Putting Edenville on the Map
An article appearing in
Transcribed for the Warwick Valley History Website
By Yvonne Bauer
Published on the web with the permission of the Dispatch
the generosity of my friend Mr. Chas. F. Egg, designer and minerologist, who
spent a summer vacation camping in the Vernon valley, I enjoyed the perusal of
a rear book, entitled “the Minerals of New York City and its Environs” by
Manchester 1931, published by the New York “Minerological Club” for use of its
members. I quote here a paragraph form
the book (P. 28) — “Orange County New York is well known to the older mineral
collectors. The prevailing rock is
pre-cambrian limestone and granite. The
limestone is represented by a belt twenty-two miles long extending from Mts.
Adam and Eve and running in a southwesterly direction on thru
Reminiscent of this location, I at once recalled much pertaining to its earlier residents back in the late sixties, and how within the past year “I had wandered over to our old home town and sat beneath the tree upon the old Edenville school house ground. That sheltered you and me, but none were left to greet me, and few were left to know, who played with us upon that green some sixty years ago.
Mr. Silas C. Young, mineralogist, then a venerable resident of the village, who resided at the southeast corner— property now the home of the Jackson’s—is undoubtedly one of the men mentioned in the foregoing quotation from “Masterson’s” book as keeping the location of the valuable Spinels of this locality a “dead secret.” He studied and followed mineralogy first for pleasure and then for profit, for he made many valuable trades or exchanges with his spinels for western and foreign specimens. It was my great pleasure when a mere lad to accompany this gentleman on two or three of these pilgrimages for spines, equipped with basket containing a few drills, stone-hammer bottle of blasting powder and a light lunch for an all day search in the hills in the vicinity of Amity and “Gibraltar Rock,”
This gentleman was a descendant of Dr. Young, who was largely instrumental in changing the name Postville to Edenville. All honor to the memory of that older generation — Dr. Young and the founders of the hamlet during the eighteenth century – Col. Jacobus Post—then owned much of the present village site—Dr. Houston, Dr. Holly, Thadius Board, the Dusinberre’s, Nanny’s and other – Many of whose tombstones are to be found in the family plot at rear of the church.
During the late sixties, Benj. Colwell and the Dusinberres conducted wagon and sleigh manufacturing establishments turning out on an average of fifty or sixty unites per year at each shop and employing some twenty or twenty-five workmen, wheelwrights, blacksmith, upholsterers, painter. The merry ring of the anvils was music to the school kid’s ear on a bright spring morning and the young swains paid around two hundred and fifty dollars for a new hand made buggy from this stock. This with new set of harness and a well bred colt from the farm, made that fellow a prince at heart.
Thos. Ellison—whom I believe was a descendent of Capt. Ellison of “Battle of Minisink” fame during Gen Hathorn’s operations—conducted a cooper shop west of the village where hand made washtubs, firkins, barrels, pails, and various scrubbing brushes for cleaning the dairy utensils were turned out, all made from the native white cedar and hardwoods. This fine old gentleman had a large family of children some of whose descendants are still living in the County.
Robert A. Wheat an upholsterer and locally remembered as a singing school conductor and violinist, and for his vocal solo “the Sword of Bunker Hill’ which was only rendered on special occasions. He lived with his family at his father-in-laws, the Andrew Shorter home. The later named gentleman being the champion grain cradler of Orange Co., and at the age of seventy, could send all cradlers to the showers by , and think it only a breeze.
James Green conducted a boot and shoe shop soling shoes and covering our homemade baseballs with the good old cowhide, at one end of the shop while a few townsmen smoked and played dominoes in another corner during the winter afternoons.
The northwest corner store of Seely Everett was then conducted by Rev. H.B. Edwards, better known to his townsmen as Dominie Edwards, where general merchandise was on sale from early morning till and on the Sabbath day the Domine could always be counted upon as a faithful worker in the Sunday school and church on the hill. As I sometimes recall this man’s wonderful personality, his fortitude, and his good wife’s hospitality among the school kiddies as they came to her living apartments in the rear of the store after school hours for a handout of tidbits or cookies that genial smile must have gone deep to the heart of every boy or girl who came in contact with it, never to be erased as they reached mature years.
This merchant brought in his stock of goods from Warwick freight house with well groomed horse hitched to a one horse box wagon—of Colwell or Dusinberre make, painted in multicolor: and striped, a spic-span rig it was. The good wife attended store and post office in his absences. The Domine was typical of the ministry of his time, except in being an inveterate smoker of good, bad and indifferent cigars, never a pipe, and cigarettes were taboo in his day. I recall how he enjoyed the friendly smokers with fellow townsmen gathered about the old Crock stove which devoured plenty of good anthracite coal at per ton. They swapped yarns, joked, discussing the doings of the day, until the non smokers Houston. Young, Shorter and others were obliged to depart for home to escape the smoke rings that were fast engulfing the hams and shoulders hanging from the ceiling beams from hooks or nails. The hams were brought down with a hooked pole for prospective customers inspection or purchase and I sometimes fancied there might have been a trace of nicotine taste in the article when served at breakfast time, yet who cared in that day for they were hams, O boy. This smokefast was enjoyed by many participants W. J. Sly, Nanny, Hedges, Morse, Chardavoyne and many others until the good Dominie called a halt, to shut up shop, or the cover to the cracker barrel caved in from too much stress on a joke. I could relate pages on the jokes played upon this good natured Dominie by his friends who gathered at the old store of an evening, but space may permit but one of which I recall most vividly at this time. “ One evening during the spring time as the Dominie had returned to the store from his small barn, located a few yards to rear of store–and reached over a board walk, having finished caring for his horse for the night, he lighted a fresh cigar and bustling up to stove to warm his wringing hands remarked “I’ve had a skunk around my barn for some time, and the smell is worse tonight than ever, I’d give anyone a dollar to trap or get rid of it dead or alive–Where upon those present (Except Nanny) managed to suppress their laughter. An evening or so later, the Dominie remarked that the skunk nuisance had disappeared, some one quickly spoke up and said, “Why sure Dominie, Morse here, got that polecat yesterday. The Dominie looked pleased, and handed Morse the dollar, who immediately purchased cigars for the crowd and was looked upon as the hero of the hour, and then in the near future some town kid gave the whole thing away by telling the Dominie that Morse had hired him to place that scent pouch from the polecat underneath the board walk, where it exuded fresh scent at each tread of the pedestrian to and from the barn, so naturally the Dominie requested that Morse purchase more cigars for his joke.
Here we leave this vale of Eden nestled in the shadows of Mts. Adam and Eve, with Gibraltar Rock as guardian of future generations, ever importuning them to spare that tree, that staid old oak, Touch not a single bough, In youth it sheltered your kin folk and you should protect it now.
In closing this historical narrative may we ever cherish memories of our long since departed friends, “As the surging sea of life forever onward rolls and bears to the eternal shore it’s daily freight of souls: Tho bravely sails our bark today, grim Death sits at the prow, And few shall know we ever lived, a hundred years from now.” ---E