(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "A few biographical sketches of Goshen people and a few reminiscences of doings in Goshen"

ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 01177 1471 



Gc 

974.702 

G69co 

2264635 



REYNOLDS HISTORICAL 

GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



GENERAL JAMES W. WILKIN 
From a Poi-trait Pa in tin 2" 



A FEW 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



OF GOSHEN PEOPLE 



AND A FEW 



REMINISCENCES 



OF DOINGS IN GOSHEN 



BY 



ROSWELL C. COLEMAN 



[909 



^ County Public librafv 
'^ Ft. Wayne, M="^' 



2264695 



mil; I'HiiMiM 'mi i .iiM/iui kw a cidj'M', •'i-i: cio'lyi:! 

.-[I'lod iioed oviifi ri9-ir>{n{'>hfiR-n2 



THE COLEMAN FAMILY IN l!)04 

Before tliis pietiire wmh taken, the mother Mini 
two cliildreii had died Jiiid siii('<' tlieii thi-ee 
o-randclnhlreii liave been born. 



TO MY GRANDCHILDREN: 

With life all still before you 
and as yet little inclination to look 
backward you may not now be interested 
in the matters about which I have 
written here, but when you have grown 
older and do, then I shall live again in 
your memories, and you may feel 
grateful for even these brief records of 
your forebears: 

THESE SKETCHES AND REMINISCENCES 

ARE DEDICATED 

WITH GRANDFATHERLY PRIDE IN YOU 

AND AFFECTION FOR YOU 



INTRODUCTION 

Mr. Riittenber, in the Introduction to his 
History of tlie Town of Newlmroh, says: 

"Events of a strictly Nationnl cliai-acter are 
few in comparison witli the LocmI; and the men 
whose names live in a Nation's memory as the 
great statesmen of their day, are fewer still 
when comi)ared with the many who at the same 
period filled other spheres, less ])rominent in- 
deed, but still closely connected with the wel- 
fare of society." 

At the time of the settlement of this country, 
in the struggle for existence, it is not strange 
that the individual should have been lost 
sight of; and even later, when provided with 
many of the comforts of life, there were still the 
crowdings of [n'oblems of maimer of ^iovernment 
and of developing new sections of country so 
pressing that the individual was still soon 
lost sight of; and now in these later days of 
great |)rosperity the struggle for ])roperty suc- 
cess has been so generally absorbing that, until 
quite recently, little time has been given to en- 
quiring who were the individuals that wrought 
in bringing this wonderful present into 
existence, and what i)art and how each, and 
possibly some ancestor, took and performed in 
its accomplishment. Most of these enquiries 
will never be answered for it is already too late 
to obtain the information. Some of them may, 



if record is made while it can be done. Un- 
doul)tedly many, who liave no sentiment about 
tlie matter, will say why bother at all? For 
thein it is not worth wliile, they will probably 
be t'or^iotten quite as quickly as they wish to be. 
But there are others who do and will care, and 
for such only these lines are written; and also 
to discharge an obligation which I conceive is a 
duty we all owe to those who have striven the 
best they knew, not only for themselves but for 
those who should come after. 

These thonghts and this duty are inqa-essed 
upon me particularly with reference to the men 
of whom 1 shall wiite, who were all living within 
my lifetime and yet, notwithstanding their prom- 
inence in our local affairs, are already known 
by so few of those who have succeeded them in 
the affairs of this county, even by tradition. 

R. C. COLEMAN. 

Newburgh, Ai)ril, 11)09. 



BIOGllAl^HICAL SKETCHES 

PAGE 

James W. Wilkin 9 

Samuel J. Wilkin 17 

Westcott Wilkin 28 

Hannah T. Wilkin 40 

Sarah G. Wilkin 45 

Sarah W. Coleman 51 

The Old Wilkin House 60 



Three generations of distinguished knvyers in 
one Orange County family: 

General James W. Wilkin, father, 

Hon. Samuel J. Wilkin, son. 

Judge Westcott Wilkin, LL. D., iirandson. 



THE WILKIN LAW (JFFICE 

FOR MANY YEARS 

The wing was built later. ReadiDg from left, 
Mr. Champion, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Howell, a 
neiirhbor, Mr. Bacon. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 9 

GENERAL JAMES W. WILKIN wns the 
fifth son of Willifim Wilkin and Elizabetli Rogers, 
and was born in the year 176*2, u|)on a farm in tlie 
town of Walikill, Orange connty, then Ulster 
county. William Wilkin, born Jannary 20, 1720, 
w;is tlie oldest son of John Wilkin, a Welshman 
who went over with the forces of William, Prince 
of Orange, about the yenr 1080, and nnide a 
descent n|)on Ireland, where, after the conqnest, 
he settled near EnniskilhMi: and later emigi-ated 
to this country and settled upon afai'm of about 
500 acres, in the ]ii'ecinct of Shawangniik, Ulster, 
now Oi'ange connty, and which was owned in 
part by Gen. Wilkin, late in life, in connection 
with the heirs of one Whitney and others. This 
name Whitney may indicate, from the apparent 
relationship, what the middle letter W stands 
for in his name, otherwise I have found no clue 
to its meaning. Of William Wilkin, his son 
James wrote, he "had a very limited education; 
bat had a strong mind and retentive memory: 
in those days of real log cabins he was very 
much respected for the use he was to his neigh- 
bors, assisting to settle their acconnts when dif- 
ficulties arose among them: and he was a mem- 
ber in full communion with the Seceder church 
at Neelytown." There is also a tradition that 
he was a magistrate. He Avas one of twelve 
children. 



10 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

James' boyhood was daring stirring times in 
the history of his country. At the time of the 
battle of Lexington he was twelve ye^ii-s old and 
we can well believe that tliis grandson of tiie 
Welshman John Wilkin was not indifterent to 
passing events for, at the age of sixteen, he left 
the farm and enlisted in the army of the Revo- 
lution and, after his term of enlistment expired, 
he served at times in the militia as a volunteer. 
After the close of the war, in some way (this I 
say, for it is not probable his father, with his 
lar^ic family to be i)rovided for, was able to do 
much for him financially) he obtained a sufficient 
preparation to enter Princeton College and 
graduated with honor in the class of 1785. Some 
time between that date and October 23, 1788, 
when he was admitted to practice as an Attorney 
of the Supreme Court, he pursued a coui-se of 
study of law in the office of Hon. Samuel Jones 
in the city of New York. He had however pre- 
viously been licensed to practice in the courts 
of Common Pleas, first in Orange, and a few 
months later in Ulster, counties. He obtained 
his degree as a Counsellor of the Supreme court 
April 27th, 1799. This method of being admit- 
ted to the bar, in installments, no longer exists. 
The degrees of Attorney and Counsellor are now 
both granted by the court at the same time and 
no license is necessary to practice in the inferior 
courts. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKI'.TCHES 11 

'Vhe above dates taken in connection with tl]e 
few facts we have of liis early life sn^^iost a])pli- 
cation, self reliance and a cheerful readiness to 
meet enrly in life, even with limited resources, 
the responsil)i]ities of manhood. He married 
Hannah Townsend (of whom I hope in another 
connection to make more full mention) and there 
were boi-n to them nine children. The exact 
date of his going to Goslien and of his marriage 
I have been unable to ascertnin, but his second 
child, Samuel, was born there December 17th, 
171)8; so it must have been not later than about 
the time he was admitted as an Attorney, in 
October, 1788, when he was about twenty-five 
years of age. Altlio not then admitted as a 
Counsellor w^e liave it from nn obitiuiry notice 
in the Independent Republican tluit "Upon re- 
ceiving his license he established himself in the 
pi'tictice of the law in this phice. His upright 
clnirficter, vigorous intellect and ready elocution, 
soon secured him an extensive and profitable 
prnctice." 

The selection of Goshen for his future home, 
altlio in a different county, was due probably to 
early business associations, it being much nearer 
tlifin Kingston, thus presaging- the clumge in the 
county lines made by the Act passed April 8th, 
1798, whereby the town of Montgomery, with 
other towns, became part of Orange county. At 
the convention of delegates from the different 



12 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

towns of Orange and Ulster, dissatislied with 
the then existing county lines, held in Little 
Britain, which was the third convention held tor 
the purpose, he was one of a committee of four 
appointed to report terms for a division, and 
their report resulted in the passfige of the Act 
above mentioned. 

The interest in military matters, tliat Mr. 
Wilkin probal)ly acquired from service in the 
war and which continued, not unlikely, from a 
conviction of its importance to the country, was 
kept up for some years. He was commissioned 
cai)tain-lieutenant of artillery by Gov. George 
Clinton, September 2()th, 1780; captain of artil- 
lery, February 21, 1792; lieutenant colonel of 
artillei'y, March 29, 1803; by Gov. Moi'<ian Lewis, 
brigadier general of artillery. March 7th, 1803, 
and l)y Gov. Tompkins, Majoi- General, July 10, 
1810." 

Mr. Wilkin's law practice soon extended over 
Orange, Ulster and Sidlivan counties, notwith- 
standing the difficult and slow methods of com- 
munication and travel from his home to the 
different county seats. 

With all his other affaii's he must have taken 
an active interest in i)olitics for he was elected 
State Senator for the years 1801, 1802, 1803 and 
1804; and a member of Assembly for the years 
1808 and 1809, being chosen Speaker the last 
year; and a^ain Senator for the years 1811, 1812, 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 13 

1813 and 1814. By virtue of his position as 
Senntor he was elected by the Assembly a mem- 
ber of the Council of Appointment, January 30, 
1802, a<:ain Januai-y 30, 1811, and a third time 
January 12th, 1813. He was chosen to preside 
at the Legislative Caucus which nominated 
Dewitt Clinton for President of the United vStates. 

He was a candidate for United States Senator 
in 1815, but was defeated by Rufus Kinj> on joint 
ballot, althouiih in the Senate his majority was 
greater than the majority given Kinji' in the As- 
sembly. Mr. Wilkin's defeat was brought about 
apparently by some (luestioii of the incorporation 
of a, bank. See 2 Hammond's Pobt. Hist. N. Y. 
343-4. He was also elected a member of the 
14th and 15th Con.iii-esses (1815-1818); and was 
County Clerk from 1819-1821; and County 
Ti-easurer for several years. He belonged to the 
Whig })arty and was a personal friend and 
eai'nest sup})orter of both the Clintons. 

The records of the Surrogate's office show 
that he was frequently made executor or ad- 
ministrator of the estates of his friends: and by 
the records in the County Clerk's office it appears 
from the frequent conveyances there recoi'ded, 
to and from him, that he had owned a good deal 
of i-eal estate, but the commodious house which 
he built on the west side of Main Street in 
Goshen,soon after being man-ied,was the only one 
in which he lived and there he died Februarv 23, 



14 15I0GRAPHICAL SKE'iT'HES 

1845, in his eighty-third yonr, leaviiiii- for those 
times, a very considerable estate to his family. 

The frame of this fine old honse, built in 1793, 
is of large hewn timbers to the roof tree, and 
the lumber was drawn fi'om inills in Sullivan 
county. It stands on a rise of ground about 
half a mile north of the coui't house and with it 
were about twenty acres of land. The Gen. 
always ])rided himself on liaving aline and early 
garden and managed the land, with some otlier 
acres near by, in true fariner-like ways, with 
his team of horses, yoke of cattle and a number 
of cows and hogs. Of the latter 1 must tell an 
amusing incident. He was vei-y proud of his 
cured hams each year, which lie smoked in a 
large stone smoke-house, standing near the 
kitchen door. One morning, to his surprise and 
chagrin, he learned that his whole stock of hams 
had been stolen dui'ingthe night from the smoke 
house. Hams, in the economy of the house- 
keeping of those days, were an almost indis|)en- 
sible article, so a new supply must be had. He 
examined the stock in the different stores and 
finally selected some he found at Sid way's. 
After trying them he was so well pleased that 
he frequently remarked they were quite as good 
as his own. In some way it was discovered that 
indeed he was eating his own hams. So, it be- 
came one of the jokes of the village to send 
outsiders enquiring for hams to Sidway's, in- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 15 

striicted to be sure to enquire for tliose of Gen. 
Wilkin's curiii^i;. Sidway was a very irascible 
old clifip and lame; and the fun was to watch 
and see tlie customer beinjr chased out furiously 
by the old man witli liis cane. Sidway is said 
to have been a Tory. He had his store on Main 
Sti-eet where afterward John Minchin lived. 
His experience with the hams became a great 
trial to him in many ways. 

One feature with reference to the offices he 
lield late in life, which is especially noticeable 
after having held man}^ others so much more 
distinguished, suggests, with much ])lausibility, 
that his friends, knowing that he had given his 
more active years to positions which could not 
yield him anything financially and which prob- 
ably had i-esulted in the loss of much of his law 
business, sought to make this up by giving 
to him those whicli paid better and the duties of 
which could be discharged while at home. 

Any words of api)reciation of Mr. Wilkin's 
character and abilities I, who did not know him, 
might here make would be witless after the 
preceding statements of confidences and trusts 
reposed in him by those who knew him from A 
to Z. 1 will thei'efore close this sketch with 
another (pK^tation, from the obituary already 
mentioned, with refei-ence to one side of his 
character which has not been mentioned. First, 
however. I will quote a few words wi-itten of 



16 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

him by his g;randson Jiid.ue Wilkin: "He was 
exceedingly courteous and polite in manners 
and generally amiable, {dthouiih possessing a 
terrible temper when aroused. He was always 
deferential to ladies for whom in general he 
entertained the highest respect." And I will 
add a tradition as to his personal appearance. 
He was a large man of hne presence and even in 
his later years he possessed a full figure and 
maintained an erect carriage; his abundant locks 
became snowy white and his complexion, that 
of childhood, so that, it is told of him, when 
walking in New York, his distinguished and 
striking appearance would often cause peoi)le to 
turn and look back at him as they passed. Now 
from the obituary notice: 

"In all the walks of ])rivate life his character 
was not only irre[)roachable, but looked u])on 
as a ])attern for emulation, as a husband, a 
father and a citizen. By the church his loss is 
deeply felt, for 'a good man has fallen in Israel.' 
In early manhood he attached himself by pub- 
lic profession to the Presbyterian church, m 
which he has been for years a ruling eldei'. The 
cause of Christ was dear to him above all else, 
and he guarded with a jealous eve the interests 
of His kingdom. His ])iet\^ was deep. He had 
'that faith that works by love and purifies the 
heart and overcomes the world' and having lived 
the Christian life, he died the Christian's death." 



ho 






SAMUEL J. WILKIN 
A Crayon From a Djiy;nerreotype 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 17 

SAMUEL JONES WILKIN, son of Jmncs 
W. Wilkin and FTannnli Townsend, was born De- 
cember 17tli, 1793, in the house built b}^ his 
father the year before in the village of Goslien; 
and there he died March 11th, 18(3(3, in his 74tli 
ycMr, altho that had not been his home the 
whole intermediate period, but Goshen had, 
except for five years, (I8:)(3-184l). He married 
Sarah Gale Westcott, his second cousin, thro 
the Gales, July I8th, 181(3, (and of her I also 
expect to mnke mention in nnother connection), 
nnd to them were boi-n eijiht chiklren. He re- 
ceived his name fr(nn Judii-e Jones of New^ York 
with whom liis father lind studied law. 

In i)re|)arin.ii- part of this sketch I sludl dr;iw 
largely from what Iims been already written by 
others, believing the judgment of his contempo-. 
raries will, in this case, l)e more desired. 

Mr. Wilkiti was carefully and thoroughly 
educnted, and graduated from Princeton College 
before attaining his majority, in the class of 
1812. He studied hiw in his father's oflice and 
was admitted to practice as an jittorney in the 
Supreme Court, October 25th, 181'), and as a 
Counselloi' and Solicitor, February 1st, 1822. He 
very soon attracted notice by liis skill as an 
advocate, and at an ag(^ when most young men 
are climbing slowly and with difficulty uj) the 
first steps of the ladder of distinction, he had 
already won a liigh and enviable reputation as a 



18 inOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

member of the bar of his native count}' ; nor vvtis 
it an easy task for any one to win professional 
hiurels ainon<;st such competitors for distinction 
as then adorned the profession of the law in tlie 
county of Orange. Some of the ablest and most 
eloquent men of the state were then members 
of tlie bar of this county and against such men 
Mr. Wilkin made his first professioutd efforts, 
and met with success. Wliilst still a young 
niiin he devoted mucli time to pobtical affairs, 
and becnme a lender of his pai-ty in tlie county. 
He was elected a member of the Assembly in 
1823, against a strong Anti-Cbntonian mnjority 
in the county, mainly overcome by tlie force of 
his fine talents and su})erior personal worth. In 
the legislature he took a bold and prominent 
stand in favor of giving the clioice of Presidential 
Electors to the ])eople. His efforts in this 
behalf caused Judge Hammond in his political 
History of tlie state to speak of him as "a young 
man of si)lendid talents." He was re-elected 
the following year and gained additional laurels 
as an eloquent debater and sound statesman. 
After this he was engaged mainly in his pro- 
fessional labors until elected a member of the 
twenty -second Congress in 1828, in the face of a 
])revious majority of over 1500 against his i)arty 
and was re-elected in 1830 and lilled the othce 
with dignitv and honoi'. 



BIorTRAPHICAL SKETCHES 11) 

In 1844 he was on tlie Whig ticket for Lieut. 
Governor, witli Clay for President and Fihnoi'e 
for Governor, bnt was defeated by aninch smal- 
ler vote than tliat against Filniore. In 1846 he 
was prominently named for the office of Gover- 
nor and subsequently for Secretary of State, 
either of whicli positions he wonkl have filled 
with lionoi" and credit both to himself and the 
people. In 1847 he was chosen to the Senate of 
tlie state by a majority of 1000, in the then 
sti-on«:ly Democratic district of Orange and Sul- 
livan — aflbrding another ])roof of his merits and 
popularity. His able reports and speeches on 
the Mexican war Resolutions, while a member 
of that body, gained liiin much credit. His 
duties as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, 
(the Code being then under i-evision), were most 
arduous and valuable. On the election of Gov. 
Hunt he was appointed by liim one of the Canal 
Appraisers, which service he performed al)ly and 
satisfactorily. 

Mr. Wilkin was a Whig as long as tliat party 
had an existence. During the Know Notliing 
furore, he sided with the "American Party" but 
since then he has acted with tlie Pepublican and 
Union parties. While the Nebi-aska bill was 
pending in Congress he did much to arouse pub- 
lic opinion to the iniquity of the scheme; and at 
a county meeting called to protest against its 
l)assage. he nmde one of the ablest and most ef- 



20 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

fective speeches that was offered on tlie subject. 
The question of Slavery-Extension, indeed, id- 
ways found in him a most determined opponent, 
both by his votes and speeches. During tlie 
Civil war he earnestly U[)held the Union cause, 
both by voice and pen, and gave one of his sons 
a willing sacrifice on the altar of his country. 

As a writer he was scarcely less effective than 
as a speaker. He held a I'eady and ehxjuent 
])en. He was possessed of great humor, keenly 
enjoying the ludicrous, and wdien a fit subject, 
oflered, his "taking off" was com])lete. "Min- 
chin's Best," published in the Orange County 
Press in 1855, and the "Political Jockey Club" in 
the Orange County Patriot in 1830, siiiiied "No 
Mistake in Piirdy" are instances. 

In his profession to wljich lie devoted most of 
the years of his active life he was eminent as a 
successful advocate and and an able, learned 
and skillful lawyer. Some of his addresses to 
juries in important cases were fine specimens of 
professional skill and logical and impassioned 
eloqtience. He brought into the |)ractice of his 
profession the highest type of integrity and 
never swerved from it under the pressure of 
any temi)tation. He was a tine classical 
scholar and found time to pursue the studies 
that had delighted his youtli all through life 
and would read Latin and Greek writers quite 
as readilv as En<ilisli, In a sentence he was a 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 21 

pure statesman, a brilliMiit scholcU' and eloquent 
orator, an able counsellor and advocate, a true 
friend and a greatly respected citizen. In his 
death Orange county lost one of her best and 
wortliiest sons. 

In his political cai-eer Mr. Wilkin labored 
under the disadvantage of belonging to what 
was, the most of the time, tlie minority party, 
that is, of course, for his preferment. After his 
canvass for (Tovernor, he was given that title, 
by comi)liment and to distinguish him from his 
father. Years afterwards Mi*. Stephen Rapaljee 
of Montgomei'v, who was a member of the As- 
sembly at the time Mr. Wilkin was in the Senate, 
told me with evident local pride of the place 
held by Mr. VV^ilkin among the party leaders at 
Albany, how lie was the one they all looked to 
for counsel, and as a leader in debate. 

In 1830, by the advice of his friends, Mr. 
WilUin decided to remove to New York. As a 
business undertaking it was a success, but it 
resulted in the complete breaking down of his 
health, probably from too close application, 
climate and indooi* confinement, to which he 
was unacciist(mied. 

Judge (jiedney told of one of Mr. Wilkin's ex- 
periences after he began practicing in New York 
when his adversary in a trial misjudging him 
from his plain appearance and omission to urge 
technicalities undertook to si)eak slightingly to 



22 inOGRAPfllCAL SKETCHES 

tlie jury of "tliis country lawyer." When Mr. 
Wilkin got through vvitli his reply the counsellor 
had left the room ; meeting him in the cori'idor 
soon after, the man came to him and said, "See 
here, I do not want to quarrel with you, 1 want 
3^ou for a friend as lonjz' as I live." 

After being in New York about five years he 
was obliged, in the fall of 1841, to leave there 
and took his family back to Goshen. For 
awhile he was at a Sanitarium; after that he 
traveled extendedly in the South, taking his 
daughter Mary with him for company. This 
had one unexpected result, for while thei'e she 
made the acquaintance of Mr. Joseph (j. P^Uis, 
of Mobile, and afterward mari-ied him. She was 
a ver}^ bright and accomplished woman and ex- 
cellent company. She however onh' survived 
her marriage a few months. Finally after a long- 
rest Mr. Wilkin was again able to resume pi'ac- 
tice at Goshen, altho he continued to suffer at 
times sevei'e headaches, which would overtake 
him at most trying times. Mr. Gott told me of 
an instance when they were together engaged in 
an important case in Court at Monticello, and 
Mr. Wilkin was compelled to leave the court. 
Mr. Gott continued the trial alone and closed 
the testimony. 'J'he next morning Mr. Wilkin 
had sutiiciently recovered so that before the 
court convened they were able to go over Mr. 
(Jott's minutes of the testimony and then went 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTOHES '2S 

to court Mild lie mnde a powerful and successful 
pi'esentMtion of the case to the jury. 

Mr. Wilkin's office was a very popular ])lace 
for youMg men from Sullivan and Rockland as 
well as Orange to study law. Often there would 
be three or four of them at a time. 

Ml'. Wilkin had an unusually keen "rey eye 
looking- from under heavy overhanging brows. 
He had, even in liis last days, abundance of 
wavy dark hair with scarcely any grey, this he 
attributed to the habit of washing his head 
every time he did his face and the only combing 
and brushing it usually got was done with his 
fingei-s. In person he was spare, about live feet 
eight inches in hei^iht, and in carriage very erect. 
So strikingly did he resemble Rufus Choate, in 
looks, that he frecpiently was taken for him. 
His voice was low and pleasing in convei'sation 
and in pul)lic speaking it still had a soft tone but 
had surpi'ising volume and carrying power. While 
his appearance did not suggest strength it was a 
ver>' courageous or simple minded man that 
woidd offer him an affront of any kind. 

At some I'isk of being misunderstood, or per- 
ha|)s rather, of giving awron^' impression of him 
I will relate a story of him which tells of his 
courage and of the ways of travel in this count}^ 
seventy -five years ago. It was in mid- winter 
and the opening da}" of court in Newburgh. The 
lawyers an<l others from (jloshen on their wav to 



24 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

court stopped at a hotel in Cornwall to Wcirm 
and brace up. While there a str}ip|)iD^i- big 
mountaineer came into the bar-room swag- 
gering al)out and declared with <i loud voice, 
"The Devil once went fishing and they sny 
he took lawyers for bait." He re])ented this 
several times without nnv attention .bein.ii' 
paid to him {ip])ai'ently. When most of the 
party liad gone out and were getting into their 
sleighs Mr. Wilkin lingered behind and as he 
started to leave stei)ped in front of this man and 
said, "So the devil took lawyers for bait did lie, 
well you take this," and lie "handed liini out 
one" that knocked him down. Mr. Wilkin said 
he realized that ])robal)ly he would be badly 
punished for liis temerity, but the fellow's im- 
])udence was beyond his endurance and he never 
yet had hesitated to act for fear of consequences. 
As it hap])ened, however, the distiiil)ance im- 
mediately brought back the whole pai'ty and the 
fellow was quicklv hustled off without mishap 
to Mr, Wilkin. I never heard of, and very nnich 
doubt whether, on any other occasion since he 
was a boy Mr. Wilkin was ever engaged in a 
"scrap," his dignity precluded it with his ecpials, 
and it was not necessary with othei-s. Tliis wjis 
an exceptional case, but when a boy, if reports 
may be trusted, he had many a hard fought 
battle with his school fellows. This bi-ings to 
mind an incident told me bv the late Nathaniel 



BIOGKAPHICAL SKKTCHES 25 

Tatliill of Ecist Division, which shows tlie more 
normal side of Mr. Wilkin's character; Tuthill 
when a boy liad been taken by his father to 
conrt to see and to learn ns farmers then some- 
times did as part of a boy's education. They 
were seated in the front row of the public 
benches, between which and the railing of the 
bar there was an open space. Mr. Wilkin came 
out from the bar and walked back and fortli 
with his hands behind his back apparently in 
deep thoujiht and noticing no one. As he did so 
he leaned forward, w^ithout a sign of recognition, 
and said to a. large, elderly man next him, "I 
can lick any Quaker ever lived," and passed on 
again in his walk. This conduct he said much 
sari)rised him and he did not understand it until 
later he learned that his neighbor was a Quaker 
and one of Mr. Wilkin's fiiends and clients. 

It must be admitted that Mr. Wilkin was 
rather careless of his a|)pearance as to clothing. 
It is told that some lady wlio came to Goslien 
after several years absence seeing him passing 
exclaimed "There goes Sam Wilkin, shabby, 
but always genteel." A good story which he 
sometimes told on himself is to the same effect. 
He usually kept his horse at the stables of a 
public house. On one occasion, while waiting 
in the public I'oom of Cheevy's hotel to have his 
horse harnessed and brought around to him, a 
substantial looking old fai'mer came in and when 



26 BIOGRAPHICAL SKE'I'CHES 

in the act of tnking some tobacco from his box, 
Mr. Wilkin, supposing he was recognized and as 
an implied compliment and after the fashion of 
the day, said, "I will tliank you for a chew too, 
.Sir." The man snapped his box sluit, saying, 
"I never treat men wlio hang ai'ound hotels." 
The joke was too good for Mr. Wilkin to I'esent 
so he left the bumptions old i)arty to find out 
his mistake by himself. He lacked the facult}^ 
usually possessed by successful politicians, of 
quickly recognizing acquaintances, and his efforts 
by adroit questioning to make a person, wlio had 
spoken t(^ him with the manner of an actiuain- 
tance, disclose himself, often afforded consider- 
able amusement to his listening friends who 
understood the situation. In his intercourse 
with people he had a very |)leasant manner and, 
as we would now regard it, a good deal of old 
fashioned courtly mannerisms. But at times, 
from ill health or being otiierwise out of sorts, 
he would settle down within himself, even on 
imblic occasions, pulling the collar of his cloak 
up about his head, apparently taking no heed to 
])assing events, until something was said or done 
tliat aroused him when he w^ould throw off the 
cloak and springing uj) become very much alive 
and full of fiery eloquence. 

A great grief and sad disappointment came to 
Mr. W^ilkin, late in life, in the death of his son 
Alexander, who was killed in the battle of 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 2/ 

Tupelo, Miss., in the Civil war, July 14th, 18G4, 
in his forty-fifth year. A Itho greatly handi- 
capped by his size, beino; only five feet 
and an inch high, he had by his courage, his 
indomitable will, natural ability and integrity 
made for himself a foremost ))lace in tlie North 
west in Civil life and in Military circles. His 
father believed that had his life been spared he 
would have become one of the leading and dis- 
tinguished men of his day. At his death he 
lield the rank of Captain in the regular army 
and of Colonel in the Volunteers and it is known 
that his |)romotion to Bj-igadier General, in which 
capacity he liad been acting, had been determined 
but not issued. TTis name appears at the head 
of one of the lists of killed on the battle monu- 
ment at West Point. 

Mr. Wilkin was a man extremely simple in his 
tastes, manners and habits of life and was an 
earnest member of the Presbyterian church in 
which he served many years as a Ruling Elder. 

Of tiie three men we are considering, Gov. 
Wilkin had the greatest natural ability, and was 
the most powerful advocate and orator; his 
father, the General, liad the greater genius for 
affairs and as a leader of men ; and his son the judge 
had the greater power of application and was the 
most profound jurist; and all had a wonderful 
faculty of making, despite certain oddities and 
habits which sometimes were quite exasperating, 



28 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

or perhaps because of them, a most loyul body 
of friends and admirers. I suppose that faculty 
was genius. 



WESTCOTT WILKIN, son of Samuel Jones 
Wilkin and Sarah Gale Westcott, was born 
January 4th, 1824, (probably in the house which 
belonged to his father on the east side of Mahi 
street,) in the village of Goshen; and there he 
spent his boyhood days and received his early 
education. Later, after a brief experience with 
l)rivate tutors, he was sent to the Grammar 
School of Columbia College. From this school 
he entered Princeton College, where liis father 
and grandfather had been before him. and 
graduated in the class of 1843, as he himself 
said, "without high honors but with a very re- 
spectable standing in his class." Soon after, he 
commenced the study of the law in the office of 
his father and the late Joseph W. Gott, who 
were then associated in practice, where he spent 
three years and then tinislied with a course in 
the Yale law school. He was admitted as an 
Attorney at Law, May 14th, 1847, and later as 
Counsellor. 



^i^Lu// TTooT^aw a^aui 





A" " "^^HB^ ^^ 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKIITCHES 29 

III his boyliood days, on n Fourth of July cele- 
bi-Mtion ill Goslien, he was the orator of the day 
and delivered his address to his assembled fellow 
citizens in the Oak Grove on the side of Slate 
Hill, overlooking what is now the race course, 
nnd his brother Charles, two years older, the 
Declaration of Independence. 

He commenced the practice of his profession 
at Monticello in SuUivfin county and after a few 
yenrs was elected County Judge, vviiich in tinit 
county, combined with it the duties of Surrogate. 
He WHS renominated for a second term, but, in 
the election, was defeated, owing to a division 
in iiis party l)y the Know Nothing excitement. 
Awhile before, he had failed of a nomination for 
Congressman, for the district composed of 
Orange and Sullivan counties, by a close vote. 
Very probably these defeats greatly influenced 
him in yielding to the solicitations of his brother 
Alexander to come to Saint Paul, Minn., which 
he did in ISoO. That year there was a great 
boom in Saint Paul, but the year following the 
bottom dropi)ed out of about everything of a 
business chai-acter; so that he, with eveiybody 
for company, languished through the succeeding 
yeai'S of trial and financial disaster, when current 
money seemed to have completely disai)peared. 
Bai'ter was about the only means of carrying on 
business: so many cords of wood, or bushels of 
potatoes, for drawing a contract, or deed, the 



30 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

^YOod to be burned, in that miglitycold country, 
to keep warm, and the i)otatoes to be dickered 
off with the biitclier or baker, to live. 

We hardly realize how primitive conditions 
were in Saint Paul, and how far away it was 
from the East, when the Wilkin brotliers cast 
their lot with the few settlers then there. In 
1849, when Alexander went there, the population 
was 840, and the Cai)itol of the Territory was in 
the front room of a log hotel. Apparently he 
went there, primarily, for climatic reasons, 
because of his broken health from his aimy 
service in Mexico, and he may have had army 
acquaintances at Fort Snelling — he had oiily i-e- 
signed his commission the year before, A fter being- 
there a few years he was appointed Secretary of 
the Territory by President Fillmoi-e. The fort 
was the central ])oint about which the settle- 
ments began. Saint Paul's, a small Jesuit chapel, 
just outside the Reservation and below on the 
Mississippi river, and Saint Anthony's, just above, 
became the present cities of Saint Paul and Min- 
neapolis with over a half million population. Then 
every body and evei'y thing, from the south and 
east, came up the liver in boats. From New 
York the journey was made partly by rail, some 
by canal, by stage, by boat on Lake Erie and so 
on to some point on the Mississii)pi, requiring, if 
3^ou were fortunate, about two weeks. So that 
Westcott mav well have hesitated before decid- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 31 

iii^- to give up liis prospects here for wliat was in 
siglit there. 

But, better times soon caiiie after the crisis. 
Already his fellow members of the bar were 
discovering his marked judicial fitness, for 
office papers left by him are largely made u|) of 
references, from wliich probably he got little 
})ay, but it may have led to his selection as a 
judge. He was elected District Judge in the 
fall of 1864 on the Democratic ticket "after an 
exciting, but not acrimonious contest, with a 
moderate majority." 

It is not my purpose closely to follow the 
Jurlge in his distinguished career in Saint Paul, 
as it is not Orange county local history — unless 
it be so in a sense, as being reflected — only to do 
so sufficiently to gratify our interest in an 
Orange county boy. 

After his first election, whatever might be the 
dominating politics of his district, he was "elect- 
ed and re-elected by the unanimous suffrage of 
his fellow citizens, sometimes with his acquies- 
cence and sometimes against his wishes and 
l)rotest" for a period of twenty-six years, ending 
January, 1891. Then again he was renominated 
by all i)arties, but, having passed his seventieth 
year, he positively declined to serve any longer. 

During his incumbency the judicial Disti-ict 
had increased in population and business to such 
an extent that, from being the only judge, five 



32 BIOGRAPHICAL SKE'I'CHES 

otliers had been ai^rtocijited witii him from time 
to time. 

On the afternoon of tlie hist day of his liokling- 
court he and all of his associates, for the first 
time, sat toii;ether on tlie bencli. The Governor 
of the state, tlie Mayor of the city, tlie Chief 
Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme 
Court, the Judge of tlie U. S. District Court, Ex- 
Gov. Ramsey and two of the Judges of the Min- 
neai)olis District Court were ushered into coui-t, 
by the Sheriff of the county, whei'e, also, were 
assembled almost the entii-e bar of Ramsey 
county. From the published reports of the 
many graceful and eulogistic things said of 
Judge Wilkin that afternoon I will only cull two 
or three extracts which will serve, in some 
measure, to show the regard had for him by the 
distinguished men there assembled, with whom 
he had been associated intimately for many 
yeai's. 

By Ex-Judge Flandreau: 

"His earliest impressions were to be truthful, 
true and just, not for the applause of man or the 
aggrandisement of self, l)ut for the sake of 
truth, right and justice; and this imperishable 
foundation, imbedded in the plastic mind of in- 
fancy, has been the sole basis of his long and 
useful life. Never has he l)een known to swerve 
the breadth of a hair froiJi the straight and nar- 
row path of i-('ctitiuhv" 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 33 

By Mr. Lusk: 

"I can say in truth and candor that, during an 
active and lon^i- i)i'actice at the bar, 1 have never 
known a ju(],<ie — not one -who so universally 
liad the *iOod will and resjiect of tlie bar, both 
combined, as lias his honor. Judge Wilkin. The 
young men have always sjxjken in your praise, 
Judge Wilkin, because of your gi'eat and never 
failing patience with them; the older and better 
equipped members of the bar because of the 
same virtue. And both and all have respected 
yon because of jotu" ability and integrity, com- 
bined with keen insight into the ti'iie merits of 
the question under discussion, whether fact or 
law, for wiiicli you have been so lon^' dis- 
tiniiuished," 

And a fe\y words froin Jinlge Brill, one of his 
associates on the bencli: 

"It is well, at the close of a just man's life, to 
rehearse his good deeds, but it is better to recoji- 
nize his worth while he is still alive, before his 
ear is too dull to hear and his heart too cold to 
res|)ond. It is htting, therefore, when the judge 
who has presided in this court with so much 
grace and dignity for these many years, sits 
upon this bench for the last time that we should 
express to him 

'This kindly, earnest man. 

Dreading praise, not blame.' 
our a])preciation of his work and character. * - * 

"His brethren of the bench desii-e to emphasize 
all that has been said of Judge W'ilkin upon this 
occasion by his brethren of the bar. '■' * ••' The 



34 BIOGRAPHICAL SKE'I CHES 

high character and stan(liii<i' of this bar, and tlie 
lia"|3i)y relations existing between the bencli and 
bar, may be dne to several causes, but to no one 
cause more than to the presence u|)on tlie bencli 
of this district at an early day, and tlirongii 
these formative years, of Judge Westcott Wilkin. 
His great learning. Ids simple dignity, the con- 
scientious impartiality of his mind, his kindness 
to the new ]3ractitioner, liis hostility to trickery 
and sharp ]^ractice. have contributed largely to 
elevate the profession and diginfy the court." 



Unquestionably his loyalty to the political 
l)arty of his clioice when a young man, the 
Democratic party, after tlie breaking up of the 
Whig party in which he was brought u|), i)re- 
cluded any elevation for him to higher judicifd, 
or other ])ositions, He was once nominated for 
Chief Justice of the state, witli no i)Ossibility of 
an election, and was at one time seriously con- 
sidered as a compromise candidate for United 
States Senator. His friends of both parties 
would have been greatly ])leased if it had been 
practicable to have had him occupy the higher 
])Ositions for which they knew he was well 
(inalified. But, looking back over his life work, 
it may well be doubted whether it did not stand 
for more as it was in its unity than it would 
have had it been divided. 



BfOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES o5 

In the General Catalojiof Princeton Univei-sity 
it appears that Jadi;e Wilkin liad received the 
high degree of LL. D. 

In the year 1884 the Judge was induced by 
his friends to take a vacation — the first consider- 
able one he had ever taken from business — and, 
in company with his friend, Judge Flandreau, 
made a most interesting trip around the world. 
Going first to San Francisco, then to Japan, 
where they traveled about extensively, enjoying 
facilities and privileges extended by distin- 
guished citizens and othcials of that country, 
b'rom there they went to China, India, Egypt 
and quite generally about in Europe. 

Absent mindedness seems to have been a 
family trait. Gov. Wilkin told of an occasion, 
when he was a boy and went with his father to 
the village of Eloiida: as they were leaving 
Goshen, riding along, he asked his father a 
(piestion to which he paid noappai-ent attention. 
They went on to Florida, ti-ansacted their busi- 
ness and, on their way back, as they i)assed the 
])lace where the (luestion was asked, his father 
looked up and answered it as though it had just 
that minute been asked. This incident may ex- 
plain another about which the judge's friends 
joked him a good deal. To accommodate a 
fellow judge he had arranged to hold a court in 
Stillwater, a!»out thirty miles from Saint Paul. 
A change of cars had lo l^e made at Stillwater 



36 BIOGRAPHICAL SKE'J'CHES 

junction. The judue left his train at this pince 
and took another which entei'ed the station and 
soon was deeply absorbed in thiukin*;- about 
some matter. When the train stop|)ed every- 
body arose to leave and he with the rest. On 
the ])latform, to the solicitation of a hucknian, 
he said, "yes, take me to the best hotel." Still in 
thought, he rode a siiort distance, when the cab 
stopped and he got out — in fi'ont of his, own 
office hi Saint Paul. At the juncticm helnu] 
taken a train for Saint Panl instead of one for 
Stillwater. The cabby, who knew the .iud<ie 
well, considered his instructions a bit of humor. 
How the judge managed^ about that coui't 1 never 
heard. 

In appearance Judge Wilkin was slight in 
ligure, hve feet seven and a half inches in height, 
erect in carriage and courteous, but somewhat 
])recise in manners. He had a sharp, grey eye, 
a clean cut, straight nose, dark, almost black, 
hair, which he wore long, and a full beard. He 
never married altho a great friend of and favoi-ite 
with the ladies. My own idea about the matter 
is, his pride and somewhat ])unctilious ideas 
about social matters and his laxness in caring 
for personal business affairs made him feel that 
he could not, at the time of life wdien i)eople 
usnally marry, support a wife in the mauner he 
thought his wife should live; and nothing could 
have induced him to marrv a woman who had 



BIOGEAPHICAL SKETCHES 37 

wealtli. Nor did he unite, as a professing mem- 
ber, with any religious denomination. He was 
brought up in the Presbyterian church and was 
a liberal supporter of it and always retained for 
it "the respect and admiration with which he 
became imbued in his earlier years," to use his 
own words. 

Altlio he was in fair health, at the time he 
retired, he did not live long afterwards and died 
May 12th, 1894, in his 75th year, after a long 
illness resulting from a fall on the ice the New 
Year's day before, in which his hip bone was 
broken. Again at meetings of ' the bar and at 
his funeral, loving, touching and eloquent words 
were said by friends of him. The casket with 
his remains lay in state at the church for two 
hours before the funeral. His body was brought 
to Goshen and buried with his kindred in Slate 
Hill Cemeterv. 



38 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



Three mistresses of the WILKIN HOUSE, 
whose united sway covered a period of nearly 
one hundred years, HANNAH TOWNSEND, 
wife of James W. Wilkin; SARAH GALE 
WESTCOTT, wife of Samuel J. Wilkin: and 
SARAH WESTCOTT WILKIN, wife of 
Roswell C. Coleman. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKRTCHER 89 

WHY IT WAS SO 

Whetlier it is the new woman with her ad- 
vaiiced ideas and enhir<»ed legal rights, or our 
changed manner of thinking and onr broader 
views concerning lier sphere, that have come 
about with the many other changes, women 
certainly have come much more i)rominently 
into i)ubUc view in these later days. In the 
records of colonial families we may learn that a 
certain man married "Elizabeth Jenkins" and, if 
her father was a noted man, it may ai)i)ear, as a 
sort of ])erqaisite of the man, "who was the 
daughter of the distinguished" etc., etc., but 
what manner of person she was we are rarely 
told. I am satisfied that this was not because 
of any lack of respect and love on the part of 
the man, but it was so because it was the man- 
ner of the times. The wife's part was in the 
home and her care was of her husband and 
children. She did not expect public recognition, 
in fact did not desire it. To have her doings 
made a matter of public comment was unusual 
and therefore oifended her sense of propriety. 
But now, I had almost said, alas, we read item 

after item in the public press about "Mrs. 

or Miss having entertained at Bridge or 

Whist," etc. But, to be just, we may also read 
that women are engaged in benevolences, in 
church works and even in business. 



40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

All this, to discover why it was Gen. Wilkin 
in writinj^ a "Memorandum of the family," of 
twelve pages, only said of his wife "James mar- 
ried a Miss Townsend of this i)lace." I must 
admit that seems hardly adequate. Surely her 
grandfather Roger was the equal of his grand- 
father John, the Welsh raider. Perhaps he 
thought everybody knew who Miss Townsend 
was and they probably did then, bat the years 
that have passed have taken that knowledge 
with them^ — almost. It is onh^ fair to him how- 
ever to state that the paper, while undoubtedly 
written for the information of those to come 
after, shows that it was the work of an old man, 
evidently only a rough draft, intended to be re- 
written. Ihope, in the spirit of the "broader 
views" concerning women, to give here some 
idea who and something about what the three 
women mentioned were; altlio from the very 
lack of those early public records it will be 
more difficult and the result less satisfactory. 

HANNAH TOWNSEND, was born in the 
village of Goshen, probably at the home of her 
father Roger Townsend (on the west side of 
Greenwich Street near what is now the home of 
William Kniffin), in the year 1760. Her mother 
was Keziah Gale, a daughter of John Gale, of 
Goshen. The Gales were of Dutch descent and 
were leading citizens of Goshen. Their descend- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 41 

ants now about Goshen, so far as I know, are in 
the female line. Benjamin Gale, the defender 
of Nellie Carpenter, wiis her uncle. Roger 
Townsend, her father, as I have it from the llev. 
Charles A. Brewster, his great grand son, "was 
either a younger son or nei)hew of the Marquis 
'rownshend, a Field Marshal of England and at 
one time Lord Lieut, of Ireland. He, my grand- 
father, would never tell his exact relationship 
to tlie Marquis Townsend; he said that when he 
cjime to this country he gave up forever every- 
thing of thnt kind and became a simi)le Ameri- 
cjin citizen, lloger had been a favorite family 
name in the family for generations before. The 
founder of the family was Ludovic, a noble 
Norman that came to England with William the 
Conqueror and was rewarded by him with a 
large grant of land in England. " 

In my "Traditions" of Goshen people, at page 
33, I have already told all I have been able to 
learn of Roger Townsend's life in Goshen, of his 
noble patriotism and of his death at the battle 
of Minisink. A letter from him to his wife is 
still preserved in the family. It is of sufficient 
interest to copy entire: 

r 
"New York, 9 Novm , 1770. 
My Dear, 

I Ex])ected to set out this Evening with 
The Rest of the Company, but am now 



42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

Prevented by the Arrival of a Large vessel from 
London, that has Got on Board a general 
Assortment of goods, where I Can be supplied 
With Everything I want they Belong to an 
English Gentleman one Mr. Hake, which Budd 
You remember invited me to Trade with about two 
Years ago. he has Clnirtered The whole vessel; as 
I had some acquaintance with him, went to his 
Lodgings & saw his Invoices, his goods will be 
Very cheap as he intends for to Return soon. 
Shall send my Goods up by Nicholse's iSloop in 
A few days. I had another Inducement to wait; 
Your Cloak I Could not get made untill next 
Monday and would not go without it, its 
To be made in the Best manner, tell Sarah 
I have got Ermin for a Cloak for her & Can 
Take pattern by yours; you must get 

Somebody to assist you in Court time 

I sold my Butter at a shilling very Current 
& what Ellison had sold so too: 

I took two days time in Selling it- 

I am my Dear yours 
Aftectionately 

Roger Townsend" 

The letter is addressed "To 
rs 
M Townsend 
att 
Goshen " 

and he w^rote on the same si)ace 

" Raise the Price of flaxseed to 5 | 

& Butter to lid 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKRTCHES 43 

The letter had been sealed and apparently 
was sent by messenger for it bears no post 
marks of any kind. It is written in a clear, bold 
hand and is very lej^ible. 

Mr, Brewster also says his mother told him 
that her mother (Hannah Wilkin) "was con- 
sidered a very religious woman, was a devoted 
wife and mother and a woman of strong and 
vigorous intellect; that she was a great reader 
and fond of reading and conversing with clergy- 
men and other competent persons, upon such 
profound religious and philosophical works as 
Edwards upon the will. Her health was very 
delicate for many yeai'S and during the winter 
she was confined almost entirely to her room, 
but was very fond of receiving and conversing 
with her relatives and friends. Owing to her 
feeble health she was unable to accompany her 
husband while he was at Albany and Washing- 
ton." 

The few letters we have of Mrs. Wilkin show 
that while she may have been a reader of deep 
theology she also was a ready and practical 
writer about household and family matters, and 
that she was a woman of affairs. This was a 
matter of importance for the welfare of the 
family because of the frequent and sometimes 
protracted absences of her husband from home 
on legal business and while at Albany and 
Washington. One of these letters (Jan. 31, 1819) 



44 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

to her husband at Washington, whom she ad- 
dresses as "Dear Sir" and closes with "I must 
come to a conclusion for want of paper-Hannah 
Wilkin," confirms the statement of Mrs. Brew- 
ster about the character of lier mother's reading. 
In it she says "Caroline and I are alone and de- 
vote our time to reading, she is quite a book 
worm, I am engaged at present reading Edwards 
on Original Sin, I have read his treatise on 
Affections and shall soon commence i-eading his 
essay on the freedom of the will, he is the 
greatest writer 1 have ever seen on these sub- 
jects," Well, she may have been somewhat of 
a "blue stocking" in her reading, but she could 
write very prettily about family mattei's and 
was not above jollying the General a little, for 
we read in the same letter, in speaking of their 
son James, "he is very handsome, he looks like 
his papa very much." 

As we have seen she married James W. Wil- 
kin when she was about twenty -three years old, 
and was the mother of nine children, 'J'he 
children were named William, Samuel, Sarah, 
Elizabeth, Townsend, James, Townsend, Caro- 
line and Frances. William died unmariied at 
the age of thirty -four. Of Samuel we know. 
Sarah died earh^ in life unmarried. Elizabeth 
became Mrs. Case and had several children, all 
of whom are dead and without descendants. 
Both Townsends died in infancv, James mar- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKICTCHES 45 

ried a Miss Van Giesoii, of New York city, and 
had several cliildren, of whom only Caroline, 
now Mrs. Swain, is living, as are also several of 
her children. Caroline became first Mrs. Tut- 
hill and later Mrs. Brewster, and her descend- 
ants living are her sou, the Rev. Charles A. 
Brewster and his chiklren. While Frances 
became Mrs. Thompson and her only descendant 
is tlie liev. John J. Thompson. 

Mrs. Wilkin was small in stature and in gen- 
eral ajjpearance was very like my wife, her 
granddaugliter (of whom later) as she was told 
by Miss Moffjitt, an old lady relative, who knew 
them both. Of Mrs. Wilkin, Jndge Westcott 
Wilkin, wJio was proud of her, said he had no 
doubt his grand-father's refined and well-bred 
bride had had a very helj)fiil influence in making 
him, witli his plain and homely early associ- 
ations, the distinguished man he was in attract- 
ive and cultivated manners. 

Mrs. Wilkin died at the age of sixty-six, 
fifteen years l)efore her husband, and was buried 
in the family burial plot, back of her father's 
house, and later with those of her husband, her 
I'emains were removed to the Slate Hill Ceme- 
tery. 

SARAH GALE WESTCOTT was the daugh- 
ter of Col. David Mandeville Westcott and 
Keziali Gale of Goshen. She was born May 29, 
ITDC). Her fathei" was a printer who came to 



46 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

Goshen wlien a young man, from New York or 
Philadelphia, with his uncle Henry Mandeville, 
also a printer, and soon they established a news- 
paper there. Later he became one of Goshen's 
most respected and distinguished citizens. He 
became Judiie of the Court of Common Pleas, 
County Clerk and State Senator. Ableoi)inions 
written by hiiu as one of the Judges of the 
Court of Api^eals, when Senator, ai)pear in the 
Re[)orts of that court. Her mother was the 
daughter of Benjamin Gale, a reputMble citizen 
of Goshen who lived op|)Osite the Court Jlouse 
on Main Street; and there his daughter lived 
until her marriage. Whether she had any other 
educational advantages than were to be had at 
Goshen, which were then very creditable. I am 
not able to state. With her natural ability and 
the influences of her home, she became an ac- 
complished and very interestnig woman. 

She was married, at the age of twenty, to 
Samuel J. Wilkin, as we know, and became the 
mother of eight children, ^lary, Alexander, 
Charles, Westcott, William, Samuel, Hannah 
and Sarah. The first death was of Samuel in 
infancy. William died ten years later, almost 
thirteen years old. Hannah died a few months 
later, nearly ten, and Charles, a bright lad, was 
killed only a few months later, by his own gun 
while out hunting, in his eighteenth year, being 
the third death within tlie vear. His grand- 



COLONEL DAVID M. WE8TC()TT 

Father oi Mrs. Samuel J. Wilkin. 

From a Miniature. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 47 

fatliers had obtained for Inm an api)ointment at 
the U. S. Naval Academy but he died before 
goin<2: tliere. Her sons Alexander and Westcott 
survived her and had already made for them- 
selves honorable names and positions. Sarah, 
the youngest, born neaidy ten years after the 
others, was nearly sixteen years old when her 
mother died and for several years was the only 
one of tlie cliiklren living liome. 

By lier very nature, as I believe, Mrs. Wilkin 
was a <leeply religious woman notwithstanding 
the doctrine of original sin in which I have no 
doubt she fully l)elieved, otherwise during the 
year 1831), wlien not only three of lier children 
died, but her husband's health failed and that 
of her (hiugliter Mary became the cause of great 
anxiety, except for implicit faith in the justice 
and mei'cy of lier God, she must have herself 
broken down under her trials. But through it 
all and all the i-est of her life her religious faith 
was her crowning glory. She was a wonum of 
superior intelligence and her company was 
much sought for, not only by her relatives, but 
by her acipiaintances, men as well as women, 
believers and unbelievers, for advice and the 
pleasures of her conversation and companionship, 
altho confined much of the time at home by 
feeble health. Her letters show that she was a 
clear thinker and ready writer, Indeed she had 
(luite a re])utati()n as a writer of poetry, but I do 



48 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

not know of any of her poems having been pub- 
lislied or preserved. Some lines written and 
published in connection with the notice of her 
death, with wliich I will close this sketch, refer 
to this accomplishment. Her father-in-law, 
wlien some one spoke to him in praise of some of 
lier ])oetry, smilingly replied, "Well, I had 
hoped my family would be spared that trial." 

Cheerfulness and a well controlled temper 
were the habits of her life. Mr. Wilkin had 
little faculty for looking after his financial 
interests beyond his present needs. His tastes 
were simple and his waiits were few. He was 
generous and thought more about helping a 
client who needed his services than he did of 
collecting his fee for the service. In this respect 
lie sadly needed a guardian to look after his 
affairs in the interest of his family, who by their 
pride of position, with, at times, an almost want 
of the common necessaries were in quite straits 
to keep u]) appearances. Once, when he com- 
plained to his wife at the table of tlie (juality of 
the tea, evidently his wife concluded to give him 
a reminder on this line, for she caugiit up the 
tea-i)ot and tossed it out of the open window by 
her side and told him, "you should provide 
better." kSeeing that it had fallen upright on 
the ground he went out and brought it in and 
with much politeness returned it to its place on 
the table. He caught lier ])()int. 




kM 




MR. AND MK8. 8AMUEL J. WILKIN 
IN 1844 



BIOGKAPHICAL SKKTCHES 49 

Her children almost adored her and her hus- 
band found in her not only a faitliful wife, but a 
loving companion. She and her daughter Sarah 
spent many precious hours to;j:ether, in a com- 
l)anionship ever gratefully remembered by the 
dau^ihter, during the last years of the mother's 
life. She died March 23rd, 1854, from lung 
troubles, having passed her fifty-eighth birth- 
day. Her funeral was on a Sunday, at the same 
time and place, as that of a friend, Mrs. J. C. 
Wallace, and the occasion was long remembei'ed 
by the citizens of Goshen as one of peculiar 
solemnity. The other churches were closed 
and their members came to the funeral to testify 
their respect for the deceased. The following, 
tlie authorsliip of which is not indicated, was 
])ublished in the Goshen Democrat. 

ELEGIAC 

In memor}^ of Mrs. Samuel J. Wilkin 

Why should we monrn thee! 

See the captive bird 

Hath burst its prison bar, and wanders free, 

Through the clear ether, till no more is heard 

Its minstrelsy. 

Should we deplore its flight 

As up the blue expanse with quivering wings 

Exultingly it springs, 

Spreading- its pinions towards the throne of light, 

And leaving- far behind the land of chains and 

Whv should we mourn thee! [night! 



50 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

Wlien the exile lone, 

Jlomeward returning from far espies, 

His cot's low roof witli verdure overgrown, 

Mid the green foliage where embowered it lies, 

And |)ressing forward, with a bounding lieart 

And (juickened footstei), gains the distant si)ot; 

From its loved slielter could we say depart? 

And seek again the pilgrim's weary lot 

Each hardship o'er, each peril now forgot. 

Wliy sliould we mourn thee 

Gifted one, thy lyre 

Gave tlie sweet echoes of thy soul's warm lay; 

Strings such as angels sweef), the golden wire 

That vibrates to seraph's touch of fire; 

Tiie holy, holy song 

Immortal lips prolong [clay, 

These were thy high aspirings, and thy robe of 

Bound but thy spirit's wings which longed to 

Why should we mourn thee! [soar away 

In tiiy bright abode 

I'ain is unknown and sorrow hath no ])lace. 

The heritage alone of those who trace. 

Life's stormy I'oad, 

'Tis for ourselves we weej) 

Poor earthborn prisoners still 

On our toilsome way and steei), 

With our load and care and ill; 

But for thee, sweet songstress, thee! 

Be our purest ])raises given: 

Like the captive bird made free, 

Like the exile joyously 

Thon hast gained thy throne in heaven. 

And thine earthly lyre 

Though quenched in fire 

Will echo a<iain mid tlie anuel choir. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 51 

SAIIAH WESl^COTT WILKIN was born 
January 2nd, LSoS, at No. 173 Spring Street, 
New York cit}^ during the short period her 
fatlier i-esided away from Goshen. She w^is tlie 
daughter of Samuel J. Wiikin and Sarah G. 
Westcott, both of Goshen. In tlie fall of 1841 
her parents returned to their former home in 
Goshen and lived there until after the death of 
Gen. Wilkin when they moved to the Wilkin 
house. After tlie death of her mother she and 
lier father remained there until about 1860 when 
they w(^nt to live with her uncle Nathan West- 
cott in the old Gale- Westcott house. From 
there she was married in the church, April 12th, 
1805, to Roswell 0. Coleman, then agnin she re- 
turned, with her luisband and father, to the 
Wilkin house. Her father only lived to the 
following March, but as he said to her when 
brought to her bedside after the birth of her 
lirst child, "I am ghid to have lived to become a 
grandfather." 

She was the child of parents well advanced in 
years, the youngest of eight children, but from 
her earliest recollection the others had either 
died or left home, so that she grew up almost as 
an only child and was the object of her parents 
most solicitous care and devoted love. Beside 
her home training, with cultivated ])arents, and 
her attendance at the Goshen schools, she had 
a final course in the home and at the school of 



52 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

the Misses Graliniri at No. 1 Fiftli Avenue, New 
York. Accustomed as she was to the compan- 
ionship of elderly peoi)le and to the dail_y inter- 
course with the friends of her parents, ratlier 
than with children of her own age, she acquired 
quiet, self-possessed manners, but was always 
bright and cheerful, with the happy faculty of 
pleasing and making friends. Even as a child 
she was a great favorite with the students in her 
father's office, which connected with the liouse. 
Years after one of them told her about an 
occasion when she was not pleased witli the 
condition of the oMice floor and of her going for 
a broom and in her efforts to sweep raising a 
great dust, at which the young men "shewed" 
her out, calling her an apparition; soon slie re- 
turned and told them, "My mamma says 1 am not 
an appernition, I am perstantial flesh and blood." 
vShe was very fond of music and in her early 
days played well u])on the i)iano, and accom- 
panied herself in singing upon a guitar. Her 
voice was clear but not strong and she had a 
very correct ear for the tune and for liarmony. 
Hers was a genuinely mother's voice and she 
had abundant oi)portunities for usin*: it in qiuet- 
ing and soothing her children's childish and real 
troubles. And, too, most ungrudginjily her 
voice was given in reading, in which she excelled, 
both to the young and to the grown ups. When 
other means faiknl, she would entertain her 



8ARAH W. COLEMAN 

At About The Age of 'J'hirty-tive 



s not 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 53 

children by the liour reading, and often re-read- 
ing, to tliem chikihood's tales, and often, too, 
with tlieir little friends as listeners. Sometimes 
tlie}^ would have lier vnry the prouramby asking 
her to tell the stories in her own way. Loving 
these stories, fairy, liistorical and biblical, her- 
self, she fully entered into the spirit of them in 
her telling. For her own pleasure she read 
much of the best literature. It is wonderful 
how, with the few minutes at a time at her 
command slie was able to read so many of botli 
tlie older and later wi'iters. She loved tlie very 
companionship of books, and to be in the library 
surrounded l)y them. She possessed in no 
small degree literary powers of lier own, but 
after her marriage the i)ressing duties of her 
daily life precluded any exercising of these 
powers. She had on several occasions, to sup- 
|)ly local needs, written A Carrier's Address, 
words to be sung to the tune of Dixie, at a 
public war-meeting, and The Wounded Soldier, 
patriotic verses, which were published in 
Harper's Weekly. Many other compositions, 
humorous, descri|)tive and pathetic, only came 
to the knowledge of her friends. 

In personal appearance she was five feet high 
with a compact, well rounded figure, her eyes 
were grey and she had a great abundance of 
hair, "sandy" and naturally very waivy and 
curly. She was very light on her feet, quick in 



54 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

her motions and when young fond of dancing; 
even after her chiklren were grown her sons 
would catcli her u|) and she would waltz about 
the room with her old time ease, grace and 
jollity. 

Altho unaccustomed, in childhood, to much 
companionship with children she had the great- 
est ])atience with and sympathy for their trials 
and troubles, real or imaginary, and loved to be 
with tliem. She had a marvelous faculty for 
treating and caring for their ailments. While 
naturally of a very sensitive and emotional 
nature she would, when necessary, in emergen- 
cies do heroic acts, with good judgment, which 
were highly approved and commended by the 
doctor when he ari'ived. An instance of nerve 
in an emergency: she heard the children scream- 
ing in the back yard; hastening out she found 
one of the neighbor's boys li()])|)ing about on one 
bare foot with an iron toothed garden rake 
hanging from the other. No one was around to 
call upon for helj) and something must be done 
at once. kSo, putting him on the ground, the 
little woman put her foot on his body, taking 
the head of the rake in both liei- hands, (piiver- 
ing herself in every fibre, pulled her best and 
drew the iron tooth from hm foot. After bind- 
ing it up she sent him home for treatment and 
went in and laid down herself. One more 
instance of courage of another sort: she was on 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 00 

the train on her way to the city. She had oc- 
casion to move to a seat on the opposite side of 
the car. Soon she remembered having left a 
fine umbrelhi in the first seat. In the meantime 
a man had taken the seat: she asked him about 
it and not finding- it she asked tlie brakeman to 
assist her, wlio asked the man to stei) out while 
lie looked under the seat, but without finding it. 
Thinking possibly she might have left it in the 
station she gave np looking, but was qnite an- 
noyed about it as it belonged to a friend to 
whom she was taking it. As the train was ap- 
proaching the next station the man arose to 
leave. As he passed her she noticed the corner 
of the handle of the umbrella inside Jiia over- 
coat. She meant to have that unibrella what- 
ever happened, so, saying "I will take my nm- 
breUa, Sir," reached up and took hold of it: he, 
in some confusion, muttered, "Oh, Oh, some 
mistake. 1 sup])Ose," and hastened from the car 
amid the laughtei* of the other passengers. It 
is quite evident she possessed the family traits 
of a cool head and absence of fear. It is told of 
her brother. Col. Alexander Wilkin, who was a 
inan only five feet and an inch high, that on his 
way home from the Mexican war he sto])ped at 
the home of an army friend, in the suburbs of 
New Orleans, to execute some commission en- 
trusted to him. lie arrived there after night 
fall but before it was fairlv dark and had to 



56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

walk some distance back iVom tlie lii^hway. He 
was attended by a colored servant and shortly 
after they entered the grounds they were fiercely 
set npon by two blood hounds, trained for hiint- 
in.u' negroes; keeping the servant beliind liim he 
held the hounds at bay by command and stern 
demeanor, backing them before him until he 
reached the dwelling. Arriving there in safety 
his friends dechired they w^ould not have be- 
lieved it possible for them to have escaped alive. 
The saddest trials of her life, naturally, wei'e 
the deaths, first of her youngest son, Chai'les, a 
bright, handsome, chubby little chap of seven, 
quickly swept away by scarlet fever; and next, 
only a few months after, of ^lary, a most 
sprightly, talented and lovable girl of eigliteen, 
also taken most unexpectedly after only a very 
short illness. "Oh," she said, "I have heard of 
heart ache, but I never felt it before; it seems 
as though mine would break." But the times 
of her greatest pride and happiness were when 
surrounded by all her ten children in the old 
Goshen home, particularly at the Holiday 
seasons, when seemingly she could not do 
enough for them or sufficiently rejoice with 
them in their frolics and games. My, but the 
rows of filled stockings on Christmas morning 
and how the old house would resound with all 
their merry voices and shook under their romp- 
ing feet. At one time the rule was no one 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCHES 57 

could have tlieir stockin«:s until dressed, but it 
was found some of them had smn<ioled them- 
selves off to bed dressed, so the rule was 
chauiied and none could come down stairs for 
their stocking until it was light enough for them 
to distinguish the different colors of pieces of 
worsted taken to bed with them. No party 
even for little folks was complete without her 
presence. 

All her childish associations and most of her 
adult life's experiences were in Goshen and 
about the old home there. There all her child- 
ren were born and two of them were buried 
there. Singularly her life began about three 
years before living there and ended about the 
same length of time after she left there. There 
were her most treasured memories, there she 
was married and there many of her ancestors 
had lived and were buried; and yet in the course 
of time, so many changes had occurred, she left 
there willingly when the requirements of her 
husband's business made a change of residence 
desirable, and, in 1890, the family moved to 
Newburgh. She ho[)ed by the cliange and with 
new surroundings and larger privileges to 
awaken new interests, and in the absence of so 
many reminders of past griefs to be less con- 
scious of them. And in a measure so it was. 

Never of robust health and yet without serious 
illness, except in a single instance when she had 



58 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

a most alarming attack of pneumonia, she was 
able almost niiceasin^^dy and most efficiently to 
attend to her many duties to within a short 
time of the end. 

It must not be supposed that her life was 
spent in one \ou^ round of family duties and 
cares. Somehow time and a way was found to 
make a pleasant trip to Saint Paul (for the sec- 
ond time) to visit her brother, the Judge; at 
another time to the Saint Lawrence and Can- 
adas: many happy seasons were spent in the 
Adirondack camp; and, chief of them all, to go 
with her two oldest danghtei'S to Europe for 
twelve weeks. And between times many lesser 
excursions and no end of social doin<:s. She 
had the happy faculty when once she got away 
from home to leave it and its responsibilities 
behind and enjoy herself without worrying about 
what she could not help. 

One of the things she hoped for was the privi- 
leges which come with old age of living with her 
children and being with her grandchildren. 
During the last year of her life she got about 
less than usual, particularly the last six months, 
but, her manner was so clieerful and hopeful, 
the family, while anxious hoped with pleasant 
weather of the coming summer to see her around 
as usual and did not realize the danger. Probab- 
ly she did, however, more than, they. Sud- 
denlv, without any acute attack, she began 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCIIES 59 

rapidly to fail and after less than a week of 
alarinint^- s^ymptoins, the flame of life began to 
flicker, then went out and she was gone. Tl)at 
bright, always liopefiil, cheerful and helpful 
dear little wife and mother was taken from the 
objects of her devoted love and from the wider 
circle of dear friends to other worlds forever. 

To inidertake to write the many interesting 
matters concerning her life, of the duties well 
done, of her children and the providing for them, 
of their education and training, and how some- 
times, with little to do witli she did for so many 
and always kept them tidy and presentable, 
would not only make a book but a mighty big 
one. She died at Newbui-gh on the 29th day of 
May, 1899. 

She was one of a line of women of marked 
religious character and Christian faith and witli 
wide influences. They were all Presbyteiians. 
She was the last of a family of large mental 
ability and flue culture, but in speaking of her 
it seems natural rather to speak of those con- 
nected with her than of herself, for with 
womanly loyalty and modesty she did not seek 
attention for herself, but rather desired appre- 
ciation for those she loved. Always a loving 
and devoted wife she was, however, above all a 
true mother. Her constant thoughts were of 
her duties to her Maker and to her family, not 
so particularly desiring for her children worldly 



00 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

position and success as to liaA^e tliem deeply 
impressed with sound, broad and Cliristian 
principles and to have higli ideals. For years 
it was her earnest hope and prayer to be i)er- 
mitted to live until her children were grown, 
yet she considered no sacrifice of her strenoth 
so great as not to be cheerfully made for their 
welfare: and cheerfulness and hopefulness were 
her ever present habit. 

THE OLD WILKIN HOUSE 

For nearly or quite one hundred and twenty 
years this house has sheltered the descendants 
of the young man that built it for his home. 
Three generations of children have lived there 
and have either passed to the beyond, or are 
now out in the world in their later homes, while 
a fourth generation of them nre now its inmates. 

For nearly thirty years I lived in it. There 
with my bride I first established a home. There, 
with one exception, my children were born, and 
there the best of my life was spent. What won- 
der then my thoughts should thither turn when 
in reminiscent mood. 

In 18(35 the house extended much farther back 
from the street in a succession of additions each 
a little lower than its predecessor and ended in 
a small story and a half wing, which had former- 
ly been the slave quarters. The next forward 
covered the cistern and was used chieflv as a 



IS purpose^ 

h.wl Is;./.,-.,,, 



(^ new dining room adfliti.. 

: -It I lie jjU'jLro iTKiiii Uiiikliii:; 



of the fee 






n(is }ind 




nf -.^rA 



THE (3LD WILKIN HOUSE 

About 1870 



niO(}RAPHICAL SKKTCHES ( j I 

laundry nnd liad a small room off. Next came 
the kitchen and then three rooms. The one 
farthest south wns an entiy which opened on a 
side porch, the one farthest north also had an 
outside dooi', toward the street, and had been 
used by Gen. Wilkin in his Inter years as an 
office, while the middle room, with a window 
looking west, had served for various purposes. 
All these randiling wings, which had become 
more or less out of repair, were torn down about 
1870, find the |)resent kitchen wing built. Later 
on, about 1890, the new dining room addition 
was built. Rut the large main building with its 
hall, eleven feet wide and thirty-two long, nnd 
its rooms, except for very slight changes, remain 
the same. The same hewn thnbers sustain it, 
the same siding covers it and the same walls en- 
close its rooms. These walls have witnessed 
what has transpired there all these yeai's: the 
happiness, the comforts and the sorrows of tlieir 
inmates; the comings by birth and the goings by 
deaths; the anxieties caused by childish ailments 
and the patient nursings of those passing from 
life; the romping of the feet of many merry 
children and the timorous step of the feeble and 
aged; the weddings and the funerals; the smiles 
and the tears; the entertainments of friends and 
the feastings of guests. All the doings of and 
happenings to kindred. The importance too of 
those rock-bottomed cellars must not be over- 



02 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

looked. There the fresli milk and delicious 
cream and butter were always in abundance; 
and huge meat barrels well filled; and goodly 
stores of fruits, preserves and vegetables; and 
barrels of cider, yes, and the well stocked closets 
of wines and liquors, for, while the good deacon- 
general would not i)ermit a playing card iibout 
tlie house, his side-bonrd offered a generous 
supply of good old madeiras and ports with 
brandies for those that preferred. Times and 
customs as well as inmates have changed with 
the passing years. 

Oh, the interesting tales this old house could 
tell. But it is better as it is. Our imagiidiigs 
can sufficiently picture the liappenings and thus 
we can omit much that was sad and disappoint- 
ing for such there nuist luive been. Rather let 
us bring to mind the many useful and well 
rounded lives spent there. History only repeats 
itself with tlie necessary variations to suit the 
different individuals. Hosts of memories Avill 
serve us elders without the aid of sucli iinsymp- 
athizing i)rompters. 

In the nature of things the old house stands 
for more in the lives of its women and cliildren 
inmates, for the men have more to do with out- 
side affairs, so the miud will conjure up possible 
visitations of friend 1}^ ghosts of departed 
mothers Avitnessing the pleasures and the trials 
of their children and their children's children 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKKTCIIES (53 

and we wonder wluit tlie thoughts of the 
visitant would be. But it is (luite as well we 
have not the power to see the invisible, that 
may be left to the hei-eafter. Let us be content 
with feelings of gratitude for what those that 
have gone before have been to us and have faith 
ill those that are to follow us. Undoubtedly 
some of the parents that have lived in the old 
house have been sndly disappointed in some of 
their children, but so also have they had 
occasion for great thankfulness in others. 

The aged are ever anxious to give to youth 
the benefit of theii- experience and are obliged 
to leave their propert}' behind for them; youth 
is anxious for the property but seldom have any 
use for the experience: soon, often, the property 
takes to itself wings and leaves them to pain- 
fully gather experience of their own. Wisdom 
rarely comes by inheritance, it must be acquired, 
so let us hopefully trust to the i)rinci|)les and 
ideals implanted in the early trainings of our 
children for happy results, though we cannot 
help regi'ettiiig their many sad and unnecessary 
mistakes. With ti-ue Presbyterian i)hilosophy 
I conclude that this is best for the development 
of mankind, or it would be ordered otherwise. 

The old house has thus far escaped disaster 
and is still well preserved and we hope other 
generations of descendants of its builder may 
yet find beneath its roof a happy home. 



REMINISCENCES 





PAGE 


Runbolt'8 Run 


G() 


A Fourth of July Episode 


69 


Bob- Sledding on the Crust 


7o 


Our Drive 


70 


A Longer Drive 


81 


The Crickets 


84 


My Trip to Europe 


87 



REMINISCENCES 65 



You frequently hear people say "Don't be 
reminiscent, it's a sign you'r arrowing old." Well, 
suppose it is, what then? We must, if we live, 
uTow old: surely it's no disgrace, nor should it 
be undesired, though poor human nature yields 
to it most unwillingly; and the past must have 
lived with some interest to the future. Another 
saying is "There's no fool like an old fool." But 
one need not be a fool, surely, because old. 
There must be some safe and middle course in 
both cases: to tell what you remember and yet 
not be a bore; to be old with youthful feelings 
and yet not act like a youth. So I preach, 
whether, so I practice you must decide and say 
if my reminiscences are a bore, and if I am a 
fool for thiidving, boy-like, that my happenings 
would interest other people. 



66 REMINISCENCES 

RUNBOLT'S llUN 

Is the historic name of a small run, or brook 
ill East Division of the town of Goshen, liuvinf,^ 
its source on what was tlie VanDuzer farm and 
in a spring, which at one time was made a small 
S|)ring-pond, by the late Reeve Van Duzcr, and 
which is on the south side and a little east of a 
road passing Slate Hill Cemetery. From tliere 
it finds its way in a northerly direction east of 
Slate Hill thru what was Heard's farm, Haight's 
farm, Johnson's farm, the whole length of my 
father's farm and Phin Coleman's land to the 
Otterkill, a total length of about two miles. It 
derived its name from an Indian named Runbolt 
who had his camp, according to tradition, some- 
where along it on my father's farm, near where 
it is crossed by the East Division road from 
Johnson's Corner. The farm was known as the 
Runbolt farm and often when a boy and away 
from home I would be asked, "Well, how are 
you all at Runbolt's?" Runbolt was one of 
several Indians who made the deed recorded in 
book A of Orange county records of deeds. 
Whatever he may have been in life he is a good 
Indian now, for he is dead, which was the only 
kind of Indian most of the sei-tlei-s trusted and 
they knew them pretty well. The name of the 
stream is often used in the desci'iption in old 
deeds of land in that locality. 



REMINISCENCES 67 

When I first recollect the brook it was wooded 
alon^' nearly its entire course. It was always a 
never failing strenin, fed mostly by siiring water, 
and in places somewhat marshy, and there it 
was notable ground for woodcock. Tho small 
we couM always find in its deeper "holes" some 
fisli of the commoner varieties with an occasional 
pike, or eel; and in its waters and along its 
banks we swam, built water wheels and dams, 
dug the pungent sweet-flag root, or gathered its 
tender, edible buds — and there in one way and 
another I spent many of the happiest hours of 
my boyhood days. Near by grow shell-bark 
hicory ti'ees in unusual numbers, from which 
we gathered nuts, and in them hunted grey 
squirrels, while they, too, were trying to lay in 
their winter stores. 

The brook ran through a retired out of the 
ti-aveled-way section along its courses between 
small hills and through fertile meadows, in 
places overhung with the tag-alder; in the open 
|)Ools gi-ew the fianiing cardinal ])lant, the 
blue blossoming pickerel weed and the yellow 
water lily; while along its shores were blue 
meadow lilies; in the sunlight, on its mirrored 
surface, merrily danced the water bugs and 
spiders, and the bull-frog, from his bog, solemn- 
ly watched the game; the mud turtle, on his 
log, took his sun bath and the devil's darn- 
needles in the air lilanced bv, in theii' lance like 



68 REMINISCENCES 

llijj,lits — thus it meandered, spreading fertility 
as it went, on its way to its outlet in the Otter- 
kill with a quiet, enchanting beauty all its own. 

About sixty years ago David H. Haight built 
a dam across it, in the woods near the so-called 
new East Division road, which formed a small 
pond for gathering ice, and, it was said, he also 
stocked it with fish. This pond was only one 
field across from our house and there we did 
most of our skating and would like to have 
fished, but were deterred by certain threatening 
notices forbidding it, from i)ure selfishness as 
we believed: and from the prejudice then formed 
against him on that account we never wholly 
got over, which however, as he did not know, 
made no difference to him. About the year 1871), 
I think, he built a new dam, a little farther down 
stream, and enlarged the surface about double. 

In the bottom of the old pond there must still 
be at least the runner of a skate I lost in there 
one day while playing "])ompy" on the ice with 
tiie other boys. The ice was safe, except by 
the dam where it gradually thinned down to 
where the water i-an over. We would come 
down one side of the pond at our best speed and 
swinging around on one foot with the other 
made our mark as near the edge as we dared, 
each circuit making the mark a little further out. 
There necessarily could be but one endin^:, if 
the game continued, as I was the heaviest; but, 



REMINISCENCES 69 

trustino: to my greater speed, we kept it up 
until I broke tlirougli and found myself in the 
wjiter, fortunntely near enough to the apron of 
the dam not to be in over my head. While 
floundering to the shore I lost one of my skates. 
The weatlier was intensely cold nnd before I 
reached home my clothing was frozen so stiff 
that when [ got out of them they could have 
served as a sort of suit of armor. 

A Fouirru OF july episode 

It was the evening before the Fourtli. We, of 
the fnrm, had finislied our su|)i)er and were 
sitting in the kitchen while mother was clearing 
awny the dislies — for that was about all there 
was to tfike away after satisfying the appetites 
of five always hungry boys — and I mny count 
fatlier in, for he was quite as much a boy as any 
of us — lhi?d<ing of some phm for the morrow. 

It had been a busy d;iy on the ftn-m. Ibiying 
was about over, but there was always plenty to 
put boys at, so we were tired. As the closing 
chapter 1 had driven the cows to the pasture 
lot, jifter the milking, taking with me the horse 
to be "turned out" for the night. As I took the 
halter off he run for a short distance kicking u\) 
his heels in the nir before stopping to graze. On 
my way back to the house, as I walked along 
the dusty road, I saw a night-hawk, resting on 
his short leus i-ustling his feathers full of rond 



70 REMINISCENCES 

dust. Knowing- its hal)its would i)ei'mit me to 
approach quite near before it would fly I gath- 
ered up the halter in my hand ready to throw 
at the ri<i,ht moment. A boy's only im})ulse at 
such times seems to be to kill or capture. But 
it eluded the rope and escaped. 80, with no 
tjjreat disappointment, for boys get accustomed 
to such failures, I sauntered on home. 

As I look back at it now, I doubt if I took in 
the quiet beauty of the clear summer eveuing 
which must have been there for me to enjoy if 1 
had had a soul for it: much more i)robably my 
mind was on more material and sul^stantial 
forms of deriving pleasure. 

As we were thus resting and thinking of some 
plan, and those plans were of necessity quite 
limited in tlieir scope, in rushed Ileni-y, an- 
nouncing that he had come to spend the Fourth 
with us. He had come from the city, on tlie 
evening train and had walked out from the vil- 
lage, leaving his father and mother who had 
come up with him, to go with the friends wlio 
had been exi)ecting them. Henry was a push- 
ing, masterful chap and under his lead i)hins 
were soon formed. We would go to Thompson's 
l)ond for perch and pickerel. This it was de- 
cided partly because in going we could stoj) and 
pick up his cousin — where his father and moth- 
er were staying — and as soi't of a palliative too 
for not having ^one there as he was 



REMINISCENCES 71 

expected — on our way to the pond. Altho, 
a, little wliile before we tljon<2;ht we 
were tired and ready for bed, now conditions 
were clian^ed. To fish we must have live bait, 
and bait mnst be caught that night as we were 
to start at three o'clock the next morning — the 
place to catch them was in the Otterkill at Tut- 
hill's, two miles away. So, 1 went to catch the 
horse while James and Henry took the lantern 
and (big some woi'ms, got out the gunney-tag 
seine and looked ii]) the fishing tackle. Soon 
we were on our way to the kill — soon in the 
water up to our waists seining — and soon had 

enough bait to catch a barrel of fish, if . Then 

we got back home — left everything in readiness 
in the bai-n for an expeditious flight in the 
morning — a lunch was left on the kitchen table 
by mother — and at nearly midi]ight we went to 
our rooms foi- a little rest. To guard against acci- 
dents and not trusting to alarms or calls we 
ari'aiiged to divide the time into tricks, one to 
watch wliile the others slept, the tirst watch 
falling to me. 1 did a risky thing under the 
circumstances, 1 laid down on the bed, resting 
on my elbows, with a book before me and a 
candle resting on the book. And what book do 
you suppose it was? I smile myself as 1 think 
of it now. It was a Mythological Dictionary, 
which had been loaned me to use while studying 
Latin. 1 thouuht it would be a good time for 



72 KEMINISCENCES 

me to *;et in some work on it. It required a 
considerable effort, but I realized my duty to 
tlie otliers, so, manfully kept at it, thinking 
wlnit tremendous fellows «•**■» 

"Hello, there! Hello! Wake up." With much 
effort I came to realize that it was my father's 
voice — calling us — and to breakfast — and more 
that it was daylight. But, what was the mat- 
ter? I could not lift my head, at first, but 
slowly it pulled loose from the tjdlow in which 
my hair was plastered to the book on which my 
head rested. The candle must have fallen over 
as I fell asleei) and before going out had melted 
a quantity of tallow. Mercifully it had goue 
out of its own accord and did not set fire to the 
whole institution. I sometimes wonder that 
any boy lives to grow up. Surely a Providence 
must be on the lookout to help them out of the 
many traps they set for themselves. 

Yes, it was daylight, but, as a doubtful com- 
fort, there was a pouring rain — and we were 
being called to bi'eakfast. The rain kept up, 
or rather, came down, hour after hour. The 
bait were dying off. A disap])ointed and dis- 
consolate lot we w^ere, until just before noon, 
when the clouds began to break away and the 
sun feebly to come out. Hopes began to rise, 
and soon after dinner we were on our way to the 
pond; and, in due time, were anchored in a 
leaky scow, waiting for bites. The sun, after 



EEMINISCENCES 73 

the rain, was hot, and depressing and altogether 
we felt pretty well used np, but, altho the fish- 
ing WHS poor, we tried hard to keep onr spirits 
ni) and to think we were having fun. Well, why 
not? P'un, like many other tliiniis, is ])nrely a 
matter of belief — and, surely, our belief was 
justified, for think of all the i)reparation we 
had made, and of the anticipation. Oh, that 
wonderfid gift, the power of anticipation, 
how many of the jileasures of life we owe to it. 
No amount of experience, no number of failures 
to i-ealize, destroy it, age may dull it, but it 
ever I'emains with us to sustain hope, witiioiit 
whicli life would be intolerable. 

BOB-SLEDDING ON THE CRUST 

In the winter of 1862, I thiidc it was, the fall 
of snow was gi'eat. particularly in the latter 
l)art, ami remained until quite in April, when 
there was a thaw and rain wiiich changed (piick- 
ly to clear and cold — very cold — resulting in 
coating the fields and hills with a glade of ice, 
over which one coidd walk or skate without 
breaking through. 

To a lot of us young peo])le this suggested 
great things in the way of coasting, by moon- 
light. Ilow^ell borrowed from his uncle Wells a 
set of bobs made of two knee-sleighs and a 
plank. We made up a ])arty of six, Nine, Illie 
and Maria, with Will, Howell and myself, to 



/4 REMINISCENCES 

const down Slate Hill. Such mh opportanity we 
believed had never luippened before. During 
the afternoon I went over the gi-ouud and ])icked 
out a course which seemed to me to be practic- 
able, running down the northeasterly slope in 
the general direction of Haighr/s pond. After 
supper we met and made our way up, over the 
race-course, through Heard's lane and up the okl 
road-way along the less steei) side. For some 
distance over the last of the way we were unable 
to keej) our feet aud so crei)t along to the start- 
ing point. The sleigh was put in position. Will 
holding on to it to keep it from getting away 
before we were all on, he to get on at the last 
moment. One after another got on in place, I, 
in my simplicity, or foolhardiness, whichever 
you choose to regard it, took the front holding 
the rope, with my feet on the steering cross-bar. 
When we were all ready we called to Will to 
get aboard, which he tried to do, but the instant 
he let go his hold off we went at locomotive 
speed without him. It did not take me long to 
realize what we were "up auainst." The speed 
accelerated tremendously every second. I could 
feel the bar under my feet vibrate with a sense 
that the slightest deflection from a straight 
course meant loss of control and an upset, with 
little probability that I could hold it to that 
course long. When we had gone ])art of the 
way down, tlie sleigh seemed to be in the air — 



REMINISCENCES 75 

next I saw a whole galaxy of stars, not in the 
sk\' — something struck ine in the back of the 
neck and I was "rooting" in the crust. For a mo- 
ment not a sound, not n wliim|)er, from any one. 
I think for that moment we each thought all the 
rest had been done for. For once the girls were 
cniight without a scream ready. Reaching 
around I helped Nine to ri<:lit n\) and asked her 
if she were hurt — then all l)e<:an to talk — and 
eiKiuiry showed all able to respond and that 
there were no broken bones, but some scratched 
faces and blackened eyes and one of the girls 
had a nasty cut on the back of her hand. The 
only explanation of our marvelous escape 
seemed to be that tiie snow and crust had 
sei'ved as sort of a, cushion when we struck 
gi-()uiid. 

We had had plenty, even if our sleigh had not 
been cruslied, with every knee broken and a 
complete wreck, so we gave it uj) and made our 
way homeward, subdued and thankful, leaving 
the sleigh where it struck. The next day I went 
for it with a team and found that on our way 
down the hill the night before we had passed 
over a slight ridge or rift, only a few inches high, 
but from there to where the sleigh lay, with its 
])row buried in the snow, was sixteen paces. So 
our speed can easily be imagined: and as I stood 
there I could also see what we did not realize 
the ni'^ht before^ what would have ha|)i)ened 



70 REMINISCENCES 

hud we gone down tlie hill and across the lot, 
into a stone wall. 

Several girls wdio were greatly disa])pointed 
the night before because they were nnable to 
accept an invitation to join ns were quite con- 
tent wlien they heard of our experience; and 
some of us, for awhile, needed certificates to 
prove our sanity before pai-ents would allow 
their daughters to go with us on any more 
expeditions. 

OUPv DRIVE 

There were four of us — Rector Grannis, Doc- 
tor Pell and lawyers Staats and Coleman. It 
must have been fully thirty years ago. Tlie 
combination was for the purpose of an annual 
drive. We were all busy men — with responsi- 
bilities, which could not be left for long — and 
then, too, it must be comparatively inexi)eiisive, 
for we had many demands on our modest earn- 
ings. Like the Scandinavians, settled in Min- 
nesota, Judge Wilkin told about; who were 
economical and thrifty even in their vices, for 
when they got drunk they did so in the chea|)est 
and quickest manner possible by drinking ])ure 
alcohol. So, not our vices surely, but our 
I)leasures must be planned to suit our times and 
purses. It was therefore decided that it should 
be an all day drive. Staats was the whip and 
knew where and how to get together the best 



REMINISCENCES 77 

l)Ossible combination for tlie purpose. We were 
none of ns willing to be satisfied witli any old 
"skate," for we all kiiew enough about horses 
to find pleasiii-e only in riding behind a team of 
good roadsters; and we wanted a comfortable 
conveyance too. These conditions Staats filled 
by selecting a good well seasoned livery team 
and by borrowing of "Gov." Hinchnian his dog- 
cart for the trip, which, that year was to be to 
Lake Mohonk and l)ack. 

Tlie time foi* tlie drive was determined by the 
leaves of the hickory trees being out as large as 
crows feet. Soon after dayliglit, having each 
taken a hasty bite "to stay our stomachs," 
Staats called for us and ofi'we started — four 
robust young men, each nearly or quite six feet 
t}dl and averaging nearly two hundi-ed j^ounds, 
clean-living and 1 think I may say with becom- 
ing modesty, fairly intelligent, all in our thii'ties. 
The morning clear and the atmosphere ciisp 
— we were out for a solid day's I'ational enjoy- 
ment, with Montgomery, eleven miles away, as 
our first stopping place, for breakfast, wliieh 
had been ordered in advance. Oh! the beauties 
of that morning. Farmers were beginning to be 
about at their chores — the early song of the 
birds — all nature awakening and we thrill- 
ingly awake to it all. And that part of Orange 
county too such a beautiful section of country — 
so diversified with woods, cultivated hills and 



/ 8 REMINISCENCES 

fei-tile valleys — rouds, not the best but good — 
and never a "honk! honk!" in all the land — in 
those days. 

In due time we rejiched our hostelry; the 
horses were taken out for a feed and an hoiii-'s 
rest. After a few minutes spent in sti'etchin^- 
ourselves we were served with an excellent 
country breakfast, to which you may be sure 
we did ample justice. Then, we were on our 
way for Mohonk, twenty-one miles away, down 
the valley of the Wallkill as fnr as New Paltz 
and then five miles up the eastern slope of the 
Shawangunk mountains. 

Staats wjis a great driver. He knew just how 
much lie had in his team and how best to get it 
out of them, when to restrain, when to urge and 
yet have them reach tlie end of tlie day in good 
fettle, and all the while moving along ])leasnntly. 

Still feeling the exhilaration of tlie morning 
and enjoying the pleasure of being out together 
in the open air we rode along pointing out this 
and that noticeable feature of the landscape and 
good naturedly bantering each other about pet 
foibles, until about eleven o'clock, when we 
reached that beautiful notch in the mountains, 
Mohonk. This reminds me of an incident told 
of a Warwick accpiaintance who while in Cali- 
fornia was being shown some fine views of 
scenery by a friend, who, while doing so, 
chanced to remark, "By the wav you have near 



REMINISCENCES 79 

yoii at home a beautiful and very attractive 
place, Molionk, whicli I suppose you often 
visit?" With shamefacedness he was obliged 
to answer, "Well, no, I never have. I suppose 
it must be because it is too near." How many 
of us are iruilty of this same thing, not perhaps 
with reference to Mohouk, but of neglecting 
other local places of beauty and interest, which 
we indefinitely put off seeing, and never see, 
needlessly losing a pleasure within our easy 
reach. 

Of course Mohonk was not then what it lias 
now come to be in point of attractive features 
added by the genius of man, but in its natural 
attractiveness, except, perhaps, for now being 
better brought out, it was then the same delight- 
ful place. Here we took our dinners and our 
team, under the watchful eye of Staats, was fed, 
rubbed down and given a three hours' rest, 
while we wandered about the grounds and 
climbed some of the mountain paths. From 
outlook points we had an extended view of tlie 
beautiful and fertile valley of the Wallkill; 
where those old time Huguenot settlers, to es- 
cai)e religious persecution among their fellow 
countrymen hazarded their lives among the 
Indians and suffered the hardsliii)s of an unsub- 
dued wild, selected this secluded locality where 
their descendants recently celebrated the two- 
hundredth anniversarv of the settlement. 



80 REMINISCENCES 

By two o'clock we were on oiii- way down the 
mountain-side, the team well in hand, but, 
wliere permissible, going at a clipping ])ace, 
swinging us around the bends of tiie road with a 
delightful sensation. Our cart was just suited 
for its load and very comfortable to ride in. 
The road home was the same we came over as 
far as the Basin, where we took sui)per and 
another hoar's rest. 

From there we came by the way of Neelytown, 
thus ])assing through other fine country and 
b}^ places of mutual interest. For awhile we 
felt in a quiter mood, but as tlie shades came 
down the spirit of song came over us. Dear old 
Grannis, that kindly, likable man, big in body 
and in heart, simple in taste and ever charitable 
in judgment, how he loved a song. Then too, 
Staats, the natural poet and genius of the party, 
loved to join in thou*:h not much of a singer, in 
fact none of us could be said to be "gifte(]," but 
we could worry along with some of the college 
and plantation songs in i)retty fail- harmony. VV^e 
would no more than finish with one, or break 
down in it, than Grannis would suggest another. 
Finally it would be, "Come Coleman, now let us 
have 

\Some love to di'ink from tlie foaming brim 

Where the wine dr()])s dance they see. 
But the water bright in its pure clear light 
With its crystal cuj) give me.' " 



REMINISCENCES 81 

Tliis would bring a shout of laughter from all, 
but in the end poor Coleman must yield. And 
so the time was delightfully passed as the tired 
but not wholl}^ dispirited horses, after a drive 
of sixty-four miles, bi-ought us home, at hardly 
more than etirly candle light after a most enjoy- 
able day (including the meals), all ready for a 
good night's rest and better fitted to take up the 
biii'dens of the morrow. 

Other years, when the hickory leaves were 
the light size, we drove to Sam's Point, in tlie 
Mohonks, and to Double Pond, over the line in 
New Jersey, but tliei'e will be no more such 
drives for us. 

A LONGKil DRIVE 

After a conversation between a pai'ty of Gosh- 
en friends, some twenty years ago, about the 
beautiful scenery and the fine roads along the 
Delaware river between Port Jervis and the 
Water Gap, it was decided to take the drive. 
At first it was planned to have three married 
couples of us in tlie party, in a three seated 
wagon, and to be away about five days. But it 
finally resulted in only four going, two of the 
gentlemen not V)eing able to arrange their busi- 
ness for so long an absence. Mrs. V. offered her 
carriage and team, Mrs. 0. her husband, as a 
driver, and Mi's. R. was to be general manager. 
As Mr. R. jocularly remarked, it was to be a 



82 REMINISCENCES 

party of "us four and no moi-e." Tliis chan^io 
in the part}^ was a disappointment for we had 
hoped to repeat a pleasant experience of a for- 
mer ride in Sullivan County, by way of BuU- 
ville, Bloomingbnrg, Wortsboro and over night 
at Monticello; the next day on to Black Lake, 
where we remained over night and the next 
forenoon, enjoying the fishing; then we rode 
over the Barrens and down to Cuddebackville 
and spent the niglit; and the next day reached 
home by tiie way of Otisville, Mount Hope and 
Middletown. That party was Bradford and 
wife, Floyd and wife and myself and wife. Be- 
side enjoying the delights of tlie ride we had a 
rollicking and jolly time together, making meriy 
over inconveniences we had to put up with in 
some of the places where we stopped. 

After much planning abont the route to be 
taken and for the care of the families to be left 
belnnd, we drove away from Goshen one i)lea,s- 
ant Tuesday morning in June, I think it was, 
bound for Port Jei-vis, about twenty-eight miles 
away. Our ronte took iis through Denton, Slate 
Hill, Centerville, Bushville and Greenville, ovei' 
the old Port Jervis turnpike, across the Shawan- 
gunk mountains, crossing the Neversink 
river a little above where it unites with the 
Delaware, as we entered Port Jervis. Our team 
was reliable but not s|)irited, so we leisui-ely 
took our wav thr(m«ih the fine farming regi(ui 



REMINISCENCES 83 

we passed at first and, later, along; down the 
westerly mountain slope overlooking the pictur- 
esque Delaware valJey. The beautiful view when 
we had passed the summit and began descending, 
as we first caught glimpses through the trees, of 
the outspreading valley below, was a sight 
long to be remembered. We spent the night 
at the Fowler House, and, after supper, 
enjoyed a (piiet game of whist. In the morning 
we *:ot away early so as to enjoy the pleasures 
of the morning ride and to enable us to reach 
the Gap, some forty odd miles away, in time for 
supper. Our horses certainly were not "speedy" 
and the carriage was rather lieavy for so long a 
drive, bnt the roads, for the most part, were 
fine, until witliin a few miles of the Gap, where 
they were hilly and sandy. It would be difficult 
to find moi'e pleasing- scenery than the first 
thirty nules after leaving Port. Tlie road i)asses 
along at tijnes close under the sides of the 
westerly hills, then at times in view of the 
river, then through fine farms, and is without 
hills to climb and has a slight downward grade 
with the river; thus miles are passed most de- 
li LihtfuUy . We rested and dined at Diiigman's 
Ferry: and during the afternoon and early even- 
ing made the Gap and stopped at the Kittatiny 
House. Thursday forenoon we spent enjoying 
that wonderful bit of nature, where the river 
impeded in its coui'se by two overlap] )ing 



84 REMINISCENCES 

mountains finds its way, in the form of an 8, 
first to the left around the base of the spur of 
one of them, then between the two, then to 
tlie right around the base of the spur of the 
other, and, then resuming' its even course on its 
way to the sea. 

After an excellent dinner we followed the 
river a few miles down and crossed it at Fort- 
land and from there made our way to Blairs- 
town, wiiere we staid that ni^rht. Friday we 
dined at Newton and spent the night at New 
Milford, at a quaint old fasliioned public house 
in a very pretty section of country. Saturday 
forenoon took us through the fine Warwick 
Woodlands and the beautiful village of Warwick 
and the old village of Florida, and by noon, 
brought us safely back home once more. We 
had been favored with fine weather and had 
jireatly enjoyed ourselves the whole time — but 
the poor horses and tlie driver were pretty well 
tired out. 

THE CRICKETS 

Tlie Crickets was an institution — perhaps 
rather, a function, a social function; and yet it 
was an organization, though without ofiicers, 
but it did have a constitution, brief but to the 
point. It was: 

"Each member, a husband and wife being- 
together a member, should give a square meal, 



REMINISCENCES 85 

each season, to the others, the others having tlie 
privilege of bringing with them one other 
couple, MS their invited guests." 

That wns the whole of it. Some effort was 
made by some of tlie hidies, to limit the number 
of side dislies, but the |)roi)osition did not meet 
much encouragement from the meu and it was 
finally agreed that a considerable latitude should 
be allowed tlie liostess, without her example 
being considered as establishing a precedent. 

And it all came about in quite an impromptu 
manner. Champion, l^eevs, Murray, Sanford 
and Coleman, with their wives, chanced to be 
togetlier, as was then (piite likely to happen, at 
the home, I tliink, of the Reevs', and the subject 
of what should be done in the way of entertain- 
ing during the coining season was being dis- 
cussed. It was decided that there had better 
be some definite ])lan arranged and not leave 
mattei'S to cljance, for we were a social set and 
gi'eatly enjoyed getting together and having a 
good time — yes, and having a good supper, too, 
but without society frills, except as required by 
a proper consideration for Mrs. Grundy. And it 
resulted in the above constitution and then the 
question of a name arose. Sevei-al were proposed, 
and then it was suggested that as we exi)ected to 
sit about each other's hearth stones, cheerfully 
chirping, "The Crickets" might do. This meeting 
general api)roval, it was so ordered. 



8(i REMINISCENrES 

Of course in a coiiiiiuiiiity like Goslieii tlie 
nssocifite or invited ^iuests would natui-nlly be 
th()S(^ with whom w(^ were nil well aeciiiMinted 
and therefore small daii^ei' of haviiiu an uueon- 
geiiial element broiigiit in, foi- this was a party 
that did not wish to have their i)leasnre s])oiled 
by any social frosts. 

Fiom the start tlie "function" was a «:reat 
success and side invitations were very pojxdar; 
and, as those invited were (jnite commonly the 
same at successive meetings, it resulted in still 
moi'e sui)pers, Tliose certainly w^ere famons 
^atlierinsis, where friendly intercourse, withont 
unnecessary formalities, and fun ])i-evailed, 
within reasonable bounds — for we must needs 
not forget that we were all fathers and mothei-s 
— sufficiently, so as to leave our cares behind for 
the time being, and to brighten us up with some 
of the capers of other days, even though they 
were a little frolicsome. We all had family and 
business cares a ])lenty, but we did not mind 
this extra effoi't to get something moi-e out of 
life, socially, than mei-ely living, and you may 
be sure we succeeded fairly well: and did have 
some mighty fine suppers, too. 

The effort each time seemed to be rather for a 
change, or originality, in the chief dish of the 
evening, than for a spread and service. The 
tables were tastefully arranged, but so as to 
avoid unnecessary changing, and presented a 



REMINISCENCES 87 

cheery and jip|)etizi]i^- effect vvlien we were being 
usliei-ed into tlie dining room. (3ften the serving 
was willingly and cheerfidly done by our 
cliil(b'en with some of their young friends, and 
they too had a good time. 

Oh, \es, we sometimes heard mui-mnrings 
from tlie outside, who did not get oi] the inside, 
that we weie a pi'etty wihl set. Well it was 
not a, church sociable and was not intended to 
be, so we were not disturbed. 

Ah, yes, this was years aud years ago; and 
now our children are entertaiuing com])any as 
we did then. The "function" lasted not only 
the season out, but for a number of years and 
nntil the vicissitudes of life began to separate 
us, then with many regrets that it had to be so, 
the ('rickets becaine a thing of the past. 

MY TRIP TO EUPvOPE 

It came about in this way. I had from boy- 
hood l)een accustomed to use a shot gun, but a 
rifle or a pistol only a very little, in that little, 
however, had shown a decided ability to shoot 
well. My interest in target shooting at long 
distances was first aroused by the accounts 
given in the newspapers of the International 
rifle match at Creedmoor, L. I., between Ireland 
and America, in the summer of 1874. Yes, 
thirty-five years ago. I was then in my thirty- 
fourth vear. That seems a long time ago even 



88 REMINISCENCES 

to me. What must it seem to you? Tlie Ii-ish- 
men the year before, at Wimbledon, England, 
hnd proved themselves the best marksmen of 
the world at long distnnces, and were looking 
for new worlds to conquer, had ti'ied Brother 
Jonathan and were worsted, but by a very nar- 
row margin. 

This incited a number of ns in Goslien to form 
a rifle club that summer which we called the 
Leather Stocking Rifle Club — hoping to emulate 
the wonderful shooting of Cooper's hero — with 
a range of from 200 to 500 yards, bnck of my 
house. Here we did some very good work witli 
si)orting rifles. Some of us were ambitious to 
try the longer i-anges so got suitable rifles and 
laid out a range on my fatlier's fai-m for that 
purpose. This was in January and a call was 
already out for competitors to make up a team 
to go to Ireland to shoot a return match the 
following June. The weatlier conditions were 
very unfavorable for much practice in tlie mean- 
time but I got what I could on the range and at 
home I practiced niglit and day, when I could 
get a few minutes, with spots of bhick pasted 
on the wall or on a lam}) shade for bulls eyes, 
sighting and trigger pulling, in position on my 
back, until I had it down fine. And I got all [ 
could to read on the subject and got the theory 
down fine too. The distances for the nuitch 
were 800, 900 and 1000 vards, more than a half 



REMINISCENCES 89 

a mile to cast a single bullet, with liravitation 
constantly drawing it down from a hei^jht, in its 
flight, of 100 or more feet, and the wind carrying 
it to either side, according to its direction and 
velocity, from one to fifty feet, from the instant 
it left the muzzle of the rifle barrel. Then too 
there was the effect of changing lights on the 
eye, and temperature upon the rifle barrel, to be 
constantly kept in mind and overcome. The 
ammunition was weighed to a grain on an 
apothecary's scale so as to be exactly uniform 
ill powei" and resistance. This was with the 
black powder and heavy bullet used at that 
time. Comi)licated and interesting, very, 

was'nt it? 

On the day before the flrst com|)etition at 
C/reedmoor I went there to pick up any ])oints I 
could about the i-an^e. There were fonr com- 
petitions, one in each week, and in them I man- 
aued to secure a place as one of the reserves, 
with the possibility of shooting on the team. 

I had very mnch desired to go to Europe and 
this seemed a favorable and very desirable op- 
])ortnnity, for not only our ex|)enses were to be 
paid, this was important to me, but all the 
indications pointed to a ^rand time. But, 
there was the wife and six, and the business 
which supported them. What about them? 
Well, the wife i)ut on a brave and cheerful 
look — in my pr(\^ence— the children did not 



i)(l REMINISCENfES 

realize the situation Miid the business imist take 
its chMnces. This was tlie oppoi'timity of a life 
time and one which money, even if I liad it, or 
afterward did get it, could not buy. So 1 went. 
When we j)ai'ted in New York, at the dock on 
the l^attery, wife still kept up the brave smile, 
but, as she afterwards admitted to me, when I 
had actually gone with my companions on the 
boat which was to take us out to the steamer in 
the bay, she sat down on the bench by herself 
and gave way in tears to a feeling of utter lone- 
liness. My father and mother, who were with 
her, soon cheered her up and she started hack 
home with a brave heait, yet, as she crossed 
the ferry, and saw the City of Chester going' out 
to sea with us aboard she coukl not entirely 
hide her feelings. 

We were the guests of the Inman Line in 
going over and received many courtesies from 
the officers of the Company. One difficulty 
arose before sailing. By the terms of the match 
the members of the team must be American 
born, the rifles and ammunition Americau made, 
and the latter we took with us. But the Company 
quite decidedly objected to the powder, several 
])Ounds per man. This however was arranged, 
after cabling back and forth several times to the 
home office in Liverpool, by our giving out the 
powder into the custody of the Captain for 
careful storage awav from all danger of ignition. 



REMINISCENCES 91 

My team -mates were a fine, intelligent and 
companionable lot of men and there was quite 
an escoi't of friends who accompanied us on the 
ti-i)). The passaoe was said by those who were 
abh' to .in<]«^e to have been an unusually fine one, 
l)ut 1 felt very unhappy most of the time — from 
quite natural causes. We wei'e met at Queens- 
town Harbor by a delegation from Dublin and 
Cork and taken chai-ge of by them from that 
time on — no bills to ])ay and entertainments 
niiiht and day, when our practice and matches 
did not absolutely demand our time. You will 
hai'dly caie to follow us, in detail, through our 
stay, while the guests of tlie Irish people, to 
lunch at Queenstown, to a bancjuet and foi- the 
night at Cork, then on to Dublin, (stopping on 
tlie way at Blarney Castle), for about three 
weeks, then to Belfast for several days, where 
we ])ai'ted with them, having in all things been 
most hospitably and deliiilitfully welcomed, 
entertained, feasted and finally bidden god-Sf)eed 
on our way. But I must stop to say that our 
teaui match at Dallymount, near Dublin, in 
which I shot as one of the team of six, resulted 
in a jzlorious victory for us and that many 
troi)hies were won by our party in individual 
matches. 

Frcmi Ireland we traveled in Scotland, visiting 
Glasgow and passed through the lakes on our 
wav to Edinburuh. from there we went to Lon- 



92 REMINISCENCES 

(Ion. And there agnin, at Wiiiil)ledoii, we did 
some more shooting with <:ratifying results, and 
received much courteous attention; and ])artic- 
uhirly I will mention an interesting visit to 
Windsor Castle, where we were shown very ex- 
tendedly about that historic place, and through 
Eton, and a trip to Woolwich Arsenal. 

At London the team separated and Ca^^tain 
Bruce and I took quite an extended but hasty 
tri)^ to Antwerp, Brussels, Cologne, Mayence, 
Heidleberg, Baden-Baden, Basle, and from there 
to Paris, having sailed up the Rhine Irom 
Cologne to Mayence. At Paris I left Bruce and 
with most of the other membei"S of the team 
made our way to London and to Liverpool to 
sail for home. Before sailing we were given a 
luncheon by Mr. Inman at his country ])lace 
seven miles out from Liverpool. Hei'e we were 
detained by a severe shower and so arrived late 
to hnd our vessel, the City of Berlin, out in the 
stream waiting for us. From thence we sailed 
to touch at Cork Harbor for the mails, a^ain the 
guests of the Inman Company and a^ain I was 
very unhappy most of the way over. But when 
we reached New York harbor I soon for*iot my 
ills in the excitement, with the forts salut- 
ing us as returning conquering heroes and to hnd 
my little wife, this time with a vvelcoming smile, 
(and with Mr. and Mrs. Champion and other 
friends for com])any) on the little boat sent out 



REMINISCENCES 98 

to meet us and bring us to shore at the Battery, 
from which twelve weeks before we had tlepart- 
ed full of hopeful anticipations and now 
returned full of «j,hi(lsome realizMtions. 

Here my trip to Europe ends, and here I 
should too, but some of my grandchildren may 
sometime wish to heai' something more about 
the shooting, and I may not be here to tell them, 
so I will end with an account of the match for 
the London Illustrated and Dramatic News Cup, 
the most valuable trophy for which we shot in 
individual competition, ut Dallymount near 
Dublin. Those to whom this is a twice told 
tale may now be excused. This match, by the 
terms prescribed by the donor, was at five hun- 
dred yards, but with a bull's eye greatly reduced 
from the regulation size and it must be shot 
by an equal number of British and American 
marksmen. When the match was called it was 
found that eleven Britisli but only nine Ameri- 
cans had entered. Col. Gildersleeve and I, who 
were at another part of the range, and had not 
entered as competitors, were looked up and 
urged to do so to make up the American eleven. 
Our rifles had been sent back to the City, but 
Maj. Fulton offered to let me shoot with his and 
Gen. Dakin to supply me with ammunition, and 
one of the Scotch gentlemen did the same for 
Col. Gildersleve, so we went in. It was a bright 
afternoon in Julv with a mild but trvin^r "fish 



94 KEMINISCENrES 

tnil" wind directly down the rjinge. li;d)l(' at any 
minute to be from eitlier side finding- you with 
wind and wind-gauge botli on tlie same side at 
tlie moment of hi-ijig. Tliis, with tiie small 
ball's eye, made it particularly difficult shooting 
for a high score. When all had com|)leted their 
scoi-es it was found that of tlie twenty-two 
competitors oidy Col. ( iildei'sleve and I had full 
scores, all l)uirs eyes. 80 we must shoot off 
the tie. i3y this time the whole body of several 
thousand spectators were gathered about ns, 
extending- horse-siioe like around us and down 
on botli sides to the butts, and down this lam^ 
of human beings we had to shoot. TIk^ Colonel, 
I supi)ose because of his superior raidc, I being 
only a Captain, led off with the first shot. The 
crowd hushed down as he stepped out and laid 
down in |)osition to fire. Hundreds of glasses 
were focused on the target and as he fired, al- 
most instantly a great shout went up "bull's 
eye." Of course I nmst do as well or lose, so I 
did. All the afternoon there had been fi-equent 
though slight shiftings of the weather conditions, 
re(piiring close observation with corresponding 
changes of ihe rifle si«ihts, and (piick fliing after 
getting into i)osition; some luck too entei'ed into 
the game. Amonti; our friends each had his 
partizans and we could hear them good natured- 
ly backing us and bantering each other. Mattei-s 
were trettiuir decidedlv interestinsji,'. but we must 



REMINISCENCES 



95 



not permit them to become excitin^i- to us. Again 
tlie Colcmel shot. Tliis time some trickey flaw 
ill the wind, or some unfiimiliarity with the 
borrowed ritie, caused liim to hit one point out 
from the bull. What happened next? Well, 
the cup is liere, us you nuiy see, and we will 
let it tell the i-esult. 




1\, V. rolciiijiii ill ])()siti()n tor shooting at 1,000 ynrds 



WOOLSEV PRINT 
NEWBURGH.N. Y 



N. MANCHESTER, 
INDIANA 46962