Two Articles from a Bicentennial publication (by Reginald Bennett and Bess Johnston) in PDF Format (587kb): you'll need the FREE PDF reader for this if you don't already have it.
editors of this web site are grateful to Mr. Joel Craig, who unearthed,
scanned, and provided the following news articles.
Poughkeepsie Eagle Feb. 17, 1864
Let there be a meeting held, let our friend Joe Colwell be appointed President, and honest John Blythe, Secretary, and the balance of the inhabitants act on the propriety of calling the place Bushkill, Logtown, Ackerville, Pork City or Trout Valley. Any thing in fact that will relieve its inhabitants from the terrible suspense which now hangs over them. They have undoubtedly a man in their vicinity who is “marster of a rock”, but is there one who dare name the town. Come out with it.
Poughkeepsie Eagle July 9, 1873
ANOTHER MOUNTAIN TRIP
From an occasional correspondent.
I could not leave Poughkeepsie for more than a day, (and I never want
to) and so I spent it as near as possible, in the wilderness of the Ulster
Mountains at the romantic little village of Chichester. Purer air, grander
scenery and more hospitable people I have never found within fifty miles
of our goodly city. The town is full, and every hotel and boarding house
has two in a bed, so don’t go there, my friends. I had previously
been provided with a gilt edge invitation from Mr. L.A. Chichester, the
Mayor of the town, - a former Poughkeepsian, to make my headquarters with
him, and never was man more fortunate. With a few of Mr. Chichester’s
friends I took the noon boat for Rondout. The boat was late, as boats
generally are. I have never had any luck traveling in boats. They are
a fraud, and behind the age, and no man with any enterprise should patronize
them. Hereafter I travel by rail. My boy shall ride only on express trains,
and I will not employ a man who indulges in boat riding. This trip settled
the matter. We missed the afternoon train on the Kingston & Syracuse
R.R., and so did all the passengers for Overlook who took the boat. We
waited four hours for the evening train which proved to be a mixed one
of passengers, freight and 5th of July whiskey. This is an interesting
road, climbing over buildings, up the side of mountains at an unusual
grade, across deep ravines and through fearful mountain gorges. It is
well built, and its freight and passenger traffic very large, considering
the country through which it passes. The stone and lumber business along
its line is enormous, and when the branch road from Shokan to the Poughkeepsie
bridge is completed, as it certainly will be before the first train crosses
the bridge, a new outlet will be opened for an immense traffic, from an
important section of the State not now reached. Our train, as I have said
was mixed, and a more jolly lot of passengers or more accomodating officials
I have never seen. Passengers seemed inclined to stop at every station
a few minutes to inspect the country, and for refreshments, and as it
was not an important train fast time was between and long stops at stations.
Conductor, engineers and train hands mingled with the passengers at the
stations, and pointed out the objects of interest on the route. We brought
up at Phoenicia, the station for Chichester in good time time and spirits.
Cheers were heard from the depot and cheers from the train echoed responsive
through the mountains. The passengers got out to bid us good bye, the
train officials officials said farewell and the engine “tooted” our
departure. The Phoenicia Band escorted us to our conveyance, and here
is where the largest joke of the trip comes in. In honor of our party
the finest yoke of oxen (“oxin” the judge would say) in vicinity
had been procured and decorated with flags, and had been sent with a cart
with three boards across it to convey our distinguished party a mile and
a half to Chichester.
I have said it is a wonderful village, indeed it is a marvel. If a Poughkeepsian would know what a great manufacturing interest does for a place, let him visit Chichester. Eight years ago a chair factory in the second ward of this city was destroyed by fire. The people looked at the rubble and said, “I am sorry,” but not a capitalist, not a bank interest said: “we must not lose that factory, it is worth a hundred thousand dollars a year to this city. We must encourage the proprietor and aid him if he requires it, and keep his three hundred men here.” And so the factory went up in the middle of Ulster county, down among the grandest old hills and forests to be found in the state. When the first stake was struck, not a human habitation, not a traveled road existed for miles around; and today it is a great busy bustling manufacturing centre. L.A. Chichester was the pioneer, and his enterprise and genius has created this marvel of a town in eight years. He owns and has built every home in the place; owns every foot of ground, mountains and forests as far as the eye can see; saw mills up the creek and down the creek; and in sight of his own home the largest chair and cradle factory in the United States. More lumber is piled in his yards than in any lumber yard in Po’keepsie, and his factory is a wilderness of intricate, splendid machinery. Maple logs are brought down from the mountain side and rolled in at one end of the great factory to come out of the finishing room at the other end, the handsome chairs you are now seated in, or the beauty of a cradle that rocks your baby to sleep.
The cradle he is now about to manufacture is an improvement over all others, and he will not begin to be able to supply the demand for it, although he is making stupendous preparations. It is patented and the patent fully protected. Even now the factory is turning out three hundred cradles a day, which does not half supply the demand.
Poughkeepsie Eagle Aug. 1, 1873
Look for ice in the Ulster mountains and finding it.
Phoenicia, Ulster Co., July 28th, 1873
This morning at half past eight a merry party of five couples left the house of our genial host and hostess at Chichester for a long talked excursion to the “Notch” distant about eight miles. We bowled along over some of the roughest roads it was ever my experience to travel on. By 11 o’clock we commenced to feel a coolness in the atmosphere which sensibly increased as we neared our destination. About a mile from the notch we passed a straight shaft of moss grown stone eight or nine feet high called the “Devil’s” Tombstone”. From there to the end of our journey we wound our way over a road that looks as if it were never lit by the rays of the sun even at mid day. Soon a shout from the wagon ahead of us informed us that we had at last arrived at the expected and much talked of “notch” and every one was out of the vehicles in a jiffy and running among the rocks looking for the ice which every one said we were sure to find. As I had been very skeptical all the time in regard to such (as it seemed to me) foolish assertions about finding ice on the 28th day of July in the open air I was of course as anxious as any one in my search. Sure enough in about two minutes, after poking my head into as snaky a looking hole as there is possible to find anywhere, I saw something glisten and my doubts were put at rest, for right in front of me was a piece of ice, weighing I should think about 50 lbs, clear as ever was frozen any where, and here and there in other places close by more pieces were to be seen. After refreshing ourselves with a glass of cold ice water we came to the conclusion that a lunch would suit about as well as anything else, and the baskets were brought out and we began an investigation to see what Mrs. C_ had given us, with which to improve our digestive organs. Well! We found that we had not been forgotten by any means, and while we sat around on rocks and old stumps and “put away our” lunch, we “thanked our stars” that our commissary department was in such good hands; nor were our horses to go hungry, for under the seat was a good supply of oats which the faithful animals seemed to appreciate as much as we did our “food”. On each side of us the mountains tower at least 300 feet above, leaving barely room for a single wagon to pass between. The air is so cold, that we can very readily see the breath of ourselves and horses, which makes us think that it is January instead of July. After a sufficient time to rest ourselves we started on our return home, where we arrived safe and sound after having as nice a time as it was ever my lot to participate in.