By Donald M. Barrell
Transcribed by Jackie Canevari
Wawayanda Patent Dispute
so many people remember the old razor edged rock that stuck up across the
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
Wawayanda-Cheesekook Land Patent Case, held in
to the skillful handling of the case by Alexander Hamilton the Wawayanda
patentees acquired 75,000 acres more land.
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.
were many outstanding families with few records. This is a story of the
canal idea fell through when the
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
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
Burt went to northern
1840, the most interesting conversation could be stopped immediately by the
mention of the name
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
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
seems well at
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Along in 1840 to 1843 an
Englishman appeared in
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.
was born in
Ward as Tom Draw was the hero of one of his books.[Ed. note:
Tom Ward true to his tavern training and experience, aimed to please his patrons in every way.
soon found that Herbert was very fond of sweet corn, a rarity in
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.
Herbert heard of Tom’s death, he immediately went to his room in a
Thus ended a most unusual friendship, with the tragic death of Tom
Ward on May 15th and Henry William Herbert on
old Wawayanda Hotel stood on what is now called
was the scene of much
For some years William L. Benedict and Gabriel Wisner thought that the district schools should give a broader course to their classes.
men had large families and in the latter part of 1858 they planned a
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.
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
“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
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.
our story of Hannah Burt and her home boarding house in
If the school had continued she would have probably have made it famous for the children of professional people.
it was that four students from the other side if the world came to the
and Mario were here until the school closed [line missing from original article as printed]…many incidents. He
and his brother George lived in
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
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
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.
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
the boys returned to
was from the family of Peter Townsend II of
day in about 1865 he planned to drive to
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.
Hollow was between the
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.
after this the older boys got on the
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.”
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
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