Hornby sections of Millard F. Roberts, "Historical Gazetteer of Steuben County, New York", 1891
Hornby sections of Harlo Hakes, "Landmarks of Steuben County New York", 1896
List of pupils from 1900 Hornby school submitted by Esther Griffin
Jesse Bassage Burned to Death
"Women's Work" by Winifred Phillips Rogers Sanders
"A Brief Record of the Family
(written by Fanny Chamberlain Spaulding in 1900)
"Life in the Early 1900s" by Winifred Phillips Rogers Sanders
Newspaper Article describing five
living in Hornby
Surnames: Rhoda, Bixby, Leavenworth, Hilton and others
The Autobiography of Edwin Payson Gibbs
Scandal - relating the story of an early 20th century Hornby affair involving
Fannie Root Green and the Wesleyan-Methodist minister Rev. Wylie.
HORNBY - Steuben County, NY - School Pupils in 1900
Source: 1900 Souvenir
Teacher: Wilson Messer
Trustee: F.F. Stanton
Note from Hornby Historian Susan Moore:
The school could possibly be the Hornby
Forks School, District 11 (museum) or the West Hill Road School, District
14, which was next to the West Hill Cemetery on Rogers Road. This is
based on the names and where some of the families appear on various
maps I have. The Messers lived in East Campbell right near the Hornby line. Wilson's
cousin was Thomas Watson (changed from Wasson) who was a founder of IBM.
Wilson Messer became a NYS assemblyman and was inducted into the Steuben County Hall of Fame.
From the Corning Daily Democrat 22 April 1897:
Further Facts About the Farmer Who Was Burned to Death.
Jesse Bassage, the Hornby farmer who lost his life in a burning fallow on Thursday, was an Englishman by birth and came to America about 1860. He became a farmer in Schuyler County, and for years owned a farm near Wedgwood, being widely known as a hop grower. He moved to Hornby about sixteen years ago and had since resided there. He was ever a hardworking and thoroughly honest man and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. His age at death was 65 years. His wife is a few years younger.
Mr. Bassage met a horrible death. His body was burned beyond recognition. When found he lay on his face and knees, having sunk to the ground in agony as the flames overtook him, and buried his face in his hands. Mrs. Bassage is utterly prostrated and may lose her reason. When her husband did not return home to supper Thursday evening she began to worry about his absence; and as the hours elapsed and neighbors began to gather and search for him in vain she became uncontrollable and finally ran from the house at midnight toward the burning fallow which was less than a quarter of a mile away and in plain sight. She was pursued and in her great excitement she stumbled and fell and was caught and led back to the house and persuaded to go to bed from which she has not since risen. When the body was found at daylight she was not told of the fact for fear the shock might prove fatal. The charred remains repose in a casket in the house but the widow does not know of it, and in her delirium keeps asking, “Has pa got back yet?”
The funeral of Mr. Bassage will be held at 2 p. m. to-morrow from the church at Dyke in the town of Hornby.
Note: Mrs. Bassage never really recovered from the shock and died 16 months later.
Historian's Notes by Susan Moore from "Hornby Unearthed"
The Mystery Solved, The New York Suicide of a Hornby Girl
Early journalism often used sensational headlines and detailed descriptions of even the most tragic events. The following lengthy article was discovered in the “Corning Democrat” which was a weekly-published local newspaper. Although the subject matter is sensitive in nature, the article speaks volumes on the writing style of the day. We may not feel comfortable reading about the sad turn of events but we are nevertheless drawn into the story by the details that are uncovered. The date is 28 May, 1885.The New York Suicide of a Hornby GirlThe New York World of Saturday gives the following account of the suicide of a young lady in that city:Hattie B. Bedient Commits Suicide at a Hotel in New York City
In a plain pine coffin in the Morgue rests the body of a beautiful woman, 25 years old.
At about 7:30 Thursday morning, this lady, in full life, stopped at the Grand Union Depot. She was alone and went at once to the parlor, where she called a servant by whom she sent a card to the clerk, first writing upon it the name "Miss J. Jones." She then asked to be shown to a low-priced room, and was given apartment G 15, on the 6th floor, paying $1 in advance. As usual, when women stop at hotels unattended the servants were instructed to keep a close watch upon her; but her deportment was correct beyond reproach. Early in the afternoon she dined in the public refectory, and then went out, She returned soon and went to her room, where she staid but a few minutes, when she again went out remaining nearly the whole afternoon. At 7 in the evening she ordered a light supper to be sent to her room; the girl who served her found her sitting by the window, with her shoes off, reading a novel. At 3:45 yesterday morning Watchman Foyce heard the hissing of a gas-burner such as results from a very heavy pressure, in the lady 's room. The light streamed out into the hallway through the transom, - Foyce had just turned the gas off from the lower floors, which explains the unusual pressure.
Thinking the lady had fallen asleep, and forgotten to turn off the gas; the watchman knocked on the door, but there was no response. He then drew a small table underneath the transom, mounted and peered into the room.
The bed stood at the right side of the small apartment, with the head towards the door,
Stretched at full length across the couch, outside of the bedclothes, with her head towards the wall, and her toes just touching the floor, lay Miss Jones. Her face was turned upwards and her eyes were closed. Still supposing that she slept, Foyce renewed his endeavors to arouse her, when his attention was arrested by something lying on the white counterpane. The object was partially concealed by the folds of her dress, but a moment’s scrutiny convinced the man that it was a pistol. The lady was dead by her own hand.
Foyce called assistance, and the room was entered. Mr. Garrison, the manager of the hotel, took hold of the hand which lay on the coverlid. It was rigid and cold. Dr. Anderson, the hotel physician, and Coroner Messemer were summoned. The body was that of a handsomely-formed, pretty-faced woman, apparently twenty-five years of age.
Her dark, chestnut hair was cut short and combed back from a clear open forehead. On gently lifting the eyelids a large, brown eye was revealed. - The revolver which lay by her right hand, the muzzle pointing towards her, was a new one of 22-calibre, stamped with the word "Fashion". - If was loaded with the exception of one chamber. On the floor lay the box in which it had been packed together with a box of cartridges from which seven had been removed. The only chair in the room was drawn up near the gas jet, and on the dresser in front of it lay Dickens's novel, "A Tale of Two Cities", which the dead woman had been reading.
The body was dressed in a black cashmere dress and overskirt, black brocaded satin waist, with bead ornaments; grey corset, with blue embroidery, and dark brown stockings. She wore a fine merino under-vest. The skirts, as well as all of the underclothing, were nearly new, of fine material but plainly made up. Narrow, fine linen cuffs, with small, white buttons, encircled the wrists, and the collar was of the stand-up pattern. The hat was of electric blue straw with a light blue plume. She also had a pair of black silk gloves in her pocket, which contained two handkerchiefs, one plain and the other figured and embroidered. In a corner of the smellier one a jagged hole showed where a name had been cut out. This suggested to the reporter the idea of looking for marks upon the clothing which deceased might have neglected to remove. The collar first rewarded the search. In small delicate feminine chirography the name "Bedient " was written just inside the band. The same name was found in the same handwriting in indelible ink upon the inside of the bands of the inner skirt and upon the inside of the back portion of the waistband of the outside skirt in very fine but distinct characters was written, "H.B. Bedient”, which was beyond a doubt the correct name of the unfortunate girl. She is supposed to have come into the city from some New England town.
The World, following up some slight clues, traced her to Lyons and telegraphed to us last night for further particulars.
A hasty trip to Dundee, this morning, enables us to give the following:
The victim proves to be Miss Hattie Berthine Bedient, the only daughter of Mr. Gideon Bedient, of Hornby. She has been attending the Preparatory School at Dundee, Prof. Kline, Principal, some two years. Last Tuesday she absented herself from school. Wednesday she departed from her boarding place without leaving any information concerning her intentions. Her non-appearance during the day or evening caused some uneasiness in the family, and they sent word to the Prof. He went to the depot Thursday and was informed that she had bought a ticket the day before for Corning, and boarded the train which arrives here at 10:00 o’clock a.m. Prof. Kline concluded that she had returned home to prepare for the part she was to take in the commencement exercises, which are to take place next week, and therefore felt no further apprehensions concerning her. It appears that she left the train at Watkins Glen and bought a ticket for Lyons. She waited at that station for the Lyons train which leaves Corning at 11:55. Thos. D. Brown was the conductor, that day, and noticed her as being apparently in trouble. Chas. Barry, of this village, was a passenger upon the same train, and although unacquainted with her, also saw that she was laboring under some mental excitement. Neither of the gentlemen supposed she was in any particular need of assistance, and thought no more of it until the New York papers published an account of her death.
She went to a hotel, on arriving at Lyons, called for a room and asked that dinner be sent to her, desiring that no one should be allowed to disturb her.
Her actions indicated great mental excitement. When the clerk entered the room with the tray she was found sitting in the bed with her hands clasped to her lips, muttering sentences that were unintelligible. She sat facing a mirror and every few seconds would look into it and sigh as though in great distress. Tears were seen trickling down her cheeks and her condition seemed truly pitiable.
To the clerk she said she was Mrs. S. E. Brown, of Utica, and asked that she be registered under that name. After eating dinner which was served in the apartments, she came down stairs and asked to be directed to a first-class hardware store, adding that she wanted to go to a place where they held high grade of goods. She was directed to Zimmerlin Bros., a few doors north of the hotel. The junior member of the concern attended to her wants, and at her request showed her several revolvers. She picked out a pistol of the “Fashion” make and asked for a box of cartridges. Considerable time was spent in ascertaining the working of the pistol, particular attention being paid to the loading process. She insisted upon being shown how to load it several times, and then asked to be allowed to try it herself. Her actions were somewhat strange and her request was refused. She paid for the pistol and cartridges. The next place she entered was Pattersons news store. There she purchased a cheap paper-covered novel. Then she returned to the hotel and remained until the omnibus left for the New York train.
Coroner Messemer held an autopsy Saturday morning. External appearance indicated that the girl might have been the victim of malpractice. The autopsy proved that such was not the case.
The only theory, supported by the investigation, as to the cause of the suicidal act was that she had recently been betrayed.
At school she bore the reputation of a close student, although at times she was not as successful as either her instructors or herself desired. She had been a few times in company with an acquaintance, named Florence, who had married a cousin of hers, and upon being cautioned against the propriety of a continuance of the association, some time last year, she procured and took two doses of laudanum, but was restored by the aid of physicians. She professed extreme penitence for her conduct, promising that she would conform to the rules in future. It has been learned however, that she frequently met the same Florence clandestinely within the past few weeks.
The afflicted parents received their first information, of the sad event, about 11 o’clock, this morning, through friends. The mother is completely prostrated. The father left for New York on train 8, accompanied by Harry Pratt, of the Journal.
Miss Bedient attended school at the Academy here in 1883, boarding with Mrs. Tylee, on Church St., and when here, was a regular attendant at the M.E. Church, having made up her mind to become a missionary. At a recent visit her demeanor had so changed, she being jolly and mirthful, that many noticed it.
THE RECOGNITION OF THE REMAINS
Mr. Bedient, and Harry H. Pratt arrived in New York last evening, and proceeded directly to the Morgue.
Mr. Bedient was shown a photograph of the corpse, and immediately recognized it as that of his daughter. The remains will probably be brought on this evening’s train, and taken to the afflicted parents’ home.
A NEW YORK VIEW
New York, May 26.--The body of the beautiful girl who committed suicide at the Grand Union Hotel here, last Thursday, and was identified by Gideon A. Bedient, of Hornby, as his daughter was placed on the Erie train one, at nine o’clock this morning.
Several floral offerings from unknown sympathizers, were put in the casket. Mr. Bedient has not been able to say what the cause of her suicide was.
Her body will be carried to Hornby and buried in the village cemetery.
Thursday, June 4, 1885:
The funeral of Hattie Berthine Bedient took place yesterday afternoon, from the residence of her parents. Her remains were interred in the cemetery at Hornby Forks. The attendance of sympathizing friends and neighbors was very large, and the long line of carriages, as it wound around the curves of the road to the cemetery seemed to add to the affecting circumstances surrounding the sad event. The pall bearers were Edwin Dodge, Fred Rogers, Clayton Roloson, William Easterbrooks, David Rogers and Louis Stanton.
There were many floral offerings.
The remains had been so well preserved and retained their life-like appearance so perfectly, that the parents yielded to the general desire of the friends, and all had an opportunity to witness her restful, peaceful and last sleep. Rev. Rutger Dox, of this village, conducted the services, in which he was assisted by Rev. Abner Morrill and W.D. Taylor, of Painted Post. The occasion could not be otherwise than impressive, and all hearts fervently responded to the sentiment, Rest in peace, troubled soul, and may thy ashes be undisturbed.
Thursday, June 11, 1885:
We are informed that there has been a considerable reversal of public opinion in regard to certain stories affecting the character of the late Hattie B. Bedient. When the first news of her death shocked the people, sensational reports were circulated about her. Later and calmer reflection inclines many people to the belief that such reports were unfounded, and did her reputation gross injustice. Those who knew her best refuse to believe that her death was other than the result of the giving way of her reason. Her averseness to society, her shyness in company, her morbid sensitiveness, her intense and unregulated religious zeal while in Painted Post and Corning; her nearly executed plan to throw herself from Gibson bridge in Corning, once because of imagined failure to do herself credit in a simple school examination, and her subsequent and firm avowal of the right, in certain conditions to put an end to herself, -these are strong points in her favor; and justice to the living and the dead requires that they should be carefully considered. There was an error in one of the Elmira Sunday papers regarding the title of the essay which she was to prepare, or had prepared, for the closing exercises of her Dundee school. The title was not “Apple Blossoms”, but “Modern Crankdom”. She wrote an essay on the latter subject some months ago, and so excellent was it that one of her teachers told her she must read it at the present June exercises. She then determined to re-write it. On the evening before she left Dundee, she was seen by Mrs. Emory, her boarding lady, to light a mass of paper which she held in her fingers as though to make sure that it was destroyed; and she only dropped it in the stove when the flames began to burn her hand. Whether this was the completed essay must remain unsolved. The theory that she had planned an elopement is denied by her friends and parents. When she left her boarding place, two weeks ago yesterday, and Mrs. Emory asked her where she was going and what reason should be given to the school authorities for her departure, she exclaimed, “Tell them, I am going to see my Mother; that will be enough.” Her parents cherish the idea that such was her intention, that she came on the train part way to Corning, and then wavered in her purpose; that her profoundly morbid nature asserted itself and that she then went about the other way to bury herself in the life of a great city. We have no intention or desire to reopen the wounds but by request give these additional facts the benefit of the freest and fullest publicity.
by Winifred Phillips Rogers SandersMan works from dawn to setting sun
But women's work is never done.
This is an old couplet that seemed surprisingly true back in
the early 1900's. Many people had no electricity then, and so, of
course, much of their work was done by hand. For instance, can
you picture wash day with no automatic washing machines? Let me
tell you how it was at our house and most others where there was
no electricity and often no running water, either, I remember
very well that late on Sunday my father would get the big copper
boiler and set it on the back of the old iron cookstove. Then he
would take two water pails to the outdoor pump, fill them with
water and fill the boiler. In the meantime, my mother would be
sorting the clothes -- white clothes in one pile, colored in
another, cotton socks and stockings in another -- until all the
clothes were sorted according to color, material, etc. Then she
would cut up a bar of Fels-Naptha soap and put that and the first
load of white clothes into the boiler to soak all night.
Monday morning the drafts on the stove were opened up so the
Fire would burn hotter and get the water in the boiler nice and
hot. While Mama was getting breakfast, Papa would set up the wash
bench near the stove. On this he would place two tubs, one for
scrubbing and the other for rinsing. When breakfast was finished
Mama would start the real work of doing the laundry. With a clean
stick she would lift the hot clothes out of the boiler into the
wash tub and start washing them on a scrub board. In the
meantime, she had filled the boiler with more clothes to be heated
and soaked in the sudsy water.
After they were scrubbed clean, they were wrung out by hand,
put through the rinsing water, and again wrung dry and hung out on
the line to dry. Sometimes, if it were a real cold day, the
clothes would freeze before they were all hung up. Then our
winter underwear would look like headless people hung out on the
line. Every tub-full of clothes would get this same treatment.
Along with this, mothers still had to cook, do dishes, care for
any small children. And of course, all the wash water had to be
emptied by hand. I wonder what they would think about our
automatic machines? We get so accustomed to them that sometimes I
groan because I have to take the clothes out of the dryer!
Tuesday was ironing day. No matter how hot the day, a fire
had to be kept in the stove in order to heat the flatirons or sad
irons, as they were so accurately called. There were no drip dry
clothes in those days, and people wore more clothes. Even on a
very hot day, women often wore three or four petticoats. Almost
everything was stiffly starched and had to be sprinkled with water
to iron the wrinkles out of the cloth. Sheets, tablecloths,
pillow cases, napkins, towels, underwear were all ironed.
After electricity came along, washing and ironing was made
easier but nothing changed all at once. First we had machines
that washed the clothes (but we put them through the wringer and
also through the rinsing process); after a while we had drip-dry
clothing, so many things no longer had to be sprinkled or even
ironed, and even when they are ironed, electric irons are surely
much easier to use than the old sad irons.
At our house Wednesdays were generally used for sewing and
mending. Clothes were mended and socks and stockings darned. My
mother was a master stocking darner. Her stitches were so fine
and even it was almost impossible to find where she had darned
them. In fact, darning stockings and socks was her way of earning
some spending money when she was no longer able to go out to work.
We lived in the country and I was going to high school so had to
carry my lunch. One morning I started off with two bags -- my
lunch and a bag of darned socks to deliver. Guess what! Yes, I
got them mixed up and when I opened my lunch bag I found darned
socks instead. How do you like your socks fixed for lunch today?
Broiled, toasted, baked or how?
Thursdays and Fridays were cleaning days -- no vacuum
cleaners, though perhaps a carpet sweeper. But for good clean
carpets a broom was used. My mother always put some salt on the
carpet before she swept it. I asked her the reason and her reply
was that the salt prevented the dust from flying and also
brightened the colors of the carpets.
Saturdays were baking days and what wonderful smells pervaded
the house. Generally the baking was done for the whole week. We
always had two cookie jars -- one was filled with sugar cookies,
the other with molasses. All of our bread was homemade, and what
can beat the smell of freshly-baked bread? And my mother's pies were
mouth-watering. Most houses then had pantries. These rooms were not heated in the
wintertime and so it was a good place to keep food. I well remember one house
where we lived. In that house in one corner of the pantry was a dumbwaiter.
This was a tall, narrow storage box-like structure that could be raised or lowered
into the cellar by means of ropes -- a sort of elevator. In the summertime we put
the milk, butter and other perishable foods in that so we could lower it into the
cellar to keep cool. What a lot of up and down steps it saved my mother!
Back in those days there were no such things as instant potatoes, three-minute
rice, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and all the things that help a busy
housekeeper today. There were bakers, but most women prided themselves
on their own things "from scratch" as it was called. Of course very few women
went out to work. A man was expected to work and provide money for the
household, and his wife stayed home and cared for the family.
Saturday was also bath night for the whole family. There was no bathroom,
so in the winter our bathing place was in the kitchen near the stove. Our
bathtub was a metal washtub. Every Saturday night my mother would have a lot of
extra-hot water heating on the stove, and when it was bed time it was also
bath time and it always started with the youngest member of the family and I was
IT. After a nice soaking bath in the water, well toweled so
I would be dry, I got into my warm flannel pajamas -- then the
long trek up the cold stairs and into an icy cold bedroom and into
bed. However, Mama had gone ahead of me and had a nice warm
soapstone at the foot of my bed. Soon I was snug and warm and off
Now, it may shock you to find that we didn't take daily
baths. Remember, many people had no electricity, no running
water. All the water used for cleaning, laundry, cooking, dishes
had to be brought in from an outdoor spring or well. That meant
an awful lot of work.
In the Spring our homes went through an awful time of
upheaval known as SPRING HOUSE CLEANING. Carpets and rugs
were taken up off the floors and hung on the clothes lines and well
beaten by a metal beater to get out all the dirt. This was a
strenuous job, and most of the family took their turn. Under the
carpets many families had covered the floor with newspapers (if
you lived in the country the floors were covered with straw). I
expect this was to make the floors warmer and also to protect the
carpets as the floors were often rough boards, These were taken
up and fresh clean papers put down. Floors and woodwork were
washed, as were also all the windows. In those days our curtains
were thin lace ones. They were washed and fastened to curtain
stretchers to keep their shape. Sometimes some of the rooms were
freshly painted and papered. Every room was thoroughly cleaned
before life returned to its regular routine. Everyone gave a sigh
of relief when house cleaning time was over.
A Brief Record of the Family of JOSHUA CHAMBERLAIN
(written by Fanny Chamberlain Spaulding in 1900)
I have no knowledge of the time the first of the Chamberlains came to this country,
but they came from England.
My grandfather, Joshua C. Chamberlain lived in Petersham, Mass. when I had the
first knowledge of him. He married Nancy Briggs, had nine children of which my father,
Joshua Jr. was the second. Father was a tall man (6 feet or over) with black curly hair,
black eyes and very high forehead. He was born Jan. 31st 1797. When he was 22 yrs
old he left home and went with a cousin to Steuben Co., N.Y. and bought 100 acres of
Gov't land in the valley of Meads Creek. He worked two years clearing the land and
getting it ready to raise crops. He built a plank house which was considered quite smart
for those days in that place. In Sep. 1821, having gotten his house in condition to leave
a man to finish, started for Mass. on foot and walked the 300 or 350 miles to claim his
bride - Fanny Babbitt - to whom he was engaged before he went into the wilderness to
make their home. They were married in Oct. and in Nov. they started with an ox team
and a lumber wagon with a mare ahead and a two year old colt tied behind- for their
wedding journey in the bleak November days and it occupied 17 of them to reach their
They carried with them in the big wagon, all the bedding, clothing (some furniture) which
my mother had gathered and made in anticipation of marriage. She bought wool and
spun and wove, or had woven, blankets, woolen sheets, etc. Besides clothing for winter,
she dried fruit, especially apples of which she saved seeds from which the great orchard
on the Homestead was the product.
My Mother's wedding dress was of Canton Crepe of a light green of which there is a piece
in this house. It was made Decolette and very short waisted, a lace fichu, white silk stockings
and white slippers and some of the things I remember seeing of her Trosseau were a blue
silk shawl, a gay flowered one - a yellow raw silk petticoat, a number of muslin fishu's and
various minor articles.
But to return to their journey, they went across the Hudson River on a ferry boat, then
by way of the Catskill Turnpike to Ithaca N.Y., then a little hamlet. From there they went
up the valley of the Cayuga Lake Inlet and crossed the summit at the head waters of the
Cayuga Lake which flows eastward and the Susquehanna waters which flow in the opposite
direction, then following the valley to the Chemung River, passed through the "Chimney
Narrows", so(uth) from Painted Post a few miles (actually near Gibson where new Rt. 17
now runs in the bed of the old D L, & W tracks...no "chimneys” are left), then on nine miles
farther up the valley to the home on Meads Creek.
When they arrived, they found the man who was to have finished the house had not done
so, there were no windows, no floor, hearth around the big stone chimney which occupied
a large part of one end of the house. I believe it was the 21st of Nov. when they reached
there, and they lived all winter without glass in the windows and it must have been a cold
house but for the love which warmed and cheered it. I think my Mother was a brave little
woman, she has told me of many trials and petty vexations, privations and annoyances
which she had to endure in her early married life.
In Sep. 1822, my oldest sister was born. She was named Lurenza after a friend of Father
and Mother's in the old homeland, which must to them seemed a long way off. I, the second
child named Fanny after my mother - was born Feb 9th, 1824.
My first recollections of the old house are very distinct now. The house must have been
32 or 34 feet long by 20 feet wide. Our livingroom extended across the house and was
probably 18 or 20 feet the other way. There was a great stone chimney on one end, and
on one side of it there was pair of narrow stairs to the attic and a hatchway or place to go
into the cellar by lifting up a door which was a part of the floor. On the other side of the
chimney was a door in the front of the house and one directly opposite it in the back. In
the other end of the house was a room about 12 square with an 8 foot bedroom opening
out of it and between that and the livingroom was a bed recess which was open to that
room where my father and Mother slept, and we, my sister and I slept in a trundle bed
which rolled under the big bed. There was a small room added for milk in the summer
and cold storage in winter. Our baking was mostly done in a brick oven outside.
Neighbors were not near. On one side the nearest was a half mile away and on the other
one fourth of a mile, and that is where I have gone many mornings for fire. I carried a tin
lantern with a candle in it to have lighted from a coal, when the coals in our fireplace had
gone out. In those days, everyone buried a half burned stick of hard wood with ashes to
start the fire with the next morning, before retiring for the night, in those days we had no
matches. I think I was about 9 years old when we had our first "Lucifer Matches", as they
were called. I wonder what our little girls of 5 and 6 would think of getting up at 5 o'clock
in the morning to (walk) a quarter of a mile to get a lighted candle. It was in summer that
we were apt to lose our fire as in winter we had great logs in the fireplace which would
keep burning for 2 or 3 days and which were partly or wholly covered with ashes at night.
When I was 15 years old, a new house was built. In the fall of 1831 our first stove was
bought and it was the first one in the place.
July 28, 1832 - my oldest brother Chauncy was born. In May of that year, I began going
to school. I was 8 years old Feb. 9th of that (year). Probably it was more to get me out of
the way than with the expectation of beginning my education that I was sent. The school
was a mile away but being a sturdy youngster it did me no harm and I loved to go and
loved my teacher and learned as fast as I would later because I loved it all.
July 8th - 1835, my brother Leander S. was born. July 13?1840 my Sister Lizzie (Ann Eliza)
was born, 11 years my junior. January 10,1847 my brother Edward T. Chamberlain was
born. He was but 4 years old when my father died April 17, 1851. He was thrown from a
wagon, striking on his head, which injured his spine at the base of the brain? on his 54th
birthday, January 31, 1851. My father was a honest man, respected and trusted by all
who knew him. He was 6 ft. in height, well proportioned, very strong and wirey, very
industrious, one of the energetic ones. He bought more land adjoining his original 100
and raised stock, horses and sheep.
My sister, Lurenza, was married in Sep. 1838 to William Hendrick. Oct. 15, 1851, I was
married to Phineas Spaulding, (son of Rev. Wm. Spaulding) He was a millwright by trade.
He and my father together had bought timberland near and built a sawmill on my father's
land in 1850 and had just begun to saw out lumber when my father died. A year after he
sold his half of the mill to my two brothers, Chauncy and Leander, and we went to Brookton,
Tompkins Co. where his father and mother and all his three brothers and two sisters lived.
He went with a party of bridge builders to the Isthmus of Panama in Dec. of that year to
help put a bridge across the Chagus River. He got the Chagus fever and was only just
able to come home when the 3 months for which he contracted to stay, expired; he was
almost at the point of death for a long time, having a terrible bowel trouble all the time.
I think he contracted the Liver trouble from which he died in that dreadful Malarious Climate.
So little was known of it at that time that it was thought one could live there with impunity
in the dry season.
This has been copied from old pages which were written in very legible script, but through
the copier and age, some of the spellings may not be correct as some were very hard to
read. How fortunate we are to have this much. I wonder how these women coped after
the untimely death of their husbands. Lurenza and William, my great grandparents, lived
on Pine Hill which would have been a "very long walk" in those days, even when there was
a road over the hill to Hornby Forks. Fanny Babbitt Chamberlain died in 1884, age 84,
surviving 33 years after Joshua died. (Nellie Saccone)
LIFE IN THE EARLY 1900'S
By Winifred Phillips Rogers Sanders
There have been many changes made in our ways of living since
I was a little girl. Methods of shopping, heating our homes,
preserving our food and transportation to mention a few have all
changed quite drastically.
When I was a child there were no big supermarkets such as one
sees today, If you wanted groceries, you went to a grocery store.
There you went to the counter and told the clerk what you wanted
and he got the article for you. If you wanted meat you went to a
meat market. Each store had its own products to sell. You
shopped quite often through the week for as there was no
such thing as electric refrigeration. Perhaps you had an icebox
in your home but electricity was almost unheard of, especially in
the home. In a later paragraph I will tell you about the
iceboxes. Since it was difficult to keep food long, shopping was
done frequently. Often the store owner let the shopper charge his
purchases and then on Saturday night your parents would go to the
store and pay the week's bill. Often the store owner would then give
your parent a small bag of candy FREE. How we kids looked forward
to that sack of candy.
In the small village of Clifton Springs, one store owner came
to our door mornings and took our order and then delivered our
order to us the same afternoon.
Milk was delivered to you by a milkman but not in bottles or
cartons as today. He came with the milk in big metal cans in
his wagon pulled by horses. He often rang a bell as he traveled
down the street so we would know he was coming. Then some one of
the family would run out with a tin milk pail, the man would
uncover the milk can and dole out the quart or whatever amount you
ordered. Of course the milk had not been homogenized or
sterilized. What a difference from today.
Of course if one lived on a farm and did real farm work they
went through the process of preserving their meat for their own
use. Some of the methods used were salting or smoking, especially
pork products, and beef was often canned. Vegetables were canned
and sometimes pickled as there were no freezers for home use, or
perhaps they were dried as were some kinds of fruit. I remember
living near an evaporator when I was a child. The farmers would
come in with their wagon loads of apples. Sometimes, if we were
out playing, the driver would toss out some apples to us. The
apples were stored in big bins outside the factory until they
were put in the evaporator to dry. Some of the varieties are
seldom seen any more. One kind was called sheep’s nose, for they
really did resemble a sheep's nose in shape. Then there was a
kind named maiden blush from its coloring, and also a snow apple.
As to the icebox I mentioned, they were generally made of
wood or metal and were of different sizes. At the top was a big
boxlike part with a top that lifted up and it was in this box that
the ice was kept. Under this was the chest with shelves where the
food was kept and underneath it all was a big pan. This was where
the water drained as the ice melted. Woe to person who forgot
to check on the water pan, You might get up in the morning to
find the kitchen floor awash with melted ice water, and that meant
a cleaning?up job.
You may ask, "Where did one buy the ice?" Many farmers, had
ponds on their farms. In the winter they cut the ice from the
pond and stored it in an icehouse. Sawdust was used to keep the
ice from melting. I remember when I was going to high school I
had to cross a river bridge and I often saw men cutting the river
ice that was stored to be used commercially. If one had to buy
ice, a diamond?shape card was hung on the porch, On the card were
the numbers 25, 50, 75, 100 and the number at the top of the card
indicated the number of pounds of ice the iceman to deliver to
you. When the iceman came on a hot summer day we children would
gather near his wagon and he would sometimes throw us some ice to
suck on. Yum, Yum! How cool to the tongue.
Our houses were heated with stoves and either with wood or
coal. Some of the older houses had fireplaces but they were
considered old fashioned and many of them were boarded up. We
used coal at our house and I remember with fondness the big stove
we had in the parlor. It was called a magazine stove and at the
top of it was a sliding cover. When that was opened it revealed a
metal container into which a whole scuttle?full of coal could be
emptied. In this way as the coal burned a new supply would fall
down from the container and it wasn't necessary to put coal in so
often. When my mother would turn on the drafts so it would burn
faster, I loved to sit and watch the flames of red, green, yellow,
and orange as they showed through the isinglas windows in the
stove. To me that was one of the most beautiful sights in the
Our houses were generally pretty cold in the winter unless
one was lucky enough to have a furnace. The kitchens were
generally large and were the center of our lives when the winter
was very cold. It was a good place to be with the rich aroma of
newly baked bread, pies and cookies.
In the evenings after the work was done we did our homework
at the table while Mother sewed or patched and Father read the
newspaper and they discussed the day's events.
Having no central heating or bathrooms, it was also the place
for our Saturday night baths. Father would bring in the big
washtub and Mamma would have seen to it that there was an extra
supply of hot water. We took our baths according to age, so I was
the first. Mamma would see that I didn't neglect washing my ears
and neck and would wrap me in a big towel and rub me dry. Then
into my flannel pajamas to run the gauntlet of the cold hallway
and long stairs and into bed. Mamma had thoughtfully put in a
warm soapstone to keep me warm.
In the summer Saturday nights were a gala affair. Besides
the fun of going shopping and the big event of the free bag of
candy, there was often a band concert in the park. The young
lovers would stroll hand in hand or sit in some secluded place,
mothers and fathers sat and gossiped with their neighbors and we
children played games or pestered the young lovers and felt quite
grown?up to be out "on the town".
Our transportation was by foot or horse and buggy, or in the
winter we might go for sleigh rides. If Mother knew ahead of time
that we were going for a sleigh ride she would bake some potatoes.
These we would put in our pockets and they helped keep our hands
nice and warm. We sometimes had some soapstones along with us.
As the horse ran along, his shoes would sometimes pick up some
snow that got packed and we would be a prime target for a
snowball. I was about ten years old before I had my first
automobile ride. The uncle of a friend had the first car in town
and I was asked to go for a ride. We fairly flew down the street
though I must admit the dog kept up with us. Railroads were very
important then, and so I had rides on the railroad when we went to
visit friends out of town. I probably was in my teens when I saw
my first airplane. It was at the time of World War I and planes
were just beginning to play an important part in the War.
Everyone, young and old, ran out to look skyward to see a plane.
Since then I have been half around the world by plane.
Though there have been many changes, one older type of
heating seems to be coming back. Old fireplaces are being opened
up and used and woodstoves are also being used a great deal. To
be sure, the new wood burning stoves have been much improved. To
me there is no heat that seems to warm me through like wood heat.
The big stacks of wood one used to see are again in evidence and
what looks more cozy and inviting than a fireplace. Welcome back.
........name, find, call upon, see, illustrate and describe
five living generations in the same town. The event
is rare enough to excite remark and call forth this
note by the way as a memorial. Rare as is such an
event in its occurrence it now exists an actuality in
Hornby, N. Y., a town only six miles square, lying
due north of, and adjoining Corning.
The heroes and heroines in this demonstrable
and demonstrated result of love and its fruitions are
all known to the writer hereof-are all well known
residents of the aforesaid town of Hornby. A short
sketch of the several persons-actors in this drama of
love, cannot fail to be of interest at this time. You
see it is really four love stories, and four marriages
consolidated into one chapter. As average human life
is short, these stories must necessarily be brief. We
Henry W. Rhoda and Jerusha Stevens were
married about 1825. Henry spent his entire life
within sight of where Alfred Roloson resides. He died
about 1845 leaving a considerable family. His
widow was sister of Eldad Stevens and Elias
Mary Rhoda was the first born of Henry W.
Rhoda. She was a girl of good name, went to school
at the Knowlton school house at the same time with
the writer hereof and when Moses Lathe of Lyndon,
Ill., T. C. Jewett and others were her companions.
Archelans Bixby was a son of John Bixby, patriarch,
a brother of Rev. Henry W. Bixby. He was a lad of
average parts. He and Mary saw - blended -
Artematia Bixby was the second born of
Archelans and Mary. The writer used to know her
when a little girl and never dreamed that she would
beat Queen Victoria's progeny and have years to
spare. Thus it ever was, we have the heroes of the
future for daily associates, and dream not of what
the great future has in store for them. Let us be very
particular to give our best bow to each and every
tomorrow, yes, and to-day too, for to-morrow they
may be great. Well, a youth by the name of
Leavenworth saw Artematia and that she was fair
and comely; and anon, love had joined John
Leavenworth and Artematia Bixby. In due time
appeared Ida Leavenworth, fair and comely, and
she grew, and Frank Hilton saw her and that she
was fair and god to look upon. Love welded them,
they twain into one pair. They were duly married
and now reside in a part of the house of Mrs. Hiram
Gardner in Hornby. They have in due process of time
become parents, and LeRoy Hilton lives the 5th
generation; Frank Hilton and Ida Leavenworth 4th
generation; John Leavenworth and Artematia Bixby
(Leavenworth) 3d generation; Archelans Bixby and
Mary Rhoda 2d generation; H. W. Rhoda and
Jerusha Stevens 1st generation. Mrs. H. W. Rhoda
is great, great, great, grandmother to Le Roy Hilton
of Hornby. She is great, great, grandmother to Ida
Hilton mother of LeRoy Hilton and she will be great,
great, great, great, grandmother to ---------- Hilton yet
unborn, providing her life is spared to witness that
event. Now what is the use of Queen Victoria taking
pride to herself when here is Mary Rhoda, scarce
turned sixty and a great, great, grandmother, and
Artematia Leavenworth, little past 40 who is a
grandmother. It will be some years before England's
proud Queen can show her 4th generation, and by
that time Mrs. Henry W. Rhoda will be as likely to
show her sixth and so on. But you will agree with
me that the victory and facts are good enough
without opening up the possibilities of the future.
W. H. G.
CHICAGO, August, 1885.
from "Hornby Unearthed", December 1999
The museum and Historical Society are very fortunate to have in its possession several
diaries and transcriptions of diaries of early Hornby folk. They offer a valuable,
descriptive and sometimes humorous view of everyday farm and family life. The following
excerpts are from the diary of Sarah Ann Scott Taylor (1833 ? 1892). Sarah, along with
her husband Addison Jerome Scott (1828 ? 1909) and five children, lived in the town of
Orange, Schuyler County, near Switzer Hill Road. Their children were: Frank (1854-
1917); Ella, born abt. 1857; Scott, born abt. 1861; Adelbert (Dell), born abt. 1864 and
Willie born March 29, 1871. In 1881 son Frank married Mary Elizabeth Travis (1863-
1931). Her parents, Elisha and Clarissa Travis from Putnam County, NY, settled in
Hornby in 1851. Their farm was in the northwest section of Hornby on what is now called
the Duran Road on the Schuyler County line.
Sarah Scott Taylor acquired her Schuyler County property by a deed dated April 28,
1870 which describes a fifty acre parcel of land that was formerly in Steuben County. (A
portion of the town of Orange was in Hornby before Schuyler County was incorporated in
1854). Many of the people's names Sarah mentions can be found on the 1873 Orange
Township atlas as living near her. Sarah was a hard working, busy woman who enjoyed
her family and friends, not unlike women today!
The diary begins on May 2, 1870:
moved on the farm stoped to Alonzo Gaylords bought one pail 35 cts I box matches 15, 1 sack
flour fourteen shillings
May 3: started the plow and went to look for cow but no luck
May 4: plowed and built fence Mrs Potter and Mrs. Speilman called in the afternoon
May 5: plowed and drew a load of straw and built pigpen. Mrs. Rolfe called and gave me a pail of milk
May 17: Jerome and Frank plow... news of grandpas death Mrs Speelman called
May 18: Started Frank to plowing and done chores and went to funeral To Monterey
May 20: Jerome and Scott went after the oats to Greys got back purt dark Mrs. Speelman brought me a pail of rising and I made bread and had good luck
May 24: puled stumps and drew stone off the oatfield... made a shirtfor Dell and four towels on
machine children went to school
May 29: got up done chores eat and had Mr. Spielman, wife and son to dinner took a walk in the woods
June 5: a long lonesome day... I feel as if we had no sabbath because I have no privilege of church or sabbath school
June 6: went to Hueys got wagon drew a couple lod rails and built fence all afternoon I done
housework and churned
June 7: Jerome worked on road Mrs Potter called in afternoon for me to hem a couple ruffles for
Ellas dress done housework hot enough to melt
June 12: ... called to Ebenezar Hollys bought of Mr. Ackley all the down and dead wood in the glen
for five dollars to he paid this fall
June 13: Jerome and Della and self went to Coopers Plains took dinner to fathers and went down to
P Post and got a ton of plaster for 6 dollars Ella kept house got home 10 o'clock
June 25: Frank plowed in fornoon and went with his father to Monterey in afternoon I made pair
pants for deac Holley Mrs. BarIkey called we had a good time
June 26: ... went out in meadow picked some strawberrys Sister and hus come we had a short cake
fat with butter sugar berrys and cream and had a good time eating it we had a nice shower of rain for
which I feel thankful
July 2: ... went to Spielmans come home and had ague chill and sick head ache made out to do
chores [Sarah is expecting her fifth child and continues being sick with "ague chill" for the next several days.]
Aug. 3: ... the mind blew and it rained like fury I done milking cow jumps over me and spill all milk
Sept. 27: ... went dunning to Abram Switzer got 2 dollars
March 8, 1871: we are all on sick list Retta and Ella ironed I sewed
March 9: Ella papered and helped do housework Jerome is very bad with head ache
March 12: a rainy lonesome morning I feel most discouraged Jerome more comfortabel Ella a large
sty on her eye and very painful Franks neck very bad with a swelling the two little boys well
March 14: Jerome better and tapped 7 maple trees Frank helped him I baked bread
March 15: a very stormy day all on the grunt list
March 18: Deacon H called and brought a bowl of honey and stewing of pIums Netty Switzer and R.
Barkley called Ella done a good days work for little girl
March 19: Charley and Manly come this day Mr B and wfe and Mr Potter called and Orison Potter
night come and I am very tired it had not seem like the Sabbath
March 20: ... Cornelius Harring called to see about letting or selling a piece of land to us. Scott bit
on leg bad by Spielmans dog
March 25: ... took contract for a piece of land of Cornelius Harring
March 29: Woke with a heavy chill Sent for Mrs Potter and Mrs Barkley and I had a young son at 8
in morning weighed 7 1/2
March 3 1: Miss Ella and Lola Potter were here to tea went up there in the evening I wrote a letter to
April 3: got up in morning and went to work at fence in afternoon I laid a bed just as near
discouraged as a woman could be
April 5: ... went to work on the road we put in a new stringer in the bridge ... went to work over on the
farm in the afternoon splitting rails
April 9: Easter sunday we had eggs for breakfast Elder Green preached a sermon ... get thine house
in order for thou shalt die and not live ... I went to bed tired and low spirited
April 10: ... finished the day by going to bed feeling friendless
April 11: ... Ella Potter come down and brought me some berries I changed my mind about friends
April 12: ... I did nothing but take care of baby Taylor and found it hard work
April 28: rained in forenoon Jerome, Frank and Scott went to little lake fishing a heavy
thundershower spoilt their sport did not get but 2 mulets
Jan. 2, 1874: got up at 6 got breakfast and went to cleaning house put up bed in back room and went to make bees wax Jerome come from plains and brought mother I made cake and pies and got supper sat up till 12 oclock
Jan. 7: ... I made mince pies and churned read aloud in evening
Jan. 9: Frank went to barn fork fell from scafold and struck one tine in his cheek had to lie down
before breakfast... Mr Ackley and wife called in evening had quite an argument on the subject of
baptism and Lords supper got supper after ten oclock went to bed at ten past Eleven
Jan 10: ... to Mr Speilmans to a visiting party all went off pleasant had roast turkey, oysters
and baked spare rib got home at ten minits past 12
Jan 12: got up six found 4 inches deep of snow the children went to school all but Dell I made
beeswax and strained Honey
Jan. 22: ... I baked 5 loaves bread and 2 apple pies and commenced cleaning in back bedroom went to WM Switzers and made a visit .. got home at 1/2 to 10 had a good time
Jan. 23: ... I am lame in my head and sholders as I cant work Frank went to VanAmburghs at a party got home and to bed at 1/4 to one
Jan. 27: Jerome and Frank made smokehouse...
Jan. 30: took out sholders and smoked them and cut wood and done chores and I washed a boiler of white clothes the little ones to school
Feb. 1, 1874: Jerome and self went to Plains ... we got to the plains at half past 3 met Low Carpenter and Mrs Dean and Dora Dunkley had a time of rejoicing over the newborn son of Brother Adelbert and Sister Calysta staid all night
Feb. 5: Jerome went to mill got the grist Frank brought it home on sleighs I sewed on little Willys
Feb. 12: ... One of Jacob Frost children was buried
Feb. 13: ... I baked bread buiscuit and cake and mince pies churned and now feel most tired out 20
minits to eleven going to bed Levi Mill buried
Feb 21: Frank helped me paper Ella mop the floor little boys sawed wood and done chores I baked
3 loaves bread and one tin buiscuit I washed a shirt for Frank afler 10 oclock at night so we can go to meeting tomorrow if it is pleasant 11 ocl
Feb 23: Jerome went to Monterey and tapped trees Frank helped me wash Ella done house work
little boys to school
March 2: ... Ella and self made carpet and put it down in back room Dell brought sap and boild
Scott went to school
March 6: Jerome and Frank drew wood this forenoon Frank went school last day all went and to
Spelling School I baked bread while they were gone
from "Hornby Unearthed", December 1999
December 27 marks the 102nd anniversary of the incorporation of the Hornby
Congregational Church. In 1897, the Presbyterians and Methodists chose by vote to
combine their congregations whose respective memberships had been declining for a
number of years.
The Presbyterian Church was formed in Hornby on September 14, 1831 and meetings
were held at the home of Chester Knowlton which stood near the south east comer of
Rogers and Hornby Roads. Rev. B.B. Smith delivered the first sermon and Josiah Wheat
was named clerk as well as an elder. Also chosen as elders were Francis Northway and
Sampson Bixby. Elders named in subsequent years, among others, were Henry Gardner,
S.R. Hungerford, C.G. Wheat and Andrew Hyslop. Among the first members were the
families of Haradon, Gibbs, Rockwell, Harrison and Palmer.
In 1851, trustees Marcus Gaylord, Henry Gardner, S. R. Hungerford, D.L. Wheat, and
D.D. Stanton began taking steps towards building a church. The structure, which still
stands today, was built in the fine Greek Revival style of architecture and was completed
The Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in 1828 with Sylvester Brooks its leader
for the next ten years when he was succeeded by Levi Coye. In 1843, a division of
sentiment occurred with the result being the organization of the Wesleyans who came to
the aid of the Presbyterians when they were building their church. As a result of this aid,
the Wesleyans were allowed to share the Presbyterian church building on alternate
Sundays. This continued until 1877 when the Wesleyans dedicated their own church in
Dyke or Shady Grove and this church is still active today.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was left with a very small number of members but
managed to stay together. Meetings were held in the homes of Abel Palmer and Daniel
Goodsell for several years. In 1863, under the leadership of Rev. A.H. Shurtliff, they
reorganized and meetings were held for a time in the Baptist church which stood in
Hornby Forks. The Presbyterians, as they did with the Wesleyans, came to the assistance
of the M.E. Church and allowed this sect the use of their meeting house which they did for
a number of years.
By 1897, the Presbyterian congregation had dwindled to only 16 members and the
Methodists no longer reported to conference. There was difficulty in securing a resident
pastor. The Baptist organization was suffering with the same problems. Talk of a union
had been going on for several years before 1897 but the offer was declined by the
Wesleyans. A joint meeting of the Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists was held on
August 1, 1897 with the Presbyterians voting to invite the others to unite with them under
a Congregational form of government. A paper to that effect was signed by all the
Presbyterians and Methodists and a few Baptists. At a meeting held on Sept. 4, the
Baptists decided not to unite. Another petition was circulated with forty signatures
received and the decision was made to go ahead with the merger and transfer the property
from the Presbytery to a local Congregational society. Invitations to help organize the
church were sent to the Rev. N.E. Fuller of Coming, the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher and the
Rev. Samuel Eastman both of Park Church, Elmira. After several meetings, the church
was incorporated on December 27, 1897 with Henry F. Harrison, Henry W. Wheat and
Alva Gifford as trustees and Mary E. Eddy as clerk.
In September of 1959 the Junior Fellowship of the Hornby Congregational Church held
a re?enactment of the historic merger. Representing their great grandparents were Pamela
Kniffen as Mary Hyslop, Kay Rogers as Carrie Erwin Rogers, Edith Lehman as Kate
Hendrick Stewart and Kathleen Cox as Alice Coye Gifford.
Other roles included Nancy Goodrich as Lloyd Stewart, Janet DeMonstoy as Hannibal
Howell, Dawn Easling as Eben Stephens, Jean Lehman as Esther Stephens, Mrs. Ruth
McIntosh as Addie Stephens, and Christine Goodrich as E.J. Easterbrooks.
Additional parts were: Anita McIntosh as Delinda Dickinson Easterbrooks, David
Sowersby as V.T. Brouwere, clerk of the Baptist Church, Kay Elwell as Mrs. Brouwere,
David McIntosh as the Rev. Samuel Eastman, John Hudson as the Rev. N.E. Fuller,
Richard Elwell as a reporter from The Coming Journal, Fay Lehman as Mrs. Lydia Allen,
the first resident pastor. Paul McIntosh and Robert DeMonstoy welcomed the
congregation and Cynthia Hovey and Diane Stermer closed the program.
History of Steuben County, 1879 by W.W. Clayton
The Evening Leader, October 26, 1952
The Evening Leader, September 20, 1959
Minutes of the Hornby Congregational Church