The Bunk House

Leavenworth home when it was Echo Hill Farm House.
Photo courtesy of C. Myers.

The early bunkhouses for lumbermen were small with dirt floors. Their later living quarters were usually in a larger building.

The ground floor contained a room for the cook (who could be a woman, as in the case of my great-great-grandmother Charlotte Ingram Leavenworth), and a dining room.

Meals were served on long board tables, and the crew were only allowed in the room at meal time. A “men’s room” was at the end of the room where the crew could relax, read, grind their axes, or tell stories in the evening.

A ladder went to the attic where there were tiers of bunks for sleeping. A one story log building was used as a barn for the horses and a storehouse for hay and oats.

In the above photo of the Leavenworth home, the larger building on the right (which is no longer there) and the small one story building in front, seem to match the description of the loggers’ living quarters just mentioned.

When it was in use, the first floor of the larger building (on the right) was the family’s summer kitchen and the upstairs was the servant quarters.—Louise Austin Smith.

Source: Fox, William Freeman, A History of the Lumber Industry in the State of New York, published in the Sixth Annual Report of the New York Forest, Fish, and Game Commission, 1901. —The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 42.

An 1896 photo of the Leavenworth home does not include the two story building on the right. When I wrote “The Mill on Halfway Brook,” I had thought that at least the small one-story building might have been the early bunkhouse, but I am not so sure of that now. There would need to be more research.—Louise, April 2015.

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The Goose Lot and Stone Walls

View of Leavenworth House from Blind Pond Brook.

April 27, 1864
Dear Brother Sherman,
We are all well at present. We have got our new barn a going up at last.

We are doing the foundation now and we have put the last stones in that you pried up in the ten acres fallow, the last after mine that you worked here…I am back home again.

The last we heard from you, you were on Saybrook Island. They don’t draft any around here, but strong talk we would see greys heels up in the air.

Stonewalls in 2009.
Stonewalls on what was Leavenworth Property.
Inside the Gooselot.
Stonewalls and glimpse of Leavenworth home.

Me and father saws down to the mill…Mother wishes you back to Yorktown again as she could send you something.

Mother says you must write her a good long letter from Atwell.
Write soon,
John E. Leavenworth

Stonewalls
John Leavenworth mentioned the stone walls on their property in a letter to his brother Sherman. Here are some photos of the walls, and the goose lot taken by Cousin Cynthia in 2009.

The goose lot was a large area surrounded by stone walls with a space that was left for a gate. The geese had one wing clipped so they couldn’t fly over the stone walls.

The Leavenworths raised geese for their meat and eggs. Their feathers were used for stuffing pillows and comforters.

The walls were probably built in the Civil War era. Dad mentioned that Atwell was working on stone walls before he went to war and probably the goose lot was part of that too.—Cynthia.

One of the stories said that because the men were fighting in the war, it left the ladies at home to finish making the rock walls. The ladies carried the rocks in their aprons to the place they needed to be, or so the story goes. Some of those rocks were pretty heavy.
—Louise Austin Smith; The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 99.

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Sawmill on Blind Pond Brook

Stone walls of the Leavenworth sawmill on Blind Pond Brook.
Detail of stone walls to channel the water to the Leavenworth Mill.
The posts which were vertical at one time.

The first two photos show where the old Leavenworth sawmill used to stand on Blind Pond Brook. The two stone walls were built to channel the water to the mill.

A sluice was created utilizing the large vertical posts placed vertically in the brook. Horizontal boards would be raised or lowered against the posts. In this way the flow of water to the waterwheel could be regulated.—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 43.

A special thank you to my cousin Cynthia for the photos.

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Early 19th Century Up and Down Sawmill

Waterwheel with gear.
Overall view of sawmill.
Vertical saw can be seen above the wooden log carriage set.
Interior view of sawmill.
REmains of water channelling walls.
Remains of concrete sluice.

This unusual survivor of a water powered vertical saw with few changes was located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and photographed in 1961.

It is typical of the sawmills that were in Lumberland.

It is a water-powered vertical saw with a single blade and wooden log carriage set in a heavy wooden frame.

The saw operated at 100–130 strokes per minute and the log advanced approximately two
feet per minute.

The saw was contained in a framed superstructure on a stone foundation built over a millrace.

A wooden undershot waterwheel was housed in a shed on the side. Water was supplied by an adjacent stone dam.

The sawmill was dismantled and moved to the National Museum of History
and Technology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 48.

Please click on the photos for a larger image.

Photos: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS, Reproduction number HABS PA,15-CHESP.V,1-6.

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Towns on the Upper Delaware River

Towns along the Upper Delaware River. Map: Gary Smith.

This is basically a repost of October 2009, with the addition of Gary’s helpful map.

Cushetunk/Cochecton: In 1754, Connecticut Yankees established Cushetunk and claimed the Delaware River’s west bank for the Colony of Connecticut. Cochecton (cuh-SHEK-ton), meaning low land, is also called the flats. It is rich and fertile, full of fish and game.

Narrowsburg(h): Narrowsburg (Homan’s Eddy), has the narrowest and deepest points on the Upper Delaware River.

Tusten (Ten Mile River): Tusten at the mouth of the Ten Mile River was first called the Ten Mile River settlement, and grew up around 1751. It was later named for the Revolutionary hero, Dr. Tusten. Ten Mile River is the site of a large summer camp maintained by the Boy Scouts of America.

Shehola, Shohola: Shehola is Lenape for slow waters where the geese rest. The Pennsylvania town Shohola is on the Shohola River directly across from The River or Barryville, New York.

Mongaup: Mongaup is a small, quiet hamlet at the mouth of the Mongaup River, which is still the eastern border of the town of Lumberland.

Sparrowbush: Sparrowbush was named for H.L. Sparrow, a dealer in ship-knee timber. Mr. Sparrow rafted down the Delaware River in the early 1800s.The land was originally named Sparrow’s Bosh. Bosh was a sloping thicket or woods.

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Early 1800s Roads

“The Highway Mast Hope, PA.” Postcard in the Austin Family.

In the early 1800s, there were only two roads to the Town of Lumberland—the Sackett Road and the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike. Neither of them, perhaps, deserved to be identified as roads.

The Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike was a 70-mile plank road. It started at Newburgh on the Hudson River, and went west to Cochecton, on the Delaware River. Newburgh became a trade center to get supplies to and from New York City.

So many settlers traveled to the new area that in 1809, Sullivan County was split out of Ulster County (one of the original twelve New York Counties). At the same time, Bethel, which had been part of the Town of Lumberland, became its own Town (township), and included the villages of Cochecton and Delaware.

Later, there were other roads to or through the Town of Lumberland. James Eldred worked on the Mast Hope Turnpike, which started near Middletown, went through Forestburg, and crossed through the Town of Lumberland on its way to Mast Hope, Pennsylvania.

In 1815, work was started on the Mount Hope-Lumberland Turnpike, which went from Orange County to Narrowsburgh, New York, and later to Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

George D. Wickham, Benjamin Dodge, John Duer, Benjamin Woodward, Benjamin B. Newkirk, William A. and Abraham Cuddeback were the directors of the Mount Hope-Lumberland Turnpike, segments of which are still in use today.—The Mill on Halfway Brook, p. 8.

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March 1936

Barryville from across the Delaware River. The X marks where the Barryville parsonage was. Photo taken by Irwin Briggs.

March 1936
Sunday, March 1, Everett Kelley ate supper with the Leavenworths. Norman Wolff was in. Mr. Briggs stopped by the Leavenworth’s three afternoons that week. He bought a violin from Garfield for $6.

My dad Irwin Briggs had orchestras at all the churches. In Barryville I learned violin, two others did, too. When we gave a concert, Dad said we could play the song backwards and forwards. So we played it forwards and we turned our backs and played “backwards.”—Mary. [See: February 1936]

Saturday, March 14, Jim went to the Austin’s. The Leavenworths started working on the sap for maple syrup. They boiled 45-1/2 quart jars down to 1-1/2 quarts of syrup. Sunday they boiled the sap all day.

Bob and Herb Wolff, and the Leavenworth men went to the estate sale at Stege’s. Charlie Foster was over for supper.

There was terrible flooding of the eastern rivers soon after the middle of March. Wednesday (18th) Clinton took Clara and Ella to see the flood at Barryville. Thursday the menfolk went to see the Delaware River in flood.

Ell Austin’s daughter-in-law Sadie Austin, in Pennsylvania, wrote to tell Ell how bad the flooding was. (Sadie’s husband Henry was a half brother to Lillie.)

Sadie Austin, Honesdale, Pa., to Mr. J.E. Austin, Ossining, N.Y.
March 21, 1936
Dear Pop,
Your letter just rec’d. and we shure have had some excitement up here. We had some flood. I had a cellar full of water and 16 inches of water. Water all over the first floor, but I moved everything upstairs but one rug in the kitchen, but the stove was on that so I didn’t try to move that. Continue reading

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March 1934

Arthur Austin standing in front of the Post Office at the Parker Hotel. The building behind Arthur was possibly Ray Ryman’s electrical business. Pete Callahan would own an appliance store there around 1940.Photo courtesy of CSM.

February and March 1934
Garfield got his oak boards from John Love to make chairs. Clinton had finished his County job before Christmas and worked several days for John Love in March.

Jim Leavenworth visited his aunt Charlotte Leavenworth one day and another time stopped by the Austin’s, perhaps to play baseball with his cousin Bob.

Austin Smith continued violin lessons. Carl Wolff had his first violin lesson.

The Eldred Postmaster
When Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, Emily Stevens was re-appointed Postmaster in Eldred, because the Democrats were then in office.

In the 1920s the Post Office had been moved from the Parker Hotel to the northwest corner of Eldred where Arthur Wilson’s A&P store and the butcher shop were.

When Emily became Postmaster (yes it is correct to call her Postmaster) again, she kept the Post Office at the Corner location for awhile, but later moved it back to the Parker Hotel.

My dad Arthur Austin had taken a Civil Service test in July 1933. His average percentage as typist was 84.30.

By the spring of 1934, Arthur Austin worked at the Eldred Post Office for Postmaster Emily Stevens. The Eldred Post Office had been moved back to the Parker Hotel, or it would be soon.

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March 1933, Eldred

“Wednesday, March 15, the Leavenworth men went to see Hawk’s Nest Road in the afternoon.” Photo taken in 2008 by Mary A.

March 1933
Wednesday, March 1, Garfield took Frank Sergeant to the doctor. Clinton drove John Love’s team of horses when the Leavenworth men drew their wood.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated on Saturday. It was a clear, warm day in Eldred. In the evening Mary and Alvah Sergeant were at the Leavenworths until after midnight. Alvah was Ella’s cousin.

Every Saturday night we were home and Mary and Alvah Sergeant and family were here or we were there to visit and listen to the Grand Old Opera. The older ones would play pinochle until around eleven o’clock and then the women would go in the kitchen and make a pot of coffee and usually oyster stew.—James Leavenworth.

Tuesday March 7, 1933, Thelma Hill started taking mandolin lessons from Garfield.

Friday there was a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Southern California; 120 people died and there was about $50 million of damage.

Wednesday, March 15, Anna and Kate Love went to Jennie Austin’s. The Leavenworth men went to see Hawk’s Nest Road, a section of N.Y. Route 97 which was being constructed.

Saturday Henry Graf’s Pine Grove House on Highland Lake and the Davis houses burned.

Homes burning down may have meant that old wood needed to be cleared from the wooded properties. At some point in 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps cut firebreaks and cleared land on the Boy Scout properties.

There was no school on Wednesday, March 22. The electric light line was broken so the school had no water.

Thursday the Leavenworths celebrated Frank Sergeant’s birthday at his house. He was 72. The next week Clinton and Ella visited with her dad. Clinton started working for the County.

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World News, March 1933

• Japan, China, the Dutch East Indies, and Siam formed the Great Asia Association. It was under Japanese leadership.

• Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. He withdrew Germany from the League of Nations.

• President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated. His speech included, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats began. He also introduced the New Deal (social and economic legislation) from March to June.

• The Civilian Conservation Corps was authorized under the Federal Unemployment Relief Act.

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