From Stephentown Genealogy
Written by Tina Ordone
Though this site's main focus is Stephentown, NY, for most of my live I was raised in New Lebanon, which isn't that far away. It is another area of upstate New York which is filled with a rich history, and one that I would like to share. Rev. Ernest D. Smith wrote wonderful stories, which appeared in the weekly paper, The Echo, and eventually ended up in books called Valley Tales. Though Rev. Smith can't write his wonderful stories any longer, due to ill health, I wrote him to ask if I could share them with an internet audience. He was very gracious in giving me his permission, careful to say that the books weren't available any longer, except for a few copies that might be found in stores around the town of New Lebanon.
From all of this, my "Hometown Tales" was born. Unless it says otherwise, these stories are from Rev. Smith and his Valley Tales.
Guide to citing these stories:
Author: Rev. Ernest D. Smith
Originally published in The Echo
Compiled in Valley Tales (a book)
Shared by Tina Ordone on StephentownGenealogy.com
Please note: pictures accompanied the original webpage but they are not included here.
- 1 New Lebanon's Favorite Son
- 2 Gail Bordon and New Lebanon's Role in the Creation of Evaporated Milk
- 3 First Flag In New Lebanon
- 4 Thermometers and Barometers
- 5 New Lebanon Central School
- 6 "Henry Green and His Bride of One Week!"
- 7 America's First Bread Wrapper
- 8 The Romance Of The Traveling Salesman and The Farmer's Daughter
- 9 Stephentown's Mohawk
- 10 The Roosevelts In New Lebanon
- 11 Tilden Pharmaceutical Company
- 12 Beyond Stephentown: A One-Armed Fisherman
- 13 New Lebanon Glass Company
- 14 Begordius Hatch"Farm Boy-Heroic Giant"
- 15 Moses Younglove
- 16 JONAS ODELL AND THE INDIANS
- 17 Miss Hatch and the Wyomanock Seminary
New Lebanon's Favorite Son
Born February 9, 1814 in New Lebanon, NY
Died August 4, 1886 in New York City
Buried in The Cemetery of the Evergreens in New Lebanon, NY
In 1914, the New Lebanon Town Council passed the following resolution with regards to Samuel Tilden:
"Resolution: Whereas in the death of our distinguished fellow townsman, Samuel J. Tilden, New Lebanon has lost a citizen whose worth and services in public life were appreciated and sought after by his fellow citizens generally throughout the state and Whereas his neighbors in this town, we were deeply sensible of his many and find endearing traits of character and will ever hold them in loving memory and Whereas during his lifetime he was always deeply and loyally interested in any project for the betterment and advancement of the interests of his native town; Now therefore be it resolved That this board are keenly sensible of the loss of the Town of New Lebanon occasioned by his death and That we hereby express our appreciation for his work for the town betterment and for his loyal devotion to the best interests of our town. "
March 10, 1914
Town Clerk - Arthur (See First Bread Wrapper)
Supervisor - C.A. Early
Town Board - Boughton, R. Gillett, James Dunne
Quick facts about Samuel J. Tilden
- He was a Democrat
- He was governor of New York State from 1874 to 1876
- He ran for the Presidency of the United States in 1876
- He lost by one Electoral Vote to Rutherford B. Hayes
- He was a driving force behind The Tilden Pharmaceutical Company
- He fought organized crime while governor
Samuel J. Tilden died in New York City on August 4, 1886. He is buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in New Lebanon, New York, the town that he was born in. As you enter the cemetery, look straight ahead a little to the left. You will see the cemetery's largest gravesite. It honors Tilden and all that he did for the State of New York and New Lebanon. The sarcophagus, designed by the great architect Ernest Flagg was not installed over the tomb until 1895. Through the years, the monument deteriorated and was restored in 1984, paid for by funds raised by a group of concerned New Lebanon citizens. The town raised $20,000 and received matching funds from the state. The incription on the side of the monument still reads, "I Still Trust In The People".
Samuel Tilden's monument as it appears today
Crowds gathered outside of Tilden's New York City mansion upon his death.
Circle shows the home Tilden grew up in in New Lebanon.
Tilden's grave as it appeared in 1886.
From "Harper's Weekly"
The disputed 1876 Hayes-Tilden Presidential Election. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes ran as the Republican candidate for President against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. Tilden won the popular vote with 4,284.020 votes to Hayes' 4,036,572; however, Tilden was short one electoral vote for a majority. The returns of South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and Oregon were disputed, and the controversy dragged on until Congress created an electoral commission to decide the result. The commission was made up of eith Republicans and seven Democrats, who voted along party lines. Hayes was awared all the disputed returns, thus giving him a majority of one in the electoral college. Hayes made a behind-closed doors deal with Southern Democrats to end Reconstruction, thus ensuring white control and reversing the gains that blacks had made during Reconstruction.
The letters above are: 1. A folio manuscript document with notation on verso signed "Acting Secretary, Treasury Department (Charles F. Conant), February 24, 1887," and reading, "This paper was handed to me by Mr. Z. Moses, Clerk to Mr. Ferry, Vice President, with the statement that the names appearing thereon were those of the messengers bringing the electoral votes from the several states mentioned which were allowed and counted, but to whom the President of the Senate could not, on account of complications, give the certificates." Inside are the names of messengers from Oregon, Florida, and Louisiana, the last two being among the four Southern states that submitted two sets of electoral votes. It was Florida's final vote that turned the election to Hayes 2) A letter dated March 2, 1977, 5:30 am, (the day the electoral commission gave the vote to Hayes) from John P. Bigelow, on Willard's Hotel stationery, Wash. D.C., addressed to the Acting Secretary of the Treasury, Charles f. Conant, with a "you are there" account fo the final tally. In part, "At 4:40 this morning I cabled to our London office count completed 4:10, Hayes declared elected...I have been on the floor of the House sixteen hours and as it is now after five o'clock, will probably be late at the Dept..."
I found this item of ebay, with a price tag a bit out of my range, but none the less fascinating.
Gail Bordon and New Lebanon's Role in the Creation of Evaporated Milk
Everyone has heard of Elsie the Cow and the Borden Milk Company, but did you know that Evaporated Milk got it start in New Lebanon, New York? Thanks to Mr. Gail Borden, the man who invented Evaporated Milk and the Shaker Community that existed in New Lebanon back in 1853, Mr. Borden succeeded in "producing concentrated sweet milk by evaporation in vacuum, the same having no sugar or other foreign matter mixed with it." Here is his story.
Gail Borden was born in Norwich, Chenego County, New York on November 9, 1801, the son of Gail Borden and Philadelphia Wheeler, a great great granddaughter of Roger Williams. He had little more than a year of formal schooling and had no scientific training at all, but he was consumed with a passion for research and a desire to improve daily life. He lived in a time when many children died before reaching any maturity. Before Borden, milk was a child's food, difficult to keep fresh, likely to carry germs--as Louis Pasteur would prove--impossible to preserve safely for more than a day or two.
Years before Pasteur's experiments, Borden sensed that a relationship existed between dirt, freshness and the quality of milk. "Milk is a living fluid," Borden would write in 1856, which "as soon as drawn from the cow begins to die, change, and decompose." The perception sharpened in 1851 when, returning from a trip to England, he was devastated at seeing children die aboard his steamer apparently as a result of scanty milk from shipboard cows. He went back to a notion that he had long held that all sorts of foods could be condensed and preserved, which would make them safer.
Borden was not the only one who tried to keep milk from spoiling, but the others generally cooked it in the open air over a hot fire, and it always burned, became discolored or turned sour. Borden's better idea used a vacuum pan similar to the ones he had seen the Shaker's of New Lebanon, New York using as they condensed fruit juice. Inside his vacuum pan a heating coil warmed the milk slowly and evenly, allowing gradual evaporation without excessive heat and scalding. Milk is three-quarters water; after the water had vaporized, what was left was condensed milk.
"Milk will be as common as sugar" on shipboard, he wrote in 1855. After two false starts, he opened a milk condensing factory in Wassaic, New York, and soon was peddling condensed milk door-to-door. He pioneered in its sanitary handling by enforcing strict health guidelines on farmers. If they wanted to sell him milk, he insisted they wash udders thoroughly before milking, sweep barns clean, spread manure away from milking stalls, and scald and dry their wire-cloth strainers morning and night.
This oddly shaped copper kettle was officially designated as a "vacuum pan". It now sits in the corner of the Agricultural Hall at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History boomed. Though the patent office held up his patent for three years, until they were convinced that the important function of vacuum was to protect milk from air and keep it clean while being condensed, he was awarded the patent in 1856. In 1858, the Committee of the Academy of Medicine was quoted as declaring that Borden's milk was "unequaled" in purity, durability and economy.
When the Civil War came, the federal government ordered condensed milk as a field ration; soldiers home on leave told their families about milk that stayed fresh indefinitely. Borden's production of it for the Army never caught up with demand.
By the late 1860's condensed milk had changed the dairy business from a haphazard farmer-to-consumer business to a major industry. Condensed milk made Borden rich, respected and famous.
Borden died at 72, admired and liked by everyone who knew him, those who thought he was a genius and those who thought he had a screw loose. The Borden Family of Companies, named after Gail Borden, does nearly $3 billion of business a year. It sells industrial chemicals, consumer adhesives, housewares and packaged foods--and licenses other companies to sell milk, ice cream and cheese under the Borden name.
Next time you pick up a can of Borden's Evaporated Milk, think kindly of the Valley from whence it came, and the sickly man who was consumed with compassion for little tots everywhere.
Information for this story from:
Valley Tales by Rev. Ernest D. Smith
(I have no affiliation with the Borden Company, this is simply a story about the town I grew up in.)
Smithsonian Magazine Sept. 1999 issue
First Flag In New Lebanon
"News had come to New Lebanon that Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina had been taken by the rebels and that the United States flag had been lowered in surrender. A nine-year old boy in New Lebanon, his heart set aflame with patriotic passion as he heard the story, decided that the flag that had been lowered at Fort Sumter would be raised in New Lebanon. This little boy's name was Abner Hitchcock, and I got this particular story from his own writings. (He was the editor of a newspaper after the Civil War).
He couldn't of course, get the same flag for New Lebanon that had been lowered in South Carolina, so he scraped together all the money he had earned that summer selling herbs and roots to Deacon Everett up in New Lebanon Center and he went to one store after another trying to purchase an American flag. He had never seen one, and didn't even know what it looked like, and strange as it may seem, none of the stores in New Lebanon could furnish him with a flag. The first store keeper said, "Never had a glag in this store and never had any occasion to sell one." He went to a couple of storemen in Lebanon Springs and got the same response.
Returning home, he was in tears. Finally, his mother and older sister got it out of him what he was crying about and they were so taken with his intense desire to see an American flag fly over New Lebanon that they said, "We'll make you one, if you can't find one anywhere else." They took a white sheet and some red flannel that was going to be used for a shirt for Abner's father, Washington Hitchcock, and some blue cambric that was intended for a dress for his older sister. When they got these pieces of cloth all together, they realized that they didn't even know what a flag looked like. They had never seen one. In the generation of peace that had just preceded the Civil War, there had been no occasion for a flag in New Lebanon for public use. They went all over the town and finally they found a Webster's dictionary (and you remember how in the old Webster's Dictionary, in the front there were pictures of all the flags of the world) and they found a picture of an American Flag. They cut out their red stripes and the blue field and sewed them together on either side. The flag had a double thickness. They cut out all the stars and although they didn't know where to put them, it didn't make any difference. They sewed them on (according to the story) just where they thought the stars should go, and the flag was finished.
In the meantime, the boy had gone up to the woods behind his house which was on Route 22 and had cut down the straightest, longest pole he could find. It measured about 35 feet, so after he got it in the ground, there would be about 30 feet of it above ground. He cut that down, this little boy, all by himself and somehow he got it down to the road. Then he got a big rope and tied it to the pole and pulled it up to where he says there was a "limestone knoll that had a pot of earth in it" that he could scoop out. He dug the dirt out of the hole in the knoll, the exact location of which is unknown to me. Some people think it was on the Villiage Green, and if so, then the bulldozers of a later age dug it up when they were rebuilding Route 20. Perhaps it was down by young Abner's house. I am not sure where he put it, but he dug the great hole out of the middle of the limestone knoll and he set the pole up. He said he did it alone. It seems impossible, but working with all the ingenuity that this young fellow possessed, it seems he could do almost anything. He got the pole in the hole and straightened it out, packed the dirt around it with some pebbles and got it firm. Then he went in and got the flag and brought it out.
A big dilemma possessed him this time. He didn't know what to do, for it dawned on him that he couldn't get the flag up to the top of the pole. This young fellow spent all day long, first with old ladders, and then tacking cleats onto the pole and trying to climb it that way. He tried every way he could think of to get the flag up on the pole and finally he came to the conclusion that he just couldn't do it, so with tears in his eyes, he pulled out the dirt and stones and pulled the pole down to the ground. Then he went up to where a new house was being built and got some lathes and a few old nails and he nailed the flag with the lathes to the pole. He then proceeded to reset it and finally got it up again. This took him two or three days, but his determination and zeal never wavered.
After all of this hard work, he stepped back and in his own boyish way, not knowing really how it should be done, he took his cap off his head and saluted the flag as well as he knew how. After he had saluted the flag he put his cap back on and in his own words, looking as nearly as he could in the direction of Charleston, (as his geography lessons had indicated it would be) he lifted his nine-year old fist into the air and roared, "There, General Beauregard, damn you, shoot it down if you dare." And General Beauregard never did.
That flag, the first raised in New Lebanon after the fall of Fort Sumter, was never lowered. The elements finally destroyed it and after many, many years the pole rotted away. However, before the pole rotted away, many flags had come to New Lebanon and everyone had seen what an American flag looked like.
This being the first swear word that Abner had ever uttered in his life (and uttered with great emergency), Abner said that he often hoped that the recording angel, having heard him say that, had dropped a tear upon the word and had blotted it out forever and we all hope and trust that is what happened."
Abner Hitchcock died February 26, 1936 in his family home on Route 22, in the same room in which he was born. The house was bult in 1797. Abner was born December 23, 1851. His hobbies were geology and poetry. He began his career with the Springfield Republican and was later associated with the Boston Post and Boston Journal. He was later editor of the Norwich Bulletin. A voracious realder, he owned a fine library. He was a graduate of Williams College. When news of the final victory and the end of the Civil War was received there were no flags in town. His mother make one and flew it from the knoll in back of the house. His father was Washington and his mother was the former Mary Adams.
Lebanon Valley Historical Album Volume II 1986
Valley Tales Volume I Second Edition by Rev. Ernest D. Smith
Thermometers and Barometers
As written by Rev. Ernest D. Smith in Valley Tales
One day when I got up early and went to eat in the local diner, somebody told me that it was twenty-four degrees below zero. Why not stay in bed? It was a cold morning and my little care started, but it groaned a lot in doing so. I got the thinking about that remark, "twenty-four below". That statement could never have been made had it not been for a man in New Lebanon, about 1820, because it was right here in this little town of ours that the degrees on the thermometers were established. The weather might have been just as cold in this part of the world before 1820, but on one ever spoke of it as "twenty-four below."
In that year, a man by the name of Thomas Kendall, a machinist, constructed a machine which maintained a uniformity in the degrees of thermometers. He perfected his own standards of degrees and established that 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the freezing point of water, and 212 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling point of water. He manufactured and sold these thermometers throughout the world and they were adopted by scientists as a standard article.
The Kendall factory used to stand beside the stream behind waht is now the Schell Esso Station. In 1859, Aneroid Barometers were invented there, and manufactured by the sons of Thomas Kendall. This delicate non-fluid barometer, recommended by scientists, was popular as a portable instrument, for it could be used in any weather conditions without any particular adjustment. The thermometer itself was devised by a French physicist who lived from 1686 to 1736 by the name of G.D. Fahrenheit. It was he who moved mercury up and down the inside of a tube as the weather changed, but Kendall put the graduating numbers on the thermometer making the little gadget the useful tool it is today.
Thomas Kendall, Jr., the only son of Rev. Thomas Kendall to arrive to maturity. He was born in Millbury, Massachusetts and marrived Olive Crane of Oxford, Mass., by whom he had six sons and one daughter. His wife Olive died young and Thomas married Martha Sparawk by whom he had two daughters and one son. They moved to New Lebanon, New York in June of 1820 and immediately built a factory and started producing all kinds of thermometers with the genius of his oldest son John, who was only ten years old.
Thomas was a mechanical genius and began early in life to experiment in machinery for his own amusement. His experiments led him to consider the principle of graduating the degrees on the scale of the thermometer and it was in 1820 that he invented a machine for that purpose, giving with great accuracy a division of degrees conforming to the variations of caliber of the tube. This was the great difficulty to overcome in the construction of the thermometer. By close and accurate mathematic study, Thomas Kendall perfected his own standard between the boiling and freezing points of pure water. His work was so exact that the degrees established by him conform to the best standards found anywhere in the scientific world.
After his move to New Lebanon, he established the manufacture of thermometers which he continued during his life and also constructed a barometer for his own use. He died at the age of forty-five in December, 1831.
His son, John Kendall, inherited much of his father's mechanical genius and after the death of his father, John inherite the business and followed it most of time afterward. He finished the shop and furnished a very well-equipped workplace where he gave work up to thirteen people, both men and women. His shop was located almost directly behind his house down on the banks of the Wyomanock Creek. The Kendall house is standing today with a historical marker in front of it. The Kendalls located at the junction of Routes 22 and 20 at the base of the mountain that houses the Shaker Community. When operating, John Kendall would produce between forty and forty-five dozen thermometers a day; and even though others made thermometers, the Kendalls supplied most of the items used in the country during the 19th century. The Kendall house is now on the National Historical Registry.
John was married in 1932 to Deborah Avery of New Lebanon and they had three children, all girls. For most of his life he was a deacon in the White Church and highly respected for his integrity. He never sought or desired public office for himself although he as a hard Republican worker in all elections. All who wrote about him in the newspapers of that day universally esteemed him for his honesty and uprightness of character and his genial disposition made him many warm friends.
There are Kendall thermometers all around the world today. Mostly they are to be found in antique auctions and at some flea markets. The command a very high price. On the other hand, the thermometer has outlived the Kendall name. The last generation was mostly females and as they married, the name was lost. The last Kendall girl married a Brown and the others left the area. The Kendall shop was demolished, the thermometer works were sold off to a man from New York City named Charles J. Taglibue and the thermometers were no longer made in this town. The barometer factory was rebuilt into a private home and still exists high on Pool Hill nearly on the level with Montepoole. The last residents in this home were Edward and Lucretia Koepp.
On March 12, 1804, a 17 year old Lebanon youth, the son of a Revolutionary War veteran, established "The Juvenile Society for the Acquistion of Knowledge". He was Jesse Torrey, born May 25, 1787 in the King's district, which later became the "Towns of New Lebanon and Canaan". His "library" was a free lending organization with 147 members. Just about everyone in the Lebanon Valley between the ages of 12 and 21 participated and the organization flourished. Emma Willard, whose Troy school today bears her name, helped out, and ex-president James Madison joined forces to establish libraries in schools, prisons, almshouses and cantonments - "not for the few but for the many". The library was moved from house to house with each elected librarian. Torrey, despite his youth, spearheaded this campaign from the home of his father-in-law, Dominie Aaron Booge. An historical marker, which had been incorrectly placed at the Joseph Hooper Memorial Library in Lebanon Springs, was moved to the site of the Booge-Torrey homestead. The old house on West Street, is gone today, except for its stone foundation and a lilac that grew by the front door. Jesse married Damaris Corintha, daughter of Aaron Jordan Booge and his wife Grace Thrall. . In 1808, the house was sold and the books had to be moved. Some of the books later showed up in the Wyomanock Seminary during the Civil War. Books were borrowed by people until the Seminary burned in 1867. The Seminary was located where the West Lebanon Firehouse how stands.
In 1882 the Rev. Joseph Hooper of The Church of Our Saviour, reorganized the Library. There was a small building at Lebanon Springs, which had once been a shoe repair shop, then the office of Dr. Cyrus Bates. The Rev. Hooper had the building moved in front of the Gay Block and it housed the library for years. The Torrey family is buried in the old part of the Cemetary of the Evergreens. Jesse, who died in Philadelphia, is also buried there. The Booge-Torrey House was built in 1797 by Abner Shumway for Judah and Civiah Rawley. It had a great gambrel roof and stood until 1930.
New Lebanon Central School
A Proud Beginning
THE UNION FREE SCHOOL
I attended classes at New Lebanon Central School for all grades except 5th through 8th, when our family moved to East Nassau. Though I did enjoy the years in East Nassau, and some of my enduring friendships are today with the "kids" I went to school with there, most of my memories are from the years at NLCS. I started out in Kindergarten with Miss Clapp, later she became Mrs. Fletcher, and ended when I graduated in 1968, having had Mr. Enfield, Mr. Robertson, Mr. Eaton and Mrs. Salls. However, one year, I had classes in what we called the "Little School", which at the time took the overflow from the elementary grades. The year was 1957, and I was in second grade with Mrs. Dorothy Sanford. Two memories I have of that year are, one, Mrs. Sanford could crack an apple in half with her bare hands and two, she caught me talking during classtime and threw a book at me from across the room. It didn't hit but it sure did cure my talking problem!
The following is the story of that "Little School", as related by Rev. Ernest D. Smith in Volume 2 of "Valley Tales" and in "Along the Wyomanock Creek".
"Some people in New Lebanon say that the spring of 1917 produced both good news and bad news. First the bad news: The United States had declared war on Germany on April 6 of that year. New Lebanon men were being called to Fort Devens and other points for battle training. Concern existed in almost every household.
There was also the good news: New Lebanon Central School was getting ready to graduate its first class. Never before had so much emphasis been placed on education in this small community. For 150 years, children had been taught in the little red schoolhouses that dotted the hills and valleys. Now they had the promise of four more years beyond the eight years of the little red schoolhouse.
The first high school building still stands, but vacant.
The Union Free School
Picture courtesy of Karl Butler
The good citizens of New Lebanon had built a sturdy building for those interested in going to the twelfth grade. This was located near the triangle in the road where one road went to Massachusetts, another to Vermont, and the third to Albany. It had been built with fireproof material, meeting all state safety laws and rules. It was a beautiful building for its day. The first eight grades of that school district met downstairs and the high school met on the second story.
The prime mover in this venture into secondary education was Mr. J.C. Johnson. Because of his great interest and dedication and work, he will always be known as "The father of New Lebanon Central School." He was elected president of the School Committee. In all of this, Mr. Johnson was ably assisted by E.S. Hemenway, the long time town clerk of thirty-four years. Mr. Hemenway owned a store in the building that stood where the Indian fountain now stands. which is now the Town Hall. Earl Hemenway was elected secretary to that early committee for higher learning.
Probably due to the war, the first graduating class was reduced to all girls by 1917, and only three graduated that year. They were Alice Adams, Marion Van Buren, and Emeline Sackett. Marion went on to college and became a school teacher. Emeline married Leo Cashman and moved out of town. Today they are gone from us. Alice Adams lived in Scotia. She married a Hammill and New Lebanon lost one of its most prized possessions, because Alice was the "life of the party" wherever people gathered.
The second class to graduate from this new Central School had only two in 1918. Because of the war, they too were girls. However, in 1915, when the class started as freshman, therehad been four and one was a boy. He was the son of the president of the school committee. He dropped out of school but later returned. Then there was Helen Hocter, as girl who died before graduation. So, only Gladys Chapin and Carrie Bateman were left to get diplomas. Gladys married Clinton Ford and moved to Connecticut where she died in 1977. That left only Carrie Bateman. Carrie married Walter Sykes and made her home in Stephentown where she operated a large old-fashioned country store with her husband and son Paul.
New Lebanon Central School met in the building pictured (above) for fourteen years until 1931, when the present high school was built and dedicated. During the time it had a steady and remarkable growth. In 1919 where were twenty-seven enrolled in the three grades. In 1929 there were fifty registered with three faculty members. In 1931, as the school transferred to the new building, a four year course was added and the faculty was increased to nine. Hot lunches were provided in the Union Free School years, as was bus transportation. No child had to walk more than one quarter of a mile to school according to a school survey made in 1931, and every boy or girl who ever graduated from Union Free School was gainfully employed in 1931 according to that same survey. This was a record unequaled by any other school in the State of New York.
In 1928, it became apparent that the school needed additional space and facilities. The school board was made up of five men. They studied the situation and accepted a visionary concept for those days - the idea of centralization. The old Union Free School became the New Lebanon Central School. This was the first central school Columbia County.
The new high school was built and dedicated in 1930. The keynote speaker that day was the Governor of New York State, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The date was August 14, 1930. There were other speakers, but Governor Roosevelt was to be the main speaker. One of the dignitaries taking part then was Mr. Joseph Salls, who for many years taught at the school, and who himself had received his cap and gown in 1928. Though Mr. Salls was trying to listen intently to what was being said, he could not really do so. He was thinking of the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt, the Governor's wife, had remembered him from a previous meeting that they had both been attending. Joe, who had quite a memory himself, couldn't get over the fact that with all the people she constantly met, she could remember him. Joe heard the District School Superintendent, Stanton Smith, speak. He heard the School Board introduced, and he herd Franklin Roosevelt speak, but it was Eleanor Roosevelt who captivated him on that day with her wonderful memory.
The Governor spoke well that day and the school still stands as a reality to a vision of great educators. The world would soon become aware of the charming personality of the Roosevelts as they communicated with us through their "fireside chats" after Franklin became President Roosevelt."
Eleanor Roosevelt on left side of photo; Franklin is on the right side. They are sitting on the stage of the new high school in 1930 at the dedication of the school. (Thirty-eight years later, my high school class would sit on that very stage to graduate, on June 23, 1968)
"Henry Green and His Bride of One Week!"
Young Henry Green was beside himself. Yes, sir, he was baffled, dismayed and frustrated. He had just gotten married. Now, this is enough to frustrate any yound man, but Henry had more reason for bewilderment. He had married the wrong girl.
Now, in the Bible when Jacob married the wrong girl and got Leah instead of Rachel, he solved his problem by working seven more years for Rachel and he then had two wives, but times had changed and so had the laws. Henry couldn't have two wives at one time. He had to get rid of one to get the other. Let's see what Henry did. First, let me tell you a little of the background.
In the Seventh-Day Baptist Cemetery in Berlin, New York, just off Route 22, can be found a large monument about ten feet tall and better kept than most of the other monuments in that cemetery. What makes this particular stone different is that it was erected by the citizens of Berlin and maintained by them so that the memory of a pretty, young girl who died in February of 1845 might always by kept alive. The girl was a dancer and an actress in the play, "The Reformed Drunkard" which was being put on by a wandering troupe. Her name was Mary Ann Wyatt. In those days, small towns could not believe that yound actresses could possess purity and virtue. Mothers and fathers certainly didn't want their sons marrying these "shady ladies", but Henry Green, a weathly young fellow in Berlin didn't care what his mother thought. He had met Mary and she was very beautiful, and he would marry her. Mary herself wasn't too keen on marrying Henry because she knew that a mother-in-law in a small town could spell real trouble. On the other hand, she did love Henry, so she consented and they married quietly in Stephentown on February 10, 1845.
Eight days later, she was dead. What really happened? In those days, sleigh rides in the winter were popular and full of fun, especially at night in the hard snow-packed roads with several young people of both sexes packed into the sleigh. There were no street lights or sand trucks to contend with and nothing disturbed the innocent action under the warmth of the heavy blankets. As a poem puts it, "The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh o'er the white and drifting snow."
Henry asked his new bride to go on one of these sleigh rides, but he also asked a former girl friend named Alzina Godfrey. Some of the old-timers in Berlin say her name was Priscilla Brownell. Well, you take your pick. There were others of the sleigh, and Alzina was heard to say to Henry, "Why did you marry Mary? I would have married you in the end." Apparently she had been asked but had said "No" once too often.
Now, Alzina (or Priscilla) was very beautiful herself and she was quite wealthy, high in society and loved to cuddle and "maul" her man. When Henry found out he could have married her, he began to have second thoughts about Mary. He really wanted to other girl.
Worse, however, was his mother, who started rumors about the bad morals of all actresses and inferred that Mary's morals were probably like the rest.
Poor, weak, rich, mindless, stupid Henry. He couldn't take it all, so the next day after the sleigh ride, he made a trip to the doctor, where he obtained some opium pills, for a "slight indispostion" of his wife. Somehow, without her knowledge, he placed in her food an overdose that was enough to settle the destinies of ten people. This would have served the bridegroom's purpose had not Mary gone into a fit of vomiting which rid her of the poison. Then Henry go some arsenic and on Monday, the eighth day of her marriage, Mary Ann died; but Henry never go to marry Alzina.
Henry was tried for murder in Troy in July of 1845 and being found guilty was hung on the gallows on September 10th. Only fifty people saw the hanging but thousands came from the Berlin-Stephentown area to cheer it on. Justice was done, but Berlin would never forget. They erected the beautful monument with the story engraved on it and someone wrote a ballad. It originally had twenty-eight verses, but all I could find are parts of twelve. The words seem lost as is the Green family and sweet little Alzina.
Come listen to my tragedy, you people young and old;
I'll tell you a story that will make your blood run cold.
Concerning a young lady, Miss Wyatt was her name,
Who was murdered by her husband, and he hung for the same.
This lady was beautiful, not of a high degree.
Young Henry Green was wealthy, as you shall plainly see.
He said, "My dearest Mary, if you will be my wife,
I'll guard you at my peril throughout this gloomy life."
She said, "My dearest Henry, I fear that ne'er can be;
It's you have rich relations; I'm not as rich as thee;
And when your parents come to know, they would spurn me from their door,
They'd rather you would wed someone had wealth laid up in store."
He said, "My dearest Mary, why thus torment me so?
For if you longer me deny, I vow I'll take my life,
For I no longer wish to live unless you are my wife."
Belieiving all he said was true, she thus became his wife.
Oh little did she think, poor girl, or e'er did she expect
He'd take away the life of one he'd just sworn to protect!
They had meen married scarce a week when she was taken ill,
Or was it e'er expected he meant his wife to kill.
Great doctors they were sent for, and none of them could say;
Soon it was proclaimed by them she must go to her grave.
Her brothers, hearing of the same straight unto her did go
Saying, "Sister dear, you're dying; the doctors tell me so."
Saying, "Sister dear, you're dying, your life is at an end.
Say, have you been murdered by the one you think your friend?"
"It's as I'm on my bed of death and know that I must die,
I'm going to my Maker, the truth shall not deny.
I know that Henry poisoned me, but brother, for him send,
For I do love him now as well as when he was my friend."
When Henry go the tidings, he sent his wife to see.
She said, "My dearest Henry, have I e'er deceived thee?"
Three times she said, "Dear Henry!" then sank into death's swoon,
He gazed on in indifference, and in silence left the room.
An inquest on her body held according to the law,
And soon it was proclaimed by them that arsenic was the cause.
Green was apprehended, lodged down in Troy jail,
There to await his trial-the courts could not give bail.
On the day of his trial, he was brought on the stand
To answer for the blackest crime committed on our land.
Judge Parker read the sentence, he 'peared to be unmoved;
He said he was not guilty, although it had been proved.
He said he was not guilty, and he did her friends defy;
He pled that he was innocent, although condemned to die.
Henry and Mary Ann and buried in Berlin. Henry is buried in the Reeve burying ground. Henry was the grandson of John Reeve. Henry's epitaph is simple:
Henry G. Green, Born Dec. 30, 1822, died Sept. 10, 1845
"Prepare to meet thy God"
Mary A. W. Green, Died Feb. 17, 1845, in the 23rd year of her age.
"This monument is erected by the citizens of Berlin in Memory of Mary Ann Wyatt, wife of Henry G. Green, who was married Feb. 9, 1845, and on the 14th day of the same month was poisoned by her husband with arsenic without any real or pretended cause.
Beautiful, intelligent, and virtuous, she was wept over by the community, and the violated law justly exacted the life of her murderer as a penalty for his crime?"
Mary Ann Wyatt's monument,
erected by the people of Berlin.
I did a brief genealogy of Henry, because of the Green family prominence in Berlin/Stephentown. For those interested, here is Henry's ancestry, minus dates:
Henry G. son of George and Sally or Sarah Reeves (daughter of John Reeves);
George, son of Langford and Abigail Thomas;
Langford, son of Joseph and Phebe Langford;
Joseph, son of John and Mary Allen;
John, son of James and Elizabeth Anthony
James, son of John (of Warwick) and Joan Tattersall.
America's First Bread Wrapper
As a child, I lived on Old Post Road, in Lebanon Springs, New York, in a two family house that was always referred to as "Clark's House". Our landlord was Arthur (Art) Clark, a very nice, older man, even then in the late 1950's. He lived upstairs and though friendly, he kept to himself. I was quite young at that time, and it never occurred to me to ask about the house, or the big building on the side of the house that we all called "The Bake Shop". I never even knew why it was called that until thirty years later. Here is the story of the bake shop:
Clark's Bakery was located a few feet east of the bridge that carries Old Post Road over Wyomanock Creek. It was built by Art Clark's father, Andrew, and was well equipped with ovens and all the equipment that is needed in a good and busy bakery. Art had been born and brought up on upper West Street, but lived on Old Post Road in a large square house just east of the bridge crossing for many years. Just before he died in 1976, he took Rev. Ernest D. Smith down to the Bake Shop, and told him the story of the bakery.
"An old Methodist Camp Meeting had been located in a grove of large pine trees across the Wyomanock from the bakery shortly after the Civil War. Arthur's father, being a wise businessman, noted that the people who came here on the nearby railroad stayed in the grove for several weeks each year. Most of them carried tents and lived under the trees doing their own cooking over open fires.
Old Mr. Clark got to know most of the people and asked if they would like him to bake their bread daily in his nearby ovens for a small fee. He got orders for hundreds of loaves the very first day and had to hire many people from the community to help him.
The only trouble with this business was that it didn't provide steady employment. When the camp meeting closed about September 1st, the bakery had to close.
Noting that the railroad passed near the bakery and realizing that the towns along the railroad had nothing in the way of bakeries, Andrew and Arthur decided to go south on the railroad to Chatham and north on the same line to Bennington, Vermont, to see if they could create a business. The demand was very great and Clark's Bakery became well known.
They shipped the bread in large trunk-like boxes with Clark's name printed on each. The bread was unwrapped at first, but train locomotives being what they were in those days, gave off great clouds of cinders which settled on the boxes and the dust got inside and settled on the loaves as the cars were in transit. Folks didn't seem to mind brushing a few cinders from their bread, so there were few, if any, complaints.
But the Clark's were not satisfied; Arthur said that they wanted their bread to be the best, with no cinders embedded in it. So Arthur took his father's team and went to a couple of places where newspapers were printed and bought all the old used and back copies that they could find. Back at the bakery, Arthur took a single sheet of the newsprint and wrapped each loaf separately, packed them in the boxes and sent them off on the train. This solved the cinder problem, but created a new one. Buyers at Chatham and Bennington would unwrap the bread only to find that last week's news was printed on the crust. Andrew Clark decided that he would have to buy plain paper.
Bakers from everywhere in American began to copy the Clark's idea. As far as we know, on one had ever wrapped a loaf of bread for sale before this tiem, which is why bread wrapping by Clark's Bakery had become know as a 'New Lebanon First'. As progress was made, it was found that waxed paper did a better job preserving the freshness of the loaves. Today's sliced bread comes to us often in plastic bags, and its makers brag and boast about the softness. We sometimes pay as much as a dollar for a loaf of air with a little dough in it.
Arthur was proud of his accomplishments in the bakery as he showed me around. He took over the business upon his father's death. After Arthur's death in 1976, the old and famous bakery was razed to the ground and is no more; but I still have a large box with all the printing on it in which the bread was shipped. It will be given soon to the Lebanon Valley Historical Society."
Clark's House on Old Post Road
It is still there, a bit worse for wear. I imagine that it was a pretty elegant house at one time.
By the time my family moved into the house, (pictured here on the left), in the mid-1950's, the old bake shop had been turned into a greasy garage, which Arthur used to fix things. He would let us play in there, which pleased all of the young children who lived around there at the time. There were alot of hiding places and funny looking old tools. I wonder now how many of those old shipping boxes we jumped over and never gave a second thought to!
We used to walk on the old railroad tracks, and throw cinders at each other, and though we knew that there hadn't been a train through there on any day that we could remember, we never asked about the days that there were trains. I think about it now, and I am amazed that such an important part of Lebanon's history took place there on Old Post Road. If only the walls of that old Bake Shop could talk.
Andrew and Carrie Clark, sitting on porch of house on Old Post Road, in 1930. The room to their right would eventually become my parent's bedroom.
Death of Carrie Clark
MRS. CARRIE CLARK
DIES AT HOME
Lebanon Springs, NY - Mrs. Carrie S. Clark, 90, widow of Andrew H. Clark, and the town's oldest resident, died this moring at her home following a long illness. She suffered a stroke Saturday.
She was born February 27, 1860, daughter of Arthur and Hannah Sennett in Darien, Wis. At the age of six she traveled with her parents across the palins to Virginia City, Montana, in the days of the gold rush. In 1880 she married Mr. Clark and 10 years later she settled in Lebanon Springs, where she lived until her death.
Surviving are one son, Arthur H. Clark, of Lebanon Springs, with whom she lived, and a niece, Mrs. Harry W. Decker of New Lebanon. The body rests at the home of Mrs. Decker where friends may call tomorrow afternoon and evening. The funeral will be held Thursday afternoon at 2 from the Congregational Church in New Lebanon with Rev. Raymond E. Gibson officiating.
Burial will be in the Cemetery of the Evergreens. - Printed in November 14, 1950 issue of Berkshire Eagle
Andrew Clark also made ice cream and sold it to the same people every day except Sunday. No Methodist would buy ice cream on the sabbath.
Story from "Along the Wyomanock Creek" and "Valley Tales" vol. 2 by Rev. Ernest D. Smith
The Romance Of The Traveling Salesman and The Farmer's Daughter
By Rev. Ernest D. Smith
These darned ole mules are mightly independent today," thought Edwin Lawless as he tried to drive them through the little hamlet of Garfield in South Stephentown. "They seem to know where they want to go and it doesn't make much difference what I want." Edwin Lawless, being the kind of man he was and being in a new territory, decided that one road was as good as another and let the mules pick whatever road they would, it was all the same to him. He sat back in the wagon to enjoy the scenery and the few people about, not knowing that he had just made the greatest decision of his life. The mules kept on plodding slowly, seemingly knowing exactly where they wanted to go.
The year was 1915, and young Edwin Lawless, who had just turned twenty-two, had already made a reputation for himself as a very successful salesman of the Home Comfort Stove. It was his practice to load his wagon with two stoves from the railroad warehouse in Chatham and take off for the country. He would keep going until both stoves were sold, then he would go back for more. He had been doing this for several years already, since his father had died when Ed was little more than a baby, in Brooklyn, New York.
On this particular day when the mules were in utter revolt. Ed had loaded up as usual and had already sold one stove in Rensselaerwyck. He was now headed for Stephentown and the road was dry and dusty. He was feeling good because the stove had cost him $59.00 and he had sold it for $74.00. In fact, he felt as independent as a millionaire.
The mules came up to the old Methodist Church in Garfield, hesitated a moment, then turned left. Ed just relaxed. They wandered up the road until they came to Route 43. Here they consulted one another in mule language and again turned left, entering Stephentown Center, where they took a right and wandered down the road, coming eventually to West Road where another left was taken. Ed just didn't stop them. He sensed that they knew where he could unload the next stove. It was now beginning to draw toward evening and Ed like a good bed at night time. Somehow he conveyed this thought to his mules and they came to a stop on West Road in front of a farm where Ed jumped out. He was sure that the divinely-given wisdom of the mules had brought him to a good sale, and he was right.
But for the life of him, he couldn't sell the owner a stove. Mr. Carpenter, (Alton Carpenter) the man of the house, wouldn't buy. However, he told the young salesman he could stay the night and that his son, Fred, would care for the mules. He called his daughter, Ruth, to get some food for the stranger. Freddie liked mules and was giving them the best of care and Ed looked at the farmer's daughter and like what he saw and decided to give her the best of care.
Her name was Alice Ruth, but everyone called her Ruth. She loved music and was attending school in Poultney, Vermont, though right now she was visiting at home. Her seventh sense was warning her of the effect she was having on the traveling salesman. She looked him over and absolutely wanted no part of him at all, so she stayed out of sight all evening while Ed and brother Fred became fast friends.
Next morning, Edwin Lawless harnessed his mules and took off up the road, thinking only of Ruth.
The mules stopped. Ed didn't know it, but he was at the home of Frank Carr. He entered and sold the second stove for another $74.00. He doesn't know how he did it because he wasn't thinking of stoves at all. In his jubilation, he turned the mules around and headed back for Carpenters.' He was so excited that he feel off the wagon and so injured his foot that he had to stay another night with them.
"What's he hanging around for?" Ruth asked her father. She found out two years later when upon graduating from Poultney she invited Ed to the graduation. For some reason, the Carpenters were absent that day and Ed thought to himself, "Here's where I corner her. Her folks aren't here. I'll ask her to marry me." He did, but all he got for an answer was, "Thanks, but I'll ask my parents first."
No, Edwin Lawless was a true saleman and he never gave up. The farmer's daughter didn't have a chance once the traveling salesman saw her. It was ust a matter of time. The sooner she would say "Yes," the better it would be all around, so they were married on October 7, 1917.
The The neighbors on West Road were filled with despair. "I can't understand Ruth Carpenter marrying a salesman," they said. "It won't last. Why, he'll have someone else in the next town where he sells stoves." The neighbors are mostly all gone now, but after 61 years, Ed and Ruth are still happily together. (This was written in 1978, when Ruth was still living)
Ed Lawless on his wagan, selling the Home Comfort Stove. With him, on the right is Clarence Carpenter, Ruth's brother. The photo on the right is the Home Comfort Stove.
"What was the most interesting sale you ever made?" I asked Ed one day. Now, Ed has been selling for all his long life of 85 years. First it was stoves, then it was Hoyt's Cosmetics, then it was day-old bread and cake from Ward's Baking Company, then real estate - just about everything. Ed thought for just a moment and then he answered, "The most interesting sale I ever made in my life was when I sold myself to her," pointing to Ruth, "and the farmer's daughter got sixty years of faithful service." "Yes", said Ruth from her chair beside the oxygen tank that she needed almost constantly, "he would sell you anything, whether you wanted it or not. He was very convincing."
The years have come and gone but the romance of the saleman and the Farmer's daughter has been in constant bloom. While he made sales, she played the organ at her church for forty years. It all goes to show that the mules knew best.
Salute to Edwin Theodocius Lawless, Super Saleman of all Time
In 1915 there came a wonderful change,
To find sitting in our kitchen a
New Home Comfort Range.
Was brought on a horseless wagon,
the driver so bright and gay,
His name - Edwin T. Lawless - he drives both night and day.
Tell you how you'll know him as
he drives by your door.
He whistles and sings all the way-Home Comfort Range, forevermore.
He stops at every farmhouse - talks to you in vain.
To tell you Quality of the New Home Comfort Range.
His team resembles large rabbits - his wagon resembles a barn.
His tongue resembles a steam engine - and goes off like an alarm.
The mules' names are Topsey and Turvey, they could hit up quite a gait,
And the number of his wagon - 888.
(Story from "Valley Tales" Volume Two 1980)
Edwin T. Lawless was born September 24, 1893 and died on May 3, 1980 in Stephentown at the age of 86 years. Ruth Carpenter Lawless was born December 27, 1894 and died in 1978. She was the daughter of Alton Carpenter and Minnie Palmer Carpenter. They are both buried in Stephentown Association Cemetery. Photos are from Stephentown Heritage Album.
by Rev. Ernest D. Smith
The family of Rachael was very religious and so on Sunday afternoon it was quite customary to stay quietly at home after returning from church services in Stephentown, N.Y. This particular Sunday was no different from others, and as little Rachael played quietly with her toys, suddenly a tremendous commotion was heard out on the street. Many of the farm boys living back in the hills were having their Sunday afternoon drunken brawl. It seemed that the families would come to town in their sleighs with their milk cans for the creamery, and then would stay for church services, but only the women would go home in the sleighs because the boys wanted to visit awhile in the Vanderbilt House where they would get roaring drunk for the long walk home hours later. The little girl, Rachael couldn't understand this and would ask her father, Charles Aldrich, "Why do the men go to church and then get drunk?" Her father would sit with her and they would have one of their intimate talks that Rachael loved so much.
Rachael's mother had died in childbirth when Rachael was only nine years old. She was a full blooded Mohawk Indian from the Reservation in the Addirondacks. Her marriage to Charles was quite a story in itself.
Charles Jerry Aldrich belonged to the very wealthy New York Aldrich family. He was half Mohawk himself as his father had found himself a lovely Mohawk bride, but Charlie had more interest in religion than in money and when his father wanted him to take more interest in his millions, he ran away and entered a Canadian monastary for eight years. Then he went as a missionary to the Mohawks where he caught a glimpse of Mary Ann Morse. From that moment, he lost all interest in the doctrines of celibacy and the priesthood. Mary Ann was a princess. Her father was the Chief of his Mohawk tribe, but in an uprising on the Reservation, her father and mother were both killed and Mary Ann narrowly escaped with her life. As she grew into young womanhood, she mastered the art of gasket making and became an expert on the use and value of yellow corn. All her knowledge in basket making and in raising corn was nother, though, as compared to her expertise in making the young missionary, Charles Aldrich, forget his calling. They were married and soon afterward moved to Stephentown where Rachael was born.
The Shakers on Mount Lebanon knew how to make baskets, but when they saw the work of Mary Ann, the princess, they were filled with envy, and contracted to send a carriage each day to Stephentown to carry Mary Ann and baby Rachael to Mount Lebanon, ten miles down West Street, where she taught basket making to them. They would carry her home again at night.
One day, Princess Mary Ann heard of Teddy Roosevelt eating white corn at the Four Pillars in New Lebanon Cener. She made some yellow corn meal and took it to the President. According to the records, one couldn't get yellow corn meal in those days because the white people thought yellow corn was only for animals. After the princess provided yellow corn meal for the President, he would have nothing to do with the white corn meal any more. The Adams Mill had to grind yellow corn for human consumption after that, and so it was that Rachael's mother, the Indian princess, was the first to introduce Mohawk yellow corn to New York State as food. Rachael was the fifth of seven children that Charles and Mary Ann had. During her childbearing years, between 1886 and 1912, Mary Ann would help other women in deliveries, and she taught Charlie how to do it. On one occasion, in 1888, when Charlie was "way back in Goodrich Hollow building a house, he sensed a storm brewing, so he fastened on his snowshoes and started for home.
The great blizzard of '88 settled down on him until he was forced to take refuge in an isolated farmhouse. It was well that he did because a young mother was about to give birth. Compliications were making things difficult and Dr. Chanlor had not arrived because of the storm. Charlie Aldrich took over at once, and remembering everything that his princess wife had taught him, he saved both the baby and the mother. The doctor arrived a little late but in time to have hot tea with the exhausted Charlie. What a small world! 'Way up on a high hill in Maine, on a hill called Freeman Ridge, stands a beautiful, large, white house and barn overlooking the Town of Strong. A man by the name of Warren Brackley lived there until his death recently His wife, Ruth Brackley in 1944. When Warren was a young man he came to Stephentown to work at Estey's Mill. It was here he met Ruth who was the other sister of Rachael and married her and took her back to Freeman Ridge. This writer knew the Brackleys well and loved their farm, and spent much time in the old one-room schoolhouse where Ruth's daughters, Bernice and Irene taught.
in 1919, when our Mohawk Indian, Rachael, at the age of sixteen went to Maine to attend the funeral of another sister, Grace, she had the scare of her life. Her father, Charlie, had given her plenty of money and sewed it into the lining of her coat, but in Portland she missed her train and had to spend the night in a hotel. This was her first trip alone out of Stephentown, and all night long she listened to the city noises. She barricaded the door with a dresser and chairs, and lay on the bed all night, fully clothed, expecting to be robbed by the Maine citizenry. The sun finally arose and Rachael had not been robbed. She realized that she was among humans who had long ago discarded such uprisings as that which took the lives of her grandparents on the Mohawk Reservation.
Rachael married George Williams in 1952. He was of Indian descent also and died in 1963, but Rachael is still with us, one of a scant five thousand Mohawks still living in this world, a once proud and fierce people of Upstate New York. (Story written about 1980)
The Roosevelts In New Lebanon
By Rev. Ernest D. Smith
A great name associated with the presidency of the United States is the name of Roosevelt. Also, strange as it may seem, both me who have been presidents with this name have also associated with New Lebanon, one through his stomach, the other by ceremony. Let us look at the more colorful "stomach" president first.
Teddy Roosevelt had just eaten some corn muffins so delicious that he ordered his chef in the White House to make some more. "I can't," said the chef, "until you some more of that particular kind of corn meal." "Wouldn't any kind of corn meal be all right?" said Teddy. "No, Sir," said the chef. "Only the kind that is produced in a little town in New York State called New Lebanon can be used to make these muffins." "Then order some immediately," said Roosevelt.
The days lengthened into weeks, and the corn meal had not arrived. Whenever the president thought of the muffins and of New Lebanon, his mouth watered and his stomach growled. Oh, how he ached for those light muffins that could only be made from corn meal turend out by the Gilbert Grist Mill, by a man named Morris Bowman who worked there.
Teddy Roosevelt decided to find out for himself. He couldn't wait any longer for the slow freight. Boarding a train and coming to our little town, he made straight for the old building which still stands in New Lebanon Center. "How come you make the tastiest corn meal in all the world?" he asked Bowman. "Well, Mr. President, you will have to see for yourself," said Morris.
Then he showed him what made his grist mill different from any other grist mill in the world. The great stones which ground out the corn meal turned slower than any other place; the meal was in contact with the stone for a much longer period of time. "You get more of the stone flavor than you do in any other place," said Morris.
Teddy Roosevelt bought all he could transport with him and left to go back to Washington, a very happy man. As long as he lived, he might run short of other things like sugar, flour or milk, but he never permitted his pantry to get low on New Lebanon-produced corn meal.
Years later, another Roosevelt, soon to become President, visited our town. He was then the Governor of New York State - Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The date was August 14, 1930 and the occasion was the dedication of the High School. There were to be other speakers, but Governor Roosevelt was to be the main speaker. Most of the dignitaries taking part then are gone now, but one remains (written about 1978). He is our verteran teacher and friend, Joseph Salls who, though trying to listen intently to what was being said, could not really do so. He was thinking of the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt, the Governor's wife, had remembered him from a previous meeting that they had both been attending. Joe, who has quite a memory himself, couldn't get over the fact that with all the people she constantly met, she could remember him. (Though after all, once one has met Joe Salls, who could forget him?). Joe heard the District School Superintendent, Stanton Smith, speak. He heard the School Board, A. Ross Rider, Harry Crego, Earl Hemingway and Harvey Sackett introduced, and he heard Franklin Roosevelt speak, but it was Eleanor Roosevelt who captivated him on that day in her wonderful memory.
The Governor spoke well that day, and the school still stands as a reality to a vision of great educators. Many of us who were not here in 1930, however, were soon to become aware of the charming personality of the Roosevelts as they communicated with us through their "fireside chats" after Franklin became President Roosevelt.
Note from Tina: Having spent many of my growing up years in New Lebanon, I was aware of Eleanor Roosevelt's connection to New Lebanon, because of her life long friendship with Mrs. Fayerweather. However, it was just a few years ago, in reading Rev. Smith's Valley Tales, that I found out that Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt had been at my high school, upon it's dedication. (see the story above, with a picture of the Roosevelts on the stage of the school). It was 38 years later, that I too was on that same stage in the auditorium, to receive my high school diploma. Though I had been on that stage many, many times over the years, for school plays, variety shows, etc., the ceremony of graduation made that occasion most special. And in the audience that day, watching yet another New Lebanon Central School senior class received their "keys" to the world, was Mr. Joseph Salls. By that time, he was not young anymore, but just as feisty!! I will always remember watching him walk the halls of NLCS, making sure that everyone got to class on time and that no girl's skirt was too short. I never had him as a teacher, but everyone I know who did say that they learned more in his class than all the other classes combined.
I did have his wife Ethel in Secretarial Practice and Typing. I credit her, still after all these years, for my ability to type these words. She was a task master, but you got out of her class knowing the subject.
They are both gone now, but not forgotten by those who knew them.
Tilden Pharmaceutical Company
By Rev. Ernest D. Smith
The very earliest people of the eighteenth century who chose to live in New Lebanon were mostly inhabitants of the mountain heights. They lived on Bird Road in Lebanon Springs and on West Hill Road in New Lebanon. They lived on Lebanon Mountain. Very few people inhabited the valleys. The reasons being mostly because of the more healthy climate of the mountains and the lack of fevers and diseases that filled the lowlands. But these people began to move down into the Valley before the Revolutionary War because of the high fertility of the soil, and because they were learning even then how to conquor the diseases and fevers.
As more people entered the farming business, agriculture did not present opportunities enough for this energetic population. New Lebanon became an organized town in 1818, and very shortly thereafter several happenings drew the attention of the inhabitants to areas of living which were other than tilling the soil. In 1824, the Tilden Company was founded and was soon hailed as the oldest pharmaceutical house in the nation. In 1825, General Marquis Lafayette made his triumphant tour through the land and lodged at Columbia Hall in Lebanon Springs for some time while doing repair work on his ailing coach. French clothing, cooking, customs and the naming of babies with French names became popular; and for a hile, the French way of life sprung up. the traditions and customs of the farm lad were giving way to the more broadened mind of other customs and ways of life.
In 1827, a great revival of religion took place in the Old White Church that touched and changed the lives of nearly everyone living here as Evangelist Charles Finney came to town and his lawyer-like reasoning about Christianity and a personal relationship with God silenced all opposition. But although all these activities were slowly changing the way of life of the New Lebanon farm lad and lass, it was the Tilden family that seemed to do the most to affect the youth.
Founded in 1824, and once hailed as the oldest medicine producer in the country, it continued to be a force in the world of health and happiness for 139 years until in 1963 it was sold to the Yates Pharmaceutical Company of New York City. A few short months, the doors were closed and the employees were saddened. The genius of the Tildens is gone and the site of the factories, just off Route 20, has been replaced with new eating places, antique shops and flea markets. The first Tilden factory was replaced by Jimmy D's Restaurant, while the second Tilden factory across the road was replaced by the Hitchingpost Cafe and novelty shops. The atmosphere of industry that some of the locals can remember with the driving of motors and the clang of tools and the shouting orders of foremen has long since given way to frightening soundlessness.
Elam Tilden, a good family man and a founder of the old White Church just across the street, was the founder of the company. He was born in the historic town of Lebanon Connecticut. Upon coming here with his parents, he was immediately impressed with the many beneficial poultices and brews made by the herb-growing Shakers on Mount Lebanon. They seemed so beneficial to man that he undertook their manufacture and sale.
Elam had three outstanding sons: Moses, Henry and Samuel. Moses carried on the farm work of his father, while Henry concerned himself with running the factory for his father, and Samuel got involved in politics and served as governor of New York from 1974 to 1876 when he ran for the presidency of the United States. Henry was a genius in his field and helped his father build the Tilden Company to national prominence.
In 1848, Henry introduced the first alcoholic fluid extract. He brought to his staff some of the finest minds in the world including Pierre Kauhpe who invented the first gelatin capsule, and also Prof. Henri Dussance who left the French Government's laboratories to devise many of the Tilden "firsts." In the 1850's, Henry, himself, removed the caffeine from coffee and made it into the powder. It became a great drink by adding sugar and dehyrated milk. This was sold to the Union Army during the Civil War.
In the years of the war, Mr. Tilden's operatives were discovered running the Union blockade into Confederate territory with consignments of "instant coffee" for the rebels. As a result, the Army of the Potomac cancelled its contract with the Tilden Company. No other source of powdered, bitterless coffee could be found and Henry Tilden was later begged by the Union quartermasters to resume the contract. Tilden replied that even if the government was to pay him $2 in gold for every pound, he still wouldn't provide the coffee.
In the meantime, up on Mount Lebanon a man by the name of Gail Borden had invented evaporated milk using the equipment for evaporation that the Shakers had devised. It staggers me to think of the leadership in foods that New Lebanon has provided American and the world.
The Tilden Company was not the first to make medicines in this area. They were first made in quantity by the New Lebanon Shakers who settled here following the Revolutionary War. This religious group was granted the status of "conscientious objector" in the days of warfare; but they spent much of their time serving their country in another way, that of finding herbal remedies for sickness. They literally found hundreds of plants that had medicinal value.
While the Shakers were able to produce the herbs and som eof the medicines, they lacked the knowledge of how to market the products. At this time a remarkable relationship occurred. Elam Tilden, one of the greatest salesmen in this country, came to know what the Shakers were doing because his land adjoined the Shaker land in their productive valley. Realizing the great potential of his new finding, he arranged to buy all the herbs the shakers could produce, and in turn he would sell them under his own name. Everyone propered and in time both the Shakers and the Tildens became failly rich.
Elam built a factory by permission on Shaker land exactly on the spot where Jimmy D's Restaurant is now located, while the office to the factory was in a separate building located across the main road at the junction of West Street and Route 20. This small building is standing today and houses the flower shop called Angels Trumpet. A third building was built close to the factory made of stone with iron bars across all the window openings. This gave the building the appearance of a jail and many living today thought that it was truly a jail, but it was where the drugs were stored while awaiting shipment to the railroad station first located at Edward's Crossing Station in Canaan, then later at the Harlem Division Station in New Lebanon as the track was extended to this station when the Corkscrew Division was extended here. People would steal drugs then as now, and this building was designed to prevent such activity.
Time has distorted the entire original Tilden plant. In 1893, this pharmaceutical manufacturing house was incorporated. Shortly after incorporation, it was found that a larger laboratory was needed; so in the winter of 1897-98, trees were cut from the Tilden property and sawed into lumber. Land was prepared for a new site across Route 20 at the spot where the small plaza called The Tilden Shops sits today. The timber was stored here.
When it came time for raising the framework of the new large laboratory, a "bee" was held and over 500 men and women came from everywhere in the Valley to help out. This proved to be the last bee ever to be held in this town. The workers were divided into two teams, each with a captain. One group quickly raised their side of the frame and added to it timber by timber. Thinking they were far ahead of the other group, they began to feel triumphant. Then they discovered that their opponents had fitted their frame together on the ground and were putting it up completed.
When the carpenters completed their work in the fall of 1898, Colonel Samuel Tilden II, son of Henry Tilden, put on a complimentary dance on October 6 in the second floor of the new laboratory attended by 800 guests. Music was furnished by a six-piece orchestra from Pittsfield. The first floor of the building was loaded with food and drinks, but no intoxicating liquor was permitted. The dancing continued until daylight the following morning. This was one of the three great festivities ever to be held in New Lebanon. The other two were: 1) in 1825 when General Lafayette was honored in Columbia Hall as he toured America at the expense of Congress for his part in fighting the Revolution; and 2) when Miss Eveline Hatch, the founder of the Wyomanock Seminary for Girls in 1858, was finally retired. The Hatch party began at the Congregational Church, and then because of the lack of space, it was moved to Columbia Hall and lasted all night. It must be getting near to the time when the people of New Lebanon will throw another of these super parties in honor of some outstanding citizen.
The laboratory of Tilden and Company lasted until 1963 when it was sold to the Yates Drug Company, Inc., of New York City and much of the local operation was moved to their place on 303 Lafayette Street.
When the New Tilden laboratory finally was finished in 1898, there was room to move the entire office from the old small building across from the firehouse to the laboratory. The finished products could be stored in a vault in the new building making everything much closer to the railroad station for global shipment. The stone building across Route 20 was abandoned. In time the office building was given to the Lebanon Valley Protective Association and the stone house was purchased by Jim Liles, dismantled and moved stone by stone to a place further back on Shaker Road where it was incorporated into his home and can be seen today.
In 1963 the Yates Drug Company sold the main laboratory to Hugh Spahn, a G.E. executive. He in turn sold the property to Mr. Donald Milne of New Lebanon, who planned to convert the plant for use in the manufacture of furniture. All these plans were dashed to pieces when in August of 1970 fire destroyed the entire plant. The last structure to be removed was the great water tank that stood nearby but was not hurt by the fire. It was razed by a bulldozer operated by Ralph Chittenden, a local contractor. The little office building across Route 20 from the modern fire station is all that remains today of the old Tilden Company buildings. Of course they stood for 173 years."
From "Along the Wyomanock Creek" by Rev. Ernest D. Smith
Beyond Stephentown: A One-Armed Fisherman
by Joyce Vanderbogart Stanga
Here’s a story my grandmother told me about her father, John Richard Smith, known as Dick. In the winter of 1889-1890, Dick injured his arm cutting ice. It became infected, and the following spring the doctor prepared to operate on it. Dick had an anesthesia, but when he woke up there had been no operation. The doctor told him, “we need to amputate that arm.” Dick replied, (in my grandmother’s words) “Why the H--- didn’t you do it then?” So he had a second anesthesia and the arm was removed.
Dick did not let the loss of an arm keep him from his favorite pastime of fishing. His cat Martha would go with him, and whenever Dick caught a fish, Martha would hold it with her paw while he removed the hook.
My grandmother then showed me an old newspaper clipping.
Mr. J.R. Smith of Lebanon has one arm only, but he is pretty good at trout fishing. It's no joke to fish with only one arm. People with two sometimes get tangled up in the bushes. Then, often times, they don't get any trout. Now, Mr. Smith never gets tangled up in the bushes, and he always gets trout. He holds the record for one-armed trout fisherman. He was out on Kinderhook creek the other day with a companion. He caught thirteen big trout all weighing over a pound. He manages the pole and line with great skill and casts into the trout pools accurately. When he gets a big trout on the hook, he pulls the fish out of the water and catches the trout between his knees. Long practice has made Mr. Smith an expert at this. Then he drops the pole, and skillfully unhooks his prize, baits the hook, and goes at it again. Mr. Smith's companion only got four small trout. Mr. Smith with his one arm always catches more and bigger trout than most men with two.
Then she explained the joke to me. The “thirteen big trout” all put together weighed a total of one pound.
New Lebanon Glass Company
"The Town of New Lebanon, where the New Lebanon Glass Works is located, on the Harlem Extension R.R. (New York and Montreal), in direct communication by rail with Albany, Troy, Boston, New York, and all the principle cities of the east and north".... so says a booklet printed in 1873 entitled "Glass-Ware."
Continuing on in the small catalogue, we quote,"Possessing every convenience for the manufacture of glass-ware in any color or style desired, and having access to the best sand mine in the country for the manufacture of glass, and having also a practical knowledge of the business, we feel confident of being able to meet the demands of the trade.
We would call special attention to the beauty and brilliance of our Green Glass which will equal, if not excell, any others manufactured in the country."
The New Lebanon Glass Works was located on what is today called Tilden Road. this is a short, dead-end road extending off the north from Route 20 behind the New Lebanon Library. At the very end of this road is the house of old Arthur Brown. Within 200 feet of the Brown house is the "muck hole," now called Brown's Pond. this was the site of the glass factory from 1873 to 1876.
The Tilden Shops made glass bottles long before 1873 for their own use in shipping, but that year the New Lebanon Glass Works apparently took over the bottle business of the Tilden Company although precise data is lacking. There was a freight house adjacent to the muck hole. The Glass Works had six furnaces and pots installed and employed fifty men making a capacity of 5000 to 6000 bottles a day in blue and natural aqua glass. It was the third and last glass factory in town.
The glass enterprise apparently failed and was taken over for a few years after 1876 by William H. White, who operated it until 1883, a period of seven years. On March 24, 1883, the Tilden Glass Works burned down and was never rebuilt.
I recently purchased the above bottle on an Ebay auction. This is a very large bottle, about 12" tall. The label is partially gone, but still quite readable. It reads "Nephritica" (above that looks like it might say "Tilden's", but that part of the label is gone). The words "trade mark" are next, followed by a drawing of the Tilden Factory. Then "The Tilden Company New Lebanon, N.Y. followed by Branch: St. Louis, MO"
The bottom of the bottle has, in raised letters, TILDEN. The cork is partially present, broken off at the edge of the top.
Begordius Hatch"Farm Boy-Heroic Giant"
"The earliest days of Begordius Hatch are lost in history. He was among the first white men to come to this town to live, but there were many before him. He came here in 1762, only six years after James Hitchcock was carried here to bathe in the spring, Montepoole, for healing. Many others had come to this place because the soil was rich for farming.
Begordius was born near Old Fort Ticonderoga where his parents were massacred by Indians when the boy was only about four years old.
These Indians who were so warlike and so quick to use the tomahawk were not of the peaceful Mohican tribe which we have found on the Hudson, but were of the aggressive tribes who remained in Canada and joined with the French against the early American settlers.
Beforgius escaped the massacre with an older brother whose name has been lost, but who was believed to be about age 14. We are without any information where the children went after the massacre or who took care of them, but the family history does give the older boy credit for accepting the responsibility of caring for his brother until the age of fourteen. At that time the youner was "bound out" to a man by the name of Daniel Griffin, who had built a house on West Hill in what would someday be New Lebanon. To be "bound out" in those days was similar to being sold as a slave. The orphaned Begordius worked for Griffin until early in 1775 when the first reports reached him of the battles at Lexington and Concord. That same fall, as he became more and more exasperated with the slave-like treatment given him by "Old Griffin," he heard that a recruiting officer was in Albany signing up volunteers for the armies of General George Washington.
One morning a short time late, Griffin handed the youth a three-dollar Continental note and told him to walk to Pittsfield, nine miles away, and purchase a pair of hand-cards for opening and breaking flax, a common practice in every household at that time. This young patriot, however, walked down the lane (which West Hill was at that time), cut a stick, split it at the top, inserted the bill in the split, and placed the stick in the ground where Griffin could readily see it. With that done, he began walking to Albany, 25 miles away, to enlist in the Continental Army. Later that afternoon, Griffin went into what is now New Lebanon Center where he learned that Begordius had been seen walking toward Albany. Griffin lit out after him on horseback and about 3 p.m. found his servant in a recruiting office already enlisted and enjoying the acquaintance of several other volunteers in an inn at what is now Rensselaer, waiting for transportation to New York.
The furious Griffin threatened the proprietress of the inn with legal proceedings for harboring a runaway minor whose services had been bound tohim and demanded a key to a room wherein he locked Bogordius. The boy's friends called Griffin a Tory and threatened him with bodily harm until the youth intervened and told them of an easier way out of the difficulty. Griffin would get drunk if someone treated him. This they accordingly did, took the key from Griffin's pocket, released their friend, and that evening sailed down the Hudson on a barge to New York.
The fall found Begordius Hatch on the hills overlooking Boston, and when the British evacuated that city for New York in March 1776, Begordius marched with General Washington's army to intercept them. Half of the army entrenced on Brooklyn Heights and the other half, under General Sullivan, was sent by Washington to hold back the British advance from Staten Island. Begordius Hatch was with the latter unit. The Americans were overwhelmed by about 25, 000 British but most of them, including young Hatch, escaped at night across the river during a dense fog. Also about this time, Hatch went to see his married sister living in New York but found her to be such a furious Tory that she would not let him into her home. Then followed the battles of White Plains and the retreat across New Jersey; Brandywine, where he was slightly wounded; Germantown; the corssing of the Deleware; more fighting at Princetown and Tenton; and the terrible winter at Valley Forge. Begordius Hatch played an important part in the battle of Trenton when, after crossing the Delaware, an officer asked for 300 volunteers but did not say for what purpose. When no one responded, Hatch stepped forward and the rest soon followed. These 300 went out ahead of the main forces, caught 300 Hessians napping and captured them before Washington arrived; thus starting the Continentals on their way to an overwhelming victory that not only revived the drooping spirits of the Americans, but alarmed the British as well.
At this point during his army service, hatch was reported to have come across a group of soldiers attempting to right a cannon that had been upset. When they were unsuccessful, the sotry is told that the powerful young Hatch singlehandedly lifted the cannon into an upright position so it could be moved. He was also present at Monmouth when General Washington removed General Charles Lee from command in the midst of battle for traitorous conduct, and Begordius said later that Washington's words 'were anything but pious.'
After the cannon incident which was witnessed by Washington, it is reported that the General used him for a personal bodyguard. Hatch so loved freedom that everytime his short-term enlistments expired, he in turn re-enlisted despite his being poorly and infrequently paid. Victory finally came at Yorktown in 1781 and he was mustered out in 1782 after seven years service, leaving without his final pay.
After being mustered out, hatch walked 160 miles back to the Lebanon Valley where he married his childhood sweetheart, Deborah Gray. It was said that his inventoried assets at the time of marriage were only two suits of clothes, an everyday suit and a wedding suit. (Married about 1792 in Canaan)
As wife and mother, Deborah was a noble woman and she had a noble husband. They became parents of thirteen children - Dorastus, Eli, Edward, John, Philander, Solomon, Eber, Lucy, Chloe, Alma, Civiah, Luena and Polly. Begordius was a hard-working farmer, and in time new feats of tremendous strength were attributed on him. On his farm, back from West Street, still exists a well 70 to 80 feet deep said to have been dug by his own hand and lined with cobblestones. Another time he is reported to have replaced a boulder on a stone boat after two men with iron bars had bailed to budge it. Again at a barn raising, when he was well advanced in years, some of the men present agreed that when it came time to life a heavy beam they would all pretend to do so, but they actually let all the load fall onto the broad shoulders of Begordius. to thier astonishment, he lifted it into place as easily as could be with an admonition about 'having fun at the expense of other people.'
Begordius Hatch died May 24, 1836, and his wife expired May 6, 1841. Both were buried in a small private graveyard a quarter mile north of their home, and their remains along with 21 other members of the family were reinterred in the present site in 1857. For years the little plot was neglected, the stones toppled and brush overgrew the graves. Then a Watervliet school teacher started a campaign in which thousands of school children contriubted a penny toward restoration of the plot. This was accomplished in 1941 by Lebanon Valley state and county officials with the assistance of teachers, clergy, and a Troy contractor.
Today, one can still read the epitaph over the last remains of this giant Revolutionary hero - 'Begordius Hatch, died May 24, 1836, aged 74 years, 9 months and 24 days. He was a soldier of the Revolution, a life how useful to his country led, how loved when living, how revered now dead.'
There were many heroes of the War for Independence; George Washington, Nathan Hale, Lafayette, and John Paul Jones. Begordius Hatch is entitled to be classed with them.
In a little booklet on Bogordius written by his grandson, Henry J. Rowley, I found the following, and I quote, 'My life thus far, has been hard, perilous, disheartening, Father and Mother massacred. A bound-out slave to a man whose only interest in me is what my unrequited labor profits him. What are these brawny arms and these strong legs for, but for myself? Whoever had a better right that I to own myself; and what he earns. The law that binds me to servitude, shall hold me no longer. 'The wages of sin,' as the old chopped saying goes, 'may be death' but the wages of life, thus far to me, are not worth the living. Besides, my country wants liberty, and so do I. So, good-by old Griffin. I will see you later. And he died."
This historian has tried to give you a little of the life of one of the earliest residents of New Lebanon, He was honest, patriotic, hard-working, and true to the best that any community could produce in those days. His children seem to be of the same mold. Their 13 children have been previously named. Their children would be third generation. There was Dorastus, born Feb. 13, 1786; he married Deborah Knapp and they had nine children: Alpha L. b. June 24, 1808; Amanda M. born January 23, 1810; Delincia P. born March 1, 1812; Lucy S. born February 25, 1814; Esther S., born January 18, 1816; Erastus B., born July 7, 1818, Prudence A., born May 16, 1823; Joseph M., born June 3, 1821; and Carolina born March 15, 1825; these were all grandchildren.
The second child of Begordius was Eli; he married Esther Haskell and they had four children; Joseph, William, Lucy Ann and Maryette. All except Lucy Ann died early in life.
The third son, Edward married Margaret Alger and they had six children: Matilda, born September 11, 1814; Edward N. born June 26, 1817; Deborah R., born March 5, 1819; Louisa A. born January 6, 1823; Maria M. born November 26, 1829; and John Eber, born May 26, 1832. All died early in life without leaving great grandchildren.
The fourth son, John, married Polly Tyler and they had ten children named: George W., James B., John Henry, Nathan, Orcelia, Mary Ann, Harriett, Rachel, Nellie, and Nettie. four of them died very early in life.
John's son John Henry b. 1845 d. 1885; m. in 1870 to Hattie Jenks of Stephentown. Their children were: Walter of Lebanon Springs and George of Lebanon Springs.
The fifth son, named Philander, married Polly Conklin and they had six children: Edward, John, William Henry, Mary, Nancy and Lucy. John and William live to older age.
Philander died April 26, 1876 at 74 years old. Polly died June 27, 1852 at 50 years. They are both buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, in Stephentown.
Philander's sons appeared on the 1880 Stephentown Census -
John C. 48; Lucy Ann 42; Nora 10; Berton 6; Ida M. 4.
William H. 42; Louisa 40; William K. 9.
The sixth son, Solomon, married Lucy Rudd. There were only two children: Marcellinus and Cynthia Eveline. Marcellinus died quite young in life, but Cynthia never married. She became known throughout the field of education as a remarkable teacher and scholar. In New lebanon she founded the Wyomanock Seminary for Girls, of which we will learn more later.
The seventh son, Eber, married a Gillette girl and they had two children, but both died early.
Begordius and Deborah had six daughters as well as the seven sons. The first daughter, Chloe, married an Owen and they had five children named Joseph, Franklin, John Anson and Emeline. All died early.
The second daughter, Alma, married another Owen by name of Solomon. They had five children: Ira, Silas, Caroline, Elvira and Didama. Only Silas and Didama lived any length of time. There were other grandchildren, but I have not been able to find them all. As the years have passed, most of the Hatch's that stayed in New Lebanon did not move far from West Street and West Hill. Most of the children who attended the District School on West Hill were related or descendants of Begordious. As of today in 1996, a Hatch of the 6th generation lives with his wife on West Hill named Ward Hatch, a prosperous businessman of this town. Many Hatch's live in the surrounding towns of Canaan, Stephentown and Nassau.
The Hatch best known to this author lives in Brainard by the name of Florence Roberts. She is a seventh generation from Begordius and Deborah. No other early family has contributed more people to this area than have the Hatch's. A book could be written of their accomplishments."
NOTE FROM TINA: As a high school student, I would catch the school bus, along with many of my neighbors, at the corner of Route 22 and Lover's Lane. That is also the corner where Ward Hatch's appliance store was and still is. During the winter, Mr. Hatch would open his show room to all of us, so we could be warm while waiting for the bus to pick us up. It is a kindness that I have never forgotten.
Dr. Moses Younglove was born in Connecticut but moved to New Lebanon here in 1783. He married Polly Patterson whose sister was the grandmother of Samuel J. Tilden. He relocated to Hudson, NY, where he set up his practice. He was an early advocate of smallpox vaccination and built a "pest house" for sufferers of the disease. While Dr. Hosack and Dr. Waterhouse received the publicity and fame for the develpment of smallpox vaccination, Dr. Younglove had already been experimenting along these same lines for a considerable period of time. He was a member of the assembly and legislature. As a soldier he fought in the Mohawk War and was at the side of General Herkimer when Herkimer was wounded. The General gave him his sword. He is buried in Hudson, NY. (from Lebanon Valley Historical Album, Volume II 1986)
The following account comes from Moses Younglove's Declaration to the Continental Congress, Dated December 29, 1777 and was signed by John Barclay, Chairman
Moses Younglove, surgeon of General Herkimer's Brigade of Militia deposeth and saith that being in the Battle of said Militia above Oriskie (sic) on the 6th of August lst, towards the close of said Battle surrendered himself prisoner to a savage who immediately gave him up to a serjeant of Sir John Johnson's Reg. soon after which a Lieutenant in the Indian Department came up in Company with several other Tories when said Lieutenant, McGinnis by name, drew his tomhawk(sic) at the Deponent and with a great deal of persuasion was hardly prevailed on to spare his life, he then plundered him of his watch, buckles, spurs and other Tories following the example stripped him almost naked with a great many threats while they were stripping and massacreeing (sic) prisoners on every side. That the deponent on being brought before M. Butler Senior was asked what he was fighting for to which the Deponent answered for the Liberty that God and Nature gave him and to defend himself and dearest Connections from the Massacree of Savages to which Butler answered you are a damn impudent rebel and so saying immediately turned to the Savages encouraging them to kill him and if they would not do it, the deponent and the other Prisoners should be Hanged on the Gallows then erecting. That several Prisoners were then taken forward, toward the enemies Head Quarters with frequent scenes of Horror and Massacree in which Tories were Active as well as Savages and in particular one Davis formerly known on the Mohawk River. That ieut. Singleton of Sir John Johnson's Reg. being wounded entreated the Savages to kill the Prisoners which they did accordingly and as nigh as the Deponent can Judge about six or seven.
That Isaac Paris, esq. was also taken and led by the savages the same road, without receiving from them any remarkable insult except stripping untill some Tories came up who kicked and abused him, after which the Savages thinking him a Notable Offender murdered him barbarously. That those of the prisoners who were delivered up to the Provost Guard were kept without Victuals for many days and had neither clothes, blankets, shelter or fire while the guards were ordered not to use any violence in protecting the prisoners from the savages who came every day in large companies with knives and feeling the prisoners to know who was the fattest. That they dragged one of the prisoners out withthe most lamentable cries, tortured him for a long time and the deponent was informed by both Tories and Indians, that they eat (sic) him as appeared they did another on an Island in Lake Ontario by bones newly picked found there just after they crossed the Lake with prisoners. That the prisoners who were not delivered up were murdered in considerable numbers from day to day round the camp some of them so night that their shrieks were heard. That Cap. Martin of the Barreau Men was delivered to the indians at Oswego on pretnece of his having kept back some useful intelligence. That the Deponent during his confinement as well as his fellow prisoners were almost starved for the want of Provisions, and what they drew was of the worst kind such as spoiled flour, biscuit full of maggots and mouldy, and were not allowed any soap to clean themselves, and the deponent further says that they were insulted, struck and harred (sic) without mercy by the guards, and no provocation given them by the prisoners. That a Hessian Corporal in New York Harbour beat this deponent and several other prisoners with a large club, and on being reproved for so doing by a prisoner in the German language, answered that it was nothing in comparison of the flogging the prisoners were continually exposed to in the City, and this Deponent farther (sic) says that he was informed by several Serj. Orderly on Gen. St. Ledger that twenty dollars were offered in Gen. orders for every Sculp. (sic) of the Americans.
Signed Moses Younglove
Sworn before me in Committee
Albany 29th December 1777
John Barclay, Chairman
JONAS ODELL AND THE INDIANS
This is the story as we have it from a great I don't know how many times, grandaughter written in 1975. Jonas Odell ( born 14 Feb 1773) was born somewhere near Albany. New York. His father was Jackson (or Jonas) Odell born about 1733 in Stephenson (I think this is supposed to be Stephentown as there is no Stephenson New York) and married to a Mary/. Jackson, (or Jonas) born 1733, we think Stephentown, had two small sisters, names unknown. He had seen his parents scalped by the Indians and their cabin burned in the early days of New York. He and his two little sisters were kidnapped. The little girls were put into an empty feather tick and slung over the horses back. The boy, Jonas (or Jackson) was tied on the horse. They were forced to travel day and night in this manner. Miraculousely, Jackson (or Jonas), escaped and made his way back to a white settlement by traveling at nght and sitting in the branches of trees high above the ground during the day to avoid detection. He lived on berries and roots. He was the only survivor of his family for his little sisters were never heard from again.
For our Jonas born 1773, we have no record of any other brothers or sisters, nor do we for his father Jackson (or Jonas) born in Stephentown. We think the father of Jackson (or Jonas) was Jonas married to Hannah but we do not know their history or exact dates or places. What we do know is that our Jonas born 1773 in we think, Cambridge, Albany, New York, did marry a Lucy Matilda Weaver from the Rhode Island Weavers in 1783 in Cambridge, Albany, New York. They had a family( including my ancester Phoebe Odell who marries Samuel Merrill ) and he, Jonas, died in Genesee, Albany, New York in 1804, killed by Indians. Lucy was pregnant with their last child, another Jonas. I know this isn't much to go on....but if anyone knows how they might tie into Odell's in the cemetary there in Stephentown....I would love it. I just can't imagine that if they were born there, that in a town that small, there is not a connection. I did find a Jonas Odell family living in Oneida, Westmoreland, New York in the 1800 US Federal Census, that seems to have the same children, boys to girls and wife's ages etc. to fit our Jonas born 1773, and Oneida is in line with their movement west across the state, but I can't be sure. Cross your fingers for a memory, Jeanie
Miss Hatch and the Wyomanock Seminary
Wyomanock Seminary is now only a memory, but it was just about 100 years ago that this little town, New Lebanon, had one of the most famous female seminaries in the whole country. Had fire not struck when it did, the area around the residence of Harold Hicks in West Lebanon would today be noted not for a lumber yard, but for its ivy covered college campus with the winding Wyomanock making its way through the center of the grounds, and college students lazily studying in the campus chairs on either bank.
We nearly had such a place, but a permanent college was not to be. Our ever present enemy, fire, settled the matter.
In 1858, before the Civil War, and with Shakerism at its height, a little lady was seen to ride throughout the Valley. No one could remember seeing her before. She was dressed in a long skirt which hung to the ankles and she had on that old-fashioned bonnet which was old even a hundred years ago. She dressed always with white gloves, but she washed them daily because those horse reins were always sweaty. For the next twelve years, it was a common sight to see this lovely little lady riding in her wagon behind her horse as she enjoyed what she called the greatest little valley on earth.
With her own funds, she bought the land on which now rests the West Lebanon Fire House. Thank God she wasn't encumbered with zoning and ordinances designed to keep the Valley exclusive, and so she had built a little building in which she boarded twelve girls and had twelve more as day students from the Valley area. Miss Hatch's School was started. Her name was Eveline Hatch, no relation to the Hatches here now (NOTE: probably an assumption on the author's part). She never married, but in a sense was married to her school. During the Civil War, while the boys went off to battle, the girls learned culture and social ability as well as reading and math. This place began to rival Columbia Hall for its social events.
Harold Hicks could not have kept his mind on his work had he lived there then, because on either side of the dirt road in front of the school, there were cedar rail fences on which the girls like to play. The top rails were always being knocked off as the girls frolicked with their teeter boards. Pictures of the old days show the girls teetering on these boards hung across the cedar fence.
After the war, Miss Hatch incorporated her school as Wyomanock Seminary and built a very large addition to the building. It now was a scene of weekly activity to which the boys returning from the North-South conflict were invited under strict rules. The dances were the great highlights of the life of the community, which had become accustomed to the pale social life of the Shaker influence. Ransom Gillet's father, and the Rev. John McVey of the Congregational Church were appointed trustees, and gave the school a high prestige.
In January of 1867, fire changed everything. Miss Hatch lost her great love. No lives were lost although it was in the dead of winter and in the middle of the night. Tribute was paid to one of the girls who awakened and smelled smoke. She very calmly got up and finding the fire, went up and down the halls on every level, awakening the girls with the subdued statement, “Girls, this building is on fire.” Howard Gillet, who was living when this tale was written (and then the oldest member of the Congregational Church in New Lebanon), remembered his mother telling how that girl remained so calm. She would say that it was because of her that no lives were lost.
Then, who should come to the rescue but the Tilden family. They made their home across from the Church. That house was the birthplace of Samuel Tilden, the Governor of New York at one time and the house was where the Unity Lodge now stands. The place was made available to Miss Hatch, but the school was never the same. The building was too small, and in 1869 the school moved to a brick building, but the schoolteacher in the beloved bonnet resigned. Her love had died.
She was given a going away party attended by all the town, a party which has seldom been matched. It was called “Literary Festival” of its day. All day the people partied and gave her tribute at the beautifully decorated White Church (Congregational Church), and then in the evening the scene changed to Columbia Hall (in Lebanon Springs) where the great of the day paid tribute and danced to her honor under the candlelit chandeliers.
Miss Hatch traveled for ten years in Europe and in America but in 880, she returned to her school which had been operating with other leaders. Some who had graduated were Susie Tilden, Mary Finch, Emily Mosher, Sarah Haight, Addie Tilden, Ella Gazlay and Mary Wood. Olive Hand enrolled in 1880.
However, in 1885, unable to fully recover from the effects of the fire, and with the death of devoted leaders, the nationally-known school had to close. From around the world letters came with gifts to keep the school open, but the spirit and love of Miss Hatch could not be matched, and it was this spirit which was needed.
The social life of the girls' school is gone, so also are the hard working, anti-social Shakers. The Tilden mansion burned, Columbia Hall was razed and the big brick second home of the the Seminary has given way to a bank. All that is left with any connection with Miss Hatch is the establishment of the church, and that almost passed away, but history is here, and with a new generation perhaps will come a new Miss Hatch, with a different bonnet but with the same spirit.
(Valley Tales II by Rev. Ernest D. Smith)