“If you are raised on Halfway Brook water, you will always come back.”—Bertha Boyd Wilson to Melva Austin, 1943.
Farewell to Eldred resumes the narrative of Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, in the year 1920. Over a hundred years have passed since Charles Mortimer (Mort) Austin’s grandparents James Eldred and Hannah Hickok first settled near Halfway Brook in what was then the Town of Lumberland.
Almost ninety years previous the Leavenworth grandparents of Jennie Austin had put down roots near Blind Pond Brook, west of Halfway Brook, in what became Eldred, in the Town of Highland.
Farewell to Eldred, the last book in the Memoirs from Eldred, New York, 1900–1950 Series, continues the story of the Town of Highland’s five hamlets: Eldred, Highland Lake, Yulan, Barryville, and Minisink Ford; and the descendants of the original settlers—relatives, friends, and neighbors—first read about in Book 1, The Mill on Halfway Brook.
When Farewell to Eldred commences in 1920, Mort and Jennie Austin, my grandparents, managed Mountain Grove House on the east side of Eldred. Jennie’s father and three of her siblings resided at the Leavenworth’s Echo Hill Farm House on the west side of Eldred.
In the next thirty years newcomers, often from New York City, join the story. Some run Boarding Houses which continued to be the backbone of the area’s economy. Work was also available at the Erie Railroad, bluestone quarries, and private sawmills. And most unfortunately there is another war.
A phenomenal amount of photos, letters, postcards, diaries, old newspapers, and first hand stories from family and friends, tells the story of daily life—its joys and sorrows—in the Town of Highland from 1920 until 1950. Soon after 1950 my parents would depart from the home of my Hickok, Eldred, Leavenworth, Austin, and Myers ancestors.
Please join me as we return to Halfway Brook in 1920 and say a long farewell to the descendants of the original settlers and the newcomers in the Town we have come to love.