see Swart page for corrections to that family
LINCOLN R. LONG
Lincoln R. Long was born at Goulds, N. Y., on February 3, 1861, one of four sons born to Joseph and Hannah Long. The father, Joseph, died at Gettysburg while serving with the North in the Civil War. The mother died a year later, leaving the boys orphans when Lincoln was but four years old.
His boyhood and youth were spent in Jefferson, Schoharie County, N. Y., and with only the advantages that the rural school afforded. Lincoln fitted himself and obtained a certificate to teach. Mr. Long's first teaching position was at Youngs Station in Sidney, N. Y. It was during his term here in 1885 that Lincoln Long married Philinda Young of that village. This union resulted in five children. While teaching a country district school, he continued his self-preparation and qualified for high school work. Accepting the principalship of the Hancock High School, he remained in that village for seven years.
While in Hancock, Mr. Long became deeply interested in religious work and took up theological studies in hours of leisure and became a lay preacher of the Methodist Church. Being admitted to the New York Methodist conference, Mr. Long resigned the principalship of the Hancock school to become pastor of the Callicoon Methodist Church, where he remained for four and a half years. On leaving Callicoon he was pastor of the New Paltz Methodist Church for a time.
He then resigned from this position to resume teaching, and served as principal of the Walden High School for the next four years; then he accepted a call to Trinity Church in Kingston, N. Y. From Kingston he was assigned as pastor of the Margaretville, N. Y., Church, where he preached for another four years. Wishing to make this community his home, at the close of his pastorate he stayed on as the head of the high school for a year, then accepted the superintendency of the school supervisory district and continued in that endeavor for six years.
In 1918, Lincoln Long's friends urged him to enter the primary as a Republican candidate for the New York State Assembly. His character, ability, and wide acquaintance won him the nomination without a contest; he was five times re-elected, an honor unique in the annals of Delaware County. In the Assembly he commanded attention as a master of the educational problem, serving as chairman of the committee on public instruction and also interesting himself in moral measures and enactments helping the youth of the state.
Loving the out-of-doors, on his retirement from public life Mr. Long exchanged his home in Margaretville with Thomas Winter for a farm in the New Kingston valley. There, to give play to an active mind, he took up practical surveying, wrote historical sketches of old families in which the quaint humor of his bubbling spirit found expression, and ministered to those whom his kindly nature could aid.
After several months of failing health, Lincoln Long died on May 11, 1927.
Many people helped to make this book possible. I would like to give special thanks to my wife, June, and her mother, Fran, who have been invaluable as researchers and as a sounding board in the compiling of this historical work. They encouraged me out of MY complacency to undertake this momentous adventure and saw it through to its conclusion.
These sketches first appeared in The Catskill Mountain News in 1925
America today is comprised of a transient populace, and there is great concern that we are also a people of the jet age. I have often referred to the pastoral Catskill Mountains as one of the last Frontiers in the East, not only because of the babbling brooks, forests, and open fields, but also because the life style and ideals of the frontier and an interest in "roots" are still here in the people of the Catskills, running against the grain of black-top, high-rise, coast-to- coast America. It is in this spirit of an America where family and "roots" are still important that this collection is presented.
This volume will allow those of you who are Catskill Mountain natives and present residents to get better acquainted with your own family roots and also those of your friends and neighbors. For the non-resident reader the book will be an interesting historical trip, showing from where a piece of America came. From Queen Anne's bequest in 1708 through the present, the growth of this piece of America is retraced.
Lincoln R. Long
NEW KINGSTON: GREAT LOT NUMBER FORTY OF THE HARDENBURGH PATENT CAME INTO BEING IN 1708 1 ROBERT LIVINGSTON GAVE FIVE THOUSAND ACRES TO SUFFERERS AFTER THE: BURNING OF KINGSTON IN 1777 3 THE NEW KINGSTON TRACT WAS LAID OUT BETWEEN 1784-1786 6 THE LIVINGSTONS WERE PATRIOTS 8 HISTORY FROM THE PEOPLE 11 THE STORY OF THE VAN BENSCHOTENS 13 THE EARLIEST SETTLERS OF NEW KINGSTON 15 MORE ABOUT THE EARLY SETTLERS OF NEW KINGSTON 19 HISTORY GATHERED FROM GRAVESTONES 22 THE BIG FOREST AND THE LOST BABY 25 WHICH IS THE OLDEST HOUSE IN NEW KINGSTON 28 SCOTTISH SETTLERS IN NEW KINGSTON VALLEY 31 WILLIAM COWAN SETTLED HERE ABOUT 1825 34 ECHOES OF OLDEN TIMES ALONG THE PLATTEKILL 37 NEW KINGSTON SCHOOLS OF LONG AGO 40 A STORY OF THE SETTLING OF WEAVER HOLLOW 43 WAS ADAM DOUGLASS THE FIRST SCOTCHMAN? 46 THOMAS ELLIOTT AND HIS DESCENDANTS 49 FIRST ARCHIBALDS SETTLED IN BOVINA 52 THE SANFORD FAMILY'S ANCESTRAL LINE 55 THE HENDERSONS OF NEW KINGSTON VALLEY 58 THE DUMONDS IN THE NEW KINGSTON VALLEY 62 NEW KINGSTON'S STONE HOUSE AND THE HEWITT FAMILY 66 EARLY NEW KINGSTON SCHOOL RECORDS 71 REMINISCENCES OF THE ANTI-RENT DAYS 75 THE SWART FAMILY 78 MORE ABOUT THE DUMONDS 81 THE ONCE BEAUTIFUL DICKSON HOME, NOW DESERTED 82 THE WINTER FAMILY OF NEW KINGSTON 86 ECHOES FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD 90 THE NEW KINGSTON VILLAGE OF YEARS AGO 92 REMINISCENCES OF JACK THORP 95 THE INGLES OF NEW KINGSTON 98 THE DUNRAVEN SANFORDS 101 A CONVERSATION WITH CHAUNCEY HULL OF HUBBELL HILL 105 WHAT MEAN THESE STONES? 108 Epilog
NEW KINGSTON: GREAT LOT NUMBER FORTY OF THE HARDENBURGH PATENT CAME INTO BEING IN 1708
IF YOU WILL GO up the state road from Margaretville about two miles, when you get just beyond the farm of Andrew Archibald (the old Austin farm now owned by Robert Fredenburgh) you will notice a stone wall running straight between the farm and the farm of David Sliter. Now, if you will follow that line you will find that it runs straight on over the hills between the two farms of Byron Searle, just south of the old Bouton farm and the Sanford farm, then on over into New Kingston valley.
If your courage is still good and you will keep on over the next ridge into Weaver Hollow, you will come out, when you have gone some eighteen miles, just above the village of Delhi on the West Branch of the Delaware River. And then you have traversed the southerly boundary of Great Lot No. 40.
You should now follow up the river to a point below Bloomville, but as I cannot direct you just where to start from to return, you had better come back and go on up the river from where you started, on above Halcottville about a mile, where you may ask Arthur Miller to show you where the line is between Roxbury and, Middletown. This line follows the old Desbrosses line, surveyed in 1776, and will take you along the northern side of the great lot, bringing you out below Bloomville as stated before. The area included will be
between forty thousand and forty-five thousand acres.
In the year 1708, Queen Ann of England granted to Johannes Hardenburgh and others a large tract of land west of the Hudson River and lying in what is now Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware, and Greene Counties and gave them a charter, or, as it was called, a patent.
I am not sure whether any part of any other county was included within the bounds of the patent or not. The proprietors divided up the territory among themselves in 1749, and the larger divisions are termed "great lots," of which there appear to be over fifty, although I cannot locate them all on the map. Margaretville lies in great lot 39, while across the river is No. 7. Fleischmanns is in No. 8, while Roxbury is in No. 41 on one side of the river and No. 19 on the other. These great lots were subdivided into tracts and disposed of by the proprietors to others, and these tracts were further subdivided into lots which make up the basis of a large part of the farms in this region. While some farms are described independently of lot lines, a large number are described also by telling that they are all or parts of certain lots. If the early settlers were on the ground before the lot lines were fixed and had their land cleared and fenced, then their farms might be described according to what they held and their fences do not always show lot lines. But in very many cases one can find and follow old lot lines for miles. In such cases it is easy to survey these back farms where, often times, no fences have been built through the forests.
Our own farm (presently owned by Douglas Condon) lies in the Janet Montgomery tract and includes all of lot 85 and part of lot 84. I say all of lot 85, but really the line was moved over this side of the lot line about ten or twelve rods. This remained quite a puzzle to me, why a certain lot line seemed to have a jog in it, until Mr. Robert Winter of Margaretville explained the following to me. Prior to leasing, the land had been< settled and farmers frequently cleared land on an adjacent lot also, thus creating a change in the original lot lines. Next week I shall have a bit of interesting history concerning the Montgomery tract and some of the Livingston tracts to tell you. I did not realize, until of late, that we were living on land once held by historic personages. I fear that when I tell about the giver of the old first lease for the farm next to ours, the present owner may get vain and take care to preserve the old, old lease made nearly one hundred years ago.
ROBERT LIVINGSTON GAVE FIVE THOUSAND ACRES TO SUFFERERS AFTER THE BURNING OF KINGSTON IN 1777
SOMEWHAT MORE than a century and a half ago, a young man (Richard Montgomery) who had since the age of eighteen been an officer in the English army and had served with distinction in severe conflicts, emigrated to America. He came to the province of New York to make his home, met and fell in love with a young woman of high family (Janet Livingston), and in 1772 they were married. They made their home a little back from the Hudson River across from Kingston with every prospect of lifelong happiness.
And then came the Revolution. The battle of Lexington proclaimed that a struggle between the mother country and her colonies had begun which could only end with the complete subjugation or independence of the latter. The young man just mentioned was made a member of the Congress of the New York Province which met in 1775. That Congress made him a general with orders to go with General Schuyler to strike a blow at England by invading Canada.
General Schuyler fell ill, and the entire command of the expedition devolved upon the newly made general and he proved equal to the charge. Montgomery led his army into Canada, conquering everywhere, until he stood before the defenses of Quebec, where he was joined by another division under Benedict Arnold. An assault upon the works was made, and Montgomery fell at the head, of his column. In New York City is a monument to his memory erected by the state, and there his remains lie as a memorial to his heroism.
For Janet Livingston there were three years of happiness and then this tragedy. It is an old story that has been often repeated. And this tells you the circumstances leading to the origin of the Janet Montgomery Tract, Great Lot 40, Hardenburgh Patent.
Robert Livingston came to possess several lots of the aforesaid patent. These lots descended to his only son, Robert R. Livingston, who seems to have had a large family. He made no division of his lands among his children and his eldest son, also named Robert, in 1779 proceeded to male the allotment. He prepared twelve slips of paper and separated the lands into twelve portions and numbered the slips accordingly. Then there was a drawing, and Janet Livingston Montgomery drew one slip for what is known as the Janet Montgomery Tract. And this is how it is described in the county clerk's office at Delhi.
The starting point is the northwest comer of the 5000 acre tract known as the New Kingston Tract and which was donated by Robert Livingston for the benefit of the sufferers who were made destitute when Kingston was burned by the British in 1777. That would be where the E. H. Birdsall farm (presently owned by Hans Schoenfeld) corners with the farm of Bert Halleck (now owned by Norman Robbins) along one side of the farm of Robert Ingles (the present Nelson Gray farm).
From there the line runs between the first two named farms, then between the farms of Thomas Ingles (George Jensen) and William Adee (the Dave Crawford farm), then between Harry O'Connor and George Wickham (Albert Wickham), E. D. O'Connor (Lloyd O'Connor) and Frank Ingles (Sol Romm), on over through Bragg Hollow to Pacatakan River at the lower edge of Halcottville.
From Halcottville the line follows up the river to the old Desbrosses line mentioned last week, follows that line westward until it strikes the Fishkill River near Bloomville and then goes down the river towards Delhi until the tract is 198 chains wide and then turns and runs parallel with the Desbrosses line until it again touches the New Kingston Tract where the farm of John Tuttle (Douglas Hoy) corners next to the farm of Joseph Adee (the J. W. Tweedie farm). From there it follows along the New Kingston line and the lines of John Tuttle and Robert Ingles to the starting point. The whole tract would comprise something over twenty thousand acres.
Looking at the map published by the Conservation Commission, I note that the tract was cut up into small lots numbered as high as 123 which is mainly owned by William Elliott. The lots run from 100 to over 200 acres each. Away back as far as Delaware County records go, I find that Janet Montgomery sold or leased these lots to different individuals and later that lots in this same tract were leased or sold by other persons always Livingstons. From this I infer that she never married again and that she had no children as heirs. Doubtless those who sold or leased these later lots were brothers or sisters or sisters-in-law.
Here are some of the lots owned in this vicinity: lot 118, John Tuttle; lot 119, Robert Ingles; lot 120, James T. Elliott (now J. William Elliott); 85 and part of 84, Frank Long (Douglas Condon); parts 82, 83, and 86, George Robertson (now Kenneth Robertson); 89 and 96, Harry O'Connor; 91, Thomas ingles; 92, James Miller (the Harold Everitt farm). And that is as far as I dare go for fear I may get them wrong. Next week I hope to give you a copy of an old lease with a bit of interesting history connected with the giver.
I noticed with interest that our East Branch is called Pacatakan River. In another old deed of years ago, I found it called the Popakunk, while in a history of Delaware County it is given Popagonk. Also the deed of the tract mentioned the fact that the place where the Desbrosses line starts, just above Arthur Miller, was nearly half a mile below where the path from Batavia to Pacatakan crossed the Kill. As Pacatakan was located just above Calvin Davis, it must have meant the path from up in Vega to that village. It certainly could not have been the state road.
THE NEW KINGSTON TRACT WAS LAID OUT BETWEEN 1784-1786
KINGSTON WAS SETTLED shortly after 1665. The first state convention met at Fishkill and adjourned to Kingston and there framed the first state constitution. That was in February 1777.
In September of that year the state legislature met in Kingston, but upon learning that the British General Sir Henry Clinton was approaching with an armed force, quickly adjourned. One afternoon in October a single horseman rode into Kingston and stopped at one of the houses and asked to be allowed to stay over night, pleading that he was ill and saying that he was a schoolteacher. The kind-hearted woman of the house took him in and gave him the guest room upstairs. Her husband upon returning home declared that the man was a British spy and said that men were coming after him in the morning.
Fearing that the good wife still believed the story of the traveler and that she would warn him to flee, the husband lay on his wife's cloak when they went to rest, intending not to sleep much himself. Evidently, everyone slept ready for flight in the event of the approach of the enemy. But in the night the husband fell into so sound a slumber that the wife succeeded in slipping away from him and went up to tell the teacher of his danger. He was dressed and preparing for flight. He told her he had heard what was said the night before, and that he was in truth a British spy, but that if she would allow him to escape, their home should not be molested. In the morning when the men came to arrest him, their bird had flown.
And then on October 17 came the awful devastation. Every home but one in the city was destroyed by fire at the hands of the British, and even that one was not the home of the good woman who had befriended the stranger. History records few more wanton acts of unnecessary brutality than the burning of the houses of the inoffensive inhabitants of Kingston.
About the same time, the home of Robert R. Livingston near Rhinebeck was burned, also by the British. Through his own loss, feeling deeply the sufferings of the homeless citizens, he aided them with building materials and also offered to the trustees of the commonality 5000 acres of land to be selected by them anywhere in the Hardenburgh Patent, except Woodstock or Shandaken, stipulating only that it should be laid out in a perfect square. This land was to be for the benefit of the people who had lost their homes in the fire. Strangely enough the trustees of Kingston made no immediate move to locate the offered tract, and Mr. Livingston felt impelled to write urging them to hasten. Finally they sent Peter Dumont, Jr. and Peter Hynpagh with Mr. Livingston's surveyor, Mr. Cockburn, to choose a suitable tract; the selection was made in Great Lot number forty where New Kingston now is. Mr. Livingston gave a deed for the area in 1782, five years after the burning of the city.
In 1784 the trustees sent Johannes Van Benschoten and Tobias Van Beuren with Mr. Cockburn to survey out the tract. Mr. Cockburn was to be supplied with everything he needed for his maintenance and comfort, and the two who accompanied him were to receive eight shillings (one dollar) a day exclusive of food and liquor.
The tract was laid out into fifty-acre lots which were grouped in ten classes of ten lots each for convenience of allotment. The final allotment was made in 1786, nine years after the fire.
Considering the tract as it is today, it is apparently a square as provided. If you start from the north corner of the farm of Bert Halleck (Norman Robbins) and go towards the East Branch of the Delaware River, when you reach the top of the ridge between the New Kingston valley and Bragg Hollow, you should there find the eastern corner of the tract about two and four-fifths miles from the starting point. Turning at a right angle and going the same distance, you will stop somewhere near the home of Harold Faulkner (Charles Holdridge) and his mother. From there you will cross the Plattekill and climb the hill past the Oscar Russell farm and slip down into Weaver Hollow and then come over between John Tuttle (Douglas Hoy) and Joseph Adee (J. W. Tweedie), Robert Ingles (Nelson Gray) and Bert Halleck, to the place of beginning. The New Kingston village is about the center of the tract.
I hope soon to be able to give the names of some of the early settlers with points on the subsequent history of the settlement of the tract. In the old records at Kingston, I noted some familiar names among those who received allotments such as: Swart, DeLametter, Van Steenburg, Houghteling, Freer, Dumont, Burhans, Hamilton and others.
THE LIVINGSTONS WERE PATRIOTS
MUCH OF THE LAND in the Janet Montgomery tract was leased to the early settlers instead of being sold. Whether this was because the settlers had little money or because the owners wished to hold to the title of the land, I do not know.
Too much space would be needed to give you a copy of a land lease, but in the main they were drawn up like a deed, except that a yearly rent was to be paid instead of a specified amount for the complete ownership. So long as the tenant paid the rent he could hold the land, and there are still (in 1924) two or three farms in New Kingston valley paying rent to the heirs of the original lease holders. Here is the rent requirement of one of these old leases: Yielding and paying therefor, yearly and every year, unto the aforesaid of the first part, her heirs or assigns, the yearly rent of two fat hens and one day's labor with a wagon, sled or plough, together with a yoke of oxen, or pair of horses, and a driver, at such time and place within ten miles as the party of the first part, her heirs or assigns, shall require.
By paying one dollar and twenty-five cents and twenty bushels of wheat the tenant could be released from the payment just described, and in an old lease still preserved by a neighbor, a certain fixed sum of money could be given instead of the rent described.
The lease still kept by my neighbor was given in 1829 by Edward Livingston of Louisiana, acting through his attorney in this region. I was somewhat puzzled because the farm thus leased lies in the Janet Montgomery tract, and I supposed the Livingstons lived down near Rhinebeck in Dutchess County. But I have found out about it all right.
In the first place, Janet Montgomery died before this lease was given. As she had no children, her property was left by her to her youngest brother, Edward Livingston. Then I hunted up a book on the Livingstons and found out how Edward Livingston came to be in Louisiana. As it is an interesting story, I will pass it on to you.
When Kingston was destroyed Edward Livingston was a young man and was attending the school of one "Dominic Doll" in Kingston. He walked the eighteen miles from his home in Clermont each Monday and walked back on Saturday. When the city was burned, the school was moved outside on account of the coming of the British.
When he grew up he became a lawyer and was a member of Congress for two or three terms. He was then made United States attorney for the district of New York and soon after was made Mayor of New York City. During his administration, the city was visited with a scourge of yellow fever, and Mr. Livingston stayed by his people, visiting and working among them regardless of the danger to himself. Finally he took the disease, and he was so much beloved that young men almost fought for the privilege of being his attendants.
After his recovery he found that an officer under him had embezzled, so that Livingston was short of money to square up with the general government. Livingston immediately resigned his post, turned over all his property to pay towards his debt, and left the city owing the United States one hundred thousand dollars.
As we had just come into possession of New Orleans and the whole territory then known as Louisiana, he turned to the new region to start life anew. He took up his profession of law in New Orleans and, as ready money was scarce in the new country, he often took land in payment. Eventually he paid up all his indebtedness and accumulated a moderate fortune for himself and family.
When New Orleans was attacked by the British in The War of 1812, he held a prominent position in the city government. It was Livingston who received General Jackson, who had come to defend the town, and became a member of his staff. The friendship then formed between them was a lasting one and served Livingston well when Jackson later became President of the Republic.
General Jackson became very fond of Mr. Livingston's little daughter, Cora, while in New Orleans. And after she became a woman he still held his fondness, addressing her by her given name, Cora, as when she was a child. This was the Cora Barton who held the leases after the death of her parents until those in this region were bought by Mr. W. B. Peters of Bloomville, whose heirs still retain them.
Mr. Livingston rewrote the entire criminal law of the State of Louisiana and his law works received wide recognition, not only in this country, but also in France. After Jackson became President, Livingston was sent to France as Ambassador, and then the President, remembering his affection for the daughter, sent her a commission for her husband, Mr. Barton, appointing him as secretary to the new Ambassador.
After serving his country acceptably in France, Mr. Livingston returned home and settled on the family estate, where he died in 1836. Livingston deeds in the Montgomery tract and Mr. Livingston's original part of the lands alloted, as I have heretofore described, after 1836 were given by Louise (or as the old deeds give it "Loese") Livingston, his widow. Later, upon her death, the holdings descended to Mrs. Barton, who died childless, and that branch of the family became extinct.
So hereafter, when my neighbor farmer reads over the old lease and when in the summer we walk over the hills of the old tracts, we shall feel a bit more respect and even reverence for the soil, remembering that it came to us from the hands of some of the foremost patriots of the times, when our country was struggling for a beginning.
Robert R. Livingston, of whom I have said much, administered the oath of office to President Washington, and he was the French Ambassador when the whole western part of our United States was bought from Napoleon. He himself made almost the entire bargain and gave us room to expand to the Pacific Ocean and become a really great country.
If you are not weary of reading about these old historic facts, I may be able to supply a few more articles, but I should gladly hear from any of the old families of this region, old traditions or stories of the early settlers and their doings. I am sure it would be read with interest by all who know anything about our beautiful valley.
HISTORY FROM THE PEOPLE
BOOKS HAVE DONE about all they can for my writings, and now I must turn to the people of this valley for what more I get. It ought to be the very best of all, for it will deal with real life.
So now I appeal to every resident anywhere in this valley to help me with every story of any interest at all about the early settlers or about any time in the past. Incidents, stories, anything at all about the people who have lived in this valley or about old buildings will be good to get, and I will try to make it into material for this column.
Catch me at home, along the road, or anywhere and tell me all you ever heard about, whether you know it to be exact f act or not. It will be interesting at any rate and will be put into the column properly.
I have a man or two I am going to see this week for some promised material for next week. In the meantime, be thinking up all you can for me and this column. Stories and incidents about your own folks, when they came into the valley, will be acceptable and will find a place.
Some time I should like to print a list of each farm in the whole New Kingston Valley and its branches with the names of each occupant from its first clearing down to the present time. It ought to be very interesting and also valuable for preserving for future time.
That means that if you can hunt out your old deeds, which have come down to you from those who have owned the farm on which you live, I will have just the list I desire. I know no other way of getting anything like an accurate list, and I very much wish to secure it for this column.
Here is a sample. The farm known as the E.H. Birdsall farm was owned, according to the county records, first by Janet Montgomery as a part of the original tract, being lot No. 90. It was purchased by a man named Scott, later by William Clement, then by Richard Birdsall, E.H. Birdsall, Stanley Osterhoudt, Frank Long, and Ray Faulkner, (then William F. Yaple, J. Wallace Crawford, Douglas Condon, and presently Hans Schoenfeld). While dates would be sometimes interesting, they are not essential.
All that the history of Delaware County gives about the early settlement of the valley is that Johannes Delameter was first, followed later by Christian Yaple. Jacob Van Benschoten must have come about the same time. I hope to have a story about some of these for next week.
In looking over the old county clerk's records, I found that the Thomas Ingles farm was first bought by Isaac Delameter and his brother James or John, I have forgotten which; then it went to Andrew Miller. Somewhere in bounding, another farm was mentioned as being possessed by a Genera Hermance and once by a Mr. Telford. Perhaps some old resident may be able to explain it to me.
Drop me a card telling me you have something for me or call me on the phone, and I will come to see you. And, remember, don't be afraid to tell everything you heard even if it doesn't seem very important.
THE STORY OF THE VAN BENSCHOTENS
IN THE LITTLE burying ground on the knoll beyond the Dowle home (the present David Taylor farm), rest the remains of the first of the Van Benschotens of New Kingston. Jacob was without doubt the first to penetrate the unbroken forest after the survey of the tract. If we could but see for a moment the first home he built among the maples and pines, the picture would help us to better appreciate the times in which he lived and struggled.
Jacob Van Benschoten was a faithful soldier of his country during the Revolution and after the War was over, moved to a farm near where Margaretville now is. From there he traveled through the woods to the New Kingston Valley, blazing his path on trees that he might easily find his way back. For years afterward, this trail was known as "Uncle Jacob's Road."
His fifty acre farm was where the Dowie home now is, although many other fifty acre lots have since been added. Then the line ran just a little in front of where the house now stands, and in later years the adjoining land in front was owned by a man named Cunningham. Where the two pines now stand was once a hotel. The faint outline of the foundation is still visible.
No highways were there then. On horseback the grain for meal or flour must be taken to Woodstock or Kingston for grinding, some fifty miles. Wolves, panthers, and bears were numerous, and the story is told of, the daughter, Sally, being pursued to the house from the sheepfold by wolves several times. When they howled about the house at night, often the old army musket would be fired from the window to frighten them away. But in spite of all, the sturdy descendant of the rugged people who won much of their land from the sea by building it in, prospered and left a good farm for his son.
Four children were born to the family: two sons and two daughters. The first son died young, so that only one was left to perpetuate the family name. The three were: Sally, William, and Janet.
Sally was born in 1792. She was married to John Hewitt and seven children blessed their union. Through them the Van Benschoten line is connected with Hewitts, Faulkners, Birdsalls, Scotts, Sanfords and others.
William was born in 1800. He inherited the homestead and to him were born seven children. The eldest, Jacob, was the father of William Van Benschoten, who lived on the turnpike near Dunraven; Alexander, who lives below the village of New Kingston; and Almira, the widow of James A. Scott. The second, Huldah, joined the Reynolds name to the family line. John, the third in the family, went to California in "forty-nine" and became wealthy enough at mining to return and buy the old home. Of his children two are living: Mrs. Cornelius Swart of Dunraven, and Mrs. Robert Dowie on the old, original farm. Jane, the fourth, connected the family with the Dickmans of the town of Andes. Nelson, the fifth was the father of William Francis and Henry Oscar Van Benschoten, and Ruanna, the sixth, joined the family to the Yaple line-Cornelius and William being her descendants. Janet, the last of the original family, married into the Ackerly line and thus brought into the connection a long list of Ackerlys, Swarts, Kittles, etc.
One hundred years have gone since Jacob Van Benschoten left his life work to pass into the great beyond. Just a century ago last August the little graveyard on the hillside received his house of earth.
How his branches have stretched out within and outside the valley where he wrought. The character of the line has been stamped upon the community for the history of its people. Without attempting to boast we may say that New Kingston has drawn from the best of the world's stock in making up its inhabitants. Many of the names of the valley settlers are a positive inspiration to him who delights in records of real men and women who have struggled courageously to make homes and rear children in an honest Godly manner. May their lives be not forgotten.
It has not been the purpose of this writing to give a complete list of the descendants of the Van Benschoten line. Many of the younger members have not been mentioned by name. The motive has been rather to put into perspective the family lines that we may better know New Kingston by tracing the course and effect, of a stream from a single spring. This is just one line; others will follow.
THE EARLIEST SETTLERS OF NEW KINGSTON
LET US GO BACK to the year 1796 and see if we can follow "Uncle Jacob's Road" from where Margaretville now stands to the New Kingston Valley. The other day some one was guessing 'where the line of blazed trees ran to strike the Plattekill and surmised that Uncle Jacob would have gone up over the hill back of Frank Winter's (present Ketchum residence) and struck the Plattekill stream near where Olney Smith (Smith's Farm) now lives and from there follow up the Kill.
But this is my guess. I think he would naturally have followed up the Bull Run gully, and when he came to where Harry Sanford (Hubertus M. White) leaves the main road, he would have struck across and come out about where the Beaman Hill road joins the regular New Kingston highway. You see, his father was one of the men who assisted Cockburn in laying out the New Kingston tract and would have told him something of the lay of the land. What is your guess?
Anyway, let us hunt up the log cabin which stood just above where the Jacob Van Benschoten, which stood just above where the Dowie house (David Taylor) now is on the higher ground towards the village. He will be sure to keep us over night and let us sit before the blazing fireplace and will tell of his adventures in starting to carve out a home in the wilderness. And of the rude fare of the wild country, we shall be given the best the home affords.
In the morning let us follow on up the stream to the next fifty acre allotment where there is another log house standing quite close to the bank of the stream (not far from where the Bragg Hollow Road crossed the Plattekill). This house is said to have really been built a little before that of "Uncle Jacob". While the latter is considered the first to have struck into the giants of the New Kingston forests, it is believed that he kept his family by the Delaware while he made a clearing and got things ready a bit.
The family is astir when we reach the cabin, and we are invited to breakfast, and although we have already been fed, we cannot forbear to sit at the rude table hinged to the side of the room and eat some of the trout the good housewife slipped out and caught after the preparation for the morning meal had been begun. For it was no trick then to catch a trout from the Plattekill, and there were no game laws either.
Here is where Abram Johannes Delameter took up his fifty acre allotment of the New Kingston tract, and evidently had another added, for the farm now contains one hundred acres. And for the first time since it was cleared by the sturdy old Holland Dutchman, the farm has gone out of the line of his descendants, Elton Tait having bought it of James Winter (presently owned by Douglas Faulkner).
We find it already quite a clearing with a shack for a cow or two and with preparations being made for planting the crops of the year. How narrowly the children will watch the growing vegetables in the garden, for they get tired of eating meat and fish. And how tickled Avill they be when they can sit up to the table and eat "spawn and milk" from, perhaps, a wooden bowl with a wooden spoon.
They tell that among the early Dutch settlers of the Schoharie valley the housewife used to cook the mush and place it in a great bowl in the center of the table and make a pond in the center for the milk. Then the family would gather round and each would eat out for himself or herself a little hollow and then run a channel up to the pond of milk, and they would thus have a miniature system of feed canals for their individual bowls. The trouble came when one fast eater would cut into the one next to him. Then would be needed father's strong hand to keep peace. I know not if such was the custom among the early Dutch of New Kingston.
Picture the corn being ground in a mortar or being sent on horseback miles and miles for grinding into meal. I wonder if they had any wheat flour, any sugar cookies in those days. And did they know anything about tea and coffee?
Uncle Abram had a family of seven children. Sally Ann (I think the eldest) married a man named Rutherford. When William Van Benschoten returned from the gold country of California where he had so prospered, Rutherford caught the fever and started to make his fortune also. But on the Pacific Ocean he sickened and died and his body was committed to the deep, leaving his wife here to fight her battle of life alone. I believe there is a house in Margaretville still known as the Rutherford home, where she lived.
Another daughter one of the twins married James Chisholm, to whom were born three children: Margaret, who married Robert Winter and who is the mother of Frank and James Winter and Mrs. Andrew Russell; Sarah Ann, who married James Archibald, who lived where Gideon Robertson now lives; and Andrew Chisholm who lived at Croton, New York.
The wife of James died, and he liked the family so well he married the other of the twin daughters and to them was born our present James Chisholm. It is never safe in New Kingston to speak disrespectfully to any citizen about any other citizen of the valley, for you never know when you may be talking to a relative of the one you are talking about. I had never suspected that Mr. Chisholm was related to the Margaretville tonsorial artist (Reed Delameter), but fortunately, I had never critized one in the presence of the other.
Of the children of Abram Delameter I have little knowledge. If some descendant of the line should be able to supply more information, I shall be glad to tell it later. There was a son Brink and I think an Abram. One man said there used to live an Abram Delameter on the old crossroad between Bert Halleck and the Tuttle farm, and I have noticed two butternut trees standing near the brook where there is evidence of there having been a building at some time. Probably he was the son of our first settler. Where Reed Delameter comes in the line I forgot to ask when I was in town, and he will have to tell me later. And there are also other Delameters in Margaretville.
James Chisholm the elder used to be a Captain in the army, and you must have heard of the general trainings they used to have after the Revolutionary War and after the War of 1812. At some central place where the ground was level, they would meet and train the ablebodied citizens so as to be ready in case of another war. There on the flat of Abram Delarneter and also on the Chisholm farm where Andrew Van Benschoten (Roland Van Benschoten) lives, Captain Chisholm used to put the boys through the manual of arms and train them in marching and in military maneuvers.
There is another interesting matter of history of the Delameter farm. In the old days they used to hold town meetings there, and if the present town board grants to the voters of the New Kingston valley their petition for an election district with polling place in the New Kingston village, it will be merely returning to them a privilege their forefathers enjoyed many years ago. We hope they will allow history to thus repeat itself.
In as much as the Chisholm line has been intimately connected with the Delameter family, it will be proper in this article to mention the fact that Andrew Chisholm, grandfather of the present James Chisholm, cleared the Alexander Van Benschoten farm and erected the first buildings thereon. I believe they were near the present highway, and until quite recently, some of them were still standing. After the elder James
Chisholm married Rachel Delameter, he bought the Delameter farm and his brother William retained the old Chisholm farm. I intended to ask if he was the father or grandfather of Richard (Dick) Chisholm, which I presume to be the case.
In a previous article I mentioned having found in the office of the county clerk a record of the fact that the Thomas Ingles farm was owned formerly by Isaac and James Delameter, two brothers. They sold to Andrew Miller in 1847. 1 have failed to find out whether they were in any way related to the subject of this sketch or not. I shall be glad of any information relating thereto.
I have said that the log house of the old Delameter farm stood close to the stream of the Plattekill. About a hundred years ago a frame house displaced the old log building. It stood, also, at the left of the road near the evergreen patch set out by James Winter, and I have been told that the foundation is still there. Within the memory of Mrs. Margaret Winter, the house was drawn across the road to where it now stands (standing in 1924, now gone). It is without doubt one of the very oldest, if not the oldest, 'house in the
valley, being easily a century old.
The body of Abram Delameter found its final resting place in the Archibald burying ground, where he sleeps undisturbed by the noise of the automobile and the stir of present-day business. As we ponder for a moment over those old times of the past, when the valley was still in its primitive state, we wonder if the hard working pioneers with their wives and children were as happy as we are today with all our advantages and so-called advancement. What do you think?
MORE ABOUT THE EARLY SETTLERS OF NEW KINGSTON
IF YOU LOOK on your map of the State of Virginia just south of the capitol city of the United States, you will see the city of Alexandria. To this city-if it was a city at that time- John Philip Harry Yaple came from Alsace sometime before the Revolutionary War. He was the great grandfather of P. G. Yaple of New Kingston and, I suppose, of the other Yaples of his generation.
Before the Revolution the great-grandfather and others of the family used to make hunting and trapping trips up into the valley of the Delaware River: one division of the party going up the West Branch to where Deposit now is, and the other coming up the valley of the Pepacton or East Branch. Naturally the beaver at Beaver Dam (Roxbury) attracted them, and they also visited the valley of the Plattekill.
After the Revolution and after the 5000 acre tract was surveyed and allotted, at east two of the sons of the great grandfather spoken of came into the valley to settle. The history of Delaware County states that Christian and Philip Yaple were among the very earliest ones to build homes here. The former probably settled where William Yaple now lives (the William Crawford farm), while Philip settled where P. G. Yaple lives (now owned by T. J. Wagner) and built a log house at a very early period. It probably stood just across the stream from where the present house stands.
The Yaples were not those who received allotments, for they were not residents of Kingston, but came from Virginia or Pennsylvania as before mentioned. They purchased several of the fifty acre lots from some of those who had received them and who did not wish to settle here. The present Yaple farm in the village of New Kingston originally consisted of four fifty-acre lots, and the older Philip Yaple is said to have had at one time a much larger tract made up of these lots.
Jacob Yaple, a brother of Philip Yaple, went into the central part of the state and purchased, for a small sum, quite a large tract of land at the head of Cayuga Lake where Ithaca now stands. His brother Philip visited him there with some others, and Jacob offered to aid him in securing a good tract on the lake, but he grew tired of the region and preferred to come back to this valley.
Being a native of Alsace would indicate that the Yaple family was originally "high Dutch," or German, although Alsace has passed back and forth between Germany and France, and since the great war, is owned again by France. Intermarriage with English and French and Dutch and other people has wrought the same kind of changes that most of our old lines have experienced. Our New Kingston descendant had for a mother a woman of English family with a long line of ancestors reaching back for centuries. His wife came from an equally long ancestral line of Irish blood, but in this branch the line will cease since no children were born to the present representative of the Yaple name. The old homestead, which has always been in the family since the first log for a home was cut, must soon pass into other hands.
Incidentally, while talking with this last of his branch of the line, he told me that his wife had been related through marriage to Schuyler Colfax, who was Vice President of the United States when Grant was President. I remember "Grant and Colfax" when they ran and that is my farthest back. I had a miniature picture of each at election time, and felt that the safety of the country depended upon their being elected. That must have been about 1868.
And in the book of the Colfaxes he has placed the marriage certificate of the one-time Vice President of the United States. It was simply a written statement by the officiating minister and was so plain and simple for a marriage certificate, that I think I will reproduce it for you. Here it is:
Argyle, Washington Co. N. York
Oct. 10, 1844
I, the Pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Fort Miller of this county, do hereby certify that I have this day joined in matrimony Schuyler Colfax and Evelyn Clark.
That is quite an interesting relic, but I am sure that if I gave a young couple a mere statement in my own handwriting in these days they would not be satisfied. What would you not give for just one glance at New Kingston when our trio of first families started to make homes in the valley of the Plattekill? Today (April 21) I took my surveyor's compass and started off into the hills, and when I came to an old wall which marked out one of the division lines in the original tract, I took bearings. I stood at the end of the long line wall which runs between Will Adee (David Crawford farm) and some other farm (I think it must be that of George Wickham) and set my compass so as to sight at the west line of David Adee's farm (now owned by Joseph Hewitt); they are both in the same division line. I found the bearing to be South 40 degrees, thirty minutes East, and that corresponds with the direction of the other lines excepting the cross lines, which are around fifty degrees cast or west of north and south. I thought of Mr. Cockburn running out all these lines in the dense forests one hundred forty years ago. It must have taken him one whole summer, and the old line walls remain as lasting monuments to his work. One need never lose a corner in the New Kingston contract, for it is always possible to find a wall somewhere on every old line and run it and the one which crosses it to where the corner should be. And if you are ever in doubt about a line and can find any part of the old division of which your line is a part, you can reconstruct the original line and thus find where your line belongs.
And when all the old settlers are forgotten and their descendants also shall have passed away, the old lines will still remain to show the work of more than a century gone, and perhaps if the visitor to the valley will listen intently, he may yet hear the echoes of the woodman's ax, and the crash of the mighty maple as the wilderness was being changed into a pleasant place for the habitation of man.
HISTORY GATHERED FROM GRAVESTONES
THREE SMALL CEMETERIES show their white marble along the Plattekill, where the old-time people of New Kingston lie sleeping. A desire came to me to see how many resting there were of the eighteenth century.
And so on the one spring day when there were no chilling breezes and the very air breathed summer's coming, I rambled among the mounds where those sleep who dwelt in this valley a century gone and fought with nature for homes and livelihood. just those born before 1800 1 looked for in each white city of the dead.
And as those of many years shall read these names, they will recall the old faces which I have never seen and remember where they had their homes and what was their toil. For then everyone had to toil for the elements of life.
Up where we laid an old and respected father of the valley a week ago, on the very farm where he wrought through his lifetime, I found these names inscribed on the tombstones: William Dumond, born in 1779; Rachel, his wife, born in 1783; Abram Dumond, born in 1799; Elizabeth, his wife, born in 1800; Abram J. Delameter, born in 1787; Sally, his wife, born in 1783; Egnos Dumond, born in 1788; Anna, his wife, born in 1789. I looked to find the gravestone of the first Abraham J. Delameter, but could not. Possibly at that early date marble stones were not easily secured.
Then I visited the group of mounds in the family burying grounds of the Dowie Farm and found, buried therein, seven born before 1801 as follows: Jacob Van Benschoten (date of birth not given but must be before 1760, as he was a soldier in the Revolutionary War); Jane, his wife (date also missing); John Hewitt, born in 1785; Sally Van Benschoten Hewitt, his wife, born in 1793; Cornelius Dumond ("King" Dumond?) born in 1787; Mary, his wife, born in 179O; Samuel Akerly, born in 1799.
Down on the bank, where the road turns in to go to the home of the Van Benschoten family, I also found two stones, one of marble and one of the native stone, upon which I found the inscriptions of Andrew Chisholm born in 1776, the year of the Declaration of Independence, and of Ellis, wife of James Chisholm, born in 1777, the year of Burgoyne's invasion. The latter was one of plain stone and had wonderfully beautiful lettering in semi-script style.
Up in the high cemetery on the gravel knoll along the road, I found none born before 1801, but as there were many graves marked with just a native stone with no inscription, I presume there may be several graves of the older residents born before the date mentioned.
One name I have omitted a name entirely unfamiliar to me. The grave was in the Archibald ground and the name was Alexander Ruckler, born in 1776, with his wife born in 1780. Doubtless some who read this will know of them.
Inquiry among older residents informed me that the Dumonds lived on the farm recently bought by Ralph Faulkner (Leonard Faulkner), the farm of William Adee (Crawford), and the farm of David Adee (Hewitt). Also, I believe that Cornelius Dumond lived on the Archibald farm now owned by Mr. Miller (now owned by his son, Richard Miller) down the valley. One informant told me that he was the one called "King" Dumond in the old days and that he used to be a very enterprising and energetic man.
What was the main way of making a living in those old days of the log cabin? What crops did they mainly raise and how did they manage to get ready cash for things they could not grow? The other day a man told me of their gathering together with their sheep at spring washing time at the home of some farmer who might have a good spot along the stream. From that I gather, sheep were raised in much larger numbers than now. Did they grow wheat and corn for husking in addition to the oats and buckwheat we now raise?
And when they went to church (for folks went to church then if there was any) did they take the oxen and the woodshod sled? Where was the first church and where the first school house in the valley? Who can tell me? How early did they have candles, moulded or dipped? Before that what did they have for light besides that of the open fireplace?
There was at least this difference between then and now. They looked for homes; we look for easy money. Which way leads more surely to comfort and happiness?
And how they must have worked. Look at the stonewalls now crumbling down. How did they get time to do it all? It is as much as ever that we can get our wire fences fixed in time for turning out the cows to pasture. Of course, they grew larger families then, and the boys and girls took hold well. But that meant more mouths to feed and more cloth to buy for wearing. But now they are all gone, with the world in which they lived.
No more for them the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or the busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knee the envied kiss to share.
And they have left us their heritage, The fertile farms are ours which they prepared. They sowed for us to reap and passed on as we shall also pass on when our time shall come. On many a stone of those older days a verse tells of their hope beyond the grave. So pleasant is the world now we scarce think of what shall come when time shall be no more.
THE BIG FOREST AND THE LOST BABY
ONE AFTERNOON I tramped over the mountain to see the oldest inhabitant to get the picture of the valley as it was seventy-five years ago; for our oldest resident is past his eighth-fifth milestone. But the resident was not at home and another visit must be made another time.
Leaving the homelike spot and walking through the fields, another white farmhouse came into view and hither the traveler turned his footsteps to secure some needed information concerning some of the old lot lines of the Montgomery Tract. And not only did he get the knowledge desired, but a bit of most interesting history of the pioneer folk of the past. And after an urgent invitation that he stay to supper which he could not do as it was about time to milk he turned his steps to climb back over the steep hill.
If you have never seen the wonderful view from Harry O'Connors' pasture lot, which reaches from the bottom of the hill to the flat table on top, you have missed much especially at sunset time. Part way up the hill at your feet lie the broad meadows of the Miller farm and the farm of Mr. Ingles; farther on, the farms of the Archibald brothers, then the hill bordering Bragg Hollow, then the Grand Hotel greets you from the distance, while afar at the left, on the slope of the Bedell Mountain, a white house shows as plainly as the big hostelry.
Then nearer by at the left are the clustered buildings of the Cowan farm, while farther still "Neely" Sanford's peeps at you through the trees and the other old Ingles' farm stands out still farther on. And all are tinged with yellow gold as the sun is sliding down his western ladder.
And before you go on, I will tell you my story.
A century ago James Miller and his bride left their home in Bonny Scotland and braved the long voyage across the Atlantic to find a home in America. From the great city they somehow got to the all-wooded valley of the Plattekill and settled on the fine lying land where the Miller farm now is. Their lease bore the date of 1829 and was given by Edward Livingston, which makes their farm one of the very first to be settled outside the New Kingston Tract.
Then came the building of the log cabin and the felling of the forest monarchs to make the farm clearing. And the trees were monarchs, f or I saw on my tramp that day stumps which would measure more than three feet across and probably those were not the greatest at that.
Then one day, after children two, three, four, had come to brighten the forest home, little John, a baby of three or four years, left the house in the afternoon to go where his father and Andrew were chopping trees. The shadows of evening began to fall and the men came to the house for supper, but no little baby boy tagged their steps. And to the anxious query of the mother, they could only say they had not seen him at all.
And then began an all-night search for the lost boy. Up and down the hillside, through the deep woods, everywhere that it might seem possible his little feet might have taken him, they looked and called. The old tin lantern, with holes punched in it to let out its straggling rays, gave little aid as the darkness settled down, but there was no thought of stopping the search. And in the morning as day broke upon the hills at last, they found him so dazed and scared that he was even afraid of his own father and mother. In the night he had heard them calling, but so overcome was he by the terror of the dark forest that he dared not call out in return.
The terror of being lost in the trackless forests in those early days when not all the wild beasts had vanished and the anguish of the night could only be forgotten in the joy of the morning when the little wanderer was again clasped in his mother's arms.
We are sitting on the hillside looking over the beautiful picture of wide-spreading farms and green hills and far-away mountains. The vision fades and appears in its place the picture that used to be. Woods, woods, woods, everywhere. A curl of blue smoke climbs up above the tree tops here and there where the settlers have reared their cabin homes. The tinkle of a cow bell falls dreamily upon the car. The sound of the ax followed by a mighty crash foretells the passing of the old and the coming of another day in the valley.
Night is settling down, mantling the valley in shadow. The ax is still, the cow has been housed for the night. The last streamer of sunlight is gone and old earth is ready to sleep. Suddenly a cry of anguish and alarm sounds in the stillness. The mother is crying out for her baby and the voices of others join with hers all through the night. The night bird in the tree tops ceases his calling and all else, save the echoes of the searchers, is hushed. The woods give- sometimes peace, sometimes terror.
James Miller reared his family of four or five and sent some out into the world, but the old farm is still owned by Millers. After James, it was owned by Walter and John who was lost, while Andrew bought the Ingles place from the Delameter brothers. Now James has the farm again-the grandson of the first James, that is. And it is a good place to drop in for a chat. But I wish I could turn back the wheels of time and drop in for a call on the first Miller family when a fireplace took the place of the present day stove, and chat for a time with the rugged old pioneer and his good housewife who came across the sea to help build up our country while making a home for themselves and their children.
WHICH IS THE OLDEST HOUSE IN NEW KINGSTON
WHICH IS THE VERY OLDEST house in the New Kingston Valley? That is a hard question to answer.One man thinks the old Delameter house on the farm recently bought by Mr. Tait is oldest; another believes the old part of the house on the farm of William Adee was first built, while some hold the opinion that the stone house is older than any other.
If any person reading this has any knowledge in the matter, we shall be glad to hear from that person. Until then, if we must guess, we will go about it as systematically as we can.
Of course, the first homes were log cabins. Doubtless most of the people over forty have seen a real log house. When I was a boy, I used to go sometimes to see Uncle Peter Judd and his wife Aunt Harriet in their little log house. I can remember that where the logs came together the cracks were "chinked up" with mud or clay to keep out the wind. That was in Schoharie County and more than fifty years ago. And it seems to me that I have seen one or two back among the hills since I came into this section of Delaware County eighteen years ago. But I know of none or the remains of any about New Kingston.
Next, after the log houses, came those made of plank standing upright. These plank were placed as close together as possible, and the cracks were either battened down or there was a double set of plank. Such houses were said to have been very warm. A house on one of the Sanford farms, I think the Lyman Sanford farm, was planked, then sided, lathed, and plastered. That must have indeed been comfortable.
The old schoolhouse that used to stand by Bert Halleck's was built thus of plank and sided over with plank.
I rather think the New Kingston one may be a plank building also. The old Delameter house and the Dumond house on the Adee farm were also of plank. Now here is a way to make a shrewd guess as to when plank houses were first constructed. If anyone can tell when the first sawmill was built it should help to fix the time when plank houses were first put up. For sawmills must have come first, unless the planks were drawn in from outside, which is not likely. But it may be as hard to tell about the sawmills as about the houses.
Traveling up and down the Plattekill, you will notice several old mill sites; sawing lumber must have been quite a business in the old days, and then must have been the time of plank buildings. Of course, siding soon followed. And if everyone who lives in an old house will go upstairs and into the attic and see if there are ends of plank in sight, he or she may know the house was built near the time of the entrance of sawmills into the valley.
Now, since we are guessing, let us guess what started the village of New Kingston. We know very well it was not done by farmers, for they generally spread out instead of building near each other. Here is my guess. Someone started a sawmill there, and houses were put up for the men working in the mill and for the teamsters, etc. Then, of course, a blacksmith shop and a wagon shop would soon follow. The old Delaware County Atlas shows a map on which a store and postoffice is located. That would be fifty-five years ago, and some of the present residents can remember back farther than that. If I had talked with some of them before writing this, I wouldn't have needed to guess much.
But all our guessing will do no good when it comes to fixing the age of the stone house (presently owned by Albert Wickham). No one can remember when there was not plenty of stone around New Kingston for building either walls or houses. Knowledge about the mortar might help us a little more. It must have been good to last so long and still hold.
If the owner of the stone house will permit me to do so, I wish to take a picture of it after it stops raining. Then I may be able to get a cut printed in "The News" to head a short article about it. And it may be that then I shall be able to speak more definitely about the old home of Aunt Sally Van Benschoten Hewitt. For she was the first housewife to dwell within its four walls and that must have been more than a hundred years ago.
In looking around for a bit of knowledge of old-time houses, I secured a little information which I much desired. At the home of William Adee, who has the farm settled by the Dumonds, they allowed me to see the deed of the land. In it I found what I have wished for-the exact dimensions of one of the 100 fifty-acre lots of the New Kingston tract. The measurement given was 22 chains and 35 links each way. As a chain is four rods long and links are hundredths of a chain, it would be 89.4 rods square.
If every lot in the tract is of the same size which I suppose is true the dimensions of the tract would be 894 rods each way, or about two and four-fifths miles.
SCOTTISH SETTLERS IN NEW KINGSTON VALLEY
LAST MONDAY AFTERNOON I took a trip that would delight a geologist or an antiquarian. For a geologist would be delighted to see the great ten-ton granite boulder which the ice-flood dropped beside the road, with the rounded gray granite one lying a rod or so away. I think the old glacier must have dropped these exceptionally large samples of its burden from afar north just to mark this wonderfully charming branch of the New Kingston valley.
And if the hunter for antique furniture, etc., could see the great strong chest brought over a hundred years ago from afar over the sea in Scotland, together with the flax spinning wheel, the old reel, century old shears, and wooden soled shoes, equally old, he would go wild with delight also. And then there was a wonderful chest weighing close to two hundred pounds which had once been the possession of the first wife of our pioneer New Kingston settler, Jacob Van Benschoten. While she was still a young woman
before Jacob won her, she spun flax for linen and bought the boards for the making of the chest and they were wide enough so there was no piecing. I wish you could see it.
And where did I see all these? Why, away up the long, beautiful valley where probably the first of Scotland's contribution to our valley made his home. More than 100 years ago, John Thomson with his wife, Marion, left Hamilton, Scotland, and came to America with their children and made their home where Andrew J. Thomson now lives (presently owned by William Dougherty). Two brothers had settled in Bovina some years before near the Butt End, their descendants still occupying the original homesteads.
Our pioneer probably could not secure a suitable tract of land on that side of the mountain and so he came over into our valley. He could have purchased the tract where Gideon Robertson (Hugh Robertson) now lives, but wished to be as near his brothers and to Bovina as possible, so he chose the spot mentioned. From John Hunter of Westchester County he leased lot 150 across the Desbrosses line for an annual rental of twenty-five dollars and fifty cents a year, except the first five years when he paid a shilling an acre, which would amount to about seventeen dollars a year.
I saw the old original lease, and it was a rare sight. It was as large as a sheet of newspaper with enough printed matter to occupy your attention for some time. The signatures were well preserved, and the old document entire enough so that nearly all its provisions could easily be read. I have never seen another like it for size.
Within a short time a log house was erected and homemaking begun. An ox team did the logging and farm work while a horse was kept for taking the grain over the trail to the Butt End for grinding. The horse never knew what harness was and was never hitched to a wagon he was the auto which kept the family in provisions from the outer world.
In 1822 a log barn was built. Before that the cattle lived largely in the forest and in winters were dependent to a great extent on the "browse" furnished by the ax, which was the way early settlers had to keep their stock until larger clearings were made. The cattle knew what it meant when they heard the ax resounding through the forest, and the ax man had to hurry to get his tree down before they reached him, lest they be crushed beneath it.
In 1834 the first frame barn was erected. It is still standing in very good condition, although another barn has since been built. The carpenter work cost eighty dollars and the stone work fourteen dollars, and it is no small building. The house came two years later and is still the dwelling place of the family, and a pleasant one, too.
There is living within the reading circle of "The News" a woman who, when the barn was built, was a child of very few years and who belonged to a neighboring farm. Naturally, she would be where the building was going on, and if she remembers (which she will), she will tell you how the builders put her high up on the corner of the barn wall to keep her out of reach of the old gobble-turkey, of which she was in great fear. If she chances to see this, the old picture will come back.
Letters written before envelopes were used and before stamps came were shown to me. Some came to Bovina, some to Stratton Falls. The earliest through New Kingston was sent about 1852 which indicates when that office was opened, although it might have been there earlier. Postage was paid by the receiver of the letter, and I noted a large figure 5 on one of the letters showing what must be paid to get it from the office.
Traveling shoemakers visited each home and made the shoes for the family. Also came a candlemaker who "dipped" the candles for the household. Then there was a saddlemaker, one Tunis H-, who loved his brown jug. An entry in the diary kept by a member of the Thomson family in those days mentions his being "drunk as a beast." Having a saddle to deliver at the Butt End, he started out one bitter cold day over the mountain with the saddle and his jug one in either hand. Part way up the ascent he tired and sat down upon a rock to rest, laying his saddle on one side and setting his jug on the other and laying his hat aside also. Some days later Mr. Thomson, going up the hill, saw him sitting there and upon going up to him found him frozen to death. The drowsiness from the jug had made him a victim to the chill of the mountains.
The first intimation that Indians ever lived around New Kingston comes to me from this locality. An old Indian called "Shongum" used to live near the Thomson home on the Mountainside and made baskets from the wood of the black ash and went traveling over the country selling them. Doubtless some of his baskets may yet be in existence.
Church going appears to be a habit of the family as New Kingston well knows. It must be inbred, for in the days when horses had become the means of travel, the family went over to Bovina to church and on Communion Sundays went all the way to Kortright Center. And they also attended meetings in the schoolhouse which was built in the valley. I believe the original faith of the family was that of the Covenanters, a church of which denomination is still in Bovina, although the larger number of the people now worship with the United Presbyterian Congregation.
Someday when you can spare the time, take a trip up this quiet but delightful valley. When you come to the gate to the Thomson home, climb over the wall opposite and up the slope a way, and there sit down and dream of the olden days. Shut your eyes and see the log house shut in by the forest. Remember that for seven or eight years the nearest neighbor was where you noticed the fragment of stone chimney in the wall at the left where you turned near the farm of Burton Archibald (presently owned by Mrs. A. Lanzi).
Still dreaming, go down to the log cabin where the housewife is preparing the noonday meat over the fireplace. The humble meat is set, and the family gather about the board. For a silent moment all wait while the husband and father offers thanksgiving. Look on the face of this little group and see if you find there aught of discontent or unhappiness, and ask yourself if they had less of happiness then we in 1924.
WILLIAM COWAN SETTLED HERE ABOUT 1825
THIS WEEK I VISITED another farm where the family line has been continuous, and the land is still occupied by one of the direct descendants. There are four such families tip that branch of the valley: the Thomsons, the Cowans, the Archibalds, and the Millers. My visit was to the Cowan farm now owned by Andrew Cowan (presently owned by Harold Mead).
The homestead lies adjacent to, or is cut by, three roads and is one of the two farms which looks particularly smooth and well adapted to its purpose and it has been well farmed. With abundant water, it is naturally adapted to dairying, and the records of the testing association for the past year (1924) show that the business has been well followed.
The original lease or deed was from General Hermance, which particularly interested me as I had come across the name in the records and have been wishing to know what lands he might have held in this section. So far I have found that he probably owned the farms now possessed by Harry O'Connor, Thomas Ingles, and Andrew Cowan. The O'Connor farm was sold to Archibald Elliott in 1837 by Sally Hermance of Rhinebeck, who doubtless was the widow of General Hermance and probably one of the Livingston line.
The Cowan farm was settled by William Cowan about a century ago. We figured out the date from the children of Thomas Cowan, Thomas having taken the farm a few years afterward from his father. There were ten children, the youngest being the only one left, and he gave me the facts to figure with. The oldest one was Hannah Cowan, born in 1830 or 31, and as there must have been at least five or six years before Thomas Cowan could have married and settled on the place after it was cleared by his father, the first trees must have been cut as early as 1825.
Thomas Cowan came across from Scotland after his father, if I remember correctly. The ship in which he came drifted from its course, and he was compelled to winter in Prince Edward's Island just north of Nova Scotia. The following summer he came on to New York State and found employment at Catskill in a tannery, until his father transferred to him the farm he had started to clear.
The value of the incomers from the little island across the sea to our great country is well illustrated by this line. Strong, energetic, intelligent, whether in this immediate valley or in Weaver Hollow or the "Turnpike," they have "made good." I have "sponged" many a meal at their tables ending for the time just the other night when I sat at the board while I got material for my story. I shall not be sorry to try it again, especially if they have some more of the dried beef of the old-fashioned style, the kind I used to whittle off with my jackknife as it hung by the stove of course, when the housewife was not looking.
The older one of the family the last of the next older generation told me about how they used to "dip" candles. He said his mother used to fasten several pieces of wicking to a long stick, each long enough for a candle. Then she would melt up the tallow in the boiler as that was the only thing deep enough. The wicks would be well greased by hand so they would hang straight down, and then the whole line of them would be let down into the melted material and drawn out again. Then she would hand the stick with the candle beginnings to him to take into the cellar to cool for another layer while, I suppose, she dipped another string of them. Thus after several dippings enough grease would accumulate to make a good sized candle.
I remember hearing years ago that sometimes they had water in the boiler beneath the melted tallow, and asked him why, as I could never understand it, unless in some way the water helped to harden the tallow. "Why," said he, "that was because they had not enough tallow to fill the boiler, which would take an enormous quantity." And then I saw it plain enough and wondered why I had not guessed it before.
After supper I slipped up to the top of the ridge where the Roxbury road runs across to see if I could set my surveying compass on the old Desbrosses line and get its bearings. And coming down again I was charmed with the view which seemed like looking through an open door at the valley below and the mountains far beyond. It is quite unique and worth seeing.
And then after a look at the dairy and a good-bye, I jumped into the Ford and started for home, but was not able to forbear running out to where the two roads come together to see if I could get a better "squint" at the old line surveyed in 1776. And it seemed there in the hill quiet that I almost slipped back into the old days and was with the surveyors who ran the line 148 years ago this summer. I listened, but heard no sound, not even the tinkle of a cow bell to break the silence. And then there came suddenly a loud barking sharp and insistent. What could it be? Wolves? No, it was just "Neely" Sanford's milking machine and said to me plainly, "You are needed at home where there is a similar barking," and I "turned on the juice" and hustled.
ECHOES OF OLDEN TIMES ALONG THE PLATTEKILL
LAST WEEK'S MAIL brought me two letters which so interested me that I shall take the liberty to tell you what they said, at least in part. The first is from New Jersey and the second from Michigan.
From Middletown, New Jersey, the Rev. John Thomson, pastor of the Reformed Church writes:
"I have just read with great interest your recent article in the Catskill Mountain News in relation to the New Kingston Valley. "I am a grandson of the first settlers in that upper valley, and your article brought to my mind incidents that I heard my father often speak of in my boyhood days, some of which I had entirely forgotten, particularly that incident in relation to 'Tunis H.' The place where he was found dead and where the Indian cabin was located are familiar places in my memory. There are not many fields on that Thomson hillside that I have not plowed, or mowed with the mower, and I knew where every rock and woodchuck hole were located."
From Alpena, away up in Michigan on the shore of the Lake, Mr. C. B. Gilbert writes of the old days in our valley from his own memory of sixty years ago:
"I have been reading your own writings in "The News" which interested me, and as I am not a boy any more it may interest you to know some of the events that happened sixty years ago.
"In May, 1864, 1 left my home in Canada and came to Margaretville to learn the trade of plasterer with my brother, George Gilbert. Our first job was a milk house for 'Hop' Dean. I then went to E. Travis's near Stratton Falls, then hired out to Thomas Scott for a month to work in haying and to lath his house. "After the Fourth we started the old 'armstrong machine,' as also did the two Thomsons, John H. and Andrew, whom we could see very plain from the Scott fields. On Andrew's place we could see four young men all keeping stroke much better than we could on the John H. Thomson farm.
"Farther up the valley was a farmer named Starley, but I did not know him very well as I used to go to James Henderson's where Ezra played the violin and where there were some fine girls.
"I first saw New Kingston in May 1864, and then there was a store and post office kept by a Birdsall. There was a log house at the foot of the hill where the roads branched one leading down the brook, the other to Margaretville. Ezra Sprague lived in that log house. There were two stone houses, one at the upper end of the village and the other at the Andrew Hewitt house.
"I knew most of the old stock of Dumonds. Wat' Miller also had a real old house as did William Elliott. The house of James Douglass was the last one I helped plaster in the sixties. I left Margaretville in 1869. "
"There is a Frank Stimson living there, who with me went over the same mountain the man traveled with the saddle and the job, but we had plastering tools and we went to plaster a house for Peggy McFarland in the fall of 1869."
Mr. Gilbert's letter, of which I have given the main parts, interests me. Where was the stone house at the upper end of the village of New Kingston? And where was the Scott farm up in Thomson Hollow? I suppose the James H. Thomson farm was where Theron Starley now lives. And did the old house of "Wat" Miller's stand where the home of James Miller now is, or elsewhere?
An Old Lease
Last week Frank Ingles showed me the oldest lease I ever saw. It was given in the year 1793. James Carman received said lease from James Desbrosses, a merchant of New York City. The Desbrosses line, which I have often referred to, is the line between the towns of Middletown and Roxbury, and is the line between great lot 40 and great lot 41.
Evidently this James Desbrosses received a large tract of land in the Hardenburgh Patent which he leased and sold as other large holders did in those days. The paper is somewhat tom, but the handwriting is as plain as if written recently. Their terms of the lease are very exact but differ from those given in the Montgomery tract. The payment, which was not to begin until 1801, was to be a shilling an acre a year.
Mr. Ingles does not know just how he came by this very rare old paper and does not know just where the farm lies which was leased. I have looked in the Delaware County 4tlas and have found a lot which seems to correspond with the description given in the lease. The place is near the schoolhouse where the two roads which part at the Maynard place in Bovina come together again about two miles farther up. Back in 1868, by the Atlas, a man named Adee lived on the farm.
General Hermance Again
Mr. Ingles also has an old mortgage given on a farm in the Montgomery Tract in 1828 which throws some light on General Hermance.
In 1812 Janet Montgomery gave 1474 acres of land to her nephew, William Jones. The tract included the E.H. Birdsall farm, the Thomas Ingles farm, the Harry O'Connor farm, the Henderson farm, the Miller farm, the O'Connor farm, the Archibald farms, the Cowan farm, the Ruff farm, and possibly more. Mr. Jones died not many years after that and the land was divided up between a George Shufeldt; the estate of General Hermance, deceased; and the estate of Janet Montgomery, deceased. The Janet Montgomery portion went to Edward Livingston and later to his wife, Louise. General Hermance lived at Rhinebeck, across from Kingston, and as mentioned last week, it is probable that Sally Hermance, who deeded the Harry O'Connor farm in 1837 to Archibald Elliott, was the wife of the General.
NEW KINGSTON SCHOOLS OF LONG AGO
WHILE VISITING a descendant of one of the strong families that have made New Kingston history, I recently came across a real treasure, a clerk's book of the school district reaching back sixty years. I also have at hand the record book of the Winter Hollow District reaching back to 1848. The names and records of conditions of those days have interested me much, and I have thought well to pass them along to you.
The Delaware County History says that the first school in New Kingston was taught by John May in 1803. No information as to where the school was held is given, and so we know little about it. And as to what was done between then and 1864, unless someone can dig up some old records, we shall also be ignorant. It would be very interesting to know about the first school house.
It was likely a log building, and it may be that some of the very oldest people may yet recall where it stood and how it looked. In 1864, C. D. Sanford was trustee with J. G. Russell following. School was maintained for nine months in the year, which shows that the people had real educational interest, as seven was what rural districts usually had. Nine is what the law requires now.
That year the school was taught by Jonas M. Preston and Lucinda Faulkner. Probably he had the winter term and she the summer term. I wonder if that was the Jonas Preston who died a year or so ago in Delhi. If it was, I knew the teacher of sixty years back. I imagine that he did not spend much money, as most young people do now, and that the summer teacher did not buy many silk dresses. The total sum paid for teachers' wages that year was $124, or less than fourteen dollars a month. That would be less than half of what the district now pays per week. Probably boarding around saved something, and I am sure that would be a distinct advantage in many ways. The teacher would be well fed and would also keep in touch with the parents.
The district received from the state that year $68.90, raised by tax $26.78, and in addition raised $57.58 by rate bill, which means that each person sending children to school had to pay so much for each pupil. The large family was therefore most expensive in more ways than one. The minister of that time, the Rev. John Servis, had five children of school age as the records show, and it would seem a bit hard on a preacher to pay per head for their schooling. However, I noticed an "exemption" item, and I presume the good people of those days let the minister off free.
The district had sixty-six children of school age; that's some difference from now. The largest number for one family as shown by the list was six. Several had five each, and it went on down to one which represented quite a number of families. It appears that sixty different children attended school that year. I wonder what our genial teacher of 1924 would say next fall should he be greeted on opening day by sixty wriggling youngsters?
Here are the names of those living in the district with children to send to school: James W. Dumond, James J. Dumond, John Dumond, C. Dumond, John Yaple, A. H. Yaple, C. D. Sanford, William Sanford, Robert Archibald, J. V. B. Hewitt, Rachel Chisholm, William Chisholm, Rev. John Servis, Robert Dickman, Esther Northrup, Robert Northrup, Isaac Birdsall, W. R. Swart, W. H. Happy, R. M. Faulkner, John Van Benschoten, Jacob Van Benschoten, J. G. Russell, Abram Baker, Jeremiah Akerly, Robert Winter, Gilbert Kinch.
Four Dumond families and not one left, and other names also vanished. Standing in the old cemetery this year after one of the oldest citizens of the valley had been laid to rest, I said to a resident of the region who stood with me, "What will New Kingston be in fifty years?" And he replied, "Woods." Perhaps he was right, but I hope not.
It must have tried the fibre of those old workers to find food, clothing, shelter, and other necessaries for their families, but I venture that in later years, when the children gathered again about the old hearthstone at Thanksgiving or Christmas, they have felt well repaid for all their toil and sacrifice.
I have been trying to picture a few of the pupils of the school of that time. I think I know of one who must have been a good student, but who would never be satisfied unless everything was made perfectly plain. I am sure he could never take any teacher's simple "say so," but had to be shown that it was so. And then there must have been a rather quiet thoughtful boy with a droll humor who was the delight of the teacher, although you cannot be sure by guessing of the past from the present. But I am sure anyway that the school was a bright and interesting one.
In 1866 a new school house was voted to cost seven hundred dollars. Later, in the same year, a special meeting was held at which the amount was made eight hundred dollars. The school was to be twenty-four by thirty, but the trustee had the privilege of making it two feet larger each way. James Archibald was elected trustee that year. Twenty-three voted for the new building, and one against it. I presume the new school house was the present one, having been materially improved some fifteen years ago.
In Winter Hollow I note some names that have long been absent in the district: William Lewis, William Clement, James M. Thomson, William DuMond (the older one), E. D. Reynolds, Henry P. Reynolds, Gilbert Winter, Francis Coulter all over sixty years ago.
In the little school house which used to stand by the Archibald farm, there used to gather fifty pupils or more. Now that district sends three or four to school. And we are forced to ask what will the school situation be a few years later? Time alone will tell.
But of one thing we may be sure: From the men and women the older schools turned out, they must have done some excellent work.
A STORY OF THE SETTLING OF WEAVER HOLLOW
THIS WEEK I AM GOING to play truant and slip over into an adjacent valley just to tell you the story of Ann Scott. I hope it will be as interesting to you as it was to me.
If you go down to the big white house that stands just back from the river bend below the stone schoolhouse, the descendant of Ann Scott will show you a quite wonderful sampler which is a fine specimen of needle work made by her in 1801 over in England. The embroidery in silk thread on linen background shows fine skill, and the bordering vine with buds and blossoms is beautifully worked. The center work is a quotation which is so good I shall give it to you. Here it is:
Let Prudence admonish thee; let Temperance restrain thee;
let Justice guide thy hand; Benevolence warm thy heart;
and Gratitude to Heaven inspire thee with Devotion.
-Ann Scott, 1801.
Thomas Scott, the father of Ann, lived in England and was well to do. But through aiding a friend with his endorsement, he became straitened in circumstances and sailed for America to retrieve his fortunes. In Dutchess County of this state, he visited a cousin, and this cousin, being of a business turn of mind and having some lands in Weaver Hollow, induced our friend to buy of him and locate in that valley. And so be did.
Ann Scott, with her husband Benjamin Clark for she was now married and had two or three children, it being in the year 1820 soon followed her father with her husband and children. After a tedious voyage of three months they landed in New York Harbor and decided to take a Hudson River boat to meet the father who had prepared to meet them at Kingston.
After landing arrangements were made to take a Hudson River boat to Kingston, the wife discovered that she had left her baby's clothing on the ship and the husband went after it. As he was somewhat deaf, the wife usually did the business and carried the pocketbook. The riverboat agreed to wait for him but did not, and pock when he returned he found himself alone in New York with no money and was compelled to walk all the way to where the boat landed with his family, away up the river. His food and lodging along the weary way he was forced to solicit from the people living by the road.
Then two long, tedious weeks of travel with horses over the rough roads and trails until at last they came to the log house in Weaver Hollow which was to be their home for a time at least. The site was on the farm now owned by Mary Cowan far up the valley, the house being above the road from where the present dwelling stands.
When the courageous wife, who had been brought up in old well settled England, entered the little log hut where her home was to be she at last broke down and cried. And many a night thereafter, she went out into the edge of the wild forest and from sheer homesickness and loneliness wept, while the wild animals answered her with their own cries, as if in sympathy.
But that did not mean giving up or neglecting her duties. Bravely she bore her burdens and reared her family which became still larger in her new world. And from those whom she has given us, we can know something of her energy and character and of her husband.
It was the purpose of the mother of our heroine to come to America when they had things settled, and she now expected to follow very soon. Then one day Thomas Scott, the father, started for a village lying over the mountain and was temporarily stricken down and became unconscious. At that time a Mrs. Bryant, from the place where Ira Hubbell now lives, returned to England for a visit, and having understood that Mr. Scott was dead, so told it across the sea, and so the mother gave up her plan to come. As you know, messages across the sea were months in going and coming in those days, and by the time she heard the news that her husband was still living, she had given up all thought of coming. The new generation growing up in the rugged Catskills she never saw after they became sturdy men and women.
The Clarks have settled in different parts of the country, and I know of some in Walton and of others elsewhere. But my interest lies in the rather little of stature woman who seemed to have inherited in her slight frame all the energy and resolute purpose of her another. I remember her quite well when she had turned her face to the setting sun. When I knew her, she, of course, was not a Clark, but a Hoffman and no longer lived in the valley where she was reared. But the indomitable spirit that shone from her eyes told her lineage.
Well, that is about all of my story. One cannot write of folks who are living since they might be diffident about the matter. But you all know of the home down by the bend of the stream three miles below Margaretville, a house that also has a history. And you know the representatives of that home in the business life of the town and village. If you know their immediate forbears, you will expect them to do things. And you will believe that Ann Scott and her husband must have been real people, and that is not to discredit the other blood that mingled with the Clark line to give us the present representatives of the old stock.
One thing more. I should like to see the wonderful old clock Ann Scott brought over from England with her and which went to another part of the country to a son of the family, and was finally sold to a doctor in Franklin. I hope when he leaves this world he will return the old treasure to the original family line.
WAS ADAM DOUGLASS THE FIRST SCOTCHMAN?
A MILE AND A HALF beyond New Kingston village on the Dickson Mountain Road, a white house will greet you from the right hand side, and just a little farther on you can see another white house across the fields to the left. When you pass the meadow on the left of the road and come to the pasture, you may climb the wall and take the short cut across the fields and save going on to where the road cuts away from the one you have been traveling.
Part way across the pasture lot you will come to a flat top rock. Stop there and sit down on the rock right by the spot where Adam Douglass and Daniel Henderson built their log cabin in the summer of 1816. You may not find any of the chimney stones left, but I think there is someone living on the farm who can remember when some of them were still there.
Now forget the cleared fields and white houses and think back to the huge maple trees shutting you in on every side with no way to look but towards the sky, unless you may, perchance, have a bit of the first clearing of our two sturdy pioneers at hand. And now you ought to be ready to listen to my story.
Adam Douglass came from Roxburyshire in the highlands of Scotland in 1816, coming by sailing vessel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then by packet to Boston, from whence he came by diligence (public stage coach) to the Hudson River, and then came somehow on up to the woods of the New Kingston region. I do not know where this boy of eighteen fell in with his companion whether on shipboard or in the land of their birth. But anyway, they became chums and so remained until each was ready to take a life mate in the new country.
I presume by this time New Kingston had a store where our two homemakers could purchase what necessities of life they could not secure from the woods and from their clearing. They would need few dishes and could build their own fireplaces and make their furniture. While you are still sitting on the flat rock, you can picture it all and see the wilderness change into cleared fields with cattle grazing where bears and wolves roamed aforetime. Perhaps you may be able to sit with them some evening after the toil of the day, listen to the quietness, and watch the stars come out, the same stars that had just been looking down on the old home across the sea. Then, if ever, one would be homesick.
In 1821, Adam took a helpmate, Miss Cowan. Whether Daniel was already married or not I do not know. Anyway, they took separate lots thereafter, Adam taking the higher ground since he was a highlander, and Daniel taking what is now the Tuttle (Douglas Hoy) farm. But the farm eventually came back into the Douglass line, and if men changed names at marriage as women do, it would still be called the Douglass farm like the one above it.
After Adam Douglass came his son, James, and you may recall reading in a letter from C. D. Gilbert from the west, that he plastered the house of James Douglass in the sixties. That was the house still on the Douglass farm (now owned by John Schmitt). I do not know when Daniel Henderson sold the lower farm, but if I were to make a guess, I should say about 1850. I believe it was purchased by John Elliott, who married a daughter of Adam Douglass, and whose own daughter still lives on the place. It was she who told me how the old pioneer grandfather liked to see the farms well cleared and well cultivated. And in the sunset time of his life, he used to tell the grandchildren, when they coaxed for stories, tales of the olden days both in this country and in the land across the ocean.
It was in the 1850's that this sturdy representative of a sturdy race lived in the land of his adoption. When he lay down for his final rest, he had passed the ninetieth milestone of human life. During his later years, after the death of her who had shared his joys and sorrows, he became lonely and sighed for the land of his birth. Except for the entreaties of his children and neighbors, he would have turned his steps back to die on Scottish soil. But he sleeps in the valley to which he gave the legacy of his untiring industry in making the wilderness into a fit place for the dwelling of man.
I thought when I found records of the coming of the Scottish people into this valley about 1825, that I had found the earliest ones. Then I found the Thomsons who came in 1820 and the Cowans who came in 1821. In my sketch of the Cowans, I made a guess that William Cowan came to America in 1825, but his granddaughter living in New Kingston told me he came in 1821, the year the Stone School House was built and the year Napoleon was banished to St. Helena.
And now comes Adam Douglass, who came to this region in 1816, and Thomas Elliott, of whom I shall write soon, who came either that year or in 1817. I wonder if I shall find any representatives of the land of plaid and bagpipe still earlier. I rather think I have found the first man Adam.
But now they are all gone. "They labored and we have entered into their labors." We build upon the foundation they laid. They swung the ax and guided the oxen; we follow the seeder and ride in the automobile. They lighted their humble dwellings by tallow dip; we turn night into day with electric lights, acetylene or Rochester burners. They were steady and patient; we are becoming nervous and restless. They were content to make haste slowly; we want to turn the world over in a day. It is the age.
How they used to go to church! A woman who is now past seventy told me how she used to walk over the mountain and attend church in New Kingston when the Rev. John Servis was here. First the rather long morning service, then an intermission for lunch and then another sermon. Let's try it next Sunday and see how it will work. Those must have been great days for the preacher. Then if he were earnest and honest, he was sure of a hearing; now he must be extra fine or he will speak to empty pews. The age has changed. So goes the world.
THOMAS ELLIOTT AND HIS DESCENDANTS
IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS from the time Adam Douglass and Daniel Henderson set up housekeeping by the flat rock, Thomas Elliott was building his log cabin close by the little brook that runs down from what is now the George Robertson farm. The old walls are still visible and also the outlines of the old outdoor cellar used in those days. The site was but a few rods from the old road to Bovina, and so long as no one settled farther up, the brook water coming from many fine springs was all that could be wished.
For his future farm he leased first one piece of land and then another, until the farm eventually contained nearly three hundred acres, being the same at the present time. And then came the years of hard work, logging and burning until cleared acres took the place of the trackless forests. As it would be necessary to raise all, or nearly all their food crop, we may suppose that they grew wheat, rye, buckwheat, corn, etc. Sheep also were necessary for woolen clothing, and every farmer up until comparatively recent years had a flock of sheep.
Just when the Winters settled where the Robertson farm and the Long farm lie, I have not yet learned, but not long after Mr. Elliott started in, William Lewis had leased the farm where William Elliott now lives, and in 1836 Matthew and James Russell leased the Robert Ingles farm each having about half of it. Later came Ezra Sprague and then James Thomson, followed by Robert Winter.
John W. Elliott, grandson of Thomas Elliott, tells me that the Russell farm became the regular sheep-washing place each spring for the farms in the immediate vicinity. Later, when the farm passed into other hands, the custom was discontinued, probably because it would cost quite a little pasture to feed the flocks waiting for washing.
Somewhere in the late thirties or early forties, William Elliott succeeded his father on the farm, but I think not until the old log house had been abandoned and a new one built on the present site. Some addition has been made to it, but the main part is as it was well on towards a century ago. Mr. Gilbert in his letter says it was an old house when he was here sixty years ago, but you would never suspect that it had stood so many years.
I forgot to say that William Elliott came over from Scotland with his father and mother, and a sister came also, who afterwards married James Hastings of the Hastings Homestead over in Bovina.
The Anti-Rent troubles came while William Elliott owned and worked the homestead. He was a "down-renter" of course, but was not one of those who believed in resorting to violence. The farmers had taken the land and signed their leases; therefore, they should stand by their bargains and seek relief in other ways than by insurrection. The real trouble seemed to be on account of the price of wheat. Rent was to be paid in cash or in wheat as the bargain might be. Wheat went up very high and the usual twenty bushels of wheat made a high rent. Then came the "Indian" bands, etc., of the Anti-Rent struggle.
William Elliott had a hired man whom we will call Charley. On the day after Sheriff Steele was shot over on the Tremperskill, Mr. Elliott and Charley started on horseback for the Bovina Valley to get some pigs which they were to bring home in bags. As they passed William Lewis's he called out to them, "Do you know what the devils have done now? They have shot Steele." Charley, who had been away from the farm the day before, said not a word but studied the sky while Mr. Lewis and Mr. Elliott talked together. A short time after that, Thomas Winter, who lived where I am now writing, went over one evening to the Elliott home and told them that a posse was coming through the valley to arrest whatever "Indians" they could find. After Mr. Winter left, Mr. Elliott said to Charley, "It is haying time but if you think you ought to go away we can get along." Charley said he did not care on his own account but he did not wish to implicate anyone else, and so he and a brother quietly slipped out of the country until the troubles were over. The next morning the posse came down the old Bovina road from over the hill where Thomas Archibald now lives and went down through New Kingston, but they did not get Charley.
Two sons of William Elliott were killed in the Civil War. The body of one was brought home for burial, but the place where the other was buried could not be found, and he sleeps under southern skies with others who died in that great struggle. Mr. Samuel Hunter of Margaretville, who was in the same battle, was sent down afterwards by Mr. Elliott to try to find the grave of the fallen one, but he could not. Two sons for the cause of liberty was quite a contribution for one family.
The Elliott farm is one more that remains in the family line. The first blow of the ax which started the giants of the forest crashing down to make way for wheat and herds of cattle was struck by an Elliott, and an Elliott still works the broad fields and calls the place home. William Elliott settled the rent difficulty by buying the soil outright from the landlord, and rent has not been paid for many years. If the boys now growing up keep the old homestead in the family, they will never know anything about "Indians" and "posses" and such, except as the old stories of the early times are told over again.
This summer the big barn, which was built forty-nine years ago, has been shingled for the first time since its erection. The first shingles were shaved up Mill Brook in the old-fashioned way. I wonder if the shingles just put on will last as long. Today a tractor is running a stone crusher over by one of the old walls built many, many years ago, in preparation for a concrete floor over the entire basement 45 feet by 60 feet. It bites the stone into pieces and spits them out into a wheelbarrow to be wheeled to a big pile to await the mixer, not later than next spring. If the first Elliott could come back what would he think?
And if he could see what will be in another forty-nine years: can it be possible that what the man said in the old graveyard will come true that the valley will go back to woods again? I cannot believe it, can you?
(The Elliott farm has the distinction of being the only farm in New Kingston which has been continuously owned by direct descendants of the original settler. J. William Elliott, a great-great-grandson of Thomas Elliott, is presently operating the farm).
FIRST ARCHIBALDS SETTLED IN BOVINA
THE ARCHIBALDS of New Kingston valley have a still earlier record than any Scottish people heretofore named in these columns, if we could count the branch of the Bovina valley just over the hill from George Robertson's. That is where the line started in this section and an Archibald still lives on the old homestead there.
The History of Delaware County published in 1880 by W. W. Munsell and Co. states that Andrew Archibald with his son James came to America in 1807. As near as I can learn, the father of Andrew settled somewhere in Kortright, while James came up into the upper Bovina region to the farm just mentioned.
I say farm, but, of course, the country was all wilderness then. He leased a tract of land from Janet Montgomery and afterwards added to it until he had a large farm area. In the records at Delhi, I found where he purchased in 1832 quite a tract from some church society in Hobart. We yet hear people of the upper valley refer to it as the "church lot." The "church lot" lies across the Desbrosses line and is not a part of the Janet Montgomery tract.
James Archibald had five sons and I know not how many daughters, if any. The oldest son, Robert, settled sometime in the forties where Burton Archibald (Mrs. A. Lanzi) now lives, also owning the farm now owned by Laverne Archibald (Alfred Wolkenberg). And if you wish to see a real work of art in handwriting and printing in old script, just coax Burton Archibald to show you the old original deeds given to his grandfather.
The second son of James Archibald over the mountain was also named James. He settled on the farm where Mr. and Mrs. Herman Sanford (Russell Watters) now live, purchasing it in 1842 from John Reynolds and selling it to Henry Reynolds in the early sixties. Later he lived on the Gideon Robertson farm in New Kingston village. He also had a son James, who was the father of the two Archibalds of Margaretville. Another son was Sloan Archibald of Bovina.
The third son of the original James was John Archibald from whose daughter, now living in New Kingston, I have received much aid in getting the family line in proper order. John Archibald settled on the farm where Bert Halleck lives, having bought it of a family named McFarland. His children were Alexander, now of Delhi; Mrs. Isabella Cowan; and Mrs. Nettie Archibald Halleck, wife of Bert Halleck.
The fourth son of the first family was William Archibald, who was the father of John Archibald of Kelly Corners, now deceased. The youngest son of the family was George, who kept the old home in Bovina valley, his son Thomas now being its possessor. Another of his sons lives at Bovina Center, while two daughters live in Delhi, one being the wife of the county farm superintendent, James Foreman.
Robert, the oldest son of James Archibald, had four sons: Robert, James, John, and Andrew. Robert was laid to rest this last spring in the old cemetery on the farm where he reared his family; James kept the home farm, living there until he died a few years ago; John lived on the old "King" Dumond farm; while Andrew became a minister of the gospel. Mrs. J. S. Archibald of Margaretville, who was a daughter of John, has some very interesting relics of the old Dumond farm, about which I shall tell you when I get together sufficient information to write about the Dumonds.
The perpetuating of the family name, so far as the New Kingston branch is concerned, now appears to lie with the family over above Margaretville along the river and the one lively little fellow here in town whose first name I do not know.
Without attempting to pay compliments, it can honestly be said that this family has been a strong factor in the community of New Kingston. The character of a community is determined by the average character of its citizens, and this line has always helped to keep the standard high in the valley.
In writing these notes, my thoughts have inevitably turned to the tragedy that cast its shadow over one home, that of the Rev. Andrew Archibald, of Newton Center, Massachusetts. This morning as I write I am taking down my copy of "The Easter Hope," written by this father after the sad death of his son, Kenneth Archibald, in the Sierras in 1908. And it is a comfort that in spite of the terrible blow, he can still see the silver lining of the cloud in the resurrection hope. Glancing through the pages of the book has also cheered the heart of the writer of this column as it has doubtlessly cheered others.
It is a great heritage to have a noble line of ancestors to whom one can look back, and it is surely an inspiration to live the same honest life each one of them lived before us.
Did you ever hear of "Burnt Hill"? It was called that more than one hundred years ago, and its name is recorded in the laws of New York State of 1820.
Lately, I have climbed to the top of Burnt Hill more than once. I have taken my surveying compass and gone up the steep sides and clambered over its rock ledges, besides tangling my feet in the great mass of vines of wild buckwheat that cover the entire top of the mountain. I went just to see if I could find the pile of stones (if any) the surveyors of 1819 left there to mark a corner in the line between the towns of Middletown and Bovina.
You see, until 1820 there was no town of Bovina, but the territory now comprised by that town was part of Middletown, part of Delhi, part of Stamford, and I know not what other town.
The law establishing the town gives but meager description of the boundaries, but an old farmer told me that a certain cherry stump on the farm now owned by his son was on the line. So I set my compass there, and after adding to the bearings of one hundred years ago what I thought the compass change would be, I started. I had records from Washington showing what the change at Albany had been in a century and so I could guess fairly well.
Well, I kept on until I came to the top where I nearly fell off a high rock, and finally upon turning around a sharp corner just below the very summit, I came upon a porcupine cave some ten or twelve feet deep, Right at the mouth of the cave was quite a pile of flat stories which bore evidence of having been placed there by human hands. It may not be the corner, but I think it is.
After I have a chance to look among the tangled vines all about, to see if there may possibly be any other stone pile, and after I have run the line in the opposite direction and found the old corner above Weaver Hollow, I shall be ready to take you and let you crawl into the cave, unless the old porcupine is watching from a tree top as he was the last time I was there.
THE SANFORD FAMILY'S ANCESTRAL LINE
ARCHIBALD ELLIOTT settled sometime in the early thirties on the farm where Harry O'Connor now lives, and I supposed he was the first to start clearing up the forests on that place. Now I learn that the first New Kingston Sanfords located there some five or ten years earlier than Mr. Elliott.
The Sanford family in America, of which the New Kingston family is a branch, have an exceedingly long line of ancestors reaching back without a break several hundred years before the discover of the New World by Columbus in 1492. And if one should start in to make a list of all the Sanfords living in Delaware County at the present time, he would have quite a task. That they have been a real asset to the county is well known, for they have uniformly been progressive and successful.
Our first Sanford worked down on the farm of the first Ziba Sanford when be was twelve years old. That would be about the year 1815. By 1830 he had married a daughter of "King" Dumond, who lived on the large farm that overlooks the middle Plattekill, and was well settled on the farm mentioned in the first paragraph and had two children. The second of these children was Cornelius, the father of the present older generation of the Sanford line in this valley.
Shortly after 1830 our first Sanford, whose name was William, moved down the valley and settled within the bounds of the New Kingston tract. His first purchase was the farm occupied, until the last few years, by his grandson, William C. Sanford (Wallace Beyer), who now lives in Oneonta. This farm is made up of two fifty acre lots farther up the hill, now the Lyman Sanford (Ralph Small) farm. Presumably, nearly the whole area was at that time covered with dense forest and had to be cleared up. And that meant years of hard toil.
Cornelius D. Sanford when he grew old enough to marry took for a wife a daughter of Jeremiah Faulkner. His wife was also a granddaughter of our first New Kingston tract girl Aunt Sally Van Benschoten Hewitt of the stone house. Thus the Sanfords be connected with a great many people of this section, for by marriage the family lines have become much intertwined.
Cornelius Sanford settled at first on the upper farm of his father, but soon went over into the valley that comes down into Margaretville by way of the Bull Run stream. He lived where John L. Sanford now lives. John H. Sanford and some others of his family were born there, and some grew old enough to attend the school of that section. Eventually the family came back to New Kingston, this time buying the farm where the first start was made the Lyman Sanford farm.
In the records of the New Kingston school district, the trustee in 1864 was Cornelius D. Sanford, and he is listed as having several children of school age. That was sixty years ago. He died in Margaretville since I came into this section in 1906.
I well remember talking with him when he could no longer travel around, and although the house was old, the tenant was alert and strong. Had I then thought I should some time try to chronicle early events of this valley, I could easily have learned from him much of the old times when New Kingston was in the making.
His sons are no longer children. I have known John H. Sanford the same length of time that I have known the New Kingston church, and the same is true of two others William C. and Lyman. I have studied the old Book of books for many years, but one of the three at least whom I met in Sunday school was so well acquainted with its pages that I always quoted with care. They were reared evidently ill that sort of atmosphere and while many have come arid gone and run to and fro, they have never slipped from the moorings.
Let me see how many of the family I can recall. John H., George, Emory, William C., Lyman, Frank, Mrs. Vermilya. The first five I have known quite well and have enjoyed their acquaintance. Over by Andes I have slept and eaten under the hospitable roof of one of them and have had a good time at the home of one nearest by. The others I have always counted as friends who I liked to meet and have met them often enough so that formalities could he dispensed with. I believe one other has gone over the river and two of the daughters live near Walton.
Cornelius had a brother Maransa, who lived before the Civil War on one of the western fifty-acre lots of the large farm. The house is no longer in evidence, having gone the way of many of the older buildings of the region. This brother served in the war and after his return moved up Mill Brook to the place where his son, Jay, now resides. John R., another son, lives along the river near Delancey, while another, Herman, is here on the farm where James Archibald lived many years ago. I believe there was another, but I have forgotten about him.
It is said of Maransa Sanford that while he had quite a limited amount of learning as books go, he was quite a genius in mathematics. He seemed to have a sort of natural ability to see directly through most any problem, and many a time he has solved arithmetical and algebraic puzzles in his head that would bother good mathematicians to solve with pencil.
Had circumstances favored, he might have developed his gift and made a name. Doubtless, however, he enjoyed his life work just as well as others who have sat in chairs of endowed institutions and instructed others in the ways of wisdom.
The old estate of the Sanford family has passed into other hands. That is, the first hundred acres has gone out of the line. William C. Sanford received it from his grandfather, with whom he lived from boyhood. He sold it a few years since and moved to Oneonta, and now it is owned by Louis Dobsa. But the old Lyman Sanford farm up the hill is still is in the family line. Myron, a son of the second Cornelius purchased it this year. And as he is a worker, we may expect it to stay in the family for some time to come. Like others of whom mention has been made in this column, the Sanfords have been strong factors in the settling and subduing of the valley. Workers and managers have they been, and it is well that the name is not likely to soon die out. There will always be room for honest toilers and so long as the valley has enough of them, it will not go backward.
And the younger women of the family must not be forgotten. Whether as good teachers or as faithful housewives, they have done the name credit. I would like to go over the names of all the younger generation, but I am nearing the end of the column. I am glad to count among them very many of my best friends whom I much like and respect, not forgetting the one quite young member of the original Cornelius Sanford family.
THE HENDERSONS OF NEW KINGSTON VALLEY
THIS WEEK I WAS more fortunate than the other time when I sought to talk with the oldest inhabitant of the New Kingston valley. This time he was at home, and I was well paid for my visit.
Would it not be a great thing to see old New Kingston through the eyes of one eighty-six years in the valley? More woods and less cleared fields; more ox teams and rougher roads; more youngsters in every home.
James Henderson came from Jedburgh in Roxburyshire, Scotland, in 1816, with his brother, Daniel, who has been mentioned in these columns as coming in that year with Adam Douglass. James, being but thirteen years of age, stayed with his older brother for some time and then struck out for himself. Eventually, he secured a place with the Delaware and Hudson Co. and helped to build the canal connecting Rondout with the Pennsylvania coalfields. It is said that he once walked all the way from Kingston to this section to see the girl he afterward married, which shows that he was right sort to cope with the natural hardships of a new country.
The "girl" was Hannah Sprague, a sister of the Ezra Sprague spoken of in the column last week. Before she married James Henderson, she worked for her board one winter at the home of the Dumond who lived on the farm now owned by William Adee, and went to New Kingston school. The schoolhouse then stood somewhere near where the road from the old Delameter farm comes into the main valley road. Every night after school she spun a "run" of yarn and on Saturdays two "run." How much yarn there is in a run I was told but cannot remember, except that I think it was at least two skeins. You must ask some of the older women who may have some memories of it.
James and Hannah were married in 1827, and began keeping house in a log house which they built. Unfortunately, the location chosen turned out not to be on the lot they had leased, and they were compelled to build a new one. The first one stood for some years, and several transient tenants lived in it. Finally, it caught fire and burned down.
Then, there was the old story over again work, work, more work. From early morning until late at night both man and woman, starting in to make a home in the forest, must toil with unremitting diligence. Sundays only might they snatch a little rest, and when you think that to James Henderson and his wife Hannah there were born twelve children, you will realize that he must put forth all his energies to provide food and clothing, and she to get it ready. It was evident from the beginning that she was just the sort of a wife needed for the emergency, and he measured up to the occasion equally well. And I warrant that they were as happy as any couple starting out together nowadays under more favorable circumstances.
There were two boys Adam and Ezra. I cannot recall the names of all the girls, but I think there was a Nancy, a Mary, and certainly a Bible name which I think was Loruhamah. You will find it in the book of Hosea; it is evident that it was taken from the Book. The boys used to say of themselves that each had ten sisters and an unthinking one might guess, therefore, that there were twenty daughters in the family, but you can see the joke.
While talking with the remaining son the older having died some years ago in Margaretville I said to him, "How could they get money to feed and clothe them all?" He quickly replied, "They didn't need any money. They raised their own food and also material for their clothing, which the women spun into yarn and wove into cloth." And, remembering my own grandmother and mother, who were experts with the wheel and loom, I believed him.
He told me how he used to sit and run the "quill wheel" by the light of a "tallow dip" to prepare the spun thread for the shuttle of the loom. Parts of the old loom remain on the farm as relics of the days before cloth was bought from storekeepers and peddlers. He also remarked that the women wore more clothing then than now, which I did not dispute.
James Henderson was a vigorous Anti-Renter, although not an "Indian." He was present at the sale of stock at the farm on the Tremperskill when Sheriff Steele was shot, and he carried water for the "Indians" to drink. Consequently, he was sought later as a witness, but they never caught him. For days he slept away from the house, and every road and path was narrowly watched for the sheriff's posse. They came and poked around in the hay in the barn, and in other places, but never found their man. The older Mr. Elliott told me how the posse searched in the barn of Daniel Henderson once, piercing a man underneath, but did not discover him. I think they never came as near as that to finding James Henderson.
Ezra told me how they used to hew out sap troughs and tap the maples with the old-fashioned gouge and curved spile, cutting great gashes in a V shape to direct the sap into the spile. When I asked of the boiling, he told me how they would hang the kettle on the end of a long lever so it could be lowered or raised as it needed more or less heat. It could also be swung off sideways when they wished to stop boiling. And if I should try to tell you how many pounds of maple sugar he and another man made one spring, you might think I heard him wrong, but you ask him and see. Knowing how they used to work, I have no doubt at all.
They grew rye, corn, and some wheat. I thought there would be one fiber crop they did not grow, and I asked him about flax. He laughed and said that it was the flax stored in the old house that made it burn so readily. And the younger folks of today may be told that, when a girl of those old times could spin flax and weave her a linen dress, she would be dressed nice enough for any young man to look at.
I learned some valley history which makes a hitherto unread chapter in the history of the upper valley. We know of those who have stayed, but forget that there might have been many others. On the Osterhoudt farm lived a family named Cummings; on the Alva Craft farm were Humes; away up at the head of the hollow were Biggars; while farther up the mountain were Vanakens. On the "Neeley" Sanford farm were McKanes and still higher up a man named Whipple. Mr. Henderson said that Mr. Whipple moved into Mongaup Valley and lived to be 107 years old. It was doubtless here he got his start for long life.
Funniest of all was the name they gave to the village, which was evidently not called New Kingston until the post office was established. Away back they used to call it "Tuppennyville." I suppose that was from "tuppence," and doubtless came from some peculiarity of talk of the early storekeeper.
Well, all there are left of the original family are Ezra, Robert Archibald's widow, and Mrs. Ballard above Roxbury. One son living down near New York preserves the name of Henderson for the New Kingston part of the family. Then there are two daughters of Ezra Henderson, but their children, according to our custom regarding names, cannot keep up the name of the line. The old days pass and all things change. The younger people of this age cannot fully know what the past of the valley has been, but we like to talk about it and think about it and picture it as well as we can. There is a charm about it that nothing else can rival.
Well, I sat and talked until I noticed the hour was late and some eyes began to droop. Then I saw that the rest must be left for a later visit, which I hope to make. I am sure the well is not pumped dry.
Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you about the old family Bible with the birth records, etc. James Henderson and wife Hannah were both born in 1806. He died at ninety and she at eighty. Ezra is nearly 86 and seems strong enough to make the hundred. The records are wonderfully well written. And besides the records of births, marriages, etc., the old time schoolmaster of the valley Master Mead wrote an acrostic which I shall reproduce for you. I missed copying one line and have made one up. I wish I could also reproduce the ornamental printing and the fine handwriting of the old school teacher. In the old log school house of the district, with fireplace and slab seats on wooden pins for legs, this old master taught and I am sure be taught well.
Here is the acrostic.
Be sure to read the first letter of each line with those below and see what they spell.
Justice ever calls our gratitude for to raise
And gives to virtue's chosen heirs their due praise.
May each cardinal virtue ever combine,
Employ each power and make their graces shine;
Secure them from the delusive wiles of sin
& them an inheritance in heaven gain.
Here, whilst the terrestial ways pursue,
Always keep the road to heaven in view.
Nature's best and richest gifts are given
Now and all along the way to heaven.
Always their munificent hand do extend,
Holding them forth ever ready to befriend.
Hearts which are secure from unhallowed pride
Ever take reason for their surest guide.
No turbulent broils from them ever raise;
Diligence and Decorum fill all their ways.
Each, whilst in the varied walks of life,
Refuses to join with feuds and contentious strife.
Secure them so that temptations cannot move,
On the pinions of Faith be carried above;
Near God's throne have admittance to realms of love.
Did you spell out the names?
THE DUMONDS IN THE NEW KINGSTON VALLEY
THERE IS JUST ONE man in the New Kingston Valley who bears the name of Dumond. Seventy-five years ago there were many of them. In the graveyards you will find very many marble slabs bearing the name, giving testimony to the great part they had in the growth and development of the community of New Kingston.
The family line can be traced back to Wallerand Dumont, who was born in Coomen, Flanders (now Commines, France) and who emigrated to America in 1657. He was an officer in a company of soldiers sent out by the Dutch West India Company to General Stuyvesant, the first Director-General of New Amsterdam, now New York. He settled at Esopus, just down the Hudson from Kingston, in 1660. He served as a magistrate in Kingston and was a deacon in the old Dutch church which is still standing. He died in 1713.
In 1762 two brothers, Peter and Harmonus Dumond, descendants of Wallerand Dumont, formed with Johannes Van Waggoner and a man named Hendricks an exploring party up the valley of the Delaware, and finally settled in the vicinity of Arkville and Margaretville, making the first permanent colony on the East Branch of the Delaware River. From Peter Dumond came the New Kingston branch of the family. Just where his farm was I have never learned, but Gould's History, of Delaware County states that Harmonus Dumond settled about a mile below Margaretville. Would that be where Meadow Brook farm is now located, or the Fairbairn farm where Ff. B. Kelly now lives?
Harmonus Dumond lost his life in a most unfortunate circumstance. In 1778, after the burning of Kingston, the Indians and Tories commenced depredations against the whites and finally formed a plot to murder or drive them all out of Pakatakan. The friendly Indian, Tunis, gave warning of the plot, and accordingly, the settlers gathered together their cattle and belongings and hastily departed, concealing what goods they could not carry. Dumond later returned with John Barrow to harvest a piece of grain and was shot by a company of Schoharie Rangers who supposed him to be a Tory. In reality he was a staunch friend of the American cause and had rendered valuable service in furnishing information regarding the plans and movements of the Indians and Tories. There is in existence what is understood to be the first Bible brought into Delaware County, which was in the possession of Harmonus Dumond. It was printed in Dordrecht, Holland, in 1714.
The first Dumond to settle in the New Kingston Valley was Igenas Dumond, who must have located here before the end of the eighteenth century. He first located on the present site of the village of Margaretville, but sold his farm for one hundred pounds, which would be less than five hundred dollars at present rates. He is said to have been one of the first six families to settle in our valley. He located where Ralph Faulkner
now resides (the present Leonard Faulkner farm).
From Igenas Dumond came William, who lived where William Adee now is; James ("Cobe"), who lived on the farm owned by Elmer Faulkner about two miles down the valley; Cornelius ("King"), who lived on the John Archibald farm where Mr. Miller now is; Igenas (spelled Egnos on his gravestone), who lived where David Adee now lives; and Abram, who lived on the old homestead. There were also several daughters, one of whom married the Ezra Sprague heretofore mentioned in these columns, and another, Abram Delameter.
William Dumond passed his farm down to his son, Andrew, and he to the grandson, William, who removed some years ago to Margaretville and has since died. Mrs. John Archibald is the last of the line in that branch.
James Dumond had a son, William W., who lived on the hill road towards Margaretville. From this line came Phineas and Anson, and I believe, Weed Dumond, and the last male descendant of the name is from this branch. The nickname "Cobe" which is usually used in speaking of James Dumond doubtless came from the name Jacob, or Jacobus, of which James is the French form.
Igenas (or Egnos) had no sons but had two daughters. One daughter, Rachel, married Henry Reynolds and the other, Eliza, married William R. Swart, father of Mrs. Anna Winter and Mrs. Rhoda Mungle of Margaretville.
Cornelius Dumond, who lived on the hillside, appears from all reports to have been a man of intelligence and virility. While he had no schooling of any account, he had a mind that brought him respect of all who knew him. The origin of his nickname, "King", I cannot learn, except that one old resident attributed it to his great ability to accomplish things. Looking at the old photograph shown me, I felt that he must have had both intelligence and will power.
He acquired from the early grantees five and one-half lots in the New Kingston tract, the original deeds of which I have temporarily in my possession by the courtesy of Mrs. J. S. Archibald of Margaretville, who is one of his descendants. She also has a quite wonderful old round table which is made to tip up sideways for convenience, and also an old ballot box which was doubtless used at the two town meetings held in New Kingston. Of one meeting I have written before and of the other, held where William Adee lives, Ezra Henderson informed me lately.
At sixty, "King" Dumond took a second wife, and I am indebted to a daughter of his old age wife of Dr. Reed for much of the material for this article. She gave me an interesting picture of old times when she told me about her being married to the Doctor at the farm and of then being driven to Margaretville where they entered the stagecoach drawn by four horses, for the beginning of their honeymoon trip. All day to go to Kingston how is that, you young folks who now spin along at forty miles per hour?
I had almost forgotten the one son of this branch, John Dumond. He had a son, Nathan, who was father of Leslie Dumond of Margaretville. And here I am a bit at sea. A letter from Helen M. Dumond of Brooklyn a time ago tells me that her father, William Henry Dumond, who has been principal of a very large public school in the borough of Queens, New York City, for over twenty-five years, is a grandson of John Dumond. Somehow I had conceived the idea that this William Dumond descended from the Harmonus Dumond branch of the family, and I shall expect to be set right in the matter so I can tell it right at a later date. Helen Dumond is a graduate of Vassar College, also having a degree from Columbia University.
"King" Dumond also had a grandson, Cornelius, who became a quite distinguished doctor. There was also the daughter by whom came the descent through the Swarts and Archibalds as indicated before. Mrs. Robert Winter, Mrs. Frances Van Benschoten, Cornelius Swart, and Mrs. Archibald, deceased, are of the line.
The youngest son of the family of the first Igenas Dumond, Abram, lived, as stated, where Ralph Faulkner now is. He had a son who lived on the Henry Ruff farm (Marshall Sanford) and one who lived up the Old Bragg Hollow road. From what knowledge I can secure, there was also a Dumond where Burton Archibald lives, and Frank Ingles has an old farm mortgage showing that Dumonds lived on the E. D. O'Connor farm somewhere back in the early years. There was also a Dumond who lived on the farm now occupied by Joseph Adee, the wife of John R. Sanford being a granddaughter. The widow was still living when I came to Margaretville, and I used to visit her as she was a member of the Methodist connection.
You can scarcely find any of the old-line descendants in New Kingston of whatever line, who are not related to the Dumonds. Jacob Van Benschoten, our very early pioneer, married a daughter of the second Harmonus Dumond, and so when I hunt out all of Aunt Sally Hewitt's children and grandchildren to go with the story of the stone house, I shall have a long list of Dumonds to include.
Then the early Yaples married Dumonds. Philip and Christian marrying two Dumond sisters. And James Dumond married a Delameter, and so it goes. Also, Dumonds often married Dumonds from another branch, and while the name is about extinct as far as New Kingston is concerned, the blood is still very present and quite manifest. And it is very good blood at that.
How I would like to see a group picture of all the New Kingston Dumonds with their children and children's children with the old surroundings, when the valley was as it used to be when they lived and wrought in it. Of course, that cannot be, and I must make my own pictures, which I often do when I get thinking of the olden times and the old fathers and mothers. They sleep now in the silent dust and yet they live.
NEW KINGSTON'S STONE HOUSE AND THE HEWITT FAMILY
A MILE UP THE ROAD which runs along the main stream of the New Kingston valley, the stone house (now owned by Albert Wickham) stands on a knoll at a curve in the road so that it greets the traveler whichever way he may be going. Back of it are clustered the other farm buildings as they have been for many years, and by its side stands a single evergreen. One hundred and nine years have its walls stood the elements, and they seem as if they could stand another century.
There was some doubt expressed at first by some as to the year of its building, but Isaac Birdsall said his mother was born there in 1820 and that fixed it surely for one hundred and four years. Then Mrs. Sarah Scott and others showed that it was really five years older than that, which makes it the oldest home in the valley now standing.
Sally Van Benschoten, daughter of our pioneer, Jacob Van Benschoten, the girl who was driven to the log house by the wolves, was the first one to cook over its fireplace. She swung the iron kettle to and from the blazing fire on the crane and adjusted the andirons or backlog to give draught to the flame. In the ashes she baked her potatoes and in the oven she baked her bread and johnnycake. Not many girls today could get up a meal by a fireplace, but we may be sure she was trained well in that kind of housework before she was given to the young husband for his helpmeet.
Aunt Sally was born in 1792 and lived to be 95 years old. She was united in marriage with John Hewitt at a quite early age and commenced housekeeping in a log house about where the stone house now stands. Since her husband erected the house of stone and mortar, she surely would be its first mistress.
I have been unable to learn the early history of the Hewitts, but am quite certain that they were English, or, as we call them after they had lived in New England quite a long time, Yankees. One settled in this valley, one in Bragg Hollow, and one up Huckleberry Brook, but I do not recall it very well except that it is not far from where Matt Sanford lives. I believe George Hewitt, who lived where the owner of the "News" now dwells, came from this branch.
Uncle John and Aunt Sally had seven children: five girls and two boys. Their names were Jane, Eliza, Jacob, Olive, Elijah, Hannah, and Lucy. As I am writing mainly to show how one old time home has spread its branches through the valley life, I shall take up the descendants of each in order. Of course, it would be hardly possible to give every child all the way down to the present, but at least each family for two or three generations may be noted so as to bring the line within the knowledge of all now living in the valley or nearby towns. And, as mentioned last week, we may remember that the mother of Aunt Sally was Catherine Dumond so that, whether mentioned or not, all Dumonds are blood relations of all her line.
Jane Hewitt married Jeremiah Faulkner; to them were born four girls and three boys-another seven. They were as follows: Sarah, who married Cornelius Sanford, the father of the New Kingston Sanfords; Lyman, who married Sarah Stokes and went to the south; Silas, who married Hannah Hendrix and is now in California; George L., who married Emily Lawrence; Mary E., who married Morris Faulkner, who lives near Margaretville; Phoebe, who also lives near Margaretville; and Sophronia, who died quite early.
The second daughter, Eliza, married Richard Swart. One daughter and two sons were born to them: Dorothy, who married Andrew Miller; Hamilton, who married Mary McDaniell; and George, who married Maggie Archibald, a sister to Robert Archibald.
Jacob Hewitt married Clarinda Sprague. He lived on the farm where Frank Ingles lives. Some time after he became settled there, the father proposed to change the highway and have it skirt the edge of the ridge and thus save the flat, bringing the road out back of the stone house. George Wickham would now be glad had he done it for it would have added that much to his cauliflower patch. But Aunt Sally, like most mothers, thought of her son Jacob and how lie would be shut off that much farther from the road and objected rather strenuously. Of course she won, and Frank Ingles is glad of it.
Jacob Hewitt had four sons and three daughters still the number seven. William married Margaret Henderson, who was, I think, a sister of Ezra Henderson, and for a second wife, Phoebe Kinch. He lived over in the Beaverkill country, although at first he was for a time on the farm now owned by E. D. O'Connor. The representative of the line is James Hewitt of Margaretville.
Jacob Hewitt's first daughter, Mary, married Nathan Dumond, Leslie Dumond of Margaretville being their son. Nathan Dumond was for twenty years principal of the high school of Tarrytown, N.Y.
The second son of Jacob Hewitt was John B., who married Marion McFarland. Mrs. A. J. Thomson is of this family. Later on, as a second wife, he married Cornelia Adee, and Mrs. Frank Ingles and Howard Hewitt are of this union. Howard Hewitt lives up in Denver, while the Ingles family are on the old homestead of Jacob Hewitt.
The third son of Jacob was Andrew, who married Mary Miller and for his second wife, Elizabeth Hamilton. Hamilton Hewitt of Delhi, former district attorney for the county, and John Hewitt of Margaretville are from this branch of the Hewitt line.
The second daughter was Sarah, who married Adam Scott. She lives in Margaretville. Her husband died a short time since. Their only child is the wife of the Reverend J. W. Tetley, pastor of St. James Methodist church in Kingston.
The last daughter, Emily, died young and the youngest son, George, I believe, is now in California. As to his descendants, I am not informed.
The fourth of the stone house family was Olive. She was born in 1820 as before stated. She married Jeremiah Birdsall (formerly spelled Birdsill as I was informed by Mrs. Herman Sanford). They went beyond the regular seven and had ten children Ursula, Hewitt, Richard, Seymour, Isaac, Joseph, Sarah, Elijah H., Amasa, and Mary. Ursula Birdsall married Albert Sanford and they live at Otego. Hewitt Birdsall married Frances jester of Oneonta. Richard Birdsall married Margaret (or Mary) Archibald. To them were born a son and a daughter, John and Jennie. John lives in Margaretville and manages the telephone business and also teaches school. Jennie lives on the old home farm (Russell Watters) and is married to Herman Sanford.
Seymour Birdsall married Eliza Goldsmith and they live at Hamden. Isaac lives in New Kingston. He was twice married and has a daughter living who is a teacher in Otsego Count if I remember Y, correctly. His first wife was Agnes Edgerton, the second, Sarah Gadsby. Sarah Birdsall married John Miller of Oneonta. Amasa Birdsall married Imogene McKown. He died within a year or so in Oneonta. Elijah H. married Almira Dumond. He lived most of his life in New Kingston, but moved to Margaretville about seven Mary Birdsall, the youngest of the family, married years ago. James McAusland and they live in Hamden.
Elijah Hewitt, second son of the stone house family, married Louisa Maria Burhans, who used to live in the small white house where Elton Tait (Fred Fendt) now lives. At least she lived there when I first knew New Kingston. She was a member of the Margaretville Methodist Church and never forgot to pay well. I think they lived during their married life in the stone house, although they may have lived where Frank Ingles lives part of the time.
Hannah, the sixth of the stone house children, married Richard Birdsall, a brother of Jeremiah, who married Olive. Myron Birdsall of Oneonta is their son. Lucy Hewitt, the youngest of the stone house children, married William Baker and to them were born three sons-Willis, John, and Charles. Willis married Annie Kelly and they are in California. John married Mary Makely and they settled in Walton. Charles married Grace Keech, but I have forgotten where they settled.
Returning to the Faulkner branch, which I left incomplete, we will start with the Cornelius Sanford family. There are Herman, George, John H., William C., Emory, Hattie, Lyman, Frank, Eva, Mary, Emma, of the Hewitt line. Herman married Savannah Shoemaker. They settled in Franklin and have two sons living, Leon and Clyde. George, who married Martha Streeter, lives in Margaretville. His children are Cornelius, Mrs. M. J. Faulkner, Mrs. Lindsley, Mrs. Vernon Brownell, two Mrs. Laughmans, Gertrude, and John L.
John H. married Mary Dickson and they live in New Kingston. Their children are Mrs. Earl Stapley of Geneseo and Laura of Tenafly, New Jersey. W. C. Sanford married Maggie Tompkins and they live in Oneonta. Emory Sanford married Julia Palmatier. They live near Andes. They have three daughters Sarah, Stella, and Carrie. Hattie married D. T. Scott and they reside near Walton.
Lyman Sanford lives at New Kingston. He married Minnie Doig and they have one daughter, Charlotte, who teaches in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Frank married Anna Roney and for a second wife, the widow of Dumond Reynolds in California. He settled at first at the mouth of Weaver Hollow and later moved to New Jersey. He has six children: Elizabeth, Merton, Louisa, Floyd, Clifton, and Hillis. Eva Sanford married William Hodge. Their children are Mina, Alvin, Lena, Hannah, William. Mary Sanford married Gleason Simmons and their children are Maude, Blanche, Mabel, John, Sanford, and Dorothy. Emma Sanford married William Vermilya of Halcottville. To them were born two sons and a daughter: James, Fannie, and Charles. Mary Faulkner, as before mentioned, married Morris Faulkner over in the upper Bull Run Valley. Their children are Mrs. Bertha Sanford, Annie Kiff of Bloomville, and Mrs. Harry Sanford. Lyman Faulkner, who married Sarah Stokes and who lived south, is the father of Myron Faulkner, merchant in New Kingston, Morris Faulkner of West Conesville, Monroe Faulkner of Dunraven, and Marvin Faulkner of Manorkill.
Well, there, I thought I could finish up the old stone house family, but I am nowhere near done yet. I haven't mentioned Wallace and Milton Thomson, John Ingles, John B. Hewitt, and a whole long list of others. Besides there are children I haven't even seen and some I never heard of. But I wished to show how one mother and father of years ago left a wonderful heritage to this valley and other parts of the country.
Suppose the stone house could gather all its living children and grandchildren together for a reunion. What a time it would be. The old house could never hold them all. It would take a large part of the flat. It is well that the farm having at last passed out of the Hewitt line has fallen into hands that will not let it run down. It ought never to be given over to a careless farmer when it has such a list of thorough-going workers to remember. And I hope the walls that have stood so long will be left for many years to be as now one of the most picturesque spots in the whole New Kingston valley, and as we pass by, we shall think of Uncle John and Aunt Sally of the old, old days when hearts beat just the same as now and love made he home a palace, whether logs or stone built the walls.
EARLY NEW KINGSTON SCHOOL RECORDS
OLD NEW KINGSTON HISTORY appears to be about completed. But last week another school district record was handed to me by John H. Sanford which merits attention since it reaches back one hundred years.
The first entry is a copy of a deed of the school house grounds given by Philip Yaple in 1824. I find the original copy pinned to her papers between the leaves of the book. The paper gives to the three trustees and their successors the site, so long as it is used for school purposes. The amount paid was two dollars, which is probably cheaper than it could be bought now.
Heretofore, mention has been made as to the probable site of the school house before that time, and it has been thought that it was farther up the valley. Apparently it must have been near where it is now. The deed says the new school house shall be between the old school house and the cherry tree. Now if anyone can remember where the cherry tree stood. We shall be able to guess quite near to where the old schoolhouse stood. Who remembers?
Henry Yaple, John Hewitt and Herman Dumond were the trustees, and Jeremiah Akerly and Wilhelmas Dumond witnessed the deed. John Yaple was district clerk and certifies that the copy in the book is a true one of the original deed.
In 1829 Philip Yaple, Christian Yaple, and Andrew Chisholm were chosen trustees.
January 1, 1830: There were fifty-nine children between five and sixteen in the district. The amount paid the teacher or teachers that year was $138; now it is $1080. Each person sending children to school was to supply a half cord of wood per child or pay the trustee at the rate of one dollar a cord for that amount. Abraham Dumond, Cornelius Dumond, and Samuel Akerly were trustees in 1830; Nathaniel Mead was school master.
In 1831 Wilhelmas Dumond, Egnos Dumond, and James Dumond were chosen trustees; William Van Benschoten was collector. In 1833 Abraham Delameter, William Van Benschoten, and William Sanford were trustees and Cornelius Reynolds, collector. John Yaple and Abram Yaple seemed to alternate as clerk.
By 1834 the amount per cord to be paid by anyone not furnishing his share was two dollars. In 1835 Jesse Serles and Luisa Bellows were teachers one in winter and the other in summer.
In 1835 Samuel Gunn and Ebenezer Davis were new names added to the list of trustees. The winter teacher was J. Serles this year and "Loease Balden" (probably Baldwin) was summer teacher. The public money this year dropped to $17.04, and the teachers appear to have received $40 and $9.08. Doubtless they also received the public money in addition.
In 1836 Jesse Serles still teaches and has forty dollars for three months. Jane Shaver taught the summer term and received $24.75 besides $6.31 public money. She taught twenty-two weeks. How she must have dressed on such big wages!
In 1838 Richard Peters taught one month and sixteen days and received $11.28. Eli Dumond taught seventeen days, and Harriet Delameter, three months and six days.
In 1839 Jacob Hewitt, Archibald Elliott, Cornelius Van Sickel, and Phineas Dumond are new names among the district officers. This year they voted a new schoolhouse. Henry Reynolds also appears in the records about this time.
William Rutherford taught the winter school of 1839-40; Sally Shaver had the summer term. Jeremiah Birdsall became collector in 1840. Eliab Reynolds and Barbara Johnston taught in 1840-41.
In 1843 a list of text books was named for the school, among them being Dabolls' Arithmetic and Kirkman's Grammar. Henry Reynolds, James Chisholm, and Jeremiah Birdsill were trustees. A receipt by Isaac Birdsill shows that the name was spelled that way at that date. The children of school age (5 to 16) had reached 80 or more by this time. Teachers' wages remained low. Among the names of people having children to send to school, I note the new names of Mathew VanKeuren, William Murray, William Smith, James Budine, Abraham Baker, Adam Cunningham, and one woman, Charlotte Van Benschoten, is given as having three children of school age. The New Testament was included among the school books.
In 1844 George McFarland was chosen moderator of the annual school meeting. Betsey Ashby appears this year as having one child of school age. In 1845 I note the name of Robert Archibald as trustee. Alexander Russell also comes on the stage about here as a district officer.
In 1846 school appears to have been kept ten months. Teachers received about the same as before. Each year the state gave the district an amount of library money, and books were added each year. By 1848 there were 129 volumes on hand. The number of children between five and sixteen had dropped to fifty.
In 1848 William Swart was moderator of the annual meeting. That year the tax raised was $27.90, the rest being paid by rate bills, each parent paying according to the schooling his children received. There were 75 attending school that year, running from four years of age to twenty-five. The teacher must have been kept busy.
Here is a list of pupils, but I will not tell their ages:
Sarah Chisholm, Andrew Chisholm, Henry Baker, Margaret Baker, Emily Baker, Jane Dumond, James W. Dumond, Jennet D. Cunningham, Rhoda Cunningham, Charles Cunningham, John B. Cunningham, Nelson Van Benschoten, Ruanna Van Benschoten, Eunice Yaple, Wallace Close, Jackson Van Sicklen, William Van Aken, Jacob Van Aken, James Van Aken, Mary Van Aken, Maransa Sanford, .Harriet Sanford, Rachel Swart, James Rutherford, Amos Dumond, Alfred Reynolds, Egnos Reynolds, William F. Reynolds, Walter Fairbairn, Asa Akerly, Aaron Akerly, Olive Akerly, Reuben Akerly, Isabel Archibald, Janet Archibald, Thomas Archibald, Margaret Archibald, Margaret Elliott, William Elliott, Elizabeth Elliott, Hewitt Birdsill, Ursula Birdsill, William Hewitt, Mary Jane Hewitt, John B. Hewitt, Lucy Hewitt, Betsey Archibald, John Elliott, Thomas Elliott, Catherine Elliott, Mary Hewitt, James Dumond, John Dumond, Sally Dumond, Jennet Douglass, Robert Douglass, Cornelius Sanford, Polly A. Sanford, Jeremiah Van Aken, John Van ,Aken, Francis Fairbairn, Elizabeth Reynolds, Horace Dumond, Melissa Dumond, Minerva Dumond, James W. Dumond, Jane A. .Akerly, John Murray, Walter Elliott, Wilson Russell, John Russell, Peter Delameter, Caroline Van Sicklen. Quite a school. I cannot find who was the teacher, but Eliza Murray, George Huntley, and C. M. H. Keevil taught the years following.
In 1854 William Holmes appears in the list of parents, also Andrew Miller, Anson Dumond, Mary Close, David Close, and M. H. Keevil. Isaac Birdsall is a district officer quite often about here, while the regular valley names appear all along. Robert Dickman is trustee in 1855 with Jacob Van Benschoten. Walter Thomson is a new name among the parents, also Andrew Douglass and one or two others.
In 1857 teachers are regularly listed and thereafter. Aaron Akerly, Polly Austin, Nathan Dumond taught that year. Next year were Nathan Dumond and Emily McFarland, and the next year, Samuel Yeomans and Mary Dickson.
And that brings us down quite near 1860, and I will stop by giving the pupil list of the district for the summer term in 1859, taught by Mary Dickson. And if you wish to see some really fine handwriting, .ask to see the school register kept that year on a sheet of foolscap paper. Not any folks nowadays can equal it.
Here is the list:
Mary Archibald, James Archibald, Andrew Archibald, Rhoda F. Swart, George H. Hewitt, George Baker, Mary A. Swart, Isabel Shield, Hannah E. Dumond, Francis A. Dumond, Martha R. Faulkner, John Dickman, John H. Reynolds, Reed Dumond, Delilah Yaple, Mary H. Yaple, James Yaple, Damaris Close, Almira Van Benschoten, William Van Benschoten, Elizabeth Dumond, Orson Dumond, Alexander Van Benschoten,
William Francis Van Benschoten, Andrew M. Russell, Mary A. Russell, Elliott Thompson, Elizabeth Russell, William D. Reynolds, John Thompson, Ellen Thompson, Alice I. Russell, Joseph Birdsall, William D. Swart, John I. Cowan, John Yaple. In years since, I think I have met a few of these children.
REMINISCENCES OF THE ANTI-RENT DAYS
TWO OLD MEN who once lived in the New Kingston Valley told me each a story of Anti-Rent times which I will pass on to you. And after them I give you an Anti-Rent song I learned in Schoharie County when quite a small boy. I think the song sprung from a real happening.
Here is the first story, told me by J. W. Elliott:
"Abe" Swart was a rather short and stocky fellow and a great runner. Few, if any, could overtake him when he was out for a foot race. He was one of the "Indians," I think; at least he was one of the Anti-Renters. After the shooting of Sheriff Steele over on the Tremperskill, all "Indians" were hunted for by the authorities. Those not really implicated in the shooting were wanted as witnesses. And, of course, they kept out of the way.
Abe lived on the Scott Delameter farm now owned by Will Sanford. He slept out nights but tried to keep the work going on the farm as well as he could. If he had sight of any one coming to take him, he was very sure to be gone when they arrived.
Despairing of catching him by ordinary means, the officers of the law secured a tall man named Hull from up about Roxbury way. He was also a great runner and they thought he might catch our friend. Abe was cutting corn when Hull approached, but kept his eye on him and was ready to take to the woods. Hull pretended to be indifferent and asked for a chew of tobacco.
Abe was suspicious and held out his tobacco box at arm's length in one hand while he held his corn cutter in the other, ready drawn to strike, and warned his visitor not to come any nearer. As Hull reached toward the box he attempted to grasp the hand instead of the tobacco, but Swart was too quick and broke for the woods with his enemy in sharp pursuit. If he slipped or made a misstep he was lost. Which would win the race long legs or short legs?
As he neared the edge of the woods, Abe noted that he must clear a brush fence if he succeeded in getting away. He made swift and careful calculation to have his left foot strike firmly on the ground just at the fence and to make a quick spring over in the same motion. He did it, and without a lost step was away through the forest. As he hoped, Hull lost motion at the fence and consequently was left behind, gave up the race, and Abe escaped.
My second story was told me by Amos Allison, and his father was the "Indian":
Mr. Allison was not at the sale where Steele was killed, but was sought after just the same and had to hide to keep from jail and the witness stand. I believe he lived at the mouth of Weaver Hollow. He first went up into Kortright or somewhere in that part of the county and kept in the woods to avoid being seen.
An old Scotchman had a field of grain surrounded by forest, and as our friend disliked lying around without doing anything, he told the old farmer that if he would supply the cradle he would cut his grain for him, which he did. The Scotsman then insisted that he go to the house for the night and would take no refusal. After supper and chores, the farmer made him lie down on his bed by the fireplace, while he sat guard with the big fire shovel.
In the night came a tremendous racket. Someone opened the door and came into the house without knocking, upon which the Scotch farmer hurled the big shovel with such force that it stuck fast in the doorframe and narrowly missed putting the visitor out of commission. The intruder proved to be only a son of the farmer, but the old farmer roundly berated him for coming into the house without knocking and warned him never to try it again. Allison, however, had enough for the night and took to the woods again.
But that sort of hiding could not be long continued, and so he decided to leave for the great city and stay until the storm blew over. With someone else he traveled south on foot, keeping out of sight of the main thoroughfare, but at Ellenville they thought they would chance visiting a hotel for refreshment. Entering, they found no one in charge, the place seeming deserted. However, the proprietor was found asleep, and upon being told that it was a strange way to run a hotel, he said he had been out all night hunting "Indians' and was sleepy and tired. Our travelers thought best at that to hike back to the hills, which they did as soon as they could without exciting suspicion.
He stayed for some time in New York working at his trade of mason work and after the Anti-Rent disturbance had all blown over returned to this vicinity.
Now I will sing you my song; only I wish somehow the tune could be put into the paper also, for it has a jingle that makes it more realistic.
The moon was shining, silver bright, t the dead of night;
When the sheriff came a
High on a hill sat an Indian true,
And on his horn a blast he blow.
Out of the way you big Bill Snyder!
Out of the way you big Bill Snyder!
Out of the way you big Bill Snyder!
Tar your coat and feather your hide, sir.
Bill ran and he ran till he reached the wood
And there in horror still he stood;
For he saw a savage tall and grim,
And he heard a tin horn not a rod from him.
Bill thought he heard the sound of a gun
And he cried in his fright, "Oh, my race is run;
Better for if I'd never been born
Than come to the sound of that tin horn".
Next morning the body of Bill was found,
His writs all scattered on the ground;
And by his side a jog of rum
Which told how Bill to his end had come.
THE SWART FAMILY
FOR SOME TIME I have wished to write about the Swart family, but saw no way to get early early history. The other day I ran across some information which interested me, and I am going to tell it to you.
Before starting the regular story, I may say that I was in Kingston one day last week and looked up the names of the persons to whom the original allotments of lots in the New Kingston tract were made. I found all but those in the third class, and that was torn out of the old records. Among those receiving allotments were Adam Swart, Tobias Swart, Benjamin Swart, and Patrus Swart. Whether any of these settled in the tract or not, I cannot tell. In the records of Kingston I found that some of the Swarts were quite prominent in the government of the city, but I found no data showing whether they came here or not.
Samuel Swart was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and with him everywhere he went, went also a colored man as sort of bodyguard or companion. The colored man was shot in the leg, causing the loss of that member, but as soon as he secured a wooden one, he returned to his place with Mr. Swart.
Now I understand that this same Samuel Swart settled on Beaman Hill on the farm now owned by Lydia Faulkner. His wife was a Beaman and came from Connecticut. You see how the hill came to be called what it is.
Right here I seem to be a little mixed, but I think the Swarts who lived in the generation just passed were grandchildren of Samuel Swart, their father being Solomon Swart. The "Abe" Swart mentioned last week was a brother to Solomon, if I remember correctly. Solomon Swart was the father of William R. Swart, who lived in New Kingston for quite a time and then went to Margaretville. In New Kingston, William R. was a partner with Isaac Birdsall in the store, and I believe he may have farmed it some also. His children were: William D. Swart, who was at one time Lieutenant Governor of the state of New Hampshire; Anna Swart, who married Thomas Winter, town clerk for so many years; Mrs. Rhoda Mungle of Margaretville; and Mrs. Adelia Race of Brooklyn. The latter is the mother of Mrs. Charles Turner, who used to summer in Margaretville each year.
Peter Swart was also a son of Solomon Swart. As heretofore related he married Minerva Dumond and his children, with one exception, are still living. They are as follows: Mrs. Robert Winter of Margaretville, Mrs. Samuel Birdsall of Delhi, Cornelius Swart of Dunraven, Mrs. Frances Van Benschoten of Margaretville, and Mrs. John Archibald, deceased.
Another son of Solomon Swart was Orson, who was the best known to me of any of the line, and whom I esteemed very highly. I know of no man who would give one a more honest opinion when I lived in Margaretville. His children are well known throughout the whole region Howard, Fred, and Kate (Mrs. Nathaniel Lattin).
Then there was a Solomon also. He had a son Samuel who lives in Mount Vernon and I believe, a daughter, Adelia, who married a Mitchell and lived until her death in Poughkeepsie. Then there was Agatha, who married Edward Faulkner, and Charles, who died some years ago.
Mary Swart, another daughter of Solomon Swart, married for her first husband Peter Delameter. Reed Delameter of Margaretville and Mrs. Lee Strangeway of Andes are their children. Mrs. Delameter married for her second husband a Mr. Guernsey, who also died, leaving her a widow for the second time. She died quite recently at an advanced age at her daughter's.
Now, I think that completes the family of Solomon Swart. But there was a Tunis Swart, a brother of Solomon, who lived at one time where Henry Ruff now lives. Mrs. Andrew Miller, known as "Dolly" Miller, was his daughter. There were also two sons Hamilton and George, both of Treadwell, although I believe George is now in Detroit.
From Abram Swart came Jerry Swart, who lived in Margaretville. There was also another son who went west and came back a few years ago for a visit. He met his brother in Swart's store, and, as Jerry did not recognize him, not having seen him for fifty years, he played a funny trick on him. Getting a bottle of medicine from the store shelf, he pretended he was selling a cure for rheumatism and actually succeeded in selling Jerry a bottle before he told him who he was. I think Jerry gave him a dollar for the bottle, which, of course, he soon got back again.
The member of the line who helped me with this history gave me a little picture of old times which I will pass on to you. She had occasion when a girl to be out in the country at a farm at dinnertime, where the meal was cooked over a fireplace. She told how the potatoes were baked in the ashes before the fire, and how the pork was fried in its own grease. The frying pan was hung on a crane and swung over the fire until the cooking was finished, and then swung off again. The same procedure was followed with the pancakes, but the bread was baked in an outdoor oven.
MORE ABOUT THE DUMONDS
IT MAY BE REMEMBERED that when I wrote about the Dumond family I was in doubt as to whether William Henry Dumond, who has been a successful principal of an exceedingly large school in New York for many years, was a descendant of "King" Dumond or came from the Harmonus Dumond family. Miss Helen Dumond of Brooklyn has very kindly given me the complete line from Wallerand Dumond down, which I am glad to give you in this column.
It is always a little humiliating after I have written about some family to find that I have omitted some member with whom I am well acquainted, or left out something which is needed to make a finished picture. Since writing of the Dumonds, it has come to mind that I did not even mention an old friend, Hanford Dumond of Treadwell. If he ever sees "The News", he must have thought I was not a very thoughtful acquaintance. So I am always glad when someone who knows, writes to tell me what I fail to include or get correct.
Here is the corrected genealogical line mentioned above:
Wallerand Dumond, who married Margaret Hendricks, January 13, 1664.
Jan Baptist Dumond, who married Neeltje Cornelius Van Vegten in 1693.
Igenas Dumond, who married Catrina Schuyler on November 13, 1725.
Harmonus Dumond, who married Jenneke Brink, January 31, 1761.
John Dumond, who married Catherine Shaver in March 1791.
Henry Dumond, who married Elizabeth Henrietta Finkle, September 30, 1862.
William Henry Dumond, who married Mary Catherine Fitch on August 11, 1892.
Helen Margaret Dumond, born February 20, 1895.
That is quite a long line to have, with not a missing generation in the record.
THE ONCE BEAUTIFUL DICKSON HOME, NOW DESERTED
CLAMBER WITH ME up the steep hillside on the south of Winter Hollow and then down the more gentle grade among the very tall second growth maples until we come to the steep road leading up Dickson mountain. We will climb the wall and follow the long line of tamarack, spruce, and cedar until we come to the mountain stream. Then we will hike up the next slope until we come to the "slashing." Five minutes of this, trying to make your way through the terrible tangle of bushes, briars, and tops of fallen trees will be enough to put you in the proper mood to appreciate the desolation I have brought you to witness.
Here on the very top of the hill, just stop and look about you. Over there, the empty shanties of the departed lumbermen; here, the wreck of a once productive field; back of us, another no longer productive field; and finally, the wreck of a once proud forest.
Down the valley in front, what a wonderful view. Do you wonder that some nature loving home seeker once selected this spot whereon to spend his years? Now be ready for the sight I brought you to see. We will slip down the hill a bit to where that wall comers with the other one, then drop over into the golden rod and briers which spread over what was once a well kept field. Then on by the maples and wild shrubbery, picking our way until we come to the forsaken house of the old time farm. Did you expect to see so fine a house as this one has been in this deserted spot?
The one story kitchen which extends out from the back of the main building is a sad introduction to the place. With its fallen in roof, it speaks of despair and ruin. Let us pass on.
Down around the basement cellar and up to the front door which is open as if to welcome us, except that each of two lilacs on either side of the walk has stretched out a long, slim arm and they have crossed just in front of the doorway, as if to bar intruders from the place. But we will gently put them aside and enter.
What wonderful old rooms these must have been in their time, the very perfection of cheerful places to dwell in or to visit. The old mantles still hold their shape and look inviting as they must have looked during the years past. How many times have young people in the years now gone gathered in these rooms and spent the hours of evening in gaiety and good cheer. How many times have children come home to see father and mother and sat by the fire and lived over again the days of childhood. And, perchance, from this room have been sadly borne the remains of a loved one father, or mother, sister, or brother?
I think in that old room at the left, the family must have gathered each day when toil was over. This has been the homeroom, the living room. Here the family joys and sorrows have been shared; here the quiet Sabbath enjoyed when storms without have kept all indoors; here the Bible taken down each day for the reading of a chapter. In those days God had not been wholly forgotten.
Shall we dare the old stairway and peep at the rooms above? Yes, just to the second floor, not the attic stairs, for they might go crashing down beneath our weight. Ah, there is another outer door, although giving no exit to the ground. It is just a fine place to stand and look down the valley. And I warrant it has been man times thus used. I think I should like a gap to be cut in the tamarack line for that.
I look into another fine, large room just the same as the one directly below. On the other side of the hall are bedrooms and more, I presume, up in the attic, although I dare not climb to see. But there are no slumberers now, and no guests come and go, unless it be the porcupine whose marks are manifest. And ere many winters have gone, the noble old structure will have crashed into shapeless ruin.
Let us pass out silently and reverently from the place once sacred to love and home. We shall almost wonder if the spirits of those who once lived and loved within these walls come back at even time to inhabit again the dear old place of blessed associations. Who knows?
Away back near the beginning of the century, last gone Gilbert Dickson and Helen Irvin in Scotland united their lives and a little later emigrated to the land of hope across the sea. Down by the big spring which heads the brook that runs down toward New Kingston, they raised their log cabin and made their home. The road then ran up the brook instead of skirting the hillside.
Then there came a time when the neighbors below wished the road changed, doubtless for better travel over the mountain. That left the old house alone, away from the highway, and so a new one was planned and built farther up the mountain. By this time the old folks had boys enough to take the brunt of the work, and the new house was the creation of the family, and a worthy creation, too. If one doubts it, go and see it ere it entirely crumbles to decay.
The oldest son of the family was Michael. He married Jane Clark, a daughter of Ann Clark of whom I wrote a time ago, and an aunt of Mrs. J. M. Sanford, who lives by the Stone Schoolhouse at Dunraven. From her I have learned much of my story. Michael Dickson lived in Bovina Center and was a local lawyer of considerable repute. He had two children: Dr. Gilbert Dickson, who practiced medicine and kept a drug store, and James Dickson, who is now a druggist in Oneonta. Dr. Dickson died a few years ago, and his widow still keeps store in the old place and has the village post office. It is worthy to remark that each of the five children of this family has been through college except the youngest who is partly through.
After Michael came John, who married a daughter of Alexander Fraser, who lived on the farm where Cornelius Sanford now resides. By the courtesy of Mrs. James Chisholm, I have temporarily in my possession the old Fraser deed to this farm, which was purchased from the Presbyterian Church Society in Stamford in 1824, and also a mortgage given to the church to secure payment. They are rare old documents well worth seeing. Two children were born to John Dickson: Fraser and Katy, but both are now dead.
Then came Mary who was a dressmaker in Albany; then, Walter who married Frances Hoffman, a sister of the Mrs. Sanford before mentioned. They moved some years ago to Tennessee where they still live and where they have reared three children.
The later children of Gilbert and Helen Dickson, all of whom I believe are deceased, were Jared, Jennie, Theodore, Oliver, Elizabeth and Isabel. Oliver lived at the time of his death in New Kingston. He held the title to the old house on Dickson mountain and had made his will bequeathing it to his niece, Mrs. Chisholm, but his brother Jared came just before his death and persuaded Oliver to change his will and give the estate to him. Jared immediately sold the standing timber, and that is why the old forest is so
devastated. He is now dead also, and I am told he left the place to James Dickson of Oneonta. If no one pays the yearly taxes, it will eventually be sold by the state and possibly may become a part of our forest preserve.
And then we will write its history. First the primitive forest, then the ax of the homemaker, the cultivated fields, the cabin and the mansion, the tamaracks and the spruces, the scattering of the children, the devastation, and the return to its primeval state. And we shall not forget the chapter of human hopes and fears and of love and sorrow, interspersed therewith.
THE WINTER FAMILY OF NEW KINGSTON
AT LAST, AFTER MUCH SEARCHING of family history for information relating to the development of the New Kingston valley and society, I have come back to write of a very prominent family in that development, a family whose first representative settled on the farm where I now live (Douglas Condon farm). And this particular branch of the New Kingston Valley has taken its name from this old family and will doubtless be called Winter Hollow after the last of the Winters have departed.
In the large volume of Delaware County history, the Winters are called English but they are Scotch. They, indeed, lived in Northumberland just over the border on the English side, but they are real Scots for all that. Robert Winter of Margaretville has a rare old volume of Mathew Henry's Expository of the Bible printed in 1767 which was brought to this country by his great grandfather, and on the fly leaf the old man had written the statement that he was once a Scotsman but was now an American. His testimony ought to be conclusive.
The first of the Winters to settle in our valley was Thomas Winter grandfather of Thomas Winter of Margaretville. He came with his wife and two daughters in about the year 1820 and settled shortly after on the farm where I now live. Until very recently the old lease of the farm was missing, but the Margaretville Thomas Winter lately searched carefully among some old papers and discovered the two old documents (the farm was made up of two separate tracts) which he very kindly loaned to me and they are now before me. The first lease was given by Edward Livingston of Louisiana of whom I have previously written. It was for one hundred sixteen acres. The second lease was given by Edward Livingston's widow, Louise Livingston, in 1836, and was for twenty-six and one-fourth acres. They are curious old documents.
You will ask me how they held the land years before the leases were given. Well, it must be remembered that then the country was wild and unsettled and as the landowners lived quite far away, dealing with them was not always easy. Consequently, many farms were settled by "squatters", or people who just simply took up a place and cleared the land for a home. On this farm and on the George Robertson farm were squatters named Laidlaw, and it is probable that our first Winter bought out their rights and became squatters until such time as lease could be secured.
A squatter would really be an advantage to the landholders. He would get land cleared and that would call in other home seekers, and thus the land could be more readily let than if it had remained a wilderness. I have noted on some leases that rent was not asked for quite a time after the date of the instrument, I suppose to encourage settlement.
One of the two daughters of Thomas Winter married Robert Murray and the other married Mathew Russell. The latter leased part of the Robert Ingles farm in 1836; the other part being leased by his brother, James Russell.
William Winter, son of Thomas Winter, was a soldier in the Civil War. After the war he emigrated to Iowa where he reared his family. His brother, John Winter, married Rebecca Murray, a sister of judge Murray of Delhi. He lived and died in Coulter Brook, and his family of four sons and a daughter went to Iowa.
Then there was Susan Winter, who married John C. Scott. Mrs. Belle Thomson and Mrs. Leslie Dumond, both recently deceased, were their daughters. Two other daughters were Mrs. John Birdsall of Oneonta and Mrs. W. A. Elliott of Delhi.
Another daughter, Mary, married a brother of John Scott, James R. Scott, known as a builder of large barns. To them were born four sons and four daughters, a son and a daughter of the number dying unmarried. William Mussman, Jacob Thomson, and Oscar Faulkner married three of the daughters while the three sons left were James Scott, the well-known New Kingston carpenter; Dr. Scott, who practiced in Davenport and later in Bovina; and Thomas Scott, with whom I was not acquainted. Gilfred Scott, who has taught the Weaver Hollow school for so many terms, is a son of James Scott.
Another son of Thomas Winter was Gilbert Winter, father of the present Thomas Winter and William Winter of Margaretville and of Mrs. Ella Telford and Mrs. Charles Tuttle of Delhi. The only descendants of this group with whom I am acquainted are Howard Winter of Chester, Pennsylvania, and Mildred Winter, a teacher who makes her home with her parents in the house I lived in when I was a resident of Margaretville. When I came to the Winter farm, Thomas Winter and family took the "Longhouse" in Margaretville.
One more son and one more daughter Robert who married Margaret Chisholm who is still living, and Ann,who married Aaron Ackerly of Mount Vernon. James Winter, Frank Winter, and Mrs. A. M. Russell are children of Robert Winter, and of course, that links Frank Russell, Mrs. Ruthven Robertson, Robert Russell, and Mabel and Margaret on the Margaretville hill with the Winter line. And that completes the family of the first Winter settler in Winter Hollow.
John Winter, father of our first Thomas Winter, came to America with his sixteen-year-old son, Robert, in 1822. They had a nine weeks voyage and landed at Quebec; from there they came to Bovina to visit the Winters who had come first, intending to then go on to Ohio. Eventually they decided to settle in this region, and we have been the gainers. For a time they lived with a married daughter named Turnbull near the United Presbyterian Church of Bovina. But when young Robert became twenty he had a girl named Sally Dumond whom he thought about right, and so they married and settled on the farm just above us in 1826 or thereabouts. Sally was a daughter of William Dumond who lived on the William Adee farm.
And now I shall have another large Winter family to tell you about. Only with this story comes a heart-breaking tale which tells of such a time of sorrow as few families have to pass through. They truly passed under the rod.
The first child was a daughter whom they called Rachel. She married Hiram McFarland, and they lived over in Bovina where Chauncey McFarland now lives. Then came John, who married Elizabeth Scott, a sister of John C. Scott and James R. Scott before mentioned. To them were born a son, Robert Winter, who lives in Margaretville, and a daughter, Mrs. Henry Coulter of Pawling. Robert Winter married Eva Swart as heretofore stated. John and Waldron Coulter, former students in the Margaretville school, came in this branch of the Winter family.
Then there was a William who lived where Robert Ingles lives. He married Helen Scott who lived a year after their union. That is just a short statement of a great sorrow.
Next we come to Thomas Winter, who was town clerk at Margaretville when he died a few years ago. He was a clerk and partner with Isaac Birdsall in New Kingston for nine years. In 1871 he entered a partnership with O. A. Swart, and later James Kittle joined the firm. Later still Mr. Winter continued the business alone, and I think, still later with others. He married Anna Swart as noted in the sketch of that family. My own acquaintance with him was when he was town clerk. I enjoyed the work I did with him because of his systematic way of keeping things in order. He came over to our farm with road viewers, came up to get a drink of the spring water from our spring, went home, sickened, and died. Jane Winter was the last daughter to grow up and marry. She became the wife of James R. Archibald. After this comes the heartbreak.
Seven more children were born to Robert Winter and his wife, who as mentioned before was Sally Dumond. And within the short space of a few weeks, all of the seven were borne to the burial ground through the scourge of scarlet fever. That dread enemy brought terror to my own heart once, but I was mercifully spared such an ending as I chronicle of this stricken household. And none can measure the depths of the heart sorrow that settled over that home unless the same hard way has been traveled.
Well, the old days are gone now when Sally Winter could sit outside their log home and see the deer grazing on the side of Burnt Hill. If you will go across from George Robertson's house up the old road into the woods, you will find many stone piles where they have been systematically built like chimneys to make it possible to grow rye. Robert Winter used to reap rye there with a sickle. He had no reaper and binder so the stone piles would not bother him, but getting them off the ground made it a little smoother and gave more room for the grain to grow. My only wonder is how they stood so long without tumbling over.
This same Robert Winter was a vigorous Anti-Renter, but was too short and slight to make an Indian. However, he could say things stoutly enough, and the Indians called him "Little Thunder", while big Dave Northrup, who lived where Harold Faulkner now lives, was called "Big Thunder."
You may remember my telling you of how James Henderson hid from the authorities after the shooting of Sheriff Steele that they might not catch him for a witness against his fellow Anti-Renters. Well, he used to come over the hill and watch from the woods until he could see Robert Winter, and then he would give a whistle and Robert would go into the woods. Then in a few minutes, if the coast was clear, he would come out again and go to the house and get something from the household supply of food and carry it into the woods for his friend.
But now they are all gone Up-Renters, Anti-Renters, and all. A different world is here now with autos, movies, radio, and whatnot. The charm of the old days will never come back, except to him who turns aside from the everlasting hustle for a time and back into the hills to dream the old times over again. And I like to do that, don't you?
ECHOES FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD
ONE OF THE PLEASURES connected with the studying and writing of the people of old New Kingston has been the echoes which have come to me from time to time from those who, having gone out into other parts of the country, have written of their interest in these chronicles of the past. Just the other day I was told of a woman who spent very many years on a farm in the New Kingston valley, and she now each week listens to the reading of these sketches and finds satisfaction therein.
And this week there lies before me as I write a most interesting letter written to the publisher of this paper from the Great City. As this letter is from a descendant of a noted family of New Kingston, of which much has been told in this column, and as I could never tell you about it so that it would be real and forceful as the original, I shall take the liberty to let you read the letter itself.
Here it is:
New York City, September 22
The article in your paper on the Dumond family was brought to my notice and as the only child of Dr. Cornelius Dumond and, as I believe, the only one of the direct line in New York City, I was tremendously interested. Mr. Long and your paper are doing splendid work for Americanization in keeping alive the history of the old families on which the foundations of our Nation is built. I know Mr. Long will be pleased with the enclosed clipping as I want him to see that the granddaughter of "King" Dumond is, in her small way trying to carry on the traditions of her name and serve her flag and her country as did her forefathers. I wonder if you can send me a copy of the paper. I would so like to have it.
Very truly yours,
Mr. Long is more than pleased to get the above letter and would be very glad sometime to see the writer. And when you read the clipping from the newspaper which is given below, you will see that there must be something in heredity, for the vigorous personality of "King" Dumond seems to have descended to this present day representative of a noble family. And if I were again running for office, I should be glad to have such a decidedly energetic and capable advocate as she is.
Here is the clipping from a New York paper:
Because Judge Frank J. Coleman, Jr., Republican candidate for surrogate of New York County, served in the World War as a private, Miss Ida Dumond of No. 18 East Sixtieth Street, and called by the disabled veterans, "The Little Mother of the Navy," has enlisted under his banner and announces that she will do everything she can to bring about his election. Miss Dumond is making a special appeal to her numerous solder and sailor friends to stand by a "buddy."
"The fact that Judge Coleman was just a buck private is enough for me," said Miss Dumond. "I lose all interest when the stripes appear on the sleeve of a uniform, and I feel that my boys agree with me that a man with the splendid simplicity of the Judge, who is willing to do his bit for his country, with the smallest credit to himself, is the man for public office. He will do big things for good of all the people, without thought of self."
Miss Dumond aided more than six hundred disabled veterans of the war, and she was told by them that anything she wanted, they were for. In consequence, she feels that she can bring a large number of voters to Judge Coleman's standard.
Every time Miss Dumond sees the service button on a man's coat lapel, she makes it a point to tell him of Judge Coleman's candidacy and asks him to cast his vote for him. Her campaign, she says, is meeting with excellent results.
Suppose every person in the big outside world, whose family line reaches back to New Kingston, were known to us now with work each is doing. I suspect that we then might realize the significance of this valley in the making of America.
THE NEW KINGSTON VILLAGE OF YEARS AGO
WHILE THE EARLY LIFE of the New Kingston valley has been given considerable attention in this column, the village itself has been passed over with little special notice. And it may be well at this time to give some attention to that also.
In the Atlas of Delaware County published in 1869 by Beers, Ellis & Soule, a map of the village is shown from the Yaple house down to the Dowie place. Three streets are given: Main, Mechanic, and Church.Thirteen houses are shown including the parsonage. On the map besides the houses are the church, a store, a shop or two, and a storehouse.
Naming the buildings in order on the left side of Main Street looking up towards the church we have: J. Archibald (on present Hugh Robertson farm), J. I. Dickson (on site of Arthur Worden home), R. M. Faulkner (Guy Faulkner), wagon shop (now gone), blacksmith shop (on site of Marvin Hosier residence), A. White (on property owned by Mrs. Beatrice Henderson), H. Reynolds (possibly on present Leighton Squires (property), J. Scott (William Crawford), Presbyterian Church, parsonage (Oscar Dougherty), A. Yaple (Thomas J. Wagner). Going down the other side are J. Dumond (John Hosier), I. Birdsall (Douglas Faulkner), store and post office of Birdsall and Winter; storehouse (building gone), A. Dumond (Mrs. Lena Hosier), and J. Van Benschoten (David Taylor).
From Mrs. Margaret Winter I learned more details of the village development. The earliest store she knew was down in the little house this side of James Thomson's (Ethel Harrington's). It was kept by a man named Swart. The first in the village was Birdsall and Swart near where Isaac Bouton now lives. They moved down to where the present store is, and Robert Winter and John Dickman opened a store in the place they left. The Birdsall mentioned was Isaac; the Swart was W. R. Swart who later went to Margaretville.
In the article on the Winter family, mention was made of the fact that Thomas Winter was a clerk and partner in the New Kingston store for several years. I think it was after he went to Margaretville that Dumond Reynolds, who had been running a small grocery store across the road, became a partner in the store. I believe that the Robert Winter, who kept store with Mr. Dickman in the original place up street, came into the business in the place of Mr. Birdsall. Later James F. Scott took Mr. Winter's place, and finally
the store was bought by the Faulkner Brothers, Oscar and Elmer, to be eventually sold to the present merchant, M. J. Faulkner (who sold it to Douglas Faulkner, grandson of Elmer, in 1950, and it is presently operated by Mrs. Barbara M. Condon).
It may seem strange but my informant said that business was even better in the old days than now because little if any trade went outside in those times. Travel, was not so easy, and Margaretville could not then reach out with long arms as now. But Kingston is giving that village the same experience, as travel by auto shortens the trip.
I was reared just outside a small village in Schoharie County which was the center of a thriving community. It maintained a good store, and sometimes two, besides a well attended church. The people of the region were highly intelligent, and it looked as if years might pass with no letting down of the standard of society. Now it is a country of many deserted homes. One store is burned down and the other, with dwelling and barn, sold not long ago for one hundred dollars. The buyer doubtlessly regrets his bargain. Unless there is some change, it is destined to rot down. Will all that happen to New Kingston?
Down the valley a ways, near James Thomson's, there was for years a sawmill and gristmill. The sawmill was operated by Andrew Chisholm, while the gristmill was owned by "Aleck" Russell and then exchanged for a farm lot with Jerel Sherwood, who lived above where George Robertson now lives. The foundation walls of the Sherwood house still stand along the old Bovina road. Later Mr. Russell sold his land to Robert Winter and went west. That was in 1852. Sherwood operated the gristmill for several years.
The hotel kept by thee Cunninghams was closed before the memory of Mrs. Winter, but the building was still standing. As I have remarked before, the outline of where the building stood may still be seen by the pine trees in front of the Dowie home.
In the village, Alexander ("Sandy") White kept a blacksmith shop for quite a long time. He did some years since in Arena where his son, Marshall, has a shop now. John Dickson kept a wood working shop next to the blacksmith shop. Cauliflower crates were not then manufactured. I believe that E. Hill blacksmithed for a time, and "Al" Scott used to be a good shoer as long as he stuck to the place. An auto shop might have been expected to take the place of the blacksmith shop, but it has not yet materialized.
The old United Presbyterian Church was built seventy years ago, giving way to the present structure in 1900. Few country villages have a neater looking church than New Kingston, and until very recent years it was usually well filled each Sunday. And it would be a most favorable omen if, when a minister is secured, all the inhabitants of village and countryside crowd in pews once again as of yore. We hope it may be so.
The Cooperative Creamery is now an important part of New Kingston industry. When a stone road connects the hamlet with the concrete highway at Dunraven, everything will be ready for business so long as the farmers continue to make milk and grow cauliflower. The big, blue-ribbed monsters have given us a glimpse of what may come if business stays good. If prices keep up we may see an exodus of cows and the hillsides covered with sprouts, cauliflower, etc. And whatever means prosperity for our people, we shall welcome.
But whether herds of cattle for dairying or fields of green plants for sending to the great city, we are very sure that New Kingston will still be as it has always been, a fine place to live.
REMINISCENCES OF JACK THORP
SOMETIMES I THINK I have reached the end of my New Kingston writings and that the old time people have all been remembered. And then I suddenly discover that I have overlooked someone right near by. This morning I felt rather like stopping, for a time at least. But then, as I was going down the road past a neighbor's, I saw the subject of this sketch and hastened home for pencil and paper. I was well paid for doing so.
No record of New Kingston people would be complete without a mention of John F. Thorp, familiarly known as "Jack" Thorp. He has been by his occupation a member of so many families that his name is almost a household word throughout the valley and its branches.
I asked him this morning if he knew how many pigs he had killed for the farmers in this vicinity and he laughed and said he wished he did. But I wished to get at least an estimate, and so I asked him how many years he had been at it, and he said about fifty years. Then he- told me that one year he reached one hundred and four and other years always from sixty to seventy. So I figured a little and concluded that he had prepared for packing something like four thousand pigs, and I think he packed a large part of them also. Add to this an equal number of bee cattle, and you have quite a large quantity. If one could see the total in one big pile, I think it would astonish even Mr. Thorp himself.
Mr. Thorp's father came from Hobart, somewhere around 1945, and settled in the upper New Kingston Valley on a part of what is known as the Will Ingles farm then owned by Henry Tyler. I am not sure but that he lived for a time over the mountain in the town of Roxbury, for he married his wife at Shacksville now known as Brookdale.
The wife of the first Thorp, whose name was William J., was Mary Ann Fuller. I believe the house they built shortly after settling on the farm mentioned is still standing. At least it was when I last went over the hill to Roxbury. To them were born six children Samuel, John, Theodore, Martha, Mary and Prudence. I like those good old names, don't you? Three are still living: Jack, Martha (Mrs. Williams of Roxbury), and Prudence (Mrs. Dr. Hutchins of Claryville).
I gathered quite a lot of information about the upper valley from Mr. Thorp which helped me to complete a partial knowledge of the old residents of that section of our community which I had previously gathered. Since he was born in 1848, his memory reaches back some seventy years, and life sixty years ago he could remember very well. And so I asked him who lived here, and who lived there, and I shall try to tell you as he told me.
On the Will Ingles farm lived, as mentioned, Henry Tyler. He later moved to Prattsville. Following him came John Erkson, and I find his name there on the old map of the Town of Roxbury printed in IW. After him the farm was purchased by Robert Ingles, of whom mention will be made when the history of the Ingles family is written. I believe Erkson also went to Prattsville as did his predecessor, Henry Tyler.
Over in back of the Ingles farm, hidden from the highway, is a farm now owned by Vernon Brownell. Mr.Thorp says this farm was first occupied, so far as he can recall, by Will Tyler and that he sold out to Robert Ingles when the latter settled in this country. R. "Ingoll" is named there on my map. The name was evidently taken down wrong for I have just found excellent evidence that the right spelling is "Ingles" or "Inglis," as I will explain in the later article promised. After Robert Ingles came Jack Ingles, then Weed Dumond and now Mr. Brownell.
Just beyond the Ingles farm was a house occupied by a family named Conkey. I think Ezra Henderson told me about them in his sketch. And then if you ever travel the first old hill road to Roxbury, you may notice, when near the top, a sort of road leading off to the left. I followed it once and found on the mountaintop a clearing of some size. Mr. Thorp said a man named Redden, or some such name, lived there.
Also, up on the mountainside, right back of the schoolhouse of the valley, once stood a house. There lived a man named Eli Gray, followed by Nathaniel Miller and later by John Starley.
Where Cornelius Sanford now lives, lived Alexander Fraser, grandfather of Mrs. James Chisholm, while another house which stood near the large sweet apple tree was occupied by William Cowan who evidently went there after selling the Cowan farm to his son, Thomas, the grandfather of the present generation of Cowans. Mrs. Chisholm's grandmother was a daughter of William Cowan as has been heretofore mentioned. After the death of Alexander Fraser, his daughter, Elizabeth, who married Mike Starley, lived on the farm, but whether Mr. Sanford came next or not I have forgotten.
Between the Sanford farm and the schoolhouse is an old house, and there lived, in my informant's memory, a man named Greene Reynolds. He was followed by Amos Dumond, which gives another link in the history of that old family. Later came John Starley and the name, "J. Starley", is given on my map.
Where Henry Ruff now lives lived the widow of a brother of W. R. Swart -Eliza Swart. After that came John Winter, then Cornelius Reynolds, and the Amos Dumond mentioned above. After Dumond left I think the farm was rented some and was once occupied by Edgar Campbell and family and finally sold to the present owner.
I asked Mr. Thorp if he recalled Jacob Hewitt, and he said he worked for him one summer on the farm and asked me how much time I supposed lie had off during his six months' service. I guessed wrong, of course, measuring by present customs, for be said "Just a half day to go to a picnic in New Kingston." That is quite a good record, and, knowing the man, it may be readily believed. While he worked there George Hewitt lived where E. D. O'Connor now lives.
Walter ("Watt") Miller lived where James Miller is, and Archibald Elliott was on the Harry O'Connor farm. Who lived where the old stone chimney stands on the Burton Archibald farm, he does not recall. Probably before his day they were all gone, and the house was built down on the present site. The Archibalds must have been there in his time, although I neglected to ask.
I wonder sometimes when I see our friend going from place to place how he ever stands it at seventy-six. But aside from the crippling by the old enemy, rheumatism, he seems hale and hearty, and his eye is bright and his courage good. And when he is not wielding the butcher's knife, he turns his hand, as he has done for many years, to wood-working, and his visits are quite welcome where cauliflower crates need to be built to handle the year's crop.
"And when he is gone, what then?" ask the farms where he is now in yearly demand. Of course, they will get along somehow, but I fancy that many a pen will be left empty after he passes on to his reward because the farmer will not wish to go it without him. And he will be missed and talked about for many, many years in the valley after he ceases to be one of its people. For everybody knows and respects "Jack" Thorp.
THE INGLES OF NEW KINGSTON
IN THE YEAR 1837, a young man and a young woman from Scotland landed at New York harbor. I do not know whether they were acquainted in the old country or whether their courtship began on shipboard, but when they landed they hunted up a Presbyterian clergyman and joined their fortunes and lives in marriage and started in the new world together.
After this happy event in their lives, they turned to the serious business of getting to the place where they wished to make their start towards building a home for themselves and what gifts of heaven might later be given to them. We may suppose that they came by boat to Kingston and then by stage as far as stages came; but however they traveled, they at last found themselves away up in the upper New Kingston valley, off the highway, over in the side valley, where now lives Vernon Brownell. This farm they ought of Uriah Gray and there they started their life work.
It is hard enough to make a living on a farm nowadays, unless you raise cauliflower, but when you find that our young husbandman of this story went to work and raised oats and carted them with one horse all the way to Kingston and sold them for twenty-five cents a bushel in order to get ahead, it makes one think a little. And anyone would know that, with such determination as that, nothing could stop their getting along.
And get along they did, both in fortune and in family. Four sons and a daughter were born to them over there in the little hollow, but the mother's share lived but a few years and only the four boys grew up. And when the boys came to be young men, the father saw that he must have a bigger farm if he would use their energies and keep them at home, and so he bought the Tyler farm (Cornelius Hosier) of the Erkson mentioned in the story told me by Mr. Thorp and then he had something over three hundred acres altogether, which should have been enough to satisfy almost any hustling family.
But it was none too much for Thomas Ingles. I was told that they raised over 800 bushels of oats one year, and that meant some plowing and harrowing of which he did quite a share. If only they could have grown cauliflower, wouldn't they have thought themselves some millionaires?
And what do you suppose they paid for the Tyler farm? Remember, it was just after the Civil War when prices were soaring. Eleven thousand dollars; think of it. And as they worked to pay for it, things began to go down so that by the time it was cashed up it would be worth, perhaps, not more than half what they paid for it, and today it would not bring one-third that amount. But the great value lies not in the dollars, but in the triumph they won in refusing to be beaten.
And so when you stand and look up at the land they earned twice over, and at the stone walls they built, you will feel great respect for the patience and untiring energy that wrought in the old days before men had the opportunities they have now.
Well, the boys married off as boys usually do, with the exception of the youngest one William. He stayed on the last farm and died there. You may remember him when rheumatism had twisted his body but had never dimmed the light of determination in his eyes. He died since I came into the New Kingston valley which was January 1, 1915.
John was the oldest. He married Ella Scott, a sister of Adam Scott, who died not long ago in Margaretville. She is still living but he has been dead some years. Their children were Frank and Mary, the latter marrying George Wickham. She has been dead for some years. Frank lives on the old Jacob Hewitt farm, his wife being a descendant of that line. I believe that this branch of the original family lived on the first farm back in the side valley. John Ingles Jr. is the one male descendant of Frank Ingles.
Thomas Ingles was next in the family. He married a Kittle from Bragg Hollow. There is still a farm over there owned by the Kittles of Margaretville, and I infer that she was of that line. I do not know whether Thomas began for himself on the old Andrew Miller farm where he still lives or not, but I know that he is a good man to live next to. His wife has long been dead, and the old man is quite lonely in his old age with children married and gone. He must depend upon strangers to keep his home for him now.
The two sons of Thomas Ingles are well known in the valley and elsewhere. Robert has lived on the home farm and is now our neighbor on the Will Winter farm. And we can stand him and his wife for neighbors very well and shall we never complain so long as they live next to us. He has one daughter and she lives on another farm joining ours, and we have no trouble in that direction either. And if the children were named Ingles, the family line would have a good chance yet to keep up the name.
Charles, the other son of Thomas Ingles, has left farming and has for some years been engaged in conducting creameries. I believe he is now in Albany at that business. His two children, a son and a daughter, are healthy specimens of the old stock and should delight the heart of their grandfather when he thinks of the chance for the family line to continue.
James Ingles settled over on Roses Brook and has two sons and two daughters. I once had a very intelligent young woman as training class teacher in Margaretville for a time, and I think she was at least related to this branch, and may have been a daughter of James Ingles. Otherwise, I am not acquainted with this branch of the Ingles line.
Yesterday I stood with Thomas Ingles over on his farm, and we looked up the valley to the old farm and talked of the far away past when he was a boy. He pointed out to me the places on the farm where he plowed the soil when a young man. And a feeling of sadness crept over me as I realized that now it was all past for him and that he soon, as well as myself, must join the silent majority. But he has done his part in the life of the valley, and no one can accuse him of slothfulness. He has bequeathed to the younger
generation an example of industry and honesty which is a rich heritage.
I wish I might have known other sons of the first family, and some time I shall go over to the farm where Robert Ingles and his young wife, who was Mary Strangeway, started to fight the elements together. There I shall sit and imagine the home as it then was, with the light of love and hope shining out into the future, nerving the arm and cheering the heart for the struggles ahead. Such is the great miracle the great Architect of the universe works in the development of the human race.
But I must not forget to tell you about Robert Ingles, my neighbor. He has the old marriage certificate of the first New Kingston Ingles. It is a treasure, being entirely written out in the hand of the minister who united the two hearts as one by the simple words of the sacred ceremony. I held it in my hand and looked at it with the feelings of reverence, sensing something of the faith, love, and devotion it breathed out of the past, of the lives of the young couple stepping out into a strange country.
THE DUNRAVEN SANFORDS
DOWN THE PLATTEKILL, quite high above the valley road and yet close by, is a quiet spot where lie buried many of the fathers and mothers of the early settlers of the section below New Kingston. It has seemed to me that no series of writings of any part of this section of country would be complete without a sketch of the Sanfords of the lower valley. And so one day last week I visited the gravel knoll where sleep those of that family and also visited the descendant who lives on the old Sanford homestead, where the first one made his home along the stream that runs down to the Delaware.
In 1797, William Sanford of Litchfield, Connecticut, settled on Hubbell Hill with his companion who was a daughter of Elijah Hull. The farm was not far from the present schoolhouse, and I have been by it many times. I do not know who now lives there, but residents of the section will be able to tell any who may wish to inquire.
Ziba Sanford, our first Dunraven representative of the family, was a son of William Sanford. At the age of twenty-two he married Hannah Roberts of Putnam County. The Roberts family of Bragg Hollow are of the same line. Immediately after being married, the young couple started to hew out for themselves a home along the Plattekill, she traveling to the place on horseback while he drove the ox team with which he was to heap the logs ready for burning. For you must know that there is some work about clearing land all covered with heavy timber.
Possibly ten or twelve acres of land had been already cleared when our pioneers reached their heritage, but that was very little when you look at the broad acres now under cultivation where they toiled. Just where their house stood is uncertain, but it must have been somewhere near the place where now stands the fine home of their descendant. The road, if any existed at that time, did not run where the present highway is, but back along the base of the mountain, starting in down near the bridge across the stream where it meets the Palmer Hill brook and coming out at Olney Smith's. Possibly one or two small log houses were already built in the vicinity; you can picture what a country it must have been.
I wish we could have a moving picture of one of our first settlers clearing land. Falling trees, logging, brushing in seed, reaping with sickle, threshing with flail, and all just as it used to be. It would be well worth seeing and would make us glad we live in 1924. But I warrant that they were fully as happy as we are.
The dug road was built largely through the efforts and labor of our pioneer, the embankment being at first held up by hemlock logs laid up in tiers and tied into the bank by cross-timbers. It stood many years but at last had to be replaced by something more lasting. When it finally becomes the foundation for a stone road, as it must ere long, and is wide enough to pass a cauliflower truck, I shall be glad.
Ziba Sanford had quite a family after the fashion of the times. His oldest child was Electa, who married Elijah Hull, father of Ziba Hull who died on Hubbell Hill a few years ago. Sometime I shall be writing of the Hulls, and then the line will receive further mention. The second daughter was Phoebe, who married Maurice Smith, the father of Olney Smith, another line which deserves a sketch.
Then came the first son who was a man widely known both as a progressive farmer and as an elder of the Old School Baptist Church. He built the house now on the homestead and lived there until his son Ziba took the place. He then removed to Arkville where he lived until his death. His name was Ransom. I met him quite often until I came to the New Kingston Valley, and I highly respected him. He traveled among the connection and held services in the churches of which several still remain. He was twice married, his first wife being Anna Nichols and the second, Mary Hunt. The children of his first marriage were: Caroline, who married John Keator; Nettie; Harriet, who married Charles Ballard; Ziba, who married Martha Umlauf and is now on the old homestead; Almena, who married Avery Ryer; and Charles. By the second marriage was a son, Grover, and a daughter, Helena. The former is a druggist at Pearl River, and the other is now the wife of Oscar Maxwell of Johnson City.
The next in the family of our pioneer was a daughter, Emeline. She married Thomas Owen and was the mother of George Owen of Balsom Lake, whose family is well known in this region. Then there were three more daughters, one marrying Abner Morse of Halcottsville, another John Davis, and another, a man named Zeybueth, who lives in the West.
Then came another son, William R. Sanford, who lived on the first farm above the Weaver Hollow turn. He was a man of strong character and a strong Anti-Renter. He married Sarah Allaben and to them were born four sons and four daughters. He was married a second time but I think no children were born of this union. The sons were: Ziba, John E., Orson M., William R.; the daughters were: Fezon, Abigail, Electa, and Thankful. Ziba lived in Arkville, and I believe he died in 1892. I have no record of the second son. Orson married Helen Neidig and lived on the first farm up the Weaver Hollow road. He died this summer. They had one daughter, Nettie, who married Thurber Fairbairn, and three sons, William, Edward, and Francis. The first married a daughter of Henry Franks and Francis married Emma Muir.
After Orson comes the namesake of the father, William R. Sanford, who lives the next farm above the homestead. He farms it and runs a large trucking business and would be missed as any man in the valley. He is widely known in this part of the country. He married a Whitcomb and they have three children, all married. Edna was a teacher until her marriage. I have forgotten the name of her husband. Howard married Mildred Dodds of Arkville, and they live on the H. O. Van Benschoten farm. Roy was recently married to Fern Teed of Margaretville and is helping his father with the trucking business.
Of the daughters of William R. Sanford, Fezon married Henry O. Van Benschoten but did not live many years thereafter. They had no children. Thankful married William Francis Van Benschoten and to them was born one son, Orson, who is well known in this region. Abigail married a Mr. Churchill, and I believe they live at Sanitaria Springs. They have one son, William, who lives at Hancock where he married a daughter of Samuel N. Wheeler, recently deceased. Electa married George Keator of Hubbell Hill. I do not know whether the two descendants Lee and Fannie are of this union or of the later one. And that completes the family of the elder William R. Sanford and also of the whole line of the older members of our first Dunraven Sanford.
And now if you will go down to the old farm where once the ox team dragged great logs to mill or to the log heap for burning and where it was woods, woods, woods, everywhere, you will find besides fine buildings for folks and for cattle, a herd of real purebred Jersey cows which will delight you if you are a lover of good stock, that look well and produce wonderfully. And you will find a man who will be enthusiastic over everything that looks towards progress and who will give you a good time, although you will notice a certain restless energy which seems to constantly be moving him to activity. And perhaps that is the key to the ability of the family to get things done. For it must be said that these people have been very strong factors in the making of the Dunraven Valley, and so long as any one knows of the history of the Plattekill stream and its folk, the name of Sanford will be a very prominent one. And some day next summer, just after all the boarders have left for the Great City, I am going down to the old homestead about dinner time just to sit in the dining room with the whole side given over to widows (see next chapter) and eat the good food and drink in energy from the sunshine at the same time.
And, of course, I shall expect to hear more of the old times and of the plans for the future of the farm and have a real genuine old fashioned visit.
A CONVERSATION WITH CHAUNCEY HULL OF HUBBELL HILL
SOMETIMES ONE PICKS UP an interesting item regarding old times in the New Kingston Valley which is not enough for a whole article but which ought to be told. Then, sometimes, whether through a slip of the typewriter or a mistake of the printing office, a misspelled word makes an article read rather funny. This week I wish to correct an error in last week's story and tell you a few items of interest.
In next to the last paragraph last week I said I should sometime go down to the old homestead about dinner time just to sit in the dining room with the whole side given over to windows, but it appeared in print as "given over to widows." just an "n" left out, but how it sounds. I don't dare go to the printing office to see who was to blame for fear it may have been my own blunder. But this will make it all right anyway.
A short time ago I was in Lawyer Fenton's office and got into a conversation with Chauncey Hull of Hubbell Hill, who was waiting to see the lawyer. Incidentally, I told him I was running over the New Kingston tract with a view of making a map of the region and said something about the farm of George Hoffman away up in upper Hubbell Hill being near the line. Immediately Mr. Hull told me that the Hoffman house was inside the tract. I was so sure it was not that I spoke rather hastily and said that if he did not live in that neighborhood I should hesitate to believe him, but since he lived right there I could not dispute him as he ought to know. He assured me that he was correct and I subsided.
But you know that ideas once fixed in one's mind die hard, and afterward I still thought I was right and he mistaken. So I took my surveying instrument and started over the line which runs through Harold Faulkner's farm along the upper end of Elmer Faulkner and William Miller, and as I ran the line through the brushy woods and over the ledges of rocks, I kept hugging myself with the thought that I would show my friend his error. And then, just as I broke over the mountain where I could see through the trees a bit, I saw the line running straight away from me toward Bragg Hollow and there was George Hoffman's house above it right inside the tract just as Mr. Hull had said. Right then I vowed never to dispute a man about things right by him any more.
But my trip was not without profit, for I reached the Hoffman house just at dinner time. Some of the neighbors were there helping roof part of the barn and all were washing for the table. I told Emma to put on another plate which she did and I had a right royal good time eating excellent victuals and visiting with the four men, including the proprietor. And the latter gave me some directions after dinner which aided me in continuing on with the line over the next mountain to the corner of the tract on the old Jacob Hasbrouck farm in Bragg Hollow.
I wonder if you have ever been up to where George Hoffman lives. If you have not and love a beautiful, inspiring view of the mountains, just take the trip someday when the air is clear. I shall not try to tell you how grand it is for words cannot express it. You must see it for yourself. And do not be content to stop just by the house. Climb up to the very top of the ridge between the two valleys New Kingston and Hubbell Hill and there stand and look to the cast. If you are at all sentimental, you may almost believe you have passed on to the better world, for it is grand enough for any world.
And now turn your eyes down the slope; as you look at the house and fields and at the old orchard over to the right by the woods, I will tell you of a Margaretville businessman who was born there sometime about the time the writer was born down in the lower part of the county. Can you guess who it is? Well, he was called the village barber, but I suppose the title has now become the "village bobber."
The New Kingston lots owned by Mr. Hoffman are number six in the sixth class, number five, and half of number six, in the eighth class. The lot line running by the New Kingston parsonage down past Elmer Faulkner's village farm comes out on the southeast boundary of the Hoffman farm.
Now let us go back to Mr. Hull. He told me that his grandmother said that the first school in New Kingston was held in the house of Philip Yaple. If you look to the left after you cross the stone culvert bridge after you pass P.G.'s store, you may still see where the old log house stood.
The teacher was a man named Donaldson from over near Andes and he knew only German or "high Dutch." So Mr. Yaple, who spoke German, Dutch, and English had to be the interpreter for a time. I wonder if the pupils now would like such for a teacher.
Mr. Hull also told me about some old lady of those days (I think some of his ancestors) who had never used a stove and when visiting among her children or grandchildren went out and gathered her apron full of dry chips to hasten the fire and threw the entire apron full in at once. And when the younger woman told the man of the house to be careful that the stove did not become too hot and burn the house, he said there was no danger for she had put the chips into the oven, so little did she know how stoves were run. And I suppose our modern daughter would have an even harder time getting dinner with a fireplace.
One more item. A few days ago while stopping at a home where I was surveying the farm, the proprietor told me of an old map he had found, and I said I would like to see it. He went and brought it and there was a real Gould map made in 1856, just five years before I was born. It is a wonderful map and must have taken much careful surveying and research. In the New Kingston Valley I noted that every dweller was named, and sometime I shall borrow it (I tried to buy it but failed) and send a list to every dweller from Dunraven to the very upper end of each branch of the whole valley, and also some of the side branches to the printer for this column.
WHAT MEAN THESE STONES?
THE HEADING of this article is a Bible verse. You may hunt it up when you next delve into the old Book of Books. You will find that it makes a very good text for a Memorial Day sermon, and it has been thus used on many occasions.
And I will tell you why I am using it now. The other day I was climbing up the mountain opposite the old deserted Dickson house of which I told you a time ago, and I followed some distance an old stone wall nearly as high as I am tall and of great thickness. I fell to contemplating the vast amount of toil that old wall still as erect as the day it was built represented. And that led me to think of the vast network of old walls that cover the whole New Kingston Valley, as well as other valleys in this region.
It came to me then that these old walls, which have been here so many years, and which will still be here when you and I have been moldering into dust many years hereafter, are really monuments to the memory of the rugged generation gone, of which I have been trying to write for some time past.
So when a city visitor or some wanderer from another kind of country shall ask you, "What mean these stone walls all over the land," you can say that these stones are witnesses of the history of the valley's past. They tell of the long, patient, unremitting toil of the old fathers of our community as they struggled with nature and with hard conditions to build for themselves and their prosperity homes where living would be more pleasant.
And you may say that every stone hauled from the rough fields and built into the walls was laid in the cement of hope, and that this alone kept up the spirit through the long, weary days of drudgery, with the blood starting from the finger ends worn thin by the constant attrition of the stones. I pass along these old walls now with a feeling of respect, almost reverence, for the men who built them young man nowadays be induced to draw stone and build walls like they did in the old days; I think not. We get them only by inheritance.
These walls have not only been monuments to the honor of their builders, but they have been preservers of land titles a could have been. A man with compass and chain might sometime measure wrong or set the needle to the wrong course, but once the stonewalls became fixed, it became a boundary that effectually marked off the land and kept it unchangeable. Even today, the surveyor, when called in to run out a farm, does not depend upon anything so much as an old stonewall which has long been a line; from that he gets his direction and bearing. And if sometime he finds himself missing some long established wall by a few feet, he goes back and corrects his bearings and runs his course over again.
Recently I visited a farmer who has lived on the same farm for many years, and he took me to see a certain corner of a town which I much desired to find. On the way he pointed out a boundary stone wall which he said some surveyor had told him was not exactly on the line, but over on him some rods. But he said that even if he could move it, he would never try it for the land gained would not be worth the effort. Thus the fathers of this region effectually fixed our boundaries and insured our land titles.
For years and years these walls will stand, or lie where they fall, to continue to mark out the bounds of our homes and assure us our security. Some time ago I went with a man to look over a hill lot which he owned and which was not fenced off on every side. On one side was no fence at all, except a short piece of fallen wall, which we were not sure was on the right line. In fact, we almost felt sure it was not where the line should be. Some time later I took my surveying compass with telescope and started from a fixed wall along the same tier of lots, set the needle at the proper course, and ran a line through the forest where there was no wall at all. When I came out on the other side, I again set the needle at the correct bearing and looked through the telescope, and the line ran directly to the old short wall, showing that it must be on the original line.
Now, if you wish to moralize a little, you can make a comparison between how our possessions and even our land working have been so much influenced by what the forefathers of the valley did and how we are also influenced by the customs and traditions they have bequeathed to us. Once in a while they left us some marked out path which has been a damage to us, like the road up the steep pitch just beyond Burton Archibald's. Everyone who has drawn a load up that steep grade will agree with me that it was a bad bequest to leave to the prosperity of the valley, when an easy road could have been built around the knoll. But in general we must admit that they have left us mostly good examples and inspiration, and we shall never be out of their debt.
Just one more thought about the old walls. I wish some mathematically inclined person would make a calculation of how many miles of these old walls there are in the New Kingston Valley. I wonder how far they would reach towards encircling the globe. And then if one could make an estimation of the number of foot pounds of energy expended in piling stone upon stone in their building, and from that figure out how many horse power would be represented, it would be interesting, indeed. And if one should wish to move an old wall after the frost has heaved it and partly buried it in the earth, he will wish for some of the energy used in its building. But I think not many will ever be moved, and we shall have them as reminders of those who preceded us for many years to come.
In reading this book, I am sure that many of you, like myself, felt that ripple of spirit run through you as it came to the surface time and time again in the pioneering, land clearing, and settling exploits of the Van Benschoten, Hewitts, and the Dumonds. And this spirit is none other than that which tempered the people of the original thirteen colonies, the Ohio Frontier in the 1830's, and the exodus to California in the 1840's, as this new breed of steel-willed people known as Americans spread across this continent. Those eighteenth and nineteenth century settlers of the New Kingston region were made of that same resilient stuff, and Lincoln Long, recognizing this typical American stock, preserved it for all time in his historical sketches.
As this thread of a determined, democratic, republican populace surfaced time and time again in this tapestry of American history, I could not help but be reminded of the historical writings of Frederick Jackson Turner, especially as hypothesized in The Frontier Thesis. The qualities of self-reliance and individualism that Turner focuses on were most obviously evident in those early settlers of the Plattekill. Because of the frontier with its "overpowering" environ, man was forced to transform the wilderness if he was to grasp the opportunity of new land offered and survive in America. "The result is that to the frontier the American intellect owes its striking characteristics. That coarseness and strength, combined with acuteness and inquisitiveness; that practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things; ... that restless nervous energy; that dominant individualism, working for good and for evil; and withal, that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom."' Jacob Van Benschoten and those who come after him are part of that tradition forged from the frontier, a people called Americans.
'Ray Allen Billington (ed.) The Frontier Thesis (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966) p. 19.