A Trip Down Memory Lane
Reminences of Days Past
Written by Floyd Young in 1950
Transcribed by Margie Carroll


F H Young

Page 1
The writer recently took a ride to Unadilla Center 
through an area that sixty years ago was blessed with 
fertile valleys, tilled lands, well kept buildings and 
fine timber tracts - a very prosperous region. I was 
vastly moved by the changes that have taken place in 
little over half a century and this is the inspiration for a bit
of history.

Fifty-seven years ago, my father moved from the town-
ship of Franklin to a farm in this section then known as the
Caleb Palmer Place. It was located on the crossroad running
from the Upper Rogers Hollow Road to the Unadilla Center Road
and is the farm recently purchased by Lee Leizear. At the
time our family moved there, there were two well kept frame
houses and barns on the place. The first one on the east
side of the road was the original farm house into which we
moved and which has now gone from decay. The other house on
the west side of the road was built and occupied by Caleb
Palmer and his second wife, Caroline Youngs (my great-aunt) 
as long as they lived. This is the home in which the Leizears now live.

As I crossed the Martin Brook bridge in front of the present Arthur 
VerValen home, I was reminded that sixty years ago
a tannery stood just across the brook on the left hand side.
Spencer Eells' father built and operated the tannery as long as he lived 
and the son continued its operation until it was closed 

Page 2
On the right is the old Chestnut Hill Cemetery, as now.  Above
the tannery on the bank of Martin Brook stood a yellow house,
now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Orville Baldwin.  Next was a 
one-story house occupied by Jim Juncket for many years.  Mr. 
Juncket was a fish peddler whom older citizens may remember. In later years George Wolcott lived there and kept hogs. Living with him was Charles Wilson, an old crippled Sailor rich
in sea stories. Just above, across the brook, stood the Warren Cleaver home (now rebuilt) the birthplace of Guy and Charles Cleaver. Across again and up from the road is still standing a small wood-colored house, the home for many years of the late
Mrs. Jones. A little further along, we crossed a creek bridge again and at the right stood the residence of Mrs. Amelia Teed. Later this home was burned down and rebuilt by her son, Amasa
Teed, who lives there now. Up on the bank, across from the Teed
home, was an old abandoned mill in which lived Louis Carmichael.
At one time Mr. Carmichael owned many acres farther along this
road and the hill ahead was known as Carmichael Hill in those days. Proceeding along, up on the left side stood a new house built and
occupied by a carpenter named George Dunbar. Across and below
the road just this side of the Village Water Dams in the
creek stood the house of John Webb, father of Frank Webb who
lives there now. As I recall these Dams were built by a
contractor named Kelly. On up the road, we approach the old Fagan place, at one time Page 3 occupied by the late Nelson Woodruff. Across the next creek bridge and in the forks of the road, stood the old Meeker School House where my father had formerly attended school. One of his teachers was Frank B. Arnold. We took the right hand fork of the road leading to Unadilla
Center and was reminded that for half a mile there were forests on each side of the road. Then we approached the
place where Lyman Kimball lived. His wife was the former
Clara Youngs, my father's sister. Right across the road was a
good-sized farm occupied by a Mr. Salisbury. The house and
barn were some distance off the road up in a lot and now
long-gone. Above, on the right side of the road, was a small
wood-colored house occupied by Frank Welton and his mother.
This house too long ago fell down from decay. For the next half mile, it was all open land until we come to the Mills place where Ed DeForest lived and the farm is
known by his name to the later generations. On the opposite
side of the road stood the William Smith place, now vacant.
His son was William Gilbert Smith. From this point to the
four corners above, were dense forests on each side of the
road. At the four corners, the old Butternut road turned to the right and a quarter of a mile along on it stood a house once lived in by my Grandfather, Wheeler Youngs, who has been dead
a many years. On down through the woods was the Hemingway
place where William Webb lived and further along through more
woods stood a log cabin owned by Horace Chapin. Straight ahead from the Mills farm and forming one of the page 4 four corners, the Orrin Spencer farm was located about three quarters of a mile along. As I remember, his son Herman met an untimely death. A mile further along was the William Chapin
home and this farm at one time was an outstandingly prosperous one. The next home was that of the notorious Billy Gill Smith
and his family. Many stories have been told of his oddities
and I will relate one of them. It seems that Billy purchased
supplies in large quantities whenever he bought and, on one
occasion, purchased a whole case of rubber boots. It did not
come to his attention that the boots were of all different
sizes but, to make use of them all, he wore out the larger
sizes over the smaller ones. At one time, Billy went into the
chicken business and his hen houses were built from hemlock
slabs. There were many of them - infact so many of them that
the place earned for itself the name of "Slab City" and “Hen
Feathers”. Laying all humor aside, he was free-hearted and a
good neighbor who couldn't do enough for the folks who called
at their door. He, as well as his whole family, were good
musicians and many times the writer has been in the Billy
Gill Smith home and entertained with music that sounded like
a full orchestra. Returning again to the four corners and proceeding to the left, the first farm was that of Clemens Youngs, my Great
Grandfather, who was then dead. He preached many times at
Unadilla Center Church and was known as "Elder Youngs”. From
records in our family, he settled there some time before the
year 1832 and the date of his death as marked on his
gravestone is 1883. Beyond my Great Grandfather’s place lived my Grandfather, Wheeler Page 5 Youngs, in a one-and-half story, red house that is long since gone. I recall spending one winter's night with Grandfather there many years ago when I slept in a room upstairs on a
rope bed with a straw-tick mattress and feather bed. In the
morning when I awoke, a line of snow was streaked across the
bed but - I wasn't cold. In memory we will next visit the Lester Haynes farm who was then still living. Now his descendant, Lynn Haynes, is occupying the farm. Lynn was an old school mate of mine and I recall visiting there many times in the latter part of the
last century, playing in the barns with Lynn and all of his
brothers and a sister. Now one goes along and passes the road that reaches down to the place where stood my first home in this section as was previously mentioned. On the right hand side beyond this road was the farm owned at that time by Jarvis Smith who was the grandfather of Stanley Earl and his sister Lena. Approximately one half mile above the Jarvis Smiths was a road to
the east, down past Billy Gill Smiths which is now nearly
impassable. Beyond where the latter mentioned road turned off was the Juncket place, then a prosperous farm owned and occupied by Owen
Palmer. The house and other buildings are now gone and the place is grown up to a lot of brush and a bit of reforestation. Next was a house, of which is fallen down now. At one time my Mother's father, Gilbert Dix, lived there. And then
the Buckley place. Old records reveal that the Buckleys were
the first settlers in this section, about the year 1790.
Herbert Earl lived on this farm when we first moved to the
town of Unadilla. Page 6 Next is the schoolhouse, now remodeled for a dwelling, and then the Church that dates back to the early settlers. Now, as then, the church holds a prominent part in community
life. I remember a member of the church choir, Lester Searles, with a bass voice of a volume that filled the whole church. The
pastor was none other than our retired druggist, Robert
Homan, of Unadilla. I have heard "Bob” preach many times.
Beyond the church stood the Lester Searles home. Now one comes to Buckley's Four Corners as this part of the road was then known. On the southwest corner of the
forks in the road stood Hack Fisk’s blacksmith shop. On the
northwest corner was his residence, the birthplace of Flossie
Fisk Engel who now resides in Unadilla. Going north on the west side of the road is the home now occupied by Arthur Goebler. I do not recall the name of the owner at the time of our story. Next stood a house and a
creamery. The creamery operated with several men and did a
thriving business for many years. On the same side of the
road is still a stone house, one of the early dwellings of
Unadilla Center, formerly the ancestral home of the
historically prominent Fairchild family. Fifty-seven years
ago this was the home of B. C. Father) Fairbanks (who is a
druggist at Sidney at the present time. The stone house is
now owned and occupied by Adam Rudnitsky. To return to the south east corner at Buckley's Corners - there was located the Lester Searles store and the Unadilla
Center Postoffice in one building. Dewain Burrows drove a
stage and carried the mail from Unadilla. At the store, a
farmer and his wife could buy items ranging from a spool of
thread to a barrel of molasses. Page 7
East from the store and on the crest of a hill overlooking the hamlet of Unadilla Center is the cemetery which bears
evidence that the community sent four soldiers to the defense
of the Thirteen Colonies in the Revolutionary War. They were
Joseph Batterson, Major Seth Rowley, Samuel Bartholomew and
Joseph Reed. Again in 1812 in the war against the British in defense of
American rights, three soldiers from this community lost
their lives and are buried there - John Fisk, Samuel Smith
and John Smith. Three ministers' gravestones are found among the others - Joshua Rogers, Clemens Youngs and R. M VanSchoick. North from the store on the east side of the road came first the Card house, the Chapin Burrows and Curtiss farms and,
lastly, the present home of Claud Chapin who is the only
inhabitant known to the writer out of forty citizens living
along these roads fifty four years ago who is now still
occupying his home in this community. A word about prices - At that time porterhouse steak could be purchased at 18¢ per pound, sirloin at 16¢, round at 14¢, dried beef at 20¢,pork chops at 14¢, salt pork cost 6¢, best
butter at 25¢ per pound and bread at 5¢ per loaf. All other
provisions carried prices accordingly. Weekly board in
Unadilla at either hotel was $4.00. Chestnut coal was $4.00
per ton, house rent $5.00 to $10.00 a month. A suit of
clothes cost from $12.00 to $20.00 - a haircut and shave was
30¢. The lighter side of life was not as boring and dull as one might think. Of course automobiles and state roads had not as
yet come into fashion. There were no picture shows, bowling
alleys, Page 8 skating rinks, golf links or amuesment parks but things not known
about were not missed. Social life consisted of gatherings in
the neighbors' homes for parties, games, picnics and socials. There was skating as well as riding down hill and husking bees where any young man who found a red ear amongst the corn was expected to avail himself of the opportunity to kiss his best girl. The low two-wheel bicycle was in its hey- dey in those days. Many ball games have been played in the lot
across from the cemetery. All in all the folks got along very well
and did not take to their beds from nervous exhaustion. During those days old traditions flourished and were passed on down from father to son - a neighbor was a
neighbor and a friend a friend. Most people worshipped in
some fashion, contrasted with today when one half of the
world is at war with the other half and selfishness is the
driving force of most activi ty. It makes one ponder deeply
as to where it all will end. As I look back over the years since 1893, my thoughts and views have mellowed with their passing. People in those days did not have it so hard and there was much to thank the
Creator for. As time changes the picture, so must the way of
life change and thus we march on and down through the
corridor of history. This was kept as close to the original as possible including spelling and grammar.
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