Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site
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WATERTOWER ON TURNPIKE ROAD, MEREDITH, NY
Photo by Dee Greene, Text by Jeremiah Palmer - posted on this website November 19, 2008
I grew up on Palmer Hill just below Meridale and from our high pasture could see a number of towers of all types. Since my father, aunt, mother, grandmother and others worked there, I heard a lot of stories about the place called Meridale Farms. You might know that Francis Wayland Ayer owned this as a hobby but it made money for him as well. He was from Philadelphia and even met the President at the time. As I remember the farm included several other farms which were given away ($1) after he had passed away and his daughter had run it for some time.
I do not have dates on the water tower but it was a useful item to supply water for Mr. Ayers house, the Meredith Inn, the Log Cabin and probably for the Horse Barn. Since there were few dish washers except for hired help you can imagine the water load for washing everything and watering the horses etc. My understanding is that the creamery was fed from different springs that were higher than the creamery and not connected with Meredith. Also expect that all houses that wanted water could hook into the water mains. We should have asked Mr. Fisher as he was an expert on where the pipes were and how they fed everything. It has been so many years that I forget some of the details of the old place, and I was too young to see the beautiful and handsome parts of the places destroyed by fire or just left to rot. The Creamery made all the butter for the US Navy for WWI, more butter was shipped out of Delhi, on the O&W railroad than any other place in the world etc. There were two large churns in the Creamery, ice was cut on the pond nearby as well as Meridale (the Ouleout) to keep butter fresh during the summer. The Jerseys came from the Jersey Isle off the coast of the United Kingdom and they had to stay in Quarrantine after being shipped from the Isle. My Father was one of a few that went to Jersey City (it had its name long before) to pick up the cows, put them into a movable crate, and water and feed these bovine beauties as they met the train and travelled to Delhi.
I do not remember seeing any photos of the old tower, I have climbed on it in the old days, but some may exist. Understand that the history of the old Farms is being written with the able assistance of the man who has many relics of the old era as well as photos. A copy will probably find its way into my library.
Just to add, a Nathaniel Dean lived nearby to the later tower in the early 1800s and was part of the Meredith Militia as well as being a farm and having eight children. He was a relative on my Mother's side. --Jeremiah Palmer, November 2008
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