb, 1948-1956 Robert Gevert, 1956-1960 Rev. Truran, 1960 Organists in the Methodist Church in the past fifty-three years have been: Miss Fanny Jackson, Mrs. Mae Archibald, Mrs. Mabel Faulkner, who served for a ten-year period, and Mrs. Viola Place, who has been organist at three different times, the last period being twenty-five years. The Methodist Church has held an annual bazaar for many years. It is work done by members of the Woman's Society of : Christian Service. In years past the annual Sunday School picnic was looked for ward to by old and young. There were several picnic groves nearby, one called Dimmick's Grove was on the Dimmick farm at Dunraven; one, the Sanford Grove, also at Dunraven, was on property of the late Ziba Sanford; one at Denver is called Redmond's Grove. This last was an especially nice one; a foot bridge crossed the stream to reach the grove, near the old blacksmith shop of the late Sheffield Bellows. In the grove of hemlocks there were long tables and benches. High rope swings were always put up for picnic day. The smell of the hemlock trees, the sight of long tables laden with good food, and the appetites worked to pitch by the activities of the youngsters, made the picnic a great success. The children were taken in early days on a large hay load drawn by horses. An early start was necessary with the slow travel by horses and hay wagon. There were a lot of tired but happy children by the time they reached home at the end of a long day.
In late years the old picnic groves have disappeared, having been allowed to grow up with brush and seedlings. The State camp sites have taken their place for the Sunday School picnics; the one in the Beaverkill is generally used. Fishing and swimming are available there. The children of today are transported by automobile.
The Ladies' Aid Society of the Methodist Church was organized in 1880 with ten charter members. The Arkville Parish is at present served by the Margaretville pastor.
Many repairs and improvements have been made to the Methodist Church since its erection. The colored memorial windows at the sides of the church were given during the time that the Rev. Earl Hubbard was pastor. The beautiful round stained-glass window in the back of the church was given by Dr. William Decker in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George G. Decker.
The Margaretville Cemetery was opened during the 19th century under the sponsorship of G. G. Decker to aid expenses of the Methodist Church. He gave a piece of land for the cemetery; one-half of the proceeds for sale of lots was to go to Mr. Decker and one-half to the Methodist Church.
Graves were dug at that time for six dollars. Later, at a meeting of the village board, a proposition was made to have the village acquire the cemetery. In October 1918 a meeting was held by twenty-two plot owners and a vote was made to incorporate the cemetery. In June 1927 the board decided to build a vault at a cost of $3,000.
The First Presbyterian Church of Margaretville was organized October 27, 1891, in the following manner: Dr. J. H. Robinson of Delhi, Rev. J. H. Ralston of Hobart, Rev. Seeley, Elder J. K. Penfield and Elder Adam Scott from Delhi formed a committee appointed by the Presbytery to organize a church at Margaretville. The church building was erected in 1894 on Orchard Street. The following were elected as Elders of the church: Adam J. Scott, Daniel Waterbury, Sam I. P. Ives, and Edward Scharnikaw.
The Presbyterian parsonage was built around 1913. With exception of the old farmhouse on the extreme end of West Orchard Street, it was the first home to be erected past the present Hess home in that end of the village.
Pastors serving the church have been:
R. W. Blackburn, 1891 Charles G. Ellis, 1893 Conover S. Osborn, 1894 Frank B. Seeley, 1895 D. G. Lawson, 1897 N. E. Waldenhauer, 1900 Arthur W. Allen, 1902 D. J. Edwards, 1903 A. M. Forrester, 1906 C. C. Bramsby, 1903 F. L. Greene, 1917 G. W. Walker, 1922 P. Lewis Lloyd, 1930 Oliver W. Chapin, 1934 Charles T. Theal, 1944 Henry J. Stammer, 1949 John Earl Naegele, 1951 Arthur F. Kopp, 1959
The Episcopal Church in Margaretville was organized in 1927 by the Rev. Gerald V. Barry, Rector of St. James Church, Lake Delaware. Services were first held in 1927 in rooms in the Masonic Building, later in the Fire Hall, and then in the Chapel in the McIlroy home on Walnut Street (now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roswell Sanford). Mr. and Mrs. N. L. Lattin, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Bowls, Mrs. Frank Doolittle, Mr. Ralph Sterns, Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Walsh, Miss Agnes Walsh and Mrs. A. J. Williams were the organizing members. The present church building on Orchard Street was completed in the summer of 1931 and first services were held there on August 2, 1931. St. Margaret's Guild was formed in 1929. On October 14, 1941, the church was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. G. Ashton Oldham, D.D., Bishop of Albany. The Chapel was dedicated to Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland. The first resident priest was Rev. Paul Hartzell, in December 1928. Father Hartzell was succeeded by the Rev. Donald Pierce in October 1929. When the new church was built in 1931, Rev. Alonzo Wood began his duties as Priest-in-Charge. In 1937 Father Wood was replaced by Rev. Herman J. Smith until 1942.
Priests who have served since 1942 are: The Rev. Archie Drake, 1942-43; Rev. K. F. Arnold, 1943-45; Rev. William J. Shane, 1945; Rev. Noel P. Conlon, 1945-47; Rev. Gerald K. Lows, 1947-53, and Rev. Thomas G. Chase, 1953-56. The present Priest-in-Charge is Rev. R. L. Donahue.
One of our earlier day doctors, Dr. Charles S. Allaben, Sr., started out hurriedly to make a professional call on Hubbell Hill. At a curve at the upper end of the village, near the present-day home of Howard Davis, the Doctor's automobile skidded and turned turtle, pinning the doctor underneath. His injuries resulted a few days later in his death at age sixty-two.
A story is told about the doctor who started, one winter's night, to make a sick call in an isolated section of Kelly Hollow. He drove his horse and sleigh as far as possible on the drifted roads, then left his horse in a farmer's barn, and continued from there on snowshoes. He lost his way and came out on a wrong ridge. Being near exhaustion, he was put up for the night at a farm home and continued when daybreak came on his way to make the sick call. This is just one example of the rugged life of the early day "Family physician." Dr. John Telford was born in Franklin, August 26, 1864. He moved to Margaretville with his parents when his father, Rev. Telford, was pastor of the Methodist Church in the village. Both parents died when he was a small lad, and he was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Oziah Decker and reared as their son. After local schooling, he attended Kingston Academy and then took a prescribed course in the New York City Homoeopathic Medical College and Flower Hospital in New York City. He was admitted to practice medicine in June of that year and came to Margaretville and continued for fifty years. He was a staunch Democrat of the old school. He was elected Supervisor of this township in 1906 and served several years. In 1912 he was nominated for the State Assembly and won the county election. He served as postmaster during the Wilson administration, joined the Masonic Lodge in 1897, and was master of the Lodge 1901-04. In 1904 he was made Deputy Grand Master of this Masonic district. He was also member of Delta Chapter R.A.M. at Stamford, of the Roundout Commandery at Kingston, and of Cypress Temple at Albany. He was married on November 27, 1906, to Helen Gorsch of this village.
Dr. Telford was an outstanding citizen in our village and county. He died suddenly in a New York City hotel on July 31, 1936.
Lincoln R. Long was born at Eminence, N. Y., February 3, 1861. His father, Joseph Long, died at Gettysburg while serving his country in the Civil War. Lincoln Long was left an orphan at four years of age when his mother died. His boyhood and youth were spent in the town of Jefferson, Schoharie County. With only the advantages of a rural school, he fitted himself for a teacher and taught at Young's Station in Sidney, N. Y. He continued his study while teaching and qualified for High School work and accepted the principalship of the Hancock High School and remained there seven years. While in Hancock, Mr. Long became deeply interested in religious work and took up theological studies in his leisure hours. He became a lay preacher of the Methodist Church and was admitted to the New York Methodist Conference. He resigned the principalship of Hancock School to become pastor of Callicoon Methodist Church and remained there four and one-half years.
On leaving Callicoon he was pastor of the New Paltz Methodist Church for a time. Feeling he had unfinished work in the schoolroom, he gave up the New Paltz Church to resume teaching and was principal of the Waldon High School for four years. He then accepted a call to Trinity Church at Kingston, N. Y. From Kingston he was assigned as pastor of the Margaretville Methodist Church. After the close of his pastorate he became Principal of the Margaretville High School for a year. He then accepted the Superintendency of this District, continuing in that field for six years. He was prevailed upon to enter the primary as a Republican candidate for member of Assembly in 1918. He won and was five times re-elected. This was an honor unique in the annals of Delaware County.
Loving the out-of-doors, he, on his retirement, bought a farm on a hillside in New Kingston, N. Y. He took up practical surveying and wrote historical sketches. Mr. Long was married in 1885 to Miss Philinda Young of Young's Station. Five children were born to them: the late Mrs. Courtney R. Sanford, Mrs. Hale Elliott, Mrs. James Elliott, the late Mrs. Alex Suter, 3 and Frank Long who recently moved to this village. James Henry Hitt was born at Union Grove, N. Y. His father was a lumberman and raftsman and took his son on many trips down the Delaware River by raft. When he was twenty-one, he came to Margaretville and secured employment in the store of Orson A. Swart. In 1885 he was taken in as partner and the store went under the name Swart and Hitt. He continued in the store thirty-two years. There was no bank in Margaretville at that time and Swart and Hitt were virtual bankers. Banking was done with the National Ulster County Bank at Kingston, N. Y.
When the Peoples National Bank was organized in the village, it began life in the office of the Swart and Hitt Store. When Mr. Hitt came to Margaretville the business part of the village was comprised of the store where he worked, the Ackerly Hotel, store of Thomas Winter, now the L. Bussy & Co., the establishment of Charles Gorsch, the first undertaker, now the LeRoy Scott Store, the Decker Hardware Store, and the early drugstore of E. L. O'Connor. Mr. Hitt sold his interest in the Swart and Hitt Store when he became postmaster, and the store then became Swart Mercantile Co. After seventeen years as postmaster, he purchased the insurance business of the late Thomas Winter. Later he sold to Close and Miller and became interested in real estate. Mr. Hitt was the leading figure in the organization of a Union Free School here in 1892. He became a member of the Board of Education and held that position forty-three years. He was President of the board for thirty years, retiring in 1936.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge for forty-six years and Master of the Lodge for three years. He was a staunch Republican.
Mr. Hitt was married in 1883 to Mary Burhans and two children were born to them, the late Clifton and Mrs. Pauline Stevens Burns now of Stamford, N. Y. Mr. Hitt was married the second time to Miss Bertha Hull. They were divorced, and his third marriage was to Miss Julia Bryant who now lives in Kingston, N. Y.
Emery Jenkins, although not a native of the village, lived here in latter years. He was born in Union Grove in 1867. In early life he had been in the lumbering business with his father and rafted lumber down the Delaware. His last trip was in 1895 at the age of twenty-eight years. He married and became a successful farmer. He also worked as a forest ranger. Before coming to Margaretville, he had operated a general store at Union Grove and a hardware store in Arena and in both villages had been postmaster. When he moved to Margaretville, he purchased the controlling interest in the village water company. He sold that in 1928. He served as Mayor of this village and also as postmaster for five years. He served as president of the village cemetery from its incorporation in 1938 until 1951. He joined the Masonic Lodge in 1892 and was one of the oldest members in his day.
Mr. Jenkins was twice married, first to Eliza Lynn and second to Mary Hess, widow of Frank McLain. He died November 26, 1955.
The late Harry Miller, born in Carbondale, Pa., came to this village with the building of the Delaware and Northern Railroad in 1905. He at first worked as assistant paymaster but later became freight clerk for the railroad. Around 1933 he resigned and went into the insurance business in partnership with Arthur Close with an office on the second floor of L. Bussy & Co. store. Later the partnership was dissolved and each continued in insurance. Harry added the branch office for distributing auto license plates for several years. He was active in village affairs and was secretary of the Masonic Lodge for thirty-one years, secretary-treasurer of Delaware Co. Past Masters Association, member of Royal Arch Masons, Rotary Club member, secretary of Margaretville Hospital Board, secretary of the First Presbyterian Church, and Town Clerk for twenty-five years.
Harry was married on October 10, 1910, to Pauline Miller. He passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 1953. Mrs. Miller passed away on Decoration Day May 30, 1960.
Mr. James J. Welch was born in Greenwich, N. Y. on June 28, 1874. He came to this village with the building of the Delaware and Northern Railroad. He was at first dispatcher and later superintendent of the railroad from 1911 to 1942.
On August 12, 1916, he married Mrs. Etta Easman who was a teacher in the village school. "Jim" was on the Central School Board when the new Margaretville Central School was built.
He was one of the directors on the board of the village bank for several years. Once he was President of the village and served a period as president of the Catskill Agricultural Society (The Margaretville Fair).
Mr. Welch passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 1956.
Dr. Smith W. Reed, Jr., was born August 2, 1879. A son of Dr. Smith Warren Reed and Frances DuMond Reed, a relative of the early DuMond settlers of our village, Smith, Jr. was a graduate of Margaretville High School, also a member of the Class of 1905 at the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery. He first began practice of dentistry in Lake Placid in 1905. He moved to Saranac Lake the following year and remained there until 1914. He was married in this village on September 13, 1910 to Margaret Jenkins who died here November 17, 1932.
Dr. Reed returned to this village following the death of his father, a physician, and practiced dentistry here until his retirement in 1955. He was a holder of a fifty-year membership pin in the Masonic Lodge of this village. He achieved considerable repute as an auctioneer in his later years. His last few years were spent with his son, Robert R. Reed, at Chateaugay, N. Y.
He died in 1958. A daughter, Mrs. Margaret Dryden of Copenhagen, N. Y., survived him.
Harry Eckert was born in 1882 in a log cabin at West Shokan, N. Y. (Harry says, "Abe Lincoln had nothing on him.") Harry's parents had built a new home, but it was destroyed by a fire, so they returned to a log cabin on the place shortly before Harry was born. Harry came to Margaretville with the building of the Delaware and Northern Railroad in 1905. He was at first oil boy on the railroad but later became assistant to J. J. Welch and served on the railroad until 1942. In 1942 he became connected with the Margaretville Hospital, first as bookkeeper and later as treasurer and assistant superintendent of the hospital. He served for seventeen years until forced to resign with failing eyesight.
He was twice Mayor of the village, served sixteen years on the village board, and served eight years on the Delaware County Equalization Commission (this work is now done by the State). He was Treasurer of School Federal P.W.A. during construction of Margaretville Central School and at the same time treasurer of the High School. Harry was a musician. He served as organist at the Masonic Lodge for nine years. In the village band he played baritone, in the orchestra, trap drum, and he was also a violin player.
Harry was twice married. His first wife was Grace Barringer of Shokan. His second wife, Florence Kelly of this village.
Clarke A. Sanford came to Margaretville from nearby Dunraven where his parents operated a large farm and boardinghouse. The farm buildings were destroyed with the construction of the Pepacton Reservoir. Clarke in early life taught a country school. By the generosity of one of the city boarders, he was sent to Oneonta Normal School for a year. After graduation, he got a job reporting for the Oneonta Star. He liked newspaper work.
Mr. Eels, who at that time was publishing the Margaretville Messenger in the village, died suddenly. Clarke came home and bought the newspaper business from Mrs. Eels. He changed the name of the paper to the Catskill Mountain News, and today, at the age of eighty-one years, is still publishing the paper.
Clarke had many other interests and offices in the village among which were the Sanford-Jenkins Garage, and the Galli Curci Theatre. He was once President of the village, Chief of the Fire Department, President of the Margaretville Fair, member of the Board of Education, Master of Masonic Lodge, and bank director.
Clarke is the writer of "Mountain Dew" in the local paper, which is enjoyed by many. The "Mountain Dew" probably holds the secret of Clarke's long and active life, his philosophy of living.
Clarke was married in May, 1913, to Bertha Moss from Elmira who came to the village to teach in the High School. Mrs. Sanford passed away February 14th, 1951.
Samuel A. Dugan was born at South Kortright. He attended high school at East Worcester and took agricultural work at Cornell. For one year he was superintendent of the Co-operative Creamery at South Kortright, then known as the Almeda Creamery. He was also superintendent of the Sheffield Farms Creamery at South Kortright for several years. He came to Margaretville in 1913 and bought the feed-and-coal business of Brown and Marks in which he continues to have an interest. Mr. Dugan's first entry into political life was on the town committee of the town of Stamford. For four years he was Justice of the Peace in Margaretville and has served on the Board of Education and for twenty years as chairman of the Red Cross. In earlier years he belonged to the Izaak Walton League, Margaretville Rod and Gun Club, Halcott Fish and Game Club, and Bataviakill Rod and Gun Club.
He has been elder in the Margaretville Presbyterian Church for over thirty years and was sent by Otsego Presbytery as a delegate to the General Assembly at Columbus, Ohio, about twenty years ago. He was made Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church in 1918. He is a member of Margaretville Masonic Lodge, also a member of Cypress Temple of Albany, N. Y. He has always been active in community affairs and is regarded as one of the out standing citizens of the community. He was Supervisor of the town of Middletown, serving two different terms.
He was twice married, first to Mary Gemmes of South Kortright, and one daughter, Evelyn (now Mrs. Paul Taber), was born to them. Mrs. Dugan died in May 1935.
The second marriage was in 1938 to Grace Ross, of Lowville, N. Y., who was music instructor in the local school.
Mr. Dugan is one of our oldest residents, now eighty-one years of age and still active.
The late John Francis Murphy, who had a home and studio in the Pakatakan Colony at Arkville, was at first a landscape gardener. He later exhibited his paintings in the Metropolitan Museum and galleries throughout the United States. He was a self-taught artist. He first exhibited in New York in 1875. Throughout the years he received several high awards. He died in February 1921.
The first of the Smith family, ancestors of the late Olney Smith, emigrated from England and settled on Long Island believed to be at Hempstead. They settled on the "Duke of York's Land," so their coming was sometime between 1664 and 1685. Abel Smith was one of the first Smiths to come to Long Island. During the Revolution, the children of Abel Smith, Jr., left Long Island when the British invaded it and went to Dutchess County, N. Y.
Abel's son Maurice Smith settled in or near Fiskill. In the course of time Maurice's sons, Jackson, Elkanah, and Samuel, struck out into new country, induced by the rich hemlock forests in Delaware County, at that time indispensable for tanning leather, they came to this section between 1800 and 1804. They prospered so well that in a few years they were joined by their parents and younger brothers and sisters.
A sister, Jemima Smith Sands, and her husband settled in Delaware County shortly after the Revolution. Abram J. Schultz and Morgan L. Smith, of the Maurice Smith, Jr., branch, also went to Delaware County. Mr. Schultz is said to have had the first tannery in Middletown.
In course of time the Smiths and Schultzes owned large farms, tanneries, and sawmills, and were among the pioneer developers of Delaware County. Gradually, however, all the brothers and sisters (sons and daughters of Maurice Smith, Sr., by the second wife) left Delaware County until only Samuel Smith remained. Then gradually all of Samuel's children except Maurice left Delaware County leaving Maurice's son, Olney Smith, and his children the only representatives of the name and family living in the county.
Olney Smith was born in 1856 on the father's homestead at Clark's Factory, later to be known as Dunraven. He lived all his life on the homestead and used the same sawmill that his father used. The mill was just across the road from the home. It was operated by waterpower from a dam built above the mill. Olney worked in the mill until a few years before his death. The large homestead became known as "Gledsmere Lodge" and has always been a very popular boarding-house for summer guests. It is still operated as such.
Olney was married November 23, 1881, to Margaret Burgher of Shokan, Ulster County. Twelve children were born to them in this order: Howard, Irving, Maurice, Florence, Elizabeth, Dorothy, Samuel, Harold, Morgan, Lloyd, Edmund, and Selwyn. All but two of the children are living. Those two died young, the oldest one at age seventeen was drowned in the Delaware River.
Olney's occupations besides the dairy farm were boardinghouse business and sawmill operator. He was also a builder. A small colony of houses this side of Arkville, owned by him, is known as Smithville. He was also one of the early postmasters at "Clark's Factory," later called Dunraven.
Olney was twice married. His second wife was Miss Ella McGibbon.
Olney passed away in October, 1952, at age ninety-six. He had been very active most of his life. Olney drove a Model-T Ford for many years. He and his Model-T were a familiar sight on the highways.
Maurice Smith, father of Olney, was born in 1821. In 1850 he was married to Phebe Sanford of Middletown, daughter of Ziba Sanford and Hannah Roberts Sanford. He bought the large farm and timberland from the Livingstons which contained 1000 acres of wilderness. Maurice eventually operated the sawmill on the homestead. He was also an inventor, having invented a buzz-saw and a large kind of milk-pan, and numerous other articles.
The first tannery in Middletown - was built before 1811 by Abram I. Schultz. A second tannery was built and operated for years by Abram Schultz and Morgan L. Smith. A grist-mill and saw-mill were built at Clark's Factory the first years of the 18th century but were destroyed before 1834. The grist-mill was rebuilt by Samuel and Elkanah Smith. This was burned in 1848, and Dr. Adam Clark built his tannery on the same site.
The McLean saw-mill below the Sand's farm was formerly the site of a sole-leather tannery built about 1840 by Samuel Smith.
Samuel Smith was married in 1810 to Rachel Yaple, daughter of Philip Yaple and Nellie DuMond Yaple of New Kingston, one of the pioneer settlers. They settled on a large farm between Clark's Factory and Margaretville, now the George McMurray farm.
Samuel, with his eldest son, operated a large tannery under the name of "Samuel Smith & Son." He always had his own saw-mill. Samuel was twice married, the second time to his wife's youngest sister. Altogether he fathered sixteen children.
The late J. Stanley Bussy, born at Perch Lake March 16, 1892, came to this village at the age of one year. After finishing school, he served as mail clerk in the big new York City terminal. With the declaration of World War I, he enlisted in the "Lightning" Infantry Division of the U. S. Army and fought through France during the war. Returning from service, he worked with his father in the L. Bussy & Co. Store also serving as postmaster of the village for a four-year term.
He was married on August 7, 1921, to Ethel Harrington, a registered nurse and a graduate of the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, N. Y. He later entered the mercantile business with his father, Lafayette Bussy, and later owned the business. In 1949 the store was expanded into a Supermarket, Incorporated, and two partners taken into the firm, Kenneth Miller and Fred McCumber. Stanley was a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, Past Commander of the American Legion Post, served as Mayor of the village, was one time Chief of the Fire Department, was always interested in politics, was a member of the Democratic Club, the Rod and Gun Club, the Lions Club when it was first organized, and also of the bowling organization. He was an ardent fisherman. He was always interested in baseball and tried never to miss the Cub Scouts Team when it played on the school ball field in later years.
A trophy in his memory was given by his three sisters, Lillian (Mrs. Norris Bull), Gertrude (Mrs. Gordon Jansen), and Alice (Mrs. Jerome Kohn). It is presented each year at the end of the season to the winning team. Stanley passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1955.
Bussy Hollow is in Pleasant Valley which lies between Andes and the former Shavertown. The Bussys that first settled there, and for whom the place was named, were ancestors of the Bussys of Margaretville, formerly Arena, Downsville, and Livingston Manor. The first of the clan to start for America was John Claudius Le Droit Bussy. He was of French nobility and extremely wealthy. On the way, he stopped at one of the West Indies where a son, Lewis, was born to his wife. The latter died during the child's birth, so a nurse was procured for the infant. Later, father and son came to South Carolina and a bill of sale recorded there on February 8, 1780, shows that Le Droit Bussy sold a Negro girl named Rose to one John Hart for the sum of 12,000 pounds. That would be the purchasing equivalent of something like $150,000 today. Such transactions brought fantastic sums from wealthy men. Even George Washington was not above such dealings.
Le Droit soon made a name for himself in America. He served as a major in the Revolution and was also chancellor in New York City for some time. Later, Lewis, the son, rode horseback to Trenton, N. J., and in 1816 found his way to Bussy Hollow which was named after him. He was what is now called Superintendent of Schools in this area.
The old Bussy homestead was built in 1836; it had a fireplace mantel in the house that was carved by Lewis himself with a jackknife.
The name has various spellings:--Busse, Bussey, and Bussy. In this village "Bussy" is used. In French the name is written, "De Bussy."
The large hotel and boarding-house called "Grand Hotel" at Highmount, N. Y., was erected in 1872 by the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Company. It remained in their ownership for a number of years, being operated by various managers. The Grand Hotel, with its distinctive style of architecture, was the first large hotel to be built in Delaware County solely for the entertainment of summer guests. It marked the beginning of the era when this section of the Catskills first became a resort area. The building arches along a natural terrace on the face of Monka Hill astride the line of Ulster and Delaware Counties. It is mostly in Delaware County. Only the kitchen wing is in Ulster County.
The Galli-Curci home was built on Todd Mountain in 1922. It is not far from the Bellayre Ski Center. Amelia Galli-Curci made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera of New York City around 1922. The Galli-Curci Theatre in Margaretville was named in her honor. She attended and sang at the opening night of the theatre.
The founding of the Boy Scouts of America was fifty years ago, they are celebrating now their Golden Anniversary. Today 5,000,000 men and boys participate in its activities in the United States. The founder of the movement was Lt. Gen. Sir Robert S. S. Baden-Powell. Baden-Powell set up an experimental camp for scout training for boys, and in 1908 the movement was put on a national basis in Britain. The idea caught on rapidly in the United States. The organization is non-military, but the Boy Scouts performed real service to the nation in both world wars; in cooperation with the Red Cross and other war work agencies in salvaging waste, and in distributing posters and ration books. The organization recognizes no racial, religious, political, or class distinctions.
The first Boy Scout group to be organized in our village was in 1926 under the leadership of Russell Todd as Scoutmaster and Layman Faulkner as assistant Scoutmaster. This was Troop No. 80. Troop No. 40 was organized in 1934. Boys can join the Boy Scouts at the age of eleven years, and be in the advanced troops until age of sixteen. As a Scout, a youngster suddenly becomes more self-reliant. He can tie a square knot, administer first aid, wig-wag a message, and save a drowning person. He has ideals to live up to. He must be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Scoutmasters, assistant Scoutmasters, and explorer advisers since the Scouts were organized to the present time have been: Russell Todd, Layman Faulkner, Charles Muller, Harris Barber, Walter Merritt, Ralph Archibald, Rev. G. D. Pierce, Arthur Kittle, Waldron Dumond, Dr. William Kavanaugh, Vernon Seeley, Warner Teed, Rev. Alfred Coons, H. E. Goodrich, Dr. Gilbert M. Palen, Rev. Charles Theal, Byron Burgin, Chancey Polley, James Sanford, Kenneth Miller, Le Roy Monroe, Glenn Gavett, Irwin Emerich, Garland Gladstone, Dr. C. R. Huggins, Al Weiss, Arthur Smith, David White, Robert Sperling, A. Trowbridge, Richard Baker, Robert Hill, Alex Kapitko, James Freeland and Robert Hubbell.
The Boy Scouts of the village belong to the Shehawken District Boy Scouts of America, and all Delaware County Boy Scouts are under the jurisdiction of the Otschodela Council.
There is an active Girl Scout and Brownie Group in our village. The year 1948 seems to be the first records kept of their meetings.
The following are the girls in Troup I Intermediates:
Linda Kelly Clare Van Benschoten Kam Mattino Willa Hanley Patricia Craft Linda Lawrence June Faulkner Nancy Bailey Barbara Tuttle Paulette Dunham Kathy Platt Sally Huggins Diana Holden Linda Constable Cathy Duboveck Sandra Lunn Andrea Finkle Ann Sanford Joan Sanford Christine Conklin Jo Anne Griffin Linda Hall Jean McMurray Kathleen Scudder Mareia Tuttle Alice Robinson Jean Scudder Jo Ann Miller
Susan Van Benschten Troup II, Older Intermediates, are:
Mary Taber Carol Tubbs Cathy Marks Linda Tubbs Jo Ann Williams Jean Holdridge Diana Oliver Linda Conine Sally Scudder Andrea Fenton Barbara Roucek Karen Tweedie
Troup III, Senior Scouts, are:
Phyllis Boxer Martha Sperling Sally Hoy Patsy Hoy Linda McCumber
Troop Members in the Brownie Group, are:
Sandra Robinson Joan Heley Sandra Gladstone Gail Hull Diane Blish Patricia Gowran Maryanne Van Benschoten Michele Kelly Carol Scott Jean Stahl Vickie Marks Barbara Blish Jane Jenkins Kay Russell Janice Kelly Carol Washburn Jan Veit Marjorie Monroe Nancy Kapitko Ivy Boxer Carol Sanford Marietta Woolheater Anne Sanford
The most disastrous fires in the village occurred in December 1903 at 6 a.m., the "Ackerly House" fire. Reed Delamater's Barber Shop was in the basement of the Ackerly House at that time. Only a narrow passageway was between the Ackerly House and Halpern's Store, leading to the Ackerly House barn. All business places on Main Street were in danger of being destroyed. Mr. and Mrs. Tom B. Hill were at that time operators of the hotel. Fortunately only two upper stories of the hotel were destroyed by the fire.
With the burning of "Riverside" Hotel on lower Main Street in 1908 some nearby homes were in danger but none destroyed. The "Riverside" was burned to the ground.
The second most disastrous fire in the business section was the burning of the Lockwood Store on Main Street in December 1915. The Lockwood residence was also connected with the store.
There was an estimate of $5,000 loss of the store and dwelling.
The origin of the fire was in the basement. The Bell Telephone switchboard was on the main floor in a room at the back of the store. This was put out of business by the flood of water used. When repairs were made, the telephone service was moved to rooms over the N. D. Olmstead & Co. store (now the Weeks hardware store).
A most disastrous fire occurred in 1929 on Christmas Eve with the burning of the large hotel, the Pocantico Inn, in the center of the business section. At that time a wing of the Inn was being used as a hospital. The entire building was destroyed beyond repair.
The next serious fire occurred in 1951 in the L. Bussy & Co. Supermarket on Main Street. It was mainly confined to the cellar; $17,000 damage was done to the store and contents. A fire sale was held a week or two after and it drew what was probably the largest crowd ever assembled at a sale in this section; 1,808 separate sales were rung up on the cash register with the sale.
The large boarding-house, "Briar Cliff Lodge," located on the hill side above the village, was destroyed by fire in 1927. It was not in season for boarders. The late Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Boyes and family were living there at the time of the fire.
Our climate, with four complete changes of seasons, is one of the best. Spring is sometimes of short duration, Old Man Winter dreading to leave. But it is a beautiful season. The time of new life is at hand. The ancient promise has never failed. Fresh green and bright flowers spread beauty on the countryside. Dawns are moist and misty and patches of gray fog hover along river valleys and float above tree-circled woodland ponds and lakes. Spring brings the beginning of the fishing season. Three species of trout exist in the local stream --speckled, brown, and rainbow. Summers sometimes see a spell of real hot weather, but usually compensated for with the cool nights here in the mountains. June is the favorite month of many for its beauty with warm gentle reins and sunlit days. Buttercups, daisies, and devil's paintbrush paint a picture along the roadsides and in the meadows ferns grow lush along the streams and in shaded areas. Our Fall season is usually perfect with Indian Summer and good weather lasting longer into the Winter months than in years past, it seems. The Fall foliage, when at its height, is one sight never to be forgotten. Fall season brings hunting of birds, rabbits, squirrels, coons, fox, deer, bear and some bobcats. In the mountain section protected by the State Forests Preserve, the wild animals still roam the wooded slopes as in early days. In 1960 Delaware County ranked second in the State in the number of buck deer killed; 1,950 were killed. Also fifty-one black bear killed in the same year. Our Winters, with occasional heavier than usual snowfalls and a few below-zero nights, are livable with the modern-day conveniences, such as well heated homes, the warm and less bulky clothing worn today, heated automobiles to travel in, and roads kept in good condition with removal of snow.
For village folks, going to Florida for the Winter is a fad that grew with the years and more money to spend, more leisure time, and the span of life extended with present-day medicine and care. In early days, a camp for people who lived in the country was unheard of. Later, camps became very popular as a place for a summer vacation for the family, for the man of the house to use in fishing and hunting season, and also as a place to try out his culinary skills.
While history of our village is being written, more history is in the making: The George Harris store has been sold to Schaffer Bros. of Albany in April 1960. The new name of the store will be "Margaretville Department Store, Inc." The former Mrs. Leo Korn shop on the upper Main Street block has opened as "Bernie's Dress Shop" operated by Mrs.
Freeland who lives in the late Dr. Holcomb house on Orchard - Street. The Freelands came to the village in 1958 and Mr. Freeland and a partner, Mr. Erickson, operate the "Die" manufacturing plant in the former Nazarene Church building on upper Main Street.
Dr. Insler, one of our dentists, left the village in January 1960 to establish a practice in Florida. His office on Main Street is now occupied by Dr. George Levy, another dentist. who came soon after Dr. Insler left.
With the passing of the railroads and nearby freight stations, Douglas Kelly & Son's store has this spring (1960) become a local agency for the Railroad Express in this area.
Kelly's hotel on Main Street, which has been operated for a number of years by Claude Kelly, has been purchased by Ivan "Stub" Delameter, who began operation of the hotel June 1, 1960.
In July 1, 1960, in the upper Main Street block, two doors from Snyder Supply Store, Norman's Photo Shop opened.
It is amazing to note the changes and progress that have been made in the past century, or even noted by a person who has lived to the age of eighty. It is unbelievable to think that as many changes could come in another century, but there will be many. Who knows! In this Atomic Age there may be a possible trip to the moon.
The Sunday Times of March 27, 1960, tells of the amphibious car that will be on display for the first time this year at the International Automobile Show in April in New York City. In the amphibious automobile you can drive off the road into a lake or stream and then use it like a power-boat. It is called an "Amphicar," a product of West Germany. The car has twin propellers in the rear, a four-cylinder motor, and is steered in the water by the front wheels. It's a convertible, designed as a family and sports car.
Travel this year will have a cosmopolitan flavor. President Eisenhower is proclaiming "Visit U. S. A. Year", and is inviting persons from all over the world to come here in the hope that their visits would promote international understanding and world peace. He also suggested that Americans themselves tour the U. S. to rekindle their pride and understanding in the Nation.
We hope our area in the beautiful Catskills will come in for its share of the visitors, and that natives living here, if they have not already done so this year, will visit some of the places mentioned within a radius of seventy-five miles of our village, and find pleasure in doing so.
Past doings in Margaretville would not be complete without a mention of the late Nealie Ackerly, "Ake" as he was called. He was the village cut-up for most of his eighty-one years, always ready with a good story or to play a joke on anyone, the ring leader in many activities of fun in the village.
The skimelton following the return from the honeymoon of a village couple or an elaborately prepared send-off, seems to be losing favor with the younger generation. It took "Ake" and the other fellows of his day to put on a gala performance. "Ake" was associated with the Bussy store and its predecessors for over sixty years, beginning at age fourteen. The first delivery from Bussy's store was done by "Ake" wheeling groceries about the village in a wheelbarrow.
Cornelius J. Ackerly was married in 1900 to Marilla Gavette of Arena. Mrs. Ackerly died on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1955, at age of seventy-six years. "Ake" passed away on March 17, 1953, at age of eighty-one years.
Our oldest residents in the village in 1960 are: Mrs. Elizabeth Rotermund, 91 years; Mrs. Ida Hunter, 88; Mrs. Jennie McCumber, 89; Miss Jane Ackerly, around 86; Mr. Nelson Roberts, 86; Mrs. Anna Fairbairn, 84; Mrs. Alice Sanford, 86; Mrs. Albert Freer, 83; Miss Carrie Osborne, 83; Mrs. Caroline Stevens, 82; Mr. Sam Dugan, 81; Mrs. J. J. Welch, 82; Mr. Clarke A. Sanford, 82; Mr. Fred Swart, 81; Mrs. Belle Gladstone, 80; Mrs. Viola Gavett, 80; Mr. Harry Eckert, 78; Mrs. Elizabeth Ives, 78; and others nearing the 80-year mark. There must be some fascination about our little village, for as yet I have never known a person who has either lived or visited here who does not like to return. Perhaps it is partly due to the friendly people who live here.