Cannonsville, New York 1786 - 1956
Submitted by Dean Hunter, May 11, 2001
One hundred eighty years ago this was a wilderness which belonged to the bear, the panther, the wolf, and the Indian. Now it is our turn to be bought off for a few strings of wampum while our homes and land sink under a man-made sea to be inhabited by fishes which will take refuge under rocks etched by the fossil remains of their still more ancient ancestors.
The scope of this brief pamphlet is limited to an account of events of the last two centuries. Its authors ask, your forgiveness for any errors or omissions, but express the hope that their efforts may provide the residents and friends of Cannonsville an acceptable souvenir of our last "Old Home Day"
July 4th, Nineteen Hundred Fifty-six
Mrs Leland B. Boyd
Miss Antoinette K. Owens
Mr and Mrs George E. Judd
We may think of the two centuries since our ancestors came here as falling into three periods, - the first from the time of the earliest white settlers until the beginnings of this village. Then followed a century of rapid growth during which our township became the most populated in the County and among the most prosperous dairy centres. For the past fifty years there has been a cloud over our heads, - the threat that our town and the rich land surrounding it which gives it life and occupation will be flooded.
There is but little of historic interest between the 1760s when the first land patents were issued and the early 1800s when settlers came here in sizeable numbers. Thus our neighborhood escaped the massacres of the French and Indian wars and most of the hardships of the Revolution.
Let a former member of the Merry Delvers, Katherine Winters, tell you of the early days of Cannonsville which is quoted from her account in the Deposit Courier Journal of July 21st, 1926:
"In the spring of 1786 Jesse Dickinson, a native of New Jersey, who had previously explored the country, came from his state with several assistants. From New York he embarked with his family, a number of horses, cows, oxen and other livestock, on a sloop for Catskill. The road to the head of the Delaware had been cut out down to Kortwright. The Indian path after this was very little used and considerable difficulty was experienced in chopping a road through the dense forest." (It was not until about 1811 that a road was completed along the West Branch of the Delaware from Stamford to Deposit). "After two weeks" (now easily covered in two hours) "they arrived at the mouth of Trout Creek, then known by the Indian name Ganniwissy. Here the Indians had cleared a few acres on which they had raised cord. (corn?)
"Mr Dickinson had purchased several hundred acres of land at this place and had exalted opinions of the importance of his new purchase. He made many plans of improvement, laid out a town in regular squares and called it Dickinson City, and for many years it retained the name, 'The City.'
"The next summer Mr Dickinson built a town hall and sawmill, inviting all the male inhabitants within a distance of twenty-five miles or more to the raising. He also built a gristmill. To this mill people came a distance of forty and fifty miles on horseback. He was finally obliged to mortgage his estate as his expenditures in building and making improvements exceeded his income. Finally he was obliged to surrender the property and sold his estate to Benjamin Cannon, and descendants of the family resided in the place for many years.
"Mr Cannon built his homestead residence across the river, now owned by Leland B. Boyd, living at the Manor until his decease in 1839. For many years the homestead was owned by members of the Hathaway family who were among the pioneer settlers of the town. In 1809 Mr Cannon built the Cannonsville House" (which thirty years ago this month was converted into the present Community House, the gift of Mr Henry Cannon).
"Benjamin Cannon left two sons, Benjamin and George. Benjamin built the residence at Chestnut Point" (now owned by Mrs Stephen Judd. George Cannon operated the Cannonsville House).
"The Cannons were deserving of the honor and respect which they received from the community, and the place was named after the men who had done much to improve it and to advance its interest."
Our realistic and enterprising settlers rapidly cleared the land and while dairy farming soon took the lead there were other trades and occupations. The pine and the hemlock not needed for domestic use were rafted down the Delaware. The hemlock bark was treated for tanning. Mills for sawing lumber and grinding grain were numerous. And soon the coming of the Erie Railroad as far as Deposit opened up a vast market for raw milk and other dairy products. And there were as well all the activities of a self-sufficient community such as the blacksmith shop, the harness shop and the cobbler and the cooperage.
A more peaceful community could not be pictured. Its population was essentially homogeneous. The anti-rent war was centered elsewhere and no railroad or trolley line thundered along its streets. Only an occasional explosion of dynamite might be heard from some hillside where blue stone was being quarried or the sizzling sound of a release of excess steam coming from the creamery.
Cannonsville has remained the trading centre for the area which is to become a reservoir. Its central school, its stores, its churches and various organizations are briefly accounted for in the following pages beginning with an account of The Merry Delvers Literary Society which is sponsoring this Old Home Day.
The Merry Delvers Literary Society
On October 21, 1889, the older students and the teacher, Miss Nora Terry of the Cannonsville school, met to organize a literary society. The first officers elected were: President, Miss Mary Peckham; Vice President, Miss Isabella Parsons; Secretary, Miss Antoinette K. Owens and Treasurer, Robert C. Owens.
There were sixteen charter members:
Fred A. Bissell, Robert C. Owens, Daisy Graham, Isabella E. Parsons, Elizabeth Hathaway, Mary M. Peckham, Edith M. Hess, Winifred G. Pomeroy, Louie G. Jester, Leila 0. Tanner, Marion C. Jester, Nora Terry, Antoinette K. Owens, Anna Watson, Martha Owens, Martha Watson.
Those now living are the first Vice President, Mrs Isabella Parsons Bush of East Orange, New Jersey; the first Secretary, Miss Antoinette K. Owens of Walton; Mrs Leila Tanner Potter of Oneonta; Mrs Winifred Pomerov Scott of Walton, Mrs Louie Jester Kerr of St Petersburg, Florida, and Mrs Elizabeth Hathaway Allen of Deposit.
It was several weeks before a suitable name for this Society was selected. Many were considered but finally there was unanimous approval of "The Merry Delvers Literary Society of Cannonsville," which means "merrily delving into literature."
Since this name was suggested by Mrs. Edgar B. Owens, Mother of Robert C. Owens, she was elected an Honorary member of the Society.
After much study the Constitution and By-laws were adopted commencing with this preamble: "In order to acquire a more thorough knowledge of literature, to improve our elocution, and to thoroughly verse ourselves in the leading literature of the day, we, the undersigned, do form this Society and establish this Constitution whereby it shall be governed." This was followed by sixteen pages of the Constitution and four of By -laws, which were effective October 31, 1890.
In the early days a book for the library was accepted for the initiation fee but later the members sponsored teas and entertainments to raise money with which to purchase new books. The first such benefit entertainment was in the form of a "Gypsy tea" on March 28th, 1890. In the year 1915 there were 300 books in the library. At present there are 600.
Members were classed as "literary" -those who took an active part in the meetings, and "library," - those who joined for the purpose of borrowing books. The first record book shows a membership of eighty-eight in 1892. These members consisted of teacher, pupils and residents of the village and surrounding area.
Men of the community were active in the Society until the 1920s. Among the names we find those whom many of us remember: the Reverend S. E. Carr, the Reverend Frank West and the Reverend Robert Halmshaw; also, Dr. R. K. Palmerton, J. S. Gillette, Berkeley S. Boyd, Sanford W. Seymour, and many others.
We find in the secretary's books nineteen women and one man who have acted as presidents of the Society; Miss Mary Peckham, Miss Nora Terry, the Reverend W. L. Johnson, Miss Service, Miss Alice Skinner, Miss Maude Hathaway, Mrs George Keeler, Mrs Leland B. Boyd, Mrs Lucius Huntington (who is our eldest living President), Mrs George Haynes, Mrs James Mills, Mrs Verner Kelly, Mrs Elizabeth Allen, Mrs Paul Collier, Mrs Leon VanValkenburg, Mrs Earl MacArthur, Mrs Frances Sprague, Mrs Donald Wood, Mrs Robert VanValkenburg, and Mrs Leon Flack.
Present officers are Mrs Harry Vanderlip, President, Mrs Donald Bonker, Vice President, Mrs William Storrer, Treasurer and Mrs George E. Judd, Secretary.
During these 67 years the Merry Delvers Literary Society of Cannonsville has had its successes and its disappointments, at times becoming very inactive but always being revived by interested persons. Our memory goes back to one beloved President for eleven years - Mrs George Keeler, who did so much to perpetuate the name of "Merry Delvers."
In the early history of our village we find the names of Cannon, Owens, Seymour, Stiles, Durfee, Hathaway, Maples, Smith, Gillett, DeMott, Kenyon, Ogden, Cottrell, Lines, Lincoln, Loveless, Sprague and Sornburger as business and professional men. Later the cooper and bootshops went out of business and also the blacksmith shops.
An important business for many years was the feed business carried on in the old mill near the Trout Creek stream at the and of Mill Street. The building was erected about 1834 by Obadiah Sprague, father of John Sprague, and many stories are told in connection with the raising of the heavy timbers thirty-six feet in length.
During its hundred years as a feed mill there were many owners. Soon after the Civil War it was owned and operated by Edgar Ogden who sold to Enos Jester. Later owners were Anderson E. Lovejoy, Russel Hathaway, Sherman Brazee and the Deposit Milling Company. Dayton C. McLaughlin and Kenneth Smith purchased the building and business from the Milling Company and after several years Mr McLaughlin became the sole owner. He sold to Curtis Cranston and at present the building is owned by Queens Farms Dairy, being used for storage of dry milk. Dayton C. McLaughlin, who is the oldest living resident of Cannonsville, sold feed in the old mill from 1904 until about 1930.
Miss Antoinette Owens remembers the store owned by her father, Milton W. Owens and uncle, Edgar B. Owens, which stood on the river bank near the bridge, later becoming the Frank Mapes undertaking establishment. Milton W. Owens built a new store (now the B & V store) in 1880 and sold general merchandise for many years. In 1902 Tunis C. Judd purchased the store of Mr Owens and conducted business there until 1916 when he sold to H. C. Seymour. At present the store is owned and operated by Donald Bonker and Harry Vanderlip.
When a young man, William B. Adams, son of Nancy Owens and Ebenezer Adams, worked in the old Owens store. Later he bought a store which stood near the old hotel barn and conducted a hardward (sic) business. This building burned in 1892 and in 1894 Mr Adams built the store where he sold general merchandise until his death. His son Albert M. Adams then became the owner. The business is still in the Adams family with Albert C. (Pete), Albert M's son, carrying on.
Charles T. Jester worked for Mr Adams in the hardware store and after it burned he opened a similar business in the Lines building which he owned. He built a new building in 1900 and for many years he was a familiar figure in the store on the river bank. Now this same business is owned by Joseph T. Judd.
Winifred Pomeroy Scott says that her father, Whiting G. Pomeroy, a Civil War Veteran, established a drug store in a small building across from the Adams store in 1871. In 1879 he built the building now occupied by Lor-Gene restaurant and operated his drug store there until a short time before his death in 1929. He was supervisor of the Town of Tompkins for two terms and was Town Clerk for more than thirty years.
We recall the old Winters store which stood opposite Jester's hardware, and the two stores, Teed's and Keeler's up on "back" street. We have fond memories of Fred (Bubbie) Cuyle, the congenial barber and shoe repair man whose business was in Abe Constables store - our present Post Office and Card's store.
Early history tells of several doctors and dentists with offices in our little village, but the one MD who stands out in our memory is Dr R. K. Palmerton who with his family did so much for us. Of course some will remember the dentist, Dr. Aldrich.
There was the Ezra Gillett sawmill near the river bridge which was doing a flourishing business in the early part of the 20th century; also Fred DeMott's blacksmith shop on the bank opposite the Baptist church.
In 1901 Berkeley S. Boyd purchased the old creamery from Oliver Huntington where he manufactured butter, casein and cheese, employing several men. In the early 1920s the manufacturing of dried milk began. After forty years in business Mr Boyd sold to Queens Farms Dairy.
CHURCHES OF CANNONSVILLE
The Baptist Church
About the year 1830 there was organized at Cannonsville a branch of the Deposit Baptist Church with fifteen members: Thomas Durfee, Alice Durfee, John Randall, Ann Randall, Zebina Hancock, Dorothy Seymour, Jeannette Lowry, Affia Crawford, Electa Darrow, Mahala Hathaway, Benjamin Hathaway, Lebbeus Teed, Electa Teed and Betsy Day. The membership increased to fifty and on September 28, 1831, they were recognized as an independent church, and thus the Cannonsville Baptist Church came into existence.
The first deacons were Thomas Durfee and J. L. Babcock, and the first regular pastor was the Reverend Mr Baldwin, commencing his ministry in January 1832 and remaining about six months. In August of that year Deacon Thomas Durfee was licensed and preached as the main supply for six years. Then Stephen Stiles, E. L. Benedict and Elder Richmond were pastors until 1850, and again Thomas Durfee in 1851.
The meetings were held in schoolhouses in Cannonsville, Trout Creek, the Huyck neighborhood, Johnny Brook, at the stone schoolhouse four miles up the river, and in the "den" ten miles above Cannonsville on the river.
In the spring of 1852 the Society purchased the schoolhouse in Cannonsville and fitted it up for meetings. Thomas Durfee was once more the preacher for several years. About this time ten members were dismissed to form the Trout Creek church. In 1857 under the pastorate of Elder C. F. Leach twenty-nine members formed the South Walton Church.
During the next ten years those who served as pastors were M. L. Bennett, the Reverend John Bradbury, the Reverend Mr. Gesner, S. P. Brown and E. Wright. During this time the building of a church edifice was discussed and when Elder Jacob Gray became pastor May 1, 1867, the matter of building was taken up earnestly.
Canfield Boyd, who resided on Johnny Brook at that time, had spent many months cutting down trees and preparing the lumber for a new home which he and his family were sorely in need of, but he decided to contribute all this lumber for the building of the church edifice as it seemed more necessary than his new house. It was a long time before the Canfield Boyd family moved from their little old home to their new one.
On the 17th of June, 1868, a "tasteful and commodious edifice" forty by sixty feet and worth at least $5,000 - a result largely due to the untiring efforts and rare tact and skill of Pastor Gray - was dedicated. Soon after a fine parsonage was built next to the meeting house.
During the ministry of the Reverend Benjamin Stinson the church started building a concrete baptismal pool and it was first used on Easter Sunday in the year 1916.
In 1919 the Baptist and Presbyterian churches were federated under the Reverend Frank West and continued under the Reverend 0. T. Smith. In 1924 they federated again with the Reverend J. C. Rawson and the Reverend Henry Baker as pastors. It was under the leadership of the Reverend Baker that the old church windows were replaced with beautiful memorial stained glass and an oak floor was laid.
Many of us remember the most unusual of all Cannonsville Baptist ministers, the Reverend S. E. Carr, the kind, lovable old gentleman with the cane. His blindness was never a handicap to him. He had memorized thousands of Bible verses and recited them perfectly as his scripture lessons each Sunday morning.
The First Baptist Church of Cannonsville has given continuous service for one hundred and twenty-five years. Under the present leadership of the Reverend Charles R. Friedley there is a large congregation in the church service each Sunday morning and the Sunday School attendance is about one hundred.
The Methodist Church
The records of this society are lost. In the early days, the Oneida Conference sent missionaries and then the church was under the New York Conference. Some of the early preachers were Joseph Law, Sanford Boughton and Alexander Caldwell.
Mr Caldwell organized the church in 1830 or 1831, the first class having been formed in 1826. In 1880 the Trustees of the church were Perry Twitchel, W. W. Cleaver and L. H. Aldrich. The local preacher at that time was the Reverend Chauncey Mills.
The church flourished and in 1933 was redecorated and rededication services were held in 1934 under the pastorship of the Reverend Milton Ryan.
In October 1935 the Methodist and the Presbyterian churches united, forming the United Church of Cannonsville - services to be held six months in each church building during the year. This practice was later discontinued and the Presbyterian building was used entirely. Consequently the Methodist Church building and parsonage were sold. The church is now owned and used by the American Legion.
Services of the United Church of Cannonsville were discontinued in September 1955.
The Presbyterian Church
This church was officially entitled "The Second Presbyterian Society of the Town of Tompkins" at a meeting held in the then Cannonsville Schoolhouse, Friday, December 3, 1830. Prior to that date the First Church at Deposit had served this community.
The furnishings of the first meeting house were completed in 1831 and from that year the annual meetings of the society were duly recorded.
In 1867 it was necessary to make extensive repairs on the old meeting house or to build a new church. The latter course prevailed and the present edifice was completed in 1869 at a cost of $10,500. The Reverend Samuel J. White preached the dedicatory sermon on March 10, 1869.
The Presbyterian and the Baptist churches federated the first time in 1919 and remained so for a few years. They joined again in 1924 for a short time.
In 1935 the Methodist and Presbyterian societies agreed to unite in their services. The Society was called the United Church of Cannonsville. Arthur J. Smith preached from 1937 to 1940.
On April 30, 1944 the 75th anniversary service was held. The Reverend John C. Easson was pastor. In a brief history written for this service it was noted that the tower bell and mountings for the church building were purchased in Troy.
In September 1955 - in view of the unsettled local condition - the Trustees of the United Church met with the congregation. Upon the advice of counsel and after discussion of the existing conditions, it was decided that the Presbyterian Trustees turn over the deed of the church and all its other properties to the Binghamton Presbytery.
In 1817 Benjamin Cannon, Sr., gave land where the first school house stood and where the Baptist church now stands; also land for a cemetery with the approaching road to two trustees who were Martin Lane and Caleb Smith. If the land where the schoolhouse stood was ever to be used for any other purpose than for a school, the land would revert to Mr. Cannon's heirs, as provided in they deed; also, if the land where the Cemetery now is should ever be used for any other purpose than a cemetery, it shall revert to the heirs of the donor.
When the first schoolhouse was no longer used as a school building, Benjamin Cannon, Jr., son of the giver, bought the building, he owning the land. He sold the property to the Baptist Society who used the old building for meetings until they built the church on this same site.
The school building now occupied as a home by Sylvester Neer was purchased by Ambrose Sheldon in 1924. This was probably the second school building in Cannonsville. Mr Sheldon moved the schoolhouse from the old site in back of the Methodist church. A modern school was erected on this site in 1924. This building burned in 1934 and a new brick building was built on Mill Street in 1937. Cannonsville School District No.1 joined with Deposit Central School District in 1939.
Cannonsville Grange No. 1510 was organized in 1930 with the following officers:
Master Stephen Judd
Secretary Mrs Leland Boyd
Treasurer Fred Turner
Lecturer Mrs Stephen Judd
The officers for the twenty-sixth year are:
Master Jay Yoepp
Secretary Mrs William Storrer
Treasurer Mrs Augustus Graby
Lecturer Mrs Edith Benson
Special honorable mention is made of Mrs William Storrer who is serving her 25th year as Secretary of the Grange.
The Boy Scouts were organized about 1938 by M. Everett Hillman, owner of Camps Hilltop and Hill Manor. These Scouts later became the veterans of World War II. At present the Boy Scouts are under the leadership of the Reverend Charles R. Friedley.
The American Legion was organized in 1946 by the World War II veterans of Cannonsville and vicinity. This is the "Guntown Legion." The first Commander was Edwin Martin. The present Commander is Postmaster Everett Card.
In response to President Lincoln's call in July 1862 for 300,000 more men for the suppression of the slaveholders rebellion, meetings were held in each town and hamlet in Delaware County for raising troops. During the short space of twenty days the 144th infantry was mustered into the service of the United States at Camp Delaware on the county fairgrounds at Walton. Those who enlisted from Cannonsville were:
William Garlow, Whiting Pomeroy, Caleb Kelsey, Alonzo Teed, Cryus Owens, Samuel Winchell
Spanish American War Veterans are Charles Davis, Elwood DeMott. Both men are now living in Cannonsville.
Those who served the Army and Navy in World War I are:
Arthur Bonker Fred Hoag, Clinton Brundege, Abel Peck, Alfred Hauber, Frank Schofield, Edric Schofield
Those who served in World War I Army Expeditionary Forces 1917-1919 were:
Charles E. Adams, Claude L. Haynes, Leland B. Boyd, William W. Hoag, Leon W. Brundege, Herman T. Lawson, Paul Collier, James H. Lawson, Simon Eggleston, Irvin B. Peaslee, Roy D. Gardinier, William Storrer, Clarence D. Hathaway, W. Harry Swart, Millard Walley.
Everyone was saddened when two of the finest young men did not return from the battlefields. Sergeant Herman T. Lawson, son of Mr and Mrs John Lawson, was killed in action in the battle of the Hindenburgh Line, on September 29th, 1918. Private Roy D. Gardinier, only son of Mr and Mrs Addison Gardinier lost his life on October 12th, 1918.
Those who served in World War II from Cannonsville and vicinity were:
Maynard Allen, Thomas Allen, Chester Backus, Gerald Backus, Leon Backus, Harold Backus, Paul Backus, Warren Backus, Jack Bennett, Robert Bennett, Arthur Bonker, Jr., Donald Bonker, Edwin Bonker, Berkeley S. Boyd, James Brundege, Robert Budine, Robert Burnside, William Burnside, Everett Card, Virgil Card, Kenneth Conway, Ed. Cook, Ernest David, Clifford Faulkner, George Faulkner, Richard Finch, Paul Greenman, Elwin Hendrickson, George Judd, Gleason Judd, Joseph Judd, Richard Judd, Stephen Peter Judd, Kenneth Mapes, Raymond Mapes, Edwin Martin, Lynn Martin, Robert Martin, Roland Martin, Dayton McLaughlin, Eugene Monroe, Robert Monroe, James Mills, Jr., Wellington Mills, Henry Muller, Winton 0' dell, John Offnick, Willard Peaslee, Harold Rhinebeck, Preston Schall, Homer Schofield, Durwood Smith, Milo Stevens, Robert Stevens, Richard Storrer, Leo Vanderlip, Richard Walker, William Walker, Wayne Walker, Charles Webster, Donald Wood.
Only one of the above group gave his life -Lt. Stephen Peter Judd, one of five sons of Stephen and Helen Gillett Judd. Pete was co-pilot of a bomber which went down in Holland while returning to England from a mission on March 8, 1944. Those of us who knew Pete still feel the loss of this wonderfully promising young man.
Many served in the Korean conflict but a list of names is not available.
With appreciation to those who have contributed to this history from their personal recollections - Ruth Adams Boyd
Miss Antoinette Cannon writes:
"Although I never lived the whole year around in this village, I think of it as my home, and whenever I have been homesick the images that have come to my mind have been in large part scenes of Cannonsville. There are several reasons, but chiefly two: the gifts of nature which I began for the first time to enjoy there, and the story of the early settlement of the valley in which my fathers grandfather, Benjamin Cannon Sr., played a part.
"I was ten years old and we had come to Deposit to live when Chestnut Point came into my father, Robert Cannon's possession, and he brought his family to his old home. We must have spent five successive summers at Chestnut Point and always afterward returned when we could with a sense of belonging to Cannonsville.
"Our grandfather, Benjamin Cannon, Jr., who built the house and set out the trees at Chestnut Point had died before we children were born, and he was only a legend to us. He must have taken great pains to plan the "Queen Anne's Cottage," as it was called, in every detail of architecture and ornament. Some of his drawings for it still exist. A large chestnut tree stood on the point of ground where Trout Creek comes into the Delaware River and this was the origin of the name Chestnut Point. The story of the grounds around the house was that when my grandfather was building the house a traveling nurseryman came by with a varied stock of trees and my grandfather bought the entire stock and set them out. The place when we lived there had reverted almost to Natural woods, but with many trees unusual in the region. Among them, and surrounded by old but still vigorous chestnut trees one came upon an open flat oval which was a croquet ground designed and made by my father when he was a boy. A huge swing with ropes perhaps twenty feet long was suspended from the limb of one of these big trees to add to the fun of the Sunday School picnics that were sometimes held there.
"Part of the family history went back to my great grandfather and the farmhouse he had built on the left bank of the river. It stood, and still stands, on the flat directly opposite Chestnut Point, and belongs now to the Leland Boyd family. In our time it was the home of the Samuel Hathaways. That big family of able farmers soon became an important part of our life, as they were of the life of the community. I remember having dinner in the old house with Bessie Hathaway and her parents and what seemed to me an army of great strong brothers who came in hungry and jolly from the fields.
"My grandmother Cannon lived to be well over eighty. Many of her later years were spent with or nearby my family and she was with us at Chestnut Point, happy to be in her old home. As long as I can remember I see her as a white-haired old lady dressed in black and wearing a lace cap. I cannot remember ever seeing her without the cap. She was sparely built and straight, always somewhat formal in speech and manner, and usually had a book in her hand. I remember her interest in the "Merry Delvers" of which group she had been a member, but I do not know just what they did in those early times.
"Going to church and Sunday School and to weekday hymn-singing practice was a major social activity in our lives. We would walk to the church and back, across the creek bridge, often with the minister and his wife, grandmother discussing the sermon with them. The Presbyterian parsonage was just across the road from our house. My sisters and I went there to be taught the "Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly." I still have the small blue book, then new, "standard edition 1891" from which I studied. The minister, Mr Kirwan, was a strict man, but he said that it was perhaps not required of the young to learn the questions in order, as well as the answers. However, I decided to try it the hard way and did memorize a good part, but I am sure not all of the 107 questions. Today I cannot get beyond the first one but the experience made an impression.
"Besides the Hathaways I remember other families of the village and farms where there were children of our age. Among them were the Durfees, the Seymours, the Finches, the MacGibbons, the Owenses, the Spickermans, the Hulberts. The Adams children were little then and as cunning children as could be found anywhere. They were usually playing on the broad steps of their father's store where we would stop to admire their curly hair.
"One exciting day during our childhood in Cannonsville stands out in my memory: the day the old covered bridge across the Delaware collapsed and went into the river. There had been a downpour of rain the day before and the river was in flood. Rain was still coming down and we hurried into raincoats and rubbers and ran to the river when news came that the bridge was giving way. We were not in time t o see the final crash and the tragedy which occurred when a fine team of horses, their driver and his loaded lumber wagon went down with the bridge. My recollection is that the driver was unharmed but the horses went down stream and were drowned.
"The house at Chestnut Point was modern for its time, with every convenience and many odd features which would appeal to children, such as the porch with carriage landing, and the other little side porch off my bedroom, the small fireplaces, the French windows in the parlour, the delightful woodshed, the dwarf stairway and door to the attic, the pantry where we made bread and cake, and the big stream of cold water running constantly through the kitchen sink. My aunt Elizabeth Archibald and my Uncle Charles Cannon had a persistent feeling for the place where their childhood had been spent and came there to visit us, so that we children came to share some of their sense of its being the old home. Aunt Elizabeth used to tell us of driving to Deposit every day with her father to get the mail before Cannonsville had a post office. When the roads were good they made the trip in forty-seven minutes driving the pair of fast white ponies my grandfather took great pride in. My father however remembered with less pleasure his daily task of keeping the white ponies curried and washed.
"In our childhood the mail was brought from Deposit by stage and we were often among the passengers on that long, slow, eight-mile drive with Mr. Harvey Cogshell as stage driver. My uncle, for some years after his retirement from business, lived in Cannonsville in the home of Mrs Owens and her sister Miss Ellen Seymour. Ellen lived with us for some years and was a valued member of our household.
"My parents first met in Cannonsville. My mother's home was in Deposit. She taught music and had some pupils in Cannonsville and so spent part of a year there, boarding in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Ogden when my father's family lived at Chestnut Point. A severe winter followed that year and my father (to be) would skate down the river to Deposit to see her, a round trip of about sixteen miles. They were married in the home of my maternal grandfather, George Wheeler, where my sisters and I now live.
"I think all who have lived here have a feeling of belonging to the valley of the Delaware, and I for one find it hard to accept the change which is about to be made. To me personally it can make but little difference, but now the whole enterprise is to me as to all the people of our country, a question of the best use to be made of natural resources, especially of water. We must hope that the plan which our planners have made is in the best interest of us all, and when we take leave of Cannonsville we must try still to make good use of all which the valley had given to us and will give to coming generations. But that is another story."
Mrs Marie Maples Preston writes:
"As one of the six living great grandchildren of Darius Maples and Lucy Lillie, I have been greatly interested in the recent developments regarding Cannonsville and in the Homecoming Day planned for July 4th. Those who have known and loved the little town in its beautiful setting of hills and river will cherish its memory long after it has become a cool drink for thirsty New Yorkers.
"My great grandfather came to Cannonsville as a young man in 1810 and from that time until his death he was engaged in many business pursuits. He acquired lands and farms and was active in the logging business. His home, the site of the present school, sheltered the family of four sons and five daughters.
"My grandmother, Mrs Samuel Cottrell, told me that each Sunday he marshalled(sic) his large family and helpers into several pews in the Presbyterian Church. I am sure that he was a sterling character and I cannot improve on the concluding paragraph from The History of Delaware County, 1880: 'Mr Maples was one of nature's noblemen, dignified, tho(sic) unassuming, liberal in the pursuit of. public improvements and generous to all. He left an ample fortune the bulk of which his son Charles inherited and the daughters were well provided for.'
"The Maples daughters were Mrs. James E. Thompson and Mrs Chauncey Judson, Deposit, New York; Mrs Samuel Cottrell, Cannonsville; Mrs Edgar Pinchot, Milford, Pennsylvania, and Ellen who died at the age of nineteen. Charles was the only son who lived out his life span.
"A newspaper clipping, undated, sent by Mrs Harry B. Snell of Deposit records a gift of land to the trustees of the three churches to be used as a public park. 'The property was given' the clipping states, 'by Charles Maples, a member of a family closely identified with the early history of Cannonsville. Located on the east side of Rte 10, the plot extends down to the West Branch Delaware River.' This is called The Commons.
"Though Darius Maples had a large family, there are only six living great grandchildren: Mrs Harry B. Snell (Emily Maples Sturdevant), Deposit; Mrs Willis T. Hanson, Jr., (Julia Devereux) Schenectady; Mrs Edwin K. Hoover (Constance Pinchot King), Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Mrs Arthur P. Grannatt (Adelaide King) Los Angeles, California; Charles Maples MacGibbon, Eustis, Florida; and Marie Maples Preston, Long Beach, California. There are three great great grandchildren and three of the fifth generation.
"My interest in Cannonsville does not stem entirely from the historical past. From the earliest childhood until my sixteenth year I spent every summer with my grandparents, Dr and Mrs Samuel Cottrell, in the big rambling house at the foot of Mt Speedwell; and the last two summers at Chestnut Point, where my uncle and aunt, Mr and Mrs Robert MacGibbon and my grandmother lived before moving to Walton. My grandfather Dr Samuel Cottrell may be remembered by some of the elder citizens, as his work took him afar over the countryside, through wintry storms and spring freshets - the typical practice of the oldtime country doctor.
"Companions of my childhood and youth were Isabella Parsons, Grace and Antoinette Owens, Harriet and Lila Tanner, all the Owens family of Chestbut Point, and my young cousins, Charles and Katharine MacGibbon.
"Though I shall be a continent away on Old Home Day, I shall think fondly of the town of my ancestors and of my youth and shall wish that I might greet all who return and especially those of the hometown who have so devotedly planned for Cannonsville a gallant Hail and Farewell."
Mr Leonard H. Selzer of Hancock writes:
"Near the William Hoag Farm is an old weather beaten building used in late years as a storage barn. This is the Leonard homestead built in 1801 by Udney T. Leonard when he married Miriam Hoag. Several generations of the Leonard family lived there until it was sold to the Hoag estate around 1890.
"Miriam Hoag Leonard, born in 1781, was a daughter of John Hoag, a strict member of the Quaker sect. During the Revolutionary War he stubbornly refused to bear arms so all his stock was confiscated for army use except for one cow which was left in order to provide the children with milk.
"Udney Leonard was the son of James Leonard who came to New Jersey in 1757. He fought in the Revolutionary War and married an Indian girl. The Leonards originally came from Ireland; one married into the British royal family who chose to give up whatever crown rights she had.
"Hiram Leonard, eldest child of Udney and Miriam Leonard, married Rachel Huyck who was a member of another early family in the Cannonsville area. Her sister Catherine married Morgan Elisha Cannon and another sister married Ezra Guernsey Hoag, one o f the early blacksmiths in the Trout Creek area. A sister of Guernsey Hoag married a Carpenter and was the great grandmother of Charles Crisman of Cannonsville."
Lura Finch Gardinier has sent us some sketches by M. R. Hulce in the Deposit paper of August 25, 1915:
"William McGibbon first settled on a lease farm in the Town of Delhi. He moved to Town of Tompkins with his family in 1840 and settled on what was then known as the Road Farm on east side of river, one mile below Cannonsville, and engaged in dairying and stock raising which in 1840 was rather an innovation on the habits and customs of the people of Tompkins as lumber seemed to be the all absorbing theme of conversation. The Town could not then raise its own provisions. Now it exports largely."
Mrs Gardinier says that in 1892 Wheeler D. Finch of Trout Creek bought this farm of the McGibbon Estate. "He kept about fifty cows making butter at home, using a barrel churn run by horse or ox power. When the Borden plant was built in Deposit he was the seventh farmer to sign to send the milk from his dairy. In 1907 the farm was sold to John Swart. It is now owned by Donald Garrigan. In 1894 the present barn and horse barn, also a twelve-room house were built by Newton Walley and James Cranston, carpenters - all lumber being cut on the hill. The house burned a few years ago."
Winifred Pomeroy Scott writes:
"My father and mother both attended the private school held in the Presbyterian parsonage, and as a little girl I remember the Rev. Gott, Baptist minister, coming to the house to give my sister private lessons.
"My grandfather, Joseph Babcock, and grandmother, Asby(?sp) Owens Babcock's home was where Marjorie Shackelton now lives, and my mother was born there in 1845. Grandfather had a boot and shoe shop in the little building adjoining the house. I have grandfather's ledger at home and it is very interesting.
"In 1862 a recruiting officer held a mass meeting in the Presbyterian church for recruits for the Civil War. My father was the second man to enlist in Company A 144th Delaware County Regiment and stayed in service until the close of the War."
Mrs John Chamberlain (Lorena Brundage) remembers going down the river from Granton to East Branch on a log raft owned and operated by the Gregorys. The passengers were on a platform in the centre. Going over the dam at Stilesville the water spurted up between the logs and at East Branch the raft came so close to the land that she jumped off with the assistance of Peter Gregory.
Miss Antoinette Owens tells us that the old records show that the first Sunday school in the community was held at Granton in the home of Mrs Calvin Chamberlain (Bethsheba Judd) soon after 1807. After the lesson it was customary to read from the one newspaper brought into that vicinity.
Miss Owens relates one of her early experiences riding on a raft from Cannonsville to Deposit with a group of negro(sic) singers who had given a concert in the village. Going over the dam was the big thrill.
"And another exciting time," writes Miss Owens, "was when William Henderson later a merchant in Walton for many years shot a burglar in my father's store. The mark of the bullet may still be on the old counter." (This is now the B & V store). "After that my young brother kept a baseball bat at the head of his bed t o be ready for any emergency.
"In 1900 when the covered river bridge went down with horses, load and driver, one of the boys rushed his row boat from the mill pond to help in the rescue." (H. Clinton Seymour was the driver who was rescued, but the horses were drowned)
Miss Owens also remembers hearing that in the early 1860s a private school was conducted in the Presbyterian parsonage opposite Chestnut Point. The ministers wife Mrs Thomas Hempstead was her mother's aunt and her mother and Mrs Hempstead's sister came to live with their aunt and attend the school. "Miss Ada Hotchkins of Windsor was an able teacher," writes Miss Owens, "but what intrigued her pupils was the story that she had Indian blood in her veins."
Mae Durfee Eells, whose grandfather, Stephen Durfee, and father, Henry Durfee, owned and operated the Cannonsville Hotel for many years, writes:
"I still remember very large hand hewn beams under the kitchen floor of the old hotel (now the Community House), the beautiful dining room floor of broad white pine and the lovely staircase which we could have sold over and over again."
"I remember the old cooper shop Belle McLellan's father had, the old tannery vats, the day the old covered bridge was swept away, and many other things."
Albert M. Adams, who was born in 1888 in the old Maples homestead on the site of the present schoolhouse, writes about some of the stores and shops in the early days:
His grandfather, Ebenezer Adams, had a shoe shop in part of the Lines building near the river bridge (Joe Judd's hardware store) and next to that was Sam Benjamin's blacksmith shop. Near this building (which was Ken's barbershop a few years ago) Charles Banks owned a shoe shop which later became Wilbur Hulbert's cooper shop and after that Clinton Seymour's meat market. Martha Owens operated a millinery shop near the market. She sold her property to Newton Walley who had a meat market there. The old Pomeroy drug store stood next and after Mr Pomeroy built his new store, Arthur Cook had a shoe shop in the old building and in later years Sanford Seymour used the building as a grocery store.
Near the old hotel barn there was a drug store at one time owned by Charles Andrus and later Thomas Culver conducted a grocery business in the building.
In the old Owens store opposite Joe Judd's on the river bank, Penn Hoag had a meat market and he sold to Fred Haynes who was there for many years. Then when Mr Haynes bought a stone business Charles DeMott took over the meat business for a while.
The house where Everett Card lives now was owned by "Mack" McLellan, Belle s father, who had a cooper shop. Later this building was sold to Charles Watson. Watson's blacksmith shop stood next door and he was in business for many years.
Next to the Presbyterian church Allen Goodrich had a blacksmith shop and in 1896 Fred DeMott came from Rock Rift and took over the business. (Later he purchased the Sam Benjamin blacksmith shop). The Goodrich shop became a mill where George Keeler and Wilbur Hulbert ground feed. This was later purchased by Henry Austin who built a house on this site now owned by Nelson Storrer.
Where the Post Office is located was Abe Constable's grocery store for many years.
Elizabeth Hathaway Allen who was born in the Benjamin Cannon, Sr., homestead in 1875, has many interesting stories told by her grandfather, Jacob Hathaway:
In the old house were five fireplaces, two of which burned six-foot logs, with Dutch ovens for baking. A horse would draw the big logs into the basement for use in the large fireplace there. Sap was boiled here for maple sugar. They used not only sap from maple trees but also tapped the butternut trees. The latter sap was much sweeter.
It is said that in the early days Indians sometimes came into the large room in the basement and were given a hot meal.
Dayton C. McLaughlin remembers being in the old tannery by the Trout Creek stream back of the present Donald Bonker home; also in the old sawmill which stood between the Creek and the house. He recalls the large piles of bark near the Mill Street road. In 1913 the McLaughlin feedmill was washed away and when they started the building of the new dam they found the old timbers, about 75 feet up the Trout Creek stream, which were evidently used by Jesse Dickinson when he built the first dam in Dickinson City. These timbers were in good condition and were used as the base of Mr McLaughlin's new dam.
Mr and Mrs McLaughlin remember attending services in the Presbyterian church many years ago when it was filled to capacity!
Cannonsville, New York
LAST OLD HOME I DAY
July 4, 1956
Committees and Chairmen
Registration Albert C. Adams
Recreation Donald Bonker
Decoration Arthur Bonker, Jr.
Speaker System Samuel Carlson
History Mrs Leland B. Boyd
Manifestation Mrs Charles R. Friedley
Promotion Mrs George E. Judd
Mrs Clifford Shackelton
Finance Mrs Percy Rathbone
Parade J. Edward Smith
Program Mrs Edward Sprague
Exhibitions Mrs William Storrer
Parking Nelson Storrer
Reception Mrs Harry Vanderlip
Mrs Stephen Judd
General Chairman George E. Judd
Co-Chairman Mrs Leland B. Boyd
Secretary Mrs George E. Judd
Text transcribed by Dean Hunter, 5/2001