Transcribed for the Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site by Dean Hunter, August 6, 2001
The Early History of Treadwell by Mabel Anderson was originally produced as part of the Treadwell Bicentennial and Anniversary celebration, Henrietta Eden, President and Ruth Davidson, Chairman of Bicentennial Committee. Currently the History is "owned" by the Treadwell Community Improvement Club who has given permission to post to this Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site.
"We express deep appreciation to Mabel Anderson for her generosity in allowing us to reproduce this history as part of our
Bicentennial and Anniversary celebration
Henrietta Eden, President of the Club
Ruth Davidson, Chairman of Bicentennial Committee"
The noblest men I know on earth,
Are men whose hands are brown with toil,
Who backed by no ancestral graves,
Hew down the woods and till the soil,
And win thereby a prouder fame
Than follows kings' and warriors' name.
This poem describes well the manner of men who early came into the Ouleout valley. Their history is the record of hardships, sufferings and incredible courage. They were indeed the noblest of men.
Little is known of the Ouleout valley before 1734 except that it was the annual resort of different tribes of Indians, mostly Delaware's, who came on fishing, hunting and sometimes predatory excursions. The Ouleout, a word which to the Indians meant "rapid waters" is the principal stream in the town of Franklin, flowing west through the town. The Delaware Indians were Algonquian in race - their native name was Leni-lenape. They were divided into three principal tribes - each with its own totem. The Minsi or Munsii tribe had the wolf; the Unami - the turtle or great tortoise and the Unalachtigo - the turkey. Totemism covered a multitude of subjects and beliefs and governed the Indian in all his relations in life. The totem was used as a mark or sign - a pictograph signature. These Delaware Indians are mentioned frequently in the early records of this area, but for the most part the early settlers found them friendly.
Before discussing the early history of Franklin a rapid survey of early settlements in Delaware County may help give the reader a clearer picture of the events leading to the settlement of the town of Franklin. It is believed that the first white men to set foot in Delaware County were members of 33 German families on their way from Schoharie to Berks City, Pa. in the Spring of 1723. They made canoes and put them in the Charlotte River about where Davenport is located today. In 1734, Dr. Richard Shuckburgh, Captain Borrow and Silas Swart came to Hancock in search of mines. There they met Seth and Hans Jury, two Mohawk Indians from Schoharie and some Delaware Indians. The party found no mines, however, In 1738, Jacobus Bruyn, Deputy Surveyor-general, Isaac and Bartholomew Vrooman, certain chainbearers, and the same two Mohawk Indians came from Schoharie to survey 6000 acres of land about to be granted by Gov. George Clarke to himself and Philip Livingston. He planned to conceal this act of dishonesty by using the names of Arent Bradt and five other stand-ins as patentees. This grant was located on land which is now Hobart and South Kortright. The surveyors saw Indian hunting houses, but the river was unknown to them and they believed it to be a branch of the Susquehanna. In 1740, Henry Wooster of Stamford, Connecticut, made the first survey of the Hardenbergh Patent - up the East branch of the Delaware River. Soon after, Robert Livingston came over Bushkill to inspect the land about Pakatacan, now Arkville. In 1763 a party formed in Hurley, Ulster County, to explore the Delaware Valley and make arrangements for emigrating there with their families located near the Indian village of Pacatacan and formed the first permanent colony on the east branch of the Delaware; They found evidence of having been preceded by others - French Canadians or half-breeds - who had evidently traded with the Indians, but left the region for reasons of personal safety. This evidence included agricultural implements of various kinds which attested. to the European origin of their predecessors. These early settlers were predominantly Dutch. Their settlements grew slowly. They lived upon very friendly terms with the Indians up to the Revolutionary War. They suffered all of the hardships incident to a near and distant settlement in an unbroken wilderness. For a long period read they were obliged to do their milling and. trading at Esopus (45 miles away). There is near Margaretville an ancient graveyard, supposed to have been used either by the early Dutch settlers before the Revolution or by the half-breeds who preceded them. It has long been abandoned and the spot and even the graves of many of them are overgrown with trees and bushes and little or nothing is now known of its history. In 1770 the county of Albany contained the larger portion of the county of Delaware. On March 10, 1797, Delaware County was made a separate county, embracing seven towns including the t own of Franklin. This township of Franklin had been created four years earlier by act of the New York State legislature. The land had been included in a purchase of 250,000 acres from the Indians in 1784. At that time it encompassed more than the present town. Walton was taken off in 1797, Sidney in 1801 and Otego in 1822. It cannot be determined accurately what the population of Delaware County was in 1797 when it was separated from Albany County, but J. Gould gives the following estimates for the year 1807:
Harpersfield 50 Enos Parker was the first Pakatacan 20 supervisor from the town of Pepacton 15 Franklin. In 1798 a list of Johnston Settlement 20 the total person and, real Kortright 10 estate property was made as a Stamford 5 basis of the first assessment. Franklin no figure The figure for Franklin was $11,169. 84.
Sluman Wattles was the first settler in the town of Franklin. He came to this area in 1784. to examine and survey Livingston's patent - a tract of land purchased by Colonel John and Alexander Harper of the Indians and sold by them to a company consisting of Livingston, VanBrugh and Harper. This company petitioned the state for a grant of patent and obtained it. It was divided into lots of 243 acres, each partner having one lot. Mr. Wattles bought out one of the original proprietors. The story is told that due to a misunderstanding a sum of money due the state at a specified. time was not paid. Wattles had understood that Harper was to pay it. Failure to pay it meant that the grant would be forfeited. Wattles went to New York to see Governor Clinton about it and together they appeared before the legislature. His plea was successful and an act was passed reinstating him. In 1785 he returned to his family who were in Bloomville and moved his wife and three children to their new home in Franklin. His brother accompanied him, carrying in his arms an infant daughter. The group travelled (sic) down the Delaware River through what is now Delhi, to Platner's Brook, then followed an Indian trail up the brook across Hamden Hill and down the West Handsome Brook to the West Walton road. They came on horseback, camping one night in the woods and arriving the next day in the afternoon. Wattles negotiated with the Indians, a requirement of the patent lease, on. the banks of the Ouleout. The Indians were given a barrel of rum after first relinquishing their knives and weapons. This council with members of the Delaware tribe was held under a large elm tree and was considered a success by both parties. Sluman built a log cabin on the William Taylor farm.
Sluman Wattles became a prominent figure in this section, serving as magistrate from Franklin, Sidney and Masonville and as county judge in 1797 when Delaware County was organized. He and his wife, a McColl, had been married in Lebanon, Conn., they had eight children. He eventually sold his farm in Franklin and moved to a place near Unadilla, planning to go west later. There, Mrs. Wattles and the rest of the family became ill with small pox and she and a son, Chandler, died of it. They were buried at night in an unmarked grave in a lonely place, so great was the fear of contagion from the dreaded disease. Wattles married again. He was buried at the Union Church in Sidney where his grave may be seen today, marked by a marble tombstone. Sluman Wattles traveled(sic) a great deal for those days. The willow tree in front of his house in Franklin has grown supposedly from a cane which he had walked home with from Philadelphia after going down the river on a raft in the Spring and which he had stuck in the ground on his return.
Other early settlers in Franklin were the Edgertons who came from Franklin, Connecticut, in 1787. Mr. Edgerton cleared the land, was visited frequently by the Indians, but never molested. On one occasion some Indians came to Mrs. Edgerton to borrow a large kettle in which to cook a deer. She loaned it to them willingly and was later amazed to see them cook the whole carcass-entrails and all. One other time some Indians came requesting some pork. The family had none to spare, however, and Mrs. Edgerton sat on the cover of the barrel until the Indians left.
Daniel Root came from Hebron, Conn., in 1791. One night he heard an unusual noise in his hog pen. Believing it to be burglars, he proceeded to investigate. An immense black bear loomed out of the darkness, clapping him on each side of the head. He was not injured, but both he and the bear lost no time retreating.
The words on the sign located where he formerly lived say "This boulder marks the spot of the home of Sluman Wattles the first settler in the town of Franklin, New York, who built his home here in 1785, one hundred fifty feet south stood the "Treaty Elm" under whose branches he made a treaty with the Indians." In 1700, Abel Buell came from Old Lebanon, Conn. He chopped and cleared about three acres of land for his farm. In 1791, Eliphaz Loveland emigrated from Marlborouh, Connecticut, and for 160 silver dollars purchased a farm. Asa, the eldest son of Abel, was drowned at the age of eight in Handsome Brook. His father had been making maple sugar and sent Asa on an errand to the house. This was the first drowning of a white person, possibly the first death, in the town of Franklin.
Other interesting stories have been related about some of the early settlers. Some women were washing clothes at a spring when a large black bear appeared and in spite of. their efforts carried away a young pig. Captain Little, a noted wolf hunter, went out one day to examine his traps. He did not return anal his body was later found in a ravine partially devoured by the animals he had hunted so often. A Dutchman, Jost Wilde, carne regularly every fall to town to pay his taxes. One year his name was inadvertently omitted from the assessment toll. Jost was very angry and said "te(sic) damn Yankees was trying to cheat him out of his taxes."
West Meredith was settled before the town of Treadwell. In 1794, David Bostwick and his wife settled on a farm there. David was the grandfather of Gabez A. Bostwick, a millionaire associate of John J. Rockefeller in Standard Oil. In 1799, David's son Ammon Bostwick married the daughter of Nathan Stilson. They settled on the present Wysong farm. In 1811, Ammon began to carry mail on horseback from Delhi to Esopus (Kingston) via Rose's Brook, Roxbury and Woodstock. Four days were required to make the round trip. During the war of 1812, no mail came here except by this route. In 1800, the town of Meredith was organized from portions of Kortright and Franklin. The farmers of West Meredith appeared to be well-to-do with comfortable frame houses, a church built in 1838, a school. There were 3 distilleries and one flouring mill (Remington' s) which had days set apart for grinding coarse salt for the inhabitants of the locality. There were 2 stores, a post office in one of them. .
Treadwell has been called at various times, Jug City, East Franklin, and Croton. I have not been able to determine who the very first settlers were. It would seem, however, that it was settled shortly after the Revolutionary War, some time after both Franklin Village and West Meredith. The name of Fitch Ford is mentioned very early in several documents as a builder and as a man with land to sell. A house which he owned (McLeans) was moved into by Mr. and Mrs. Issac Ludington who came here from Connecticut in 1807. They were accompanied by Amos Boyd who settled on the Schermerhorn (Woodrow) place in a log; house, windowless and full of cracks. This was the wedding trip of the Ludingtons and it was made in nine days with an ox team and one horse. The oldest house in town, the one presently occupied by the Merrills, was reputedly built by Fitch Ford in 1820. In 1822, Minor Treadwell wrote a letter to his brother Hermon in Milford, Connecticut, in which the name of Fitch Ford appears again. Minor had been bargaining with him on behalf of his brother for 50 acres of land. His description of it merits quoting: "It lies on the turnpique(sic), corners near the schoolhouse, is 37 rods wide on the turnpique(sic), it runs back on the hill half a mile, it is as handsome a building place as any there together with about 10 acres of improved land, but little fence thereon. The Ouleout runs through the land, grist mill is about 50 rods from the building site, school house about 20 rods. There will be about 7 houses in sight. I am to pay $320." Hermon considered this favorably and moved here with his family in 1823. They were met at Catskill by Reuben Munn who accompanied then to their destination. Hermon and his family settled in a log house where the Blank apartments now stand and which was the site described in the letter. Hermon and Minor Treadwell were both carpenters and built many of the first residences of the village. They were sons of Hezekiah Treadwell who was also the father of Mrs. Charles Bennett, Mrs. Asa Prime and Mrs. Brownson. Later Hermon moved to the Lawson place. This was one of the Underground Railroad stations before the Civil War and played a part in helping Frederick Douglas who later achieved fame as a writer and journalist, win his freedom. Minor Treadwell had been born in Milford, Connecticut in 1784. The name "Jug City" may possibly be attributed to his custom of filling a 3-gallon jug of liquor regularly every morning from the distillery near the village. Minor served as the first postmaster of the village, holding that office for 15 years, beginning in 1824. In later years he made fanning mills in a shop adjoining his home across the brook from the Methodist Church.
Another early settler mentioned was Henry Boyd who came in 1816 from Springfield, Mass., who had a farm in Croton and who for four .years operated a store here. He later served in the 144th company of N. Y. volunteers during the Civil War and his son lost his life in that war.
The Bell house was built by Elias Jackson who was born here in 1801. Neven's mill was built about 1810 by James Stuart who also built the building which Blanks now own.
In 1824 there were four farms on which the present village stands, assessed at less than $800. They were owned by Fitch Ford, Nathan Stilson, John Keeney and Silas Stewart. There was a potash and pearline oven where Barlow's store .is now located, a flouring mill at Keeney's up Roaring Brook where Reuben Munn served as chief miller.
Among the families who settled Roaring Brook at about the same time as the village was being settled were William and Almira Gay who came to Treadwell from Connecticut in 1819. They traveled by night in an ox cart leading their cow behind. One of the treasures Mrs. Gay brought with her was a splint-bottomed chair given her by her uncle. They settled on the Bart Archibald farm. Since there was no road up Roaring Brook, blazed trees marked the path.
David Ogden of Revolutionary fame settled early on the Koopmann farm. Later his father came with his wife and lived with them. David had had a life of adventure. Born in Fishkill in 1764-, he moved with his parents to Saratoga County and from there to the uninhabited regions of the Susquehanna valley near Otego. There were no roads except Indian trails. When the Revolutionary War broke out, they fled to Cherry Valley where a fort had been erected, having been warned by a friendly Indian that Brant planned to destroy him because he would not assist the Tories. The father navigated a canoe up the Susquehanna while 12-year old David and Mrs. Ogden and a younger child drove the oxen and cow along the Indian trail beside the river. David managed to escape the massacre at Cherry Valley and entered the patriot army the following spring. His father also joined and was an orderly sergeant. While stationed at Fort Stanwix he with 17 others was taken prisoner by Brant and the party was taken to Fort Niagara. Young Ogden became the slave of a squaw, but was later taken to Oswego as a waiter to a British officer. Each day when sent to fetch water at the spring he stayed a few minutes longer and finally managed to escape. He fled up the Oswego River with his pursuers at times only a few minutes behind him. A thunderstorm is credited with saving him because fear of this caused the Indians to turn back. He reached Fort Herkimer in safety. David served also in the War of 1812, fighting in the battle of Queenstown. He was not wounded although two bullets passed through his clothing. The first burial in Croton Cemetery was Ira Ogden, the son of David and Susannah, who died in 1825. These rather pathetic words are written on the tombstones
"Here lies the first tenant of this lonely yard
Where ne'er before a mourner's voice was heard,
Come friends and neighbors, this his peaceful home,
A few more days and hither you must come."
David died in Croton in 1840 at the age of 76.
In 1820 , William Wheat, grandfather of J. F. Wheat, settled on the Shackleton farm. In 1824, Asa Prime, father of Royal, came from Connecticut. He was married to a sister of Hermon and Minor Treadwell. Royal was six years old at the time of the emigration. Asa kept the first hotel in town from 1824 to 1829. Royal bought 18 acres of land within the bounds of the present Baldwin farm and built a log house on the hill above the present Baldwin home.
In the early period when there was no property to be found to satisfy an execution in the constables hands, he was authorized to take the body to jail, the family being left at home for friends to care for in his absence. About 1824, Reuben Boyd and Mortica Clough were caught under a falling tree. Boyd recovered, but Clough was a cripple for the rest of his life. The accident occurred. on the farm of Mr. Earl on the Roaring Brook Road.
It is said of the farmers of this early period that they had little capital and few tools so that as a result there was a great deal of borrowing and lending of tools. The families were for the most part fed and clothed from the product of the farm, manufacturing wool and flax into cloth and raising rye to provide them with bread. The women retained the same style of dress year after year learning by necessity to make a little do its utmost.
Mention has been made in passing of the types of work engaged in by these early settlers. Trout and shad were plentiful in the creeks and there were many panthers, bears, wolves, elk and deer for the hunter. For many' years, however, settlers could barely obtain enough money from their regular occupations to make payments on their land contracts. It was impossible to realize sufficient profit from farming alone. There was need for other industries and the pioneers turned to the manufacture of potash and pearl ash and to lumbering. Ashes were purchased from the farmers at about a shilling a bushel for house ashes and a little less for field ashes. The hills on the west side of the Ouleout were thickly covered with pine trees and these formed the basis of the lumbering industry. Logs were drawn to the Delaware River and rafted to market at Philadelphia selling for from $10 to $20 per thousand. In one season, John Edgerton of Franklin rafted 300,000 feet down the river. In 1800, 30 sawmills were in operation, running to full capacity until 1820. Sheep husbandry was another early industry and some flocks numbered 300-600 each. The wool was purchased by agents for the New England factories. Some farmers supplemented their income by raising large crops of wheat on the new land and after the turnpike was completed, drawing their surplus to Catskill. By 1836 dairying was extensive- the butter being drawn to Catskill until the Erie Railroad was completed- then it was taken to Hancock. Farmers also sold their excess grain to distilleries - 40 bushels were used each day at each still with the refuse matter being fed to hogs. Thousands of barrels of whiskey were shipped to the Delaware River and thence to Philadelphia on rafts. The first grist mill was built in 1788- previously it had been necessary to go to Schoharie, Cherry Valley or Harpersfield. Those who went to Cherry Valley paddled a canoe to Cooperstown, carried the bushel of rye on their backs to Wattles ferry and then to Cherry Valley to be ground. The journey took a shole(sic) week. Nathan Edgerton was very instrumental in encouraging the building of mills, shops, etc. and assisting the early settlers. His son, Thomas, was the first shite(sic) child born in the town of Franklin, April 1, 1787. The first furnace was built in 1822. The cast ore and old iron was brought from Catskill and used to manufacture iron plows. A tannery was built in 1800. The manufacture of linen was the chief occupation of the women. It was a common custom to take a spinning wheel along when making an afternoon visit and incredible amounts of linen were produced.
Indian trails, blazed paths, canons on the streams and ox carts have been mentioned as early means of transportation. Journeys took a great deal of time, however, and the transportation of surplus products to market was a major problem for the early settlers. Lumber, grain and whiskey were sent by raft down the Delaware River to Philadelphia. Grain was carried to grist mills by canoe and on the settlers' backs to Cherry Valley and other places to be made into flour. The Catskill Turnpike was a big help to these pioneers. The company was formed in 1800 to construct a road from Wattles Ferry on the Susquehanna River to Catskill, 89 miles away. It was built in 1802 passing through the entire length of Franklin with hotels every few miles which accommodated(sic) 30 to 50 travelers a night. Emmense(sic) covered freight wagons with wide tires drawn by 6-8 horses could be seen frequently on the road. A line of 4 horse stages ran through here each way daily loaded with merchants and others going to and from New York. Previous to the building of the turnpike, there had been no regular communication with Catskill or the places between. The first stage from Franklin was run by Burr Bradley who made the round trip once a week. In 1804, Timothy Dwight, then president of Yale University, passed over the route, but his description was not complimentary. Ha wrote that the taverns were "mere dramshops". That the road "passes over ground too uneven to be pleasant". He passed over the route again in 1815, but still complained that the road was poor and neglected.
Milestones were erected the whole length of the Catskill Turnpike and toll gates were ten miles apart. There are four in the area - Strangeways, Millard, Delameter, W. Georgia. Taverns were licensed in Franklin in 1797 and in 1799 eight licenses were issued and after 1802 many more were added. On March 28, 1805, David Bostwick of West Meredith, along with three others, was granted the exclusive franchise for seven years of running a stage or stages over the turnpike between Catskill and Unadilla; stages to run at least once in every week and the fare to be 5 cents per mile per person and the same rate per 150 lbs, excess baggage.
The Oneonta and Franklin Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1835 to build a road from the Ouleout Creek to the Susquehanna River and to connect with a turnpike running from Oxford to the head of the Delaware River. This road was cut through a dense forest.
There were two Methodist preachers in Delaware County in 1774. The first Methodist class in Croton was organized by John Bangs and William and Almira Gay in October, 1823. Previous to this they had attended services at West Meredith both riding the same horse. The first time they attended, Mrs. Gay wore her silk wedding dress, but found the rest of the: women were wearing tow aprons and sunbonnets. Her own words were, "I never felt so ashamed and mortified." She took the dress to Franklin and sold it to a milliner who made it up in bonnets. The next time she wore a tow apron and sunbonnet. It is said that the early settlers on Roaring brook Road who attended the West Meredith church walked to service barefoot carrying their shoes in their hands to save them and putting them on just before entering. The early Methodist class meetings and preaching services were held in the old red schoolhouse near the site of the Baptist Church. The Croton Methodist Church was erected in 1847 at a cost of $1500. Until 1858 it was part of the circuit which included Franklin and North Franklin and West Meredith. The parsonage was built in 1858. In 1877, the church was enlarged and refitted.
Stories are related about two Croton ministers who were great lovers of horses. Ira Ferris refused to sell a fine horse noted for speed to a would-be purchaser who wished to put him in the race track. Henry Ackerly clipped his horse and Riley Hine, Tracy Remington's grandfather, remarked that had doubts about a man's religion who would. take the hair right off a horse.
To the right as one enters the League room one notes an evergreen tree as the central feature of the stained glass window, commemorating the trees which stood in front of the church and which had been planted there by Father Gay. . The church bell was originally planned to go with a set of chimes destined for S. America, but because for some reason it did not fit in with these chimes, it was obtained for the church.
The Baptist Church was built in 1854 at a cost of $3200. It had formerly been part of the Baptist Church at West Meredith (built in 1811). J. N.. Adams, its first pastor, served for 12 years. The church burned to the ground in 1916 and was never rebuilt. It was the custom for many years to toll the church bell for funerals - so many times for a man, so many for a woman plus the number of years the deceased had lived. ___________ was very ill and not expected to live. Mary Wheat heard the church bell tolling and immediately came to the conclusion that ___________ had passed away. She asked a neighbor returning from town when the funeral would be and was told. The day of the funeral she appeared at church late. As she looked about her she thought the congregation and the mourners were not exactly the people whom she would have expected to see at ____________ funeral. Inquiries revealed that this was not a funeral for __________ at all - who was still among the living, but a totally different person. Her mirth at the discovery of her mistake nearly broke up the funeral.
On March 16, 1818 , a meeting was called to consider the establishing of a schoolhouse. Amos Boyd, Isaac Ludington and David Ogden were chosen trustees, and John Keeney acted as clerk. Several months later another meeting reported that the cost of materials for the building was $48.78, the labor having been donated by the "proprietors". The records establish the fact that "school began in December, 1818, by Desire Phelps and kept four months at one dollar and fifty cents per week and 37 scholars taught between the ages of 5 and 15 and drew $11.00 free money and paid the same to the above mentioned teacher. On May 16, 1819, a meeting of "all freeholders and inhabitants" was called and School district #16 was organized. Simeion Goodman, Amos Douglas and William Fitch were school commissioners for the area. Their time was spent setting copies, making and mending goose quill pens for the students, doing examples in arithmetic, hearing lessons, etc. The first teachers received from $l to $1.50 per week, although several made as much as $10 per month. The names of some of these early teachers were Edward Gay, Sally Willis, Clarissa Kent and Seymour Cook, Clarissa Fitch, Desire Phelps, Sally Rich and Eunice Boyd. They boarded at various places in the district. At one school meeting during this early period, it was "voted that one-half cord of wood for each scholar be delivered at the schoolhouse before the first of December." It was voted that if anyone fails to get his share of wood by the time specified, the trustees can get the wood and be allowed one dollar for each cord. The amount of public money received was $24.00" . Wood seemed to be a major concern of several of these early school meetings.
In the year 1827, it was voted to build a new school house since this first building was inadequate. It was erected near the Baptist Church and accomodated(sic) about 74 pupils between the ages of 5 and 15. This building was also used for the early religious meetings. In 1856, it boasted of being the only public school in this section with a bell and was known as the "Bell School House". The money for this bell had been raised by subscription, amounting to $15.00, and had been purchased by John Keeney at Catskill. Schoolhouse Number 3 which took the place of the "Bell Schoolhouse" was ready for occupancy in the fall of 1856, the old school house having been sold for $135. It was 32 feet long and 21 feet wide, with an entrance on the side separate 6 by 10 feet and a belfry. The cost was $522.84. This was located across Roaring Brook in front of W. C. Kennedy's home and was called "Schermerhorn Hall". This new school was divided by a partition that consisted of two large blackboards which could be raised up to convert the two rooms into one. Some of the early teachers in this building were Arvilla Blair, Henrietta Bush, Louisa Brandt, N. B. Flint, the first man teacher, E. S. Parsons who taught several terms. The winter terms during Mr. Parsons' administration were 5 months long. It was recorded that he discarded the rod and ruler as a means of punishment, but a large rubber eraser often flew through the room with lightning speed and unerring aim if a boy or girl were caught whispering. In 1867 it was voted to enlarge this schoolhouse building an addition 24 feet in length on the south side at a cost of $150. There was some argument at the school meeting on whether two teachers should be employed and although the minutes recorded by Herman Brownson were bried(?) he did add that "some personal remarks were indulged in, but no serious results". In 1877, A. C. Montgomery, school commissioner, ordered that District #3 be consolidated with District #16 - the "White Schoolhouse" which stood approximately two miles below the village. This consolidation embraced the home of Abraham L. Kellogg then just in his teens. Texts required by law at that time were:
Parker and Watson's National Reader Barnes Brief History of the U. S. Harpers Geographies Payson Dutton & Scribner Copy Books Davies' Arithmetic Clark's Grammar
In 1890 it was decided to build a new schoolhouse (No. 4) and a commitee(sic) was appointed for the purpose consisting of Porter Wheat, O. L. Georgia, L. VanTassle aid Leroy Saunders. Their report called for a house two stories high, 26 feet wide and 40 feet long, the cost not to exceed $800. This building served the community until the present school (No. 4) was built. It was a far cry from the $48.78 little red school house built in 1818.
"WHAT THE OLD SCHOOL BELL SAYS"
was written by Chester H. Treadwell
and read at the exercises of the day:
"Twas fifty years ago, or more the people took the stand
They'd have a house to worship God--and have their children tanned.
So they united, one and all, and built and painted red,
A house convenient, roomy, warm--and hung me overhead.
I'll tell you how the thing was doze, to accommodate the people,
The boys said: "We will buy a bell, if you will build the steeple."
"Done", said the men "pass 'round the hat and see what you can raise.
And we'll put in a pulpit too, and have a house of praise.
All were agreed--the money raised--and all went smoothly on;
Each one was doing all he could until the work was done,
And then 'twas sounded far and wide, "Jug; City" was ahead!
They'd got a school house with a stove and steeple--painted red.
To watch and call the children in has been my chief employ;
One word from my long tongue would do--but for some truant boy.
I'd call, and call, and call again, and if he did not cone
The teachers then would try his hand--and teachers then we were "some"
At dusting out the jackets of all within their reach,
And taking wild oats out of boys, by discipline of beech.
A stock of whips they kept on hand, and they were often used,
And if they were not "licked" all 'round they almost felt abused.
I have often seen the children of the poor man clad
Sneered at by more favored ones--which made me feel quite sad
Now, to this class of boys I have one word to say:
The chances are you'll live to see the--tables turned some day;
This world is like a teeter board, no troubles need you borrow.
Although you may be down today, you may be up tomorrow.
For knowledge does not come by chance--comes never to the shirk,
And if you ever rise at all, you'll do it by hard work.
In the house, although a roomy one, no empty seats were found;
The children flocked from every house in all the country found.
I've often wondered how it was--to me it seems so queer;
The houses then were vary small (compared with those now here)
Yet children would slide out from them as bees come from a hive.
Log cabins rank A No. 1 as the place where children thrive.
The clothes they wore in those old days were of the cheapest kind,
Except the ones the teacher wore, and they were made at home;
And almost every one you saw had spinning wheels and loom
In winter too, a lucky lad that had a pair of boots,
And very many lost a tern for want of decent suits.
For Sabbath schools and singing schools I've always wagged my tongue,
For meetings and for funerals, too, your dirges I have sung;
And every boy that's been at school since I have hung 0'erhead,
Delighted seemed in shaking me till he was almost dead.
If I should tell all I have seen or even write down,
You'd wring my tongue right out 'o me, and kick me out of town,
For nearly thirty years I rung, the only bell in town,
Our site was wanted for a church--of course I then came down.
And such a scramble as they had to settle on a site!
School meetings then were all the rage--came very near a fright;
So different it seemed to me than what it was before.
Each one was doing what he could to drive us from his door.
I notice, too, that when I call the children now I see
Are not the ones that went to school when first they purchased me
Where have they gone, the question comes; they're scattered far an wide;
The rich and poor, all equal now--both lying side by side.
One thing there is I've noticed, these many, many years,
The student ever faithful can quiet all his fears;
Although at times it's dark as night, and clouds o'er cast your sky,
Time is sure to make all right, just keep your standard high.
You'll pass like gold for what you're worth where ever you are known;
The world made better by your life, will bless you when you're gone.
The Later History of Treadwell
Slowly the village of Croton grew. The community had sent three men to the War of 1812--James Hardy, Able Gallup and Edwin Bell. The census contained in J. Gould's history for approximately the year 1852 contained the following names:
Blair Eveland Munn Titus Bourn Ford Noble Treadwell Bennett Gay Osborn Tennant Blanchard Georgia Oles Van Tassle Backus Gilmore Ogden Warfield Brownson Goldsmith Pomeroy Wolcott Boyd Gates Parsons Wattle Bush Hine Prime Wheat
The names of those who served in the war of the rebellion or Civil War:
Captain E. H. Griffith Nelson Remington Captain Henry Epps Harvey Remington Lt. Frank T. Hine Orrin Chapman Henry Boyd Edwin Cole Amos Boyd James Redfield Wesley Epps Milton Osborn Linus Ogden Isaac Howe Levi Hogaboom Albert Stilson Eugene Schermerhorn William Harris Miles Hine Samuel Noble Charles Wheat William Maxfield Charles Blanchard Andrew Chisolm George Blanchard
[The names in the Census of 1860]
Bostwick Hawley Perkins Smith Blake Hymers Remington Tupper Baldwin Houghtaling Reid Welton Broadwell Hogaboom Rich Ward Carver Huyck Shepherd Wycoff Cook Jester Saunders Wedger Cutler Jennings Sherman Case Kellogg Stewart Dezell Knapp Stilson Drake Ludington Schermerhorn Elderkin Murphy Slade Middlemist Squire
Descendants of the names underlined are known to be still in the area.
In 1895, it became necessary to change the name Croton to something else by order the postmaster-general Wilson because of its similarity to a town on the Hudson. The names of Gilmore and Treadwell were suggested. Gilmore had been born here and later became a millionaire coal dealer. Chester Treadwell in whose favor the decision was eventually made was born July 16, 1824, in the village and died May 29, 1892. He married Miss Maria of Meredith and had three daughters-Ella who later married T. G. Rich, Sarah and Nettie who died at the age of 20. In early life, Mr. Treadwell engaged for a short time in carriage building, but shortly after succeeded T. G. Rich in the mercantile business under the firm name of Oliver and Treadwell. When Mr. Oliver retired, A. J. Gates became his associate and later Lavelle Saunders and still later Ammon Bostwick. In 1873, the firm changed to Munn and Kelley. Chester Treadwell retired from business until 1877 when Mr. Kelley withdrew then Mr. Treadwell came back into the firm now called Munn and Treadwell. In 1885, Mr. Treadwell withdrew completely. He was postmaster for 28 years, supervisor of Franklin in 1879-80 and member of the Assembly in 1881-1882. For 42 years he was chorister of the Baptist Church. During the Civil War he was largely instrumental in raising recruits for the army going at one time into Tennessee in order to get the requisite number to fill the quota which was requested by President Lincoln-500,000 or more. Mr. Treadwell was a great lover of music. At the aye of 19 he had spent some months with Mr. Levi Collins, teacher of music in Smyrna and then went to Boston and was under the instruction of Lowell Mason for a few weeks. He taught singing schools in Cannonsville, Trout Creek, Franklin and other places. His father, Hermon Treadwell, rebuilt in 1842, the Congregational Church in Franklin. Chester worked with him and had charge of the singing at the dedication. When the village was named in honor of Chester Treadwell, T. G. Rich, his son-in-law, gave the village $500 which money was used to build sidewalks.
Other dates of importance in the history of the village were 1882 when the first telephone line was put through. In 1885, the Croton Water Works Co. was established and a reservoir 25 feet square, 6 feet deep with a capacity of 800 barrels of water was built. In 1880 a second store known as Mitchell's store was erected. 1836 was a banner year for building.
And so the little village flourished. The Delaware Express of Nov. 29, 1901 has this to say about it: "Surely Treadwell is on the boom. She has a fire district well organized, hydrants and hose enough to protect every home in the district; as fine a supply of spring water as can be found in Delaware County and a No. 1 cart and fixtures; a hose company to be proud of and thoroughly known by every company in the county who have been unfortunate enough to come up against them in prize drills at the tournaments. Also two meat markets, two barber shops, two wagon repair shops; four telephone lines-bell, Meredith, Masonville and the Farmers' have just completed their line making their central at the store of J. F. Wheat who also has the Bell office; the Meredith and the Masonville at the store of S.C. Jackson. Then we have a first class hotel, bakery, three general stores, one tobasso(sic), cigar and confectionery, one hardware, one harness, four blacksmith shops, a millinery store, eight dressmakers, two cooper shops, two doctors, a lawyer and an insurance agent. We have a No. 1 school building with two first class teachers, 40-50 scholars; one of the best creameries in the county; two churches with so many members that on a Sabbath morn at the ring of the bell the crowded streets can only be compared with Franklin village on its once a year happening of Treadwell turning out in force to town meeting. With our four cattle dealers we claim to hold down the market of this part of the earth. For it is possible without a minute's notice for any individual to visit our stock yards and purchase at a reasonable price anything in strippers, fresh or springers at an age to suit the customer or for the foreign wholesaler to fill his cars with the choicest stock. But the business and enterprise of our citizens cannot be called to a halt here, and when our friend, Thomas Niven, came forward and cooly told us that he proposed to harness the lightning if it kicked the stuffing out of every oil lamp and candle dip from Leonta to West Meredith, we did not faint and tried not to look surprised, for we knew it would have to come sooner or later for the bustling village demands it. Now, Mr. Editor, if you, your correspondents or readers can turn a report of business enterprises of any village in the state with less than 250 inhabitants, we will take off our hats and give them an old-fashioned regulation bow.