Unadilla Forks Remembered
The map to the left shows where Unadilla Forks is located on a NYS map.  The hamlet is situated in the northwest corner of Otsego County in the Township of Plainfield.  An aerial view of the hamlet can be seen below.
About Me
My name is Jerry Jones and I was born in Unadilla Forks (UF) in 1942, attended West Winfield Central School and presently (2016) live in Apalachin, NY with my wife Terry.  Although my home is in Apalachin, my heart will always be in the Forks.  A few years ago I noticed a painting that had been in my room for many years.  The painting is shown below and shows a large house with a porch and another large house in the background.  I soon realized that the house in the painting was my grandfather’s house (#21) that burned in the 1918 fire that destroyed four homes.
This postcard shows a portion of the old hotel on the left, my grandfather’s house behind the old car and a large neighbor’s (Lew Holdridge) house (#20) to the right of my grandfather’s.  The lot where the Holdridge house was located is between Bouck’s (#19) and what use to be Wanda Jones’s house (#21).  I knew that there should be a First Baptist Church (#17) somewhere in the background and wondered when the church was built -thinking this might help date the painting.  There now is a stone monument where the church once stood but it does not indicate when the church was constructed.   Thus began an internet search for the church construction date.  The rest is history.  Once I started digging into the history of the church, one thing led to another and before I knew it, the search uncovered many interesting facts about the village that I would like to share with you.  Since retiring in 2002, I thought that this would make a good project to keep me occupied until golf and fly fishing season arrived.  A crude house map of Unadilla Forks is shown below as are the inhabitants.  The map was originally composed by Gertrude Gilson.  The number following a particular house identifies its location on the map.
1.  Mrs. Leah Gates / Homer Griffith / Hugh Pugh / Jim Roberts
2.  First Baptist Church parsonage / Holbert and Edna Baldwin
3.  John, and Chauncey Adams / Don Green
4.  Amiel Penny / Henry P. Clark / Ted and Lyda Clarke
5.  Lina and Kate Saunders
6.  Haydn Adams / Miss Elizabeth Bonnigan / John Williams
7.  Charles Hoxie /  Mrs. Lovell / Maurice Mariotti
8.  Gene Armstrong / Leo Paquette / Robert and Mary Buzzell
9.  Elias Gates (occupied by tenants one of which was Henry Clark, Jr. / Henry Roberts
10.  Giles Penny / Phebe Griffith / Randy McConnell
11.  School
12.   Mrs. DeKay Davis / Mrs. Lewis Pugh / George Hibbard / Mark Daley / Trevvett
13.   Emery Perkins
14.   Collins House / Eve Griffith / William S. Perkins / UF Fire Co.
15.   Fuller House – 2 apartments after Mrs. Fuller’s death.  Several tenants including Mrs. Trenham, Mr. Stanton; Principal   of the     school (1911-12),     Mrs. P. A. Chapman and Jane Roberts / Fanny Thayer
16.         Herm Matteson / Stanbro
17.         First Baptist Church
18.         Mr. and Mrs. Fitch / Mrs. Stillman before fire / vacant
19.         Dr. C. Chesebro / Dr. Henn / Austin and Ida Bouck
20.         The Woodbine - Vic and Eve Babcock / Lew Holdridge / vacant
21.         William Williams / Mel Jones/ Walt and Wanda Jones / Ed Slosek
22.         Humphrey Store
23.         Charles Backus / Crommie  /Amos Fisk / Dale Gates
24.         Byron Chapman / Silas Perkins / Spicer / Ira Roberts / John and Anna Walsh
25.         Paul Stillman / Lewis / Myers/ Minnie Wheeler / John and Anna Massey
26.         Frank Wilcox / Mrs. Crandall / Lew and Eleanor Davies / Gene Lamb
27.         Miss Brightman / Wyette  Wing / Bob Davies / Ester Jane and Bea Davies
28.         Hank Clark / Fred Mumbolo / Fanny Noll
29.         Light / Maggie W. / Bernard  Clisham (home razed) now Ernest and Agnes Merrill / R. Brown
30.         W. H. Adams / Walter and Agnes Slosek
31.         Lew Holdridge / Austin
32.         Free Baptist Parsonage
33.         Paul Smiths (?) / Gortons / Charles Rogers / Mert Lamb / Mike Wadswotrh
34.         Will Chase / Irving Pugh/ Evans
35.         King Place / Russell Brown / Part of UF Baptist Church
36.         Free Baptist Church
37.         Will Dye / Gorton / Rowlands and Pugh Store / Jones &  Slosek Store
38.         Sarah Brown (B. J. Brown Estate) / Ephraim
39.         Jay Brown / Dwight Wing
40.         Crandall / Old Breiver place / Walt Myers
41.         John Mason / Hattie Hendricks / Bernice Rogers
42.         Hutchinss Cottage / Art Jones
43.         John Davis / Wyette Wing / Tony Laukaitis / Keith Armstrong
44.         H. Wilcox / Doc. Bassett / Otto and Reba Huddle / H. Goff / L. Isbell
45.         Lynn Clark / Janet Cooper / Scott Williams / McNeel
46.         Dwayne Wilcox / Bea and Carlton Gates / Harry Meyers / Phil Graham
47.         John Humphrey / Charles Hoxie / Herb & Ruth Hoxie Evans / Countryman
48.         Clark Brown / Frank Maine / Dean Baldwin / Jerry Griffith / Doug Satterlee / Bob Buzzell 
49.         E. C. Whitford / Arnold Baldwin / Jay Sholes / Chatterton
50.         Mrs. Fitch after her husband’s death
51.         Loren Clark / Penner / Kozowski
52.         George and Anna Clarke / Burch / Philips / Brown
53.         Crumbs / Elmer Mitchell /Barns (?) / Dorie
54.         Will Adams /Herb Rogers (house built by Adams in 1900-01) / Janet Williams
55.         Edgar Clarke / Harris /Steere / Gert Gilson / Dan Gilligan
56.         Lucy Babcock place that was moved to Bridgewater / vacant
57.         Henry Babcock / Jay and Laura Rider / Jerry and Carmen Davis
58.         P. A. Chapman / Whitaker / Buzzell /Cooper / Ingber
59.         Hotchkiss Place / Enos earlier / Charles Penny /George Hughes / Kerwin / Steve and Louise Holmes
60.         K. J. Wing (Steven Chapman built) / Conley
61.         Richard Williams / Barry / Wythe
62.         Charles Penny
63.         Alger
64.         Myers
Many of the surrounding villages such as Brookfield, Leonardsville, Bridgewater, and West Winfield either have active historical societies or their histories are documented in other places such as books.   The best internet site that addresses the areas history is the Upper Unadilla Valley Association web site but that site also addresses other villages and I wanted a site dedicated to Unadilla Forks.  Thus, this site was established.  The town historian is Nancy Melville and she can be reached at 315-822-6364.
References to Unadilla Forks:
Unadilla Forks is located in Otsego County in the township of Plainfield, New York.  The village is situated on the Unadilla River about 20 miles south of Utica.  Much of the township’s history and some of the village’s history has already been documented and can be found at the following internet links:
There are 2 very good reference sources for the periods 1868 and 1903.  One is the F.W. Beers 1868 Atlas of Otsego County .    It contains a map of Plainfield Township plus a detailed map of Unadilla Forks and a business directory for that time. 
1868 Map of Unadilla Forks
1903 Map of Unadilla Forks
The other excellent reference is a 1903 atlas by Otto Barthez, called “The Company Corps of Expert Engineers and Draughtsmen; The New Century Atlas of Otsego County.”  It contains a map of the Town of Plainfield and also the names of several farm families residing there in 1903.   The 1903 Plainfield map can be viewed by clicking 1903 Plainfield Map .  Many farms were given names and a detailed write-up of several farm families can be found by clicking 1903 Plainfield Farm Families .   One can then match the farm name to the name on the 1903 town map and thus determine the location of the farm.  For a more recent reference please see W. Barrett, L. McNulty, et al., “The Upper Unadilla Valley Association Saving Our Valley,” Worden Press, Brookfield, NY, 1999.  Recently I had the good fortune to purchase an 1856 original map of UF and Plainfield on e-bay.   Both maps not only show the town and village roads but have the names of families and businesses.  By clicking on these links you can view and expand the maps:  1856 Map of UF  and 1856 Map of Plainfield
I was very fortunate to have met Alice Clarke Whitcombe who was the daughter of Mildred Whitcombe.  Mildred lived her early years on the Clarke farm which was located on Pritchard Road in Plainfield Center.  The farm is now in ruins and was last owned by Bob Pritchard.  In 1903 her grandfather, Henry Page Clark, moved to Unadilla Forks so she could go to school there.  H. P. Clarke owned the Ted and Lyda Clarke residence (#4) adjacent to the Adams family (#3).  Apparently Unadilla Forks and its’ people made a lasting impression on Mildred and she was in the process of putting her memories together when she passed away on Christmas Eve 1979.  Alice, her daughter, furnished me with much information and Mildred’s other notes reside with the present Unadilla Forks historian, Melinda Wadsworth.  I have transcribed these notes into a Word document that can be viewed by clicking on this link.  Mildred (born 1897) was a contemporary of Anna Chapman and Chauncey Adams.  Her notes give a good insight into the people of Unadilla Forks in the early 1900’s.
For those of you interested in reading old newspapers, including the Brookfield Courier, this site contains many papers from the area:  Old Newspapers .
Other assorted reference material can be found within these links:
The History of New York State, Book IX, Chapter III
Early Settlers:
The town of Plainfield was established on March 25, 1799 but the first settlements were in 1793.  Among the early pioneers were John Kilbourne, Elias Wright, Ruggles Spooner, Samuel Williams, and Benjamin and Abel Clark.   Parley Philips was an early settler who came from Adams, Mass. In 1813 he settled one mile east of Lloydsville on a tract of land that I know as the Lynn (Zip) Davis farm.  The Philips homestead location is shown on the 1856 map of Plainfield mentioned above.  Parley had a large family consisting of 12 children.  One son, Jeremiah, was a missionary to Hindostan.  Parley caught smallpox during a trip of see his son off for India and both he and his wife died in 1835.    Parley and Henry Wilcox built the “Maple Shade” home (#44) in UF in 1828.  This home was used as a summer home by Reba and Otto Huddle and was sold to Howard Goff in 1968.  Reba is the daughter of Henry D. and Florence Wilcox Bassett.  Florence Wilcox is the daughter of Henry Wilcox.   The home was previously owned by Louise Isbell.  Parley was a religious man and one of the stained glass windows in the present UF Baptist church has his name inscribed in it.   Parley also is thought to have built other Federal style homes in the area.
I can think of two families still living on original homesteads that can trace their roots to the early 19th century settlers, they would be the Wilcox and Hackley families.   In the write-up of 1903 Plainfield Farm Families, one can read about the Wilcox Homestead owned by George F. Wilcox at that time.  I have included a few lines from that section: The “Old Homestead” was owned by the grandfather of George F. Wilcox.  It seemingly was in the family name from its earliest settlement.  George F. Wilcox is the independent owner of “Hillside Farm” which he purchased in 1900.   Carlton Wilcox passed away in 2006 and his wife, Sherry in 2011.  I believe that the Homestead is still in the Wilcox family today (2016).  It is located on the back road to West Winfield just before the turn that takes you to Crumb Hill and Plainfield Center.   Carlton’s genealogy was obtained from Sharon Pachett and is a follows:  Oliver Cromwell Wilcox and his wife came from Stonnington, CT by oxcart to most likely Brookfield, Madison County before 1800. He owned land there.  Oliver’s sons were Ephraim, Edward, John, William and Oliver Jr. The deed on Carlton's house was filed in 1803 in the names of John and Ephraim Wilcox.  Edward had 7 children, including another Oliver Cromwell Wilcox.  Oliver Cromwell Wilcox b 1831, son of Edward of UF, had George Francis Wilcox in 1861.  George had Horace Leroy 1883, father of Carlton Wilcox.   
Quoting from the “History of Otsego County by D. H. Hurd, 1878, p. 294:  “In the northwest part of the town, where are located the best farming lands, is a thoroughfare known as “Hackley Street,” which derived its name from Dr. Hackley, a prominent pioneer, who located on the lands now owned and occupied by a son, Salinus H. Hackley. “  In the book “Saving Our Valley,” the Hackley Farm is said to have been established in 1811.  Brian Hackley and wife are the eight generation to farm this land.  While riding on the school bus to West Winfield Central School in the 50’s I remember sap buckets hanging from the maple trees on that farm and Carl Hackley, Brian’s father, produced maple syrup.  I also have memories of Hackley Street in the winter, such as not being able to see above the snow banks while riding in a school bus.  The wind often blows across those flats creating white-out conditions in the winter making travel quite an adventure.    
Quoting again from pages 294-295 of the same 1878 book, “The village of Unadilla Forks is located on the Unadilla river, in the western part, north of the center, and contains two churches, Baptist and Free Baptist, besides the following business interests:  general stores, H. H. Babcock, Rogers & Dye, Humphrey & Spicer; furniture, etc. T. Clark; grist-mill, S. B. Griffin; saw-mill, Amos Fisk; carding-factory, etc., S. Enos; hardware, etc., R. Daggett; physician, J. F. Dively; wagon-shops, A. D. Wilcox, J. F. Tarbell; blacksmith, H. D. Bassett; shoe-shop, S. Clark, P. Gaughran; harness-shop, F. H. Wilcox; cooper, Cyrus Brown; milliners, Mrs. J Strickland, Mrs. H. M. Perkins; hotel, Charles Allen.”
Mount Markham:
In the 1969 time frame the people of West Winfield were looking for a name for their new school.  After much debate, the name Mount Markham was chosen.  The local historians of that time were busily trying to find out why the mountain in Unadilla Forks was called Mt. Markham.  Many articles appeared in the local West Winfield Star newspaper but no one could definitively answer how the mountain got the name Markham.   Mildred Clarke Whitcomb lived in Unadilla Forks in the early 1900s and was a contemporary of Anna Chapman.  She wrote an article in the Star on 09/04/1969 of a story that was told to her as a child, by elders, of a team of engineers that was sent in the early spring to measure the height of the mountain.  They became trapped near the “look-off” and had to be rescued after spending some time before they were noticed.  It is about this time that Mildred thinks the mountain was named and her guess is that one of the engineers connected with the project was named Markham. 
Recently Nancy Melville, Unadilla Forks Baptist Church historian, and I were discussing the Free Baptist Church history and she remembered seeing the name Markham in the original record book.  The book states that in June of 1806 three Markhams joined the Church; they were John, Jepthy and Seth.   Where these people lived is a mystery but there apparently was a Markham family in the area in 1806 about the time the village was settled.  The source of the name Mount Markham appears to be forever lost in antiquity.  
In the 50s several of the village kids would hike up the mountain and enjoy the scenery at the look-off.  In those days a herd of cows owned by Henry Roberts roamed the mountain and kept it well groomed.  There was a path, that was once part of a road, connecting  Penny Street with Skaneateles Turnpike near where the pike crosses Campbell Brook (near where Les Pugh lived).  Both ends of the road still exist but not the area over the mountain.  Following the road back then, to the top, gave the hiker a view of the valley over the ridge and an old barn that was no longer in use.  To the left of the barn was a cool spring where we used to get a refreshing drink.  Blackberries abounded on top of the mountain to the North of Mt. Markham (locally called North Mountain).
In the summer of 2006 I decided to hike the trail once again but found it to be a foreign experience.  What had been a fairly well defined road on the edge of woods and pasture was now a dirt path in the middle of dense woods.  Once the top of the ridge was reached I was expecting to see a valley but instead there were dense woods.  No sign of a valley or old barn ruins.  The look-off still looked the same but this experience showed me what 50 years with no human intervention could do.  

Old Road

Look Off

Notice Pasture Land in Upper Left Behind Tree

Mountain Has Reclaimed Pasture

The Old Sawmill:

I have not been able to determine when the saw mill was built but it is probably safe to say that it was constructed around 1800.  According to Hammond’s History of Madison County, the first saw mill at the Forks, on the Plainfield side, was built by Capt. Caleb Brown, and stood on the spot where, it is said, an Indian once murdered a white man.  The mill was most likely the focal point for lumber used to build the first homes.  In an 1829 atlas by David Burr, the map of Otsego County shows two structures in the area now occupied by Unadilla Forks.  One is a saw mill and the other a flower mill.  Click here to view the on-line map.   No churches are shown in this map. 
The picture to the left (probably early 1900's) is a view looking East upriver from below the dam.  The cabinet factory is on the left and the saw mill on the right.  The side of the mill towards the dam is straight and in-line with the stone foundation.
This picture shows the mill with an addition built on the north side.  Ray Backus said that the north side addition was added in 1913-14 to house open glass jar batteries that were charged by mill power and provided electricity to the town when the mill wheel was not turning.  The mill wheel was enclosed in a flume that was horizontal.  Water pressure was always present due to the dam and when the flume was open the water would run past and turn the wheel.  A belt was connected from the water wheel to the generator.
Also evident in both pictures is an old wooden plank bridge.  Ward Ellsworth remembers Carl Ellsworth stepping on a loose board in the bridge and falling into the spring flood above the dam and being saved by his mother and older brother Dean and Howard Whitacre who ran down the bridge abutment.  The picture also shows a building with an open door behind the bridge supports, this was a blacksmith shop on the Wilcox-Bassett property.  John Spring was the last blacksmith to occupy the shop.  The building to the right of the blacksmith shop was a storage shed for mill lumber.  In the 40’s and 50’s when I was growing up the mill was owned by Charles Backus.  Much of what I have learned about the mill has come from conversations with Raymond Backus, Charles’ son.  Ray was born in Unadilla Forks in 1917 and was very instrumental in providing information about Unadilla Forks.  I'm sorry to report that Ray passed away unexpectedly at his home in East Bethel, Vt. on Sept. 2, 2009.
West of the Backus residence (#23, now occupied by Dale Gates) was the home (#24) of Anna Chapman who was very civic minded and whose photo/written collections I have used to develop much of this site.  Anna married Ira Roberts in 1929 and after Ira died she married John Walsh (11/26/1964).  The photo to the left shows Anna and John by their front door.  Anna was born 1/26/1896 the daughter of Byron and Hattie Dye Chapman who were married in 1895.  Anna passed away in 1992.  Anna and Ira more or less took a young man under their wing, his name was Stearns Bately.  Stearns lived with Anna and Ira and composed a very nice description of the mill in a poem, The Old Mill .  This was published in the West Winfield Star sometime in the 1950’s.
The Dam:
 When the old wooden bridge was replace about 1930-31, a steel plate was inserted in the side of the dam to stop the flow of water to the mill if needed.  The plate is still there today.  Charles Backus would shut down the flume wheel when he went to bed at night but he often needed to run the generator until noon on Mondays because that is when people did their laundry.  Extra generation was sometimes needed on Tuesdays because a few people had electric irons.
It isn’t known exactly when the first dam was constructed but early accounts say that Caleb Brown erected the first grist mill in 1805 at Unadilla Forks.  The picture above is a view from Hackley Street looking south towards the center of town.  It is shown here to illustrate where the grist mill was with respect to other buildings.  Since the grist mill was powered by water, it is likely that the dam was in place in 1805.  There was a pathway under the road that allowed water to power the grist mill. 
The first building in view on the right side of the road is the grist mill.  The next building on the same side is a furniture/cabinet factory and the large building in the distance is the hotel/store in the center of town.  The saw mill is obscured by the furniture factory but an expanded picture show logs piled in front of the saw mill ready for milling.   A horse and buggy can be seen heading over the wooden bridge going north on Hackley Street.   When Charles Backus bought the dam in 1902 it was thought to be about 30 years old.  This is in accord with a 7/28/1880 Brookfield Courier article that states: “The steam engine, new dam, and renewed activity in business have created a boom in village property.  Several new enterprises are talked of.”  It was the first V-shaped dam and had been built by Oscar Clarke. 
At some point after Backus purchased the dam it needed repair and he succeeded by reinforcing with about 30 loads of stone.  I do not know the history of the dam before about 1870 or how many dams were previously erected at this site.   What I do know, is that the 1870 dam finally gave way in the spring of 1944 and drained the pond.  From the newspaper report it was a mess.  The mud flats began to smell and wells near the river dried up.  The fire company became concerned for their water supply and fishing was impacted.  The town tried unsuccessfully to fill the hole with rocks and logs but it didn’t hold.  Finally they hired the Germond Brothers of Clinton to build a new dam at a cost of $4,850 to the small community.  I remember my grandmother, Eltha Jones, taking me down to the bridge to see the construction.  Quite impressive to a five year old.  The money was raised through sales, auctions, and donations with the final $500 coming at an Old Home Day on 8/23/1947.  There were open houses (Ira Roberts, Otto Huddle, Mrs. Homer King, Ted Clarke, and Frank Gilson), exhibits, cooperage demonstrations, antique auto rides, pony rides, motor boating, and a ball game.  This was all followed by a country supper at Memorial Hall (First Baptist Church) and a play directed by Otto Huddle including Mary Rogers, Beatrice Gates, Walter Jones, Richard Cornell, Irene Baldwin, Elizabeth Davis, Grace Cornell and Ida Bouck.  The day concluded with singing by the quartet of Ester Jane Davies, Janette Lamb, Eugene Lamb, and Richard Cornell. 
 In 1973 the dam began to leak and as a result the river and mill pond behind it began to dry up.  These two photos were taken by Howard Goff and show how low the water was before the dam was repaired (photos furnished by Robert Hosley, Howard’s grandson).  An article from the West Winfield Star (2/27/1975) indicated that federal funds might be available for repair if the site could be establishment as a recreational area. 
A committee was formed to look into this possibility.  Committee members were Mrs. Frank Gilson, Mrs. Russell Brown, Jerry Davis, Walter Harrison, Rev. Charles Fitch, Robert Buzzell and Mrs. John Walsh.   For some reason, this solution was not carried forward and some time later, as reported in the West Winfield Star (8/17/1977), 25 residents met again to analyze the problem.  The chairman at that time was Howard Goff and co-chairman was Walt Harrison.  The repair estimate was $38,000 which was too much for a privately owned dam (Raymond Backus and Nick Prior owned the dam at that time).  The owners tried to deed the dam to the town but the town did not want to assume the responsibility.  Committee co-chairman Walt Harrison even went so far as to try to call President Carter but failed to reach him.  Walt followed up with a letter to the Corps of Engineers who inspected the dam and found no anticipated loss of human life or property; therefore they would not repair a privately owned dam.  Finally, as reported in Saving Our Valley (1999, p. 117), the Carparelli Brothers of New Hartford came to the rescue.
This photo is of John Walsh on the left and Ray Carparelli on the right.  The boy in the background is Rob Hosley.  Notice the exposed stone foundations where buildings used to sit over the water during the 1800’s.  As I recall the Carparelli’s used to fish for pickerel in the late fall and very much loved the river.
Before the dam could be repaired, the water level above the dam was lowered by pumping with an irrigation pump borrowed from Vyron Chapman.
Once the water was lowered, holes were drilled into the cement canopy to allow the cement to flow behind the wooden logs supporting the dam.  I believe the man running the jack hammer is one of the Cooper twins and the man in red is Maurice Mariotti.  From the change in clothing observed in the next photo, this endeavor took more than one day to complete.
This photo shows cement being poured into the drilled holes.  I believe a few of the people in this picture can be identified.  The second person on the left overlooking the work below and wearing a light colored hat is John Walsh.  The second person to the left of the chute is Ray Carparelli.  There are 3 workers on the dam (lower left side of the photo), two with shovels.  The first one is Dale Mariotti who passed away in 1993 and the second is his father, Maurice;  the third person has not be identified.   I believe the worker closest to the "V" in the dam is one of the Cooper twins but I don't know which one, the fellow leaning on the shovel is unknown and I believe the guy leaning on his knee is Steve Holmes
The picture above shows Rob Hosley standing below the dam with a clock sitting about head high (left side of photo) recording the time the water again flowed over the dam.  I am told that there were some minor wagers as to the exact time the water crested the dam.  At 3:55 on August 9th water again poured over the dam.   The Carparelli Brothers did this in memory of their father and accepted no money.  The dam is still in place after almost 60 years but it is not in very good shape.
On 8/9/1977 they poured 180 tons of cement into the dam.  This photo was taken as the cement was being poured (see chute on bridge) and men from the fire company were directing the cement into a hole they had made in the dam.
Buildings Along the Rivers:
Furniture Factory and Warehouse
The east and west branches of the Unadilla River meet just below the dam in Unadilla Forks.  The East Branch is the larger of the two and is suitable for canoe and boating.  The West Branch has its origin above Bridgewater about 4 miles away whereas the East Branch originates above West Winfield about 6 miles upstream.  One is able to navigate almost to West Winfield.  The dam is on the East Branch; therefore that is where most of the commercial buildings that relied on water power were built.  
The above   photo was taken above the dam looking west and the photo below was taken from nearly the same spot looking north up the river.  The furniture factory can be seen behind the bridge and the warehouse/store thought to be associated with it was located over the water on the opposite side of the road.  The photo below shows the warehouse in the foreground and two other buildings along the river.  Since these photos were probably taken in the early 1900s, inspection of the 1903 UF map shows the factory belonging to E. B. Clarke (Edgar) and the building across the road belonging to F. O. Clarke (Francis).  The grist mill, shown previously, was owned by W. H. Chase.  The building located furthest north on the east side of Hackley Street was most likely a furniture store in 1868.  The building in the middle was owned by W. H. Chase and may have been a warehouse for the grist mill.
 I’m not sure when the three buildings on the east side of Hackley Street  were constructed but none appear in the 1856 map.  An 1868 map of UF shows the saw mill owned by Amos Fisk, a cabinet and rake factory owned by Jared Clarke in the same location as the 1903 furniture factory, and the grist mill owned by Dea Enos.  In addition, the 1868 map shows a carding mill between the cabinet factory and grist mill.  The 1868 map shows only one building north of the dam on the east side of Hackley Street and it is labeled  a furniture store owned by Jared Clarke.   Jared Clarke was born in the town of Plainfield (1807 – 1882) and had three sons:  Francis Oscar, Edgar Berstram, and Charles Adelbert, along with two daughters: Mary Emily and Romaine Livingston Clarke.   Francis Oscar Clarke later ran the business.  Francis O. Clarke had a son named George who married Anna Griffith on 11/11/1880 and they had no children.   I believe that George and Anna lived in house #52.  The business was also run by Edgar Clarke (1903 map shows an E. B. Clarke presumed to be Edgar Clarke).
Buidings on the East Side of the River Looking North
As an aside, if you look at the Furniture Factory and Warehouse  picture above you will see a house in the distance to the left of the furniture factory (above the center of the bridge).  That house (#29) is shown here but no longer stands.  The residence of Ernest and Agnes Merrill now occupies this spot.  When this picture was taken, the home was occupied by the Clisham family on the second floor and Harold Wing and family on the first floor.  Harold’s wife, Irene, was a Clisham.  Joe Clisham, Irene’s brother, was a friend of mine and died at an early age, due to an auto accident.  Earlier this house was referred to as the Hobart Light place and later the Smith Nursing Home.  
In the 11/05/1997 issue of the West Winfield Star, the 25 years ago section contained a piece recalling the memories of Stanley Griffith of Ithaca, a former UF resident.  “Edgar Clarke once owned and operated a cabinet shop on Hackley Street next to the bridge.  The shop was powered by one of three waterwheels in the village, the others were at the Backus saw mill and at the Chase-Ellsworth feed mill.  Clarke also produced such items as rough boxes for burial and baseball bats in addition to cabinetry.
  Griffith remembered visiting the shop one time as a boy with his father.  He was fascinated by the machinery with its flying belts, the smell of fresh woodwork and the rumble of the waterwheel beneath the floor.  On one occasion, Edgar presented him with a baseball bat, what a present for a boy.”  “In one section of the floor a trap door opened so one could look down upon a deep eddy of water which had just passed over the wheel.  In the eddy one could see a number of large fish (suckers) resting calmly near the bottom.  It was here, he told my father, that the depth-bomb was invented.  In the early days of WWI, the German U-boats were sinking Allied ships at a staggering rate and there appeared nothing could be done to stop the destruction.  Using the suckers as target, Edgar would wrap a small amount of explosives together with what he called a pressure cap, and then drop it into the water over the fish.  By trial and error he found that the pressure cap could be set to detonate at a predetermined depth, thereby exploding the charge near the suckers.  Edgar said that he immediately contacted the US Navy and described the invention and how it could be developed into a depth bomb in production and it was put into use with fabulous results. What an interesting historical landmark the old cabinet shop could have been.” 
Although the story may be true, a quick search of the internet for the inventor of the depth charge did not produce the name Edgar Clarke.
The picture to the left shows the cabinet/furniture  factory and what looks like a gate to let water into the factory.  The dam, including the apron, appears to be all wood.  No water is flowing over the dam in this picture.  Most likely, when the gates were open, the pond would drain and no water flowed over the dam.
Although I do not know the dates the buildings were destroyed, other than the saw mill, one can bracket the time from other pictures.   The picture to the left shows Ray Backus playing in the snow on Hackley Street.  This picture was taken in the early 20s and the building across from the furniture factory is no longer standing.  The furniture factory is still standing and logs can be seen on the south west side of the road ready to be processed in the saw mill that Ray’s father Charles owned.  The grist mill can also be seen just beyond the furniture factory.  Two of the three original buildings on the east side of Hackley Street can still be seen.
The picture to the left shows the cabinet/furniture factory ruins in the foreground.  From the previous picture we know the factory was in place in the early 20s and was destroyed before the first steel bridge was constructed (date unknown).  My father told me that they also made caskets and baseball bats in the furniture factory.  I do not remember any furniture factory ruins while growing up in the 40s.  However, I do remember some ruins from the grist mill. 
The picture to the left shows the grist mill after a fire.  The following was taken from the May 22, 1940 edition of the Brookfield Courier:  Fire of unknown origin partially destroyed the old feed and grist mill in Unadilla Forks Monday afternoon at about 3 o’clock.   The fire was discovered by Stanley Myers, who turned in an alarm to the local fire company.  They responded immediately and soon had two streams of water playing on the flames, which were pouring from the building.  In a short time the Bridgewater fire company was on the scene and did very efficient work in helping to save the house of Mrs. Estelle Simons near by.  Fortunately the wind was in the direction to blow the flames across the river and away from the street.  The building, which for many years was operated as a feed and grist mill, has been idle for several years.  It is owned by Mrs. George Roberts of Yonkers who purchased it about two years ago and had planned to raze the building and erect a home on the site.  The loss was partially covered by insurance.
 In the early 1900’s the grist mill had the names Ellsworth, W. H. Chase, and Herbert Rogers associated with it.  Mrs. George Roberts is the sister of Byron Chapman, Anna’s father.  The saw mill can be seen in the background just beyond the car.  From other pictures of the fire, it is apparent that the first steel bridge was in place at the time of the fire, therefore construction of the steel bridge must have occurred between 1920 and 1940.   The Brookfield Courier (10/31/1934) reported that construction of the steel bridge linking Madison with Otsego county was delayed because a mail carrier objected.  As I remember, both bridges were essentially the same design therefore they may have been constructed within a few years of each other.
This picture to the left is what I refer to as the first steel bridge and is the bridge that I remember growing up with in the 40s.  There are 3 men standing on the road looking down at the dam and one (maybe my father) near the base of the dam.  I do not know if this picture was taken before or after the new dam was constructed in 1947.   The bridge connecting Madison and Otsego Counties looked essentially the same as this bridge.
This photo shows the old bridge connecting Madison and Otsego Counties.  The bridge by the dam looked quite similar and both had wooden decking.  Just over the bridge on the left side of the photo is a house which no longer stands; it was house #28 in the Unadilla Forks Directory.  
While on the subject of bridges, it should be mentioned that two other wooden decked bridges no longer exist:  one which crossed the river at Lover's Lane and the other about 1/2 mile north of Leonardsville on the Skaneateles Turnpike called Hoxie Bridge. 
This is a photo of Hoxie Bridge in 1975.  The bridge was named after an early settler named Steven Hoxie who came to the area ca. 1791.  He is buried a few feet from the bridge on the Madison County side.  I believe the picture was taken looking north up the river.  The bridge was built in 1878 and was 95 feet long and 13 feet wide with plank decking.  It was used by locals to cross between Route 8 and River Road and also by farmers and the post office for mail delivery.
 In September 1976 a car driven by Dave Case of Brookfield overturned as it approached the bridge going west and skidded on its top ending up in the middle of the bridge.    
 Within several hours of the auto accident, a tractor driven by Tony George of Utica was crossing the bridge heading east.  As you can see, the John Deere 4020 (yellow cab) nearly made it to the Otsego County side before the bridge collapsed.  A sign posting the weight limit at 2 tons was retrieved from the river.  It was thought that 1/2 was owned by the Town of Plainfield and the other 1/2 by the Town of Brookfield and repairs were estimated to be in the $100,000 range.  The bridge was never replaced and barriers were erected on both sides to prevent auto access.       
This photo was probably taken ca. 1970 and shows the bridge over Lovers Lane connecting Penny Street with Route 20.  This bridge appeared very similar to the Hoxie Bridge and may have been built about the same time.  When cars went across the wood planks the clatter could be heard for  miles.  I'm not sure when this bridge was removed but I do recall an auto accident potentially damaging the structure and making it unsafe; the bridge was dismantled, probably sometime in the 70s.   
This photo sparks my memory about an incident that happened while hunting with a friend from Binghamton.  Fran and I had a history of taking my boat up the river the day before duck season opened.  We would drop it off at the "Ox-Bow" then walk in from Lovers Lane on opening day and duck hunt while rowing back to Unadilla Forks.  My motor was not running well so I borrowed my uncle's (Walt Slosek) and Fran and I started our journey. He sat in the narrow front seat and I ran the motor.  I remember that we had to steer clear of the middle because a metal rod was just below the surface, and maybe still is even today.  Fran let out a yell that I should go one way or the other but by that time the bow had hit the rod and the boat jerked.  Since he was in the narrowest part of the boat, he lost his balance and the boat started to rock and before we could react we were both in the water and the boat was upside down with my uncle's motor under water.  We looked at each other and decided to swim to the east shore rather than hang onto the boat.   
After pulling ourselves out of the muddy water we walked to Carlton Wilcox's farm where he was milking at the time.  I don't think I ever heard Carlton laugh so hard as when he laid eyes on us.  He was nice enough to give us a ride back to town where we changed clothes and headed back to rescue the boat and motor.  We managed to get to the boat and motor but I don't remember what happened after that.  I doubt the ducks got a free pass the following day. 
This picture shows my uncle, Walter Slosek, posing with his truck in front of what use to be the Plainfield town building.  Although the date is not known I would guess that it was taken in the late 30s.  The place where the building sat is on a lot along the river at one time to Susan Graham.  The previous owner of this property was Carlton (Tubby) Gates.  In the 1860s a man by the name of Daggett ran a tin/copper and hardware store perhaps in this very building.
Those were the buildings along the East Branch of the Unadilla that are documented with photos and maps (1868 and 1903).   There remains another interesting building that is mentioned in The History of Otsego County by Hurd on page 293.  Here is a short transcription of that section, “Among those who rendered much valuable service to the pioneers and exerted himself in no small degree to advance the material interest of the town was Caleb Brown.  He was the pioneer in building at the Forks and in 1805 erected the first grist-mill in the town at that place.  He soon built an oil-mill and cloth-factory on the east branch of the Unadilla.  He also erected a building for a woolen-factory on what was called the Island, a short distance south of the Forks.  He was preparing to set up the machinery in this building, had engaged workmen, and commenced spinning temporarily in the chamber of his spacious dwelling, when suddenly his death occurred, and the various enterprises which he founded were abandoned, and the prosperity of the place for a time considerably checked.”  
For some time I have struggled with where this “Island” about ¾ mile south of the Forks was.
 It wasn’t until Dale Gates showed me an old map that his father Arthur had that I began to see what the Hurd description was talking about.   The Gates map is shown here at the left and shows the boundary between Madison and Otsego counties.  That boundary being the West Branch of the Unadilla until it meets the East Branch and then they combine into one river which marks the boundary. 
There are 2 islands on the map - one near the letter "G" and the other on near the letter "O".  The first island was slightly south of where the stream that crosses route 8 and boarders Keith Armstrong's property intersects the river.  The second island is 3/4 mile south of Unadilla Forks as seen from a recent Google Map of the area. (see below). 
The red line on the map measures the 3/4 mile distance from Unadilla Forks. If one were to draw a straight line from the point where Miner Road intersects Route 8, to the river, you would see that the "island" was just south of there.  The Gates map shows the river going fairly straight before and after the stream boarding the Armstrong property but that is not the case today. 
In that same area, I have always been fascinated by what appears to be an old riverbank some distance from the river.  The riverbank seemed out of place so far from the main stream but I now believe that it was the western bank of the river surrounding the first island. I have included a photo of what I believe  to the the remains of the old river bank.  Today the river just east and the old river bank is pasture land.
Google Map Showing Second Island
Possible Old River Bank
The West Branch of the Unadilla River also has a history of manufacturing along its banks.  I was very fortunate to acquire a detailed description one such factory from a former Bassett living now in Florida.  Inspection of the 1868 map of Unadilla Forks shows a building on the West Branch at the end of Sunset Lane.  The building was owned by W. L. Bassett and is thought to be the original fork and hoe factory, built before 1840.  I say 1840 because there was a recent letter from the R. E. Clark Co, on E-Bay, from Unadilla Forks dated 1842 asking for some steel parts. The West Branch was split at that time most likely to provide water power for the factory.  John Spring, a local blacksmith, and Allen Babcock wrote a short note in 1937 mentioning this original factory as well as the Babcock factory located in Leonardsville, NY.  The note says that the factory was moved to “The Glen”.  The letter is seen below.   The Glen was located on the West Branch behind the Jim Gates Farm on Hackley Street. 
At The Glen, in 1850, the R. E. Clark Company was founded. The owners were George Ray Bassett, Ruben Clark and Erastus Clark, who, supposedly, were equal partners. George Ray Bassett was at the head of the company and looked after the financial end and was general manager. The factory, which was put up as a cotton wicking factory, was a three story frame building, about 80’ long by 40’ wide, without basement. The first floor contained the factory, the second floor was used as the finishing and packing room and the third floor was occupied by the Odd Fellows Lodge and used as storage. The building was equipped with a hand elevator, which was operated from the first to third floor. The R. E. Clark Company originally made old fashioned steel hoes, with wrought shanks, riveted to the blades and later made all sorts of forks, rakes and hoes. They also made all their own handles for their tools. These products were marketed all through the east. The products were labeled with the manufacturer’s label. The factory employed l 5 or 16 men. The handles were made with a cathead lathe which was made by Babcock and St. John of Leonardsville, New York. Other machinery consisted of three trip hammers for drawing the fork tines, all being run by water power which came from the west branch of the Unadilla River. Coal oil lamps were used for lighting purposes. Some of the employees were Charles Burns, “Boxie” Pat Burns, Holden Campbell, who draw fork tines and Henry Dwight Bassett (brother of George Ray Bassett), who riveted shanks onto the hoes. The Burns brothers were fork polishers. 
Later, the R. E. Clark Company became Bassett, Dwelle and Company, then Bassett, Gates, and Company, and still later, G.R. Bassett and Company, the “company” being William Lewis Bassett. Later the firm name was changed to Leonardsville Manufacturing Company. About 1869 the factory burned down, but was rebuilt promptly on the same site and was larger, being regarded as a regular handle and tool factory. Five or six hammers and more machinery in proportion were installed and they continued to make forks, rakes and hoes. These products were taken by wagon to Utica and Ilion, New York, were they were sold to retailers. The new factory employed about forty men, some of them being Holden Campbell, Superintendent, Jim Jordan, straw boss and Samuel Brand. The building housing this factory was about 125’ long by 45’ wide. In the assembling, the handle was driven on to the shank or tang.
Later, the factory burned down again, but was not rebuilt. Henry Dwight Bassett and George Ray Bassett bought the machinery that was left after the fire and moved it to Utica, this being in 1870. The machinery consisted of two presses for cutting out corn cutter or corn knife blades and two polishing lathes. After being taken to Utica, the machinery was moved into the Culver Building on Charlotte Street near the canal and it is thought it may still be there. Henry Dwight Bassett and George Ray Bassett operated the machinery there for two years. Before Henry Dwight Bassett left Utica, he sold his interest in the machinery do Mr. Dwelle, the father of the former partner of George Ray Bassett. The new partner continued the business for a few years and then George Ray Bassett moved to Piqua, Ohio, and. vicinity and engaged in the handle business. Later, his son, Herbert Hoxie Bassett joined him and they operated the Piqua Handle Company.
During one winter Henry Dwight Bassett took a hand sled with him from The Glen to Unadilla Forks and returned with 100 pounds of rivets, walking on the snow crust over the tops of the fences, without the use of snow shoes. There was a hoe factory at Unadilla forks, as well as at The Glen.
Herbert H. Bassett worked in the fork and hoe factory at The Glen and then worked under his father, George Ray Bassett and Henry Dwight Bassett in the fork and hoe factory at Utica.
Remains of Old Glen Road From Hackley Street
Same Road - Route 8 View
 The road connecting Hackley Street with Route 8 is shown on maps of that era.  The bridge area can still be seen today but traces of the Glen buildings are hard to find.  The map provided by Dale Gates (below) shows the Willow Glen buildings on the west side of the stream (I believe the orientation is North on top).  The vertical road in the photo is Route 8 and the horizontal one is the Willow Glen Road leading to the West Branch. 
The 1937 description by John Spring mentions that there were 5 houses built at the Glen about the time the shop was built (1850).  There were 3 houses across the road from the plant.  On the plant side of the street were the homes of Mr. White and George R. Bassett.  John also wrote that there was a sizeable warehouse built near the plant for storage of finished goods.  The Bassett write-up noted that the factory had 3 floors.  The first floor contained the factory, the second was for finishing and shipping and the third floor was occupied by the Odd Fellow Lodge and used as storage.  More will be mention later about the Odd Fellow organization in Unadilla Forks but it seems strange that the Unadilla Forks Odd Fellows would use a building that far from town.  Perhaps the Odd Fellow organization of that time encompassed the residents of the near-by town of Bridgewater and Willow Glen was a convenient mid-point to meet.  In any event, the life of the factory was relatively short in that it burned in 1870
Willow Glen Map
During May 2005 I visited the Willow Glen site and found what appear to be foundation stones.  I also discovered a man-made channel that ran from the bridge, upstream to what either was a diversion or a dam.  This allowed water from the West Branch to power the factory.  From H. Child's Gazetteer and Business Directory for Madison County (1868) on page 106 it lists the factory as a saw mill, manufactures of and dealers in forks, hoes, garden rakes, cheese boxes, etc.  The photo below show the upper end of the channel where the water entered the diversion and the site of the old bridge connecting Hackley Street with Route 8.  The bridge went across the stream where the tree on the left of the stream now stands.   A few stones are all that remain.  The end of the channel was very near the bridge as was the factory.  When I was a young man, I remember there were ruins and pieces of metal on the west side of the stream - probably what was left of the factory. 
Near Where Dam/Diversion Began
Where Bridge Crossed the Stream
  Babcock vs. Utter:
 In the 7/3/1976 edition of The Daily Star Newspaper of Oneonta, an article written by Ruth Hasbrouck (UF village historian at the time) appeared outlining the history of UF for the national bicentennial celebration.  Here is a quote from that article, “In the year 1847 a case was tried before the NY Court of Appeals between Henry H. Babcock and other respondents vs. Francis A. Utter and other appellants which was finally settled in 1860.  The case concerned the diversion of a part of the waters of the West Branch of the Unadilla for use as power to run the mill which Utter had erected without getting proper clearance and right of way.  His clothing mill burned in 1831 but a saw mill at the site was not destroyed by the fire.  The ruling of the Court, October 5, 1860 by Justice Allen was that payment of $327.32 be made by Utter to the Plaintiffs.  During this period from 1824 to 1832 Utter served as Town Supervisor.” 
If you are interested in learning more about this matter you can go to this site and read the record.  Here is a synopsis of the matter: William Utter built a dam across the West Branch in 1821 and diverted water through a canal to his factory/saw mill on 11 acres of land.  The land came into possession of William Johnson in 1834 and then Johnson sold the land to Henry Babcock in 1846.  Babcock tore down the building(s) erected by William Utter on the 11 acre site and built a hoe factory and used the dam and canal to power the factory.  Apparently this did not sit well with William Utter’s son Francis and Francis and some friends dug a ditch from above the dam to below the dam so that water would not flow into the canal and therefore could not power the Babcock hoe factory.  Babcock then sued the Utters for damages.  I’m unsure where this mill was located but in the 1856 and 1868 maps of Unadilla Forks there is a William Utter located (#58) where Ron and Linda Ingber now live and Henry Babcock lived in the house (#57) just south of Utter.  The 1868 map of Unadilla Forks shows a dam and diversion of the West Branch near where a small brook that crosses Route 8 flows into the West Branch.   This diversion or raceway runs behind the Utter and Babcock residences.  Remnants of the canal still exist today.  The Babcock hoe factory most likely was located at the end of Sunset Lane.
   The Churches of Unadilla Forks:
1832 Free Baptist Church
  First Baptist Church
A general description of the two churches situated in Unadilla Forks can be found in the link:  The History of Otsego County 1740-1878 by D. Hamilton Hurd .  Both were Baptist:  one was called the First Baptist Church and the other the Free Baptist Church.  Generally the “church” refers to the group of people gathering to worship in a particular manner but many think of the church as a building.  The churches were formed by people from the surrounding region and due to the difficulty in traveling long distances, buildings were erected in various localities to facilitate meeting.  Thus the church was formed before the buildings were built.  I have asked myself and others why should there be two Baptist churches in such a small community.  The answer is not simple but most probably stems from the autonomous nature of Baptist churches in general.  I believe in the First Baptist Church you could only take communion if you were a member of that church and there are other issues involving salvation that I’m not well enough versed in to discuss.
These pictures show the First Baptist Church in two time periods.  The 1957 photo shows a larger church due to an addition on the left side.  The addition was added in 1916 and was used to hold events such as dinners. 
The two Baptist churches merged in 1914 and the First Baptist Church became known as Memorial Hall where village events such as suppers and plays were held.  The First Baptist Church had a smaller membership and therefore merged into the larger church. 
I have a few memories of that church.  The first one is of an ice cream social, perhaps on Memorial Day.  As a young boy I was fascinated with the dry ice that was used to keep the ice cream cold.   The second involves a Christmas play followed by a visit from Santa.  Santa was played by Dwight Wing.  He hitched up a horse to a sleigh and when he left you could hear the sleigh bells and when the program was over the kids ran outside and saw sleigh tracks in the snow.  Our presents were fresh navel oranges.  Another memory involves a group of kids, including myself, climbing up into the steeple at night with flash lights to catch pigeons.  We tried to make pets out of them but as I recall when we let them go they kept right on going.  I also remember collecting the lead from the stained glass windows that were broken during demolition and melting it down to make fishing sinkers.  Word of caution:  never let water contact molten lead.  Memorial Hall is just a memory now and a lone stone with a marker marks the spot were it once stood.
First Baptist 1957
The first Free or Free Will Baptist Church building is thought to have been constructed close to the boundary between Otsego and Herkimer counties on the east side of the road heading towards Woods Corners.   It was not called a church at that point but was instead called the logg meeting house.  The exact date of construction is not known but it was in use in 1807.  It is not clear what happened to this meeting house but the land was annexed by the town of Winfield in 1816.  A new church was constructed in 1832 on the property of Nathaniel Crumb (Eugene Armstrong bought the farm, #8, circa 1895) on the road leading to Lloydsville (see 1856 map below -lower right corner).   About 1855 that structure was moved to the location of the present Free Baptist church in the center of town.  It is said that the mover who supervised the move was killed during the move.  The picture, taken after the move, is the only picture that I have seen of the original 1832 church.  You can also see a door to the present day apartment building at the right of the picture.   Nancy Melville (church historian) obtained an original painting (date unknown) of the 1832 church and Al Starkweather was kind enough to scan it and send me a copy. 
 About 3:00 Tuesday afternoon 8/13/1895 an oil stove ignited the dwelling of William Dye which was attached to the rear of his store next to the church.  Mr. and Mrs. Dye were at a funeral at that time.  The fire spread to the church and nearly to the adjoining Pitt King residence.  An article of that time stated that “the church was an old building but had recently been repaired and refitted and was in good condition.”  It was valued at $5,000 and insured for $1,800.   Not much was saved from the church fire except the original bell, two organs, the carpets and some pulpit chairs. 
 The bell was made in England and weighs 900 pounds and hangs in the present day church.  While the church was being rebuilt, services were held Sunday afternoon in the First Baptist Church and the young people’s meetings in the hall over Humphrey’s store.  Members of the building committee included Rev. W. C. Byer, D. E. Bass, H. P. Clark, A. W. Brown, J. E. Humphrey, Mrs. W. C. Byer, Mrs. A. Smith, Mrs. A. W. Brown and Mrs. Clara Worden.  The church was rebuilt the next year and the dedication is well documented in an article that appeared in the Brookfield Courier on 5/6/1896.  The picture to the left is how the church looked in 1926 on its 30th anniversary.   The building in the background (between the store and church) was used to house chickens in the 50s and owned at that time by Dwight Wing who sold eggs.   I came into contact with an article that was presented at the 100th anniversary (1902) of the church’s founding.  If you click on this link you will be taken to the transposed article.  Remember the article was written in 1902. 
 The photo to the left was taken during a typical baptismal, probably around 1910.  I believe the event occurred on the Madison County side of the river on property now owned by Keith Armstrong (#43 on the map) several yards below the bridge.   Two men can be seen waist deep in water with others standing on the bank observing while a horse drawn carriage waits at the top.  More recently the Baptists have baptized in the Unadilla River across from house #51 and there is a baptismal in the church that is used when the weather is too cold to use the river.
 This is a photo of a Philathia Baptist picnic that was held at the home of John and Florence Rogers.  The house was last owned by Frank Orcutt and was located south of Campbell Brook on the River Road to Leonardsville.  Philathia is a Greek word meaning “Lovers of Truth” and the Philathia is a group of women whose platform is, “Young women at work for young women, all standing by the bible and the bible school.”   As can be seen, it was a rather large group at the time this photo was taken.
 This photo was taken in 1968 on the lawn of Howard Goff with the river in the background.  These were originally thought to be Philathia members but may be garden or book club members. Front row (L/R) are Sherry Wilcox, Gertrude Gilson, Ann Goff, Charlotte Brown and Beatrice Davies.  In the back row (L/R) are Mildred Pugh, Elisabeth Evans, Louise Rogers, Thelma Pugh (?), Mrs. Iva Dillmann (Ada Morgan's mother) and Mary Wilcox
Unadilla Forks and the Temperance Movement:
Several years ago, Robert Lamb discovered  a banner on his property that proclaimed  Unadilla Forks had members of the Washington Total-Abstinence Society.  It was dated February 12, 1842.  That date appears to be the date that the society was organized in Unadilla Forks.  The Sabbath Recorder newspaper reported on 2/20/1851 that “The Ninth Anniversary of the Unadilla Forks Total Abstinence Society will be celebrated at Unadilla Forks , Otsego Co., N.Y. on Monday, the 24th , at the Baptist Church. Good speakers from abroad are expected to address the meeting.  Exercises will commence at 10 o’clock A. M. and continue through the day and evening.”  J. F. Babcock Secretary.
As you can see, the banner is very large, measuring  8’’ 9’ high and 7” 2”’ wide.
The following was taken from the Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia describing the Society:
 The Washingtonian movement (Washingtonians, Washingtonian Temperance Society or Washingtonian Total Abstinence Society) was a 19th-century fellowship founded on April 2, 1840 by six alcoholics (William Mitchell, David Hoss, Charles Anderson, George Steer, Bill M'Curdy, and Tom Campbell) at Chase's Tavern on Liberty Street in Baltimore, Maryland. The idea was that by relying on each other, sharing their alcoholic experiences and creating an atmosphere of conviviality, they could keep each other sober. Total abstinence from alcohol was their goal. The group taught sobriety and preceded Alcoholics Anonymous by almost a century. Members sought out other "drunkards" (the term alcoholic had not yet been created), told them their experiences with alcohol abuse and how the Society had helped them achieve sobriety. With the passage of time the Society became a prohibitionist organization in that it promoted the legal and mandatory prohibition of alcoholic beverages. The Society was the inspiration for Timothy Shay Arthur's Six Nights with the Washingtonians and his Ten Nights in a Bar-Room.
The Washingtonians differed from the temperance movement in that they focused on the individual alcoholic rather than on society's greater relationship with liquor. In the mid-19th century, a temperance movement was in full sway across the United States and temperance workers advanced their anti-alcohol views on every front. Public temperance meetings were frequent and the main thread was prohibition of alcohol and pledges of sobriety to be made by the individual.
Washingtonians at their peak numbered in the tens of thousands, possibly as high as 600,000.  However, in the space of just a few years, this society all but disappeared because they became fragmented in their primary purpose, becoming involved with all manner of controversial social reforms including prohibition, sectarian religion, politics and abolition of slavery. It is believed that Abraham Lincoln attended and spoke at one of the great revivals, presumably not for treatment, but out of interest in various issues being discussed.
The Washingtonians drifted away from their initial purpose of helping the individual alcoholic, and disagreements, infighting, and controversies over prohibition eventually destroyed the group. The Washingtonians became so thoroughly extinct that, some 50 years later in 1935 when William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith joined together in forming Alcoholics Anonymous, neither of them had ever heard of the Washingtonians. Although comparisons are made between the Washingtonians and Alcoholics Anonymous, in some respects they have more in common with modern secular addiction recovery groups. The Washingtonians were so non-religious and non-spiritual that religious critics accused them of humanism and placing themselves before the power of God.
The following was taken from “Perfectionist Politics:  Abolitionism and the Religious Tensions of American Democracy” by Douglas Strong:
Hiram Whitcher’s 1844 pastorate of the Free Baptist congregation in the hamlet of Unadilla Forks is a particularly noteworthy instance of the influence of abolition churches on Liberty vote turnout. Just a month before the 1844 national election, Whitcher’s church hosted the triennial General Conference of the Free Baptist Connection, along with the annual meeting of the Freewill Baptist Anti-Slavery Society.  Considering all the excitement and interest that must have gripped the community when a national antislavery conference of several hundred people met in their little village.
As far as I know, there has never been a tavern in Unadilla Forks but there has been just across the bridge in Madison County.
The Forks Stores and Shops:
Aside from the buildings along the river , which were already covered, there were other businesses in the Forks.   One such business was the store next to the church that burned in 1895.   This picture to the left was taken in the 70s and shows the store when it had a sign over the entrance reading Super J&S Market.  The J&S stood for Jones and Slosek.  My father, Walt Jones, and his brother-in-law, Walt Slosek, were partners and purchased the store in 1947 from Matthias (Tyce) Myers.
This photo was taken inside the store in the early 70s and shows my mother, Wanda, at the cash register while my father tends to a customer.  The photo was taken from the rear of the store where the meat case and cooler were located.  As one can see, the store sold a myriad of items.
 This photo was shot from nearly the same spot and shows the center isle with mom and dad standing near the entrance.  The store had 4 isles counting a narrow one along the east wall.
 Walt Jones at the butcher block - ca. 1970 
 Walt and Wanda Jones with Irene Washburn.
 The history of this store is unknown to me but looking through the deed turned up the following names:  William L. Bassett and wife to Charles W. Rogers, Charles Rogers to Daniel Hardin (1876), Hardin to William G. Dye (1878/1887), Martha Dye to the Odd Fellows (1909), Odd Fellows to Charles W. Rogers (1909), Charles Rogers to J. F. Rogers (1924), Merton (Mert) Lamb for Odd Fellows to George Crommie (1937), George Crommie to Matthias Myers (1941), and Myers to Jones and Slosek (2/4/1947).  The Odd Fellows had a meeting hall in the upstairs portion of the store.  I remember playing with an old pump organ in that room and also seeing a large IOOF
(International Order of Odd Fellows) sign on the rear wall.  It is possible that the Odd Fellows rebuilt the store after the fire and rented the store and apartments.  I remember pumping Amoco gas as a youngster when it was about $0.28/gallon and kerosene was about $0.15/gallon.  There were also some apartments on the right side and above the entrance.  Today the store is an apartment building
The store was a general meeting place as was the post office.  Many a fish and hunting story was told by the large round cheese that was kept to the left side of the meat case as my father cut meat.
Here we have three men in some sort of discussion.  They are from L/R Lynn Jones my uncle, Mert Lamb and Bob Davies.  Mert, Bob and Herb Evans used to work at Remington Arms in Ilion and often rode together.  Lynn did the cement work for the store porch.  Prior to then, the porch was made from wood.  The Amoco gas pumps can be seen in the background and there was a kerosene pump located over Lynn's right shoulder (not seen in the photo).
 This 1960 photo shows Lyle Davis in his barber shop which was located on the first floor of the store building all the way to the right side.  The man in the chair has not been identified.  Lyle lived in Brookfield and he was the local barber for many years.  Other barbers in the area were Paul Alger in Leonardsville and Larry Hunter in Bridgewater.  West Winfield had a barber but I can't remember his name.
From  (left to right) Eleanor Williams, Tyce Myers and Ruth Evans.  Eleanor and Ruth worked for Tyce and later for Jones & Slosek.
 This picture shows the store with a wooden porch and Fred Mumbulo along with Ruth Evans.  Fred had very poor eyesight and used to ride a bicycle.  He was also responsible for digging graves.  Fred lived in house #28 which no longer stands and loved to fish in the Unadilla River which ran through his back yard.  The sign above the entrance says Forks Store – Jones and Slosek.  A little girl can be seen standing in the entrance eating an ice cream cone next to the Page seed display.   The store sold all kinds of merchandise including freshly scooped ice cream.
On the northeast corner in the center of town was another store and this one is featured often on E-bay post cards.  The owner when this picture was taken was John Humphrey but many later photos show the sign in front with the name E. C. Whitford as shown in the picture just below the Humphrey photo.  Mr. Whitford married John Humphrey’s daughter Lela and took over running the store when Mr. Humphrey left the business.
I believe that the store was also a hotel where one could rent rooms.  If you look closely at the above Whitford picture you will see two women looking out the second story window on the left-front of the store.  Carlton Wilcox remembers a barber in the hotel/store and believes his name was Deny Moore.  I had the plesure of speaking with a local resident, Sewell Morgan, at a reunion in 2014 and he stated that he was one of the first to get a hair cut from Mr. Moore.  He sat on a wood box as the barber cut his hair.  He did such a poor job, that Mr. Moore didn't charge him.
In both photos you will notice that the hotel also functioned as a post office.  You can read about Mr. Humphrey’s appointment to postmaster by Rufus Daggett by reading the Humphrey section of the 1903 farm families.  About 1930 the post office was moved to the store next to the church.  The reason for this move is not known.  In the 1868 map of Unadilla Forks the post office is listed as being in the store next to the church and was run by W. E. Palmer.  On the 1856 map, the post office is shown to be in a store on the northwest corner of the intersection of Hackley Street and Sunset Lane.  When I was a young boy the hotel was still standing but it was in disrepair and my father had it razed in the early 50s.  I do not remember the store functioning as a store.
 The ownership history is not clear to me but the 1856 map lists the store as the Spicer Temperance Hotel.  In May 2006, a poster was auctioned from the estate of Floyd Armstrong which told of the dissolution of the Humphrey and Spicer partnership.  The poster is dated 12/2/1878 and announces that the store and contents were purchased by a Mr.  Robert H. Davis.  A call for all customers currently owing Humphrey and Spicer to settle their accounts is also included along with a notice stating that country produce will be accepted as a form of payment. 
James Armling is listed as the proprietor of the hotel on the 1868 map and John Humphrey the owner on the 1903 map.  I also have some receipts from 1917 with the name J. E. Humphrey on them and at the same time other receipts with the name Rowlands & Pugh.  This indicates that Humphrey or Whitford ran the razed store and Rowlands and Pugh the one next to the church in 1917.   I also have a receipt dated 1932 that shows just the name Irving Pugh as a proprietor.  
In 2005 I owned the lot where the hotel stood and researched the abstract to find that Emma A Thornton deeded the property to John E. Humphrey on 12/26/1896 and Humphrey to my uncle, Charles M. Jones, on 3/01/1919.  Charlie Jones ran the store in 1920.  At this time the Humphrey’s moved to Plainfield, N.J.   Charles Jones deeded the property to my grandfather, Mel Jones, on 3/07/1925, and Mel to Peter Pankow on 3/26/1929.   Ray Backus remembers that Peter Pankow was a good stone mason and lived over the store.  Apparently Peter defaulted on his taxes and Otsego County sold the store to John Rogers on 2/18/1944. 
My father bought the run-down and non-operating store from Rogers on 3/07/1944.  At some point in this ownership lineage a local painter, Arthur  Jones, operated the store.   My father, Walter Jones, worked for Art Jones at one time.  The sign that hung over the store during the Art Jones period was stored in our barn for these many years and was sold at auction to a local antique dealer, Ronald Ingber.
Hotel Prior to Razing ca. 1953
I have included some photos of various object and bills of that time so the reader can get an idea of who was in business with whom.  Names mentioned include Haydn Adams, Rowlands & Pugh, Irving Pugh, and of course J. E. Humphrey with the bill for supplies for the church dated 4/4/1917.  This particular Humphrey bill most likely was for supplies for the First Baptist Church addition that was added at that time.  
 Towel Holder
 My grandfather, Mel Jones, bought our first house in 1917 from Lela Whitford daughter of John Humphrey and wife of E. C. Whitford.  Ernest (Ern) Whitford was an organist, pianist, and a good singer.  He played the organ in the Free Baptist Church for many years.  He had two sons, Myron and Eugene and later moved to Plainfield, NJ.  After Ern passed away in 1961, Lela moved back to Unadilla Forks where she died in 1964.  She was sister to Herb Roger’s wife, Bessie.  Both of the  bills are from 1917.
Of the names mentioned above, I only remember Irving Pugh.  He lived in the house (#34) across the road from us (#21) and was the town clerk in the early 50s.  The clerk’s job was then passed to his neighbor, Mert Lamb.  Irving also worked as a janitor in the West Winfield School in the 50s.  It is possible that the same person or partnership ran both stores at one time.  I believe that Tyce Myers ran both when my father and uncle bought the store next to the church in 1947.
The two stores described above were the most prominent and enduring but others were present in the early days of Unadilla Forks.  The 1868 map of Unadilla Forks mentions other businesses such as H. H. Babcock, dealer in general Merchandise on River Street (Hackley Street), R. Daggett, manufacturer of tin and copper ware and dealer in general hardware located on River Street, Peter Gaughran, shoemaker on Main Street, Wm. E. and P. M. Palmer, dealers in general merchandise on Main Street and F. W. Rogers, dealer in general merchandise on Main Street.
Babcock ran a store on the northwest corner of the intersection of Sunset Lane with Hackley Street.   Much later that store was sold to George Crommie and converted into a garage.  The picture to the left shows a man by the name of Jess Marquette getting gas for his car at that location.  One can judge the location from the background. 
Daggett’s place was located on property now owned by Susan Graham. 
The 1868 map shows a business belonging to Brown & Babcock situated on what is now Sunset Lane.  This link to a web site describes the business as a general store but in the March 2003 edition of a New Hartford Historical Society Newsletter called the Tally-Ho, there is a section involving the obituary of Charles H. Philo and I have copied that section here.  In the obituary of Charles H. Philo who was born in 1845 and died in 1910, it is stated that in 1885 he purchased an interest in the Utica Tool Company located in Washington Mills. (Ed. note: The mill was located on Oneida Street past the four corners going towards Utica about across from Glencrest Village. Two mini malls occupy the space today.) The enterprise was founded in Unadilla Forks in 1840, when Henry H. Babcock began the manufacturing of hoes by hand on an anvil. Later Charles B. Brown and others became interested with him, and in 1865 the business was moved to Washington Mills where the works were enlarged and forks and rakes added to the production. In 1871 Porter S. Huntley and Mr. Babcock, under the firm name of Huntley and Babcock, became sole owners and continued the business until 1883, when the Huntley and Babcock Agricultural Company was incorporated. This firm continued until 1887 when the name was changed to Lewis and Babcock Manufacturing Company and in 1892 it was changed to the Utica Tool Company.
Peter Gaughran ran a shoe shop on the northwest corner of the Hackley Street – Main Street intersection.  It isn’t known for sure when the above picture was taken but it was after 1895 because the new church is in the background.  Notice the building on the northwest corner.  This may have been the shoe shop or what remained of it in the early 1900s.  The lumber that is seen piled on Backus’ lawn is probably from the saw mill.  In other pictures one can see logs on the lawn ready to be cut in the mill.  There is an interesting story connected with the building in question and it will be told when the post office is described later.  W. E. Palmer ran the store next to the church in 1868 and it also contained the post office.   F. W. Rogers ran a general store that was located about where Ida Bouck lived (#19). 
Henry Wilcox ran a blacksmith shop in 1868 very close to the mill pond on land previously owned by Louise Isbell (#44).  In fact he and Parley Phillips built her house in 1828.   Henry had a daughter named Flora and a son named Franklyn (Frank) and most likely other children that I’m not aware of.  Flora Wilcox married Henry Dwight Bassett and Mr. Bassett moved into the Wilcox house when Henry Wilcox died in 1874.  John Spring lived with the Bassetts as a family member.  A write-up for Henry Dwight Bassett can be found in The Plainfield 1903 Farm Families  section.   The picture above shows the blacksmith shop with John Spring standing in the doorway.  Carlton Wilcox remembers that John Spring smoked a pipe and because he couldn’t hold the pipe very well in his mouth, he wrapped rubber bands around it.   The blacksmith shop was still standing when I grew up in the late 40s and early 50s but was pretty much abandoned at that time.  The picture to the right shows a bill from H. D. Bassett to my grandfather, Melvin Jones, dated 2/3/1906 for $2.70 for work done in 1905.
Frank Wilcox, son of Henry Wilcox, was associated with his father in the manufacture of wagons and had a store next to his father’s house.  The store sold harnesses, whips, and all sorts of equipment needed for horse drawn vehicles.  The store is shown here next to his father’s residence.  In modern day terminology it was located across from the old Unadilla Forks Post Office as can be seen in the next photo.  The next photo shows the Bassetts (Agnes, Dwight, Reba, and Flora) between their house (#44, out of sight to the left) and the store to the right.  The post office is seen in the background although I'm not sure if it was a post office when this photo was taken.

John Spring

The harness store was moved by Charles Backus as part of a deal.  Charles would get to build a storage shed for lumber on Bassett property and the Bassetts would have a view of the river.    The store was moved adjacent to the blacksmith shop as seen in the picture to the left.  This picture was taken on the Bassett lawn facing northeast; I do not know who the woman and child are.
The Bassett girls (Agnes and Reba) were apparently quite talented.  Agnes played the piano/organ and Reba painted.  I have a sketch of the old corner store painted by her in my home.  She used to set up an easel and paint the river from her front yard.  I have heard that Reba was an acquaintance of the actress Spring Byington.  The internet reports, "Her early Broadway work was modest, like her bit role in The Merchant of Venice. For the next 15 years she lived two lives as a busy stage actress behind Manhattan's footlights, and as an adoring mother in a sleepy upstate New York town."  Those 15 years were most likely in the 1910 to 1925 period.  I have learned from speaking with Leonardsville resident Roberta Wratten that the sleepy town was indeed Leonardsville just 3 miles south of Unadilla Forks.
Frank Wilcox lived in the house (#26) previously by Lew and Eleanor Davis which is thought to be the oldest standing house in Unadilla Forks having been built in 1814.  He passed away in 1920.  The house is shown at the left.  This house may have been owned by a Mrs. Crandall who ran a millinery shop at that location.
The house on the west side of this house belonged to a Mrs. Brightman who at one time conducted a girl’s school there.  That house (#27) is presently owned by the Davies family.
The 1868 map shows a cooper shop between the Wadsworth (Lamb) place (#33) and the Free Baptist parsonage (#32) but that is all I know about it.
The picture to the right was obtained from the Upper Unadilla Valley Association's web site and shows an auction taking place in a building that was located between the hotel on the corner and the Wilcox/Bassett house (#44).  The label says that the building was a blacksmith shop.   The lot is now empty. 

Reba Bassett Painting - Least We Forget 1949

River Forks and the Railroad:

Just across the bridge into Madison County other business flourished at a place called River Forks.  There was a milk plant, a cheese factory, a railroad station, a feed store, and a coal shed.  The Unadilla Valley (UV) railroad connected the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (D L&W) in Bridgewater to the Ontario & Western (O & W) in New Berlin.  A picture of the engine and station are shown at the left.  On the other side of the engine there is a large structure, that is the milk plant.  The depot picture was furnished by Orba Bliss whose father used to pastor at the Baptist Church.
Bonds were issued to raise money for the rail road project.  By 1892 enough money had been raised to start the work.  Rails were laid to Leonardsville by 1893 and to West Edmeston and South Edmeston by 1894 and finally to New Berlin in 1895.  Passenger service was established but the main stay was agriculture products including milk.  Babcock Manufacturing in Leonardsville also shipped and received many items by rail.  There were 4 station agents at River Forks.  George Clarke (son of Oscar F. Clarke) was the first station agent in 1895.  He had previously worked in the Bridgewater station and learned telegraphy there.  He was promoted in 1908 to the Leonardsville station.  Paul Stillman followed George Clarke and in 1918 Henry Page Clarke became station agent and also acquired the adjoining coal business from Stillman
In 1931 Herm Matteson became station agent and also managed the coal business.    Eventually trucks and cars began to take business away from the UVRR starting in the 20s and finally in September of 1960 the rails were removed.
One might wonder why a railroad station very close to the village of Unadilla Forks was not called the UF RR station.  As it turns out, the name and station were already accounted for.  The picture below shows the UF RR station with the UF sign above the entrance but it was located on Hackley Street very close to Route 20.  The house still stands today and is owned by Chris Jones and family; earlier it was listed as Byron Murray’s Hotel.  The station provided room and board for travelers.  It is believed that there were hard feelings in UF because this station was called the Unadilla Forks RR Station. 
The Unadilla Forks Dairy Company had a plant on the northeast side of the tracks which made cheese that was shipped to Utica and beyond via rail.  In 1992, Ward Ellsworth described walking from school in UF to his home on Rout 8 and passing by the cheese factory.  Their dinner pails were just right for the excess cheese curd that was easy to come by.
At some later time the UF Dairy Company was purchased by the Phenix cheese company.  The Phenix Cheese Company took over production of Philadelphia Brand cream cheese until it merged with Kraft in 1928.  A resident of the area, Mary Lamb, believed the plant burned in 1922 or 1923. 
The UF Dairy Company can be seen sporting the Phenix label in the left  photo.   An article in the Brookfield Courier said that the Phenix Co. was ready to receive milk in April 1903.
This picture shows some of the workers at the Cheese Factory.  They are from left to right: Byron Chapman (Anna Chapman’s father), Loren Clarke, Wyette Rogers, Lester Adams, and Homer King.  Homer gave my father his Remington double barrel 10 gauge hammer shotgun (Model 1882) and I still remember the recoil.   He lived with his wife Nellie on the King Homestead next to the Free Baptist Church
This photo was obtained from the book “Days along the Buckwheat & Dandelion” by Fred Pugh published by the Worden Press of Brookfield in 1984.  It comes from the collection of Charles Edwards and shows Dairymen’s League milk plant that burned 06/09/1933.  The plant was located on the southwest quadrant and across from the Watkins feed store also shown on the right.  The fire was suspicious because the station had just undertaken some major renovations that resulted in the closure of other plants in Bridgewater, Leonardsville, and West Edmeston.
I was able to obtain  photographs of the Dairyman’s League milk plant from the collection of Walter Myers by way of his son, Glenn.  They are displayed below.
Ray Backus related the following to me regarding the milk plant.  If you would like to read his letter of 8/24/2005 regarding the milk plant, you can click here
The milk would come in by horse drawn wagons that would drive onto a ramp located between the main building and the pillars supporting the roof as seen in the middle picture.  The cans were hoisted to an operator at the first door who would empty the cans into a vat, weigh, and take a sample to determine the fat content.  The cans were rinsed and steam cleaned and returned to the farmer at the next door.  
The plant consisted of 3 structures:  the main plant, a power house with a tall steel chimney, and a water tower.  The milk was stored in the main plant until ready to be placed in a railroad tank located in a freight car with a sliding door.
The power plant provided steam used in purification and power to run the water pump.  This steam was also used to run the refrigeration unit that made large blocks of ice that were necessary to keep the milk cold.  The water tower was constructed with staves and steel hoops.  Water from the well was prized for its’ purity and was often sent home in milk cans to be used by the farmers.  Even the Baptist Church took some of this water to use during baptism in the cooler months when the river was unavailable.  In the 3 pictures above, the railroad tracks are on the opposite side of the buildings.
  A large cement block is all that remains today of the Dairymen’s League site.  The block probably was associated with the water tower.
 An article that appeared in the “Pendragon” (a newsletter of the Unadilla Valley Railway Society & Museum) states that Leonardsville Fire Company had enough hose to reach the river and was credited with saving the J. H. Watkins Feed Store and the Herm Matteson coal shed, both shown in the photo obtained from the Charles Edwards collection.
Two buildings are all that remain of the structures that once populated River Forks.  The right photo is the old depot which now is used as a storage shed on the property owned by Edward Slosek.  This is the same depot seen in an earlier photo.  The other building is the old J. H. Watkins feed store, constructed about 1919, and has not been used as such for about 50 years.   I do remember as a youngster trekking from home with a metal-wheeled wheelbarrow to the feed store to buy feed for chickens that we kept for eggs.   According to Mary Lamb, the feed store was managed at various times by George Hughes, Charles Hoxie, and Irving Pugh.
They Want a Hotel
In 1874, J. F. Babcock published a “poem” describing a hotel in River Forks.  Although I don’t know where this hotel was located it seems possible that it was on the same side of the road as the milk plant which may have used the “Old Well” referred to in the poem.  In 1874 no railroad depot existed at that location
Well, I suppose that you’ve heard the gossip
About the River Forks hotel,
Which stands upon the corner
Just east of the “Old Well!”
Its doors are locked and blinds closed,
It looks sad and dejected;
If it could speak what tales ‘twould tell,
And wish ‘twas not erected.
The “Raines law” legislation
Caused a feeling of negation,
And a license was a risky thing to buy.
To keep hotel without it and be subject to the law
Would by many be considered quite a flaw.
Now the house lies in the passive tense,
Although the vote was for license,
And a big majority to “back it,”
But a certain class of “Motors,”
With whom there were some voters,
Said they wouldn’t stand the “racket.”
They measured up the distance
And with the law’s assistance,
Decreed that no license should be sold.
Now when the folks get so very dry
That it seems as though they’d fly,
It’s very hard to get up a resistance.
We are told the jugs now flitter,
For they say they have the “Critter”
Handy by to quench a certain “thirst.”
Now for fear they may suffer
And some bad things think or mutter
They’re afraid they will not be “class first.”
Now let us all be quiet
And keep right on our diet,
The result no one can now foretell,
We may wake some sunny morning,
And have a licensed, good, first-class hotel.

The Odd Fellows and Rebekah Organizations:

This organization played an important part of early Unadilla Forks.  We know that there was an Odd Fellow meeting place at Willow Glen in the 1850-1870 time period.  The obituary of Eugene Armstrong states among other things that he was a member of the Mount Markham Lodge of Odd Fellows ever since its organization in 1900.  I believe the lodge number was 813.  There is some thought that the Odd Fellows rebuilt the Dye store when it burned in 1895 and that is how they came to have a meeting place upstairs.  In any event the organization was very popular as evidenced by the number of members involved.  The Odd Fellow photo here was taken in 1913 in Leonardsville.  Names connected with the photo from front left front are:  David Matteson (Missing from Picture), Melvin Jones (my grandfather), Albert Bassett, Arthur Hoxie, George Huggins, Lynn Chase, William Adams, William Chase, John Davis, John Jones, Henry Page Clarke, Wyette Wing, George Bailey, and Charles Rogers. 
In the back row from left to right we have:  George Clark, John Hoxie, Lou Holdridge, T. Pitt King, Tom Hoxie, Herman Matteson, H. B. DeLancy, Byron Chapman, Norman Chapman, Fred Davis, Herbert Rogers, Homer Clark, Chester Wing, Charles Clark, Clark Brown, Ray Greenleaf, W. Coon, Lowell Crandall, Lester Adams, Ward Vincent, Irving Pugh and S. Eugene Armstrong. 
The Odd Fellow Organization no longer exists in Unadilla Forks and the last remaining member was folded into the lodge in New Berlin. 
There was a sister organization called the Rebekahs and they were active in the village.  Their lodge was called The WIMAC Rebekah Lodge and the letters WIMAC were derived by taking the first letter of the 5 founding member’s first name:  Wanda Jones (my mother), Ida Bouck, Minnie Jones, Anna Massey, and Carrie Talbot.
This photo shows several members and I will only identify those I feel comfortable recognizing, front row (L/R):  Nora Marriott, Wanda Jones, Mary Buzzell, and Liz Cooper.  Back row: Mary Ann Williams, Irene Washburn, Unknown, Unknown and Carol Cooper. 

The Fire of 1918:

My grandfather, Mel Jones, bought the house that is shown at the beginning of this web site in 1917 and it burned in March of 1918 along with 3 other homes.  The rubble in the photo belonged to Mel Jones, Lew Holdridge, Dr. Henn  and the last home to Mrs. E. Stillman in that order (bottom to top).
The picture was taken from atop the hotel building and the First Baptist Church can be seen in the background.  The first barn to the left belonged to Ida Bouck and is still standing today.  Ida Bouck lived (#19) where Dr. Hen’s house used to stand; the other two lots are empty.   The UF fire company at that time had a soda – acid tanker that was no match for the blaze.   Ida’s house was built by the Harris family for $2,500.  Charlie Backus was the builder and Ray Backus designed it.  The Harris family and the tragic death of their twin sons Robert and Raymond, will be discussed later. 
The following was taken from the Brookfield Courier dated 4/3/1918.  The fire was on  3/29/1918.
Unadilla Forks sustained a serious loss by fire Friday morning and four prominent families were rendered homeless.  Four houses were destroyed, the Baptist Church was scorched and three other buildings were damaged, while George Holdridge, a member of the volunteer department, was severely burned about the face and hands.
The fire started in the rear of the home of Dr. Louis D. Henn, located on Main Street.  Mrs. Babcock, who lives with her brother, Louis Holdridge, and their mother in the house adjoining, discovered the blaze.  Mrs. Holdridge is an invalid and her daughter was caring for her shortly after midnight, when she noticed the fire.  Dr. Henn and his family were soundly sleeping and Mrs. Babcock’s cries aroused them and also caused the alarm to be sounded for the volunteer firemen.
The village has a chemical engine and it was promptly manned by the members of the department, while a constantly increasing crowd of neighbors aided as best they could.  But the fire had too great a start to be combated successfully by the meager apparatus and the house was soon in ashes.
Dr. Henn’s family succeeded in getting out safely, but nothing else was rescued from the house.
The blaze sprang to the adjoining home of Mr. Holdridge and then reached to the other side of the Henn residence, to the home of Mrs. Elizabeth Stillman.  The firemen had more than they could take care of and both the Holdridge and Stillman houses were soon burned to the cellar walls.  Then the blaze struck the home of Melvin Jones and this was totally destroyed.  Mr. Jones’ furniture was removed by willing hands and the contents of the Holdridge and Stillman houses were likewise saved.
There was not much wind, but the sparks struck across Main Street and ignited the homes of Charles Rogers and Irving Pugh, and the Baptist parsonage was also set afire.  Three times the weary but willing fighters extinguished blazes on these homes.  The breeze that sent the sparks across the street saved the four barns in the rear of the residences destroyed.
Dr. Henn had just received seven tons of coal and this early got a fine start and during most of the day was burning.
Neighbors have cared for the homeless and extended every kindness, but the loss is most discouraging.  Some, if not all, of the houses will be rebuilt.

Looking East Towards the Center of Town.  Hotel/Store in Background

The UF Fire Company:

The fire company was organized in 1913 when the bylaws were adopted 10/30/1913 by E. C. Whitford and Wyette A. Wing.  The company was incorporated on 3/10/1915.  Charter members were:  S. Eugene Armstrong, Henry P. Clarke, Louis D. Henn, Wyette A. Wing, Wm. R. Rowlands, W. H. Adams, W. Lewis Holdridge, Emmet L. Williams, Byron H. Chapman, Herman M. Matteson, Clayton Evans, Ernest C. Whitford, John Spring, Horace B. Firman , Irving G. Pugh, Kendrick J. Wing, Paul R. Stillman, Haydn P. Adams, Homer C. King, Charles W. Rogers, Charles Backus, Emory S. Alger, Herbert C. Rogers and Charles C. Penny.  Directors were:  Ern Whitford, Herb Rogers, Paul Stillman, Charles Backus, Henry Clarke and Kendrick Wing.
In 1934 the officers were:  Past President – I. G. Pugh; President Elect - Russell Cornell; Vice President – John Davies; Secretary and Treasurer – Herm Matteson; Chief – Pete Kerwin, and Assistant Chief – Chet Clark.  
The following was taken from “History of the Unadilla Forks Volunteer Fire Company” written in 1963 in honor of their 50th anniversary, author(s) unknown:
The only equipment on hand in 1918 was a hand drawn soda-acid water cart.  Later there were 3 such carts.  A new Ford truck was acquired in the early 1920’s and 2 chemical extinguishers were mounted on this truck.  In 1928 the chemical extinguishers were mounted on a new Brockway chassis.  A pumper was acquired from the Canton Fire Department and before it got to Unadilla Forks, it broke-down and the pump and body were put on the Brockway.  A half-ton Ford panel truck was acquired and the chemical extinguishers were installed on it.  It was not until 1948 that a new Chevrolet pumper truck was acquired.  
On 1/19/1953 the trucks were moved into the new fire station.  In 1954 a Dodge truck was purchased and Arnold Blattler converted it into a tanker.  In 1959 a new 1-ton Chevrolet panel truck was added to carry light plant, resuscitator, portable pump, Scott-paks, etc.  In 1962 a 2000 gallon tanker was purchased and this also was equipped with a portable pump.
The original fire alarm was the church bell.  In 1940 a siren was purchased and mounted on the roof of the local store.  It now resides on the Fire House roof.
In 1960 the Ladies Auxiliary to the Fire Company was organized.  
In 1942 the fire company petitioned the War Production Board for a siren that would give a warning of fire to the firemen and also to be used in air raid warnings.  The council rejected their petition and told them to use air horns instead.  Somehow in 1943 they managed to buy a siren for $395 and were going to install it on Rogers’ store but by the time it was installed Myers owned the store.  The fire company apparently did have a siren before this new one but it didn’t work well.  Obra Bliss (Ken’s son), remembers a siren atop the original fire house and buttons on the outside to push to activate the siren. The company also took out a $1,000 loan from Howard B. Rogers in 1939 to buy a Brockway chassis and pump plus fire hose.  
This small buiding was the original fire house.  It was located about 100 yards southwest of the triangle.  I remember sitting in the old Brockway pumper as a young boy when my father was chief.  The 1940s photo of the firemen was taken in this buillding.
The above photo was taken in the old firehouse about 1940. The men are positioned on and in front of the Brockway pumper.  In the first row from left to right we have: Rev. Kenneth Bliss, Chief Walter Jones, Robert Davies, Herman Matteson, Peter Kerwin, Paul Whitacre, and Henry Whaley.  Second row: Andrew Short, Chester Clark, Tyler Lamb, Merton Lamb, Gordon Cooper, Ernest Rogers, George Williams, Leslie Pugh and Russell Cornell.  Third row:  Hugh Roberts, Herbert Evans, Hugh Roberts, Alfred Williams and an unknown.  
The photo above was taken after the end of WWll and shows the members of the fire company who served in the war and returned home safely, they are from left to right (front row): Ted Neiger, Dick Williams, Bob Hughes, Walt Slosek and Arnold Baldwin.  Back row: Frank Kerwin, unknown, unknown, Hank Whaley and Andy Short.  Arnold Baldwin was the last known survivor in this picture and passed away June 29, 2008.  
 This photo was probably taken at the Claridon Hotel (corner of Hackley Street and Route 20) at about the same time and appears to honor the two members who died in the war, John D. Williams and Elmer Wheeler (two empty chairs).  
In 1955, when the new fire house (#14) was dedicated, this
picture of the honorary members was taken.  From left to right they are:  Haydn Adams, Herbert Rogers, Charles Backus, Harold Gates, Herm Matteson, and George Hibbard.  I remember Herm Matteson as having only one hand.
The photo below shows the first pumper that the fire company purchased.  I’m not sure if it was purchased new but on the Certificate of War Necessity the Brockway is listed as being built in 1930 and the fire company also had a 1935 Chevy truck of some kind in 1942.  It must have been a cold ride in the winter because there was only a windshield to protect the driver.  I understand that this truck now resides with the Garrettsville fire department and is on display.  The First Baptist Church is in the background.
The composite shown here was taken in 1960 and shows several members of the UF Fire Company.   Starting from top left:  Carlton Saunders – Treasurer, Herb Evans – President, Morris Mariotti –Assistant Chief, Jim Kerwin – Chief, Walt Jones – Captain, Robert Lamb – Lieutenant, Byron Holmes – Secretary, Lew Davis, Ken Baldwin, Mert Lamb, Carlton (Tubby) Gates, Austin Bouck, Pete Kujawski, E.S. Banas, Henry Roberts, Wendell Saunders, Robert Davies, John Massey, Jerry Jones, Gordon Cooper, Swell Morgan, Fred Gigliotti, Pete Kerwin, Carl Green, Steve Holmes, Lynn Jones, Howard Barclay, Harold Wing, Walt Slosek, Ted Clarke, Russ Irons, Richard Powers, Les Pugh, Ernie Rogers, and Minard Ward.  
For many years the fire company held field days to raise money.  Neighboring towns would do likewise and traditionally a parade was in order to jump start the event.  The present fireman's field had not been built in the 60s so the event was held on the vacant lot behind Austin Bouck's barn.  There were rides for the kids and nightly entertainment plus lots of food beverages. A highlight was the chicken barbecue. 
From L/R is Wendell Saunders, Robert Lamb and Maurice Mariotti.   Photo was taken in 1968.
  Herb Evans

Enjoying the BBQ

The Ladies Auxiliary is an organization that supported the firemen.  I believe this photo was taken in the 60s in the present day firehouse.  From L/R we have:  Wanda Jones, Patricia Lamb, Louise  Holmes?,Gertrude Gilson, Unknown, Harriett Giglotti, Ida Bouck, Unknown and Evelyn Mariotti.    

The Unadilla Forks Academy:

The building (#11) was constructed in 1902 by John and Will Adams (#3) and replaced an earlier building that was located slightly north of the present building.  The original school house was moved across the road to the Phoebe Griffiths farm and I don’t know what became of it.  Grades 1-9 were taught until 1909 when a second year of high school was added.  A third year was added in 1914 and in 1925 high school courses were discontinued and in 1931 the school became part of the West Winfield School system.
A 1905 Academy publication states, “More important even than the physical is moral health. Unadilla Forks boasts that neither the deadly saloon nor hotel bar is found within her borders.  Here is the ideal spot for acquiring an education.”  At that time tuition was $4.00 for the Academic department, $3.00 for Intermediate, and $2.50 for Primary.  The preliminary subjects and a 24 count Regents’ certificate were required for graduation.   All who fall below the minimum standing of 75 percent were required to take the next lower grade work at the discretion of the Principal, with the approval of the Board of Education.  In 1905 the Board of Education consisted of:  J. Humphrey, John Adams, E. Colburn, Dr. Chesebro and Eugene Armstrong.  School Officers at that time were:  Herm Matteson (Secretary), Dr. Chesebro (Treasurer), J. Babcock (Collector), W, Cummings (Librarian) and L. Clark (Attendance Office).
The building was later used as a meeting place for the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs but has since been put on the historical register.  I have attended many dinners in that building that were sponsored by local organizations.  Today it is used for the Town of Plainfield Court hearings and houses some historical artifacts.

The Post Office:

 Holding the sign are (L/R):  Janet Laukaitis, myself, and Wanda Jones my mother.  The zip code was 13474
The following article was written by Gert Gilson and transcribed from the West Winfield Star in October, 1967.
On October 18, 1967 Unadilla Forks received word that as of November first the post office would be closed. We were shocked but we did not go down without fighting - wires were sent, phone calls made, letters written and petitions signed. Courteous replies were received in practically every case; in fact we could make a scrap, book with letters, from the Senate, House of Representatives, and even the White House. The Post Office Dept. informed us that they could not afford to keep the office in Unadilla Forks open, gave us figures and told us that we were only two and one-half miles from Leonardsville (which is NOT true). We would regret losing our office under any circumstances because we dislike losing our identity, we object to rows of mail boxes and to change of addresses on stationery, magazines and all other correspondence is not fun. Of course we feel there are other smaller offices still open but over and above all if there were a universal ruling we would still think we should have more than a scant two weeks’ notice. This is not a personal attack on anyone but to explain why we were not pleased and that we did try to prevent it.
 Yes; we have no post office, we have no post office today, in fact an obituary of the Forks was written giving names and dates of all the things, as a community have lost in the last twenty years but this being true, we need not die. We have lost our address but we can still make the Forks better if not bigger. As Phoenix rose from the ashes we can make an identity we are proud of.  All we have to do is work toward that end, forgetting what we have lost and thinking what we can gain. We have a beautiful background and we can make it more so. We have nice people and we can grow nicer if we all get to know each other better. How?  Well, I don’t see some of my neighbors as often as I should and some of my newer ones I scarcely know. Perhaps they would like to help make our community a better one if they knew we were trying. Let’s all get better acquainted and see what we would like. Of course we will not all agree on what we think should be done (‘taint human)’ but at least we can make a start.   We have that natural beauty, let’s make the most of it. How about having Arbor Day again? Remember? Perhaps we need not plant a lot of trees but there are some that need trimming or cutting down. In Ireland there is a small town which is called Tidy Town and it is just that and they are proud of it. Maybe we could try harder to keep our community the cleanest if not the largest one. We might put some flowers on the triangle and take care of them.  Of course there are larger projects like making a small library, perhaps in the old post office, and trying to have the Bookmobile come here, clearing the river of the excess cat tails and even trying for a small park which could grow in many ways.
Oh yes, we have a bus load of children of whom we are proud, maybe we could at least think about a possible local school, K through 4 or 6. Dreams? Probably, but we can try. How about an Arbor Day this spring to clear away some of the winter’s mess? And last but not least, we can try to get some nice green signs on Routes 20, 8 and 51, so that that everyone will know that Unadilla Forks is still here and very much alive.
 Allen and  Grace Washburn can be seen dismantling the old post office in 1970
Ray Backus said that his father told him that the post office building was moved from his lawn to the position that it held for years.  That is the building that I believe was once the shoe shop on the corner.  Also, this picture shows it really being composed to two buildings.
Ray said that his father wanted to remodel/rebuild some of his house and removed the kitchen section and attached it to the shoe shop building.  You will also notice that the peak of the post office has what appears to be a cross.  That was put there as an antenna wire for Charles Backus’ radio after he got out of the hospital for a gall bladder operation in 1924.

The Artist Colony:

This post card shows a very popular item on e-bay.  About 1898, the artist Frank T. Hutchins (1869-1937) came to Unadilla Forks from New York City and founded a summer art colony of landscape painters.  The house he built (#42) is situated on the bank of the Unadilla River and was named Myrtle Bank Studio most likely because of the myrtle growing along the bank.  An April 1902 Brookfield Courier article says that the Adams brothers built the home.   The home is still there today and was also owned by a local artist, Art Jones.  The Hutchins  school often attracted 30 or more pupils and a 1901 newspaper article stated that the “Dilly-Dally” railroad (as the Unadilla Valley Rail Road was often referred to) sold more tickets to River Forks than to any other station along its more that 40 miles of rail.  Artistic people from all over the country left conventionality and the prosaic behind and went to the Forks.  In his second summer at the Forks Mr. Hutchins said that more paintings deserved to be signed than in the past.
Sometime in the early 1900s sidewalks were run from River Forks and Hackley Street to the cemetery.  Raymond Backus said that an individual did this and that the name might be Brown.  The obituary of Henry Page Clarke states that Mr. Clarke was a leading member of a group of citizens who formed the Village Improvement Society which laid the first cement sidewalks, installed the first street lights, and sponsored a high class of winter entertainment by lyceum courses.  However, Mr. Hutchins looked upon the new sidewalks as spoiling the idyllic nature of the town.  The number of pupils diminished until there was just Frank and his wife and in 1914 the Hutchins moved to near Norwalk, Connecticut and converted an old saw mill into a studio
Earlier I mentioned a local artist, Art Jones, who lived in the artist cottage when I was a boy.  He played a mean game of checkers and besides doing exterior house painting he use to paint on certain flat fungi found on trees.  He had to give up painting because of arthritis in his hands. One of his fungi paintings can be seen here.
While on the subject of artists in UF, mention must be made of Chauncey Adams.  He lived in the house (#3) across from the school.  His father was John Adams and John had a brother named Will.  Both Will and John were excellent carpenters and they built their house, the Walt Slosek house (#30), and the Herbert Rogers house (#54).  Chauncey was born in 1895 and died in 1963.  He was too young to study with Frank Hutchins but did pose for him as a young boy.  This brought him into contact with other artists at an early age.  He studied in Paris and London as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts, but according to his contemporary, Anna Chapman, his natural talents prevailed.
He played the piano well, organized a jazz band, taught school for 12 years, was an instructor of the Arts Student’s League in the City of Utica, founder of the Sherburne Art Society, on the executive committee of the Cooperstown Art Society, and taught an art teachers class in Utica, Ilion, and Sherburne.  He also served in WW I.  He is well known for his oil paintings of winter woodlands.  I believe that his paintings still hang in some of the homes in Unadilla Forks.

The Unadilla Forks Band:

This picture was taken ca. 1906.  The front row members from left to right are:  Unknown, Chester Wing, Will Chase, Henry Garlisk, Louis Burdick, George Holdridge, and Homer King.  The back row members are:  Fay
Green, Unknown, Unknown, Ern Whitford, George Crommie, Will Adams, Haydn Adams, and John Adams.   Louis Burdick was director of the band.

Fishing in the Winter:

This type of fishing has been practiced many years in the area.  Holes are cut in the ice and kneeling pads made out of padded wood are placed over the holes.  Sometimes corn is tossed in the hole for a reflective surface.   The fish are driven towards the holes by others stomping on the ice.
The men are identified from left to right as:  Walter Jones (my father), Horace Wilcox, Carlton Wilcox (son of Horace), Kendrick Wilcox (son of Carlton), Bill Sweet, unknown looking into the hole, Dwight Wing, Harold Wing adopted son of Dwight, Sid Bryant, Ray Corbin, Sewell Morgan, unknown, Bob Plumley, Paul Brown, and Les Pugh.  In the original picture I count 15 men and only 2 suckers.  I guess the fun was in the chase. 
The fishing spears are inverted with the forks pointing back towards the hole.  When a fish, usually a sucker, swims by the opening, the fisherman raises his spear and gigs the fish.   This particular outing was in 1953 near  Yaw’s Bridge south of Leonardsville on the Unadilla River.  
Perhaps the group in 1953 could take some pointers from a previous group that fished in the early 1900’s.  Again I count 15 fisherman but there are a lot more fish in this picture than the first.  The men are identified from left to right:  George Holdridge, Victor Babcock, Fred Rogers, Lynn Clark, Charles Backus, T. Pitt King, Will Risley, Emery Perkins, Charles Penney, Byrd DeLancy, John Davis, William Williams, Rob Griffith, Abe Crandall, and Loren Clark.

The Linn Tractor:

Pictured above to the left is the Linn tractor that was used to plow roads when nothing else could get through.  I'm not sure who the man is pictured above, but it could be Evan Ephraim.  The picture to the right was taken in Plainfield Center in 1941 and shows the Linn stuck and locals shoveling it out.  The person in the foreground is my uncle, Walt Slosek, and the person behind him is Earl Saunders (I believe).
I can still remember the sound of the Linn tractor as it rumbled past our house. and how the house shook.  The top speed was probably about 10 mph but it had power to spare.  The rear drive resembled a bulldozer in that it had metal cleats instead of wheels.  Time passed the Linn by and it was taken out of service when more modern and powerful plows came on the scene, probably sometime in the 50s.  For some time it sat on the Walt Myers property in town but I do not know its ultimate fate.  I believe the tractors were made in Morris, NY.  If you would like to know more about the Linn you can read about them on this link.    

Shatterproof Glass Invention:

Anna Chapman writes in 1991 for the Forks Reunion:  
William Beyer Chase, the inventor, was born in Unadilla forks, son of Jessie Byer Chase and William Chase.  He lived in the house (#34) were Irving Pugh and his wife later lived.  His father owned a feed mill near the Forks dam.  His grandfather was a minister in the Forks Church.  For the invention of Safety Glass, this vital feature of today’s transportation vehicles, we are deeply indebted to him.  (William Byer Chase’s father had the first automobile in the Forks).  In 1910, at the age of 14, he was sent to Hillsday College, Michigan to live with his grandmother, to begin the study of ministry.  He did not pursue this, but transferred to the University of Michigan and became a teacher in public schools.  While doing this, he became interested in the paper box business in Detroit.  He would buy boxes from auto plants, then sell them to drugstores, dept. stores, etc., thus creating an extensive business.  From this venture, quite by accident, in 1922 the IXL Glass Co. was formed, with 3 employees and a 1600 square food building.  The company supplied glass to car manufacturers and auto glazing shops.  About this time, William realized the need for safety glass in cars.  He and his wife, Jane, experimented by placing a plastic inner layer between 2 sheets of glass and running this “sandwich” through the washing machine wringer.  It was then baked in the home oven.  Jane proposed the name “Shatterproof”, which was to become both the name of the product and the name of the company.  The real secret was the inner layer material, which was improved upon several times as years went by.  Shatterproof today occupies over a million square feet of space, with over 1,500 employees.  It is the largest manufacturer of automobile replacement glass.
From additional information, I learned that Mr. Chase is not credited with inventing shatterproof or safety glass.  He did found and become president of Shatterproof Glass Co in Detroit. The web credits a French chemist named Edouard Benedictus with the invention in 1903.  Laminated glass was invented in 1903 by the French chemist Edouard Benedictus. Inspired by a glass flask that had become coated with the plastic cellulose nitrate through laboratory carelessness, and then when dropped shattered but did not break into pieces, he fabricated a glass-plastic composite to reduce injuries in car accidents. However, it was not immediately adopted by automobile manufacturers, and the first widespread use of laminated glass was in the eyepieces of gas masks during World War I.

The Babcock Family:

Unadilla Forks and the surrounding region were home to many Babcock families.  The only family that I have any recollection of was that of Henry H. Babcock (1805 – 1887).  He was born in Unadilla Forks and lived in house number 57.  Although I never knew Mr. Babcock personally, I did meet his daughter Laura who was born in 1873.  She married Jay Rider and she used to vacation summers with Ruth Rider in the family home when I was a young boy.  She was very fond of the Unadilla River and every summer she requested that I take her for a boat ride up the river.  In those days the boats were made of wood and had to soak in water for some time to swell the wood so the boat would not leak.  Her father, H. H. Babcock was married three times previously and was in business with his cousin Charles Babcock Brown.  The 1868 map of Unadilla Forks shows what appears to be a business on the south side of Sunset Lane and it is labeled Brown and Babcock.  This is most likely the business referred to in the following Internet site  Babcock and Brown accounting books .  On the same map one can see there is a building labeled H. H. Babcock Store on the north side of the same street.  The business directory associate with this map says that H. H. Babcock was a dealer in general merchandise.  I believe this store was later run by George Crommie and later yet turned into a garage.  
Unadilla Forks was also the birthplace of a famous inventor named  George Herman Babcock (1832 - 1893).   Mr. Babcock formed a partnership with Stephen Wilcox and they patented improved steam boilers and formed a very successful company involved in power generating equipment.  
A very successful business (The Babcock Manufacturing Company) was formed in 1868 in Leonardsville when Milton St. John and Henry Dwight Babcock went into partnership.
 H. D. Babcock was born in Leonardsville in 1845.   This business manufactured farm implements such as the Weed Hog cultivator.  H. D. had a son named Allen Babcock and he and John Spring wrote a note for posterity dated 7/28/1937 which was highlighted earlier.
Finally,  Stephen Moulton Babcock , who was born in 1843 on Babcock Hill in Bridgewater, NY, was famous for developing the Babcock Test to determine the amount of butterfat in milk.  Mr. Babcock received his PhD. from the University of Gottingen, Germany in 1879.  He also invented an apparatus to determine the viscosity of liquids.  He died in 1931 in Madison Wisconsin.
One might think that four prominent men all named Babcock, living in the same close proximity and all alive at the same time might be related.   That is the case but the relationship is not close.  With the help of an historian friend, Jane Szaz, I was able to learn some of the Babcock genealogy.  The closest relationship of the four was that of Henry H. and Stephen; they were first cousins once removed.  All four have a common ancestor in John Babcock who was born in Rhode Island in 1644.  

Patents Held by Early UF Residents:

US Patent 70,394:  Device for Holding Sap Buckets assigned to Julius Bevins (1867).
Boxes for Axles assigned to Julius Bevins and Samuel N. Stillman (1856).
Taper Auger for Boring Holes assigned to Billings Landphere (1853).  
US Patent 93,341:  Switch Holder assigned to A. C. Penny and Minor Spicer (1869).
It has been a tradition for years for the residents and past residents of Unadilla Forks to gather on the second Saturday of August.  For the past several years the gathering place has been a building on the fireman's field.   The summer of 2007 was no exception and people brought not only their memories but pictures and written articles describing how it was in the past.   Randy and Linda McConnell were at the “Old Home Day” celebration and brought a tool with the words “Unadilla Forks” inscribed on it along with a patent number. That tool is shown here and is a switch holder.   You might ask as I did, “what is a switch holder?”  It turns out that this tool was used to clasp a cow’s tail so that the person milking would not get “switched” in the face.
 The patent was assigned to Penny and Spicer in 1869.   The McConnell’s live on the Giles Penny farm.

Penny Street:

Amiel Penny (1/1/1801 – 3/2/1869) married Lucy Crumb (3/31/1803 – 6/9/1869), daughter of Nathaniel Crumb and Elizabeth Hinckley Crumb, on 2/7/1822.  The Penny farm occupied nearly all of what is now Penny Street, with its boundary at the Mountain Road on the south.  Amiel was the oldest son of Solomon (3/15/1776 – 3/25/1841) and Catherine Spicer Penny.  Solomon Penny gave or sold lots on the street to his sons Amiel and Asaph whereas Alva (1803 – 4/10/1877) inherited the home farm.  Amiel built his house (#4, Ted and Lyda Clarke’s place) in 1829 and 3 of his children were born there:  
Lucy Ann (9/3/1830 – 10/8/1887) , Mary Jane (Mrs. H. H. Babcock - mother of Laura Rider) in 1832 and in 1834 Elizabeth Maria, who first married Waitstill Crumb Chapman (born 10/19/1835) on 9/21/1857.  Waitstill died as a result of an accident on 5/26/1863 and Elizabeth then married Nelson Clarke (great grandfather of Mildred Whitcombe) on 4/15/1880.  The original farm was known as the Giles Penny (7/24/1842 – 2/24/1917) place and stayed in the Penny family until the death of Giles’ daughter Phebe (1879-1961, Mrs. Homer Griffith).  The Amiel Penny property (#4) was sold to Henry Page Clarke in 1895 and for several years it was rented to a member of the Penny family.  In 1903 H. P. Clarke decided to remodel it and move there so Mildred Clarke Whitcombe could go to school.   It was during this early 1900 time period that she experienced personal interactions she later recorded in her notes regarding Unadilla Forks and friends she made there.  To read a first-hand report on this area and its people, click on this Clark House History link  and read directly from Mildred’s notes.

Gertrude Gilson:

Gertrude (Gert) Gilson was a very civic minded woman when I was growing up in Unadilla Forks.  She was a strong driving force behind the dam restoration efforts in the 1944-47 period.  When she passed away the town planted an evergreen tree on the King property (#35) in remembrance of her.  She lived in house #55 and a good neighbor, Jerry and Carmen Davis, lived in house #57.  Jerry wrote an essay on Gert after having been her neighbor for several years and if you would like to read Jerry’s essay you can click on Jerry Davis’ Essay.
Gert hand-drew a map of the town and labeled the houses 1-64.  She then put as many names as she could remember to those houses.  Her map is recreated near the first of this web site as are the names she associated with each house.  She mentioned that Penny Street was called Academy Street in honor of the school when she was growing up.  Gert was probably born around 1900.  I have added some recent names to Gert’s notes.

The Triangle:

This photo shows what the locals call the triangle.  The picture was taken in the summer of 2005 and shows the present day monument to the soldiers who served in World War  I.  This monument was erected in 1919 at a cost of $600.
What follows was taken from “The Otsego Farmer” newspaper dated 8/29/1919:
Plainfield Honors Soldiers 
Great Celebration at Unadilla Forks -
Monument of Barre Marble Bears All Names -
Notable Address and Fine Dinner
The people of the town of Plainfield, Otsego County, assembled Tuesday at Unadilla Forks, and gave a tangible evidence of appreciations of the boys who represented them in the great war of liberty.
The people of the town of Plainfield and the village of Unadilla Forks believed that the welcome which they should give their young men when they came home should be something having the elements of endurance and permanency.  Therefore, soon after the armistice was signed, they began to think about the matter.  A committee was formed to make recommendations.  This committee decided that the best way to show the appreciation of the town was to erect a monument in the village bearing the names of the boys who went into the service - a monument of enduring granite and bronze that would not only show the appreciation of the present generation, but which should form a memorial in the generations to come.
While other places were discussing the question of what form of memorial to choose, the people of Plainfield were buying their monument and raising the money to pay for it.  They procured a block of Barre granite, six feet in height, four feet wide and two and one-half feet thick.  On this they placed a bronze tablet bearing the names of the boys from Plainfield who went to the war, in large and legible letters.  The monument cost $600 and this amount was raised by popular subscription.  They erected this monument on a plot near the center of the village, the ground for the purpose being donated by S. E. Armstrong.  Here it will stand so long as stone endures, a memorial to the boys who responded to the call of their country - and a thing of beauty in the village of Unadilla Forks.
Tuesday the monument was unveiled and the returning boys welcomed home.  Not in years, if ever, has the little village of Unadilla Forks entertained so large a crowd.  It was a distinctly community affair, with everybody present.  The “boys” by request, wore their uniforms and they came with their parents and their wives or sweethearts, as the case might be.  It was a fine reunion.  
About 11 o’clock the Burlington Flats Cornet band, 21 pieces, arrived and throughout the remainder of the day, furnished music on the street and during the exercises.  The opening feature of the day was a chicken dinner in Memorial Hall, served to 300 persons by the Ladies’ Aid society after which the crowd, headed by the band and the soldier boys marched to the statue which was unveiled with appropriate ceremonies.  The Rev. C. W. Newman acted as chairman of the day and after a few pleasing words in which he paid a high tribute to the boys, Katherine Adams and Emalena  Jones withdrew the flag that draped the stone.
At the hall the speakers were George E. Dunham of the Utica Press and District Attorney William Ross Lee of Oneida.  Both speakers were at their best and delivered eloquent addresses, notably appropriate to the occasion.
Minutes from the fire company dated 7/4/1944, tell of a committee consisting of George Williams, Pete Kerwin, John Massey and Walt Jones to approach the town board to erect an Honor Roll.  The Honor Roll was standing when I was growing up but I don’t know when it was removed.  It listed soldiers who served in World War II.  It was located behind the 1919 monument.

Harris Twins Tragedy:

This photo was taken from the 2/24/1933 edition of the Utica Observer Newspaper.  If you click on this Harris Twins link  you can read the article in its entirety.   The twins were 13 years old at the time they fell through the ice just above the dam and drowned.  The twin on the left is Robert Harris and on the right is Raymond Harris.  A companion, Earl Tooley was rescued. The boys had been trapping when the accident occurred.  I believe they lived in house #55 with their grandparents while their father lived in the Ida Bouck house (#19).
Although I do not have the newspaper clipping of the time, another child perished near the same spot.  I remember that the child walked off a dock during high water in the spring and drown.  I believe the child belonged to the Austin family.  His body was recovered below the dam and I would guess the time frame was in the mid 50’s.  
Excerpts from Highway Commissioner Report of 1893:  
Apparently my grandfather, Melvin L. Jones, was commissioner of highways in 1893 and I thought some of his yearly report might be of interest regarding pay-outs.
April 12; Paid S. Armstrong $2.00 for two men for ½ day on washout in ward number 15
August 2; Paid M. L. Jones $1.00 for labor on bridge in ward number 12.
August 9; Paid M. L. Jones $0.50 for laying plank on bridge at Unadilla Forks.
August 1; Paid A. G. Dyer for 785 feet of planks at $12.00 a thousand ($9.83).
September 25; Paid Lynn Clarke $0.50 for labor on Holdridge Bridge
September 28; Paid W. G. Dye $0.12 for nails for Holdridge Bridge
September 30; Paid Lynn Clarke $7.00 for building bridge in ward number 32.
February 5; Paid Henry Rogers $0.40 for labor on bridge in ward number 15.

Overseer of the Poor:

I came across some records titled “Overseer of the Poor” with dates ranging from 1923–1928.   The book was kept by L. M. Crandall and the account balance was verified by W. L. Davis, S. E. Armstrong, Herbert Rogers, Herman Matteson, H. F. Gates and A. H. Bassett.  I’m not sure where the money came from to help the poor but this record details where it went.  Some monies were received from S. E. Armstrong and most from W. J. Esmay but I don’t know their status in the town at that time.  Some of the
names being cared for at the time were George Wing, Alfred Clarke, Myra Orendorf and Morton E. Burdick.  A few excerpts follow:
Paid S. E. Armstrong $1.20 for milk, M. E. Burdick $25 for board, C. H. Backus $6 for wood, H. P. Adams $4.16 for supplies, Mrs. A. M. Crandall $1 for washing, I. G. Pugh $3.60 for supplies, Francis Griffiths $18 for 4 cords of wood and Abe Crandall $10 for care of A. Clark for the month of June.  Alfred Clark died March 7, 1926 and George Wing died March 29, 1926.  
The reverend R. W. Roberts was paid $5 for the two funerals and Clara Worden the undertaker was paid $35 for the burial of George Wing.

The Cheese Factory in Lloydsville:

K. J. Wing (K probably was short for Kendrick) ran a cheese plant in Lloydsville.  The plant was established in 1869 and had an annual output of 112,000 pounds.  K. J. had a son, Chester J Wing (1885 – 1979) who took  time in his latter years to pass along his memories as to how cheese was made and shipped when he was a boy.
 I was fortunate to get a copy of Chet’s written report and you can read it by clicking  Cheese Making in Lloydsville .  The Cheese Sale Statement shown was found among my grandfather’s memorabilia and states that he was paid $10.39 on September 22, 1898 for 1855 pounds of milk selling at $0.005612 per pound.  During the period August 10 - 23, the cheese factory took in 56503 lbs of milk and made 5177 pounds of cheese.  The selling price for a pound of cheese was $0.075.

2009 PowerPoint Presentation: 

In 2009 I created a PowerPoint presentation that I would like to share with you.  Just click on ths link:  PowerPoint.

Genealogy Connected to Unadilla Forks:

As an aside, I became interested in my genealogy and as I worked with others in the field, the list of relationships grew.  Many entries are related to people who lived in Unadilla Forks and the surrounding area.  If you click on this link  Unadilla Forks Genealogy you will see a partial list of names and in many instances dates of birth and death.    

Unadilla Forks Cemetery

 During the course of collecting data for this site, I photographed many tombstones in the Unadilla Forks Cemetery.  I also understand that a complete listing of grave sties for this cemetery does not exist but a partial listing has recently been posted on this Otsego County web site:   UF Cemetery.   In an effort to increase the number of listing regarding this cemetery, I have posted the data from my photos on this site.  The names can be viewed on this link:   Tombstones 

Leonardsville School Class About 1915:

 My father, Walter Jones, was born just outside Leonardsville, NY and attended grade school there.  This school photo was among his possessions.  The only person I recall beside my father is Paul Alger.  Paul used to cut hair in Leonardsville.  My dad told me that once professor Gutermont tied them to a piano as punishment for misbehaving.  

Friends of the Forks Reunions:

 Every summer, on the second Saturday of August, the village holds a reunion for those who wish to reacquaint with old friends who are in the area and those who have left the area.  The meeting takes place in the park community building.  This tradition has been going on longer than I can remember.  The photos below are from some of the reunions in past years.
I believe the early reunions were church related and Anna  Massey was the organizer.  A brief meeting is held after lunch and letters from people who can't attend the meeting are read.  Guests are encouraged to bring memorabilia to display and memories are tested.  
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