Old Warwick Valley and the Ways of Its People.

By Donald M. Barrell

Warwick Valley Dispatch

July 16, 1975

Transcribed by Jackie Canevari

January 2004


Wawayanda Patent Dispute


            Not so many people remember the old razor edged rock that stuck up across the Hogback Road to the lower end of Greenwood Lake. It showed distinctly the pressure ridge or fault line in the earth’s surface here. Many caves, dens, ledges, and fissures were occupied by ill-tempered rattlesnakes, copperheads and vicious animals, particularly wolves and panthers. It divided the settlers also. The Cheesekook settlers settled on the east and south of this ridge and the Wawayanda settlers settled on the west and north, taking in the fertile Wawayanda Valley. The Cheesekook people looked with envious eyes on the Wawayanda’s rich land and tried many times to acquire it.


            In the 1770’s they planned a concerted raid on old Tom DeKay’s land. However he heard of the action and called upon his good friend Adam Wisner for help. Adam and his men hid in the nearby woods and as the Jersey men became insistent and rough in their demands Adam and his party sallied forth with stout clubs to join DeKay. Their clubs were swung so furiously and accurately that the Jersey man soon took to the woods and the DeKay and Wisner combination drove them over the mountains. They never returned to claim any land.


            The Wawayanda-Cheesekook Land Patent Case, held in Chester in 1786 gave a final decision on the land lines. At that time Adam Wisner was 86 years old and gave the most noteworthy testimony. He chuckled as he said he may have spent some time in the stocks for his violence at the DeKay raid. The hearing was held in the Yelverton Inn Barn in Chester, the tavern was not large enough. It was under the jurisdiction of Aaron Burr, Attorney General and Commissioner of Public Lands for the State of New York. It required five or six meetings, from May 19 to Oct. 15th, 1785. Alexander Hamilton was consul for the Wawayanda Patentees and Elias Buodinot of old Elizabethtown, New Jersey was in charge of the Cheesekook Patentees. Some 50 to 60 old men living in the land under dispute, were called in to give their understanding of what was meant by the vague description of the boundary lines. Thirty-five testified for Wawayanda and eighteen testified for Cheesekook.


            Due to the skillful handling of the case by Alexander Hamilton the Wawayanda patentees acquired 75,000 acres more land. Hamilton at this time was in dire need of money. He filed a bill for services and expenses for $675, but was never paid a cent.

His wife Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of old Phillip had to make use of all her Dutch housewife skill to keep the family together. From this time on the valley flourished as told by the many community and family stories accurate and true but not complete.


Outstanding Families


            There were many outstanding families with few records. This is a story of the Warwick Valley and two its early families during an important history making period. The wars seemed to be over, at least for the time being, and thoughts were turned to local development. The story really should have been written eighty to a hundred years ago while some of the leading characters were still living, for they would have enjoyed the telling of their activities.


            The canal idea fell through when the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company was unable to raise funds to buy the right of way to start their canal to the Pennsylvania coal fields. But Grinnell Burt and his associates had little trouble raising funds for a railroad and the Warwick Valley Railroad was puffing between Warwick and Greycourt in 1860 just one year later, which connected the Erie west and east to New York City and a train to meet every train on the Eire, as long as Grinnell Burt lived. It was a big boom to the Valley as all farm products were increased immediately and Orange County milk, butter and cheese became famous along with the Hambletonian trotters.


            However our story really starts much earlier with the birth and marriage of our leading characters. William L Benedict (7) was the son of William (6), James (5), James (4), James (3), John (2), Thomas (1), the first Benedict in America in 1638. On Feb. 26, 1835, William L. Benedict married Phoebe Burt, third daughter of Benjamin Burt and Elizabeth Ketcham of Bellvale. They had sixteen children, Eliza, Charles, Thomas, Frances, James Burt, Clara, Gilbert, Howard, William, Almira, Fredrick, Fannie H., Louis, Elizabeth, Clarence and Mabel. All grew to manhood and womanhood. Two boys died in the Civil War.


            The Benjamin Burt and Elizabeth Ketcham Family consisted of nine children and all lived to an old age. They were Mary, Hannah, Phoebe, Elizabeth, Cordelia, Thomas, Grinnell, Monroe and Coe. Mary married first to Joel Benedict then to William Herreck. Hannah never married. If she had we might not have had our story for she is our heroine. Phoebe married William L. Benedict and Elizabeth never married. Cordelia married a Mr. Abbie who was minister. Thomas, for many years, was treasurer of the Warwick Savings Bank and Warwick Cemetery Association. Grinnell was a builder of the Warwick Valley Railroad and associated with railroads all his life. He was also on the commission that built the Poughkeepsie railroad bridge and on the board of control of the State Hospital at Middletown. However his pet was the Warwick Valley Railroad. Monroe was on the Fremont Expedition to the northwest and kept a diary describing the terrible hardships of the party. It was in a little black book about 3 x 4 written in lead pencil. It was in the possession of his daughter “May” who married Mr. Will Jessup of Florida, N.Y. [Ed. note: attempts have been made to find this journal, but we have been unable to document his presence on any Fremont expedition to date.  However, he traveled to California during the gold rush, and was a founded and named the city of Oroville, CA.  Articles written about him appeared in the newsletter “Diggins” of the Butte County Historical Society, and copies have been placed at the Albert Wisner Public Library—2004, sg]


Rattlesnake Bite


            Coe Burt went to northern California where he was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake. He immediately cut the bite open with his knife, sucked the poison out and had no ill effects from the bite. It was recorded that Coe Burt planted the first orange tree in northern California that lived and grew. It became a hardy tree that was taken over by the California Horticultural Society and protected to produce a hardy strain.


            In 1840, the most interesting conversation could be stopped immediately by the mention of the name Marietta. For all present had relatives, friends or dear ones on their way to the far west in covered wagon trains, Marietta, Ohio was the last point from which they might receive news, for many months, years or possible never again.


            The Burt homestead is now the “Iron Forge” eating establishment at Bellvale. In its time it was the scene of many social gatherings. It was also the scene of a near tragedy. Hannah Burt when about 14 to 16 years of age, fell down the cellar stairs with a crock of milk and cut her arm severely. Tetanus set in and it was a miracle that her life was saved. She was more than five years recovering but during this time she was planning and perfecting a project she had in mind for some time. She told no one, for she knew her family would have strong objections. One day she went to New York and after a few days considerations, leased a house on Lafayette Place. It was her plan to start a home boarding house for long term patrons. There were no big hotels as yet and the idea seemed good to her. The location seemed ideal for such a place. Lafayette Place was one block east of Broadway and her house was a block or two south of Union Square. A busy part of the city at the time, it was just a few blocks from the residential Greenwich Village. Hannah Burt’s venture was a complete success from the start and in a few years she bought the place. In just a few years more she acquired the property next adjoining and cut doorways to connect the two houses. Her patronage was of the best and a list of her famous people is almost unbelievable. The frail country girl is now a shrewd business woman. Her idea of home-like surroundings brought her the class of patronage she wanted. It is interesting to know who some of her patrons were. The list, so far, as it goes is correct but there were celebrities of which we have no record, Jefferson Davis, with wife and daughter were with her for more than a year, long before the Confederacy of course. Here came Phineas Taylor Barnum of museum and circus fame. The Italian Prime Donna Madam Ristorer with her two sons Mario and George Maraoini. You will hear about these two boys at the Home School in Warwick. Here was Paul du Chillu the French African explorer and author of DARKEST AFRICA. (He taught my grandmother, Eliza Benedict, French so that she was able to teach it in the Home School.) It was here at Lafayette Place that my grandmother [Eliza Benedict Hornby, author of “Under Old Rooftrees] met and married Charles E. Hornby, an Englishman, who played a French Horn or Cornet in Jenny Lind’s orchestra when she came to this country. Among my grandmother’s mementoes was a tiny handkerchief that had once belonged to “Sweet Jenny Lind” as she was almost always called.


Doctor House

            Another important guest at Hannah Burt’s and important indeed to our story was Doctor House, a very highly educated man, possibly a missionary held in very high regard by the royal family of Siam. He had been the tutor at Oxford of the young king of Siam, named Culilongkorn II. Dr. House was at Hannah Burt’s house with two Siamese boys for schooling in America, Prince Kaun, son of the kind and Bonit, son of the Treasurer of Siam. Hannah Burt recommended that they go to the Home School at Warwick. Thus it was that the two students came from the other side if the world and created a friendly international incident some twelve years later.


            All seems well at Lafayette Place so we will go back to Warwick to catch up with the doings there. One day Grinnell Burt received some alarming news and hastened with all speed to New York and rushed into the Lafayette Place House, calling loudly, “Hannah! Hannah! Where are you?” Hannah came from the next room and said “Why Grinnell, what is the matter? Grinnell said a little gruffly, “Matter enough. Matter enough. Hannah have you got investments with this man Tweed? If so you will lose every cent.” Hannah smiled a little and said, “I have, Mr. Tweed was always a perfect gentleman with me. I got my money back long ago. He paid me seventeen and a half percent.” Grinnell fumbled for his hat and left without another word. It was quite evident sister Hannah could take care of herself. Of course this happened long before Boss Tweed had acquired the title of the Arch Swindler of New York City for he certainly was and died in Ludlow Street Jail in 1869. Boss Tweed and Claudius Smith would now and then do a kind or honest act to throw their pursuers off their track.


12 Day Walk Upstate


            During the early summer of 1824 a party of relatives started on an ox drawn covered wagon trip to visit the family of Benjamin Burt of Cheminy. Sally Benedict, sister of William L, was in the party. She was a very little girl for her age, about 16 and our only record came from her. The trail was so rough no one could ride and they had to walk both ways it took twelve days each way. Their provision wagon was attacked every night by animal after their meat.


            The town of Elmira was named for Benjamin Burt’s little daughter. As a little girl someone gave Sally Benedict a sheet of paper about 6 x 8 and of good quality. She thought it was beautiful and never had an occasion important enough to use it. It was among her treasures 70 years later when she passed away. As a young man William L. Benedict joined the old Thirtieth New York Regiment. It was no doubt one of those regiments formed by the action of the Provincial Congress of August 22, 1775. It required that every county, city and precinct be divided by the local committees so that each district should have a company of men between the ages of eighteen and fifty years and to consist of eighty-three men. It contained one captain, four corporals, one clerk, one drummer and one fifer. A regiment was to consist of not more than ten companies or less than five. In it one Colonel, one Lieutenant Colonel, two Majors, one Adjutant and one quartermaster.


Soldering in 1837

            The Warwick Company at this time, a part of the 30th Regiment, was known as the New York State Thirtieth Regiment of Militia, 19th Brigade, Fifth Division Infantry. It was commanded by Colonel William Houston. William Lewis Benedict was appointed Adjutant of the Warwick Company. His commission was signed by Governor William L. Marcy. Among Mr. Benedict’s papers at death was found this old Muster Roll of 1837 for the Warwick Company. Muster Roll 1837:


“The company will convene at the home of J. C. Welling in the Village of Warwick on August 25th and at Edenville on September 25th for important instruction in military discipline.


William L. Benedict, Adjutant

William W. Houston     Colonel

Austin A. Webb, Surgeon

Charles C. Wheeler, Captain

Anthony P. Carr, Lieutenant

William S. Drake, Ensign

Henry B. Wisner, Captain

Townsend Wright, Lieutenant

Thomas Sly, Ensign

James B. Wood, Captain

Abner Benedict, Lieutenant

Oscar B. Welling, Ensign

Thomas S. Nanny, Captain

Norman Nanny, Lieutenant

William L. Benedict, Adjutant

Thomas S. Edsel, Dr. Master

Orlando A. Smith, Pay Master

Joseph Bell, Sargent Major

William Penny, Dr., Master Sargent

Elisha Bull, 1st Sargent

Richard Johnson, 2nd Sargent

William H. Houston, 3rd Sargent

Abraham L. Nanny, 4th Sargent

James J. Bertholf, 1st Sargent

John Hazen, 2nd Sargent

John W. Bertholf, 3rd Sargent

Henry Smith, 4th Sargent

Robert Bill, 1st Sargent

John D. Smith, 2nd Sargent

Joseph S. Carpenter, 4th Sargent

Edward Coleman, 1st Sargent

John M. Ferrier, 2nd Sargent

Andrew Wood. Ensign

Samuel Goble, Captain

John Thomson, Lieutenant

William Roe, Ensign

Alsop V. Aspell, Captain

Jacob D. Rude , Lieutenant

William VanBrunt, Ensign

Samuel W. Clason, Captain

John DeKay, Lieutenant

John McCain, Ensign

John V. Swan, 3rd Sargent

Henry W. Wisner, 1st Sargent

Cornelius J. Sharter, Sargent

Steven D. Howell, 3rd Sargent

David R. Feagles, 4th Sargent

John R. Wood, 1st Sargent

Daniel P. Onderdonk, 2nd Sargent

Joseph Hetwell, 3rd Sargent

Amos Hyatt, 1st Sargent

Thomas W. Horton, 1st Sargent

Melvin R. Horton, 2nd Sargent

Samuel Pelton




Miremus C. Lewis, Fife major

Charles Winn, Fifer

Nathan Hail, Fifer

Isaac Stage, Fifer

John S. Camp, Fifer

Gillian Bertholf, Drum Major

Gabriel Welling, Drummer

Asa Vail, Drummer

William Welch, Drummer

Andrew Winn, Drummer


            The original of this list in the handwriting if Adjutant William L. Benedict was deposited in the Warwick Historical Society’s archives by Mrs. May H. Barrell about 1935.  This was known as General Training and was continued for a long time. In the summer months it was held outside with formation marching, charges and much activity.


Fencing Master


            During the winter it was held inside with fencing and defensive instruction. Mr. Benedict was just an average large man, but he was very strong in his hands, wrists and arms. For that reason he was made Fencing Master and drills were held in this requirement.

            At one of the drills, one of the men became impatient awaiting his turn. When it came, he rushed Mr. Benedict, without waiting for any instruction and his trusts and jabs were dangerous. After a few minutes, Mr. Benedict could tell by the man’s eyes that he was dangerous and by a quick movement, disarmed the man and he was never allowed to fence again. That night Mr. Benedict told his wife that he knew he had to fight for his life that night.

            Mr. Benedict was on the school board for many years and was Town Clerk for the years 1838 to 1842. He was in the Assembly for the years 1846 to 1847 with William Henry Seward, later Secretary of State under Lincoln and of Alaska fame. When away from home he wrote his wife voluminous letters and would enclose poems, sonnets and charades dedicated to her. He was a director of the Highland Bank of Newburgh and for a time Secretary of the Warwick Valley Railroad. He was one of the earliest promoters of milk production and better farm prices.


Tavern keeper


            It was most regrettable that so few records were kept of our old historical characters. We wish to tell of Tm Ward and it is not enough to simply say he was a tavern keeper. No one seems to know where he came from or anything about his family but the fact remains he was so popular and successful, leads us to believe he came from the Ramapo Pass area. For it was a training ground for tavern keepers and there were Wards there. Tom was not a fat man, but was very wide between the hips and heavy. It was a wonder that his activity as a hunter and roamer of the woodlands didn’t keep his weight down more. He was a jovial man and has many friends. It was said that he usually sat on two rugged chairs at the tavern and that the floor creaked and groaned as he walked around. He ran the Wawayanda Hotel for years and became so popular and well known in the valley, it would have been strange to mention one without the other.

Along in 1840 to 1843 an Englishman appeared in Warwick. Wishing to hunt in the Woodlands, he soon found his way to the old tavern and Tom Ward, seeking information. He was a little haughty and superior. Before a half a dozen words had been spoken, Tom had a mug of ale before him and had him sized up for an English sportsman. A strange friendship was building up. For Tom Ward, was an uneducated tavern keeper, was leading the conversation and talking freely with a highly educated man of the world. From that day one Henry William Herbert spent more time in the company of Tom Ward than any other single place. Loud laughter and guffaws from the tavern meant that a tall story contest was on and that Tom Ward was in the lead. It seemed that every story told welded ever stronger the friendship that was to last until their tragic deaths just a few days apart.

            One day, a short time after Herbert’s arrival in the valley, he went on a hunt by himself and rode through Mr. Benedict’s wheat field and was promptly hailed and told he could not do that in this country and was liable for damages. Also that some irate farmer might shoot him. Herbert went back to Tom and said, “Who is this farmer with the speech of a scholar and the actions of a Lord?” Tom told him it was his good friend Mr. Benedict and that he better go back, apologize and offer to pay the damages. Which he did and they became good friends.

            Herbert was born in London April 7, 1807. He was the son of a wealthy minister in London and had every opportunity, family, wealth, health and social standing but disregarded them all, broke the hearts of two fine women, lost a son, and took up a life in low society.

            He came to America and built an estate on the Passaic River at North Newark It was called the “Cedars” and became a gloomy place, with the low company he associated with. Tom Ward did much to revive the inherent good principles of the Herbert Family. Herbert spent much time roaming the Woodlands that were giving him incentive for a series of stories and Tom was giving him much detail that Herbert could have gotten from no other source.

            Tom Ward as Tom Draw was the hero of one of his books.[Ed. note: Warwick Woodlands]

            Tom Ward true to his tavern training and experience, aimed to please his patrons in every way.

            He soon found that Herbert was very fond of sweet corn, a rarity in England. So he planted a row or two very early and then a row every week or so to make a long season for friend Herbert.

            However the crows soon found out his plan and pulled the corn as soon as it appeared above the ground.

            Tom mixed up some poison bait, to spread on the ground for the crows, but unfortunately inhaled some of the fumes and was quickly killed.

            When Herbert heard of Tom’s death, he immediately went to his room in a New York City hotel and shot himself.

            Thus ended a most unusual friendship, with the tragic death of Tom Ward on May 15th and Henry William Herbert on May 17th, 1858.


Wawayanda Hotel


            The old Wawayanda Hotel stood on what is now called Colonial Avenue opposite Forester Avenue.

            It was the scene of much Warwick history and now the loud roars and guffaws of the huntsmen was to be replaced by the laughter of children, the serious thoughts of students from a foreign land seeking knowledge that developed into a strange story.

            For some years William L. Benedict and Gabriel Wisner thought that the district schools should give a broader course to their classes.

            Both men had large families and in the latter part of 1858 they planned a Home School for higher education.

            At different times Mr. Benedict brought home from Albany after Assembly Sessions small shoots of trees, vines and seeds from an acquaintance there that he thought very much of. There was a tree that looked very much like an elm, but it was far from being an elm. For it grew seed pods that turned black when ripe and fell to the ground. At the least dampness they became mushy and let off a terrible odor. It was a Chinese Alanthus and became very objectionable.

            A vine grew into the most beautiful wisteria vine and completely covered an old building with the most beautiful flowers, with a very strong scent. The seeds of course matured many years before the tree and vine, but they created a story that could never be forgotten.

            Mr. Benedict gave the seeds to sister Sally, who recognized them at once as poppy seeds and planted them with extra care, expecting to have some rare or beautiful flowers. It was remembered that the Alanthus tree came from China, the Wisteria vine came from Japan and the poppy seeds probably came from China and Sally learned then that they came from her brother’s good friend Herman Mellville, author of that wonderful story MOBY DICK, the old whale. In fact, Mr. Benedict thought so much of Herman Mellville that seven of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were named for the author. The seeds Sally planted in her flower and herb garden and in due time they bloomed into beautiful oriental poppies. The largest she had ever seen, Sally warned everyone to keep the gate closed, so that the geese could not get in to trample down the flowers, as she wished to save the seed, but her heart sank as she found the garden gate open and all her rare poppies trampled down and the seeds all gone. The geese were no were within sight or sound. Sally felt sick and went to lay down for a while. Soon she heard children say,


Dead geese


“The geese are all dead down by the brook.” She didn’t care much, but got up and went with the children and sure enough all the geese lay dead in the hot sun. Her brother said they couldn’t stop to bury them now. Throw them in the shade and they would bury them after supper. Sally said it was too bad to loose all those good feathers, when they needed them so badly for pillows and feather beds. Well, brother William said, “Pull the feathers off now while the geese were still warm and we will bury the dead geese later.” So everyone pitched in and pulled the feathers off and bagged them up. When the family was eating supper, one of the children said, “Oh! Look, a goose with no clothes on,” and sure enough a naked goose waddled by and then another and another, until the whole flock had staggered past. Someone said that it was too bad that the geese would all have to be killed anyway. But their father said no, that the geese were tough and would live alright. Of course, the seeds were from opium poppies. The next day the girls in the family felt sorry for the geese, that they hunted up some old red flannel petticoats and other material and made jackets for the geese. As the works progressed, some of the girls made pockets and trimmed the jackets then sewed them on the geese, who seemed to enjoy their new rig and paraded up and down. The children made much of the occasion and laughed and made much noise. Their father laughed and said, “No harm seemed to have been done by the incident.” But wait, down the hill was coming a carriage with four or five church ladies and he noted they were his most severe critics in the Old School Baptist Church. As the carriages drew near, there was a buzz of angry conversation. “What, what was this pantomime show on Elder Benedict’s lawn?” “Such carrying on, and before children.”

Could not be condoned.” Elder Benedict would answer for this, come next Sunday Meeting.”

            It must have been about this time that Elder Benedict came under severe criticism in the church for his liberal ideas.

            He could not disregard entirely the beauty, pleasures and joy of life. He had a large, lively family. It would have been impossible to be glum, stern or overly severe with so many children around.

            One day Elder Benedict averted a near tragedy among the very small children and wrote a sermon about the incident. It was said to have been outstanding, but the church didn’t like it and it was suppressed. Elder Benedict seems to have been treated much as Elder Cox was.



            For some years William L. Benedict and Gabriel Wisner had thought that the district schools were not carrying their courses high enough.

            In the latter part of 1855 they planned a home school for higher education. The Wawayanda Hotel had been closed since Tim Ward’s death and seemed a likely place.

Both men had large families and felt certain other families would favor such a project. The idea got under way much more rapidly that was expected and development was not recorded, so there is an element of mystery.

            Perhaps some furniture was left in the old hotel, and some donated, but they seem to have been in operation that autumn. Its success was so phenomenal that it really outgrew itself. To last two years and become the Warwick Institute and rated high. It later became the public school system of today.

            There must have been eight teachers at the start, but we have no record of all of them.

            Charles E. Benedict, William L’s son, was principal and taught higher mathematics at the age of 22.

            Eliza Benedict, his sister, taught French, Botany, drawing and etiquette.

            There was a Miss Fannie Hastings, whose father was a minister and composer of our popular hymns.

            There certainly must be some record of this old school in the attics of some of the real old homes. At any rate, here is the key to success and few institutions have left a better story.

            In our story of Hannah Burt and her home boarding house in New York, you will note that in 1855 she was active and successful. She was ever mindful of her family and friends in old Warwick town. She was deeply interested in the home school, for in a way it widened her scope of service at her boarding house. This was demonstrated by the four famous students she sent up to the school at its start.

            If the school had continued she would have probably have made it famous for the children of professional people.


Foreign students


            Thus it was that four students from the other side if the world came to the Home School at Warwick.

            When the Home School started, Hannah Burt sent George and Mario Maraoini to the Home School at Warwick while their mother was on a singing tour. They were followed immediately by two Siamese boys in this country under the care of Dr. House, a missionary in very close friendship with the royal family of Siam. All four boys were friendly, quick to learn and were no trouble.

            George and Mario were here until the school closed [line missing from original article as printed]…many incidents. He and his brother George lived in Paris and were very successful. It was the last we ever heard of them.

            The Siamese boys were favorites at the school for they never forgot a favor or kindness of any kind. The King of Siam at this time was CULILONGKORN I, a liberal king who was inclined to modify some of the old cruel laws. His son was to be CULILONGKORN II, and was even more liberal than his father. The son was being educated at Oxford and his tutor was Dr. House, two years later. ??? Not a word was heard from them until more than fifty years later. The premier of a successful Motion Picture of Gloria Swanson’s called “The Humming Bird” was noted in the N.Y. papers, Mario Maraoini’s name was mentioned in the cast. My mother saw his name, called him on the phone, and asked if he was the real Mario from the old school. He surely was the Home School boy and came to our home in Jersey City to spend an entire afternoon. He remembered everything, including the names of the other students and who was in most friendly favor with the whole royal family.

            The son of CULILONGKORN II was on the throne at the time of our story, and had a son (indeed, he had 51 children!) 12 years old. Prince KUAN was being educated by Dr. House, to take the throne someday. KUAN had a boyfriend he liked very much. Having good principles and a strong mind, the king liked him as a friend of his son. His name was Bonit and he was the son of the treasurer of Siam.

            All seemed well up to now, but the king had just received word that the treasurer had just taken a vast amount of money from the country’s treasury. Under an old law this was a capital offense, which would result in the death of the treasurer and his entire family, because the more liberal penalty had not yet been adopted. The Siamese capital punishment at the time was having a trained elephant step on the victim’s head.

            The boys didn’t know about it yet and the king had arranged to send them to America for two years schooling in the care of the Dr. While Kaun was of the royal blood, Bonit was a commoner, but much more intelligent. Dr. House was a pretty regular visitor at the school and the boys depended on him and abided by his ruling. Sometimes Bonit would say something to Kaun in Siamese and both would laugh. Then Kaun would say, “Remember, in Siam I am the prince and you could not say that to me.”

            When the boys returned to Siam, the King must have been interested in their chatter, because 12 years later an incident happened that showed a sincere friendship for America existed. During President Grant’s administration a rumor reached the attention of the king, who was still on the throne. It was to the effect that the railroads of the U.S. had suffered great damage during the Civil War, and had much trouble moving freight and business was in a serious halt.


            It was from the family of Peter Townsend II of Chester; they appear to have been great friends.

            One day in about 1865 he planned to drive to Chester by wagon and asked his daughter Fannie to go with him. They went through Sugar Loaf and on past the little red brick school house. Here the road turned to the left around a ground bank on top of which was an old family cemetery.

            Fannie looked toward the old cemetery and saw two weather beaten and bleached posts, outside the cemetery fence, and asked her father what they were there for. He said    “I am glad you asked me, now remember what I tell you.”

            “When James Teed and David Dunning were hung for the murder of Richard Jennings in 1819, no church, community or private owners would allow the murderers to be buried in their grounds, and the matter became a problem. At last, Mr. James Hallock and wife said the men might be buried at this place, outside the fence of the old cemetery, and they were quickly buried.

            In the night a party of men came and drove two long, sharpened locust posts down through the grave and body of each man, to stand unmolested for more than fifty years. It was a sign of the horror, shame and disgust of the community. An old time treatment to horse thieves and murderers.



            Witch Hollow was between the Warwick-Florida Road and the Sugar Loaf Road, west of the ridge between the roads. 

            It was here, when the moon was full, that Penelope would ride up and down the hollow on a broomstick, much to the disgust of the neighborhood, for she caused the milk to sour, eggs to addle, the chimneys to puff smoke out into the rooms and sparks to fly from the hearth fire.

            Dogs sought the shelter of their coops and howled mournfully.

            But those days were not long past and the Sly and Benedict families were good neighbors and the boys were particularly good friends.

            Conrad Sly lived on the west side of the hollow and his two older boys were strong, rugged men, who spent some time at the tavern.  However the younger boys were not so strong and had no interest in the tavern which was approved by their brothers.

            One day some of the roustabouts at the tavern thought it would be a good joke to get one of the younger boys drunk and send him home that way.  They got him into the tavern on the floor and tried to pour liquor down his throat.

            Someone rushed up to the farm and told his brothers who came down with all speed and as they entered the tavern each one grabbed a chair and swung it over his head, flooring everyone of the drinkers and warning them, if such an attempt was made again they would get much worse.

            Soon after this the older boys got on the New York police force, on the Broadway Squad.  Ross Sly was stationed at “Deadman’s Curve” for years.

            Warwick men in the city would go out of their way to go to Union Square to holler “Hello” to Ross Sly on the famous curve.


A Gift…

One day as Grinnell Burt was in his office, a railroad man came in.  Grinnell a little gruffly said, “Well Jim what do you want?”  I would like to buy your baby carriage.

            “Well it is not for sale”, Grinnell said.

            Jim said “I am sorry, as we have twins and need a wide carriage.  Grinnell looked up, “What, what did you say?”

            “I said we had twin boys.”

            “Well—well you can have the carriage.  I will give it to you, but wait a few days till I have it painted up for you.” [ed. note: Grinnell had had twin boys also, Pierson and Grinnell, who both had adventures during the California Gold Rush, see note under ‘Outstanding Familes’, above]



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