Friday, September 29, 2017

Old Stories From Shinglehouse & Vicinity

1890 - Abram and Alice Walker welcomed twins into the world during the month of March. The couple already had a number of children, including two other sets of twins. 

1906 - Herbert Pearsall started cutting down an enormous dead hemlock on his property. He began to chop away once it was on the ground. Mr. Pearsall found a great deal of honey inside and began to collect it in buckets. In total there was 100 lbs of the liquid gold. 

1910 - Calvin Perry (Shinglehouse) and Jesse Swarthout (Bolivar, Ny) tied for the Potter County and Allegany County ground hog championship, each having killed 120 of the rodents in August. 

1912 - Engineer Fred Kemp was guiding his locomotive around a curve near Rexville when he saw a child sitting beside the tracks. There was no time to apply the brakes and just before disaster struck, Mr. Kemp climbed out on the front of the engine, and as it neared the little boy, he kicked it away. Of course the child was a little banged up from landing in a pile of brush, but nonetheless, he was safe and that is all his parents cared about. 

1916 - An angel must have been looking out for George Dodge when he was almost killed by 10 tons of lime in a freak accident. Mr. Dodge drove his team of horses into the barn when the floor suddenly gave way and the wagon fell into the basement along with the lime, completely burying them. Ten men worked tirelessly to dig them out and Dodge and his horses recovered in due time. 

1927 - A freak calf was born on the Philip Sackinger farm located on Horse Run Road. The newborn cow had only three legs, one missing in the front. Despite his handicap, the calf was able to run and play like all the others. 

1930 - Peggy Ann Donavan was the first baby born at the Olean hospital in 1930, therefore winning the New Years baby award. Her parents were Kenneth and Leda (Cole) Donovan of Shinglehouse. 

1937 - Anton Frantz Jr, of the Franz market in Shinglehouse, found a tarantula in his shipment of bananas. He opted to trap the giant spider and place it on exhibit in his store rather than kill it. All the young boys were in awe and all the girls screamed. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Old Stories from Sabinsville & places in Clymer Township - Tioga County

1858 - Grasshoppers began to over run property in Clymer Township during the month of March, despite bitter cold weather. William Douglas reported that his farm was covered in the hungry insects which measured anywhere from half inch to an inch long. Locals became concerned... considering the terrible destruction a year before at Minnesota when farmers lost their crops to the ravenous bugs. 

1884 - Stillman Whitman heard his dog yelp in the barn and ran to see what was up. The mad bull inside was viciously attacking his four legged friend. Stillman attempted to rescue the dog by drawing attention to himself, and was also attacked. The two had to put up quite a fight with the enormous cow but made it out. They recovered on bed rest together and after a couple of weeks were back to work together. 

1889 - James Rexford butchered three hogs on his farm at Lansing. The combined weight was a whopping 1367 pounds. The pigs were only 11 months old, so they were quite large. 

1890 - Around town everyone referred to Chauncey Ackley as an odd bird. It wasn't surprising when he shot and killed a strange and very rare white owl on his property. The wing span was almost 6 feet long. 

1894 - Reuben Morton was digging through his barn at Mixtown when he found an old iron tea kettle. According to Mr. Morton the family heirloom was brought over on a ship when his ancestors relocated to North America in 1626. For years it was forgotten but now he had it on display.

1898 - It was a good year for hunting and fishing. Mrs. Justus (Ada)Beach caught the largest trout known in the area. The fish weighed 26.5 ounces and was almost 16 inches long. Charles Reese and Ernest Ladd were hunting on the mountain near Azelta and killed two wild cats. One weighed 30lbs and the other half its size. 

1900 - Henry & Estella Wamsley noticed the creek on their property near Azelta was abnormally dirty. Mrs. Wamsley had recently washed clothing in the stream that was now terribly stained and ruined. Their misfortune turned into excitement when it was realized that oil was leaking from a valuable pocket on their land. A celebration followed. 

1912 - Susan Wilcox owned a hen that produced 4 double yolked eggs which were laid in 4 weeks and weighed in at 1 lb combined. She made a bet that no one could beat her record. 

1914 - Business was good for Gary Stebbins, and got even better when he began to offer something unheard of. The fresh milk, butter, and eggs at his farm were now available to be ordered and shipped to customers right at their home. People were excited for the new convenient service. 

1936 - Several feet of snow was hindering trappers from checking their traps. Snow shoes became a hot commodity. Raymond Cole had a pair he purchased in Maine and had used them more for decoration purposes until this time. Bert Earl had to replace the ones he formerly used, which were made for his grandfather by local Native Americans in the early 1800's. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ghost Towns of Tioga County - Keeneyville


Stories from Keeneyville & vicinity
Other communities in the township of Middlebury: 
Crooked Creek, Hammond, Holiday Station, Holidaytown, 
Middlebury Center, Niles Valley, Shinglebury

In the beginning...
The first known person to live in the vicinity was George Abbot, well known as a hunter and trapper during the 1820's. In 1835 the village of Keeneyville was established, named after Elias Keeney, a local blacksmith. As the population grew, the area flourished with little businesses... unlike other communities which were built around booms and the railroad. Some of the industries & hot spots included: The handle factory, post office, grocery store, two hotels, furniture stores, farms, cheese factory, harness factory, blacksmith shop, doctors office, schools, churches, and more. Eventually businesses were sold, and many died or moved away. Nowadays a much smaller version of what once was, still remains. 

Youngest person to be tried for murder in the county....
Hugh Townsend, 8 year old adopted son of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Townsend, was shot on the first day of August while playing with friends along the creek. He died from the injuries. Foster Gee, Henry Gee, and Olin Gee told police that they were skipping stones in the water when two older boys, Lyle West & Roy Neal, began fishing across the creek. The older boys became frustrated when they couldn't catch anything because of the rock skipping. Lyle West had a gun used for frog hunting earlier. He raised the gun to give warning and said, "Stick 'em up." A shot rang out. The bullet hit Hugh in the knee, but apparently traveled upwards and lodged in his lungs. He was unable to be saved. The West boy was from Andover, Ny and had been spending time with his grandparents when this occurred. He was charged with manslaughter and sent to a reform school. 
*Hugh was the biological son of Harriet Townsend & Bob Goodwin
** News article from The Potter Enterprise - 1936

George Keeney was backed up with orders at his shop for broom and fork handles, and people were getting anxious. In order to speed up production, the handle maker purchased a 6 horsepower engine and soon was processing orders at a much quicker rate. customers in town were happy and back to work. 1866

During a 4th of July celebration at the Keeneyville Hotel, a walkway from the ballroom to the Inn/Tavern area collapsed. About 4o people fell 15 feet to the ground. Eighteen of them were injured, some more serious than others. 1881

Henry Shaff was feeding his farm animals.  After entering the pig pen, two of the hogs began to attack him, tearing his pant legs off and breaking through skin. His loyal mastiff came to the rescue and cornered the angry pigs. He quickly climbed the fence. Mr. Shaff's injuries were so terrible that he was bedridden for quite awhile. 1899

In September Ray Bosard mysteriously vanished from home and friends became worried that the poor man lost his mind. Talk around town is that he was depressed after all three of his fiance's had died a week or two before wedding. 1903