History and Directory of Yates County

from Vol I, 1873

THE WEST WOODS

In one of a series of articles contributed in 1869 to the Yates County Chronicle concerning the Yates County Gazetteer, Edward J. Fowle wrote as follows:

"After the earlier settlers of Benton, about 1816, there came a colony from Livingston's Manor, Columbia county, who located in the west part of the town, which for many years was designated as the West or Dutch Woods. They were an honest, frugal and industrious people. The 'Old Folks' are nearly all departed, as are most of the log houses they built. Many of the descendants reside there, possessing the virtues of the parents. They are well-to-do farmers, and good livers. Among them will be found the family names of Crank, Rector, Finger, Wheeler, Simmons, Carrol, Hoos, Moon, Miller and Niver. In the young days of the old people, the winters afforded good times for visiting and social enjoyments. Every week, if not oftener, at the log residence of some one of them, the families would all congregate, coming in sleighs or sleds, when there would be music and dancing, story telling, refreshments and smoking, while the huge logs blazed away in the good large fire-places; and so the evening or night passed away. There was usually one double log house, with only one room below, which had two fireplaces, two looms, two beds, and other furniture, and occupied by two families. And those primitive times were happy times with them, with few artificial wants, with no heed to fashions, no class distinctions, no envyings nor jealousies, their lives glided along smoothly and pleasantly. Their spiritual wants were supplied occasionally by an itinerant Dutch or Methodist minister. They were always kind to one another, at house raisings and logging bees, at marriages, in sickness and at death and burial. The large and small wheel, the reel and the loom, have nearly disappeared from among them, but agriculture, the dairy, poultry flocks and herds; and general household duties, now claim the attention of both men and women, old and young, conducting to health and competence. They have rarely if ever been engaged in law suits, and never has one of them been before the courts for wrong doing. It would be hard for our friends in high life to frame for themselves a more exalted eulogy."

Home