Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer, Camps Pond and the history of today's Hatch Lake..

This first week of summer has brought some wonderful weather to our area.  The summer folks who gather around our many lakes and reservoirs have arrived and camp cleaning and summer dinning are evident in the area near the ponds, lakes and reservoirs. From Leland's Ponds in the east to Hatch Lake in the west the Town of Eaton still sparkles in the summer sun!

The history of these bodies of water are an interesting reminder of what was accomplished by men who did not have earth moving equipment... only rudimentary tools and horses.  Some of these are a marvel when you think about the years they were engineered and the success of the idea of a canal feeder and its feeders materialized.  One such pond, which was just that a pond, was expanded to be one of the most beautiful summer get-a-ways for people....in the old days it was called Camp's Pond and today we call it Hatch's Lake.  Have been a bit under the weather this week but figured you might enjoy a trip into history!

Camps’ Pond

Today’s Hatch’s Lake, in the corner of the Town of Eaton, once fed the historic Chenango Canal but dates its original name, Camp’s Pond, back to the late 1790s.

Dr. Abner Camp was an early resident of what he named Camp’s Hill, a man of great humor and interest in the local community.  Tales of his adventures hunting and with his efforts to stop the local Native Americans from peering into his cabin at all hours still exist in the area.  He once set about to scare the local intruders by threatening to raise a company of men to run them off after they threatened a war party to get even with him.  He won when he and two other men shouted about like a troop of men and put a bullet over the head of a sleeping old Indian, scaring him almost to death.  The man ran away back to his village thinking a whole troop of men was after him.

Camp’s Pond gave way to Hatch’s Pond when Peter Hatch took the property over in the early 1800s.  By 1833, and the opening of the Chenango Canal, the pond was enlarged as part of the feeder system of canal reservoirs and is today named Hatch Lake.

At one point, the lake’s outlet at the southwestern end was dammed so that the water would no longer flow to the south over the Tioughnioga River and instead would flow to another man-made reservoir, Bradley Brook Reservoir.

Today, the level of the lake and its outlet are controlled and summer camps dot the shores, a great fisherman’s paradise.  This part of the Chenango Canal’s feeder system still feeds the Erie Canal far to the north, at its end starts a man-made reservoir called Bradley Brook. Bradley Brook Reservoir, constructed also in 1835 and '36, covers an area of 134 acres.





Summer, Camps Pond and the history of today's Hatch Lake..

This first week of summer has brought some wonderful weather to our area.  The summer folks who gather around our many lakes and reservoirs have arrived and camp cleaning and summer dinning are evident in the area near the ponds, lakes and reservoirs. From Leland's Ponds in the east to Hatch Lake in the west the Town of Eaton still sparkles in the summer sun!

The history of these bodies of water are an interesting reminder of what was accomplished by men who did not have earth moving equipment... only rudimentary tools and horses.  Some of these are a marvel when you think about the years they were engineered and the success of the idea of a canal feeder and its feeders materialized.  One such pond, which was just that a pond, was expanded to be one of the most beautiful summer get-a-ways for people....in the old days it was called Camp's Pond and today we call it Hatch's Lake.  Have been a bit under the weather this week but figured you might enjoy a trip into history!

Camps’ Pond

Today’s Hatch’s Lake, in the corner of the Town of Eaton, once fed the historic Chenango Canal but dates its original name, Camp’s Pond, back to the late 1790s.

Dr. Abner Camp was an early resident of what he named Camp’s Hill, a man of great humor and interest in the local community.  Tales of his adventures hunting and with his efforts to stop the local Native Americans from peering into his cabin at all hours still exist in the area.  He once set about to scare the local intruders by threatening to raise a company of men to run them off after they threatened a war party to get even with him.  He won when he and two other men shouted about like a troop of men and put a bullet over the head of a sleeping old Indian, scaring him almost to death.  The man ran away back to his village thinking a whole troop of men was after him.

Camp’s Pond gave way to Hatch’s Pond when Peter Hatch took the property over in the early 1800s.  By 1833, and the opening of the Chenango Canal, the pond was enlarged as part of the feeder system of canal reservoirs and is today named Hatch’s Lake.

At one point, the lake’s outlet at the southwestern end was dammed so that the water would no longer flow to the south over the Tioughnioga River and instead would flow to another man-made reservoir, Bradley Brook Reservoir.

Today, the level of the lake and its outlet are controlled and summer camps dot the shores, a great fisherman’s paradise.  This part of the Chenango Canal’s feeder system still feeds the Erie Canal far to the north, at its end stars a man-made reservoir called Bradley Brook. Bradley Brook Reservoir, constructed also in 1835 and '36, covers an area of 134 acres.





Saturday, June 11, 2016

More Thank You's & the History of the Morse Stone House!

It was another busy week down here in “Old Eaton”, events take time to set up and unfortunately time to take down and end.  I thought I would give a few more thank you's although I cannot possibly thank everyone.  A special thanks to a good friend of our events Tommy Hoe…entertainment always a fun thing on a hot afternoon.  Next year we might expand on this…could be fun!

Morse House 
Thank you to the many bakers who contributed…yes many people cranked out the bake goods…Michele Kelly, Barb Keough, Cathy Nagle, Lyle and Nancy Warren, Pat Utter, Jen Caloia, Penny Caloia Mecer, Judi and Steve Goodfriend, Judy Oplinger and anyone I have forgotten….thank you!

I had a great response from the article on the Skaneateles Turnpike and the Morse land office so I dug out the American Building Survey of Historic House in America and had Barb Keough type parts of it up for you.  Then I took pictures contained in our Old Town of Eaton Museum Archives and made the video that is at the bottom of the article.  I hope you enjoy it and pass this on to everyone to help our little museum and perhaps spurn restoration of this historic landmark. Next  to that video will be a video we have done of what it looks like today in June of  2016

 Land Office

The Stone Morse house dates to 1802 when it was built by Joseph and Eunice Bigelow Morse who came to Eaton (Log City) from Sherburne, Mass. in 1796. At Joseph’s death the house passed by will in 1819 to Ellis Morse his eldest son.

In 1869 Ellis Morse died leaving it to his second wife, Adaline Bagg Morse, and his children by both wives.  All the children quitclaimed to Adaline at this time. 1874 in went from Adaline Bagg Morse by will to all living children of both wives.  So Jane Morse, the daughter of Ellis and Lora Ayres Morse, the only unmarried child living, occupied the house until her death in 1908.

Then in 1923 on October 13, Adaline Morse Mott, daughter of Walter Morse, who was a son of Ellis, became sole owner as all possible heirs quitclaimed and the deed was recorded.  In December 7, 1923 by deed, Walter Webster Mott and Rowena Mott, children of Adaline Morse Mott became joint owners. In 1946 by deed, the house passed from Rowena Mott to Walter Webster Mott and his wife, Josephine Holcombe Mott. They became the owners who in 1963 also became the occupants.  The house was vacant from 1908 to 1946, and then only occupied on vacations and weekends until 1963.

Over the years the house changed from a one-story house with outside wall fireplaces to the structure we see today.  The main alterations coming in 1846, when Joseph’s oldest son, Ellis Morse, who had inherited the “home place” from his father, remodeled the house.  In a letter, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Mott, written April 29, 1846, by Adaline (Ellis’ wife) to her “Aunt Dana” in Princeton, Massachusetts, we can get a glimpse of that work.

Adeline wrote, “We are now on the eve of great changes.  Mr. Morse proposes… to make alterations on the house, to tear out chimneys and take down the battlements and finish with a cornice, remove the bedroom from the east end of the house to the west end and have folding doors between the two rooms on the south side, a piazza on the east end with four large columns…. (He) is expecting something like thirty men in less than a month from now and designs to prosecute with vigor until finished…”

They made all these changes as planned, and many more also.  The fireplaces and chimneys were removed.  A chimney was built between the northeast room (now parlor) and the southeast (now library) wall with a fireplace in the southeast room.  In it is a Franklin “set in” with a handsome mantel and hearth.  Unusual feature of the mantelpiece is a panel in the pilaster-like projection at either side of the entablature under the mantelshelf that contains a picture frame complete with glass for pictures of “latest dear departed.”  A chimney that is now used by the furnace was built from basement to roof on the west wall of the northwest rooms.  The chimneys had stovepipe holes in all rooms to accommodate the small iron stoves provided in lieu of fireplace.  Four of the little stoves still existed at the time of this survey.


Today the house remains vacant and neglected not even the lawns are clipped and vines have overgrown one of the most beautiful colonial homes in Southern Madison County. As neglected, with a large gash in the roof, is the old land office from 1802 that sold scripts for the Skaneateles Turnpike and acted as a firehouse for the main house called then a manor. The old hose reel it contained is gone like all of the past occupants.

A video of the Stone Morse House when owned by the Morse Family!


Video of the Morse House in Eaton Today!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Memorial Day Thanks and the Skaneateles Turnpike History all in one!

This weekend's Memorial Day Event was a success and in reality it was because of a lot of folks who stood up to help and to the many who attended.  We had a bunch of winning rafflers and a bunch of different people who baked and it was a true blessing for me to have the co-operation of so many, truly I and the Eaton Museum needed it.  
The thank you list is long and I will try to list as more as the month goes on.  Here is a short list... a thank you to Jen Caloia, Michele Kelly, Jim Monahan, Barbara Keough, Cathy Nagle, Pat Utter, Steve and Judy Goodfriend, & Judy Oplinger ...our main group who held it together. Also to the press...the O-D, Mid York Weekly, Hi Neighbor, Madison County Courier and my friends at the Oneida Dispatch.
The stone Morse House...the little brick land office
 is across from the hour itself on Rt.26.
While at the museum main question I received queries about was about the stone Morse House and the little brick building that is standing with a large gash in its roof.  The Morse house is one of the most historic landmarks in southern Madison County and the little brick building....well, it was responsible in part for the communities that sprang up from Monticello and Richfield Springs to Otisco Lake...including West Eaton, Erieville, New WoodStock, Fabius, Tully and so on  westward. So I thought I would give you so history on it. The building was the land office from which the Skaneateles Turnpike was mostly formed.
The Skaneateles Turnpike that wended its way through town was incorporated on April 2, 1805, under the title “The President and Directors of the Hamilton and Skaneateles Turnpike Company”. The route was to begin in Richfield, located on the Third Great Western Road (Cherry Valley Turnpike, today’s Route 20) and continue through Plainfield in Otsego County, through Hamilton, Eaton, Erieville, New Woodstock and on to the northern part of the town of Fabius, then through the northern part of the town of Tully to Otisco Lake’s outlet, and on to Skaneateles. A venture that was no easy feat to accomplish considering the unbelievably steep hills and the dense forests of the early 1800s.
Skaneateles Turnpike thru - Eaton
*The original New York State Act set out the dimensions and nature of the proposed road as follows: “ The road is to be laid out four rods wide, 26 feet of which to be bedded with wood, stone, gravel or any other hard substance well compacted together of a sufficient depth to secure a solid foundation and was to be faced with gravel or stone pounded or another hard substance in such a manner as to secure an even firm surface, rising toward the middle by a gradual arch. There was also to be a side cut that was to be used by sleds.”
The capital stock of the road fund was to be comprised of 4,000 shares of stock at $20 a share. The Act also allowed for a short fall.
if needed, the company could add two extra dollars per share. This amount of money proved less than enough for the daunting work at hand and by an Act of April 11, 1808, the company was authorized to raise further subscription by selling 1,000 more shares.
Last standing stop on Skaneateles Turnpike in Eaton
The need for this road was evident to the businessmen who were in existence at that time. They needed a way to get their goods and livestock to market. Mill businesses along the swift-flowing streams of southern Madison County needed a way to get the finished products to market, while Joseph and Ellis Morse’s Distillery needed a way to not only ship their goods, but also a way to bring grain and corn to the large business in this early time. This indeed was the reason that Joseph Morse of Eaton invested the unbelievable sum of $30,000 in the endeavor.
The Morse family owned mills and foundries, as well as the large Morse Distillery. Its millponds ran sawmills and gristmills. Morse’s sons each had a business or opened a business along the turnpike’s proposed route: Joseph, a woolen mill; Alpheus, foundries in Eaton and Erieville; and Bigelow, a foundry in Fabius. The foundries needed iron ore from the east and the Morse cattle business needed to get its cattle to the Albany market. All in all, it is recorded that the road would never have been built except for the money of Joseph Morse. *
By 1813, a New York State Act had to be passed allowing the directors more time to finish this road and so the completion date was extended to December 1, 1817. As money continued in shortfall, a supply bill of 1814 gave the company authority to collect tolls under the regulations that were set down in a general Act in regards to turnpike tolls dated March 13, 1807. Even though the road collected tolls, it never recouped the money spent by its many investors.

The small communities & the people along its route ultimately garnered the benefit if they were headed east or west looking for a place to settle. It is in this vein that the roadway was a success.