Putnam County Day 2020 a Virtual Celebration

Friday, June 12, 2020, Carmel, New York – Today marks the 208th birthday of Putnam County, a celebration of a new county in a new country.  Unfortunately, the annual observation of Putnam County Day at the Historic Courthouse has been canceled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the Hudson Valley region strives to reopen. However, a virtual celebration is available online!

“This traditional day of ceremony and celebration has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Putnam County is rich in history and this year is no exception given this unprecedented time,” says Michael C. Bartolotti, County Clerk and RMO.  “I am happy to report that the Historian’s Office has been busy working with local historians, historical societies, and schools to record the experiences of this time.  We are truly living history and this year’s virtual celebration will be yet another record for the archives.”

Putnam County Day is an annual event that typically includes a ceremony, historic presentation, and awards for outstanding people, projects and publications that enrich and record Putnam County’s history.  “This year we will observe Putnam County Day virtually,” says Bartolotti.  “The Historian’s Office has created a video presentation that features great history, special guests, and the unveiling of the Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr. collection at the Historian’s Office.”  The Hill collection features an amazing array of turn of the century farm diaries, photographs and ephemera from the Hill, Dykeman, Bloomer and Townsend families from Carmel, Kent, and Brewster. It includes a stunning and rarely, if ever, seen photo of the Tilly Foster area in the Town of Southeast. This video is available to the public on the county website, www.putnamcountyny.com.

This year’s celebration has been dedicated to Gregory Amato, a long-time volunteer with the Historian’s Office who persuaded Charles Hill to donate his family’s collection.  Amato passed away in April 2020.

Fifth grade students from across the county were recruited to take part in the virtual ceremony by attending classes online or by recording themselves during their time spent in “distance learning”.  Their projects including leading the ceremony in the Pledge of Allegiance, providing history on the founding of Putnam County, creating a special COVID-19 time capsule entitled “Living History” and even singing Happy Birthday to Putnam County!  These 10-11-year-olds were asked to participate based on their age.  “They will hopefully be the ones around to tell the story of how Putnam County fared during the pandemic 50 years from now,” says Bartolotti. “They play an incredible role in this celebration.”

“I trust that with time and the continued dedication of medical experts throughout our country we will once again gather next year at the Historic Courthouse to celebrate our great history.”

About the Historian’s Office

The Historian’s Office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County as a local government office.  According to New York State criteria, the work of the Historian’s Office includes: research and writing, teaching and public presentations, historic preservation, and organization, advocacy and tourism promotion. To support these efforts, the Putnam County Historian’s Office has been collecting historical records, maps, books, photographs, and periodicals since 1953.  In 1992, the Putnam County Archives was established in the Historian’s Office to preserve, arrange, describe, and make accessible the governmental records of Putnam County.

For more information call 845-808-1420 or email historian@putnamcountyny.gov.




A sampling of the “farm diaries” and photographs included in the Charles Sherwood Hill Jr. collection in the Putnam County Historian’s Collection.


A rare, early 20th century view of the one room Tilly Foster schoolhouse and children at play, overlooking the

Middle Branch Reservoir and former Tilly Foster community and mine store from the Hill Collection (HC561).


Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr., donor of the collection of diaries, photographs and ephemera from the Hill, Dykeman, Bloomer and Townsend families from Carmel, Kent, and Brewster.


“Living History” COVID-19 Time Capsule participants Christopher and Kevin, representing Austin Road Elementary School in Mahopac, NY.


Eric Gross unveiling the Charles Sherwood Hill, Jr. collection at the Putnam County Archives.


Title Slide for “Living History” a virtual celebration for Putnam County Day 2020.

Pierson Cemetery Stones

Mahopac, NY — It was a special family reunion of sorts when former Mahopac resident Brad Smith recently visited his ancestor’s family plot at the now abandoned Mahopac Methodist Episcopal Cemetery, located off McMahon Place, the site of the original 1826 Methodist Church.

“My great grandparents, Nelson and Johanna Pierson, immigrated around 1880 from Sweden and settled in Mahopac. They were dirt poor but invested in a family plot but could not afford a headstone,” Smith says of the shady northeast corner of the cemetery. Until recently, the Pierson family plot had been simply marked off by iron rods with no family name or headstones to commemorate the lives of his great grandparents and approximately 5 other family members buried there.

Smith, now living in Connecticut, reached out to the Putnam County Historian’s Office to find out about cemetery records and tips on how to start arrangements for a family headstone. During this exchange he noted that two of his great uncles who served in World War I are buried there. Arthur Nelson Pierson served in Battery D and Charles Oscar, or Oscar Charles as everyone knew him, served in the 49th infantry in France. He also wanted to see to it that their graves be marked with flags in honor of their service.

A short time later, Brad arranged for free government issued granite headstones for both unmarked graves of his great uncles through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Lorraine Hanner from Hillside Memorials then worked with Carmel Town Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt to secure approvals to set the headstones in the cemetery.

Recently, while attending his Mahopac High School 50th reunion weekend, Smith was joined by Allan Warnecke, former Putnam County Historian, and Mike Troy of the Putnam County Cemetery Committee to visit the new stones marking Arthur’s and Oscar’s graves. Warneke was able to regale the group with a story of the last Pierson family member burial that took place in 1969 when the cemetery had been neglected and had become so overgrown that Albert Pierson’s casket had to be carried over a stone wall. Since then, the cemetery has been cleared and is maintained by the Town of Carmel with support from Putnam County. Smith hopes to raise funds to set a Pierson family stone to commemorate all of his ancestors buried there. In the meantime, Warnecke, who places an American Flag at each Veteran grave in that cemetery every Memorial Day, will add the Pierson brothers to his list.

Brad Smith’s new contribution of the Pierson family members buried at the Old Methodist Cemetery will help build on the last listing done in 2002 by Karl H. von Ahn for his Eagle Scout Project while in Troop 1, Mahopac, NY, housed in the research library of the Historian’s Office

Just in time: Local History Holiday Gift Guide

BREWSTER, New York — Looking for a unique holiday gift that promotes hometown pride and supports a great cause? Well, look no further! The Putnam County Historian’s Office has curated a gift guide in support of local history, and related historical societies, non-profits and museums. These gifts include T-shirts, mugs, historical prints suitable for framing, books on local history and historical fiction, and the all-important membership packages that help keep these organizations up and running during their pursuit of preserving Putnam County’s rich history.

The organizations include: Boscobel, Carmel Historical Society, Kent Historical Society,
Landmarks Preservation Society of Southeast, Patterson Historical Society, Putnam History Museum in Cold Spring, Putnam Valley Historical Society, and Southeast Museum in Brewster.

“The Local History Holiday Gift Guide not only provides great gift tips but important information on each organization and their mission,” says Jennifer Cassidy of the County Historian’s Office. “Supporting them with the purchase of a T-shirt, book or membership package, all aid their missions of preserving and presenting Putnam’s past.” Complete contact information for the Historian’s Office, societies, and museums is included in the guide.

Book highlights from the guide include: “Vignettes of Patterson’s Past”, a collection of Patterson’s histories by the Society in a hardback book illustrated with maps, photos and more; “History of Putnam County, New York”, by William S. Pelletreau, the quintessential linen bound, local history book reprinted by Landmarks Preservation Society; and the respective societies offer Bicentennial profiles of Town of Kent and Historic Carmel, Mahopac & Mahopac Falls.

Mugs and a wonderful selection of local history books and exhibit catalogues are available at Putnam History Museum while the Southeast Museum offers iconic reprints of the village of Brewster from 1867 and 1870 as well as local historical fiction titles by Putnam County author Deborah Rafferty Oswald.

Know someone who loves baseball? The Putnam Valley Historical Society has a limited run of rare images of Babe Ruth playing baseball at Lake Oscawana, suitable for 8” x 10” framing.

2019 Putnam County Gift Guide – County Historian


The guide can also  be viewed online at the Historian’s website

www.putnamcountyny.com/countyhistorian and a limited amount of printed copies are available upon request by calling 845-808-1420 or emailing historian@putnamcountyny.gov.

Music and Songs of Yesteryear

The Historian’s Collection features a number of interesting music and song ephemera from local musicians, groups and events. These items range from advertisements of music festivals held at Birch Hill Ski Area in the 1990s, to Judge Samuel B. Hickman’s early music career, and rare images of yesteryear including a photograph of the Patterson Cornet Band from September 1889 at the County Fair in Carmel, NY.

Some other musical highlights in the Historian’s Collection include:

The Cold Spring Musical Society, founded by Francis Colgate Dale and Imogen James Dale

Mr. Dale received his training at the Royal Conservatory in Leipzig, Germany where he learned to conduct and play each instrument of a band and orchestra.  What started out as a simple trumpet lesson for his son grew into free instructions and instruments for local children.  According to Helen Jimenez’s 1957 account featured in Putnam County History “Third Workshop”, the society was founded in 1927 and they met once a month at various homes and eventually gave concerts and music for parades and other community events.  This popularity led to the committee’s solicitation of funds for the town’s open air bandstand at the Hudson River waterfront and the cornerstone was laid August 10, 1928.  Francis Dale made sure his proficient students continued their training and they were paired with professional instructors who included Max Arnold on trumpet, and Luca Del Negro, on tuba (both players in the John Philip Sousa Band), and members of the West Point Band.  (Source: HC405, Vol 3, 1957)


Putnam Valley Friends of Music and Art, founded by Israel Ben and Augusta Scheiber

In late 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Scheiber invited selected Putnam Valley year-round and seasonal residents to a meeting at their Bank Street home to form the Putnam Valley Friends of Music and Art.  With sponsorship by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Friends inaugurated a series of cultural events to coincide with the Town’s 1939 Centennial celebrations.  Programs were held at the newly-completed Putnam Valley Central School (later the elementary school).  The Friends continued to have programs each summer.  Activities were suspended during World War II but were successfully revived in 1946 and continued at least until 1949.  Mr. Scheiber was a prominent attorney who was important in the history of Putnam Valley, particularly in the consolidation of the Putnam Valley Central Schools District and the beginning of planning and zoning in the Town.  Mrs. Scheiber was a concert pianist and chamber musician.  Together, they were instrumental in bringing musical, theatrical and other cultural organizations to Putnam Valley.  (Source: HC529  Israel Ben Scheiber Papers, 1931-1957)


The Cecilian Society

On January 12, 1899, a small group of young women met at the home of Julia Roberts Rundall to organize music society in Brewster, New York. They called themselves “The Cecilian Society” after for St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music.  The object of this Society was the promotion of musical culture by public & private concerts, rehearsals and lectures.  The first meeting was held on November 22, 1900, at the Casino located at the end of Prospect Street, owned by Mrs. Frank Wells.  The Cecilian Society remained active in the community for over 90 years.  In 2015, a former Cecilian member, Norma Pasquelino, donated the archives of the organization to the Putnam County Historian (HC701).

The Collection 

The Historian’s Collection also features an extensive media collection that includes video tapes of special events and local meetings that feature many elements of music and song including Richard Balla, folk musician, Native American music of Gil Crying Hawk and the Echoing Drum from Putnam County Day (c. 2001) and souvenir music from the dedication of the Chuang Yen Monastery, May 1997.  For more information on any of the items featured in the Historian’s Collection, or to donate collectible materials, please contact the Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or email historian@putnamcountyny.gov.



Image of the Patterson Cornet Band (C004, 131) September 1889 at the County Fair in Carmel, NY

Image: The Bandstand commemorative plaque unveiled in August 2019, photo by Dennis Mazzuca, courtesy of The Putnam County News & Recorder.  https://www.pcnr.com/articles/90-years-on-bandstand-plaque-marks-iconic-structure-in-village/

Image: The Cecilian Society (C2185) from the Brewster Centennial parade in August 1948 features Mary Alice McLogan, Lois Michell, Rose Truran, Jennie Lobdell, Clara Knapp, Dorothy Beal, Mrs. Shuker Armstrong, Harriet Merritt Gillchrist.

Image: Putnam Valley Friends of Music and Art’s program for a symphony concert dated July 1939 (HC529)

Image: Putnam Valley Friends of Music and Art’s membership card, 1939 (HC529)

Carmel Country Club Strikes Gold

As the season of tan lines and ice pops reaches its peak, we go back to a time when the blazing summer heat would drive local townspeople to their community lakes and pools.  In 1933, however, the sun was not the only reason locals flocked to the water, for it was in the town of Kent that champion diver and future Olympic gold medalist Marshall Wayne visited the Carmel Country Club, now The Sedgewood Club.  A collegian at the University of Miami, Florida, at the time, Wayne, along with swimming stars Dick Degener and Frank Kurtz, hosted a stunt diving exhibition on China Lake in front of the largest crowd the club had ever seen.  Eager spectators from the surrounding towns gathered lakeside to witness Wayne’s running front two-and-a-half somersault with a pike.  Wayne would later go on to win gold in the men’s 10 meter platform at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Additional details on the exhibition can be found in the Putnam County Courier, Volume 92, Numbers 14 and 15, available in microfilm at the Mahopac Public Library, in bound copy at the Historian’s Office, or online at fultonhistory.com.  Further information about the history of the Carmel Country Club can be found in HC222 of the Historian’s Collection at the Putnam County Historian’s Office, collection courtesy of MaryAnn Smith, with images contributed by Fran Carr.


The Red Mills Historic District Celebrates the 4th!

Remembering the Red Mills &  Falls of Mahopac

Some history on the names Red Mills and Mahopac Falls

According to Charles A. Raymond’s 1976 Historic Carmel, Mahopac and Mahopac Falls: a bicentennial profile, the region’s first mill, “Kirkham Mill”, was built around 1740 located in what we now refer to as The Red Mills Historic District in Mahopac Falls. A larger mill was built around 1760 and was originally in use to make plaster for use with brick, stone, or wood frame buildings.  At the time of the American Revolution, it became a grist mill and was grinding grain to feed and supply Continental Troops. Later, a carding mill and saw mill were built near the old mill, each depending on channels of water from the local lakes. At one point, the mills were painted red and from then on the area became known as “The Red Mills.”

By 1881, New York City had secured many farms, mills, and water rights for its reservoir system and razed the largest old red mill leaving only the “falls” from the millpond that had supplied the driving force of water for the mill wheel.  At this time, the name “Mahopac Falls” came into use. By 1900, the falls were removed to re-channel the outlets of water coming from Kirk Lake and Lake Mahopac.

The Old Red Mill circa 1881, courtesy of Judy Agor from the Putnam County Historian’s Collection

Charles A. Raymond’s book on Historic Carmel, Mahopac and Mahopac Falls can be found in the Putnam County Historian’s Office Research Library as well as local history collections of Brewster, Carmel and Kent Public Libraries.

The Red Mills historic marker and gazebo at the Red Mills Historic District Park from the Putnam County Historian’s Collection

The Town of Carmel and the Red Mills Historic District Committee will hold their annual Independence Day Concert on July 4, 2019, from 6:30 – 8:00 pm in the gazebo at Red Mills Historic Park, Route 6N and Hill Street in Mahopac Falls where the  Historic District Celebrates the 4th!

Courtesy of Carmel Historian Jim Meyer, we’re pleased to share that news of the Independence Day Concert on July 4, 2019 at the Red Mills Historic District.  It will feature an outdoor concert of patriotic music by the Norm Hathaway Big Band with a reenactment performance by the 2nd NY Regiment Brigade of the American Revolution.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy. In the event of rain, the concert will be held on July 5th at 6:30 pm.  The event is free to the public and is sponsored by Tompkins Mahopac Bank.  For further information call Jim Meyer, Town of Carmel Historian, at 914-844-6050 or Allan Warneke, Chairman Red Mills Historic District Committee, at 845-628-5705.


Image credits:  The Old Red Mill circa 1881, courtesy of Judy Agor from the Putnam County Historian’s Collection

Image credits: The Red Mills historic marker and gazebo at the Red Mills Historic District Park from the Putnam County Historian’s Collection

Happy Birthday Putnam County! Celebrate Putnam County’s History June 14th

CARMEL, NEW YORK, May 14 — Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Clerk Michael C. Bartolotti, invite the public to celebrate Putnam County’s 207th birthday on Flag Day, Friday, June 14, 2019, at the Historic Courthouse, 44 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY, from  10 – 11:30 am.  In addition to local history awards, a special presentation honoring today’s local historians along with a centennial commemoration of the homecoming stories from World War I will be featured.

“100 years ago, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith established the role of local historians to help record the stories of returning servicemembers following World War I,” says MaryEllen Odell, “Since that time, our local government historians have been preserving, interpreting and presenting local history. We are thrilled to honor the role they have played, and continue to play, for the towns and villages throughout Putnam County.”

The current municipal historians include Jim Meyer of Carmel;  Jackie Rohrig of Kent;  Dr. Larry A. Maxwell of Patterson; Mark Forlow for Philipstown and the Village of Cold Spring; Dan Ricci of Putnam Valley;  John E. “Jack” Duncan of Southeast;  Danielle Cylich for the Village of Brewster; and Jonathan Bradley for Nelsonville.

A number of 2019 awards share a common theme: remembering Putnam County’s role in World War I.  “It’s quite fitting that we’ll celebrate the County’s birthday on Flag Day this year,” says Odell of the scheduling change from the County’s actual birthday June 12th to the 14th, “We will be commemorating a time in our County’s history that was at the peak of patriotism as the citizens of Putnam County welcomed home its brave men and women who served in the Great War.”

“Our Row of Honor along the shore of Lake Gleneida serves as a great reminder of what a privilege it is to celebrate Putnam County’s history, pledge our allegiance and show our continued gratitude for all those who serve.”

As with tradition, the Historian’s Office will honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to local history.  According to Michael Bartolotti, County Clerk and Records Management Officer responsible for the County Archives, “The Archives and Historian’s Office continue to be a great resource not just for research but for the arts as well.  Over the past year, elements from our records and collection have been developed into works of both nonfiction and fiction.”  Over seven different books and transcriptions will receive 2019 Local History awards.

2019 Local History Awards include:

  • Exemplary Public History in Schools:  Southeast Museum & Brewster High School for the stage production of “The Letters: Voices from the Great War”
  • Exemplary Public History – Lecture Series: Michael Bennett & Putnam Valley Historical Society
  • Preserving Local History: Mary Ann Smith for “Carmel Country Club”; Bernadette Brandon & the Brandon Family for “Sgt. Daniel Brandon’s Diary”
  • Local History PublicationPatriot Hero of the Hudson Valley by Vincent T. Dacquino; Sybil Rides by Larry Maxwell; The Girls of Haviland and Beyond Haviland by Deborah Rafferty Oswald; Putnam County Veterans of World War I by Roderick J. Cassidy;  The South Precinct of Dutchess County New York, 1740-1799 by Pamela Riccardi Paschke
  • Archival Sources Publication: Chip Rowe, transcription of “Putnam County, New York, Clerk Receipt Book, 1821-1827”, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 149, Number 2,  April 2018 and Number 3, July 2018
  • Lifetime Achievement Local History: Marjorie Nichols Keith, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Following the ceremony, attendees are invited to join the historians and honorees in the lobby of the David D. Bruen County Office Building for the traditional County birthday cake and refreshments.  The public is welcome, no RSVP required. For more information about the event, please contact the Historian’s Office at 845-808-1420 or historian@putnamcountyny.gov

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About The Historian’s Office

The Historian’s Office preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of Putnam County as a local government office.  According to New York State criteria, the work of the Historian’s Office includes: research and writing, teaching and public presentations, historic preservation, and organization, advocacy and tourism promotion. To support these efforts, the Putnam County Historian’s Office has been collecting historical records, maps, books, photographs, and periodicals since 1953.  In 1992, the Putnam County Archives was established in the Historian’s Office to preserve, arrange, describe, and make accessible the governmental records of Putnam County.  The Archives and Historian’s Collection are used as a resource for people in Putnam County and elsewhere.  Finding aids are available at www.putnamcountyny.com/countyhistorian.

Putnam’s Women of World War II – WACS and WAVES

Putnam’s Women of World War II – WACS and WAVES

During these final days of Women’s History Month, the Putnam County Historian’s Office and the Putnam Veterans’ Museum is proud to build on the role of women in the military and remember some late, great female heroes.

Over the years, the Historian’s Office has had the privilege of honoring former Mahopac resident Corp. Gertrude Cassetta (nee Pearson), who trained at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia and served in World War II as a cryptographer in the Signal Corps of the Army Air Corps as a WAC (Women’s Auxiliary Corps) in England and France.  In a 1994 article in the Courier Trader, Cassetta remembered June 6, 1944, a.k.a. D-Day, “It was a bright sunny day in England.  I awakened to hear the thunderous noise of planes.  The sky was literally darkened with planes going to France.” This was just one of her many memories of serving in Europe during the war. Cassetta gave Putnam County an ever-lasting gift through an oral history that is now housed in the Historian’s Collection (HC802, A16).

The Putnam Veterans’ Museum Photo Archive at the Putnam County Historian’s Office houses an entire photo album of Brewster’s own Rosemary Lally’s experiences with the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II.  She trained at the U.S. Naval Training School, Women’s Reserve at Hunter College, in the Bronx, N.Y. and served 1 ½ years in Washington, D.C., and achieved rank of Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd class.

Lastly, Dolores Beal Stephens penned a wonderful book in 2003 entitled Those Who Served, Those Who Waited, WWII Experiences as told by the Veterans and Civilians of Brewster/Southeast, NY, (included in the Research Library of the Putnam County Historian’s Office) where she paid tribute to many local WWII veterans including her own sister Joan Ross Beal Peckham, of Brewster, who was likely influenced by their father William Ross Beal who served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and returned to serve as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II.  Joan joined the U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVES) and was trained at the Great Lakes Naval Base, served at St. Alban’s Naval Hospital on Long Island, and then at Alameda Naval Hospital in California as a Corpsman. Involved in nursing work, Joan was responsible for taking care of badly burned and maimed sailors.  One of her patients was John “Butch” Santorelli of Brewster, N.Y., whose tank landing ship was struck by a torpedo at Normandy in June 1944.

During Women’s History Month, it is a particular honor to remember these women and their service.

Image captions:

  • U.S. Navy’s John “Butch” Santorelli and Joan Ross Beal, WAVES, of Brewster, N.Y.
  • June 2, 1994 Putnam Courier-Trader article on Gertrude Cassetta
  • WAVES’ song book from the Rosemary Lally Collection of the Putnam Veterans’ Museum
  • WAVES Parade at the U.S. Naval Training School, Women’s Reserve at Hunter College, in the Bronx, N.Y. from the Rosemary Lally Collection of the Putnam Veterans’ Museum
  • WAVES in service in Washington, D.C., from the Rosemary Lally Collection of the Putnam Veterans’ Museum


Harlem New York City’s own Country Haven: Memories of Snowdale Farm

Years before Victor Hugo Green first issued The Green book as a travel guide for African-Americans, Augustus and Mary Moran ran advertisements in The New York Age to invite travelers to vacation at Snowdale Farm in Towners, NY. It offered “all the conveniences of city life, yet having all the pleasures of a mountain resort…” They catered exclusively to African-Americans.
Located off “Dykemans Road” (CR 62), the Morans hosted many city-dwellers from Harlem, lower Westchester and from as far away as Houston, Texas for overnights, long weekends and conferences. They operated year-round and offered farm-to-table meals, horseback riding, hiking, and fishing among other outdoor sports. Eventually the Morans installed a swimming pool and tennis courts and hosted large Decoration Day and 4th of July gatherings with fireworks.

Snowdale advertising as it appeared in The New York Age, July 27, 1929

During the 1920s, Snowdale Farm was among a number of Putnam County hotels offering recreational tourism. The Morans advertised only in metropolitan newspapers and boasted that Snowdale was easily reached by the State Highway from New York City and New York Central trains that ran directly to Brewster.

Augustus, known as A.J., and his wife Mary were both of African-American lineage and came to Putnam County around 1918 and raised their family at the farm. They suffered hardship in 1924 when their 9-year-old son Elbridge, was kicked in the head by a horse. He died a few days later and The Brewster Standard reported that his Big Elm District school mates served as pallbearers. The Morans other children, Robert and Sue, grew up at Snowdale and the farm remained in the family for another generation.

The Moran’s hosted many notable guests and oftentimes their visits would be published in the society pages of The Age. Some interesting guests include:

  • Dr. E. R. Alexander, a prominent medical specialist at Harlem Hospital who also served on the Medical Committee of the NAACP; he was the only African-American in his graduating class at the University of Vermont School of Medicine and was eventually elected to the New York Academy of Medicine
  • Members of the Entre Nous Bridge Club of White Plains
  • Mrs. Cecelia Cabaniss Saunders, General Secretary and legendary fundraiser, along with committee members of 137th Street YWCA, New York’s first black YWCA branch

    Above: Cecelia Cabaniss Saunders The New York Age, 1/27/1923

  • Rev. William Lloyd Imes, then leader of St. James Presbyterian Church and pioneer in race relations
  • Stafford Neilson, an immigrant chauffeur who became one of the first black officials of the Harlem Unit of the Taxicab System running green and silver model K Checker cabs
  • Rev. & Mrs. Adam Clayton Powell and family; the Reverend was the founder of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and grew it to the largest Protestant congregation in the country; he was also an author, activist and father of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
  • Dr. Eugene Perry Roberts and family; Dr. Roberts was one of New York’s earliest black physicians receiving his M.D. in 1894, appointed as the first black assistant medical examiner in 1898; a founding member of the National Urban League; appointed to the New York City Board of Education in 1917

In the 30s, Snowdale served as the headquarters for the Berkshire Rod and Gun Club. Members included Assemblyman Robert W. Justice, James H. Hubert of the New York Urban League, and Levi Florance of Carmel. By 1934, this group had 60 members and 40 members in its ladies auxiliary.

Above: Stafford Neilson, The New York Age, 1/1/1932

(Note: Unfortunately there aren’t any records or photographs of Snowdale Farm in the Putnam County Historian’s Collection. Research for this article was based on The New York Age archives available through FultonHistory.com)

Football Memories: A Brewster High School Throwback

As we approach Super Bowl LIII this weekend, here’s a throwback from Brewster High School’s football team.

70 years ago the Brewster Bears had a winning season of 5-1-1 and they were crowned County Football Champions.  Some of the great players that year included quarterback Jim Casey, left halfback Doug Ruffles and fullback Doug Scolpino.  This group and team photos are featured in the 1949 yearbook Resumé as part of the Putnam County Historian’s research library.

One of the earliest references to this team coined as the “Brewster Bears” can be found in an article in The Brewster Standard dated October 23, 1931 when the “Bears” clawed, blocked and tackled their way to beat Croton-on-Hudson 44-6. The full article can be found online through the archives available through the Brewster Public Library’s Links.

Thanks to a local estate sale donation by J. Rocco in 2016, the Historian’s Office has a number of BHS yearbooks from 1948-50 and 1952. You can also find assorted copies of Resumé from 1928 -2012 in the Local History collection of Brewster Public Library. Please be sure to keep them, and other local libraries and historical societies in mind if you have any old yearbooks or school photos to digitize or donate.

BHS 1949 Back row—G. Fox, D. Scolpino, G. Vetare, E. Ritchie, E. Farrell, E. Wunner, R. Herdman, D. Ruffles, J. Palmer, F. VanCougnett, H. Salmon, J. Casey, C. Bruno.  Middle row—D. Bruen, Q. Puglsey, J. Sterry, J. Mattioli, E. Schneider, J. Heinchon, N. Prisco, T. Mastrangelo, A. Polverari, D. Stevens, A. Forschner.     Front Row—Coach Opdyke, J. Markel, D. Newcomb, J. Folchetti, D. Smith, G. Foster, E. LaMere, N. Blackwood.