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Oak Hill and Vicinity by Mary Lou Nahas - The News

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 6/7/24 | 6/7/24

For thirty years I have been collecting information about Oak Hill and Vicinity.  I am always pleased to come across an old diary which recorded what the writer was doing daily.  One of my first purchases was the diary of Helen Tripp who lived in the brick house as a girl.  It is small, written in pencil, and covers only about three months of one year there, but I’ve used the information in stories and articles and even in a book and a national magazine.  I paid $75 for that diary and am glad I did, even though I later found the information had been transcribed and shared; I could have gotten the stories for nothing, but it is special to me to have something Helen herself owned while living in the house as a young woman.

Early ledgers are also exciting finds.  They may be in rough shape today but were of top quality when new:   leather bound with beautiful handmade heavy paper. I wonder what they originally cost?  A favorite of mine is the Day Book of Lewis & Philo Hicok, 1832, These brothers from Greenville owned the brick house in Oak Hill about then.  It is exciting to see their handwriting and read what they were recording.  

The leather-bound account book of Jacob Bogardus, 1799, is wonderful until you open it and find it had been used as a scrapbook; pasted over the beautiful handwriting and entries regarding Augustine Provost and other early settlers are color pictures clipped from 1950s magazines with recipes for tasty treats like Ginger Minute Tapioca, from third prize winner, Miss Elzabeth B. Dean, Dundee, NY.  There are many recipes for meat loaf:   I find the helpful hint of a Country Friend: M. B. of Rensselaer that chicken fat and butter make a cake of better texture than all butter.  A tablespoon of salt to four of alcohol will effectively remove grease from clothing.  There are quilt and crochet patterns glued firmly over the elegant early handwriting; I’ve never been able to successfully remove them.  Fortunately, only about half of the pages were used as a scrapbook.  Many of these old ledgers were not valued for history.  I am sorry about that.

Another ledger with marbled  boards, front and back, and leather spine is completely covered with firmly pasted down newspaper clippings.  These clippings are carefully fitted into  every inch of the book, including the front and back covers.  Some are national stories, some are poems, jokes, some are just fictional stories.  While I can see the beautiful ink cursive writing through a few of the pasted articles, I can’t read a single original sentence. Fortunately, a number of the articles are local columns from the newspaper, telling what people were doing.  Those I find interesting and will share some of them with you. 

Conesville Items:  Conesville is in want of a doctor.

Wm Smith lost a valuable cow.

Wm. Patrie lost a colt with the horse distemper.

 Harter Brandow and Wm Patrie have traded farms.

Peter Richtmeyer and Romaine Brand have gone to New York with a fine lot of poultry.

Many of our farmers have sold their buckwheat to the Eagle Bridge grist mill firm at fifty cents per bushel.

Donation held at Conesville, Wednesday eve for the benefit of Rev. Goss, receipt $52.

Another Conesville Column reports

Local news is a scarcity.

Edith Laymon has returned from a visit in Durham.

Nelson Murphy, of this town, was buried last Saturday.

Mrs. J. H. VanStaenburg is suffering from sever illness.

Artemas Brown is doing a job of mill-writing at Kortright, Del. Co.

A little skirmish at the Bridge recently.  No damage, done, no one hurt.

Geo. Lewis and Burton Tousley of Strykerville are speculating in hen fruit.

We congratulate ourselves that there are no candidates in this town for School Commissioner.

Mr. M. Patrie has the sympathy of the entire neighborhood for his misfortune in losing his barn and contents by fire.

All persons wishing to purchase cooper work of any kind will do well to call on M. S. Champlin.  All work warranted.

A more accommodating and better man than Postmaster at Manorkill, than the present incumbent, Mr. W Phelps, would hard to find.

Frank Hagadorn recently had his three sheep sheared.  The united weight of the three fleeces was 36 pounds.

Four of the seven parties arrested at Mackeys Corner last week, and taken to Livingstonville for trial, charged with participating in tar and feathering Mr. and Mrs. Contine, were found guilty of assault and battery, and were each fined $20 or fifty days in limbo.  It is rumored that the trouble is not ended yet.

Darius Partridge, of this town, is at work on the Mammoth Hotel, which is at present being built by Mr. Geo. Harding, of Philadelphia.  It is situated on the summit of South Mt., Hunter, Greene Co.  He informs us that they have at present over 400 men employed on the grounds helping in its construction, besides, many others working elsewhere in connection with the Hotel.  The work is being pushed forward under the direction of the most competent foremen in this State or Penn., and all under the careful management of Mr. J. G. Scribner, a gentleman who is fully qualified for the position.  There are over 80 teams employed at present in hauling material and upholstery from Catskill, Malden, and elsewhere.  The managers contemplate the completion of the hotel by July 1st, at which time it will open for the summer season, 115 loads of furniture have been received and put in place in the hotel. 

Mr. Page T. Hoagland of Gilboa, Scho. Co, is now a resident of Nebraska.

A.A. Hoagland who is now in Plattsmouth will soon remove his family to that point.  We learn that Mr. H. is employed in B & M Carship there, and has an engagement with the Company for one year.

A.A. Hoagland has gone to Plattsmouth to work in the B & M Car shops.  His son, P.T. Hoagland, started on Monday last for Plattsmouth expecting to work in the shops also.

Dr. George Ingraham, formerly located in East Durham, and who is staying in Catskill this winter, bought out a drug store at Amsterdam, at which place he will removed about April 10th.

The region of country found about Hervey Street and South Durham was settled by Capt. Asahel Jones, Deacon Obed Hervey, a Mr. Boumhourd, John Butler, Elder Arnold, Henry Bartell and perhaps other.  This was in 1788.

Olive, a fifteen-year-old daughter of this town dropped dead last Saturday while doing house work.  She had seemingly enjoyed her usual health up to the moment of her death, when she suddenly fell forward on the stove, and before she could be placed on a bed was a corpse.

Farmers are just beginning haying.

Grass throughout Toles Hollow bids fair for a good crop.

Anyone wanting shingles made will do well to call on Chas. Brink.

Singing school is held one night each week at the Toles Hollow school house.

Daniel T. McGary is doing a fine business, and why not, for he is a fine honest chap.

A very nice and expensive monument has been erected in the Manorkill Cemetery to the memory of Joseph Scovil.

The many friends of Luman Mattice of Shew Hollow, will be pleased to learn that he has returned from Utica, where he went last fall to be treated for derangement of the mind.  He is much improved physically, and has entirely regained his mental health.  

Suicide at Oak Hill

At the upper portion of the village of Oak Hill in the tenement house of Wm. Paddock, on Sunday morning, July 3rd, Mrs. Julia Smith was found dead in her bed.  Coroner Wm Stefens of Cairo, was summoned, who held an inquest, resulting in the following verdict: We, the undersigned jurors, find from all the evidence given, that Mrs. Julia Smith died by her own hand, by taking an overdose of laudnum, between the hours of 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning, July 3rd, 1881.  Emerson Ford, foreman, Hiram Alger, Andrew J. Hagadorn, Harry Tiffany, Ransom Arnold, Wm. Alger, Israel De Witt, Ernest Stryker, C. S. Hand, S. N. Osborn, Norman Traver. Mrs. Smith leaves several children, five in all, to mourn her loss.  She was the wife of Mr. Silas Smith, who left home last Thursday and did not return until summoned Sunday by the sad news of her sudden death.

Oak Hill:  Mrs. Ransom Arnold is failing in health.

Mrs. H. E. Rockefellow has potatoes in bloom

Hiram Alger has been to Canada to purchase horses.

Report says that Silas Smith has sold his team of mules

Miss Emily Cheritree is to spend this summer at Oak Hill.

Miss Olive Cheritree is taking a trip to Europe, where she will remain during the summer.

R H. King, of Prattsville gave a lecture on Temperance Sunday evening 29th in the Presbyterian Church of Durham.

While Mrs. J. Greene was sawing a bedstead post, the saw slipped, cutting a chord in her wrist, inflicting a bad wound.

J. Terbush’s funeral, held at the Episcopal Church, last Wednesday, was largely attended.  Rev. H. C. Brayton officiating. 

  • Oak Hill:  District school has closed.

  • Tulle lost a valuable horse last week.

  • Frank Nunnelly is in Troy visiting friends.

  • Rueben Moss has moved on his farm in Cornwallville.

  • Farmers about here are engaging laborers at $13 per month.

  • Rev. Gaylord preached his farewell sermon, Sunday afternoon, 27th.

  • Doc Smith of this place, purchased of W. Hagadorn, a cat which rumor says is about 23 years old.

  • Mrs. Alice Peck has been seriously ill for the past four weeks with typhoid fever.  Her father, Dr. James Conyes of Iowa has been attending her for the past week.  She is slowly recovering.

These local columns provide a picture of the life in Oak Hill and Vicinity at that time.  The dates are not usually given but can be guessed at.  I love that it is mentioned that Hiram Alger went to Canada to purchase horses and Olive Cheritree was going to Europe that year. Some of the stories are awful and sad; others just every day occurrences. 

  I also have a lovely small handbound book Everybody’s Guide:  Things Worth Knowing.  Comprising valuable information, recipes and tables, for the Mechanic, Merchant, Lawyer, Doctor, Farmer and all classes of workers in every depart of human effort. By R. Moore.  Author of Moore’s Universal Assistant and Complete Mechanic, Etc.  Copyright 1884.  Not locally written, it does publish a lot of useful information or at least information thought to be useful; it is well worn.  I’ll share some of that one day, but today I’ll just share the information from a newspaper, clipped out and pasted on a first page of the book.. 

POTTER’S HOLLOW:  A largely attended meeting of citizens was held on Saturday last to consider the offer made by the Society of Friends of their meeting house, provided the same should be used as a non-sectarian church.  Justice Hobert Poultney presided and it was to incorporate a church society under the name Potters Hollow Union Church.   John D. Loost, Joseph A. Rowe and Samuel W. Russell were selected trustees.  The offer of the Society of Friends was unanimously accepted as was the donation of Joseph A.. Rowe of a plot of ground upon which the meeting house can be located.  The Society of Friends have maintained a meeting as this place for more than 80 years and the discontinuance of their meetings removed one of the most honored landmarks of the community.

Mr. Wallace Bear and Miss Viola Bouck are married.

Wool sells for 15 cents per pound.

The town board will meet on June 20th to decide the question of constructing an iron bridge over the Catskill creek on the Oak Hill Road.

The action of David Young vs Douglass Clapper for damages occasioned by the shooting of plaintiff’s dog by the defendant, occupied Justice Radick’s court last week and resulted in a verdict of plaintiff of $10, Plaintiff was represented by the Hon. J. H. Mather and Judge H. Pultney and defendant by Messrs. Cowels and Faulk.

E. M. Sheldon, agent for the McCormack mowers, was in town Sunday.



Photo captions:  (photos by Christopher Nahas)

Many early ledgers were reused as scrapbooks.  Clippings and pictures were firmly glued in place. Photos by Christopher Nahas

Sadly, to me, the ledger which records information about Augustine Provost is covered with color photos of foods and recipes.  I’d like to know more about Provost and his neighbors.


I learn things about Lewis and Philoe Hickok who likely built the brick house in Oak Hill from their ledger from 1832.


There are several drawings of houses in the Hicock ledger, I wonder if this one is an inspiration for the brick house?

Helen Tripps small diary provides a view of her daily life in the brick house.


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