A Will of 1839

When high school students study the works of Shakespeare they tend to be
hilarious when they learn that a feather bed was a prized possession to be willed to a  wife. They do not know how many goose feathers are needed to make a bed or the softness or the warmth it has in cold houses, or that people in northern Europe still sleep between pads of these feathers. These feather beds were made into pillows, which have also mainly disappeared. The young folks cannot understand the pleasure a housewife had when her feather beds were high and perfectly smooth after being fluffed up and
made.

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Whitehall in 1815 – 1816

This map of Whitehall came from the National Archives in Washington. It was drawn by John Anderson and Isaac Roberdeau, U.S.A. in late 1815, early 1816. It was a year before the Champlain Canal was started here in 1817, long before the land between Skene Mountain and the Island was cut by a canal that took traffic from the natural lake and around Fiddler’s Elbow and before the Whitehall lithograph of 1819.

During the War of 1812 the Port of Whitehall was an entry port through which military materials and troops passed. A fort, called of other maps Fort Comfort or Fort Diamond, was constructed. Barracks were placed near the rise and entrenchments, which were never used, were dug. The powder magazine remnants were still in evidence in the first part of the twentieth century, remembered by older Whitehallers.

From this map may be seen the reason some early mapmakers called the narrow stretch of water an extension of Wood Creek rather than the head of Lake Champlain. After the battle of Lake Champlain in September 1814 Commodore MacDonough brought to this port some of the American fleet and some of the British prize fleet. The ships were moored on the west side of the Lake in December 1814. In apprehension that the British might strike from the north the guns were taken from the ships and mounted on land.

After the hostilities had ceased Whitehall was a naval depot for many years. The old storehouse on the east side of the harbor was constructed in 1816. When Stillman, the noted traveler, went through Whitehall (visiting Henry Francisco) he saw the sailors looking out the portholes of the ships. In the decade of the 20’s the ships were sold, stripped of valuables and moored in East Bay-Poultney River area. The location of some is known where they are preserved under water for scientific examination of historic artifacts. Two have had such study, TICONDEROGA and EAGLE. One other is waiting it, the British LINNET. The story of this study has been published in the book entitled “History and Construction of the United States Schooner, Ticonderoga” by Kevin Crissman who made the study at Skenesborough Museum of the Ticonderoga, researched its history from primary sources, dived in the river, and wrote his thesis at the University of Texas. He is presently working on the EAGLE.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Independent – April 23, 1986

When Did They Die? 85 Years Plus

Obituaries are interesting reading when read as a source of information on industries and events of earlier days. It would seem that women are the hardier of the sexes as their numbers reaching the 85-plus outnumber males.

These entries, taken at random from .Scrapbook 21 of the late Arthur Gordon, point out the information, or lack of it, that can be entered in an obituary.

Mrs. Elmira Latour Bebo, 94, was the widow of Dennis Bebo, a Civil War veteran. Born in Sorel, Canada, she came to Whitehall in 1862. She and her husband conducted a business on Canal Street between the old Gaylord Building which stood on the south corner of Clinton Avenue and Canal Street in the present roadway north of Stiles Meeting Place and owned a secondhand store on North Main streets.

Mrs. J. Sanford Potter, 88, was Miss Ann Webster who came to Whitehall from Pittsburgh. She attended Fort Edward Collegiate Institute at a time after the demise of the second Whitehall Academy on Williams Street. She lived at the Terrace on Skene Mountain where were located the Potter brother mansions.

Mrs. Ann O’Brien Walsh, 89, came from Ireland via Granville. Her first husband was John Barrett. They were the parents of Mrs. Henry Neddo. Her second husband was Peter Walsh.

Mrs. Mary Mulholland Duncan, 89, was a Whitehall girl. She was the mother of nine children. She and husband James lived near the southern end of Cliff Street.

Mrs. Celestia Mitchell DeKalb, 86, was a Whitehall girl. She attended Whitehall Academy. She became a charter member of the Whitehall Grange, the Civic Improvement League and the Rural Charity Club. She was a correspondent of The Whitehall Times under editors Franklin Fishier, Milo C. Reynolds and Edward F. Roche. Her daughter, Mary DeKalb, taught in Whitehall High School.

Joseph Brown, 94, came to Whitehall from Ireland via, Granville. He followed his father in farming, living on his own farm on the Whitehall-Poultney road for 67 years. His wife was Anna Powers.

Mrs. Rebecca Ferguson Bates, 87, was a resident of Whitehall for 70 years. She was the widow of Charles Bates, a prominent Episcopalian worker and an operator of hotels in and around Whitehall.

Mrs. Rose Raino Hurtubis, 87, came to Whitehall from Essex, N.Y., at seven years of age. She attended the old Bell School at corner of Blount and Lamb streets.

Mrs. Mary Aiken Ryon, 86, was the widow of Franklin C. Ryon. They lived on Canal Street near his coal yard, which was north of the firehouse before that building was moved to its present site in 1933.

Mrs. Margaret Mooney McCarthy, 87, was the widow of John McCarthy. She came from St. Antonie, Canada. She was a charter member of the Whitehall Democratic club. Her son, Edward McCarthy, was one of Whitehall’s postmasters.

Francis M. Bartholomew was called the Youngest Vet as he entered service, in the Civil War at the age of 13. Born in Howard, Steuben County, he came to Dresden at six years of age. He drove on the canal in summer and did chores in the winter. He was a member of the American Legion post in Whitehall.

Mrs. Adline LaVia Doty, 88, came from Sorel, Canada, as a young woman.

Walter D. Travis, 98, was one of the oldest Masons when he died in 1934. He was a member of Phoenix Lodge, 96, F. and A.M. He was in the hardware and ice business.

Mrs. Marion Pratt, 91, died on New Year’s Day in North Whitehall.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – Whitehall Independent – April 24, 1980