Wilhelm’s Boat Canal

Lake House Canal Wilhelm Bosch dug. Photo taken 1915–1917 courtesy of Bosch Family.

We had dug a well where we got water for our use. We carried the water to the barn in the winter for the animals because it was too slippery and they would fall on the ice.

We had a dozen apple trees and we always had lots of apples to eat. Also, a big Bartlett pear tree and a larger cherry tree, black cherries and one red cherry tree, one crab apple tree, and two large grape vines, and they was loaded every year. Plenty of grape jelly for the winter or year around.

Pop also had 5 acres of garden and most of it red and yellow onions. Herman and I had to weed them. Some big piles of weeds.

But one year Gus Myers put a dam in the lake’s outlet and raised the lake too high and flooded the onion field, so no more onions to weed. We planted hay on the onion patch. How big the hay got. The Dailey boys always cut the hay for my father, and piled it all up for the winter. Pop sold some of it to the neighbors.

Herman and I used to go to Mud Pond and pick cranberries in the fall. There was loads of them. We picked 2 and 3 big feed bags full in a day. We got them home with the horse and wagon. Then we ran them through the fan mill to blow the chaff and leaves out. Pop sold them in 
Port Jervis.—Ed Bosch, son of Wilhelm and Mary Maier Bosch.
—Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, p. 152–3.

2011 photo of the canal Wilhelm Bosch dug courtesy of Ken Bosch.
2011 photo of the canal Wilhelm Bosch dug courtesy of Ken Bosch.
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The Lake House & The Bosch Family

The Bosch Family and The Lake House
Wilhelm and Mary Maier Bosch had a boarding house called The Lake House on Hartung Road, northwest of Highland Lake. In the early 1890s Wilhelm built the Lake House, a smaller residence, and a barn for their 2 cows, horse, pig, and chickens. Lake House would later be called Green Acres and then Green Meadows (which we visit in August 1941, in a soon-to-be-post.)

Most of the lumber was said to have been hauled up to Highland Lake via Shohola from demolished buildings in New York City. Notice from the old photographs that even when the buildings were newly built, they did not look new. Other buildings and guest cottages were added over the years. For lake access, a boathouse and docks were constructed. Wilhelm dug a boat canal using a mule and a plow.—Ken Bosch, great-grandson of Wilhelm Bosch.

Boarders at the Lake House built and owned by the Wilhelm Bosch Family. Photo courtesy of the Bosch Family.
    The Lake House in the Heart of the Sullivan County Hills
    The Lake House stands on high ground, overlooking the beautiful Highland Lake from the north, about 250 yards away. The lake is one and one-half miles long and one mile wide; is surrounded by a heavy growth of timber and abounds in several kinds of fish.

    The house is new, contains 27 rooms, and has accommodations for 50 guests. The rooms are airy and comfortable. The parlor is supplied with a piano for the accommodation of guests. The Lake House is 7 miles from Shohola by carriage over a beautiful road. Livery accommodations are reasonable. All guests are promptly met at Shohola Station when notified. Transportation: 75¢. Trunks 25¢.

    Parties who wish a quiet healthful resort are sure to find it at this house. There are other boarding houses and lakes nearby, affording plenty of attractions and amusements to all who desire to avail themselves in that direction; and a good time and lots 
of sport can be assured.

    Fresh vegetables from the garden. Fresh eggs, milk, and the best of meats are supplied, and prices are reasonable. Mail daily and telephone nearby. Board $6 to $8 per week. Children under 10 years half price. Wilhelm Bosch, Prop.—Lake House Flyer.
    —Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, p. 153

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August 12, 1917

McKinley writes his mother Jennie Austin.
McKinley writes his mother Jennie Austin.
McKinley's letter.
August 12, 1917 letter on Y.M.C.A. stationery from McKinley Austin to his mother.

Army Stationery
Mac and later Raymond usually wrote their letters on stationery from the Y.M.C.A. It seems there was a choice between paper with a Y.M.C.A. or Knights of Columbus letterhead.

McKinley Austin to Jenny Austin
August 12, 1917
Dear Ma,
I have not got any letters yet, but I suppose everyone is well. The army is no picnic, but it is not so very bad. They say our bunch is to be assigned to the machine guns.

I was vaccinated the second time and it is coming on pretty good.

I was down to the station where they were unloading watermelons and a man dropped one of the melons on my sore arm.

Most of the officers are good, but there are two I don’t like. One is a sergeant who thinks that hollering is the only way to learn a man. The other is a conceited kid corporal. Jimmy Sullivan says he would like to meet them again when the war is over. Continue reading

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August 4, 1917

Postcard of Mountain Grove House where Mort, Jennie, Raymond, Will, Elizabeth, Art, and Robbie Austin lived in Eldred. Postcard in the Austin Family Collection.
Postcard of Mountain Grove House where Mort, Jennie, Raymond, Will, Elizabeth, Art, and Robbie Austin lived in Eldred. Aunt Aida and Uncle Lon Austin lived nearby.

McKinley Austin, Chattanooga, to Aida Austin, Eldred
Dear Aunt,
I am here and like it better than at Fort Slocum. We get better food and the officers seem better, though we had a fine sergeant there.

It took over 34 hours to come here, counting from the time we left the barracks at Ft. Slocum, till we got here. If I am lucky, and come back, I wouldn’t miss this for five thousand dollars. The trip down to here was worth a year of a man’s life. I’ll never forget it. I am sure.

For the present, my address is: Mortimer Austin, 11 U.S. Inf., F Company, Military branch, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Your nephew, McKinley

McKinley Austin, Chattanooga, to His Family, Eldred
To all family, relations, friends,

I am very well and certainly like this place. We left Port Jervis on the morning train instead of the 12:15. Of the 15 applicants, only 2, Al Delaney and I went. We were examined at Poughkeepsie and a bunch of us, 13 in all, were sent to Ft. Slocum. We got there late at night.

Sunday we were examined again and four were sent back. Also we were vaccinated and inoculated for typhoid. My vaccination didn’t take, but the inoculation did.

Monday we got our uniforms and were assigned to our squads. Tuesday afternoon, we were told to get ready to go South. And we were examined again.

About 7:30, we left our barracks, turned in our blankets and marched to the parade ground. The commander inspected us. Then we were sent aboard a ship and sent down the East River.

All the way down, everybody on shore was waving. Every boat was saluting and the factory whistles were blowing. The Battery was crowded with people cheering, waving and throwing their hats in the air. I saw the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and other noted places. Continue reading

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Slocum, Logan, & Riley, July 1917

McKinley Austin arrived safely at Ft. Slocum.
July 7, 1917, postcard from McKinley Austin. I have arrived safely. M. McKinley Austin.

McKinley at his aunt Aida Austin's house.
McKinley at his aunt Aida Austin’s house.
McKinley Austin to His Family
July 7, 1917: I have arrived safely. I have been accepted and am at Ft. Slocum. Your son, McKinley

Irwin Briggs, Ft. Logan
On July 7, 1917, Irwin Briggs enlisted in the army at Ft. Logan, Colorado. In 1935 Irwin and his family will live in Barryville. He will be the Methodist pastor for Eldred, Barryville, and Pond Eddy. Pvt. Briggs was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas, for training. He asked to be placed in the Medical Corps and was with the 89th Infantry.

Both McKinley and Irwin would be stationed in France.

Irwin Briggs, future Methodist minister, was a medic in WWI.
Irwin Briggs, future Methodist minister was sent to Ft. Riley, Kansas, for training.
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Clam bake, Summer 1941

Clambake at Chester Middaugh’s around 1940.
Left: A brother of Mr. Quick; Mr. and Mrs. Quick from Barryville; Mr. Deats, Lottie Dewey, Uncle Lon Austin, Frank Dewey. In front from left: Mildred, Laura and Mary Briggs; unknown lady; Chester Middaugh is behind the watermelon that Irwin Briggs cut; Dewey’s son; John Briggs; Myrtle Briggs; friend of the Malconians; Mrs. Malconian and Rev. Malconian.

Plaque in Methodist Church honoring service of Chester Middaugh, who had clambakes each summer at his place.
Plaque in Methodist Church honoring service of Chester Middaugh, who had clambakes each summer at his place.

July 1941
Tuesday morning, July 1, Aida was down to the A&P. The last several days had been terribly hot. The men finished haying at Proctor’s on Tuesday.

When Aida was at the A&P Thursday morning, she stopped to talk with Lizzie Wilson. On the way home she got some rhubarb from Frances.

Thursday morning (at the end of July) Aida saw Mrs. Sparks, Emma Stevens, Nellie Crandall, Mrs. Winter, and two boarders from Rothman’s at the Eldred Post Office.

August 1941
Monday morning, August 4, in Eldred, Aida couldn’t find salt and saleratus (baking soda) at the A&P. She had to get them at Randolph’s.

Tuesday Aida went to the A&P for sugar and milk. Wednesday she washed and got some wood.

Thursday Aida ironed and went to the Village for bread. She canned some blackberries when she got home. Saturday morning Aida was back at the A&P.

Sunday, August 10, Lon went to the Methodist Church in the morning; in the evening he attended the Congregational.

Sunday the Austin brothers went to their aunt Christina’s house to have dinner with their aunt Anna Leavenworth.

Tuesday afternoon Chester Middaugh was in to see Lon to tell him there was to be a clambake at Chester’s place on Friday.

Aida Austin continued her daily trek to the A&P. Friday morning Aida rode with Frances Knorr to get bread at the A&P. She met Jennie Crandall and Mary Bosch.

Friday morning Lon went to the clambake at Chester Middaugh’s about eleven. It began raining about noon and continued the rest of the day. Continue reading

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May–June 1941: Aida, Lon, Alfred, Art

Alfred, Bessie and Joan visit the Austins.
Alfred, Bessie and Joan visit the Austins.
Bessie, Alfred, & Joan Hill with baby Louise at Letchworth State Park.
Bessie, Alfred, Joan, & baby Louise at Letchworth State Park.

Note: Alfred and Bessie Hill were good friends of the Austins. Art boarded with them when he came home after the War. The photos of Alfred and Bessie and their daughter Joan shown here are from the summer of 1949.

May 1941
Friday, May 2, there was quite a frost in the evening, but Aida didn’t think it hurt the fruit. Emily and Howard Stevens were up for watercress Saturday evening.

Sunday morning, May 4, Lon took charge of the service because Mr. Briggs was at a conference.

Rowlee visited Aida about noon to give back her book and get some watercress. Arthur was there a few minutes in the afternoon. The Austin brothers had sold The Pines (both their parents had died) and wanted to store some items at Aida’s.

Tuesday morning Aida walked to the A&P. Lon discussed storage options with Arthur.

Saturday afternoon Aida walked to the Eldred Cemetery and then over to see Emily Schoonover. Rowlee was working in his shop.

Sunday, May 11, it was cold all day. Edith Parker was up to Aida’s in the morning for some watercress.

Bessie and Alfred took Lon and Arthur home after church. Late afternoon Arthur and Alfred drove some of the Austin belongings to Aida’s, and put them in an upstairs room.

Tuesday morning Aida took her daily trek to the A&P. Continue reading

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The Village & the A&P, April 1941

Eldred A&P in 1940. Photo courtesy of CSM.
Eldred A&P in 1940. Photo courtesy of CSM.

April 1941
Tuesday morning, April 1, Aida went to the Village.

Wednesday afternoon Aida went over to Mae’s, who had gone to Port Jervis. Mae’s brother Will Hammond was sick.

Thursday morning Lon went to Mae’s to see Will Hammond who was feeling better. In the afternoon Lon went to Monticello with his nephew Will Austin.

Friday Aida did her washing. Saturday she ironed. Lon went to the Village.

Sunday, April 6, was rainy and snowy, but clear in the afternoon.

Tuesday morning Aida rode up to the A&P with the Bragues. In the afternoon she went over to Mae’s. Herman and Robbie Bosch trimmed trees for her in the evening.

Wednesday morning Lon went to the Village. He and Aida picked up apple tree wood in the afternoon.

Thursday afternoon Aida went to the Village and then to see Anna Ort. Mary Sergeant was there. Aida was home when Nellie Crandall dropped by.

Sunday Arthur drove Lon home from church and visited with his aunt Aida who had a terrible cold.

Monday morning Lon walked to the Village. Rowlee was up to Aida’s for some watercress. Tuesday afternoon Lon went to the Village for bread and butter.

Wednesday morning, Aida walked to the A&P. Her cold was much better, but she felt quite weak.

Thursday afternoon Mr. Briggs drove Lon to a Methodist supper in Port Jervis. Mrs. Briggs went with him for a ride and got some watercress.

Monday Jim Leavenworth (from west Eldred) was fighting fires. There were terrible fires in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Tuesday morning Aida went to the A&P and Post Office. Continue reading

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Aida & Lon March 1941

Eldred Methodist Church on the west side of the village that Lon and Aida Austin attended.
Eldred Methodist Church on the west side of the village that Lon and Aida Austin attended.

January 1941
February 1941
March 1941
March 1 (Saturday) came in like a cold, blustery lion. Lon went up to Herman Bosch’s in the morning to see about wood for the church. Then he was down to the Village.

Monday Aida went to the Village twice. She went back a second time to take Bertha Sullivan’s apples to her. Mary Bosch drove by just as Aida passed Paul Knorr’s place. So Aida went to Barryville with Mary.

Tuesday it was too cold and windy for Aida to wash. Wednesday was still cold and windy. But the bright sunshine encouraged Aida to do some wash.

Thursday morning Lon went to the Village for the mail. Aida had a letter from Emma Waidler, Rowlee’s sister. Aida walked to the Village a little after noon for bread.

Friday afternoon Herman and his son Bob stopped by Aida’s and trimmed an apple tree for her. Saturday, “it commenced snowing again.”

The snow was quite deep Sunday morning in Eldred. Aida brushed out the paths before Lon went to Sunday School. Lon was up to Mary Bosch’s for milk on Monday, March 10. When he got back he went to the Village.

Tuesday Aida walked to the A&P about noon. It snowed more that night, so on Wednesday Aida brushed out the paths again. Lon got his hair cut Thursday. He rode home with a fruit man and bought some apples from him.

Sunday morning, March 16, Dr. Austin was in to see Aida a few minutes. Lon had gone to church.

Tuesday morning was very cold and windy. Aida went to 
the Village. Aida thought Wednesday “was the coldest and windiest day we have ever had.”

Thursday was warmer. Aida met Rowlee near the Collin’s place, and he gave her a ride to Mae’s. Mae and Ruth were going to Port Jervis and took Aida with them, so Aida didn’t get to the Village on Thursday. Lon went at noon on Friday for bread.

Saturday Aida purchased oil on her daily trek to the Village. Sunday morning, March 23, Lon went to Sunday School and Church. Arthur visited his aunt Aida for a few minutes in the afternoon.

Lon walked to the Village late Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning Aida went to the A&P. Herman Jr. trimmed the trees in the afternoon, but not on Wednesday when it was cold. Thursday was much warmer. Herman Jr. trimmed the trees.

Sunday night Arthur went to church and drove Lon home afterwards. Monday Lon walked 
to the Village to get butter.—excerpt from Farewell to Eldred, pp. 227–9.

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Young Aida Austin.
Young Aida Austin.
My great-aunt Aida Austin was an unconventional lady. She had unique ways of expressing herself which could be called Aidaisms.

Aida handwrote all her research and letters. Letters she rewrote up to six times, and kept all the copies.

Each version added a few new details, so it was necessary to save all the sheets in order to know the complete information and the nuances.

Often information was written on whatever paper (scrap or new) was available.

Aidaisms (letter excerpts)
•    Here I am at last. I’m afraid you will begin to think that I am very slow and have been very idle. I am slow but I have not been idle.

•    Here I am at last. When I obtained your address, I planned to write to you just as soon as I had finished some work for my brother Eldred, which I thought would take only a few days…And I have worked steadily, excepting that once in a while I have taken just a few moments to berate Mr. Winston Churchill for keeping the world in such an uproar.

•    I think I must be somewhat like a boy who a number of years ago worked for Mrs. Phillips of Black Lake. The first morning he went out to do the chores. He took a long time. So long that Mrs. Phillips became worried and went to see what had happened to him. When she reached the barn, she found him milking the cow, and he said to her, “Madam, I’m a very slow milker.”

•    I am not inferring that I am a slow milker, because I am not. When I was small and wanted to learn how to milk, my sisters said to me, “Don’t you learn! If you do, you’ll have to milk!” So I followed their advice and never became a slow milker, but I will have to acknowledge I am a slow worker and seem to be getting slower and slower.

•    It may be that the weather has been making me slower than usual. I can’t say, for the weather don’t stay in one place long enough for anyone to make a study of it. Sometimes, it comes flooding us with sunshine, and a few minutes later it has gone with the sun somewhere and is pelting us with snow and sleet. You would think such a freakish winter would be able to stop this war.
Farewell to Eldred, p. 232.

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