THE LIFE OF A PLODDER
FRED GORTON'S 95 YEARS
THIS ACCOUNT WAS WRITTEN FROM MEMORY
May 2, 1963
HISTORY OF LIBERTY AND VICINITY
A brick kiln two miles north of Loch Sheldrake was built on the Sheldon Porter place. It is presumed these bricks were used to build the brick chimney for the Gird Tannery which is perhaps the oldest landmark in Sullivan County, located in Liberty Falls, now Ferndale. It still stands, some 50 feet high. The red brick school house is still there and the locality was so named Red Brick. The Gird Tannery was located on a stream just below the Falls Brook with a drop of some 15 feet or more. At its top was a platform dance pavilion, which was a summer attraction for the young to enjoy.
An arch bridge built by Fred Sebolt in 1889 is still intact. Just above on the Mongaup Stream is a grist mill and pond owned by Byron Gray, where water power was used to grind the farmers' grain. The O & W Railroad built a bridge over this pond 102 feet above the water. Its span was about 250 feet long and was finished on October 8, 1862.
The Free Methodist Church was built in 1887 and dedicated for worship April 26, 1888.
Rance Coleman had a carding mill run by water power where the filter beds are now located on the corner leading to Neversink.
Edward Fredenburgh had a wheelbarrow factory which was a failure. Next he built a laundry, 1889, on Mill Street. His best customer was the Loomis Sanatorium, now the Loomis Village and Dr. Grant's hospital.
R. T. Humphrey built a grist mill, where the Appliances and Furniture Store now stands on South Main, later owned by Cash Bonnell, a small pond over a stream furnished water power to grind the farmers' grain.
The Presbyterian Church was moved from the R. J. Sarles residence by twenty yoke of oxen (Newton Clements' account) to the place where it is now located. The present church yard was bought from Mr. Morton, a novelty store was there. By subscription, $3000 was raised to pay for it; no trouble to raise the money either. The church parsonage was located where Spencer Ramsay's Funeral Home now stands.
The Dr. Webster place is now the location of a motel.
The Edgar Holtslander place on the corner of Lake and Main Streets is now the Liberty Diner.
The Dan Whickman Livery Stable is now the Liberty Laundry.
On the Mansion House lawn, corner of John and Main Streets, where they rented to a show for 5 cents a seat, now stands the National Bank. Ed Grant was the first president.
The Poelman Hotel is now Sabloff's Store.
The new Post Office on Chestnut Street is across the street from the Sherwood residence, now 5 stores are located there.
The Episcopal Church was formerly a harness shop owned by Rufus Garrett; an office building is there now.
The Wallace Kilbourne Place on 9 Maple Street sold to Nathaniel G. Gorton and later to George Mauer, is now the New York Telephone Company brick building.
The Dr. Charles S. Payne place is now the Woolworth Store.
The Chandler Young building known as Young Messiter Dodge Store is now the Sullivan County National Bank, formerly located on the corner of Law and Main Streets. In 1893 Chandler Young, the president, used to drive to Monticello before this bank came into being to cash the businessmen's checks several times a week. $5000 was required to start a bank. The moneyed men bought shares which later sold for $375 a share which cost only $100 at the time per share. This bank stood on the old Liberty House location and across Main Street was built the new Liberty House, which burned at 5:45 PM April 11, 1926.
The Liberty Union School House burned and a new school was built on the John Darbee estate for $60,000 and later a wing for recreation at a cost of $200,000 was built.
On Academy Street stood the Liberty Normal Academy. The Hall House on this location, a new brick front was added and is now called the Lenape.
The Municipal building was built where N. Jennings Harness Shop stood.
The Lennon Hotel, across from the O & W Depot is now the Livingston Manor Lumber Company. The Ontario and Western Depot burned October 17, 1898. The Lancashire Inn burned August 20, 1920. The Wawonda Hotel burned May 9, 1898. Lake Ophelia Pavilion burned in 1912. The Roswell A. Monroe residence was on the corner of Buckley and Main Streets where now stands the Elks Home.
The New School on Buckley Street at a cost of approximately $3,219, 755 bond issue will open in September 1963. This 37 acres was known as Kirk Champlin Misner estate.
A fire started in a little building back of the Hasbrouck Block and some trash caught fire leading south into Charles Morton's Livery Stable which stood where the Electric Corporation offices are. The Green Building only extended up into the driveway at the time and the Music Hall Theater was on the second floor. The fire licked right into the Green Building with a roar. At least 6 horses were brought out of Morton's Livery Stable and the fire raced north to a cement store and Benny Misner's coffee shop, where it stopped. The fire crossed Main Street into the Baptist Church, just a little blaze started near the steeple. It could have been saved in someone went up there with a pail of water. The Baptist Church was the only building across Main Street lost in the June 13, 1913 fire about 4:30 PM. Wm. Feitner Sr. was worried as he had a theater in the building next to the church, now the Town and Country Sportswear Store. A little boy with a hose on top of this building saved Mr. Feitner's theater. The remaining buildings later were torn down to Dr. C. S. Payne's residence.
The Liberty Post Office was across Darbee Lane from the Theater and the rural letter carrier was coached in by the police. Solomon A. Royce was postmaster. Rural delivery started March 2, 1908. Frank Pierson owned the building removed to make way for the new Liberty Post Office across from the Sherwood residence, where now stand five stores.
The Ferndale Post Office owned by Charles Hosie took fire from a little barber shop just south of this three story building and burned to the ground. The little building just north of the building was saved by Fred Gorton on the roof and men below handed pails of water up to him. This fire was in June 16, 1916, just three years and three days apart.
© 2005-17 Kathy Lynn Gorton Emerson. All rights reserved.