Warren County Historical Society Presents …

The Digital Version “REWIND”

September 1, 2017

          The following article is taken from a chapter in ­Backward Glances, the collection of newspaper columns written by Howard Mason.  Mr. Mason was a local farmer, historian, and entrepreneur who wrote a regular local history column in the mid-1960s that was published in the newspaper.  He also published his writings into 3 volumes, Backward Glances, Vol. I, II, and III.  The Historical Society has re-published the 3 volumes into one edition, available for purchase at the society offices ($30.00, tax included – additional charge for copies mailed).  Call the office at 518-743-0734 for more information.

 

 

HALFWAY HOUSE TO HALFWAY BROOK

 

This article is taken from Backward Glances, Vol.  II

The old Halfway House, now but a memory, was literally “known from coast to coast”.  In the days before the railroad came to Lake George in 1882, all passengers to the lake were transported by stagecoach from Moreau Station on or near the Iron Gate Antique Shop near Fort Edward, to Lake George Village to connect with the Lake steamers.  The Halfway House was a favorite stopping place for dinner in those days.  It was run for many years by George Brown and later by Arthur Lyle, Daniel Hurley Jr. and others.

For years the Warren County Fair was held on lands south of the former landmark.  In 1869 the fair was moved to Lincoln Avenue in Glens Falls on what is now known as Broadacres.  Incidentally, Warren County could boast of five agricultural fairs at one time; Glens Falls, Luzerne, Warrensburg, Pottersville and Horicon.

Going east from the Halfway House, we come to the little pond where Ed Sleight ran a sawmill and cider mill for many years.  Next is the farm now owned and occupied by George Stiles.  This was known for years as the Buckbee place.  W. Duane Buckbee, who lived there all his life, was famous for the melons and strawberries he grew on that warm gravelly soil.

Continuing eastward there were never many houses and there still aren’t until we go over the Oxbow Hill at the south end of French Mountain.  At the foot of the hill is the farm which was the home of John Elerald Sr, for many years.  Later he purchased the Moon place on what is still called Moon Hill.  Mr. and Mrs. Garner Gwinup now live on this place.  Mrs. Gwinup is a granddaughter of Mr. Herald.

Robert Moon came to Queensbury from Rhode Island about 1783.  He erected a sawmill near the outlet of Glen Lake, formerly Long Pond, and also the first grist mill in the town after the Revolutionary War.  Prior to this the inhabitants were obliged to go to Fort Miller or Argyle to have their grain floured.  Mr. Moon had three sons, Solomon Moon, Robert Moon Jr. and Benjamin Moon.  After their father’s death, Solomon attended to the grist mill, Robert Jr. the sawmill and Benjamin ran the farm.   However, they apparently conducted the enterprise as a family affair and shared equally in the profits.

Robert Jr. lived on what was later known as the Hamilton Ameden farm now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Walkup, Solomon built a grist mill and cider mill on the brook and resided on what I remember as the John Coffin place. Mr. Coffin also operated these mills for years.

I should mention here that Robert Jr. had ten children, one of whom, Anna, was unusually well educated for those days.  She taught school for several years and became the wife of Peter Peck, the grand-daddy of the Glens Falls Peck family.

Soon after Robert Jr. moved to this section, Shadrach Hubbell came over from New Fairfield, Conn. to settle on the farm now owned and occupied by the Clayton Martindale family.  His lands extended to the outlet of Glen Lake and he built the first sawmill at that place.  This power site has changed hands several times over the years and is now controlled by the Kanes Falls Electric Company, I believe.

The following information concerning the Hubbell family just mentioned was furnished by Harry F. Hubbell of Harrisena who has a most remarkable memory.

All the Hubbells in this locality or Lake George Village are descended from Shadrach Hubbell, a Revolutionary War veteran who came here with his wife and twelve children all the way from New Fairfield by ox-team.  He carried in his hand a piece of grapevine which he used as an ox gad and later planted on the Hendryx farm.  It is supposed to be still growing there some place.  Six of Shadrach’s sons served in the War of 1812.  One of them, Dudley Hubbell, raised a large family on the home acres but all of his sons went west except for John R. Hubbell.  John settled in Harrisena on the farm where his grandson, Glenn A. Hubbell, lived until his death a few years ago.  John R. was the father of Horace H. Hubbell who in turn was the father of Harry F. who furnished this information.  All generations of Hubbells I knew were very thorough-going and outstanding farmers.

If your name is Hubbell and you want to learn about your ancestry I suggest you call on Harry.  I’m sure he will be glad to provide the correct information.

The Seelye family came early to this part of the town and secured a large grant of land from King George III before the Revolutionary War.  I am told it extended from the Robert Moon lands eastward to the Halfway Brook.  Parcels were sold out of it through the years until all that remains of the original tract is the farm of about 240 acres now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Closson Hewitt.  Lettie Seelye, who recently died at the age of 98, was the last Seelye to own the farm.  Our farm on the Ridge Road joined the Seelye property on the east.  I went over there as a boy quite often and remember Lettie’s father very well.  His full name was Lemuel Cyrus Philip Seelye which was painted in big black letters on the inside of the barn door.

Mr. Seelye had two other daughters: Mrs. Frederick H. Parks and Mrs. Flavel B. Coolidge and a son, Eugene, who built and operated the Fort George Hotel near Lake George Village.

The farm that Mildred Lackey now owns was known for many years as the Robert Washburn farm. I remember my father telling about the cider mill Mr. Washburn ran on that farm about 100 years ago when he went there as a boy to have cider made.  The press had two enormous wooden screws turned down by long hand levers.  The pomace (ground apples) was laid up in layers in rye straw with slatted wooden racks between.  Strong cloth or burlap was used for this purpose in later years.

At the intersection of Bay Road and Glen Lake Brook the O’Dell family ran a sawmill and cider mill for many years.  Jacob O’Dell was the last of that family to own and operate it.  Joseph Ricketts and Dr. Frank A. Fielding were subsequent owners.

Downstream from the O’Dell mill was the “Powder Mill Dam”.  It was unused for many years until nearly thirty years ago when Daniel Lewis rebuilt the dam and created what is called Dream Lake.   The next dam downstream was at the woolen mill owned by Quartus Curtis.  This was located on the east side of the road at “Factory Hill” about a half mile north of the Oneida.  In 1899 I helped my father remove this building to our farm on Sanford’s Ridge.  It was used by us for many years as a cider mill and is still standing.

Continuing downstream we come to Jenkins Mills.  This was the best water power on the brook as it had the highest head and largest storage of water.  The Jenkins name is one of the early ones in the Town of Queensbury.  Palmer Jenkins acquired this property soon after 1800.  He built and operated three mills in a row on the brook; a sawmill, grist mill and cider mill.  His son, Gamaliel Jenkins, together with his five sons, greatly improved the sawmill by putting in a circular saw and a more modern waterwheel.  They did an extensive lumber business at this place until about 1915 when standing timber was nearly exhausted nearby.  The grist mill and cider mill were both discontinued before 1900.

At one time there was a post office, a grocery store and a blacksmith shop at this place which is still called Jenkinsville.  The five brothers mentioned above were Clayton W Jenkins., Parley Jenkins Fred C.Jenkins who later was Chief of Police in Glens Falls for several years, Edwin S. Jenkins, father of Harold Jenkins, and the youngest brother, Walter Jenkins, superintendent of the Sacandaga Reservoir for several years prior to his death.  In 1922 I purchased the Jenkins mill property, ran the sawmill a few years and later sold the machinery and demolished the buildings.  Recently I sold the land and waterpower rights to Joseph Grieve who is building a home there.

One more farm and we reach the Halfway Brook.  This is the farm now owned and occupied by Ray Bullock.  Seventy years ago, it was owned by George Goodson who purchased it from Daniel Sisson.  The Sisson name is one of the oldest in the town.  In the 1840’s there was a brickyard on this farm where the bricks were manufactured for most of the brick houses in this part of the town.

In coming down the Glen Lake Brook I bypassed Lake Sunnyside and the Oneida.  In addition to the mills on the brook at the Bay Road the O’Dells owned a sizable farm at the intersection of Bay and Sunnyside Roads, now owned by Charles C. Beers.  Next east of this farm is the John P. Hubbell farm where Kenneth McKinney now lives next to Lake Sunnyside.  Mr. Hubbell had three sons, Ira, father of the present George Hubbell on Ridge Street, Allen and Byron.

The first owner of the Sunnyside Pavilion property (about 1890) was Ed Streeter as I remember.  The pine grove which still stands there was a favorite spot for Sunday School picnics.  After changing hands several times, Preston J. Carpenter purchased it over thirty years ago and developed it to its present size.

On the east side of Lake Sunnyside was the James Clement farm.  Both the shore and inland fields have been cut up into lots, sold and built upon.  Next comes the Oneida four corners, named for Tom Hammond, an Oneida Indian.  A bronze plaque on a post near the Mohican Grange Hall tells the complete story.  The early settlers certainly made great use of waterpower.  There were six dams on the Glen Lake Brook at one time between Glen Lake and Halfway Brook.  Not one of them is used for power purposes today.

Compared with the Halfway Brook the Glen Lake Brook is a much swifter running stream.  At each one of these dam sites you will find a natural fall or rapids.  I cannot recall a drop or fall in the Halfway Brook from DeLong’s (A. C. Warner Company) to Patters Mills.  Where the two streams join on the Bullock farm was a favorite swimming hole years ago.  No one goes there anymore.

 

 

The Warren County Historical Society thanks the family of Howard Mason for allowing us to publish Howard Mason’s newspaper columns on local history.  Copies of the book are now available from the Historical Society.  For more information, please call 518-743-0734.

 

 

 

Warren County Historical Society // 50 Gurney Lane // Queensbury, NY 12804 // (518) 743-0734

 

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