Delaware County, NY - Genealogy and History Site

Submitted by John Whitney, October 2, 2001

Delaware County Dairyman banner - page 1

Treadwell, N.Y., August 19, 1896

Historical Sketch by H. S. Treadwell. 

About the year 1812 a committee appointed by the State reported a bill in the Legislature - which subsequently became a law - providing that the several towns in the State be divided into school districts by three commissioners elected by the citizens qualified to vote for town officers; that three trustees be elected in each district, etc., something the same as the present law. 

From the school records in this district, No. 16 of the town of Franklin, I find this record, dated March 16, 1818: At a meeting called it was resolved that we proceed to build a school house, and Amos Boyd, Isaac Ludington and David Ogden were chosen to carry It into effect. John Keeney was clerk. Dec. 1, 1818, there was a meeting called and a report made for building the school house, as follows: For moneys expended, $48 79, The records say no account was made for labor on the building.
This was done previous to the time of the organization of this district. 

At a meeting of the freeholders and inhabitants called by the commissioners of the town of Franklin, on the 16th day of May, 1818, the same persons that were chosen to build the school house were named for trustees. This meeting was called for the purpose of organizing school district No. 16, Simeon Goodman, Amos Douglas and William Fitch then being the school commissioners for the town. 

At this meeting David Ogden, Jr., was chosen moderator, John Keeney clerk, and Herman Gates collector. (And here mention may be made that Herman Gates was killed by a tree falling on him, and John Keeney was drowned in the Ohio river,) The names of the teachers at this time and after were Clarrissa Fitch, Desire Phelps, at $1 50 per week, Sally Rich at $1 per week, Eunice Boyd, Edward Gay, ten dollars per month, Sally Willis, Clarrissa Kent and Seymour Cook, This road was called the Catskill turnpike. A line of four horse stages ran through here each way daily, the coaches being loaded with merchants and others going to and from New York. There was also a large amount of teaming done to and from Catskill west of here, and into Pennsylvania state. 

About the year 1824 a postoffice was established here, Minor Treadwell being the first postmaster. At this time, when there was no property to be found to satisfy an execution in the constable's bands, he was authorized to take the body to jail, the family being left at home for friends to care for in his absence. About this time the four farms on which this village now stands were assessed at less than $800. They were owned by Fitch Ford, Nathan Stilson, John Keeney and Silas Stewart, and cornered in Roaring Brook, just below Munn's store, About the year 1824 Reuben Boyd and Mordicai Clough were caught under a falling tree, on the farm of Mr. Earl, up Roaring Brook; Boyd recovered, but Clough never walked a step thereafter. There was a distillery established there about this time. The oldest house in this village is that now owned by P. A. Wheat, Esq. It was built by the late Fitch Ford, Esq., about the year 1820. 

In the year 1797 Delaware county was organized. There were but seven towns in the county, Franklin being one of the seven. In the year 1800 Meredith was organized as a town, a part being taken from the town of Franklin. West Meredith at about 1820 was in advance of us on this side of the town line. The farmers were well-to-do, living in frame houses, with good school advantages, and means that were not so common with us. There were three distilleries and one flouring mill (Remington's) having days set apart for grinding coarse salt for the inhabitants of this locality. There were two stores, the postoffice being up at Mar. tin Leet's, he being one merchant and Nathan Stilson the other. The old church building that was burned was raised the 3d day of July, 1828. Silas Bartlett had his leg broken at the time. 

About the year 1823 there were four log houses from the town line east of here, occupied, including the one in this place, and one frame house on the place now occupied by Lucius Jackson; also a tannery for tanning hides for leather there. There was a potash and pearline oven standing where Munn's store now stands; also a flouring mill known as Keeney's, up roaring Brook where George Osborn's house now stands, that ground the rye for bread for the families living in the vicinity, Reuben Munn (father of William Munn) being chief miller. Whiskey at that time being considered a necessity in almost every family, they also ground up the rye for the distillery. This was called chop. On the bolt box in this mill was written in big letters: "Gentlemen, please mind these necessary things, mend your bags and keep good strings." This community was mostly settled by farmers clearing their land. There were no colossal fortunes in this town, farmers having but little capital and few tools, consequently there was a great deal of borrowing and lending tools and things to do with; almost all more or less depended on others. Their teams were mostly ox teams. Many of these farmers had large families which were fed and clothed from the products of the farm. the wool and flax being manufactured into cloth; the rye raised provided them with bread. It must not be forgotten that these farmers did well, considering as they did that it was a great work of good to provide for one's self and be respected. Within these small dwellings were the mothers with industry deeply inculcated in their natures, enduring cheerfully the privations a new country is subject to. They prized most of all purity of character, and what was right they considered appropriate. Miss Delineator and Miss Toilette had not yet moved into town. These old matrons in calling or stopping at their neighbors took their knitting of home dyed yarn in a bag on their arm, and it is needless to say that they had stores at home of the same. In fashion they retained the old style of dress in cut and material, learning by necessity to make a little do its utmost. 

About the year 1827 at a school meeting called it was voted to build a new school house, the old one being too small to accommodate the scholars attending, 74 being reported between the ages of 5 and 15 years. Some money was rained voluntarily to make the house large and convenient, not only for school but for religious meetings. The desk for the speaker was at one end, with swing partition at the other end, to make room, as many here will remember. Lyman Stilson was the first teacher in this school house. Teachers were taxed to their utmost "setting copy," and mending goosequill pens for the scholars, hearing lessons as also "A. B. C." and boarding about the district. At this time there were many others that will be remembered as teachers, two of whom I will mention Miss Arvilla Blair, who is still living, having taught sixty-one terms in different districts - and Alonzo Hawley, who said to me in his later life that he was then teaching the grand children of those who were his pupils when he first began to teach. And here let me say that Mr. Hawley spent a great amount of time with his scholars teaching reading and spelling correctly. I remember on a time visiting his school with others, by his invitation. He brought forward his class of readers, a dozen or more, each one having a selection to read. We noted with what accuracy the marks of silence were heeded, with what tone of voice the interrogation and exclamation points were observed to give expression, &c.; and at the close of school his remarks to his callers were to the effect that his class all did did well; that Miss Margaret Eveland, sister of the editor of the DAIRYMAN, was deserving of special mention - which was acceded to by the callers. 

Before the completion of the school house a bell began to be talked of, a subscription paper was circulated by matrons and maidens, young men and boys, and about $15 was raised by sixpences and shillings, John Keeney went to Catskill and bought the bell. It was put in place and on an evening appointed it was rung for the gathering at the school house. The house was filled with women and men, old and young, and without any formality it was named the "Bell School House," that name being retained in appointments for meetings up to the last. The bell was then rung and the crowd began to disperse. The school room being arched and new plastered David Ogden ratified the name by putting his fingers in his mouth and gave a sharp whistle, making a deafening sound, as the writer well remembers, The same bell now calls to school (in a new and modern house) the great grand children and great great grand children, of those who first listened to its tones.

The following list of residents of Croton and vicinity forty years ago and more is taken from Jay Gould's history of Delaware county: Blair, Bourn, Bennett, Blanchard, Backus, Brownson, Boyd, Bush, Bostwick, Blake, Baldwin, Broadwell, Carver, Cook. Cutler, Case, Dezell, Drake, Elderkin, Eveland, Ford, Gay, Georgia, Gilmore, Goldsmith, Gates, Hine, Hawley, Hymers, Houghtaling, Hogaboom, Huyck, Jackson Jester, Jennings, Kellogg, Kuapp, Ludington, Murphy, Middlemist, Mar. shall Munn, Noble, Osborn, Oles, Ogden, Pomeroy, Parsons, Prime, Perkins, Remington, Reid, Rich, Shepherd, Saunders Sherman, Stewart, Scherme[smudged] Slade, Squire, Smith, Tupper, Titus, Taylor, Treadwell, Tennant, VanTassle, Warfield, Wolcott, Wattles, Wheat, Welton, Ward, Wyckoff, Widger. 

Largely identified with the history of Croton are its churches. The Baptist people for many years constituted a large part of the church at West Meredith, tho' they held regular services in the school house in their own village. In 1854 they organized a church at Croton, and in that year built a church edifice at a cost of $3,200. Ithiel Brownson, Henry Jackson and Linus Wolcott were the first deacons, Rev. J, N. Adams was the first pastor called, and he remained twelve years, largely increasing the membership of the church, which at first was 129. Elder Adams was succeeded by Revs. J. Evans, A, K. Batchelor, W. H. Pease, J. L. Davis, David Silver, W. J. Day, and others. 

The pioneer Methodists in the place were David Gay and Almira his wife, who came from Sharon, Conn., in 1819, In 1823 Rev. John Bangs organized a class, consisting of six members, Mr. Gay being the leader. They met in the school house, and the organization was of slow growth at first, but in 1848 a church edifice was built, it being then and up to 1858 part of a circuit which included Franklin and North Franklin, in charge of two preachers. Some of the pastors stationed at Croton were, A. D, Vail, Ira Ferris, W. F, Harris, E. B. Pierce, J. W. Gorse, W. W. Shaw, H. W. Ackerly, A. Ackerly, W. H. Smith, E. F. Barlow, W. S, Winans, F, L. Wilson, These were previous to 1880. In 1877 the church was enlarged and refitted, and at the present time it is being much enlarged and practically built entirely new.

The name of East Franklin was changed to Croton in 1847, and remained so until in 1895 the postoffice department arbitrarily made another change, giving the residents a choice of names. The decision was in favor of Treadwell, which might appropriately have been the original name of the place, in honor of the early settlers and first postmaster. For. this name the village received $500 from Tracy G, Rich, Esq., son-in-law of the late Hon. Chester H. Treadwell, with which new walks and other improvements have been made and are enjoyed by the people today. 

The writer of this paragraph remembers Croton best during the decade beginning in 1855. During those years a generation of young people were sent out into the wide world who have come back to this reunion, many of them, bearing laurels of victory over the conflicts of life, and rejoicing in the strength of ripened years. It was under the tutorship of such teachers as the Misses Blair, Miller and Brown, and of Messrs. Dibble, Par sons and Cable that the boys and girls, young men and maidens were not only taught the elements of education but bad instilled into their lives the principles of true and sturdy manhood and womanhood, which has done them good service in their contact with their fellow men. To enumerate would be to name a list of those who average well up in the scale of social, business or religious life. 

And when Fort Sumter fell and the war trumpet was sounded through the land, no hamlet in all the North responded more promptly or more liberally to the call for volunteers. The patriotic spirit controlled all hearts, and the young and middle-aged men laid aside their peaceful avocations and cheerfully gave their services and in many instances their lives, to their country. This people had never been found wanting in any effort for the advancement or improvement of the condition of human life.


The portrait herewith given is an excellent representation of a prominent citizen of Croton in the ante-bellum days, which will be readily recognized by the older inhabitants, Minor Treadwell was born in New Milford, Ct., January 14, 1784, and died January 15, 1863. Was married to Polly Roberts, of New Milford, Sept. 3, 1805. From this union were born Dimis Eliza, June 24,1808; Orrin Roberts, July 3,1811, died June 13, 1848, at Croton; George Benjamin, March 25, 1818, died Apr. 23, 1889; Annis, Dec. 31, 1820 Mr. Treadwell was by trade and occupation for the greater part of his life a carpenter and joiner, and for many years, in the days of hand threshing, manufactured fanning mills. He kept the village "tavern" awhile and was postmaster for some years.

HERMAN TREADWELL, one of the pioneers or first settlers of what was then East Franklin, came from New Milford, Conn., in 1823, and occupied a log house which stood on the present site of the hotel. He, with his family and their belongings, were met at Catskill by Reuben Munn, then a young man, with an ox team, who took them to their destination. The hamlet then consisted of four or five dwellings, two of which were small frame houses. Mr. Treadwell and big brother were carpenters, and they built many of the first residence of the village. Reran Treadwell's family consisted of Hartson, Andrew, Charles, (born in New Milford) Chester, Robert, and Sally (Mrs. Lyman Smith). There are now living, Hartson, Charles, and Mrs. Smith, There are no grand sons living. Hezekiah Treadwell, father of Samuel Treadwell of Binghamton end John N. Treadwell of Minnesota, was also an early settler, and died when still a young man at Croton. There were also three sisters of Herman and Minor Treadwell - Mrs. Charles Bennett, lately deceased, aged 96 years, and the mothers of Messrs. Royal Prime and Herman Brownson.


[Written by Hon. C. H. Treadwell just before his death, but not completed, and there are undoubtedly some crude things about it which he intended to embellish and complete had he lived.]
Once upon a time
I made a little rhyme,
And the people thought surely a poet I must be. 

At a meeting that was called,
Your servant was installed
Historian for this occasion, certainly
0, I've racked my sluggish brain
To bring't to life again.
But it's useless, for it's passed the noonmark.
If the President could sub, to do his fighting,
Why not I to do my writing?
But as he made nothing by it,
I thought I wouldn't try it. 

My friends, we're glad to meet you,
And happier still to greet you
After years of change and isolation.
But to look into your faces
And seek there passing traces
Of the loved ones that we used to know. 

Will take for the first one, Isaac Ludington.
For truth and square dealing he stood number one.
Never college born, nor yet a school teacher;
Neither was he politician, poet or preacher.
But upon any question that was up for debate,
Quite likely to get your views to relate,
And these when once out, and could not get back,
From the opposite side he'd give you a whack;
From your air castles would knock the underpinning,
'Till it was difficult to tell the end from the beginning. 
Uncle Tera comes next, and he lived on the hill,
just about half a mile from Sam Remington's mill.
"Multiply and replenish," like the rest in those days,
Was the Scriptural injunction obeyed always.
To old Deacon Brownson's for a visit one day
They harnessed the horses and hitched to a sleigh.
They filled up the sleigh with all it would hold;
Those inside were roasted, those outside were cold.
Aunt Sally always ready for the few or the many;
George says, "We've all come but Rill, Rat and Granny."
But the best of the story is yet to be told
Most all his descendants are as good as pure gold. 
Uncle Nate was a man with main chance in his eye;
Kept a store and distillery where he workup their rye.
He also made potash, and run blacksmithing as well;
Made wagons and sleighs, in fact everything to sell.
In fact in this place, the "High muck a muck,"
Making prices at both ends was always his luck.
One night the robbers broke into his store;
They sampled his liquors
'till there was no room for more;
The goods were marked so high they left them on the shelves,
Only taking a few things that they could use themselves. 

He and A. Bostwick lived neighbors, and they were brothers-in-law;
He saw that Nate would own it all, and balked and would not draw.
They could have had the village then, if they had worked together;
While Ammon could act as fireman, and Nate would control the lever.
As soon as Ammon sold off a lot, and a house was built upon it.
In some mysterious way 'twould slip, and Uncle Nate would own it. 

The church then had voted to build a church at Croton.
'Twas then he found dry river was hard to run a boat on
The war had waxed so very hot the church took up the fight
And by a vote excluded them, to keep the records bright.
(An heroic thing for the church to do,
With most of the wealth in the hands of those two.) 

Nate was not all bad; no, no!
He had ruled this land so long, with undivided sway,
He really felt they had no right to act to his displeasure.
His duty was to tackle him, and abuse him without measure.
He wasn't so very bad, as you presently shall see:
If you wanted him as a fast friend, you must with him agree;
You must fight for him, feel like him, and vow you loved no other
You'd found the road to his pocket book, and he'd treat you like a brother. 

Aunt Sophy was one of the best of women, as such esteemed by all;
In health and sickness always kind, both to the great and small.
With her bright face and words of right good cheer,
Darkness soon turned to light - dismantled every fear.
With a life pure and spotless, and free from all taint,
No one ever doubted but that she was a saint. 

At length John Bangs came here to preach; as his name would indicate,
He was a banger, and he banged right from the shoulder straight.
A man of powerful physique, and with a voice to match,
He'd bang the devil wherever found 'till he couldn't come up to the scratch,
All the sects would get a bang, if the came to hear him preach;
Backsliding sinners, too, if they got within his reach;
And ornaments of every kind, he didn't think were right;
He'd bang and bang and bang at them, till he banged them out of sight.
And no one there could stand his bangs, without a sense of guilt
The hardest cases, from his bangs, were often seen to wilt;
But the biggest bang of all reserved, and always kept in store
For those he'd hit who, fluttering, stampeded for the door. 

Of Henry Noble I must write a history of the plight
With the doctors. In those good days of old, though
Of reason bereft, some thought him possessed
Of the devil, because he would swear so.
At a council 'twas decided - the paraphanalia provided -
First drown him and then his life to restore.
So with a rope 'round his waist, everything fixed to their taste,
They dumped him into eight feet of water or more. 

The next I shall speak of is Nathan J. Frear.
To speak of his virtues to me is not clear,
But I'm bound to say the best that I can:
For one of his age, a very young looking man. 

Uncle Charlie Bennett you would always find "in it,"
If a friend was in trouble anywhere.
He was everybody's friend, there to stay unto the end;
In joy or sorrow, you'd always find him there, 

(Concluded on 2d page.)

You need Hood's Sarsaparilla to enrich and purify your blood, create an appetite and give sweet, resreshing sleep 

Welcome Page of the Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

This website is held in trust by Joyce Riedinger for the use of all Delaware County Researchers
© copyright 1996-2004