Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site
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The following are excerpts from the book Walton Yesteryears written by Frank and Helen Lane. The Book was reprinted 1990. Rights to the reprinted edition have been given to the William B. Odgen Free Library by the Walton Historical Society. --Bob Townsend, May 30, 1997
Piecing the Past Together
In this chapter the early history of the Village of Walton will be told through the reminiscences of people who lived in those days. There will be some contradictions as to the facts, as no one sees or remembers in exactly the same way as another.
Fortunately for the preservation of Walton's past a weekly newspaper was begun in 1856 known as The Walton Blade and was followed by many other weeklies through the years. It was In Walton Blade of January 1857 that Reverend J.S. Pattengill, the pastor of the Congregational Church, urged the descendants of the early settlers to send their family histories to the paper. He proposed the idea of publishing them in the paper as "The Chronicles of Walton." The following account of the settlers journeying to Walton was published June 1857 in The Walton Journal, successor to the "Blade" and was part of the series.
The coming of the first settlers to this town, and the Incidents connected with their journey and settlement, has its history in reliable tradition, and a few scattered official documents.
In 1784 Dr. Platt Townsend, of Dutchess County, negotiated with William Walton of New York for the whole of the Walton Patent - for which he gave a certain tract of land and other property in Virginia, acquired by marriage - and was expected to pay the balance by sale of land to settlers. For some reasons not fully known at this time, this contract was abandoned and another made in February 1784, for 5,000 acres lying upon the river, and was to contain as much up-land as river flat. This contract specifies the price of land at "One Pound" (or 20 shillings) per acre. Dr. Townsend surveyed the patent and received 1,700 acres as compensation, and the remainder was paid in money and the contract fulfilled, and deed given in 1786. Early in the Spring of 1785 Dr. Townsend collected together a small colony on the wharf at Peck Slip, New York, consisting with his own of five families, and twenty souls in all. After a passage of two days by sloop, they reached Swartz's landing in a cold March rain and took shelter in an old deserted building. The few people in the vicinity aided them to make their short stay as comfortable as possible.
The next day they reached Marbletown, a distance of eight miles, where they came to a termination of any further progress by wagons. The winter not having broken up in the mountains. There being no alternative, the women of the party and a portion of the men, concluded to stay at Marbletown, while another portion shouldered their knapsacks filled with provisions, and started for their prospective home in the wilderness. Those who went ahead to prepare for the rest, were Dr. Townsend, and his son Isaac, Gabriel and Robert North and William Furman. Joshua Pine Sen., his two sons Daniel and Joshua. remained behind with the families until the exploring party returned. Whether or not this advance party made provision for their coming families, is not own known, but it is presumed they did. It is said that they found a cabin which had been used the year previous by some lumber pirates under the charge of one Dickinson, from Minisink. The advance party returned for their families the latter part of April, and the whole company started with two wagons and several horses. Isaac Townsend remained behind with his brother William and took his place in the company. Mrs. T., was in feeble health and never emigrated to Walton. She lived about two years after this and the Doctor was often back and forth while she lived.
The company proceeded up the Shendaken creek-cut the first wagon road over Pine Hill on to the East Branch, and proceeded down that river to Colchester, making use of the bed of the river for a road as much as possible. At Colchester they found a German family by the name of Ackerly, who received them kindly, and a warm friendship between them long continued.
They cut a wagon road from Downsville up the brook by Wilsons, and over Colchester Mountain, a work which required not a little patience and perserverance to accomplish. The date of the arrival of this first party has not been preserved. Where Downsville now is, it is said that a portion of the party and the goods were towed in canoes down the East Branch to Chehocton, and up the West Branch to Walton, and one Billy Rosa, was hired to pilot the canoes in this voyage. Rosa and one or two others were living upon the East Branch at this time, above Downsville. Daniel Pine told the writer that but two or three of the party went with the canoes -- that the women all came over the mountain with the main company. Dr. Townsend first built a log house near where Henry Eells and the Misses Gays now reside. Mr. Furman built near by; Gabriel North near where White Griswold's house now stands, and Robert North a little further back on the flat. The first framed house in town was built by Gabriel North just in front of White Griswold's residence. This house was burned, and the elm tree before Mr. G's house grew out of the cellar of the house that was burned -- a befitting land-mark for an important locality.
The first season the North's lived in a tent until September, and during the time built a log house and lived together as one family. Joshua Pine went down the river, built him a house near where Graham's sawmill now is, and made a beginning in that part of the Town.
The scarcity of provisions in the first year was relieved by an abundance of fish in the streams, and game in the forests. Flour had to be brought from the Hudson or Mohawk -- while corn was pounded or hulled to add to the limited variety of diet. It is said that potatoes were counted, and the number divided by the days they were intended to last, and thus the allowance of the day was determined. The next year Michael Goodrich came with his family-an event of much importance to the little colony. Mr. Beers and Mr. Cable came in '86 but returned to Connecticut the first two winters and brought their families in '88.
Mr. Goodrich built the first sawmill and gristmill upon East Brook. In the Spring of 1789, Thaddeus Hoyt and Mathew Benedict, came into Walton and settled on the mountain, and in the Spring of 1790 moved their families. In '91 John Eells and family, Allan Mead, Lindal Fitch and family, Daniel Weed and family, Nathan Kellogg and family, Cephas Bush and family and Ephraim Waring, were added to the increasing colony.
Between '91 and '93, the following named persons came - but the precise time we have no means of determining.
Isaiah and Marcus Marsh and families, William Frasier, Selleck and David St. John and families, Nathaniel Steele and family, James Weed and family, Charles W. Stockton and family, Seymour Fitch and family, Shubael Johnson, David Smith and wife, Chappel, Cleveland, and several others not yet reported.
With few exceptions the early settlement was made up of emigrants from New Canaan, CT, Joseph Barlow, father of John, came from Nova Scotia, and Mr. Nichols came about the same time and settled in the "Den." Stephen Hoyt came in '95, John T. St. John, Fletcher Gardiner and Jetur. The Wakemans and Robinsons are families not yet reported. Sylvanus Seely came in '94 and settled at New Road, Caleb Benedict and several of the same name, as also several of the name of Fitch have not been heard from yet. At the beginning of the present century, a large portion of the Town was settled and society had taken shape, and the blessing of industry began to be abundantly recompensed in the comforts of life. To several whose names are inserted above, we are indebted for the items given and especially to Mr. Joshua Pine, who has successfully labored to gather up the fragments of history pertaining to the first settlement.
Delaware County, New York
by Mary Pine
(Mary Pine's story of the first settlers coming to Walton was published previously in The Story of Walton. As it is the only eye witness account of this event, it was considered important to print it again.)
The following narrative of the first settlement of Walton in 1785, as related by Mary, daughter of Joshua Pine and wife, Sarah DeMilt, one of the first settlers who came to Walton.
"We left Westchester about the first of March, 1785, stayed a week or 10 days with my uncle, Peter DeMilt, in New York. When all were ready to depart, we went to the Battery, accompanied by our friends, and there bid each other farewell. We were then introduced to our fellow passengers, and we went together on board a North river sloop. We had a long passage up the river as the winter had just broken up and the current was very strong against the tide. I think we were a week or more reaching Esopus landing.
"We landed at the point where Mr. Swart, the owner of the boat, resided. It rained very hard and we were wet and cold. Mr. Swart opened his storehouse, and had a fire made in a large fireplace to warm and dry us. Mrs. Swart soon had a warm and ample supper, with a nice cup of tea prepared for the whole party, then with true Dutch hospitality invited us all into her large and comfortable kitchen, where we were well served, and never was a meal more thankfully enjoyed.
"After tea Mr. Swart and Mrs. Swart invited our family to sleep in their house, which Father and Mother accepted for themselves, Sally and me. But as our goods were all landed, the rest of the party made up their beds in the warehouse and slept there."
"The next day father had his wagon put together and loaded with such things as were thought necessary for the journey, and we started and got as far as Esopus, and the next day following reached Marbletown, where we again halted to make arrangements for our journey, but the inhabitants of that place told us the snow was so deep in the woods it was presumptuous to attempt to proceed any farther as the winter had not yet broken up in that region; so that after due consideration we obtained board until the severity of the winter abated a little.
"Some of the men proposed going over to the East Branch to see what kind of a road it was. They found nothing that could be called a road, some brush had been trimmed out and a sled had been run through to Shendaken. The rest of the trail to Pockatocken was nothing but a tree marked trail.
"In about three weeks the men returned, pretty much disheartened with their undertaking and wishing they were back in their old homes; but which they could not have now as they had disposed of them before they had left. But Father weighed well the importance of the undertaking and the difficulties he would have to encounter, and he was not to be discouraged. When he made up his mind he was sure to overcome all difficulties. We had been about a month in Marbletown, when the little colony began to make preparations for their journey."
"Father thought best to leave Mother and Sarah where they were for the present, and the rest of us to resume our journey, and we did so. And here I would remark that the people of Marbletown, treated our family with much attention and respect, particularly Mother and Sarah as they had to stay about three months after we left. We left there about the last week in April, 1785. We started with our tents, our horses and wagon and such necessaries as we were obliged to take, we got our wagon as far as Shendaken and there were obliged to leave it.
"At Shendaken we stayed all night and the next morning packed our horses with provisions, women and children, and started, the men walked. We reached Pockatocken that night and stopped at Mr. Aikley's, the only family in that place. The next day my brothers took the horses and went back to Shendaken after the remainder of our things.
"Father looked about and found Mr. Aikley had a canoe; he bought it of him and engaged him to make several more. When my brothers returned; we put most of our things in the canoe; we now made the river our highway and returned to Papacton in safety. There we overtook the rest of our party who left Aikley's a day or two before we did. Here we found two or three miserably poor families, so poor indeed they were glad to get some of our provisions for allowing us a night's shelter in their miserable homes.
"We hired some of the men as guides to go with us through the woods to the West Branch of the Delaware. Our company had a compass with them, they marked the trees and cut away some of the brush so that we could get through with our horses. When we reached this branch of the river we felt we again had a highway. We did not dismount from our horses after we left the river, until we landed on the west side of it."
"I think it must have been the middle of May when we reached our destination. As soon as the horses were relieved of their burdens they were released to find such herbage as they could find. The men collected some sticks and struck a fire, then they put up their tents and prepared for the night. The women then prepared their first meal on the bank of the river in their new-found home.
"The next morning we were all up at early dawn, the men to fish and replenish the fires, the women to prepare breakfast, which mainly consisted of fried trout which we ate on a pewter plate, sitting on the ground in front of our tents.
"Our six tents, so near each other, looked very much like a group of Indian wigwams. We were not without our fear of straggling Indians, and wild beasts were very numerous. We often heard the wolves howl and saw them too; bears and deer also abounded.
"Father and Dr. Platte Townsend soon began to look about, each anxious to find the boundaries to their contracts. It took some days, and the Doctor was much troubled and disappointed for fear there was not as much flat land as had been represented to him. Father told him not to be discouraged for, according to the Patent, there must be more land somewhere and he would go and look it up. He did so and found this place, went back to the Doctor and agreed to take a thousand acres from this end of the Patent. He afterwards sold three hundred acres back to the Doctor.
"We then fetched our tents here and set them up with the goods in side, just south of where the nursery now is, and cleared away the bushes some that day, the next day we moved here. In a week or two we had our tents enclosed within a log house, with a bark roof to shield us from the storms and a bark floor to protect us from the damp ground. We now felt we could sleep more secure from the wild beasts. Father soon built an oven outside the house and, in the course of the spring, a stone chimney. We had no boards so we used our tents for bedrooms. We lived in the house for a year and a half; it was the first house ever built in this town."
"Our family now began in earnest to clear the land and cut down the trees; they rolled them into the river and cleared a piece of land large enough to plant vegetables. We raised some peas, beans, corn, potatoes and turnips.
"The first year as soon as we were comfortably fixed, Father and John went after Mother and Sarah. They found them well and he people of Marbletown had been very kind and attentive to them and they enjoyed their sojourn there very much.
"They took the wagon back from Shendakin, with them, to Marbletown, and again loaded it with goods and provisions, and this time made out to get it to Mr. Misner, who lived about four miles the other side of East Branch. A party of young men escorted them as far as Shendakin, and assisted them very much in getting their wagon along. They stayed all night at Mr. Misner's, and Father hired a man to help Brother John bring the goods in canoes around by Ohehocton (Hancock). As soon as Father got home he sent his horses down this branch to meet them, and help draw them up.
"John and the hired man made three trips in this way, bringing all our goods and supplies as flour, salt and other necessities for the winter from Marbletown here. It was tedious and took most of the summer. When they were all through Father paid the man and sent his horses by him to Marbletown to be wintered."
"About the first of November snow fell and winter set in -- our house was comfortable and we had plenty of meat and fish so we did not suffer for food. The men worked hard all winter chopping and clearing the land. The snow did not leave until April when the floods came and helped clear the land.
"Dr. Townsend, who originated the project of coming here, did not stay but a few weeks before he returned to his family, his wife being sick at the time. He did not move his family here until two years later after her death.
"Gabriel North, Robert North and William Furman, who were of our party, put up a log house near the foot of Pine Hill where they stayed until they could make improvements on their land.
"Wild geese and duck frequently visited our streams, and innumerable flocks of wild pigeons built their camps in our forests. There were also many animals yielding fur, such as beaver, otter, mink and many other smaller animals. There were also many panthers and other beasts of prey. Many varieties of birds of prey filled the air as eagles, owls, hawks, cranes and loons that wade in the water, crow, ravens, jays, redheaded woodcock, and many other large birds that frequent the forest, among pines, hemlocks and other large trees."
In the following reminiscences, in locating the houses and Stores, use East and West Brooks and Pine Hill as focal points. Close attention has to be paid to directions in relation to the brooks, whether the north or south side of the street is being described, and whether the writer is going east towards Delhi or west towards Route 206.
About the oldest building left on Delaware Street is the home of Keath and Joan Davis, which appears in the reminiscences as G. S. Mead's, later Captain Sawyer's residence. This may help establish another focal point.
"Before the year 1800 there were about as many buildings between Pine Hill and the East Brook as there are at present. There was one tavern known as the old Dorman Johnson House; the sign of which was hung on two high posts framed together with crossbeams or girts. It was handsomely painted, gilded and emblazoned with the square and compass.
"There was a store kept by Benjamin Chase between the years '93 and '97. His receipts were dated in the town of Franklin, for, be it known, our little village was then in the above named town. I am not able to locate the store; but a few years later there was one built between the road and river, opposite W. Wood's house, by a Thomas St. John, pronounced in those days Tommy Cension.'
"There was also a fulling mill and cloth dressing shop, which stood between the road and river, near Capt. Sawyer 's place. The water was brought from the East Brook, and turned a backward or breast wheel. This shop and mill was owned by Frederick Leonard, who migrated to Wilmington, Delaware, and set up a lumber yard.
"There was likewise a brickyard, owned by Levi Baxter, situated, I believe, on Pine Hill, a little below the saw-mill. The brick made there were of a smaller size than those made since, and they are often found in taking down old chimneys at the present day.
"Most of the inhabitants living in the town before the year '95, used to meet at the house of Gabriel North on Sabbath days for religious services. We have the date of one of those meeting a little earlier than the above date, where more than half the congregation present were named. David Townsend read prayer, selected a sermon and handed the book to a young man to read. The same authority says the young man was clad in tow frock and trowsers and also that he was a good reader, and the congregation paid devout attention to the sermon. With five churches, and congregations clothed in broadcloths and silks, salaried ministers dispensing the word, and breaking the bread of life, the contrast appears great between then and now
. "But it is time to cross the brook. About the beginning of the nineteenth century, John Steele bought land of Robert North between the brook bridge and M. Hanford's store, and started a tannery. Everett Guild set up a saddle and harness shop in one of the buildings. A wagon road passed around the buildings between the vats and brook.
"These have all passed away and almost faded from the memory of the old. A school-house was built just above S. Brisack 's, where the river road went at that time.
"John Root, a lawyer, built a house where William's hotel now is. Jetur Gardiner bought a piece of land of Esquire Townsend, called the Gardiner's Square, and built a store. Next in order was the hotel by Shadrack Howard, now the Delaware House.
"The Esopus Turnpike was laid out straight through the flat and was worked about this time. This gave an impetus to business, and by 1810, Walton was said to be the largest village in the county. Had this road been laid out on the principles of modern engineering, perhaps Walton would [have] maintained its ascendancy to the present day.
"Spafford's Gazetteer for 1810 says:-- The Ulster and Delaware Turnpike leads through this town, as does the Appian Way turnpike from Newburgh, which crosses the river near the center of the Town, where is the flourishing little village of Walton and the Post Office.' The Appian Way only existed on paper, and had an honorable mark on the maps of that day."
Through the Streets of Walton
The Walton Chronicle, 2 Nov. 1882
"I entered the village from the West end, walked to the depot, looked down Howell street, saw it well built up on the west side. Walked around the new addition to the depot, looked at the eating room, saw the lady who has charge of the very pleasant room carrying in a large watermelon and other things for her guests. The side tracks were all full of cars that day, and I had to walk half way up to the coal bunk to get around them, and down to the Elevator.
"I next walked up Mead street, resting occasionally on my cane to view the old landmarks, looked up St. John and Shepard streets, passing by the tannery and over West Brook, and turning down Liberty street, I saw the people living in peace and security without yard fences, but I thought it was not quite as fashionable a street as Townsend street.
"On Delaware street I called at the Chronicle office, and was very politely received and entertained by the Junior Editor. He asked me to write for the paper. It is said that people of eighty cannot write anything worth reading. He would not believe this. Let the reader decide.
"On leaving the office I looked for the old Grammar Schoolhouse, but did not find it, where, in 1809, Artemus Dean taught Murray 's Grammar to a large class of pupils, among whom were Ebenezer Steele, Charles and Nathaniel Hathaway, Selall R. Hobbie, William G. Townsend, and others of note. Passing up the street, I took a seat on the hotel piazza and waited for the circus parade to pass. Letting memory run back to boyhood, I will try to tell how the village looked then: On the east side of East brook was Dorman Johnson's Tavern, near the site of the Walter Wood house, with its iron sign swinging and creaking in the wind. Just beyond was Leonard's fulling and cloth mill, turned by an undershot wheel, and two or three more buildings were between that and Pine Hill. This side of the tavern sheds, was Tommy St. John's store, near where now stands the Goodrich house, and his house where Damon Hull's house now is. The people then called him Tommy Sension. On the west side of the brook in the vicinity of the brick store, was John Steele's tannery, and Everett Guild's saddle and harness shop. John Root built a house on the ground now occupied by Launt's hotel, and painted white, the first painted house in the town.
"The old school-house built of logs stood on Gardiner Place, on the lower side of the road which went north of Harby's barn and came to the Townsend house the same as now. In 1803 I went to school there to Miss Cook, my first teacher, who afterwards married Elnathan Goodrich and lived over the river, on the Ed More farm. William Gay was my second teacher, and Benjamin North the third. While a pupil under the last named teacher, happened the great eclipse of 1806. It was so dark we could not read, and were permitted to go out, but some were afraid to go. We looked at the eclipse through smoked glass.
"The turnpike was made about this time, and now forms Delaware street.
"The Gardiner store with its hip roof, was open to the common all around it. Next was the old hotel by Shadrack Howard.
"North street was fenced on the east side with rail fence, and the west with the same material a few years later.
"There was another village on Prospect Hill, about a mile distant. The two have now grown together, and are only separated by Pine street, which connects the upper end of Townsend with Bruce street.
"Over the river were the Stockton house, with its three fireplace chimneys in the center, Col. St. John's house, and a few others below. A few years later Doc. Whitcomb built a house opposite the old bridge, now the residence of Mrs. William G. Townsend; this street is now Stockton Avenue.
"Aroused from my reverie by the passing of the circus parade, I rambled up North street, and turned to the right to view Gen. Bassett's new Avenue bridge and Park. I found a beautiful pagoda, nearly finished, for the Band, with level and smooth ground all around it, a safe bridge over the mill ditch, and a nicely graded road branching each way, passing through a beautiful grove of young trees, up the hill to High street."
The First Settler on East Brook -- The Beginning of Walton -- Interesting Ancedotes From Memory's Store House -- Prospect Hill As It Was and As It Is.
From an 1883 Walton Paper
"Michael Goodrich is supposed to be the first settler on the East Brook, and probably opened a road over the bluffs to reach the place where he built a saw and grist mill. This road was continued on further, and Hyde, Steele, Beebe and St. John settled along the brook. The road went up the hill a little north of Lyman Fitch's, and near his back line the old meeting-house was built. A few years later General Butler bought a lot and gave five acres for a meeting-house and burial ground. A road was then opened to connect with the West Brook road, which received the name of Louse Hill.
"John Eells opened a tavern and put up a pair of elk horns for a sign. Eells & Mead put up a shoe shop which was later run by Mead alone. In 1806 the meeting-house was built. I think the architect was Jud Raymond, as he was principal carpenter at that time, having built houses for Joshua and Daniel Pine and William Townsend, which are standing yet. In 1805 he also built the Pierson house on the hill, which for many years was used as a tavern. On the west end Delamater made clocks, a few specimens of which are yet in town. Mead's tannery came next. At this time tanning was done for half the leather. The boys from the shop would go out in June, select trees from eight to twelve inches in diameter, and cut and peel from six to fifteen cords of bark-a year's supply. When dry the ross was shaved off, and after breaking it into small pieces, it was put in the ring, and a horse hitched to a lever, which passed through a large stone rolling it around until the bark was ground fine. In the shop every customer found his own leather, lining and shoethread. The fashions as they successfully appeared were Jefferson shoes, Monroe lace boots, Suwarrow boots with a tongue in the instep and a silk tassel. Next came the Wellington boots. This shop was the Democratic headquarters. Here the old Federal party received many hard knocks, and was finally crushed out of existence.
"Up on the east end of the street was Merrick 's fulling mill, a distillery and a hat shop. Near the center were merchant's stores, tailor, millinery, wagon, and blacksmith shops. For many years most of the business of the town was done on this street.
"John Eells' tavern was succeeded by the Jud Raymond house in 1805. John Eells, Sr., was the first colonel of the 69th Regiment company, and trainings were sometimes held on his place. He was also justice, and performed nearly all the marriage ceremonies in those days, and was colonel at the time Governor Lewis reviewed the brigade.
"Benjamin North succeeded Raymond in the tavern. Our Fourth of July ovations were delivered in the meeting house to large audiences. Our (illegible) and toast, were taken under an arbor at the tavern. Our toasts were drank and ratified by the old cannon and our patriotic songs were sung by Mead and Samuel Eells, Cyrus North and others. While listening to these songs, it seemed as if we could almost whip the world. I do not wonder that Mead Eells, named his son, Stephen Decatur, with a prefix for commodore. Still fresh in memory are many of the scenes about the old meeting-house in Rev. Mr. Headly's days. The young mostly walked to meeting, and at the northeast corner, would stop and wipe the perspiration from their brows, and stick up their hair as was the fashion. In those days we were dressed in Suwarrow boots, bell-crowned hats, pigeon tailed coats with a roll-over collar, Marseilles vest and white cravat, ruffled shirt and gold pin. The ladies coming to meetings on horseback would begin to hitch their horses some distance below, along the stone wall topped with rails. Occasionally one would ride near the house, when one of our group would assist her to alight and after hitching her horse, would return with a blushing face to be criticized. Double wagons with a splint bottom double chair, and a coverlet for cushions, and a few single chairs behind for the younger members of the family, would generally unload on the large door stone in front of the house. Thus might be seen on a Sabbath noon a long line of side saddles, and lumber wagons hitched along the fences, and the horses eating hay partly tangled in the harness. Small groups of people might be seen here and there eating sweet cake, and others strolling up to the fulling mill, to the old mill ruins on West Brook, or up to the rocks, while still others gathered on the porches of the neighboring houses.
"Sometimes there were funeral sermons after which the surviving partner was requested to arise and listen to a lengthy talking to. Next the children would be asked to arise and be comforted, but amidst sobbing and the public gaze some of them would often sink to their seats. It was a trying ordeal.
"Young ministers would sometimes take a wife from among us, when, after the ceremony, the bride would stand unsupported and receive a long harangue consecrating her to her duties.
"There were revivals and revival meetings where many solemn things were said and done. Some will remember with me those two aged ladies who were very deaf, who would ascend the pulpit just before the sermon commenced, and rise one on either side of the minister, hoping to catch a few words of the blessed sermon. In a cloudy day when the light faintly glimmered through the small windows back of the pulpit, the group had a weird look. If their garments had not been so dark, they might have been likened to the Israelites of old holding up Moses' hands while he gained the victory.
"This once busy street looks lonely now. The old meeting house with all its hallowed memories is gone, the merchants with their great bins of grain, gathered in to feed the distillery, and the East Branch lumbermen are gone; the fulling mill, distillery and hat shop are gone; the tailor and millinery shops, the clock maker, the tannery and shoe shops are likewise gone; the wagon and blacksmith shops are gone, but blossomed again as the pioneer shop in Sacramento, California; the three taverns have alternately hauled down their signs, even the burial ground has yielded up its dead. The inhabitants have turned their business places into neat cottages, and secure from floods and like casualties, they sit with folded arms looking down into the valley below, seeing streets and buildings fast filling up the waste places from hill to hill, and see the steam pipes of factories and hear their whistles morning, noon and night timing the workmen's labors. They see the trains come and go proclaiming their advent and departure with the steam whistle, and leaving their smoke rolling up skyward, revealing the scenes below.
"Nature, as if anticipating what might be in the future, caused the river to leave its mountain side and circle around through the middle of the valley, washing the base of Pine Hill, and gathering in the waters of three large tributaries, turns from the base of Cockburn Hill, and hies away to the south mountain, leaving its silvery sheen in the middle of the picture.
"Away beyond the river they catch glimpses of the city of the dead, whitened with marble and embossed with evergreens -- this beautiful panorama surrounded by forest-clad hills, all turned into harmony by the Sabbath bells, affords daily food for sight, and with these reminiscences ever before them food for thought, happy should be the people of Prospect Hill."
The Walton Chronicle, 22 Apr. 1880
"Mr. Editor: I was very much interested recently in an article in your paper by ''MENO,'' on Walton village thirty-seven years ago. That was of so much interest that I felt that a glance back at Walton village as it was seventy years ago would not be wholly devoid of interest, especially to the few whose memory goes back to that period.
"We will therefore take a hasty glance at the past, commencing our peregrinations at a point east of the village, on the river and Esopus turnpike. As we pass down the Delaware towards the village, the first that attracted attention was the residence of Isaac Townsend, a large two story red house to the left. A little further on were the mills of Esq. William and Isaac Townsend -- one a flouring mill for custom work of the town, which at that time was not a small business; the other was a sawmill where large quantities of pine lumber was manufactured, and rafted down the Delaware, to a Philadelphia market.
"As you passed over Pine Hill it was woods on either side of the road, to the foot of the hill near the village. To your right as you enter the village, near the street, was Judge North's sawmill, around which were usually piled immense quantities of logs to be made into lumber and rafted to the above named market.
"Lumbering was the staple business of the town, and large quantities were made at all the mills for the same destination.
"A little further on was Judge North's house, on nearly the same ground as that now occupied by Gen. B.J. Bassett's residence. It was painted red, two stories in front, with a long sloping roof back that covered a lean-to kitchen, Judge Gabriel North, and his wife, Aunt Debby as she was familiarly called (though never in disrespect) were of the very few first settlers in Walton. For a time, before he brought his family he was alone, and lived in a tent. While in this situation, he was taken sick and lay for some time in his tent, nearly helpless. Indians would occasionally stop and look in upon him, they were then plenty. One day a wolf put his head in at the door of the tent, and looked at him for a time, and then like the Levite passed by on the other side. Judge North was for some years one of the Judges of the County Court. The house in after years was destroyed by fire. Directly in front of this house, were the road and bridge across the river.
"A little further on was a small brown house where lived Joseph Champlin, and still further on, was a dark, tumble-down looking pile, the residence of General Morris, Yeth thir, by the duth tak it, thir,' and his wife Hannah. He was a shriveled up specimen of a darkey, weighing about a hundred and twenty-five pounds. His wife was short but very fleshy, weighing nearly two hundred pounds. They were both a handy change for all work about the village, especially about the hotels.
"Further on was the old red house, as it used to be called. It was said to have been the first frame house built in the town. It was owned and occupied by many different families till it was torn down.
"The next was a long, low story and a half brown house, with an open piazza, running the length of the front. Between two posts set in the ground, swung a square sign, about two and one-half by three and one-half feet square, painted a brown color, with yellow letters, saying, Dorman Johnson's Tavern,' under which was the compass and square. Johnson was a large, fleshy man and very (pushy?): and being somewhat gruff in his manner and disposition, it gave him the name of the Old Bear.'
"The next was a small brown house near the East Brook bridge, near where Damon Hull's house now stands. It was the residence of Thomas St. John, then a partner in a store with Jeter Gardiner. The grounds on the left hand side, between the street river, east of the bridge, were used for piling and rafting lumber. There was no building on the south side, east of the creek, save a low, brown, dark store, that afterwards became noted as the store of Beers and Stockton -- a firm by whose failure the whole community was badly swindled.
"Crossing the East Brook, the first thing to the right, near the bridge, was John Steele 's tannery, shoeshop, and small dwelling house, which was afterwards bought by Alan Mead, and the house enlarged and business increased. It was reached by a very narrow street, called Tanner's Lane, since widened, and called North Street.
"Further on was the store of Gardiner and St. John, standing on the main street, in the front center of the open, triangular piece of land, which now is the square in the centre of the village. It was then an open, unfenced common, and unoccupied, save by the old brown school-house, on the upper corner of the triangle. On the west side of this plot of land was the main avenue, leading from the river to the hill, or Louse Hill, as it was sometimes called, and was the road to other and adjoining towns, over which millions of feet of lumber were drawn to the river annually, to be rafted to Philadelphia.
"On the corner next across this street was the residence of Jeter Gardiner, where he lived before he bought and built over the river. It was a modest, unpretending house, that long stood as a monument and relic of other days, but yielded at last to the march of progress, and was removed to make room for other and more imposing buildings. It was long known as the Gardiner House.
"The next was a small, unpainted house, known as the Rowell House, and for many years the residence of Mrs. Rowell, and where her family was brought up. It has changed owners many times since, but is still standing. Still beyond was a small house, the occupants of which are not now recollected. There was no other house between that and Esq. William Townsend's. The latter was one of the substantial residences of those early times, and still remains a monument and landmark of other days, though much changed and modernized in appearance. Esq. Townsend and his family were among the very first settlers and founders of the place. To them the poorer classes of those days looked for employment and the means of support for their families, and always found his hand open to relieve their necessities.
"Still beyond, where the turnpike leaves the river, at the forks of the road, were the log houses of old Mr. Sager and Uncle Chuckey and Aunt Ticky Robinson, harmless and homely. Returning to the East Brook, and going again west, on the south side of Delaware Street, the first house was the John Root house, a two-story building, painted white, a place of some pretension, in those early days. It was afterwards owned and occupied by Benajah Bill Phelps, as a dwelling and law-office. It stood on the grounds now occupied by the Walton House.
"The next was the store of Caleb Benedict and Benjamin North, sometimes called little Ben, by way of distinction, and sometimes Tody Ben, a nickname given him in childhood, on account of his size. This firm eventually dissolved partnership, and North continued the business alone, and built up a mercantile bubble of stupendous size, that soon exploded, to the no small hurt of those that had dealings with him.
"Next was the old tavern, then kept by Shadric Howard, the present old tavern building. It was painted white, and was counted a place of some consequence; but time has made its mark, and the old building shows age, and looks seedy. The part that was recently used as a barroom, has been built on long since, with additions and alterations in the rear, and the second story and roof have been raised. The tavern barn was east of the house, near the street, Occupying nearly the same ground that Brisack & Olmstead's store now occupies. It had an open shed in front, next the street, for the accommodation of travelers; and a place for townspeople to hitch their teams, while they could go in and warm, and take something to drink. It was a convenient place for horse-trading, and the settlement of all strifes and contentions, and for fisticuff exercises; for men drank in those days, and had strifes and contentions of consequence. There was no street or bridge across the river at the tavern there.
"The next house was a small, brown building on the ground now occupied by T.S. St. John's house. Memory does not recall the name of its early occupants, but it was about that time occupied by Aaron Clark, as a law-office. Clark was a lawyer, and was elected clerk of the Assembly of this State. He went to Albany, and entering into political life, attained to some prominence. He removed to New York City, and was eventually elected Mayor of the city for one or two terms.
"Further on was the dingy, dark, tumble-down looking pile of buildings, Drock 's blacksmith shop and dwelling. Still further on was another small shanty-house, where, if memory is correct, lived a man by the name of Cobb. These were all the dwellings standing on River Street, or what is now called Delaware Street.
"On the other side of the river, as you passed over from Judge North's place, where the road and bridge across the river then were, was the residence of Dr. Whitmarsh, where Mrs. William G. Townsend now lives. Whitmarsh was for many years a practicing physician of the town.
"The next was the residence of Charles W. Stockton, one of the early settlers of the town. He was a soldier in the British service during the Revolutionary war, and drew an annual pension from that Government. After his death it remained the residence of the widow while she lived.
"A little further on was the residence of Col. John T. St. John, known everywhere as a man of suavity of manner, always meeting his friends with a cheerful greeting and a cordial salutation. Many are the witty remarks and sportive jokes remembered of Col. St. John. His son George has since built a splendid residence on nearly the same grounds. This neighborhood early received the appellation of Feeble town.
"Still further on down the river lived Elnathan Goodrich, or Elathan as he was called, where the house and farm of the late David Moore now are. Goodrich was for some years an extensive lumberman.
"Further down still, and a little back from the river, lived Elisha Sawyer, father of the present G. Smith Sawyer. The same place is now owned and occupied by William North. Elisha Sawyer and Elnathan Goodrich were partners in the lumber business while they carried it on.
"Retracing our steps back across the river to the north side of Delaware street, at the street leading to the hill, and passing up that street, the first house after leaving the Gardiner place on the corner, was the long old brown house of Bartlett and Potter, the front part being used as their cabinet shop. It was afterwards owned by Ebenezer Hanford, then by Josiah Megs, and finally by Sylvester Brisack, and nearly the same ground on which Mrs. Brisack's new residence now stands.
"The next was Major Caleb Benedict's, a new house just completed, and since owned by a number of different persons, and recently nearly destroyed by fire.
"Next to the right, and the only building on that side, was the old brown schoolhouse, and the grounds for universal ball playing.
"Crossing the head of Tanners' Lane, to the right, was the Benjamin North house -- a long awkward sham of a house, partially built, but never finished -- a rented tenement when anyone could be found poor enough to occupy it.
"From here to Capt. Robert North's, nearly half a mile, there was no house on either side of the way. The road was then four rods wide, and fenced on either side with a high worm fence made of pine rails. But the street, by gradual encroachments, has become much narrower.
"Reaching Capt. Robert North's, on the right, we find a tall story and a half house, recently built, with a one story wing, which was the dwelling before the new was added. It was never painted, but remains today a monument of times past. It has never passed out of the hands of the family descendants. Few places have stood the lapse of time, with less apparent change or dilapidation. The house and its immediate surroundings have apparently undergone little change in the past fifty years, but remains to every appearance the same. Robert North and his wife Betsy, were among the very first settlers of the town. Mr. North, for a large number of consecutive years, was Surrogate of the County, and held his office in his own house.
"The next house, was Nathaniel Fitch's, on the left, mid way of the hill, as the road then was. Fitch was a blacksmith and his shop was just beyond. He, and Aunt Anna, as his wife was called by every body, were of the early settlers. He was a laborious, hardWORKING man, but sank under disease at about forty-six or forty-eight years of age.
"On the right, at the dividing of the road that separated the one up the East Brook and the other up the West Brook and on to Franklin, and up the New Road, on the right hand corner was the tavern then kept by Judd Raymond. It was a two story, upright house, standing high from the ground with a flight of steps leading to a piazza, or stoop at the front door, and a low, one story wing attached. This was the hotel afterwards kept by Benjamin North, or Old Rusty as he was sometimes called. He had the house painted red, and occupied the wing for a store for a time. He was a large portly man, and for many years a chorister of the Congregational Church, a teacher of singing, and for a time a Justice of the Peace. This place was the common resort of men, old and young, on Sunday noons, for they had morning and afternoon service in the churches in those days, but no Sunday-school.
"On the opposite corner, very near the street, was an open shed, used for the common purpose that similar tavern buildings were used. Immediately back of the shed was the tavern barn on the ground now occupied by Aunt Ruth Heath's house. Still further on, and across the street, stood the liberty pole, erected in 1812, and probably the first erected in the town.
"Passing up from the corner, up the West Brook road, to your right the first house was that of Esq. John Eells, a one-story house, now the back wing of the two-story front that he afterward built. He carried on the boot and shoe business, and farming, and was much used in the public business of the town.
"The next house, a few rods further on, was the residence of Allan Mead, who carried on the boot and shoe, and tanning business. He afterwards bought the John Steele house and tannery. John VanValkenburg now occupies the place, and has built a new house.
"Some distance further on, on the left, was a small brown house owned by a Mr. Darrimple, a jeweler, and afterwards owned by Deacon Benjamin B. Eells, on which he built the present brick house, now the residence of Mr. Jehiel Beach.
"Returning to the corners, and passing up the old road, up East Brook the first house to your left was William Seymour's. He was tailor, and his shop was near by.
"Further on, on the top of the hill, was Lewis Raymond's, a small, wood colored house, with an open piazza in front. Afterward, an addition was made to it, and the place sold to Selick St. John, or Uncle Selick, and Daniel Coleman, who opened a store in the same building, and continued it for many years. This for a number of years was the only store in town.
"Across the street, directly opposite, stood the old Congregational Church, then, and for years after, the only church in the town. Rev. Archibald Bassett was then the pastor, followed by Rev. Isaac Hatley, who occupied the pulpit for about eighteen years. There they used to gather regularly for worship from Sunday to Sunday, from the New Road, and the extreme parts of the town, far and near, and listen to a morning and afternoon service before returning home. If the habits of the people then were simple and unpretending, their worship was not less sincere and acceptable in the sight of Him who knoweth the feelings of the heart.
"This was Walton seventy years ago. Thirty-six were all the dwellings within the village, or within a mile of the village in any direction."
"Seventy-five years ago on November 21, 1839, David More, father of Edmund More, Sr., moved his family from Roxbury to Walton. The village then consisted of a few houses and business places on Delaware street and Mt. Pleasant while all the rest of the present corporation limits was laid out in farms. Time has wrought great changes and in the space of three-quarters of a century Mr. More has seen Walton grow from a village of a few hundred inhabitants to have the largest population of any place in the county.
"David More's farm took in all of what is now the fair grounds and the cemetery. The day the family arrived in Walton it was bitter cold and on the following day it snowed. This was followed by a cold spell of a month and after that fine weather was enjoyed until February.
"On Thanksgiving day, Edmund More, then a boy of eight attended services with his father in the Congregational church on Mt. Pleasant, on the knoll across the road from John MacGibbon's farm.
"In those days the pews were arranged in the form of stalls with a door opening into the aisle and seats around the inside so that one could sit facing the minister or with his back to him. The building was heated by a stove, but in cold weather the members of the congregation filled foot stoves with live coals from the fire and took them into the pews with them. There were no musical instruments used in the service.
"The village itself consisted of two streets, Delaware street and Gardiner place, while on the road to Mt. Pleasant, or "Louse Hill" as it was called were a number of homes. From the junction of Gardiner place and North street a narrow lane, now lower North Street ran to Delaware. The only house on this was the residence of Allen Mead, grandfather of G.O. Mead, and this stood on the present site of Mr. Mead 's home.
"On or near the site of the novelty works stood a fulling mill, a saw mill and a potashery. On the hill above, now High street, were the residences of Col. North and Col. Heath. Between the fulling mill and the East Brook bridge were three houses. Across the bridge and where the Lyon block now stands was John Mead's tannery. A number of years later a flood scooped out the tannery vats and carried away the hides. After this the tannery was moved to Mead street, which was first opened up at that time.
"The Congregational Church changed its site in 1840 from Mt. Pleasant to the present location. The two brick houses on the hill had been built for some years at that time.
"The Townsends were at that time the largest landowners and the property of William Townsend comprised the greater part of what is now known as West End. The grist mill where Haverly's mill is now, was owned by him as was a carding mill also. The grist mill at the East Brook dam was attended by Isaac Heath.
"Across the river were the homes of William North, David More, Joshua Jones, Col. John T. St. John, now the Jenks place; Mrs. Stockton, where R.L. Shaw lives; William G. Townsend and Colonel Philo Olmstead, the Harby place.
"Jason G. More, a brother of Edmund More, was the first person buried in the Walton cemetery. This was in 1852.
"Lumbering was the principal business and along the river every mile or so would be a saw mill. Pine Hill was covered with virgin timber, the pine trees often measuring four feet in diameter. Each spring the lumber was rafted to Philadelphia. Edmund More made his first trip down the river in 1848, returning by way of Catskill.
"Catksill, 85 miles away, was the market centre. Three times a week the stage coaches brought mail, changing horses every 20 miles at the road houses along the way. Four horses brought the coach to Walton and it went on as far as Deposit with two horses. The trip from Catskill to Walton required a day and a half, the coach stopping at Delhi for the night. Automobiles now make the trip from Walton to Catskill, over the old stage route in half a day.
"It was not until 1850 that the plank road to Hancock was built. Then people came from all parts of the county to be able to say they had gone over it. Previously the road had been almost impassable below Rock Rift but the farmers along the road objected strenuously to some of their best land being taken for the road.
"The general training days of the rifle company were great occasions for celebration. Col. John Townsend was in command of the regiment and Benjamin Bassett was captain of the Walton company.
"The district school stood on the site of the Ogden library. One teacher had charge of from 80 to 100 pupils of all ages and instructed them for the princely sum of $12 a month. The academy was not built until later and those desiring higher education entered the Delaware Academy at Delhi or Delaware Literary Institute at Franklin. A few went to Kingston. The benches consisted of slabs of wood and the writing desks ran along the side of the building.
"Joshua Jones lived on the site of N.J. Kinch's home on Stockton avenue and had a cabinet shop on the river banks, props supporting the lower side. During an ice jam the props were knocked out and the building ruined.
The Walton Chronicle, 19 Jun. 1879, p. 3
"We will try to give a brief sketch of the public buildings and dwelling and the families that were then occupants of the same, which we imagine may be interesting at least to old Waltonians.
"Beginning at the easterly end of Delaware Street, the first house was the old Harry Smith place, then occupied by Mr. G.S. Sawyer, now by Harvey Morton. Next to the west stood the old time saw-mill, as near to the street as it well could be without being in it, sometimes nearly blockading the way with the lumber run off from the carriage. A little way to the west, or north-west, of the saw mill, and not far from the site of the present foundry, was the old clothing mill, I believe now fitted up for a residence and occupied by Mr. Teed. It, with the saw-mill and dwelling mentioned, and also the farm belonging with them about this time, came into the hands of Mr. H.M. Ray. We next come to an old house standing very near the street, and on the west corner of the lane leading to the foundry, which was at this time occupied by Uncle Jo. Howland. Next west of this, we come to the residence of Major G. S. Mead, standing near the site of the former mansion of one of Walton's old-time notables, Gen. Morris -- Yeth thir, Death take it thin' -- Captain Sawyer is now, and has been for many years, the owner and occupant. Next, and very near the street, was the old well-known tavern, about this time occupied as a dwelling by Uncle Fletcher Gardiner. Its palmy days and former glory was even now a thing of the past, and in a few years it was torn down, and just back of where it stood is now the house owned and occupied by Mrs. Walter Wood. On the south side of the street, near where Harry Goodrich's house now is, stood one or two old barns, which I imagine were more useful than ornamental. Near the site of Mr. D. Hull's present residence stood the old house about that time owned and occupied by Widow Rufus Smith and family.
"Crossing to the west side of East Brook, where now stands S.B. Fitch & Co.'s hardware store and the adjacent buildings just north of it, was Uncle Alan Mead's shoe shop, currying shop and tan yard. The shoe shop was then occupied by Mr. Isaac Sawyer and Mr. Charles Hanford. Mr. Alan Mead had recently retired from his tannery and Messrs. J. & G.S. Mead continued the business, and in 1842 built their new tannery building, which was burned some years ago and rebuilt, now owned and occupied by Messrs. Tobey & Warner.
"Passing on up North Street (then Mead's Lane) we come to Mr. Alan Mead's residence, on the site of Mr. G.S. North's house, now occupied by Mr. H.H. Miller. The Uncle John Bristol house stood next, then occupied by himself and family, of which but one member is now living, Mr. D. ambert Bristol, of Glassboro, N.J. The next residence was that of Mrs. Dr. Bartlett, then occupied by Dr. T. J. Ogden and Col. Samuel North. The next dwelling was the old family residence of Mr. Robert North, now occupied by Mrs. R. North and daughters. Following the old road, we next come to the red house on the corner of the hill road, I believe then occupied by Mr. A.P. St. John; Mr. Joseph Pierson is the present owner and occupant. Following up the hillroad past the old burying ground, and crossing to the north side of the road, we come to that Temple of Science, the old stone school house. Thence retracing our steps, we come to the old house occupied by T.S. St. John, Esq., and on the site of Mr. Jamieson's present residence, a little to the south of which stood an old building used as a grainery or store house, and was afterwards moved off the hill, and I believe, is now the building occupied as a harness shop by Mr. E.P. Hoyt. Next to which, on the corner, stands the old residence of Mr. Wm. Seymour, now occupied by Mr. Borden. A little to the west of which stood the milliner shop of the Misses Seymour. Next west stood the old red store of Mr. C.S. Fitch, afterwards moved to the corner of Mead Street, being part of the present store building of N. Fitch's sons, which is now being removed to make way for their new store now in process of building. The house of Mr. C.S. Fitch stood next, now occupied by Mr. William McLean. Next to this was the residence of Col. Samuel Eells, now owned by Mr. John Smith and occupied by Mr. Weist. The old red house then standing near the site of Mr. VanValkenburg's present residence and formerly the old residence of Mr. Alan Mead, was at that time a tenant house, and I have forgotten the occupant. The brick house now owned by Mrs. Hitt stood next, and was occupied by Mr. Samuel Hanford. Crossing to the south side of the street, we come to the brick house then owned and occupied by Dea. B.B. Eells, now the residence of Mrs. Beach. A little below and down on the bank of West Brook, stood the old chair factory building, but its mission was already ended; it was no longer a chair factory. Easterly from Dea. Eells and on the west corner of the new street (extension of North Street), stood the old wagon shop of Col. Eells, and just east of the barn now standing on the east corner of the new street, stood the old T.S. St. John store on the hill, at that time the leading store in town.
"Next, I think, was the blacksmith shop of Mr. Isaac Johnson, who owned and occupied the house now belonging to Mrs. Ruth Heath. We next pass south to the old N. Fitch residence, and after descending the hill come to the house owned and occupied by Aunt Lizzie Goodrich, now the residence of Mr. Moses Hanford. Next to which, as now, we find the present residence of Mr. Hubbard Niles, at that time in rather a transition state, and I think occupied by Mr. Failing, a tailor by trade.
"The next building south was the old M.E. church, on the site of the present new building, and thought at that time to be quite in the suburbs of the village. Next was the residence of Platt Townsend, Esq., now Mr. R. Sloan's. We come next to the Congregational parsonage and church, Rev. Wm. Clark at that time pastor. Mead Street was opened as far as Mr. John Mead's house, two rods wide, and leading thence by a crooked route across the West Brook to the tannery. Next south of the Congregational Church we come to the Episcopal Church, I think at that time without a rector.
"On or near the site of the present school house, on the village green, stood the old village school house, solitary and alone in its surroundings, having neither house nor tree near by to relieve its unpretending simplicity. It was afterward moved to Mead Street, and is now the residence of Mr. George Patchen. Next south of the Episcopal Church we come to the old Gardiner residence, now occupied by Mrs. Eunice Hanford; then to Mr. S. Brisack's old house, near the site of Mrs. Brisack's present residence, now occupied as a residence by Mrs. Telford, on Third Brook Road. Next, on the corner of Gardiner Place and Delaware Street, now the site of Eells & Mead's store, stood the old house then occupied by Mr. D.H. Gay, and now in part the dwelling of Mr. Townsend Kinch.
"Turning to the left, up Delaware Street and near the site of the store now occupied by the Luckey Bros., stood the office of Doctors T.J. Ogden and J.S. McLaury, now the harness shop of Mr. David Wakeman. Next east, as now, stood the tailor shop of Capt. G.S. Sawyer, which he has occupied for the past forty years and only recently vacated it, so that at this time there is not a person in this village, occupying the same place of business as thirty-seven years ago. The old Milwaukie store stood next, then occupied by Gardiner & Wheeler, now by Major G.S. Mead and Harvey Morton. Next stood the old red store, occupied by Mr. Henry Eells and Col. Samuel North, for stoves and tin ware, now the blacksmith shop of Metcalf & Reynolds. These four were all the buildings occupymg the block between Gardiner Place and North Street.
"Retracing our steps back to the corner of Delaware Street and Gardiner Place, next west of Mr. Gay's stood the residence of Mr. Everett Guild, on the site of Hon. N.C. Marvin's present residence, and Mr. Guild's harness shop stood next, now the drug store of Guild & Childs, and next to this the residence of Mr. John Mead, now Mrs. C.B. Wade's. The widow Rowell lived in the next house, standing near the site of Guild & Alexander's store, or perhaps where Townsend Street meets Delaware Street. I believe there was a small house standing next, now constituting part of Mrs. William Steele's residence. The residence of Mrs. John Townsend was the next, to the west, then occupied by Uncle Billy Townsend and family. Old Uncle Sager then lived in the old log house up the turnpike, yet standing as a monument of the past, and now occupied by Mr. Henry Grotevant. Uncle Chuckey Robinson and Aunt Tickey, his wife, and family lived in an old log house near the gully bridge, where the railroad crosses the highway leading down the river.
"We now return to and up Delaware Street, and the first house n the south side of the street was the old residence of Harry Goodrich for a number of years, now occupied by Mr. Lewis St. John, but I cannot recall the occupant at that time. Then, as now, stood the little house now occupied by Mr. Ira Jones, formerly I believe a lawyer 's office, and I do not remember that it was then occupied. Near which, and in front of Mr. T. Kinch's blacksmith shop stood the old tumble-down blacksmith shop of Dix & Hoover, formerly Drock 's. Next to this was the old house on the present site of Harby Bros.' meat market, a tenant house, and I do not remember the occupant. Then we come to the residence of T.S. St. John, Esq., and his store, now occupied by Mr. John S. Coleman. Towards the river and near Mr. St. John's barn stood the old blacksmith shop that was burned in 1844, when the old tavern barn was also burned, back of which stood the old house, so long the residence of Mr. J.F. Ames, and on or near the site of his present dwelling, then occupied by Mr. Hoover.
"Crossing Bridge Street, on the corner of Delaware Street, we find the old hotel, with Col. Thos. Heath as landlord. The residence of Mr. Wm. Gay was next in order, now the home of the Misses Gay. On or near the site of the Walton House, stood the old house occupied by Mr. A.N. Wheeler, now composing in part the Pharmacy building of Snow & Mayhew, and the residence of Mr. Crabbe.
"We will now return, and crossing the river on the old uncovered bridge and turning to the right, we came first to the residence of Col. St. John, the father of Mr. George St. John, whose mansion and grounds occupy the old homestead. We next come to the old house on the right hand corner of the old road toward Mr. William North's, occupied then and for several years by Mrs. Joshua Jones and family, now the residence of L.S. Steele, Esq. A private road leads thence along the river bank to the residence of Mr. David More and family, now occupied by his son Edmund. Mr. Wm. North then lived with his mother and family in the house he now occupies, but the old road then passed from Mrs. Jones' dwelling east of the present highway, through the swamp and western part of the cemetery, and but a few rods west of Mr. North's house.
"Returning to the river bridge, and passing up Stockton Avenue, we come first to the old Stockton residence, occupied by Mrs. Stockton and daughter Ann, and about that time also by Mr. Alfred Honeywell and wife, near the site of Mr. Henry St. John's present residence. Next to this is the residence of Mrs. Wm. G. Townsend; I do not remember who was the occupant at that date, but think it may have been Capt. John Ames. Lastly, and just out of the corporation, we find the old Gardiner homestead, but at that time owned and occupied by Col. Philo Olmstead, and now by Mrs. Doig.
"If my readers have had patience to follow and study the description given, I think they must be impressed with the many and complete changes that have taken place during those fleeting years. Very few persons now living in the village occupy the same dwellings they did at that time. Mrs. R. North and four daughters, Mr. William North, Mrs. Edmund More, and the Misses Gay, (though at that time they were not residing at home,) may be classed among the number, and I believe these are all -- seven or nine persons only.
"And no less marked are the changes in many other respects which have taken place. In population we have increased four or five fold, being then about 300 (the State Gazeteer for 1860 gives 430) and now 1,500. We then had no side walks, and only about a dozen shade trees growing along the street. A top buggy or covered wagon was a curiosity, there being so few to be seen. Our mail and stage accommodations were a two-horse stage daily from Delhi to Deposit; and communication with New York was by way of Catskill, an overland journey of eighty-four miles, and by steam boat the rest of the way. Railroads were rare or in their infancy; the Erie then extending only from Piermont on the Hudson to Goshen. The New York Central was opened west of Utica on the 4th of July, only forty years ago. Thus it will be seen that, so greatly behind other sections of the country in comparative conveniences. Our present superabundant supply of doctors and lawyers is as much in contrast with those times as in other respects. There were but two physicians to care for the sick, and never a lawyer to settle our petty disputes or take care of our estates and I am not aware that, as a community, we suffered much in either respect from the limited supply.
"Among the many improvements and conveniences that have helped to wake us up to a new life and make our village more attractive, I would only mention our Academy, the plank road and railroad, each in its time and sphere supplying the needs of a progressive people."
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