by Hylah Hasbrouck
printed in the
Transcribed by Yvonne Bauer
For the Warwick Valley History Website
with notes by
Reproduced with permission of the Dispatch
The Story of Warwick Village
the village of Warwick was started its center was at the fork of the King’s
Highway, one branch going east just as it does today to Chester, Newburgh and
the Hudson, the other to Goshen, Ulster Co. and Kingston. There was no
In our day, it was around the fountain that the home guard composed of the older men marched and drilled when the younger men left for the World War. [WWI] It was at the fountain that the Armistice Day parade started on its joyous march around town.
music played here, however, has not been altogether fife and drum marshalling
men to war. The plot of grass has been
covered by a bandstand twice to my knowledge.
The first one was low and had the appearance of a summerhouse. Happy were the neighbors when it was
removed. Twenty years after another one
was erected a higher one this time with several steps leading to the platform,
an ideal spot for children to play every day of the year, any hour of the day
except the short time on twelve or fifteen evenings that the band was using it:
an ideal place, also, for tramps to rest, loiterers to loaf, papers and rubbage
to collect. Again were the neighbors
happy when the Historical Society wanted the place cleared for the Forester
Tablet. Mr. Harvey McPeek said he could
move the stand and he did pushing it down
The fountain was placed by the children of Mr. George Sanford. He had said that would be just the spot for a watering place for horses. In his day, such a basis was a great convenience but, unfortunately, the transportation motor of today needs a pump instead of a bowl.
The grass plot with its boulder, cedar tree, hydrant, electric light pole and flower-bed has been as it is for several years but as it has changed in the past it will probably change in the future. It is more decorative, now, than an ordinary traffic light and should be left to mark the center of the road.
special celebrations have been staged in this part of town that I have
seen. One was last summer when
and jolly as these occasions were, how do you suppose they compared to the
barbecues which were held in older days on the land now occupied by the homes
of Dr. Gould and Bert Hulse? Great pits were dug in which an ox could be
roasted whole and all the things cooked that went with it. Knowing how
Let us use our imaginations and sweeping everything away try to rebuild this square as it was. The green of the Old School Baptist Church came down to the road—a wide sweep of grass around the church standing so majestically on its hill. The Shingle House, home of the Historical Society, was on its little knoll; no road passed its door but a lane called “Burt’s Lane” led out to the King’s Highway. The Wawayanda Hotel and Baird’s Tavern (Mr. W.B. Sayer’s stone house) can be placed easily. On the corner lot in the fork and facing south was a long low house built by John Smith before 1800. James Bradner took this house down and in 1830 built the house that stood there when the land was purchased by the Standard Oil Co. and was torn down by them. It was a splendid location for a hotel and was so used, being called the United States Hotel.
stores there were a plenty. We will
begin at the corner of
The house this side was built in 1817 by Joseph Roe, then owned respectively by John McKee, Wm. McGochlin, George Morehous, Jerry Morehous, and now by Mrs. Frank Decker.
The Dr. Wm. Bradner house was built by John McKee
who was a hatter and used it as a hat shop and store. James R. Christie ran a private school
upstairs. Lansing Hate had a furniture
store downstairs. Lucius A. Waters had a
tin shop in the rear. Later Joseph Roe
ran a grocery store in it. It was owned
successively by Jeffrey Wisner and James Bradner, William Ackerman, James
Wisner, Daniel Welling, Dr. Wm. B. Bradner, Fred C. Cary and now by Ferris
Mead. A building having many owners. It has been predicted that when this square
is again the “Hub” of business
The Fred C. Cary house now owned by Mrs. Burgess was built in 1825 by Samuel Youmans. A store building stood on the vacant lot between house and library and Samuel Youmans kept a harness maker’s shop there. In 1857 Joseph Roe used it for a general country store, then James Roe had it and William Dolson used it as a harness shop, again.
You will remember the two small houses that stood on the site of the Wisner Memorial Library. The first of the two was made quaint and pretty by Mr. Cary when he built the sloping roof over the porch with two dormer windows. The house was very old, supposed to have been built before 1770. It was owned by Jacob Roe, Sawyer Zuerroy, Miss Ruth Holly, Wm. Wood, Sally A. F. Servin, John Lawrence, Frank and Fred Cary. Ruth Holly kept a millinery shop and living with her was Hyle Ann Bertholf. Miss Bertholf was known to all as Aunt Hyle Ann. It is thought that the public bakery which was known to have been in this vicinity was in the house because, when it was torn down, and oven, well bricked, was found that was larger than the usual family oven.
The other small house was built by Peter D. Demarest and used as a shoe maker’s shop by his son J. Gillion Demarest. Philetus Demarest kept a tailor shop there. Later a Palmer ran a shoe store. Then it was owned by Azuba Raymond and Fred C. Cary.
About 1830, John Smith ran a general country store at the corner of the highway and Burt’s Lane; that is where the lawn of the hospital is now. Later in the same building John L. Servin printed the Warwick Advertiser. When the Advertiser was moved down town this building was torn down.
We will cross the street now to the Wawayanda Hotel. Daniel Burt built part of it before 1770. From 1785 to 1815 Thomas Gerahity owned it and ran a hotel and store. In 1830 Thomas Ward owned it and it became the hostlery that you have read about and know.
Between the Wawayanda Hotel and
The building known as the “United States Hotel” was owned by Daniel Olmstead, James Chevee, William Welling called “William Pie” to distinguish him from “Stage-Coach William”. John P. Pierson, Grinnell Burt, Mrs. Grinnell Burt, Miss Edna Sayer and Benjamin Zelikowitz who sold it to the Standard Oil Company and made a profit by the deal. When the Piersons lived there a picket fence enclosed the yard running close to the house on this side. Mrs. Pierson liked to lean out of the window and look up and down the street. Sometimes her cap would fall off and no one could get it for her except Fanny Cowdrey who was then a little girl. Her hands were the only ones small enough to reach between the pickets and get the cap. Mr. Grinnell Burt tried to turn the house around and move it back but when turned about ten feet it creaked and groaned so ominously the men dared to go no farther and it was left with one corner on the street. When the house was torn down the city fathers became busy and retrieved the lost ground making the corner a rounded one instead of the sharp turn of many years.
When James Chevee ran the hotel his daughter married William H. Robertson, the first dude to come to Warwick, the first man to wear a white collar and tie as every day articles of dress. The boys disliked him of course and decided to give the bridal couple a skimmelton, not after their return from the honeymoon but during the ceremony. They rigged up a “horse fiddle” which was a cog wheel hung as a grind stone is hung. Then a hand saw was bent at right angles to the cogwheel so that it would scrape against the cogs when the handle was turned. When the wedding ceremony was started the “horse-fiddle” was started which with the beating on pans the blowing of horns and shooting of guns made such a racket not a word spoken by the minister could be heard. A dance was given, whether it was in connection with this wedding I don not know. But there was a dance and the young men very generously offered to take care of the babies which had been brought so that their mothers could enjoy some dancing. When it came time to go home, the young women, flushed with exercise and pleasure, gathered up their respective infants without too close a look—outside wraps were enough for identification. The next morning consternation was wide spread and the United States Hotel was the rendezvous for distracted mothers. What had those mischievous boys done? Yes, you have guessed, they had changed the clothes of their helpless charges.
Now for this side of the street. Mr. Compton’s house was built by Benjamin
Barney about 1803, and later owned by Judge Nathaniel Jones. There was no
The house now owned by Miss Annie
Hulse was built by James B. Wheeler and was one of the finest mansions in town. His daughter Annie Wheeler White arranged the
house as it is now built the stonewall terrace and opened the street which she
Coming north, there was a general country store where Miss Hulse’s driveway is run by James B. Wheeler, Joseph Roe, and later James Roe. This building was afterwards moved back and used as a barn.
It has taken sometime to go the rounds and reach the real center of this circle, for all the stores, shops, and houses were built where they were because the stone tavern was where it was. In 1766 Frances Baird built the stone house now owned by W. B. Sayer. It is supposed that Francis Baird purchased his land, about one hundred and ninety-seven acres, of Judge Wm. Wickham who settled the Benjamin Aske estate or of Henry Wisner; this deed of purchase was not recorded. On July 15, 1799 it was deeded by Francis Baird to John Baird: May 18, 1804 to Nathan Reed: April 15, 1808 to Lewis F. Randolph; May 1, 1831 Sarah Randolph, administratrix, to Gilbert and James B. Wheeler; April 1, 1847 to Mary White: May 1, 1858 to Wm. E. Sayer; March 26, 1889 by the will of Wm. E. Sayer to W. B. Sayer.
The house is built of native stone
quarried on the farm and the wood but from the trees. The lime used was burned in the old limekiln
which is on the south side of
The street level has been at various heights. In front of the tavern, it used to be higher. Once as a wager, a men rode his horse through the front door, up to the bar, enjoyed his drink sitting in the sale and rode out again.
Miss Frances Cowdrey’s land belonged
to the stone house until 1808 when Lewis Randolph sold the plot to Thomas
Sprowell. There was a frame building on
it just north of the tavern used as a general country store by Edmund Reynolds
in 1805. Dr John I Wheeler 1832-1836
later by John Cowdrey, then a partnership firm of Wm. E. Sayer and Wm. Hynard
and by John Cowdrey again who in 1859 built the house that is there now and in
1865 tore down the old store building.
Mr. John Cowdrey, the father of Miss
Fanny, set out the maple trees and the beautiful box wood which we all
admire. It is the old English box wood
that is impossible to buy now. The same
kind is to be found in the garden at
With stores and shops within a stone
throw, with three taverns in sight and therefore company a plenty, it is not
strange that in 1808 James Hoyt should look upon this spot with a favorable eye
and buy thirty acres of Nathan Reed, the owner of the stone house. The land extended north to what is now
I know nothing of this James Hoyt who built the house in 1808 but I believe that what he did, he did well. The beams are of oak, cut by hand and as hard as iron. A cellar was dug for every inch of the house, a cellar deep and tight. The chimneys are wide and full of flues, every room can be warmed with a fireplace. The front room of the Lewis side was the kitchen and that fireplace was the usual generous size. A Dutch over was at the side and Mr. Van Saun used to say he never expected to eat any bread as good as that which was baked there. It was from this fireplace that people on their way to service in the Dutch Reformed Church would replenish their foot warmers with hot coals.
Having thirty acres and like everyone else the privilege of pasturing cows along the public highway, it was not strange that James Hoyt was a farmer. He and his successors had a cow barn, horse stable, wagon house, corn crib, poultry house and a shed. All have been removed except the wagon house which is used as a garage.
As the village grew and
farms outside were established, it was desired to have a road leading west to Edenville and the natural place for it was to extend the
Mother bought this place of Mr. Sam
Van Saun who had inherited it from his father Samuel S. Van Saun. She sold the land where Mr. Bellew now lives
to Mr. J. C. Wilson who built that house.
That land was considerable lower than the street and had been used as a
garden with a fine well in the center.
There was another well on the premises and five large cisterns, tow of
which were filtered. Mr. Van Saun, Sr.
was a carpenter by trade and he renovated this house something in the
60’s. The door and window casements, the
alcoves on each side of chimney are his work.
Also, the marble mantles in place of the original wooden ones which we
should have liked so much better. He had
the woodwork grained a dark brown walnut.
This was done beautifully by a man who was an expert and when you know
there was a paneled door at every opening large double doors between these
rooms. It was no small task. Stairways were Mr. Van Saun’s speciality
Associated with him was John R. Voorhis, the grand old Sachem of Tammany Hall. The two men were cousins and Mr. Voorhis
often visited here when a young man. Mr.
Van Saun and Mr. Voorhis built stairways in
Miss Fanny Cowdrey and Mr. Sam Van Saun, Jr. were about the same age and great friends. There was a row of black cherry tress along the street. When Mr. Van Saun Sr. wanted the ripest and largest cherries which of course were at the top of the trees, he sent little Fanny after them. She could pick all around the slow moving Sam. These trees were cut down and maples were set out in a perfect squares around the house. Wind and the ax have broken the line. Mr. Van Saun and Mr. Cowdrey always kept fine teams of horses. One day Mr. Van Saun drove down his lane with Fanny and Sam and had them race to see which could unharness and put in the barn a horse. Miss Fanny says hers was tied and blanketed before Sam had his loose from the wagon.
Of housewives there have been a variety. There was one whose cleanliness you should know about. Every week the wash tubs were taken in the back yard and the hoops scrubbed and scoured until they shone. This clean lady had a son who brought home a bride—a dainty young lady who had never been required to do very hard work. The usual consequences followed. The last straw was laid when mother-in-law demanded the dirt to be removed from the cracks in the garret floor with a hair pin. The young madam packed up and went home. Her father interviewed the young husband and the wife returned but a change in households followed. The dust? As far as I know it is in the attic floor at this very minute.
The material for this paper was given to me by Mr. W. B. Sayer who wrote out all the historical data, Miss Francis Cowdrey, Miss Julia Demarest, Mrs. George N. Van Duzer and Miss Fanny Benedict. I am grateful to them; it reduced my research work to nihil and gave me pleasure in weaving together the various bits into a complete story.
 Hylah Hasbrouck owned the house opposite the corner, currently the Key Bank building.
building stood opposite the intersection of
 We do
not know if it is still standing; the
information on the Fountain can be found in Warwick Roots, the newsletter of
the Historical Society of the Town of
by the 1903 Atlas map, a bit further out
 Currently the Mobil Station
 Appears to be where the parking lot where the Bradner professional building now is.
 It appears that this is where an access drive is to a property set back from the road.
 A noisy mock serenade to the newly married couple.
Approximately where the
 This is the house that Lurana White grew up in; she was the foundress of the Graymoor sisters’ religious order.
 Archaic term for a female administrator.
 Appears to be the land where the Key Bank parking lot now is.
 Current Key Bank building, home of Hylah Hasbrouck.