Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Schools in the Town of Marshall

The first school in the Town of Marshall goes back to around 1796, established by the Brothertown Indians. It was approximately where the Boro is now located. Another school was in the center of Dicksville, built by Asa Dick and used as a school and a church, where Amy Marris lives. At this school, according to Ken McConnell, former Town of Marshall Historian, "pupils paid tuition of one quarter cord or good hard wood two feet long, or the cash equivalent." He relates that there was the construction of a fence "to keep the cows out of the play ground."  Other schools were at McConnell's Corners, Moore's Corners, Hanover and Forge Hollow. Altogether, there were 11 school districts in the Town.
In the early 1800s, the Knob Academy, which was located on the hill south of the Depot and the Marshall Towpath on the west side of Route 315, was built. It was torn down in 1906. In the 1840s, the West Hill Academy was established on land deeded from John Dean to the trustees of the new school which featured two years of high school. After that, the Deansboro Union Free High School was built on West Hill Road (then known as School Street) where the Ruia's now live. This school went up to the eighth grade; then the pupils were sent to Clinton High School to finish out their education and were transported there at their parents' expense.
The Deansboro Union Free High School burned in 1931, and then came the big question: should the school be re-built; or should Deansboro merge with Clinton or with Waterville? Many public meetings were held to examine the pros and cons of each proposal. Continuing as a separate unit was not considered. The Clinton Central School Board of Education was approached seeking an offer to become part of the Clinton School District. This measure was applauded by some residents of Deansboro, especially those whose children who attended the Clinton schools. The Waterville Board of Education, however, had offered to erect a school in Deansboro at their own expense, accepting the additional cost of part of the deal. The Clinton School District were reluctant at first to construct a new building in Deansboro at Clinton taxpayer expense, but when they were informed of Waterville's offer they made a similar one: agreeing to take Deansboro into their local central district and to build a school there at the same tax rate charged throughout the district.
However, given the fact that many individuals influential in the Deansboro school affairs had business interests in Waterville, the informal vote in April 1931 was 108 in favor of uniting with Waterville, 25 wishing to join Clinton, and 11 undecided. A formal vote followed, with the result of 125 for joining with Waterville and 17 against. The next question was where the new school should be located, and the Miller site on the west side of Route 12B (where the present Town Hall is located) was selected. Work on the new school started in April 1932 for a three-classroom building for students from Grades 1-6, including a cafeteria and auditorium with a stage, to be called the Deansboro Grade School. Pupils for the upper grades were transported by bus to Waterville.
The contractors hoped the new school would be ready for September 1932, but classes there didn't actually begin until March of 1933. All the small area schools were closed, and the children were transported to school in either Deansboro or Waterville, whichever was closer. What is now the meeting room in the Town Hall was the First and Second grade classroom; the offices of the Town officials used to be the third and fourth grade rooms; and the present main library room housed the fifth and six grades. What is now the children's room of the library was called the principal's office, and a cot for sick children was there as well as a small library. Once a week a music teacher and a gym teacher travelled from Waterville. Lunches were prepared and served by Mrs. Rexford Johnson (helped by enthusiastic fifth and sixth grade students) on the stage at school. There was a very strong, active PTA. Sadly, the last class graduated from the Deansboro Grade School in 1966. It was then used as a kindergarten and the grade 1-6 children were bussed to Waterville until 1970. In 1975, the Town of Marshall purchased the school for $1.00 and moved the Town Offices there. Then everybody from kindergarten to grade 12 went to Waterville. Reorganization plan for combining the Brookfield, Madison, Oriskany Falls and Waterville school districts into one combined district was discussed in 1969 but, aside from Oriskany Falls joining the Waterville Central School District, that didn't happen.
It's fun to imagine how different everything would be if the vote in 1931 had gone the other way!

Following are some of the schools that were in the Town of Marshall. Many are not there anymore, and many more were turned into attractive homes.

Deansboro Grade School 1932-1966

Deansboro High School on West Hill Road (then School Street) burned 1931

Dicksville School corner Burnham Road and Rt. 315

School District #8 Gridley Page and Shanley Road

District #9 Cobblestone School House corner Bogan Rd. and Rt. 315

District #6  Hanover

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hop Extract Works

The Hop Extract Works, built in 1879 by James R. Whiting, were located about one mile outside of Waterville on the way to Deansboro, where the Suburban Propane bulk tanks and storage buildings are located. It was at what was called "Factory Village," on Mill Street (Buell Ave.)

At first, the works were in a small wooden building with three extractors. However, the demand for the product was so great that by 1881 plans were underway for expansion, which included a three-story brick factory 33x75, a hop pit of corrugated iron, 30x73 feet for the reception of the waste hops after the extract has been removed, a 35x70 foot warehouse for the storage of hops, an engine house, which will contains two 60-horse power boilers (later 100-horsepower boilers were added), a workshop, a fire-proof structure to store the hops, and an office. In 1882, apparatus was installed for making electric light into the extensive works. In 1887, a large blast blower was placed to carry the waste hops through a tube from the damping place to the boiler room, where they are used for fuel. Conservation at its finest!

Local farmers brought their hops in large horse-drawn wagons; or, if the weather was adverse, hops were imported from England, Ireland and South America, and shipped from as far as Oregon and California by freight train. The hops were placed in large brass vats tightly closed, and  through a process of hot water and cooling, the lupulin (the active ingredient in hops) was extracted.  "It was almost like steeping tea," commented Celia Roberts Jones, who was born in 1893 and whose father was a bookkeeper there. The extract was preferred by the brewers because the extraction process ensured that the best part of the hops was preserved; and one pound of hop extract equaled to about  two and one-half pounds of hops, a plus for shipping. An 1886 article in the Waterville Times proclaims, "Lest anyone should question whether this hop extract is mixed or in any way a substitute for the hop, we will add that for many years they have made, and still make, a standing offer of $1000 for an ounce of anything but the pure hop found in any quantity from their works."

Celia Roberts Jones, mentioned above, added the following anecdote: one officer of the plant, experimenting with the extract liquid, added confectioner's sugar and boiled it down to cake form, something like fudge. This solid product was made for "medicinal purposes".

At its heyday, the plant converted about 150 bales of hops per day into about 2000 pounds of extract, and was running day and night to keep up with the demand, with two men relieving each other every twelve hours. There were about 15 men working each shift. Working at the hop works was dangerous business: one man, lost some fingers while removing a belt; another had his hair and face burned in a gas explosion.  

In 1897, the engine house (where the boilers were) caught fire. Fortunately, the building was brick with a tin roof and located quite a distance from the works. Had it  caught in the main factory building the damage would have been enormous. Gasoline was used in the work of extracting hops, and a new supply had just been placed in storage. However, it was confined to the one building, easily controlled and put out. The origin of the fire remained a mystery. Arson was suspected; and a pile of hop residue was found in front of the boilers: possibly the fire started there, However it occurred, the plant was closed for while for repairs but then started up again as busy as ever. 

After a time, however, the plant closed, a victim of the low prices of hops, around 1902, although there was still enough product stored to meet demand. Some talk was made about using the plant to extract rubber. But in 1935 the brick building was razed, and in 1937 the 70-foot brick chimney was demolished by the State Highway Department, using 92 sticks of dynamite. The plant was the only hop extract works in the world at that time.   

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Forge Hollow

Forge Hollow was another once-thriving, prosperous community in the Town of Marshall. The first white settler (according to the 1860 Gazetteer) was David Barton in 1792. He first settled in land on the Brothertown Patent (on West Hill on the Bishopp farm) and was obliged to move). Forge Hollow was notable for its forges - hence the name. It used ore from Clinton and later scrap iron to turn into farm tools. The first forge was built in 1801 by Daniel Hanchett, John Winslow, Thomas Winslow and Ward White. It was located a short distance down the stream from the caves and was known as the upper forge.  In 1808, Hanchett went into partnership with Skinner. The last forge man and blacksmith was Yemmans Phinney. Hunkerford & Daniels operated what was called the lower forge. As a side note, the curve on Route 315 going in known as Daniel's Nose. Forge Hollow was also known for its grist mills and saw mills; near the old stone school house was the Mowery Tefft sawmill, and further upstream was the grist mill, operated by Isaac Jones. There was a blast furnace, originated by Andrew S. Pond and later operated by Billy Titus.  Forge Hollow also boasted a Universalist church, a furniture store, run by M.L. Lyman, at least two hotels or public houses, shop and a school. Willona Creek (or Big Creek or the West Branch of the Oriskany Creek) provided water for the grist mills and sawmills. A plank road extended from Waterville through Forge Hollow to Deansboro, later replaced by a hard macadam road. Yes, Forge Hollow was a important, busy place, where Town business was conducted in either Donohue's Hotel or the Ryan Building, and was bustling until the Chenango Canal was opened in 1837, followed by the railroad in 1867.  Even though Forge Hollow has declined - the forges and mills are gone - it is still celebrated for the cave-pocked limestone cliffs over which a spring bubbles to a pool below. In fact, one of the largest caves in Central New York can be found on the highway near Forge Hollow. In the same area, plenty of horsebone rock can be found.  In 1885, a scorpion fossil was found in the caves, and appeared in a exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History. This fossil is associated with the fossil Eurypterid, the oldest fossil in New York State. Today, one can see bicyclists stopping by for a cool drink, or people filling water jugs with the spring water from the "hollow." In the wintertime, water drips down the fact of the cliff, forming huge icicles.

NOTES:  The annual Senior's Night Out was October 22, and it was well attended with good food and good company. Bingo was on the schedule following the meeting and the following won prizes: Paul Cornelius, Mabel and Mike Silliman, Nelson Blau, Bob Dangler, Joyce and John Ingraham, Charlie Angier, and Debbie and Ron Steinmann.

Also well attended was the Congregational UCC's Harvest Dinner October 24. Congratulations to Dana Schliffit of Earlville, who won the quilt made by members of the Women's Fellowship.

The Oneida County Health Department has determined that the water from the spring in Forge Hollow is contaminated and unsafe to drink. Ironic, since so many partake of the water.

The Marshall Historical Society is planning to publish a book detailing all businesses in the Town of Marshall, both past and present. If you received a notice about your business, please return it so work can start on the project.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Motor Mechanics

During the first two years of World War II, women explored the mysteries of spark plugs and carburetors. They learned what makes a car run, how to perform minor repairs and change a tire - in short, the car inside and out - in a course of Motor Mechanics so they would  be prepared if they are needed to drive ambulances or take men's places in mechanical jobs during the war.  Little could be found on the Motor Mechanics course in the Town of Marshall except from photographs from 1942, courtesy of Eleanor Dawes of Clinton, formerly of Deansboro. In the photos are several women from Deansboro, wielding tire irons and wrenches, learning how to change a tire or intently studying spark plugs, taught by Hardie Sanders.  Some of the women were Clara Cornelius, Esther Sanders, Cecile Pierce, Charlotte Bishopp, Margurite Kennard and Eleanor Dawes. There were about 12 women in the class. There was also a Motor Mechanics class in Waterville, taught by Alphonse Rienzo, which possibly some Town of Marshall residents attended. 

Congratulations to Jessica Scoones, daughter of Jody and David Scoones of Deansboro, who was part of a Solar Decathlon through Alfred University, where she is an engineering student. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Jessica's team, one of 20 in competition, was in collaboration with SUNY Alfred. The house featured solar panels, radiant flooring and many other features. Her team reconstructed the house in Irvine, California in October, and won awards for affordability, comfortable temperature, and electrical. Jessica's mother and father also traveled to California to witness the competition.

Welcome to the Gary Comstock family, who recently purchased the Robert Palusky home on VanHyning Road. The Comstocks are from Clinton, where Gary previously owned Alexander's Cafe, where Stan's Coffee Shop used to me. The Paluskys are living across the road at Blueberry Brook.

Sympathy of the community is extended to the family of Allen Benedict of Deansboro, who passed away October 28 at the Siegenthaler Center. He leaves his wife Joan Barker Benedict, sons Keith and Kevin, and many grandchildren, relatives and friends. Allen and Joan have owned and operated Ye Olde Canal Shoppe on Main Street, Deansboro for many years.

Dave Sullivan writes that KD Homes is building a new home on Gridley Paige Rd. for Brent & Lindsay Gilchrest and their family. Brent runs the Waterville Animal Resort and Lindsey is a registered nurse. They are building on what was the Clark Lallier farm. We would like to welcome them to our town.

The Marshall Historical Society is planning to publish a book detailing all businesses in the Town of Marshall, both past and present. If you received a notice asking about details concerning your business, please return it so work can start on the project.  If you didn't receive a notice and would like your business included, please let us know.

Do you have pictures of happenings in the Town of Marshall? In January, bring your pictures to the Town Hall and we will scan them for posterity and return them to you. We'll let you know the date. In the meantime, pour over your old albums (that's fun!). Any archives (business' calendars, etc.) you'd like to share with us? Keep the Historical Society in mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

No Brakes!

Many people remember the year 1957, when there were three accidents involving vehicles - two trucks and one tractor - hurtling down West Hill Road and crashing into buildings in the hamlet of Deansboro.

The first was in July of that year. Two men, who worked for Donald Hinman, were travelling down West Hill on a tractor which was pulling a trailer of empty baskets and bags, intended for bean picking. The tractor went out of control, skidded 250 feet, snapped off a utility pole, and overturned. The tractor and trailer were demolished; the two men were thrown from the vehicle and taken to Faxton Hospital. One, Ernest Henderson of Belle Glade, Florida, died the next day of a fractured skull. The other man, Willie Bond of Troy, Alabama, remained in the hospital, according to the Utica Daily Press, suffering from "critical injuries."

The next accident was in August, 1957. Then, damage of more than $20,000, was estimated when a tractor trailer truck loaded with 616 bushels of beans lost its brakes coming down West Hill Road and crashed into the plate glass window of Claude Hinman's (later D'Agostino's) garage at the corner of Rts. 12B and 315. The driver, Robert West, 21, was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital where is was confined pending X-rays. His passenger L.C, Thrasher of Deansboro, was treated for bruises and then released. According to the Daily Press of August 8, West said he was driving east down the West Hill Road when his brakes failed. He started blowing his horn to avoid striking any traffic. The tractor trailer, owned by George Littleton of Pompano, Florida, was demolished. Beans were strewn about the sales place inside and out. Fuel oil was splashed in the street and the Deansboro Fire Department flushed and then sanded the street. John Pughe, who was driving his car at the foot of the hill, narrowly escaped being run into.  John Lewis, of Oriskany Falls, Mrs. Lewis and their five children were traveling west out of the Waterville Road. His car was damaged on the left front fender and door when the tractor trailer caught a portion of the car but the occupants did not report any injury. Crowds which gathered at the scene handicapped officials and others who salvaged the beans. The Utica Daily Press reported that  the beans, all 18 1/4 tons, were salvaged and loaded into another tractor trailer. The beans had been picked on the Donald Hinman farm.

The third accident that year was in November. A tractor trailer, loaded with 20 tons of calcium chloride, intended for the town highway department, went out of control again coming down West Hill Road at about 3:00 a.m.  This time, the truck smashed into three buildings off Route 315 in Deansboro, shearing off the corner of what was then Ralph's General Store (now the Superette), demolishing Allyn Earl's hardware store just below, and coming to a halt after striking a storage building behind that and spilling its cargo. Eloise Beerhalter (then Harrington) hurried to investigate and found the driver, Richard Arnold, who had climbed out from the truck unhurt walking up the driveway. They called the state police, who responded almost immediately. News of the accident was around early, as farmers starting coming up to the Hinman Milk Station (now Linfield Auto Repair and Final Touch) just below Allyn Earl's, before sunrise. School children, who wait for the bus on the corner, shifted further down the road in front of the old post office (on Route 315) to watch.The spectators complained of the bitter wind, but were nevertheless numerous, and hampered the cleanup efforts.  Pictures of this accident were preserved by Eleanor Dawes, and she very kindly loaned them for this blog. 1. Lower side of Earl's store after accident. 2. Town of Marshall crew getting ready to clean up debris. 3. View of the whole scene after accident 4. View of damage done to rear of Ralph's General Store. 5. Overturned truck on rear of Earl's store. 6. West side of Earl's store showing where the truck hit corner.
Not quite as dangerous but still a "near calamity" happened in 1959 at the  Kiddie Parade at the Firemen's Field Days, when the brakes on Dottie Winslow's bike failed, and she sped down West Hill Road, across Main Street, and into Hinman's Garage. She was given much credit for avoiding a baby carriage. Dottie spent the night in the hospital, but received no serious injury. Although she was awarded a prize for the "fastest bike" her sister Betty Winslow Ford remembers she was most upset because the bike was new.

There haven't been any accidents since then, although a near miss occurred this past winter (2014) when a tractor trailer was coming down West Hill Road from Route 26 and encountered slippery conditions. When the driver realized he was losing control of his rig, he drove it into a ditch, rather than jeopardize people traveling on Route 12B. The trailer swung around and smashed into a tree on Harry Goodson's property. The tree had to be subsequently cut down. The driver was "shaken up," Harry said, but wasn't injured.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I am your recently-appointed (in March) Town of Marshall Historian, to succeed Dorothy McConnell, who has retired. Believe me, she's a hard act to follow; however, I am doing my best to get acquainted with the history of the Town of Marshall (did you know the Town is named in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall, who served from 1801-1835? I didn't until I started doing some serious reading). Therefore, operating on the assumption local history may be a closed book to some, I am starting with the basics: the founding the Town of Marshall. If there are corrections to be made, please email me, Janet Dangler, at townofmarshallblooger@gmail.

This blog is also intended to keep residents up-to-date on what is going on around the town: new buildings, events which are scheduled. For that I need your help - please let me know your news and it will appear on this blog. You can email or call me at 841-4707 and I'll be glad to answer questions!

First of all, the sympathy of the community is extended to the family of Lois Goodson Cole, who passed away Friday, September 11, 2015 at the Presbyterian Home. Her funeral was Tuesday, September 15, at Owens-Pavlot Funeral Home. Lois leaves a son Charles and a daughter Cindy Gall of Deansboro; her grandchildren; her sister Mary Lloyd and brother Harry Goodson, and lots of nephews and nieces.

The Apple Fest sponsored by the Women's Fellowship of the Congregational United Church of Christ will be September 27.  Along with apple pies from the church's kitchen will be home baked goods with an apple theme, as well as apples and cider for sale. The day starts at 10:00. 

Mark your calendars for three events coming up. October 3 is the date of the United Methodist Church turkey supper, with all the fixings topped off with apple or pumpkin pie. On the 22nd will be the Senior's Night Out, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Committee, with chicken on biscuits followed by Bingo. The 24th will be the Congregational UCC Church's annual turkey supper.

Many have noticed the new sign gracing the front of the Congregational church. It was donated by Chuck Morris in loving memory of his parents, John and Mary Alice Morris. The Morris family lived on Shanley Road.

The new pole barn by Buell's Fuel will be used for storage. The building went up so quickly: one day it was grass; then wooden poles; then metal cladding; and finally the trusses.

And now on to the history of the Town of Marshall:

Today, it is generally agreed that Deansboro in 2015 is the hub - the seat, as it were - of the Town of Marshall. It wasn't always that way, though. The first settlers in the Town of Marshall - known as the Town of Paris at first (the Town of Kirkland was part of the Town of Paris, and then the Town of Marshall was incorporated from the Town of Kirkland in 1829) - were the Brothertown Indians, made up of different tribes (the Narragansetts, the Pequots, Mohegans, Montauks, Natnicks and Shinicooks) from Connecticut and Rhode Island. They settled in the land the Oneida Indians gave them. This was a "considerable tract of land," about 24,000 acres. It stretched approximately from Madison Lake to College Hill in Clinton.
One of the first of the Indian settlements was around 1774, known as Dicksville, named after Asa Dick, a Narragansett.  Dicksville boasted two sawmills, a shoe shop, a school, a grist mill on the bank of Willona Creek (Big Creek, or the east branch of Oriskany Creek), a blacksmith shop, a tavern and a carpentry shop. By the early 1900s, although some buildings remain (Amy Marris lives in the former Indian church, later their school house; and Ed Gallagher lives in the house that Asa Dick built, formerly Wratten's), Dicksville pretty much was a memory. However, there is a historical marker near a lilac tree on what was Asa Dick's property and used to be a pasture connected with the Milton Wratten farm (now behind a newer ranch house on property owned by Ed Gallagher). Under the lilac are several gravestones, the largest and most interesting of which is the one inscribed "In memory of Asa Dick."  There is also another cemetery on the Brothertown Road, and some descendents of the Brothertowns have come from the mid-west, where they were relocated, from time to time to visit it. It's unclear where exactly Dicksville was located, but I believe it was roughly from around the home owned by Bob and Maureen Gray (formerly Clifford Small) on the left side of Route 315; and Eric Gallagher's (formerly Clarence Lloyd) on the right going toward Waterville; by Ed Gallagher's farm on the corner of Rt. 315 and Burnham Road; to the Forge Hollow line. Possibly Dicksville went down what is now Route 315 as far as California Road. The curve on Route 315 from Dicksville into Forge Hollow is known as Daniels' Nose, as the area was once owned by people named Daniels.
Another little-known and mostly forgotten hamlet which was settled around 1775 is Brotherton (Brothertown), or the Indian name Eeyamquittoowayconnuck, at the top of Bogusville Hill Road at McMillan corners.  Bogusville - so named because of the counterfeit coins manufactured and distributed there - is about a mile from Clinton going toward Deansboro, and the road where the hamlet was is called Bogusville Hill Road. Every community back then had a grist mill and Brotherton was no exception; also there was a cheese factory. 1775 turned out to be a bad year in which to settle, however, because when the Revolutionary War began in earnest, they moved out temporarily due to conflicted allegiances. Once peace was declared, they moved back, led by David Fowler, and were pleased to find that the potatoes they had planted years before had grown from year to year and were still thriving, making them a sustaining crop. Anyone who has ever cultivated potatoes can easily understand this!
Forge Hollow was another once-thriving community in the Town of Marshall. It was settled in the late 1700s and was notable for its forge - it used ore from Clinton and later scrap iron to turn into farm tools - hence the name Forge Hollow. The proprietors were Daniel Hatchett and Captain Nathan Daniel. Forge Hollow was also known for its grist mill and saw mills. It was also celebrated for the cave-pocked limestone cliffs over which a spring bubbles to a pool below. It used to provide water for nearby grist mills and sawmills; now, one can see bicyclists stopping by for a cool drink, or people filling water jugs with the spring water from the "hollow." Forge Hollow ended just about a mile from Waterville on Rt. 315.
Most white settlers first settled in the areas in higher elevations around what is presently Deansboro, because they felt it was healthier; the valley was termed a swamp hole. Joseph Eastman, the first white settler, came in 1784.  David Barton, ancestor of the present Bartons in Waterville and whose name was given to the Barton Hose Company in Deansboro arrived next in 1794.  David Barton first settled in the west hills, on the farm now owned by the Bishopp family; but, because he inadvertently landed in Brothertown land, he was obliged to move, and he did. The most important early "white" settlement in the Town of Marshall was Hanover in the east hills. It's still there, but only a shadow of its former self. In 1795, the first settlers in Hanover, Isaac Miller and his wife Irene and their children, chose the hillside, fearing malaria in the lower valley, possibly due to the close proximity of the Oriskany Creek. In Hanover was a tavern; a cobbler, who went from house to house to make shoes for the family; a general store; a post office (the mail was brought to Hanover Green by a post rider); a school house; mills and houses; and a church - called the Hanover Religious Society, which was organized in 1797. The first main highway ran from Waterville to Whitesboro through Hanover.
These were all important and bustling communities until about the mid-1800,  when the Chenango Canal was opened in 1837, followed by the railroad along the canal route in 1867.   Homesteaders realized that the supposed "fever valley" boasted fertile land (witness the crops of the Brothertowns!), not to mention plenty of water, and they started settling in the lower regions. The mills and the stores of Forge Hollow, Dicksville, Hanover and Brotherton were abandoned, and those regions became neighborhoods of homes, such they are today.