Sunday, February 11, 2018

Captain Waterman & His Bison

They said it couldn't be done, but during the 1940s until 1962, Julius Waterman, on the Deansboro-Waterville Road - State Route 315 - was able to train two buffalo, named Ned and Ted. With infinite patience and hard work, over time Waterman taught them to do simple tricks, such as counting; but perhaps his biggest accomplishment was in calming them down, so that they would lick his face, shake hands and not lunge at visitors. 

A man of many talents, he was also proprietor of a popular dance hall, a dealer in pork and purebred beef, and provider of ice for Waterville patrons. Prior to training the buffalo, he trained and traveled during the 1930s with a pair of oxen.

Captain Julius Waterman was born in 1879, the son of George and Lydia Waterman. In 1896, he served in the Spanish-American war, in Company E, 1st regiment of New York volunteers. The company was mustered out in February, 1899. In 1901, he married Mae Byaska of Brookfield. They had three sons: Earl, Leon, and Harold. For a while, the family lived in Brookfield, then bought the property in Dicksville, as it was then called, on the Deansboro-Waterville Road, from William Brooks. At one time there was a sawmill and cider mill on the property, which the Watermans operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1920.

In 1922, Waterman built what was called Willona Hall, a dance hall named for the stream running south-east which we now refer to as Big Creek. The dance hall was 90'x30', and there was plenty of room for parking. Refreshments featured were those such as ice cream and strawberry shortcake. Dancing was to the music of Gus Detlefsen's orchestra; the "popular jazz music" of the Kelly orchestra; Masters of Harmony, a 10 piece orchestra; Nick Hawk's Orchestra; The Albro Orchestra; even the Waterville Band under the direction of A.W. Mallory. Both round and square dancing were offered, and assurances were made to dancers that they would be instructed on the finer points of the popular fox trots of the day. Private dancing parties were also given: the Home  Bureau held a dance there in 1935; and in 1936, a party by "some Swiss families" was held, featuring what was reported as very fine yodeling.  Prizes were offered, and through the 1930s, Willona Hall dances went merrily on, the last mention of them being in 1936.

Captain Waterman must have been a restless man, who recognized the public's hunger for showmanship, because in 1940, he set out to train a pair of buffalo. He had trained oxen, as mentioned above, and showed them - with 100-year ox cart! - at several centennial celebrations around the country; however, the centennial business fell off little by little. After getting permission from Washington and the Canadian government, he traveled to Canada with one of his sons to capture two calves.
What we commonly call "buffalo" are actually bison. Both buffalo and bison are from the same family (Bovidae) but are different genus. The bison, found in cooler climates, have thick fur, short horns, a big head, and a distinctly large hump. Buffalo have longer horns and no hump, and can be found primarily in Asia and Africa. Bison were misidentified by early European settlers as buffalo, but although the difference was later clarified, today the terms are used interchangeably by most people. Habitat loss and unregulated shooting led to the near-extinction of the American buffalo, or bison, which once roamed the country in the millions.

Permission was granted to Captain Waterman by the United States government to capture two bison calves, with the caveat he'd have to catch them himself, attached with the warning that he'd risk being gored by the calves' outraged mother. But he was determined.

First, he engaged the services of a few cowboys in North Dakota to catch a couple of calves, but when the cowboys' truck was smashed during the process, the transaction was called off. Undeterred, Captain Waterman contacted the government of Canada, requesting permission to capture the calves. Canada agreed but again cautioned that bison were wild animals and the mother bison would be enraged at anyone who tried to take her young. The Watermans were charged $50.00 apiece.

In 1940, Julius Waterman and two of his sons set off for Canada, arriving in Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan. They cut brush and created a kind of "duck blind," behind which they hid, waiting to lasso the first pair of calves which passed by. Two 8-month old, 900-pound bison calves were captured, and, with great difficulty, they managed to get them into the large truck. Consequently, Captain Waterman left them in the truck for four weeks once they got back to Deanboro, hoping they would be so hungry, they'd be easier to handle. With the help of his neighbor, Virgil Eastman, he led the bison from the truck.

Even so, at first the bison pawed the ground and lunged toward him. Over time, with infinite patience and kindness, he was able to train them to the point that they got used to halters and could be led around with a rope. How they got to be so docile is what Waterman called a "trade secret," one even the Ringling Brothers didn't know, he said; but it had a lot to do time, hard work and perseverance, until the wild bison became gentle pets. According to research, bison are very aggressive animals and very difficult, if not impossible, to domesticate. But Captain Waterman did it.

The bison were named Ned and Ted. The pair learned to dive from a ten-foot high platform into the waters of Willona Creek - Big Creek - just behind the house, which was a relief during the hot summer weather. They could be seen on Route 315 on the front lawn of the Waterman farm, where they were tethered with 50-foot ropes attached to  iron stakes.

Captain Waterman exhibited his bison several times at the Madison County Fair in Brookfield. Ned and Ted, with Captain Waterman, traveled with the James M. Cole Circus for 24 weeks. They were a hit: no one had ever before seen bison led into a circus ring to perform. They then joined the Wallace Brothers Circus, and traveled all over the country. They were briefly with the J.C Harlecker Circus and the Cole Brothers Circus, but Captain Waterman mostly enjoyed showing Ned and Ted at fairs and rodeos, letting people experience them up close. Fascinated visitors shook hands with them, watched them roll a barrel and do their diving trick, and let them lick their faces. The bison were also featured on television, on the Arthur Godfrey Show, and with Gerry Moore.

Perhaps the most important lesson Captain Waterman, with the help of Ned and Ted, taught the public was of the near-extinction of these noble beasts, and how they were protected by the government. At one time in the bison's history, 40 to 60 million of them roamed the United States; they were the principal food source of the Native Americans. When the 20th century began, there were fewer than 1,000 remaining. However, due to successful breeding and the regulation of hunting these beasts, they are no longer endangered and almost 500,000 can be found across North America.

In April of 1962, after more than two decades of a very varied, unusual and triumphant career, Captain Julius Waterman retired.  He sold Ned and Ted to Freedomland USA, an American history museum in the Bronx, where they continued to bring awe and admiration to the public, thanks to the perseverance of their master. Captain Waterman died May 17, 1962, just a few days short of his 83rd birthday. He leaves a legacy that few can match: he showed the world how love, kindness, and patience can tame even the wildest of beasts; and brought joy to millions of men, women, and children.

Moyer or Military Road

The Town of Marshall was originally part of Tryon County, but morphed into Montgomery County, then to Herkimer County, to Oneida County in 1798; and then to the Town of Paris from 1792-1827 to the Town of Kirkland in 1827. We finally came into our own in 1829 as the Town of Marshall, named in honor of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall (1801-1835).  All this is to explain the Moyer Road and how it came to be part of the Town of Marshall history.

The Moyer (or Military) Road, which ran westerly from German Flatts (Frankfort), through Sauquoit, to Bogusville Hill Road and beyond undoubtedly originated as an Indian trail, but was also used by settlers who believed soldiers, led by a General Moyer, traveled this trail, hence the name.
However, no such general can be found to have existed. 

More likely, the name came from a Dutchman named Moyer who ran a tavern on the trail. It is further theorized that on April 19, 1799, a Col. Goosen Van Schiack and a detachment of 55 men used this trail to raid the Onondaga Indians. Also, to add insult to injury, early settlers claimed that Gen. John Sullivan led his troops over this road to massacre Indians to the west. He is supposed to have reconstructed sections with logs found nearby, as he advanced and camped just east of the Oriskany Creek near Bogusville, while his men attempted to erect a bridge over what they termed the Oriskany River. This cannot be verified, but if Samuel Kirkland was their chaplain and the Brothertown Indians their guide, as is alleged, this would be interesting indeed!

On the part of the trail travelling west from Post Street, called Concanon Road, later changed to Maxwell Road, is the site of an ancient Indian campground. In her notes, former historian Dorothy McConnell comments that her ancestors collected what they thought were arrowheads from the area, until they were examined by a Dr. Grayson of Hamilton College, who explained that they were actually spear points thousands of years old and used before the invention of the bow and arrow.
The trail ran down a steep ravine by Turkey Creek, named because the wild turkeys found in this area by settlers and Indians. The bottom of the ravine was also known as Moyers Hole, and was a resting place where travelers watered their horses, probably in Turkey Creek.

Further down the trail was what was known to early settlers as Whitney Corners - later Lumbard Road - past the abandoned Peck Road, which led to Hanover, a bustling place until around 1837, when the Chenango Canal opened.

The trail went on past the intersection of Grant Hill Road and Austin Road, then down past Gridley Paige Road and over Oriskany Creek.  At that point an Iroquois Indian settlement was established, and it was here that Col. Heinrick Staring was brought after being captured by Indians during the Revolutionary War. It is said he escaped in the dead of night as his captors slept, ran into the woods and swam downstream in Oriskany Creek, and eventually made his way to Fort Stanwix.

The trail continued to Bogusville Hill Road, so named because of the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit coins by a man named Hurd who was ostensibly fabricating silver spoons. On Bogusville Hill Road is an inaccessible Brothertown Indian cemetery, which is believed to be the burial place of Samson Occom, leader of the Brothertowns. The Moyer, or Military, Road continued up Bogusvillle Hill to Knoxboro and Munnsville, and on to Oneida Castle. The Brothertown Indians, who didn't completely settle until after the Revolutionary War, seldom traveled the trail eastward, but used it to travel to Stockbridge.

Little is left of that trail of antiquity today other than geographical landmarks, but one can imagine what the Moyer orMilitary Road must have been like all those years ago, and can appreciate how it was a boon to travelers in those times.

McAdam Stock Farm

At the turn of the 20th century, off Gridley-Paige Road  just beyond the intersection with Shanley Road, was a showplace, a farm of about 500 acres where pure Holstein-Friesian cattle were bred. The farm, which started out as a modest 70-some acres, had been owned by generations of Gridleys, from Nodadiah, one of first settlers, whose son Asahel Gridley built the brick main house, to Josephine Gridley, widow of Joseph Gridley. It was Josephine McAdam Gridley who, in 1900, sold the property to her brother, Quentin McAdam. 

Although he grew up in Deansboro in the Town of Marshall, McAdam lived in Utica and was treasurer and general manager of the largest cotton milling concern in the world, Quentin McAdam  & Co., which eventually became the Utica Knitting Company.

Quentin McAdam was an ambitious person - he joined the knitting mill at age 16 and was running it little more than 10 years later - and he started right out to make the Gridley property, which was at that time called the Brothertown Stock Company, the outstanding farmstead it was to become. New barns were built, more land was purchased, and repairs and modernization were made on the old buildings. The farm had its own fire department, compete with helmets, in the first part of the long barn (now converted into a home owned by, I believe, Dave and Tanya Brown).

Once the outbuildings were complete, McAdam, with the help of E.B. Van (or Von) Heyne as business manager, purchased 20 purebred Holstein-Freisians. Among them were four daughters of what was then the greatest sire of the breed; and included the famous Sadie Vale Concordia, who broke the world's record of 7 and 30 day milk and butter production. Many more successful cows came in succession, giving Brothertown Farms world-wide fame. Everything was done on an up-to-date scale, including an automatic watering system for the stock. Nothing was more important than the cattle breeding business. Wonderful care was given to those animals. It is reported that a nine-week old bull, with impeccable parentage, sold for $4,000, a price unheard-of at that time. The farm was one of the best of many outstanding farms at that time, with the land being cultivated as skillfully as the livestock was treated. Eventually, there were 100 head of cattle, young and old. The calf barn was "ablaze with electric light at night...looking like the busy marts of trade."

Over the years the acreage increased, as more and more neighboring farms were purchased. Besides the manor house were about six homes for the workers on the farm, creating a unique community. Once the stock farm was dissolved, the houses became private homes on a dead-end road - McAdam Road. Joanne Bolan, who lived up there, remembers it as a social kind of place where you knew and valued your neighbors.

Early in his ownership of the estate, Mr. McAdam set about to beautify the acreage. Surrounding the manor were acres of tilled, fertile farmland, as well as woodland and parks. At one time there were bridges over a trout brook, and deer enclosures; and today one can see the remnants of what was formerly an orchard of over a thousand apple trees. There were also 21 pools and waterfalls of different sizes, some of which still can be admired. Ed Bennett, who grew up on Gridley Paige Road, told  me that he goes over there often in an attempt to keep the property in shape.

Florist Adelaide Foote of Deansboro had the supervision of the flowers and shrubs around the homestead. A large variety of plants were stocked, and almost every wildflower which can flourish in this climate were planted. Also, Miss Foote experimented with several varieties of orchids.
Although Mr. and Mrs. Quentin McAdam lived on South Street, Utica, during the heydays of the Brothertown/McAdam stock farm, the McAdams spent weekends and most of the summer months at the homestead, overseeing the farm. The farm was a beautiful and successful estate during their tenure there.

Quentin McAdam died in December, 1918, and his sister Josephine Gridley, who lived in the Gridley Homestead,  passed away 18 hours after her brother's death. His nephew, Oscar Gridley, son of his sister Josephine, who was groomed to succeed his uncle, did so. By 1923 he split his time between his home in Utica and the Gridley Homestead; however, his heart was not in the running of the farm: he did not have his uncle's passion for the animals and the land; he spent less and less time there. Eventually, the stock was sold and the farm dissolved. For a while, Mr. & Mrs. John Losee of Richfield Springs (Mrs. Losee was Oscar Gridley's sister) lived there; now most of the land is possessed by the Zwiefels, and the homes are privately owned.

It was a beautiful place, and still is. The sad thing, in Mr. Bennett's opinion, is that no one knows it is there and few remember it's former glory. The pools and the waterfalls, not to mention the existing vegetation, are worth the trip to Gridley Paige Road to enjoy the view, and to revel in it all.

Fires in Town of Marshall

The huge fire in Oriskany Falls in December 2017, destroying a 100+ year old building, brought about thoughts of fires in the past of the Town of Marshall. Most were small and quickly put out; others, as we shall see, did considerable damage.

In 1888, before the fire department was organized, a fire was discovered in the store of Northrup & Smith (on the corner of Routes 12B and 315) in time to prevent a disastrous blaze. The fire caught from the heat of a large tubular lamp which was suspended from the ceiling. Had it made much more headway there would have been nothing else to do but to watch Deansboro go up in smoke.

Therefore, in 1896, the Barton Hose Company in Deansboro was formed as an outgrowth of the Deanboro Water System, first known as the Deansboro Fire Company.  In 1906, David Barton of Waterville, whose family was one of the earliest white settlers in the Town Of Marshall, realized having a fire department was a huge benefit to the community and beyond, witness the way  fires were extinguished quickly and efficiently before they became serious. Fires both small and large were, unfortunately, common back in the 1800s.

Barton was an early benefactor of the fire company, donating money for a fire house; and the name was changed to the Barton Hose Company to honor him. The early equipment consisted of two hand-drawn horse carts, and the alarm for fires was at first the church-bells, then the whistle on the Condensery and finally an electric siren like the one we're used to hearing. Quite a far cry from the sophisticated equipment operated to such good purpose today. Every member of the Barton Hose Company is, then and now, a volunteer.

Although we have been fortunate enough to never have had a 15-alarm fire, as in Oriskany Falls, some of our fires have been pretty spectacular. Most recently, eight fire departments responded to the barn fire at the home of Doug Alberding on Skyline Drive. In that fire in September 2016, the barn and milking station were lost,  although Mr. Alberding and  volunteers were able to save the cattle. Mr. Allberding has started rebuilding on the site of the fire.

Very early in January, 2011, a big fire broke out in the Marshall Town Barn, destroying the barn and all the equipment in it. Firefighters from 10 departments were at the scene all day January 2 and into the night. Because so much equipment was lost (plows, front end loaders, tools), neighboring superintendents of highway departments offered the use of their plows, etc.,  until the Town Of Marshall could get on its feet. The fire was caused an electrical short in one of the parked trucks.  By the summer, plans were drawn for a new building and construction was complete by the next year.

Six fire companies responded to two fires within a week on Bill Edwards' farm on Route 12B toward Clinton (now owned by ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Charles Brubaker)  in 1981. First, the large dairy barn behind the residence was burned to the ground just after milking, so the stock was able to be saved. There was little wind, so the fire did not spread to the house. Then three days later, fire broke out in the tenant house across the road. Two families lived there,  and the family in the front of the house were relocated to a house on  Peck Road owned by the Edwards', while the other family was able to return to their apartment in the back of the house when the fire was extinguished.

A machinery-laden  barn  and  1000 bales  of  hay  were  burned  in November 1952 at the Virgil Eastman farm (now owned by the Blakeleys) on Route 315. The barn was leveled, and Mr. Eastman reported seeing what he called "young boy's tracks in the hay."  Children playing with matches was the cause of the fire on Bush Road, near Deansboro, in 1950. The fire wasn't too serious - just burning a hole in the ceiling of the barn - but it could have spread and been much more serious.

What was a serious fire was the one in 1960 which burned the GLF (Grange League Federation) feed store. The fire was caused by an overheated feed bed filled with brewer's yeast. The fire, fought by four fire companies, practically destroyed the two-story building, and injured two fire-fighters: Gerald McMullen, who was hospitalized after being burned; and Nick Sango, who suffered a cut on his face from falling debris. Although the building was heavily damaged, volunteers were able to bring out many bags of grain and feed due to the "mushrooming"  of the flames through the top of the building.

Just two years later, fire broke out on the corner store, then operated by Steven Congelo and called the Buy-Rite Superette. Damage was confined to the building already damaged by a runaway tractor-trailer truck; if it had spread it would have engulfed half the hamlet of Deanboro. The building was owned by Lida Earl.

A much scarier and more serious fire took place in 1956, when a teen-aged Gail Buell Blau and her family  were driven from their home near Oriskany Falls,  which was destroyed, into sub-zero weather. Although the nearly 50 firemen from four companies were unable to save the house, they managed to keep the fire from spreading, and most of the furniture was saved. The cause of that fire was defective electrical wiring. 

Another family escaped injury when their house on Route 315 was damaged by fire in 1985. Charles Williams, his wife and young child were able to get out of the building safety, as most of the damage was confined to the second floor and roof.

High winds fanned the fire at the then-Milton Wratten homestead (now owned by Ed Gallagher), destroying a large hay barn and adjacent shed in 1961. Luckily, the family wasn't home at the time, but one calf was lost. Seven fire companies responded to that fire.  

In 1933, Fire of unknown cause destroyed three buildings at the Condensery, at that time owned by Claude Hinman.  A shop, a garage and an ice house were burned. Commentary in the Waterville Times stated, "The local fire department did good work in saving the Condensery building located nearby."

Firefighters from three villages fought for more than three hours, but were unable to save two large barns on the Stewart Hinman farm on the north just outside of Deansboro, but they were able to save the house and three other buildings threatened by the wind-driven flames. In February 1955, fire broke out at the Donald Hinman L-shaped barn, destroying it. However, despite being hampered by freezing water lines, quick action by  firefighters from Deansboro and Oriskany Falls were able to save the rest of the farm buildings and rescue 25 head of cattle.

McConnell's Farm and Home Store on Route 315 was destroyed by fire in April of 1982. A shed and some tools and machinery were saved, but fighting the fire was problematic because of the combustible materials inside the structure and the high heat of the fire. That heat melted part of the siding of the house which was adjacent to the store, and oxygen was administered those firemen affected by the heat intensity. Marilyn and Louis Spina live there now.

Many remember the suspicious fire in 1981, which destroyed the former Macabee Hall in Deansboro.  The fire was reportedly sparked by an explosion in the early hours of the morning. Because the building, which at the time of the fire was  owned by A.R. D'Agostino of Clnton, and operated as JR's Tavern, was fully involved by the time the fire department arrived , firefighters concentrated on saving the house next to the 84-year-old structure. The Boro is in that location. 

Another suspicious fire is the one which burned the Cheese Factory near Oriskany Creek in 1891.
In 1961, a farm garage and shop, as well as an automobile, two tractors, a welder and a number of tools, were destroyed by fire before it was brought under control. The buildings were part of the Harry G. Goodson and Robert Lloyd farms. Firefighters were able to keep the flames from a house and a large barn of either side of the burning building.

In February 1931, the Deansboro Union Free School building, located on West Hill Road - Ruia's own the property now - was completely destroyed by fire. It was believed that the fire, which started in the early hours of the morning, was caused by the stove overheating. The structure contained six rooms.

Fire and smoke heavily damaged the Music Box Restaurant in January, 1968, now known as Kristen's Kountry Kafe. The fire began in the kitchen and the firemen were successful in preventing it from spreading, although the interior was heavily damaged by smoke and water.

Back in 1920, fire destroyed the saw and cider mill and a barn owned by Julius Waterman on Route 315, about one-half mile from Deansboro, practically wiping out his business. An automobile and two trucks were burned. The house, which was located nearby, was saved by the help of neighbors who gathered at the scene by the hundreds. A bucket brigade was formed and the house was saved. Some lumber and wood and about 200 barrels of cider and a lot of apples  were burned. The mills were among the largest of the kind at that time, as well as among the oldest. They were formerly owned by Charles Brooks. It is possible lanterns caused the blaze.

An electrical fire in January, 1999, leveled the large main barn on the Melvin Durant farm on Lewis Road. Although 22 heifers were lost, 60 heifers and 80 cows plus one bull were saved and subsequently sold. Later in the year, a hay barn was built on the site of the fire, and as well as a small barn to house about 20-25 heifers.

In 1961, a fire destroyed the barn next to where I lived as a teenager, which was rented by Norm Ingersoll to shelter the tractor trailers for his business, Glenor Carting. We had to evacuate but thanks to the firemen who concentrated on keeping the fire from spreading to our house and the Ingersoll's house across the street, we were able to go back to bed, although the firemen continued to keep watch during for flare-ups. We will forever be grateful for their presence. The metal-clad pole barn put up in the barn's place is now rented by L&F Custom Builders.

There have been more fires in the Town of Marshall; perhaps you readers remember some. If so, I would be grateful if you contact me at

It's obvious that we owe all volunteer fire departments in the area a huge debt. They are fighting to save our homes under what can be excruciating conditions: freezing weather; bitter cold; hot, humid temperatures (with all that gear!); or brisk wind, all at any hour of the day and night. And we can't forget the fact that the firefighters are often hampered by sightseers, drivers who refuse to move when they know there is a fire truck behind them, equipment which sometimes doesn't cooperate. Firefighters always go to the scene of a fire with the expectation they may be injured, either at the scene itself, or on their way to assist. For example, when the former CCC camp on Route 315 by Oriskany Creek, then a migrant camp, burned in 1951, a man on his way to help battle the flames was hit by a car and badly injured. Firefighting is serious work and every volunteer department in the area has won our deep gratitude. We can return the favor by supporting them in their various endeavors (chicken barbecues, ham dinner, fish fries), and give what you can to their annual fund drives.

National Gate Company

Does anyone remember the National Gate Company? It was a concern started in 1903 for the manufacture of an invention by Mr. George S. Patrick of Dicksville in the Town of Marshall.

That invention was described as a "self opening and closing gate," made of iron pipe and wire. The gate was constructed so that the wheels of a wagon passing over a small iron hoop which, when pressed down, pulled a small chain fastened at the  bottom of the hinge end of the gate. This caused the latch to lift and the weight swung the gate inward. When the wagon had passed through, the chain was released and the gate closed.

The National Gate Company was in the old cheese factory on Route 315, where an engine and other machinery for the manufacture of the gates were installed. The capital stock was $15,000, and the officers were as follows: president, Robert Hadcox; vice-president W.F. Kimball; secretary and treasurer Abram Van Vechten; superintendent of construction, George S. Patrick.

Mr. Patrick, who was a prominent hop grower and farmer, secured a patent for his innovative design through patent attorneys in Utica. He exhibited the self-opening gate at the Brookfield Fair in 1903, which captured the attention of many people, including W.C. McAdam, who termed the invention an important industry for the Town of Marshall and became it's attorney.

The only other mention of the National Gate Company was notice of the dissolution of the company in 1915. Mr. Patrick, after serving the town in one capacity or another, passed away in 1928.

Diners in Deansboro

What's in a name? The small diner adjacent to Buell's Fuel (formerly the Musical Museum) has had many names over the years. Built by Art Sanders in 1955 next to the increasingly popular Musical Museum, it was first intended as a place visitors could go for coffee, ice cream, pie, as well as use the expanded rest rooms. But after some thought, it was decided to make it larger with a manager, cook, wait staff, several tables and a separate kitchen, offering three meals a day. It was called the Music Box, and was opened July 5, 1955.

George Rittenberger was the first person to rent the restaurant, with the help of Barney Quakenbush and several local workers. He was there until the fall of 1955, when Johanne Jipson, Doris Hinman and Sue Kennard took over, which lasted until 1962.

After that, a series of people ran the Music Box restaurant with varying degrees of success. At that point, the Sanders family, who owned the building and the equipment associated with the restaurant, decided that they would be responsible for insuring and maintaining the building only. The renters from then on out should purchase their own equipment, insure it, and maintain it.

The next people to manage the Music Box restaurant was in 1962, when the Carroll Dow family, who lived on Route 315, where Jackie Williams lives today, were responsible for day-to-day operations. They planned to open at 6:00 a.m., and remain open until 9:00 p.m. The Dows planned a noon special every day. The restaurant was also the scene of a bake sale, for the benefit of the Deansboro Grade School.

Following the Dows, the restaurant was operated by the Bernard Tucker family, of Dugway Road, including the older and younger generations. They came in 1965 until 1968. A few months after the Tuckers left, the Music Box restaurant was heavily damaged by fire and smoke.  A passing motorist spotted smoke coming from the building, which had been closed, and the Barton Hose Company was quickly on the scene. They were successful in preventing the fire in the kitchen from spreading but found it necessary to open the roof to allow the intense heat to escape, thus preventing an all-out blaze. The remainder of the interior was extensively damaged by smoke and water. Art Sanders, owner of the Music Box and the adjacent Musical Museum, commended the quick action of the firemen and reported that the restaurant would be opened again soon under new management.

The new management was in 1968 under Leona Ludwig from West Winfield, who renamed the restaurant the Dinner Bell. That continued to be the name until 1971. Then it was taken over by Joyce Leaf of Deansboro, who, with her husband Edward, ran it for several years until his death in 1974, and then continued to run it until 1982. At that time, it was called Joyce's Dinner Bell. The restaurant was closed for a couple of years, and was then re-opened by Gene Bickford and his wife Beverly from Crogan.

After the Bickfords, the restaurant was rented by Edna and Paul Bickoski and Bev Kennard in the mid-1980s, still called the Dinner Bell. In 1992, Wesley Wendt took over and called the restaurant Apple Betty's Dinner Bell. That continued until 1997 when Joan McNamara, who worked at the diner, purchased the equipment from him and went into business. A few years later, she acquired the entire property, including that which was formerly the Musical Museum, at auction. She operated the diner for many years as Joan's Country Cafe. Joan's staff consisted of Kathy Tallman, Helga Rush, Linda Elliot, and Helen Wormouth, as well as part-time help including her daughter Cami on weekends.  The atmosphere at Joan's was friendly and cozy.

In the mid 2000s, Joan sold the property to Mike Buell, who operates a thriving business dealing in heating oil, kerosene and diesel fuel. He rented the restaurant to Kris Eisenhut, who ran it until Kristen Jones took over in the fall of 2014. Kristen, with Scott Jones and Howie Jennings, manage what is now called Kristen's Kountry Kafe, with the same homey, cozy, familiar ambiance as well as fantastic food. It's a great place to meet and greet fellow townsfolk.

No matter what it's named, it remains a first-class diner, and Deansboro is very fortunate to retain it.

Cheese Factory

Just before Oriskany Creek going south on Route 315 was the Deansboro Cheese Factory, owned by F.H.  VanVechton. The factory was built in 1883 and was operated from 1886 until 1891, when a fire broke out. The fire was discovered to have been set by two disgruntled farmers whose milk, which was sent to the factory, was found unsatisfactory. Around 12,000 to 13,000 pounds of cheese were destroyed, and while the loss on the building was considerable, it was partially insured. Therefore, it was rebuilt that same year.

The cheese factory produced only two sizes, large round wheels weighing 30 pounds and 60 pounds, under the management first of James D. Kelly and then of J.H. Gazlay. Gazlay was also in charge of the cheese factory on Peck's Corner (corner of Peck Road and Shanley Road). During the months of May through November, when the cheese factory was open, around 700,000 pounds of milk were received, and over 66,000 pounds of cheese were manufactured.

In 1901, the stock holders of the company met to discuss the future of the factory. At that meeting, G.B. Northrup, J.D. Kelly, Ralph Lumbard and John Toole were elected directors.  Apparently, the future of the Deansboro Cheese Factory was not very bright, as the next mention is of the building being purchased by Robert Hadcox in 1903. He intended to install an engine and other machinery for the manufacture of self-opening farm gates, using a patent held by George S. Patrick.

The National Gate Company, Hadcox and Patrick's enterprise, went out of business in 1916, and in 1919 there was a concerted effort by members of the Dairyman's League to reopen a cheese factory in that location which did not come to fruition. The building burned in the early 1920s, sat unused for several years, and finally disintegrated.

Fast forward to 2008: The DOT proposed a bridge replacement project over Oriskany Creek, but before that could be started, archaeologists from the New York State Museum's Cultural Resource Survey Program were dispatched in October of that year to conduct shovel test excavations, searching for evidence of prehistoric or historic sites. Since the cheese factory, and later the National Gate Company were in that location, the search was extensive.

The archeologists found numerous artifacts that are typical of historic and roadside litter, but most noteworthy was the discovery of the remains of the Deansboro Cheese Factory. The shovel tests partially uncovered a stone masonry slab that may have been the factory's entrance, and revealed the outlines of the building's foundation. Other artifacts recovered from the shovel tests were architectural (nails, bricks, lumber fragments and window glass); and general items such as brackets, hooks, bolts, pulleys, rods, bars and a large padlock.

David Staley, New York State archeologist and project manager for the Cultural Resource Survey Program  presented the findings of the dig at the Marshall Historical Society in October, 2009.