The Notebook of William Benjamin Sayer: 1926-27 Draft Transcription, 2008 by S. Gardner

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The Notebook of William Benjamin Sayer:1926-27

Draft Transcription, 2008 by S. Gardner
W. B. Sayer compiled, over many years, a notebook giving information about the history of structures in Warwick. He appears to have recopied the notes in the years 1926-27. Some house numbers are from 1926 and may have shifted. The copy worked from appears to have been recopied at some point, some handwriting seems to be Genevieve Van Duzer. A very faded second notebook has been received; possibly the original kept by W. B. S. This is an draft, not proofread! Ask for a re-check of original before using this information—Sue G.



(Street, section)

Structure Name



In 1807? David Lawrence lived on the farm now 1927 owned & occupied by George Sloat.


In 1807 Joseph Minturn lived on the north end of the farm now 1926 belonging to heirs of Wm. D. Ackerman


In 1807 John Sayer lived on the farm north of what was the Christopher Van Duzer farm on west side of the road.


Old School Baptist Meeting House

OBS Meeting House at Slate Hill NY built 1792, steeple in 1825; old man remarked “Old Brookfield. Proud People, old church and new steeple”.


Expense lots were so called in the first surveys of the county, certain portions of the land were set apart to pay the expenses of the Commissioners, surveyor& c. for surveying and dividing the other portions. They were to be sold to pay the expenses and were therefore called Expense lots.


The Gore lines were formed by the surveyors starting at different points to survey the lands and when some of surveys came together they formed a gore.


Year. The year formally in old times started March 25, this was continued until the year 1652 when January 1 was adopted, but for along time afterwards all dates written between January 1 & March 25 were given under the 2 years as follows example 165(example has a 5 over 6 for final number, as in a fraction)


Where Isaac Shulman lived & owns Main St. (2007—likely Newhard’s—sg) The old store building that stood just north of this part of it was moved there from what is now the lawn of the Warwick Hospital (assume Forester Ave.—sg), it was moved there for Ebenezer Crissey by Vincent Van Duzer who used 15 yoke of oxen and charged $25 for the job in about 1835. E. Crissey used it for a cabinet makers’ shop. Part of this building was moved on to the read of this lot when Mrs. Jane Hoffman built the brick building that now stands there. John Crane? Crans? & Wm. Sutton ran a general store there 1 year in about 1836 failed after 1 year. Judge John J. Beattie. Isaac Shulman; Brick building stands south of Telephone Col Bldg. This town down 1974; part of the telephone building on site. (Tate)


When the land in Warwick Valley was first settled there was a large amount of fever & ague as chills & fever was then called, caused by the water standing in the swamps along Long House Creek and augmented by several dams in the streams, after these swamps were cleared and drained into meadows and the dams torn down, they valley has been healthy.


Warwick Village in 1805 contained: 16 houses; 2 stores; 2 schoolhouses; 1 meetinghouse/church. Contained in 1810 2 church buildings & about 30 dwellings. Three oldest houses in Warwick Village: Old stone tavern, 1766; Old Shingle House 1764; Forester apartments 1770 (1927) (note: the Forester Apartments were the Wawayanda House hotel in the mid 1800’s, no longer standing)


Samuel & David Brooks Farm

Nehemiah Finn. May 3, 1836 George Hallstead & Phebe his wife to James Brook 86 ½ acres for $3027.50, being the easterly part of farm formerly belonging to Nehemiah Finn; Heirs of James Brook to Samue & David Brook; David Brook & wife Sarah; to John VanNess; Clarence Vanness; Mrs. Ed. Waterbury. (burned by Fire Dept. May 1965—Tate)


Village Formed

Carried to Page 80. Village of Warwick NY was incorporated by a Special at of the legislature passed April 15, 1867 and the first meeting was called April 16, 1867. The village was reincorporated under the General Act July 25, 1901.


Fire Department

Excelsior Fire Engine Company No. 1 was organized September 1869, with about 60 members, for various reasons it was deemed best to change the organization and the name so on Nov. 7, 1871 the company dissolved and immediately reorganized as Warwick Hose Co. afterwards changed to Excelsior Hose Company No. 1. Goodwill Hook & latter Co. organized in 1890. Raymond Hose Co. organized in 1896.


Water Department

Mistucky Water was piped into Warwick in 1871. First reservoir built 1871; second reservoir 1891; third reservoir 1906 or 7. New pipes laid from reservoir 1903.



Warwick Valley Railroad came to Warwick from Greycourt in 1862. The railroad was extended thro to Belvidere NJ in 1879 and renamed Lehigh & Hudson River Railway. New white limestone railroad station built 1893.


Warwick Advertiser & Dispatch

Founded January 1866. Warwick Dispatch founded 1885.



Founded 1879.


Electric Lights

First installed 1898.



Brick school House on High St. built 1892 (burned down). New brick school house on Hamilton Ave. built 1925(near former High School, which is no longer standing—School house is now Doc Fry/Warwick Community Center --sg)



Warwick, Monroe & Chester Building & Loan Association chartered 1888.



Old station of the Warwick Valley Railroad raised Oct. 26, 1861 (wooden, was moved—sg)


Maple Ave. 22/ Post Office

Warwick Post Office. Dates back to the early mail arrangements following the Revolutionary War, and the establishment of the national government. Soon after 1800 Dr. Benjamin S. Hoyt served as postmaster for many years, he is supposed to have been succeeded by Nathaniel Jones for a considerable time prior to 1835 or 36 when Milton McEwen was appointed and held the office almost continually until 1861. The exception was during the Taylor & Filmore administration when Joseph Roe was appointed and held office 2 or 3 years when Milton McEwen was reappointed. In August 1861 Thomas McEwen was appointed and retained the office until July 1, 1874 when Wm. H. Pelton was appointed.. Then B(enjamin) F(ranklin) Vail; George H. Quackenbush; George F. Ketchum; Hiram Tate; Stodt? Mills. The post office was kept in the previous house (22 Maple Ave) when Benj. S. Hoyt was Post master. Old School Baptist bought the property about 1850. First in Benj. Hoyt home around 1800, then Nathaniel Jones property at Church & Main St., then Sanford office corner of South & Main, then brick Crissey Building 1911-1966, then 105 Main St. in 1966. (present building in 2007, near corner of Colonial Ave. & Main—sg)

In 1797 There were only two post offices in Orange Co., one at Goshen and the other at Newburgh. It cost 6 cents to send a letter 30 miles. Warwick to NY City 8 cents; Warwick to Philadelphia 12/ ½ cents.


Town of Warwick NY.

Continued. Town of Warwick population in 1810 ws 3,978. Warwick has been known by its present name since 1720. When a few families settled there, but its population was inconsiderable till about 1760 to 1765 when most of the good land was bought in fee by actual farmers in small tracts. In 1810 few towns in the state of NY have a greater abundance of fruit. The apple orchards are very fine, 5 houses of worship, 16 schoolhouses, 9 grain mills, 10 sawmills, 6 carding mills, 16 apple brandy distilleries.

Sterling Iron Works in the southern part are very extensive and work has been going on there since about 1750. They have a furnace, several forges or bloomeries, an anchor shop, the oldest in U..S. A. except 1 in Rhode Island.

March 7, 1788 upon the passage of the General Act of the Legislature of New York State Warwick was separated from Goshen and became a separate township. April 1789 the first Town meeting was held. WBS (in Tate handwriting): During the Revolutionary War, wile NYC was in possession of the British, communications between the Hudson & Delaware Rivers was kept up through Warwick.


High St.

Old Deeds on High St. In 1828 the master in chancery A. C. Benson sold for Thomas Geraghty estate. Abram Palmer bought the Jacob Gaul property. Jeremiah Wood bought the property now belonging to Mrs. Mary Furman. Deacon James Burt bought the lot belonging to the Old School Baptist Church. James Burt, Benjamin Sayer & John Wood bought the school house lot and then transferred it all to John Wood with the understanding that he would sell it at a reasonable price at any time for school purposes, and when the academy was built (Warwick Institute) he sold it to them and took stock in payment. The tract between the school house tract and the old Garling house was sold to Nathaniel Jones, then sold to Dr. Abram Reynolds, who bilt the house that is now the 3d one up from the creek on Wawayanda Place, the Dr. Isaac Cary; Grinnell Burt; The Garling House on High St. was built by Charles Winfield in about 1849 as a grocery. The house on the corner of High & Main Streets belonging to Mr. J. Harvey Van Duzer was once owned by Charles Winfield.


Mrs. James C. Sly Farm

May 22, 1777 Anthony Finn sold to Tunis Remson 15 acres. April 26, 1797 Wm. Johnson & Cathrine his wife sold George Finn 13 acres.1850 Col. John sly bought it; James C. Sly; Mrs. James C. Sly; M. M. Kane; 1927 Heirs of M. M. Kane.


Mrs. Grace Todd Farm

1927 Mrs. Grace Todd. See p. 146. On the hill southeast of this house on the farm formerly owned by John Knapp, Cornelius Demarest settled in 1774. It was a separate trace then, buildings all gone now, the cellar walls are there yet; later it belonged to Mrs. Elizabeth C. Van Duzer, these buildings were near the line of the J. E. V. Miller farm now 1927, owned by Abija Utter. 1930 Booth.


Orange County

Is of an ancient date, 1683. It was represented in the Legislature of the State (then Colony) March 1699, and in April I find a law directing that courts of sessions & please be held in Orange County in that year, 1699. Orange County was formed by the General Organization Act of 1788.


Iron Works; Rt. 94; Iron Forge Inn

Sterling Works; Monroe Works; Augusta Works in 1810 were extensive iron works in Orange County. Southfield Works, Greenwood Works in Town of Monroe. Sterling Works was bounded by Lord Sterling in about 1750. The first anchors ever made in America were made here at these works in 1752 (look on p. 28). The great cain which was stretched across the Hudson River to obstruct the passage of the British fleet was made there in 1778. The chain weighed 186 tons and it took weeks to make it. It was transported in links to West Point in carts drawn by oxen, each link weighted 150 pounds. Conrad Sly worked on this chain. (Iron Forge Inn property was property of Conrad Sly).


Greenwood Lake

Its first name for years was Long Pond in Sucker Hollow, because so many suckers were caught there every spring, wagon loads of them were caught at the outlet of the lake in nets, an old waying was that the natives ate so many suckers the bones stuck out thro their skins so they could not get their shirts off. One man claimed to have invented a machine to turn with a crank to take the bones out of the suckers, which threw out the bones and put the meat into your mouth, but you must be carefull not to turn it the wrong way or it would throw the bones down your throat and choke you to death.

The only perfect Indian vase ever found in this entire section of country was found by Frank E. Wells setting on a ledge near the lake, a few years ago (note—according to the Warwick Historical Papers, it was found by Maude Storms, not Wells). Lots of stone arrow & speark heads have been found in or near this lake. In 1841 the first dame was builty the the canal company, this raised the lake 3 feet. Later the dam was raised 8 feet more.

News clipping taped into notebook (undated) about best place to catch Bass; likely 1926-27.



Physicians at or near Warwick village at an early period.

Dr. Elisha DuBois he lived where not 1927 John J. Beattie Jr.’s lawn is.

Dr. Benjamin S. Hoyt who lived in a house that stood just north of where Dr. Renfrew Bradner now 1927 owns and lives.

Dr. James Heron who lived on the corner of High & Main Streets.

Dr. Isaac Reeves who lived on the same corner later.

Dr. Negus lived in an old frame building where Excelsior Hose how stands, corner of South & High Streets.

Dr. Hortsen (Houston?—Sue G.) lived at that is now 61 Main St.

Dr. Elias V. Coe on corner of State road to Bellvale & the road that runs around Churck’s Hill (Ball Rd.—Sue G.).

Dr. Nathaniel Elmer lived near Florida during the Revolutionary War. (and lived on the property now (1890? 1900?) owned and occupied by John Palmer—Tate)

74 &



Year With No Summer

In the year 1816 there was snow, killing frost, and ice in every month during the year, no corn, vegetables, or fruit was raised, next spring in 1817—two year old corn and other seeds had to be lanted. The year of 1816 was called 18 and freeze to death (?). On June 17, 1816 a terrible snow storm, New England to New York City in which many people were frozen to death.

Severe winter of 1835-36. It was the most severe ever known at Warwick. Nov. 20, 1835 snow commenced falling and the storm continued for 3 days, the depth of snow was from 4 to 5 feet on the level. This was followed by cold weather, so that the snow covered the ground for 5 months until the latter part of April 1836. Travel was impeded and the labor of opening the roads was very great, companies of men on horseback were formed to ride this and break the tracks. Most of the fences were out of sight. At intervals there were side tracks or switches broken to enable sleds to pass each other. Accidents upon the roads were a common occurrence, teams would be stalled, horses fall down and become exhausted within a few miles of driving. Paths were shoveled from barns to the streams for watering the stock, and to the hay stacks, many cows & sheep died. Sheds were not then commonly provided for the dairy, and the cows and sheep were largely foddered in the barnyards. Families were shut in for weeks. The supply of provisions with many families ran low. IT was difficult to get grain to the mills and some people were without flour for days. It was equally difficult to reach the stores and purchase groceries. The snow being so deep it wore loose in places forming holes into which the sleds jumped striking the horses heels, and caused a great many horses to get into the habit of kicking.

There was no frost in the ground when the snow fell so that all winter grain was smothered & the apples that had not been gathered lay all winter under the snow were in perfect condition in the spring.

Hail Storm

Warwick valley was visited in 1807 by the most severe hail storm on record, a horse was killed, and in 1830 a bad hail storm came when one store fell that measured 9 inches in circumference.


Bellvale Forge

Look at page 111 to 113

Old Forge at Bellvale NY.

About the time that Warwick township was first settled an act of the English Parliament was passed in the 23 year of the Reign of George II of England to present the erection in the colonies of any mill or other engine for slitting or rolling iron. In 1750 Gov. George Clinton made a report to Parliament in which he certified that there was erected in Orange County at a place called Wawayanda (not 1927 Bellvale NY) 26 miles from the Hudson River a plating forge with a tilting hammer or forge was to be found within the Province. The race way and part of the dam of the old mill are yet to be seen in the village of Bellvale NY (just above the iron bridge across Longhouse Creek at the lower end of Bellvale in 1927) and Grinnel Burt said in his boyhood days he puzzled his brains not a little to find out for what purpose they were constructed.

76 77



The sketch below was published in June & July 1870 in the Independent Republican of Goshen NY.
The division of the Wawayanda Patent it appears was made in 1706 when each of the 12 owners was assigned his share. A part of the whole town of Warwick fell to Benjamin Aske a merchant then residing in New York City.

Nearly the whole of Orange Co. was an unbroken wilderness inhabited by Indians and wild beasts only. After the division it is natural to suppose that the different claimants would view with each other in order to effect a settlement of his particular portion. But we find no record (note from Tate—“not so” meaning incorrect) of any settlement in Warwick Valley till Feb. 28, 1719 when Benjamin Aske deeded 100 acres to Lawrence Decker, who this man was, or where he came from, we have only a traditionary account off. It is said that a ship load of emigrants having arrived in New York City from Holland and Aske wishing to obtain settlers for his land, found some families unable to pay their passage. He accordingly paid the charges for the family and perhaps one or two more families by the name of Decker and one family by the name of Stagg. These families by some means found their way into the Warwick Valley and settled. One of them where Thomas welling now lives or near there, and the other near where Belden Burt lately resided (not 1927 owned by J. M. Fuller.)

Insert by W. B. Sayer. Benjamin Aske lived on the Thomas Welling farm as his home farm in 1715.

Which of the families settled on these places I am unable to say, but the probabilities are that the Deckers settled on the farm owned by Burt as the graveyard on this farm is traditionarily known as a Decker graveyard and the graves here are very long indication of they were tall people and there progenitors of the Decker family were generally tall. Lawrence Decker’s wife –Magdalena Stagg.

From these Deckers have descended those of the name who reside in this part of the country. (note: Lea Stagg, sister of Magdelena, married Adam Wisner—Tate?).

The name of Stagg has been changed to Stage and a few of the descendants still live here.

May 20, 1721 Benj. Aske sold to Thomas Blain 100 acres of his farm, which is described as lying in Warwick, so it seems Aske had given his part of the atent te name of Warwick—for what reason is not known, probably he or his parents were natives of Warwickshire England.

The main street it appears by common consent of the settlers was called Warwick Village, at an early day. Tho tere were few houses there. Blain settled first when Henry Pelton lived later, but changed his place of residence to where Samuel Dolson lived (now 1927 owned and occupied by Fred Cary Raynor.) (In 2007, Miller farm between bowling alley and Chateau Hathorn on 94)

Dec. 8, 1724 Thomas DeKay settled on part of this tract nearer Vernon. (a few words of text scribbled out as erroneous), now 1927 owned by E. H. Northrop. His son Thomas DeKay Jr. afterward lived there. None of the name are known to be living in the town now.

Insert by W. B. Sayer: Several Dekays are living just over the New Jersey line descendants of his. Some went to Sullivan Co (Michaels family)., but one of the name of Blain our old friend John Blain (now dead, 1927).

John Vance must have come soon after this, he purchased land adjoining the lands where Belden Burt owned (now J. M. Fuller 1927) on the south reaching across Long House creek to the north road. He settled near the creek by the spring a few rods from northeast of the barn owned by John Pelton (now 1927 Frank Holbert). He had 3 sons John, James, & George and his land was divided among them at this death.

In 1746 Daniel & Benjamin Burt who were brothers came from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Daniel Burt had a family and settled where Thomas Welling now lives. Benjamin was a single man and afterwards married a daughter of Thomas Blain and settled where Belden Burt his grandson afterward owned (now 1927 James M. Fuller).

It is probable that these brothers bought out the improvements that were made by the families who first settled on the presmises and they removed to other places, for it is well known by some of our aged people that Lawrence Decker or one bearing that name lived and died near where Charles R.? Van Duzer lived (now 1729 George M. Van Duzer (near corner of Ackerman Rd., 2007—Sue G.)

In 1750 about 4 years after the Burt brothers arrived here, friends arrived here from Connectucut, became alarmed for their safety in this wilderness and started in pursuit of them and after a tedious search found them and persuaded Daniel and his family to go back with them, but Benjamin could not be persuaded and remained. But in 1760 Daniel Burt not being satisfied started back and as the could not bet back his old residence which he had sold to Thomas Welling, he went and settled in Bellvale and built a mill, which they afterwards traded for lands where James Burt and grandson lived (now 1927 Mary ? Servin Whitted. (1964 Mrs. McFarland, a descendant).

By this time a number of families had come and the country began to improve. The Sayers and Wheelers came from Long Island about this time also Charles Beardlsey in 1746 settled at Warwick Village and built te old stone house that stood where the brick store stands (corner West & Main), owned by Isaac Taylor (now 1927 Masonic Lodge). He built a grist mill and dam where Main St. Bridge now stands.

The Wisners came 1712.

The Minturns & Wisners came about this time and several Dutch families from what is now Rockland County and from Bergen Co. NJ sometime between 1760 and 1770 John Hathorn came here from Philadelphia PA or near there, he must have been quite a young man for he was born in 1745. He was a land surveyor and the probablility is that this brought him here. He located where P. E. Sanford lived (now 1927 Wilfred Raynor) and married Elizabeth Welling a daughter of Thomas Welling and he built the stone house in 1773. He was a very active man during the Revolutionary War, a true friend to this country and filled many offices both of military and civil capacity. He died in 1825 and his wife with several children were buried in an open lot on the farm. Their bodies were afterwards moved to Warwick Cemetery.

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