Early Days in Warwick

Some Chapters in Local History

By W. B. Sayer



Originally published in the Warwick Advertiser March 31-May 12, 1898

Published on the web with permission of the Warwick Advertiser in January 2003

Corrections and notes by Florence Tate & S. Gardner

Transcribed by S. Gardner


~Electronic edition rights reserved by the transcriber~

~ No duplication for distribution whether electronic or printed format except for individual use

without consent of the transcriber and the Warwick Advertiser~



Please bear in mind that this manuscript was written more than 100 years ago. 

Since then information it contains may have been subject to change or correction.  

We have added notes in italic in such cases that we are aware of.


We welcome input from anyone who can locate the properties mentioned in the present day





Chapter I


            Queen Anne, of England, on April 29th, 1703, granted a patent to Dr. John Bridges, Hendrick Ten Eyck, Derick Vandenberg, John Cholwell, Christopher Denn, Lancaster Syms, Daniel Honan, Philip Rockby, John Merritt, Benjamin Aske, Peter Mathews and Cornelius Christianse, who resided in New York city, of a tract of land supposed to contain about 60,000 acres, but it really contained much more land, and was called the Wawayanda Patent.  Previous to this on March 5th, 1703, the above mentioned white men had received a deed for this tract from twelve Indians—Rapingonick, Wawastawa, Moghopuck, Cornelawaw, Nanawitt, Arawinack, Rombout, Claus, Chouckhass, Chigapaw, Oshasquememus and Quilapaw, for a quite rent of 9 pounds New York money.

            The division of the Wawayanda patent it appears was made on Sept. 23, 1706, when each of the twelve owners was assigned his particular share.  A part of the Town of Warwick fell to Benjamin Aske, a merchant then residing in New York.

            Nearly the whole country was then an unbroken wilderness, inhabited by Indians and wild beasts only.  After the division it is natural to suppose that the different claimants would vie with each other in order to effect a settlement of his particular portion.  But we find no record of any settlement in Warwick Valley until Feb. 28th, 1719 [Samuel Staats had built his house at what is now Applewood Orchards in 1700], when Benjamin Aske deeded one hundred acres to Lawrence Decker.  Who this man was or where he came from, we have only a traditionary account.  It is supposed that a ship load of emigrants having arrived in New York from Holland, and Aske wishing to obtain settlers for his land, found some families unable to pay their passage.  He accordingly paid the charges for this family and perhaps on or two more families by the name of Decker, and one by the name of Stagg.  These families by some means found their way into Warwick Valley and settle, on where Thomas Welling, Jr. now lives or near there, and the other near where Victor A. Wilder now resides (now the Chateau Hathorn). The Deckers probably settled on the farm owned by Wilder, as there is an ancient burying ground on the farm the graves of which are very long, indicating that they were very tall people, as the progenitors of the race generally were, and furthermore traditionary accounts generally agree that this was a Decker burying ground.  From this family of Deckers have descended those of the name who reside in this part of the country.

            The name of Stagg has been changed to Stage, and but few of the descendants are known now to be in this part of the county.

            On May 20th, 1721, Aske sold to Thomas Blain one hundred acres of his farm, which is described as lying in Warwick, so it seems Aske had given his part of the patent the name of Warwick, for what reason is not known; probably he or his parents were natives of Warwickshire, England.

            The main street, it appears by common consent of the settlers, was called Warwick Village at an early day, though there were few houses then.  Alain settled first where Thomas Mabee now lives, but changed his place of residence to where Milton L. Sanford now lives.  On Dec. 8, 1724, Thomas DeKay made a purchase and settled on one of the farms now owned by Sidney H. Sanford.  His son, Thomas DeKay, Jr. afterward lived there.

            John Vance must have come shortly after this.  He purchased a lot adjoining the lands where Victor A. Wilder now owns, on the north, reaching across the Wawayanda creek to the road leading from Warwick to Sanfordville.  He settle near the creek, by the spring, a few rods northeast of the barn now owned by William W. Pelton.  He had three sons—John, James, and George—and his land was divided among them at this death.

            There is no record of any other settlers (except Staats) until the year 1746, when two brothers, Daniel and Benjamin Burt came from Ridgefield, Connecticut.  Daniel had a family and settle where Thomas Welling, Jr., now lives.  Benjamin was a single man and married afterward a daughter of Thomas Blain, and settled where Victor A. Wilder now owns.

            It is probably that these brothers bought out the improvements that were made by the families who first settled on the premises, and they removed to other parts, for it is known that Lawrence Decker, or one bearing that name, lived and died near where George M. VanDuzer now lives.

            In about 1750 the friends of the two Burt brothers in Connecticut became somewhat alarmed for their safety in this wilderness, and started in pursuit of them, and after a tedious search found them and persuaded Daniel and his family to go back with them, but Benjamin could not be persuaded and remained.  But in the year 1760 Daniel, not being satisfied, started back, and as he could not get back his old residence which he sold out on leaving to Thomas Welling, he went and settled in Bellvale and built a flour and saw mill, which he afterwards traded for the farm owned by Mrs. A.B. Martine and the one owned by Mrs. S.A.F. Servin.

            By this time a number of families had come and the country began to improve.  The Sayers and Wheelers came about this time from Long Island, and some families from Connecticut. Daniel Sayer bought of Henry Wisner March 1, 1768, the farm where Benjamin B. Sayer now lives, and built the stone house now standing, in 1783.

            Elder James Benedict, who was the great-grandfather of Captain James W. Benedict built a house on the opposite side of the road from where John McKeever’s house now stands, and was the first minister in this section.  The meetings were at first held at private houses until 1774, when the first meeting house was erected in the field given by him, on the corner of the roads opposite the present Catholic cemetery, and a burying ground laid out around it where he and his two wives and a large number of other people lie buried, with no stones to mark their graves.

            Charles Beardsley came about his time, settled near Warwick and built before the Revolutionary war the old stone house that formerly stood where the brick store is, now owned by Mrs. T. H. Demerest and Mrs J. H. Van Duzer, corner of Main and West-sts.  He built a grist mill, the dam of which was in the creed just above the Main st. Bridge.

            The Minthorns and Wisners came also about this time, and several Dutch families from what is now Rockland county, and from the county of Bergen, New Jersey.

            Some time between 1760 and 1770 John Hathorn came here from Philadelphia, or near there.  He must have been quite young at the time, for he was born in 1745.  He was a land surveyor and the probability is that this brought him here.  He located where P.E. Sanford now lives, married Elizabeth Welling, a daughter of Thomas Welling, and built the stone house in 1773. He was a very active man during the Revolutionary war, a true friend to his county, and filled many offices both of a military and civil capacity.  He died in 1825, and his wife with several of their children were buried in an open lot on the farm that he formerly owned, with headstones showing whose bodies lie buried there. (Those old graves were opened a few years ago by Mr. John M. Burt and the remains gathered and placed in the Belden Burt lot in Warwick Cemetery.

            David McCamley settled about 1760 on the farm now owned by Mrs. Sarah B. Sanford, and built the mill there.

            Philip Ketcham located where Wm. F. Wheeler now lives on the road leading from Warwick to Bellvale. 

            During the first settlement of the county there was a settlement of Indians near the large spring on what is now the Col Andrew Houston farm, also one on Thomas Welling’s farm called Mistucky, from which our village water derives its name.  Near the center of said Welling’s meadow, there formerly stood a number of large apple trees known as the Indian apple orchard, and on one of those hills near by there was an Indian burying ground (When the development around Southern Lane was put in, an unknown number of gravesites were found and destroyed, some of them under the roadway itself.  Photos of the gravesites were in the collection of Jack Webster and seen by the transcriber before fire consumed his store in Nov. 2001—sg)

            In about 1781 there were five Indian wigwams east of where Wilson W. Van Duzer’s house now stands.

            In the early settlement of this county there was said to have been a block house, built strong for defense against the Indians near the present Wawayanda House (Colonial Ave at corner of Forester Ave, see 1875 Beers Atlas map of Village –sg)

            Before the hill by the Wawayanda House was graded down there was a hollow between that house and the old shingle house where the patriots toasted an ox upon the news of Burgoyne’s surrender during the Revolutionary war, in 1777.

            There was a slave burying ground in the field north of the house where Thomas Welling, Jr. now lives and near Mrs. Alexander Galloway’s line fence, on a gravelly hill.

            The first settler in the village of Warwick was Daniel Burt, who built the old shingle house in 1764 that now belongs to Mrs. S.A.F. Servin. [Shingle House museum, now owned by the Historical Society, Forester Ave.].  The shingles that covered the roof and sides are said to have been taken from one tree.  He also built the old part of the Wawayanda Hotel.  The next house built in the village was by Francis Baird, formerly a merchant in New York city, who in 1766 built the two-story stone house now owned by Wm. Benjamin Sayer [Baird’s Tavern, now owned by the Historical Society]

            William Wisner lived where “The Hotel Welling” now is, owned at present by William W. Van Duzer (Building gone, present site of Warwick Valley Telephone building, Main St.)

            John Smith came not far from this time and built a house just north of the double house belonging to Mrs. Grinnell Burt, at the corner of Maple avenue and Hudson St.

            When this section of the country was first settled there was a large amount of chills and fever in the valley, caused by the water standing on the low grounds along the creek, which was then nearly all swamp land filled with fallen and decaying tress.  Since these lands have been cleared and drained this valley has been one of the healthiest places in the County.




Chapter II



            Israel Wood, only son of Israel Wood, Earl of Warwick, in England, came to New York in company with the Duke of York, and purchased a tract of land on Long Island.  His oldest son, Israel Wood, purchased a tract of Land in Orange county containing what is now known as Wickham Pond.  He also purchased another tract on which he settled with his four sons and built a grist mill a few rods above Stone Bridge, supposed to be the first mill built in this section.  This mill was built a long time before the Revolution.  His sons settled in the neighborhood,-- Abner on the farm where George M. Van Duzer now lives, Eliphalet where Wm. D. Ackerman now lives, George on the farm where Col. Andrew Houston now lives, and Daniel on the farm now owned by Washington Wood, his grandson.

            These first settlers as a rule built rude log cabins, in the construction of which no iron was used, everything being pinned together with wooden pins.  These, as the country became settled, were demolished and houses built of stone or wood in their place. 

            A great many of the early settlements were made on the mountains and the hills because of the condition of the valley, as mentioned in the former chapter, among them being that made by Ezra Sanford, grandfather of Geo. W. and P.E. Sanford, before the Revolutionary war, who owned a farm and had a dam across the Mistucky brook, the remains of which are still visible a short distance below the residence of Samuel Raynor, and ran a grist mill, potash works, and blacksmith shop and general store there.  He used to take grain, flour, potash, etc. over to Sterling Iron Works on horseback, as there were few roads where a wagon could be used then, and bring back long, flat bars of iron in payment, which he bent at one end over the horses’ back, then run the other end along their necks and tied them to keep them from being torn off by the brush in coming over the mountains.  There were a great many other early settlements on the mountains, some of which have been abandoned and others occupied up to the present day.

            In 1772 James Benedict, son of Elder James Benedict, built a log house on the opposite side of the road from where Wilson W. Van Duzer’s barn now stands, near an old well still visible.  This house was destroyed by fire with all its contents, while he was visiting at his father’s.  He rebuilt on the same site, but in 1781 erected the stone house now occupied by his grandson, Captain James W. Benedict.  He also erected the stone house now owned by Mrs. Benjamin D. Bradner, in 1794, for his son Capt. James Benedict, who was the father of Henry A. Benedict.  In 1804 or 1805 some wolves came in the night and killed some sheep for Mr. Benedict in the orchard west of this house.

            The Waywayanda Hotel, as before remarked, was built at an early date.  Thomas Geraghty bought it of Daniel Burt and run a hotel there before 1785.  He owned about fifty acres of land, and his cowyard was east of the building.  This is the hotel that was made famous by the writings of Henry William Herbert (Frank Forester), who wrote about it, when it was kept by Thomas Ward in about 1880, in his book called “Warwick Woodlands.”

            The stone house that formerly stood where the large frame house now stands that belongs to Mrs. Martha Bradner, was built by Elder Thomas Montanye probably in about 1785 to 1790.

            Cornelius Demerest, who was the grandfather of Cornelius H. Demerest, deceased, late president of Warwick National Bank, came to Warwick inn 1774 and settled on the ridge on part of the farm now owned by Mrs. James C. Sly.  The old buildings, which were situated on a hill southeast of the present buildings, are all torn down.

            Abram Dolson settled on the farm now owned by J.E.V. Miller, probably during the Revolution, as in 1794 he was granted a license to keep a hotel.  The house on this farm was very old; the part used as a hotel formerly stood across the road in the corner of the meadow, but was afterwards removed to its present location.

            Conrad Sly, who was the great-grandfather of John. W. and T. Ed. Sly, bought part of the farm now owned by them in about 1780, and lived in a log house near a spring southeast of the present house.  The ruins of an Indian hut stood near by.

            The farm now owned by Joel H. Crissey was purchased by his grandfather, David Forshee, in 1834, of Henry Wisner, who built the house still standing, in 1791.  David Forshee kept a store for several years in a small building which stood on the opposite side of the road from where the house stands.  The farm, until recently occupied by Charles R. Van Duzer, was purchased by Christopher Van Duzer (who was the great-grandfather of George M. Van Duzer, the present occupant), of Mrs. Elizabeth Raynor, in 1807.

            The branch of the Sayer family from which the Sayers in this section descended, came from Southampton, Long Island, to Morristown, N. J.  Joseph Sayer, father of Daniel Sayer, came from Morristown and settled on a farm near Goshen, and his son, Daniel Sayer, came from there and settled on this farm now owned by Benjamin B. Sayer, as before mentioned.  Before building the stone house he lived in a log house between the site of the present house and the brook.  On the opposite side of the road, one on each site of the brook, were two other log houses, occupied by his two neighbors.  One of these houses was built strong for defense and was called a block house.  The distillery, situated a short distance up the brook, has a copper kettle that was in use in another location before the Revolutionary war, and has continued up to the present time.

            Philip Ketcham, who lived on the farm now owned by Wm. F. Wheeler, raised the frame of the old barn on the hill by the old Wheeler house, on July 4, 1776.

            The Newberry homestead was a tract of land east of Wickham Pond, probably including the Miss Colwell, David Sayer, and other farms.

            The stone house now occupied by Mrs. John G. Benedict is a double hone, the western half built in about 1740, probably by Mr. Burrows, and the eastern half built about 1804 by Joseph Burrows.  It was occupied during the Revolutionary war by Joseph Burrows.

            The stone house that formerly stood where the large brick house now stands thate belongs to Jesse Durland, was built by Col. John Wisner before the Revolution, and occupied by him during that war.  The storehouse now owned by the daughters of Foster Clarke, deceased, was built by Gen. Wm. Wickham in about 1764.  The stone house now owned by W.W. Buckbee was built by Wm. Henry Wisner’s grandfather before the Revolutionary War.  The stone house now owned by Clarence St. Poppino, was built by a man of the name of Horton shortly after the Revolutionary War.

            In the early settlement, before the railroads came, when the stores ran short of goods in the winter time, people were compelled to take an overland trip in sleighs to New York city for supplies.  The farmers made butter during the summer months, which they took by wagon, with other farm produced which they wished to ship, to Newburgh or some other place on the Hudson River, where is was shipped by boat to New York city.  They also carted grand and provision over to Monroe, Southfield, and Greenwood iron works, situated in the town of Warwick.  This iron furnace was founded by Lord Sterling in about 1750.  The first anchors ever made in America were made at these works in 1752.  The great chain which was stretched across the Hudson River to obstruct the passage of the British fleet was made there in 1777.  The chain weighted 186 tons and took six weeks to make it.  It was transported in links to West Point in carts drawn by oxen.  Each link weighted 150 pounds.

            Gen. John Hathorn, about the time of the Revolution, owned and operated a forge for making iron on the farm now owned by the heirs of Edward Davis.

            There was an Indian Village at or near Sugar Loaf mountain, when the county was first settled.  The hill situated on the Ball and Galloway farms, commonly called “Chouck’s Hill,” is said to have been named after Chouckhass, one of the Indian Chiefs who signed the Wawayanda Patents, and he is said to have been buried on top of said hill. [Errata following this chapter as originally printed have been corrected in the transcribed text—sg]




Chapter III


            The sketch below is copied from Henry Pelton’s history of Warwick as given by him when he first moved here, in 1805, when he was fourteen years old, and has been revised to date.  He and another boy of about the same age drove his father’s cattle across the country from Connecticut, crossing the Hudson River on the Ferry at New Windsor.  When they arrived at Warwick they stopped the first night with Nathan Reed, who then lived in the stone house now occupied by W.B. Sayer.  Henry Pelton was the father of Samuel Pelton, now living near this village.

            There are none of the people living now who were living at that time at the different locations, most of which are occupied now (1898) or have been replaced by new buildings.

            To begin with the village of Warwick then consisted only of a few houses on Main-st. and these were not only few, but far between.  The Cassedy family lived near the Main-st bridge, in the stone house where the brick store now is that belongs to Mrs. T.H.Demerest and Mrs. J.J. Van Duzer, corner of Main and West –sts.  Then there was no other building till we came to where the Methodist church now stands; there stood a curry shop owned by Samuel Smith, and about opposite was his dwelling, and old house where the Savings Bank now stands [building at the corner of South St, next to old fire house, now dry cleaner’s—sg].  The well which belonged to this house is still in existence back of the bank building.

            Next was a new house built by Benjamin Barney.  This house, situated on corner of Main-st and Wheeler avenue, now belongs to Mrs. Annie W. White, and was remodeled by her.  Next was Nathan Reed, who came in 1804, from Darien, Conn.  This is the stone house built by Francis Baird in 1766, and now owned by W. B. Sayer.  Next was a store, kept by Edmund Raymond; next a small house where Mrs. John Cowdrey’s house now stands.  These two buildings also belonged to Nathan Reed.  On the opposite, or where the double house now stands which belongs to Mrs. Grinnel Burt, corner of Maple avenue and Hudson street, was Lewis Randolph, who kept a hotel.  Next was the house where the Wawayanda Hotel now stands, occupied by Thomas Geraghty as a store and tavern.  Next was Nathaniel Ketchum, carpenter, where the Misses Geraghty now live.  Next was John Mabee, a blacksmith, there Thos. Nesbit now lives. Next was Elder Lebbens Lathrop, in the old stone house which stood on the site of the large frame house now owned by Mrs. Martha Bradner.  Next was Wm. Benedict, the father of Wm. L. Benedict, where Wilson W. Van Duzer now lives.  Next was James Benedict, grandfather of Captain James W. Benedict, the present owner.  Next was Captain James Benedict, son of the above mentioned James Benedict, in the stone house which Mrs. Benjamin D. Bradner now owns.  Then came two brothers, Samuel and Philip Ketcham; they had a small mill and a pond from the spring on the west side of the road, an the farm now belonging to Col. Andrew Houston.

            The next house belonged to Daniel Wood, and is now owned by Washington Wood, his grandson.  The next house was Crines Bertholf’s; it now belongs to Wm F. Dunning.  Next was Joseph Burrows, in the stone house now owned by Mrs. John G. Benedict, and on the south where Jesse Durland now lives, was Col. John Wisner’s residence; he lived in a stone house situated on the site of the present brick house.  Father on toward Sugar Loaf was Josiah Feagles, who lived off from the road where Ruggles Holbert now lives.  Next was John Feagles, where Jesse Holbert now lives, and down at the head of Wickham’s Pond was Herman D. Clark [in 1805] where now the Misses Clark now live

            We will now come back and start from the Wawayanda Hotel, and take the road toward Bellvale.  The first we come to is Captain Garret Post, in the old shingle home now belonging to Mrs. S. A. F. Servin [Shingle House museum, Forester Ave.—sg] 

            Next Richard Welling, Sr., near where Mrs. Ruth Garrison now lives, corner of High and Lake-sts.  Next was the old Baptist meeting house, situate on the corner of the road opposite where the Catholic cemetery now is.  James Burt, Esq., was about forty rods east, where his granddaughter Mrs. A. B. Martine now owns.

            Now we go back and take the road around Chuck’s Hill.  John Wood lived in a house situated on the opposite side of the road from the house now owned by John McKeever.  West of him lived Richard Welling, Jr., son of John Welling, on the farm, now owned by Mrs. Alexander Galloway.  Next around the corner John Welling lived, who carried on a still; buildings now torn down.  Next, not far from there, on the south or east side of the street lived Aunt Milly Everett as she was called; building now torn down.  No more houses till we came to John Magee’s, where Mrs. Theodore Ball now lives.  Further on around the hill was Kinner House.  John Palmer came there the following spring; this is the farm now owned by Elihu B. Taylor.  On the opposite side of the road was Mr. Blauvelt, a son-in-law of Kinner House; this dwelling was demolished.  Next was John Vandervort, where John Vandervort, his grandson, now lives.  Next, on the corner of the Bellvale road, lived Mr. Shaler, a weaver; house torn down.  Then going toward Bellvale was Daniel Sayer, in the stone house where his great-grandson Benjamin B. Sayer how lives.  On te opposite side of the road were the two Forshee brothers, where Mrs. George W. Sayer and Thomas M. Benedict now lives.  Crines Bertholf came the following spring and one of the Forshee brothers left.  Next was Joel Wheeler, who lived in the old hipped-roof house at the top of the hill, as the large house now occupied by Wm. F. Wheeler was not then built; and further on some tenant houses belonging to said Joel Wheeler.  Then over the hill on the corner where Captain John W. Houston now lives, was John Robinson, who carried on a blacksmith shop for many years.  Then as we turned north, there lived Captain Wm Minthorn, son of Captain John Minthorn of Revolutionary memory; buildings are demolished.  Father north was Nathaniel Minthorn, where Joseph B. Van Duzer now lives.  Then were the heirs of Calvin Bradner, deceased, living in a stone house which stood on the site of the present house, where Henry A. Benedict now lives; also the heirs of Wm. Wisner, in a stone house now owned by Wm. W. Buckbee.  Next was Andrew Houston, father of Col. Wisner Houston, now owned by Frank H. Campbell.  Now we come to the main road leading from Warwick to Sugar Loaf, where stood the old stone school house, since demolished, on the farm now owned by Wm. F. Dunning.

            We will now return and start from the MainSt bridge, Warwick, and go up what is called West-St, then the first resident was Abraham Gregory, a cooper from Connecticut, whose house stood where the house now stands which belongs to the heirs of Edward Howe, deceased, or near there.  Next, going west, on the north side of the road was Zachariah Hoyt and his son, a bachelor, who carried on the pottery business; George W. Hyatt lives there now.  Next was a man by the name of Lafarge, where Miss Margaret Geraghty now owns.  Next was Cornelius Demarest, the grandfather of David D. and Cornelius H. Demarest, where Samuel Pelton now lives.  On this farm, on the south side of the road, is a large high rock standing out in a smooth field known as “Pulpit Rock.”  The Indians used to hide behind this rock and shoot deer as they came from the hills to the creek to drink.  Next was Captain Geo Vance and his son-in-law Thomas Sproull, where Hiram B. Berry now owns.

            Farther on a few rods from where the road intersects the one that comes from Florida by the way of the Armstrong neighborhood, there stood a stone school house opposite where the present school house stands, and on the Green farm that Frank H. Campbell now owns, Gilbert Wheeler lived.  He traded the same season with his brother John for the farm now owned by Frank H. Campbell and J. C. Wilson.  The old house on this farm together with a small parcel of land, now belong to the heirs of Mrs. Martha Guion.

            Now we come to the bridge where Isaac Halstead, the miller lived, in front of the house now owned by John Pelton.  Next was John Wheeler, Esq., with several buildings around him including grist mill, saw mill and fulling mill; he also carried on the tanning business.  This farm now belongs to Mrs. Sarah B. Sanford and the mills have all been torn down except the grist mill.  Further down the stream lived William C. Baird, who also owned a mill where Mrs. Samuel Baird now owns and runs a mill.  Next we find Samuel Denton, Sr., on the farm now owned by Geo. W. Sanford.  Then down the hill at the bridge there was a grist mill, saw mill, and fulling mill owned by a man of the name of Shoemaker; the fulling mill is now gone and the property belongs to Mrs. Louise Frech.  Then there were no other buildings till you come to where the north and south roads leading from Warwick to New Milford intersect each other, where David C. Demerest then lived, now occupied by Wm. C. Vandervort.

            In what is now the village of New Milford there were at that time but two or three dwellings.  Among which was that of Cornelius Lazear, Sr., and estimable and useful man, and one of the founders of the Methodist Church in that village.  He lived in the stone house opposite the grist mill where Charles Thompson lived at the time of his death, last spring.

            Now we return and take the south road leading toward the village of Warwick.  The first resident we find was Levi Ellis, where Marcellus Drew now lives.  Going east, next we find Wm. Johnson, who sold out the same season to David Fancher of Darien, Conn; this is where the stone house now stands belonging to Amzi Fancher.  Farther east, on the farm now owned by the heirs of Edward Davis, deceased.  Near the site of the old saw mill stood a forge for making iron, owned by General John Hathorn.  There was a log house standing near by for the workmen to live in, and in front of this by the road lived an aged couple by the name of Wiggins.  The above mentioned saw mill, iron forge, log house, and the house occupied by Wiggins have all been demolished.  Thomas Hathorn lived in a house situated on or near the site of the house now standing and occupied by Darius Fancher.  Next was Wm. Holland, a weaver; this place is now owned by W.V. Ruton.

            Farther on east we come to a cross road leading toward what was then Wheeler’s mill, on which lived Captain Thomas DeKay, on the farm now owned by Sidney H. Sanford.  Near where this cross road joined the main road there is a spring known as Washington spring, and a few rods from where this cross road joins the main road, on said main road, stands a large elm tree, now going to decay, under the branches of which General George Washington is said to have stopped with his aids to rest on his journey from Newburgh to Morristown, N. J.   This tree is known as Washington’s elm.  Following on the main road we find Nathaniel Blain living where Thomas Mabee now resides.  Farther on lived Robert Pelton, who came from Darien, Conn., the same spring.  Mrs. Sarah B. Sanford now owns this farm.  Here is that famous spring that has been known by tradition since the first settlement of this part of Warwick as Curtis Fountain, which, to make it more short, was commonly called Curtafontine, which gives name to the brook issuing from it.

            Farther east there was John Blain, commonly called “Uncle Johnny;” his house stood near the old barns on the farm now owned by Milton L. Sanford, on the opposite side of the road from where a large black walnut tree now stands.  Next was the heirs of Wm. Blain, now deceased, where Milton L. Sanford now lives.  Father on there was Belden Burt, Sr., where Victor A. Wilder now lives.  Next was General John Hathorn in the house where Pierson E. Sanford now lives.  North of him on the hill was James Alcock; Jacob and Wm. B. Bradner now lives there, and still further north across the fields (for there was no road at this time), in a house that stood not far from the Wawayanda Creek, lived John Pelton, who came that spring from Darien, Conn.  This farm now belongs to W.W. and Richard Pelton.

            Again we start from Hathorns, east, finding Jeremiah Morehouse in a house now owned by Edward B. Sanford, and next, Thomas Welling, the second of the name, where now Thomas Welling, the sixth of that name lives.  There was no other building from there to the Main-st bridge, except the old school house that stood a few rods north from where the house now occupied by the superintendent of the Warwick cemetery now stands.  Now we have gotten around to the village once more, and to complete our survey, we will start again from where Mrs. John Cowdrey now lives, and go northwest.  The first building we find was the old Reformed church building, which was built in 1773 or 1774.  It stood near the site of the present stone church building and next to an old school house, which stood southwest of where J. Harley Wood’s house now stands and where his lawn now is, said small house was demolished by him when he erected his present home.  The house was then owned and occupied by Dr. Elisha Dubois, and nearly opposite it, where the Old School Baptist parsonage now is, was the residence od Dr. Benjamin S. Hoyt, a son of Zacariah Hoyt, mentioned above.  There were from Danbury, Conn.

            Next was John M. Fought, and his son-in-law, Daniel Burt, who carried on a distillery where T. P. Fowler’s pond is, and lived near where the present parsonage of the Reformed church now stands.  Next was Ananias Rogers, where Dr. Wm. B. Bradner now owns.  He sold out the same spring to Silvanus Fancer, from Connecticut.  On the road leading west from Rogers’ there lived Andrew Ackerman, where Wm. Fitzgerald now lives, and Joseph Benedict where James Augustus Benedict, his grandson, now lives.

            To start again from Rogers’; we find Captain Garret Ackerson where George W. Sanford now lives.  Next, Conrad Sly, where his great-gandsons, John W. and T. E. Sly, now live.  Then, if we take the eastward road that leads to Florida, we find Daniel Brown living where George M. Van Duzer now lives, and on the cross road leading to where Col. Andrew Houston now lives, there was a man by the name of Buskirk where Wm. D. Ackerman now lives.

            Now if we go back and take the west road to Florida, the first house contains the heirs of Abram Dolson.  This place now belongs to J.E.V. Miller.  And now we turn west toward the Armstrong settlement, and in the first house we find Wm. Johnson, a little way from the road.  Wm. R. Stage lives there now.  Next was Isaac Dolson, who sold out the same year to Jacob Howe, from Darien, Conn.  This place now belongs to J. Wm Coates.  Then there was Richard Johnson where George C. Turner now lives, and further on Samuel Johnson, where Fred. A. VanDervort now lives.  Then over the hill, further west, was Wm. Armstrong, where Richard Scofield now lives.  Now we turn south, and first we find John Sutton, Sen., where Miss Ada A. Coates now lives.  Then Jeffrey Wisner, where his grandson, Charles E. Wisner, now lives.  And next, Mica Hills, in a stone house now owned by Charles E. Wisner.

            The road from Florida to Edenville at that time was not laid out, and consequently these inhabitants were put to great inconvenience in getting to the village.  But to go on, we find a man by the name of Geo. Bramer living as a tenant where the heirs of Mrs. Martha Guion now own.  This brings us to the main road, north of the creek, leading from Warwick to New Milford, which we have gone over before.




Chapter IV


            In the early settlement of Warwick and vicinity commodities could not be transported as easily as now, so the people had to manufacture what they needed here at home.  The people used to raise flax and hemp, the stalks of which had to be soaked in water for several days, then the bundles were set up to drain.  After it was dry it was submitted to the process called breaking, which was done by a large wooden knife striking the flax as it was moved along, very much on the same principle as the common hay cutter.  The next process was hatchelling, which was done by grasping a wisp of flax or hemp in the middle and drawing one end and then the other over the sharp steel teeth of the hatchel, which was an instrument with sharp, steel spikes driven into it about half an inch apart, and from four to six inches long.  By this means the town, dust and woody particles were separated from the long fibers, which were spun on the small hand spinning wheels into thread, which they used for sewing, and was also woven on hand looms into linen cloth, and the tow was used in making ropes.

            The farmers used to keep some sheep, whose wool, after being washed and carded, was spun into yarn on large spinning wheels, and was then knit by hand into mittens, stockings, etc.  This yarn was also manufactured into cloth on hand looms at their homes, and was called home-spun cloth.  It was very strong and wore a long time.

            The farmers used to kill cattle, hogs, etc. in the fall of the year, and salt down and smoke enough meat to last them the whole year, with an occasional calf or lamb killed and used fresh.  The farmers in a neighborhood would each kill a calf or lamb in succession and each divide with the neighbors.  This was the only way they could have fresh meat, as there were no butcher shops, and as the city of Chicago was then a swamp, there was no Chicago meat packing companies keeping meet in cold storage to be sent to any part of the country upon order.  The hides of the cattle killed were tanned into leather, and shoemakers traveled around the country and boarded at the farmers’ houses while they made shoes for the whole family.  It was called “whipping the cat.”  Tailors boarded around in the same manner and made clothes out of the home-spun cloth.

            Everything that could be was produced on the farm or in the neighborhood.  As there were no railroads, everything had to be shipped by boats, where there were canals and rivers, and where there were none they had to be carted by horses or oxen.  The boats being sailboats it sometimes took three days to go from New York to Albany.

            In “ye olden time” instead of having afternoon teas, etc., as the ladies now have, they used to have spinning frolics, where each lady invited brought her spinning wheel and spun a certain amount of flax into thread, after which the young men came and they had supper and a dance.  Then the men escorted the ladies and their spinning wheels home.  On winter evenings the family used to gather around the large, old-fashioned fireplace, with its blazing fire of logs.  The fireplaces were so large that the children used to sit on the ends of the backlogs and look up the flue of the chimney and see the stars in the sky.  The fire gave so much light that the people did not often light their tallow candles, which were the only other lights they had to use, but worked by the light of the fire.

            Grist mills were few and far between and the people used to take their grain long distances to have it ground into flour, and some were so far away they had to grind it at home in a hand mortar, which made very coarse flour.

            The village was all located on the north side of the creed till after the railroad came, and the stores, houses, hotels and shops wre as follows—starting with the property now owned by W. B. Sayer.  The stone house on this property was a public inn for about 60 years.  Mention is made of it by Marquis De Chastellux, in his travels in North America.  He was one of the forty members of the French Academy and Major General in the French army, serving under Count Rochambeau.  He says that in traveling from West Point to Philadelphia on horseback he stopped and stayed all night here, on Dec. 6, 1782.  General George Washington is said to have stayed all night here during the revolutionary war, in traveling from Newburgh N.Y. to Morristown, N.J., and one of the rooms in that second store is where he is said to have slept is known as “Washington’s room.”  He also stopped here to meals on several occasions.  The first record of a license granted to keep a tavern in this house was to John Baird, in 1793.

            On his same property there was a lime kiln on the south side of the hill where the road is being cut through, near the stone quarry, and east of the brook was a tan yard run by John Baird.  The house originally had a 1 ½ story frame addition on the south end; this was the kitchen and contained a large open fireplace with a stone backlog and old-fashioned brick oven.  On the north was another frame addition, which was used as a tin shop, harness shop, tailor shop, and photograph gallery at different times by different men.  Then there was a large store building between that and where Mrs. John Cowdrey’s house now stands.  This was run as a general store for a great many years.  The first man who kept store there, that we know of, was Edmund Raymond; afterward Dr. John I. Wheeler, who lived in a house where Mrs. John Cowdrey’s house now stands, then in recent years, John Cowdrey, afterwards W.E. Sayer and A.D. Hynard.  It was torn down in 1865.

            The house where Mrs. Robert DeKay now lives was built in 1808, by James Hoyt, who was a shoemaker and had a shop where the driveway is at present, that goes to the barn on this place.  Where J.C. Wilson’s house now stands, was his cow yard.  In about 1810 James Hoyt sold to Wm. Culver, the lot where Misses Mary and Jane Burt’s house now stands, and he built a small house there, which was demolished when the present house was erected.

            The house where Thomas Burt now live was built by James Hoyt, in about 1848, after he sold his other house to Dr. Beever.  The lot where Grinnell Burt’s stone house now stands was used as a place for circuses to exhibit for a great many years.  In 1816 Abram Genung, a saddler and harness maker, lived in the old house recently demolished that stood where Judge John J. Beatties lawn now is.  In 1865 the land where J. Amherst Wisner and Frank Dunning’s summer homes are, was all farm land.  In 1835 Henry Johnson run a distillery near where T. P. Fowler’s pond now is and lived near by.

            Dr. Hopkins in 1816 lived in an old house which stood near the site of the present Old School Baptist parsonage.  The old reformed Church building, which was begun in 1773 or 1774, was roofed and enclosed, then left without doors or windows until after the Revolutionary war, which it was completed.  It was a square building with a hipped roof and foundations so open that the village sheep lodged under it; in the playful language of the day is was tyled “the Lord’s barn.”  This was torn down and in 1811.  This was torn down and in 1811 Wm. Culver started to build a new building which he completed in 1812.  This was more pretentious than the former one and was used until 1847, when another new building was put up by Wm. Walton Brook, which he completed in 1846.  This building was used until the present stone building was completed in 1889.

            James Bradner built the house belonging to Mrs. Grinnell Burts, corner of Maple avenue and Hudson st and kept a store and hotel there.  James Cheeve afterwards kept a hotel there, and when his daughter married William Robertson, there was a great skimmington.  The boys played on what they called a horse fiddle, which was a cogwheel hung like a grindstone and a hand saw nailed to the frame with the end bent so as to catch in the cogs when turned.  This hotel was called the “United States Hotel.”

            When Thomas Ward, who was only about five feet high but so fat that he had to sit on two chairs, kept the hotel which is now the “Wawayanda Hotel,” the road was higher in front so there were only eight steps from the road up to the bar-room, which ws in what is now the second story.  His grandson is now the jolly host the “The Demerest” on Railroad avenue.

            The house where John L. Finch now lives was built by John W. Smith.  He also built the brick house, in about 1830, where Mrs. S.A.F. Servin now lives, on Lake st., and kept a store in a building corner of Hudson and Lakes-sts., where Mrs. Servin’s lawn now is.  Before 1800 there was a pottery on the property now occupied by the Misses Gerahty.  There was a blacksmith and wagon maker’s shop there at a later date.  There was a tannery and shoemaker’s shop by the brook on the property now owned by Mrs. Martha Bradner.  Col. Garret Post lived in the old shingle house in 1805.

            On Church-st the following houses were situated:  The one belonging to Youngs Davis was built and run as a hat shop by Morris and Fought Burt.  Oscar Welling ran a hat shop in the house now owned by Mrs. Wm. H. Corris.  The church now owned by the Catholics was built by the Methodists in 1842, and used by them until they built their present church.  The house now occupied by Mrs. Wm. . Hoyt was built by Morris and Fought Burt.  The house until recently owned by Thomas Nesbitt was built for a copper shop by john Case.  The next house west ws built and run a satin shop by Thomas Edsall.  The barker house, corner Main and Church-sts, was built for a store by Nathaniel Jones, and the post-office was kept there by Milton McEwen for a number of years.

            In regard to the post-office it undoubtedly dates back to the early mail arrangements following the Revolution and the establishment of the United States Government.  Before the railroad ran here the mail was carried across the country on horseback and later by state coach.  Early in this century Dr. Benjamin S. Hoyt was postmaster for many years.  He is supposed to have been succeeded by Nathaniel Jones for a considerable time prior to 183 or 1836, when Milton McEwen held the office almost continually to 1861.

            The following houses were on High-st: James Hine’s house, corner of Lake-st., was a weaver’s shop, moved there by Wm. Hoyt.  The house now belonging to Mrs. Jesse Wood was occupied by Jacob Welch in 1827.  The Old School Baptist meeting house was erected in 1810.  Benjamin Sayer who died in 1874, said the first work he did for wages was to hew timber for this building, working from daylight until dark, for fifty cents per day.  The corner of the church lot southwest from said church building, on application of Capt. George Morehouse Dec. 9, 1833, was leased to the State of New York for one year to erect a Gun House there, the lease was afterwards renewed for three years.  There was a blacksmith shop a short distance north of this building.  The house on the corner of Main and High-st was occupied by Dr. James Herron in 1810, and was probably built by him.  On the south side of this street the house which stood near where the present house stands, corner of Lake-st, was owned by Abram Palmer in 1828.  Jeremiah Wood, in 1828, owned the house now owned by Mrs. John Conklin.

            The fram building for Warwick Institute, which was removed when the present brick building was completed, was built in 1853, and owned by a stock company composed of the leading citizens of Warwick and vicinity, who ran it as a private school until 1868, when it was transferred to the Board of Education of Union Free School District No. 12, and has been kept as a public school ever since that time.  There used to be a school house north of the Reformed Church; this was torn down, and another, on Oakland avenue, was remodeled and is the house in which the Superintendent of the Warwick Cemetery now lives.  These were both abandoned in a few year after the transfer of the Institute to the Board of Education.  West of where the present brick school building stands was a house built by Dr. Abram Reynolds, quite a distance from the road and near the creek.  The next house was the one now owned by George A. Sanford; this was built, by Charles Winfield in about 1848 and was used as a grocery store.  Next came the old house owned by Samuel Smith, where the Savings Band now stands.

            Now we will start at the Main-st bridge on the east side of the street and come north.  First there was a dam and mill; next Daniel Dikeman has a hat shop, near where S. S. Van Saun’s drug store now is; there was a distillery near where the First National Bank now stands, before 1800, owned by Zachariah Ketchum.  Near by, at a later date, was a furniture factory run by J. Foster.  Joseph Roe built the building now owned by Thomas Burt in about 1830.  Next were the sheds of the “Orange Hotel,” where W. T. Anderson & Co. now have their brick store.  The south end of the store building now owned by Wm. W. Van Duzer was built as a general store before 1829.  In 1818 Vincent Van Duzer built a house and cabinet maker’s shop where Mrs. Martha S. Crissey’s stores how stand.  The house now owned by the Young Men’s Christina Association was erected about 1810 by Daniel Olmstead.  The old house that was torn down where Miss Julia Reed’s house now stands, was built as a pain shop by Wm. and James Robertson.  The house now owned by rs. Frank Geraghty were built by Mr. Barker for stores, but were afterward used as houses.  Joseph Roe built the house now owned by Jeremiah M. Morehouse, in about 1827; he kept a store in a building where Dr. Wm B. Bradner’s house now stands.  In this store building John McKee run a hat shop and Lucias A. Waters afterwards kept a tin shop there.  The house now owned by Mrs. Harriet Cary is supposed to have been built by Garret Post (possibly the present site of the Albert Wisner Library); Joseph Roe bought it in 1846.  The store that stood where the present driveway is was built by Samuel Youmans, who kept a harness maker’s shop there.  Joseph Roe afterwards kept a general country store there.  The next house, now owned by F. C. and Frank Cary (if this is the Dr. Cary house, it was where the post office now is) is also supposed to have been built by Garret Post; it was a millinery store at one time kept by Miss Ruth Holly.  The house now owned by Azuba Reymund was built by Peter D. Demerest, and Philetus W. Demerest run a tailor shop there.  Afterwards Gilion Demerest had a shoe maker’s shop there.

            Then starting back down along on the opposite side of Main-st, south of the stone house now owned by W. B. Sayer, first there was a store standing where Mrs. Annie W. White’s driveway now is, then the house built by Benjamin Barney or the corner; the where the Warwick Opera House Co., building now stands stood a tailor shop, run in 1828 by John B. Randolph; then there was a small house in the corner of Samuel Sliker’s lawn, occupied by Sarah B. Randolph.  Wm. B. Welling, a stage driver, built the house now owned by Samuel Sliker.  Dr. Horton lived where Mrs.Mary E. Taylor now lives, in about 1832.  A man by the name of Finn is supposed to have built the house now owned by Mrs. Phebe A. Holbert.  Mr. Cameron lived in a house where the M.E. Church building now stands.  John F. Randolph built the house in about 1830 now owned by Wm. D. Ackerman and Mrs. Charles W. Stevens; he had a tailor shop situated where F. J. DeKay’s driveway now is, and it was afterward run as a tin shop and harness shop.  A man by the name of Grey built in 1827 the house now owned by U.J. Wiggins.  Albert Fitzgerald kept a shop in the old house that formerly stood where Mrs. Louis Lucha now has a bakery.  The building now called” The Hotel Welling” used to be called the “Orange Hotel”, and was run by John and Samuel Welling for a number of years. Ebenezer Crissey ran a furniture factory where Mrs. J.S. Hoffman’s brick building now stands, and built the house in about 1835 and lived there, that now belongs to Judge J.J. Beattie.  Where Kobergher’s Hotel now stands James Wood built a tailor shop for W. B. Crissey.  Philetus W. Demerest built the building now owned and occupied by James Knapp.  Now we come to the old stone house which stood where the brick store stands, corner of West and Main-sts.  In this stone house Ebenezer Crissey lived in about 1820 and ran a furniture factory before he moved up street.  James McDonald afterwards lived here and kept a blacksmith shop down by the creek back of the building now occupied by the “Warwick Advertiser.”  There the present Advertiser building now stands there used to be a small store.

            On West-st, at an early date, the first house was a long low house on the site where the presetd house stands now occupied by the heirs of James Hunter, deceased.   The next house was the one now owned by Mss Ann E. Sayer; the next aws an old house situated on the lot in front of where Mrs. Martha A. Atkinson now lives.  Joel Clark, in 1834, sold to Vincent Van Duzer the house now owned by Edward N. Baldwin.  Albert Fitzgerald lived in and built the house now owned by the heirs of Edward Howe.  The south side of West-st was all vacant until after 1865.

            McEwen-st was not laid out until after 1865.

            On Oakland avenue in 1830, there was an old shingle house standing on the site of Wm. H. Chardavoyne’s house, and an old house standing on what is now. Dr. G. F. Pitt’s dooryard, and one near the site of Thomas Welling’s house; that was all there was on the west side of the road, and on the east side the only one was Alanson Austin’s house, situated where Samuel S. Van Saun’s house now stands.  The house on Lake-st now occupied by Daniel St. Wood was built by Ludlow Cooper, in about 1827.  The last five houses mentioned above were south of the creek, and being farm houses, were hardly considered part of the village at that time.

            The houses as names, with a few others, constituted the old village of Warwick.  There was a brick yard on the farm now belonging to Mrs. S.A.F. Servin.  Samuel Smith, before 1840, ran a tan yard near the creek where Smith-st now is, and some of the old vats were dug up in digging the cellar for James Decker’s house on that street.  The level piece of ground where the trotting course now is, used to be called “The Plains of Abraham.”

            The Marquis De Chastellux, in travelling through Warwick in 1782, says that is was a pretty large place for so wild a country, but he does not tell how many houses there were here at that time.

            The Conrad Sly mentioned above, was a blacksmith, and helped build the great chain that was stretched across the Hudson River in 1777, to obstruct the passage of the British fleet.

            Isaac Dolson, in about 1827, owned and ran a grist mill on the farm now owned by George W. Hyatt.  He had a dam across the creek there which flooded the water back to the Main-st bridge, forming a large pond.  In dry weather he drew off the water in running the mill, leaving the mud in the bottom exposed to the hot summer sunshine, which caused a great amount of sickness.  Finally, several citizens of Warwick, after the dam had been washed through by high water, bought the property and then resold it putting this provision in the deed—“that no obstruction should be placed in the creek while grass grew or water run.”  Since then this village has been very healthy.