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Emil Buechel was a Patterson farmer who entered the world of politics in the 1950s. He began his political life as a town assessor, but resigned that position to become a town justice of the peace. He then ran unopposed for the position of town supervisor in 1952, and held that position for four terms, from 1952 until 1959. During the start of his fourth term, Buechel became the first Patterson Supervisor to serve as chairman of the Putnam County Board of Supervisors, which was the governing entity of Putnam County before the establishment of the legislative form of County government. He held that position for two years.
Buechel and his wife retired to St. Cloud, Florida, where he died on March 1, 1967. Buechel was 70 years old. His funeral was held at the Patterson Presbyterian Church, and he was buried in the Maple Avenue Cemetery.
His son, George, was the Patterson postmaster for many years, and lived on the family farm on NYS Route 311.
The Bloch family was best known for retail businesses it owned on Railroad Street (Front Street) in Patterson. Hyman H. Block partnered with Julius Adelson and operated Adelson & Block on the corner of Railroad Street and Main Street (NYS Route 311) in the late 19th century. Bloch then formed H. H. Bloch & Sons Department Store in the early 20th century, and also owned the Empire Store. All stores sold general merchandise, including clothing, shoes, furniture, and hardware. The Department Store continued to operate until 1965, and the building still stands at #1 Front Street.
Bloch's Department Store was operated by Hyman Bloch's son, Jacob, after his retirement. Jacob was assisted by his sister, Birdie Bloch Greenburg, and her husband, Charles Greenburg. Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bloch resided on North Street in Patterson, although a November, 1948 newspaper article states that he bought the Lena Anderson house on Main Street (NYS Route 311). Jacob Bloch was also an original member of the Patterson Fire Department, joining in 1921. He remained an honorary member in 1971 when the Department celebrated its 50th anniversary. Jacob Bloch sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Royce C. Hall in November, 1965. Bloch had been in poor health and the store had not been doing well. Long time Patterson residents recall that Jacob Bloch moved to Florida some time after selling the store.
Abraham M. Bloch was born in 1894, and attended schools in Patterson and Brewster, and was a graduate of Pawling High School. He attended New York University, and graduated from its law school in 1915. Abraham Bloch practiced law from 1915 until 1934, when he joined the New York City Department of Investigation. He worked closely with New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in combating corruption and crime in the City, and advanced to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Investigation. In 1945, Mayor LaGuardia appointed Bloch to a ten year term as city magistrate. Bloch was reappointed in 1955 by Mayor Robert Wagner. In March, 1960, Abraham Bloch succeeded John M. Murtagh as chief magistrate for New York City. Bloch was known as a tough, but fair judge.
In 1960, Hyman Bloch celebrated his 90th birthday and was in good health. Bloch spent half of the year residing with his daughter Birdie in Patterson, and with his daughter Mrs. Benjamin Heyman of Danbury, the former Ida Bloch, for the other half of the year.
Hyman Bloch died on December 21, 1964, at the Glen Hill Convalescent home after a short illness. He was 96 years old. Bloch was born in Russia, and came to the United States shortly after his marriage to Dora Adelson in 1890. He became a peddler shortly after arriving in New York City. He traveled the area selling his goods, and eventually settled in Patterson. Dora Adelson was the daughter of Bloch's partner, Julius Adelson, in the store known for a while as Adelson & Block. Dora Bloch died in March 1930. Hyman Bloch was a lifelong member of the United Jewish Center of Danbury, where his funeral was held. He was buried in the family plot in the Children of Israel Cemetery in Danbury. Jacob Bloch continued to operate the Bloch Department Store after Hyman's death.
In 1936, America was suffering the economic devastation of the Great Depression. Herbert Hoover was president, and would receive much criticism for not doing more to lead America from the Depression and ending the poverty and unemployment that was widespread in the United States.
Mrs. Hoover served as the national president of the Girl Scouts. She had long wanted to establish a "holiday camp" for Girl Scouts in the greater New York City area. Her effort became a reality in March, 1936, when Mrs. Nicholas F. Brady, chairman of the board of the national Girl Scout organization, donated 58 acres of land to the Manhattan Girl Scout Council. Mrs. Hoover made the announcement at the semi-annual meeting of the board of directors of the Girl Scouts in New York City. Mrs. Brady presided at the meeting. Mrs. Hoover told reporters that over 100,000 girls had attended 984 Girls Scout camps in 1935, an increase of 348 camps. She stated that the increase in camp activity began in 1930, and should not be interpreted as a sign that the nation's economy was recovering.
The Camp Brady site was the former William O'Brien Farm, located in the Bullet Hole section of Patterson. A local realtor, John F. Flannigan, facilitated the transaction. The farm would be transformed into a Girl Scout camp by July, 1936, and allow New York City girls to spend some time in the country. For most girls it would be their first opportunity to leave the City.
|Two postcard views of Camp Brady. A 1937 road map shows the location of Camp Brady between Towners Road (Bullet Hole Road) and Ice Pond Road.|
The camp was named Camp Genevieve Brady in honor of Mrs. Brady. Farm animals, including one sheep, one donkey, several chickens, and one calf, were donated to the Camp. The property included an eight room house and a lakefront cabin. A recreation hall was added along with seven dormitories to house about 200 girls. Each dormitory would cost $1,010. The Camp operated until 1979, but, today, the property is in private hands. Rising costs, declining enrollment in Girl Scout programs, and the availability of other area Girl Scout camps with cheap and easy transportation to them, all were factors in the decision to close Camp Brady.
Elizabeth Patton was born on July 26, 1863 in Cochranton, Pennsylvania. She attended the Maplewood Institute in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she studied teaching and practical medicine. She traveled to Alaska in 1885 and established the first school for the natives of Sitka, teaching all ages. In 1887 she married John G. Brady, who had come to Alaska as the area's first Protestant minister. In 1896, Mrs. Brady encouraged her husband to seek appointment as the first resident governor of Alaska, and he served in that capacity from 1896 until 1906. From 1916 until 1920, Mrs. Brady was an agent for Indian Service. One of her sons, Sheldon J. Brady, resided in Patterson, and Mrs. Brady spent many of her last years living with him in Patterson. Mrs. Brady died on February 6, 1951, at her home in New York City. She was 88 years old.
Col. Breckenridge had a long, distinguished career as a soldier, lawyer, and government official. He was a lifelong member of the Democratic party, but was considered an independent free thinker whose opinions occasionally led him to side with the opposition Republican Party. He was also a skilled fencer, and was a member of the American Olympic Fencing Team that competed at Antwerp in 1920. Col. and Mrs. Breckenridge owned the Dell-Howe Farm in Patterson up until 1935, having purchased it from the Dentons. The farm is better known by its present name, the Green Chimneys Farm.
Henry Breckenridge was born in Chicago in 1886, and attended both Princeton and Harvard Law School. He practiced law in Lexington, Kentucky until 1913, when he was appointed Assistant Secretary of War at the age of 27 by President Woodrow Wilson. At the start of World War I, he traveled to Europe with $3,000,000 worth of gold to be used as financial aid to stranded Americans. When America entered the War, Breckenridge joined an officers training camp and was sent to Europe. He saw action in the Vosges, at St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, eventually receiving the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the War he returned to his law practice, first in Washington, D.C., and then, beginning in 1922, in New York City. He continued to practice law in New York City until his death. Breckenridge ran for the office of U. S. Senator in 1934, but was unsuccessful. In 1936 Breckenridge entered the Democratic presidential primaries in four states to challenge fellow Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt. His campaign was unsuccessful and he dropped out of the race by the end of the year. He ultimately endorsed Republican Party candidate Alfred M. Landon, who was defeated by Roosevelt.
One of Breckenridge's most celebrated cases was the Lindbergh kidnapping in the early 1930s. Charles A. Lindbergh was the famed aviator who, in 1927, became the first person to fly an airplane solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Lindbergh became an American icon as a result of the feat. In 1932, Lindbergh's infant son was kidnapped, and the case gripped the nation's headlines for ten weeks until the body of a baby, presumably Lindbergh's son, was found in Hopwell, New Jersey on May 12, 1932. Lindbergh enlisted the help of Breckenridge in lengthy negotiations with the kidnappers, and a ransom of $50,000 was eventually paid. Bruno Richard Hauptmann, an illegal German immigrant, was later arrested, convicted, and executed for the crime in a trial that was front page news for its duration. Breckenridge would testify at the trial. Historians and criminologists have long questioned the involvement of Hauptmann in the crime, pointing to a flawed police investigation and the desperate need by the police to solve a crime committed against an American hero. It is also alleged that Lindbergh first reported the kidnapping to Breckenridge, not the state police, adding to the controversy.
Breckenridge sold the farm to attorney and former New York State Senator Ward V. Tolbert in 1935. He made his home in Fresh Meadows, Queens, in New York City, at the time of his death on May 3, 1960. He was 73 years old.
Mrs. Breckenridge was the former Aida de Acosta Root, who was a prominent New York socialite. In 1922 Mrs. Breckenridge's eysesight began to fail due to glaucoma, and her doctors told her that her sight could not be saved. Mrs. Breckenridge had a chance meeting with a Washington D. C. ophthalmologist named Dr. William Holland Wilmer, who recommended surgery to correct the glaucoma. She had the surgery, which was a success. Her admiration and gratitude of Dr. Wilmer inspired Mrs. Breckenridge to raise funds for the establishment of a research institute for Dr. Wilmer to continue and grow his practice of ophthalmology. In spite of Dr. Wilmer's objections, Mrs. Breckenridge obtained a list of his patients from opticians and family members, and personally wrote to 700 of them appealing for donations for the new institute. She also created the William Holland Wilmer Board, through which appeals were made to larger donors. The Rockefeller Foundation donated $1.5 million in matching contributions. In 1925 the Wilmer Eye Institute opened after a total of $3 million was raised. Mrs. Breckenridge and her future husband, Henry Breckenridge, were board members. An affiliation with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine was also established that year, when Dr. Wilmer joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins. The Institute remains part of Johns Hopkins. The Wilmer Eye Institute continues to provides diagnostic, medical, and surgical care for adults and children and receives referrals from other hospitals and institutions.
Cushman is one of the best known names in the town of Patterson because of the large tracts of land owned by the family in Towners. The Cushman family made its fortune in the bakery business when Lewis A. Cushman established the Cushman Bakeries. L. Arthur Cushman, his son, was the founder, president, and chairman of the American Bakeries Company, which purchased Cushman Bakeries, American Bakeries manufactured and distributed wholesale bakery products in one-third of the United States.
The Cushman Farm was well known in the mid-20th century, and a portion of it became the Wonder Lake State Park in the late 1990s. Cushman Road was named after the family. Other members of the family lived in nearby Pawling, and members of the family still reside in the area.
L. Arthur Cushman maintained homes on the Farm and on Park Avenue in New York City. He was born in New York City on December 17, 1898. His wife was the former Martha Bryan Allan, and they had two children. He died in his Park Avenue apartment after a long illness at the age of 64 on January 7, 1963.
Cushman sold his 210 acre "Maynard Farm" in Towners in May, 1948. The sale was announced by Previews Incorporated and the National Real Estate Clearinghouse, marketing agents for the property. Arthur Hamilton of Towners brokered the sale to J. Ernest Fishman of New York City. Included in the sale was the 100-year-old, 14 room manor house with a pillared portico. The property also featured an 8 room guest house, a small farm cottage with a three car garage, another 3 car garage, and a large dairy barn. The land included large expanses of lawns, 50 acres of woods, and a mile of the middle branch of the Croton River.
The 2,500 acre Cushman estate in Towners made headlines in November, 1958, when a high profile murder case began with the shooting of the Cushman caretaker. Clarence Edward Smith, 30, was the deputy game warden and caretaker of the Cushman property for nine years, and lived with his family in a cottage on the estate. Smith was shot to death while carting leaves with a tractor just 1,500 feet from the cottage. Three men from the Bronx were arrested the next day and brought before Patterson Justice George Pfahl. It was alleged that they were hunting illegally on the Cushman property, and had been intercepted by Smith, who confiscated their hunting licenses. The men had hunted on the Cushman property for two years, although "no hunting" signs were clearly posted. Smith had spotted them men in October, and brought them before Justice Pfahl, who fined the men $10 each. The men admitted that they offered a $10 bribe to Smith to ignore the trespassing, but Smith refused. The two men confessed that they fired four times at Smith, and Coroner Dr. Frank Genovese of Patterson confirmed that one shot struck Smith. A second shot was fired at Smith's head as he lay mortally wounded. State Police alleged that one of the men, Martin Anzalone, 28, fired the fatal shot at Smith in retaliation. A Putnam County grand jury convened four days after the shooting, and returned an indictment of first degree murder. His companion, Mario Sesta, 17, was also indicted along with his father, Corrado, who was indicted as an accessory to a felony. The men confessed their crime to State Police investigators and were convicted.
Henry Dale, Jr. of Putnam Lake was highly visible in the 1950s and early 1960s because of his volunteer work with the Putnam County civil defense effort.
Dale was born in Tarrytown on August 6, 1891. He attended Poughkeepsie public schools and the Riverview Military Academy, also in Poughkeepsie. Although he resided in Carmel starting in 1931, he was involved in the early development of Putnam Lake, opening a real estate office in Putnam Lake in 1931. He was a member of the Putnam County Board of Realty and the Greater Danbury Board of Realtors. Dale was one of the first to volunteer when the Putnam County civil defense effort began in the 1950s. He became Deputy Civil Defense Director for Putnam County, and was a member of the Putnam County Civil Defense Auxiliary Police force since its establishment. He became chief of the force. Dale participated in all of the air raid drills conducted in the County since the 1950s. He was also one of the civil defense directors for the Town of Patterson, representing Putnam Lake.
Dale married the former Evelyn Koch in Brewster in 1933. Dale was stricken by a heart attack on February 22, 1963 while directing traffic in front of Carmel High School with other civil defense policemen. He died while being transported to Mahopac Hospital by ambulance. He was 71 years old.
Long time Patterson residents remember the house that was commonly known as the DeBourbon Mansion. It was located on NYS Route 311 opposite Orchard Street, behind a stone wall. The house was demolished to make way for a housing subdivision in the 1990s. In the early 20th century, the property was owned by Edward A. and James A. Hayt, and, in September, 1920 the property was purchased by the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York City to be used as a rest home for its employees.
For most of the late 1950s, the property was owned by the DeBourbon family. Prince Fulco DeBourbon and his twin brother, Prince Filberto DeBourbon, were members of the royal houses of France and Spain. They came to the United States in 1939, and worked as sales managers for the jewelry stores of Van Cleef and Arpels, Inc. of New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. Both settled in Patterson and neither used their titles while in the United States after becoming American citizens. The family often allowed its property to be used by the Patterson Recreation Committee for such events as Easter egg hunts for Town children.
The DeBourbons were born in Florence, Italy, on June 22, 1904. They were the sons of Prince Philippe DeBourbon and Princess Elvira DeBourbon, who were cousins. Their grandfather was Don Carlos, pretender to the Spanish throne. The DeBourbons were also related to the Austrian royal house of Hapsburg.
Prince Fulco DeBourbon died on October 24, 1962 after a long illness at the age of 58. He attended the Stanislas School in Cannes, France, and was also educated in Paris, where he stayed for many years. He became a diamond cutter. He married Anne Vasquez y Carrizosa in Paris, in 1934. She was the daughter of General Alfredo Vasquez y Cobo of Bogota, Columbia, who served as the Minister of War, Minster of Foreign Affairs, and ambassador to France. Her brother was Alfredo Vasquez y Carrizosa, the Columbian ambassador to Belgium and to the United Nations General Assembly. They had four sons and two daughters.
Prince Filberto DeBourbon was educated in Paris, and lived for a time in New York City before arriving in Patterson. Prince Filberto DeBourbon married Lucia Vazquez y Carrizosa in Bogota, Columbia, on July 16, 1941. She was also the daughter of General Alfredo Vázquez y Cobo. They had 2 daughters and six sons. Four of the sons were still living in Patterson at the time of his death on March 1, 1968 at the age of 64. He had been with Van Cleef and Arpels for 27 years. He was buried in the Maple Avenue Cemetery.
Fulco DeBourbon's son, Jeane-Philippe, attended the Cranwell School, the Cardinal Farley Military Academy, the Citadel, and Morehead State University in Kentucky. He served for a time in a military intelligence unit. In 1971 he was a media planner for J. Walter Thompson & Co. in New York City. In August, 1971, he married the former Virginia Maria Zock, a legal aid for the New York City law firm Coudert Brothers.
The DeBourbon widows continued to live in the house until the late 1970s or early 1980s, when they left Patterson for Danbury, Connecticut. The DeBourbon mansion was demolished in the 1990s after being abandoned and falling into disrepair. The property was bought by developers who intended to build a huge condominium complex, but widespread community opposition helped defeat the proposal. Area residents were concerned about increased traffic, the strain of hundreds of additional school children in the school system, and the impact on the water supply and on town services. The property was later subdivided into free-standing houses.
An inventory taken during a historical research effort in 1986 listed the DeBourbon property as a main house with collection of outbuildings. The outbuildings included a pump house, shed, bowling alley, bunk house, barn, stable, coop, and garage. The pump house was dated at c.1860, the shed at c.1914, the 9-pin "duck pin" bowling alley at 1914, the bunk house at c.1914, the stable at c.1914, and a dilapidated, but probable garage built in 1914. The property was thought to be part of an 1860 estate, but the main house had been altered and enlarged in later years.
The rememberances of Charles DeBourbon and other details about the house can be found here. Mr DeBourbon also produced a video presentation showing many of the details of the house. The video can be viewed via a link on that same page.
Patterson's first environmental park was built on a former garbage dump, and was the first in Putnam County to be established on a reclaimed garbage landfill. The Patterson Environmental Park consists of 22 acres located on South Street, bordering the Great Swamp. In the summer of 1978, the 4-H Club was creating a nature trail in the park. The park was developed by the Patterson Environmental Conservation Commission, and it was believed to be the only park in New York State to have been built on a reclaimed garbage dumpsite by a governmental body. It remains a popular area from which to launch canoes and kayaks into the deeper waters of the Swamp.
The Town's second environmental park was a gift from the Nature Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sensitive land areas. The Town accepted the donation of 63 acres, located on Farm-to-Market Road near the town of Southeast line, in August, 1978. The land had been donated to the Nature Conservancy in 1962 by Leonora R. Clough in memory of her husband. The park is now known as the William S. Clough Nature Preserve.
The Clough Preserve was first known as the Patterson Nature Preserve. The Clough home was located across from the Preserve. Mrs. Clough was an active proponent in the creation of passive recreation areas. The Clough Preserve was managed by the Nature Conservancy, but the condition of it declined as the Conservancy lost members and volunteers to care for it. The Conservancy approached the Patterson Environmental Conservation Commission with the hope that the town of Patterson could assume the management and upkeep of the preserve. The Commission, however, suggested the Conservancy deed the property to the Town. The Clough's sons, William and George, agreed with the proposal, because the preservation of the land as a nature preserve would be a fitting memorial to their parents. Patterson Supervisor Donald B. Smith, accepting the land donation on behalf of the Town, stated that he advocated the creation of a County land bank to acquire similar properties for the future needs of the growing County. He stated that it was important to acquire properties similar to the Clough Preserve to meet the environmental, recreational, and educational needs of County residents. A $30,000 grant from the Federal jobs training program, CETA, allowed the Town to hire three workers for one year to improve the condition of the park. Work included the construction of a bridge over a stream, preserving what remained of an apple orchard, creation of a cross country skiing trail, and creation of new hiking trails.
The Patterson Nature Preserve was dedicated on a rainy May 23, 1979. New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Robert Flacke attended the dedication ceremony, and called Patterson a model for the rest of the State for programs to preserve open space. He stated that the burden for these programs would fall more on local municipalities in the future, rather than the State and Federal government. "The future of preservation of natural resources lies intrinsically and inherently with the local government." He continued, "As this County grows - and it is one of the fastest growing areas of New York State - I hope that local governments will use this town, its supervisor, and its environmental council as a model for what we will be doing in the next decades." Sixty Town residents, Town and County officials, and William and George Clough also attended.
|The dedication of the Clough Preserve in May, 1979. Pictured, from left to right are Claire Cox, chairman of the Patterson Environmental Conservation Commission, NYS DEC Commissioner Robert Flacke, Robert Stave, flag bearer and president of the Patterson 4-H Animal Lovers Club, and Patterson Supervisor Donald B. Smith. The photo appeared in the May 30, 1979 edition of the Putnam County Courier.|
Two trails in the Clough Preserve lead hikers through a hemlock forest to the Ice Pond . The marsh trail starts at an old apple orchard and continues along the marsh. The trail is used as a stopover by migrating birds, and is popular with birders. The park protects 30 acres of sensitive marsh and swamp.
In September, 1937, the first female jurors to serve in New York State were chosen in Putnam County. Clara Witheridge of Patterson was among the pool of five women chosen. Also in the pool were Helen A. Austin of Mahopac Falls, Susan Allen of Cold Spring, and Ethel Keith and Ruth Mead of Carmel. Mrs. Witheridge and Mrs. Mead were the first to be sworn in, and thus became the first women in New York State to serve on the jury of a court.
|The first female jury pool in the State of New York. Mrs. Clara Witheridge of Patterson is at the extreme right.|
Another first took place in March, 1939, when women were included for the first time in a jury pool for the New York State Supreme Court in Putnam County. Two County women were chosen to join a grand jury panel of 24, and seven County women were placed on a list of jurors to serve during the Court term that would begin April 3, 1939. Chosen for the grand jury was Mrs. Jessie T. Newcomb, wife of Patterson Town Supervisor Arthur L. Newcomb. Arthur Newcomb had also served as Putnam County Sheriff, and at the turn of 20th century was a carpenter and builder who worked on many of the commercial buildings in the Patterson village. Mrs. Newcomb served with Mary H. Adams of Carmel.
Guiding Eyes is a non-profit organization that breeds and trains dog to be used as seeing-eye guide dogs for the blind. Adult dogs are given to members of the community who volunteer to care for the dog, and to bring the dogs to the breeding kennel when needed. Puppies are also given to volunteer families where they adapt to family life before they are placed with the blind. The puppies are trained by Guiding Eyes to be guide dogs. Recipients of the guide dogs also receive training from Guiding Eyes to learn how to care for the dog and use the dog as a guide.
In March, 1980, Guiding Eyes for the Blind announced that it was purchasing the former Gilrose Kennels on NYS Route 164 in Patterson for $125,000 to establish a breeding kennel. Another $150,000 would be invested for improvements and repairs. The Patterson facility would replace the former breeding kennel on Wood Street in Mahopac, which was obsolete. The new facility would have a maximum capacity of sixty dogs, and a staff of three, who would live in the house on the property. James McGinnis, supervisor of Mahopac kennel, continued in that role when the move to Patterson was made.
|The Gilrose Kennel on NYS Route 164 in Patterson. The photo appeared in the March 19, 1980 edition of the Putnam County Courier.|
The Gilrose Kennels was a 31 acre site that was owned by Erna Huber. Huber and her husband sold the kennel when they retired and relocated to Dutchess County, New York. Guiding Eyes received support from the Patterson government to move into the Gilrose site, and received variances and permits to expand the whelping area, which was attached to the rear of the seven room house on the property. Guiding Eyes also had Town approval to renovate the interior of the former boarding kennel. A new well was drilled, and a new oil tank installed.
In 1980, Guiding Eyes for the Blind was a 25 year old organization based in Yorktown, New York. At the time of the Gilrose purchase, Guiding Eyes relied on donations to fund most of its operations, but officials of the organization announced that it did not intend to use its non-profit status to avoid paying taxes on the Patterson property. The organization had an annual budget of $1,500,000, and was providing about 140 dogs each year to blind people. Officials voiced optimism that the new Patterson kennel would allow that number to increase to 200.
The HAGS Club was organized by Mrs. Paul (Helen) Dolan on April 20, 1943 to assist the World War II effort in Patterson. It had a secondary purpose of providing for the recreation and welfare of young women in Patterson. The first meeting of the group was held in the office of the Patterson Public Health Nurse, Dorothy Woodworth, which later became the office of Dr. Frank C. Genovese. The organization sponsored fundraisers, often in the form of talent shows utilizing local residents, and other activities to benefit the War effort or to assist other programs in Patterson. During the War years, HAGS benefits assisted local blood banks and the War Relief Fund. HAGS sponsored dances, and invited local servicemen who were home on leave, servicemen from the U. S. Army Air Force Rehabilitation Center in Pawling, which is now the Trinity-Pawling School, and sailors and officers from the British Rest Camp near Putnam Valley. HAGS members acted as hostesses at the Pawling USO and at affairs sponsored by the Red Cross and at the Federal Disciplinary Barracks at Green Haven in nearby Dutchess County. A Club presentation entitled, "Claudia", starred a serviceman from the Green Haven barracks, and was presented to the officers and prisoners there.
Other beneficiaries of HAGS activities included the American Legion building fund, the Patterson Fire Department, the Patterson Library, the Patterson Recreation Committee, and the Nursing Association. HAGS also raised funds for the establishment of a wartime Casualty Station in Patterson, and the establishment of a community center for the residents of Patterson. In the period of 1943 to 1953, HAGS presented ten theatrical presentations, eight full length plays directed by Isobel Rose Jones of the Starlight Theatre in Pawling. She was made an honorary member of the club. A comedy/variety show was also presented by HAGS, directed by William Weiss, also of Starlight. Palmer Thompson, who became a television and film writer, produced a program entitled "The HAGS Scandals of 1953".
|HAGS sponsored a fundraising dance on February 24, 1945. The benefit was for the Club's goal of building a Community Center for post-War Patterson. The event was held at the Patterson Town Hall, which was the old Jacob Stahl Hall on Main Street (NYS Route 311). Music was provided by Marvin's Victory Boys of Poughkeepsie. Men were urged to come dressed in dungarees, and women were asked to wear gingham dresses. Soldiers from Green Haven were invited, and HAGS urged Patterson women to attend to act as dance partners for the men. Local granges, clubs, organizations, and the general public were also invited. An admission fee of 60 cents was charged, but servicemen could attend for free. Soda was served instead of other refreshments to allow the event to generate higher profits for the Community Center. 250 people attended, and $80 was raised for the proposed Community Center. The ad appeared in the February 22, 1944 edition of the Putnam County Courier.|
HAGS programs for children included Christmas, Easter, May Day, Halloween, and Valentine's Day parties. The club sponsored square dances for teenagers. The HAGS also sponsored Girl Scout, Cub Scout, and Boy Scout Troops in 1952. In the summer, HAGS provided refreshments for the Summer Playground Program for Patterson children, and assisted the Patterson Recreation Committee's annual block dances held on Front Street, and contributed the popular Paul Bunyon float for the Recreation Committee's parade. HAGS members enjoyed picnics and parties, and an annual trip to New York City to see a Broadway show or a television show. HAGS members served as a committee for Patterson's participation in the Putnam County 150th anniversary celebration in 1962.
About 35 present and former members of the group gathered for a 20th anniversary celebration in April, 1963 held at the Lock Ledge Inn in Yorktown Heights. All six founding members attended, including Mrs. Dolan the Club's first president, Mrs. Charles (Marion) Van Keuren, Mrs. Frank C. (Mary) Genovese, Mrs. Howard (Marjorie) Kelly, and Margaret and Eloise Pugsley. Also attending were past members Mrs. Walter Rutledge and Isobel Rose Jones of Patterson, and Mrs. Robert Keunzel of New Milford. Other founding members not present were Madalyn Johnson Barbour, Mary Flood Nelson, Priscilla Pfahl, Marion Yates, Elvera Holladay, Peggy Ginocchio, and Flora Kuenzle.
In May, 1968, the group observed its 25th anniversary at a celebration held at the Hollywood Cafe in Brewster in May. Marion Van Keuren and Margaret Pugsley attended, having been active members for the organization's entire 25 years. Lillian Varotta, who lived in Lake Carmel at the time of the anniversary, had taken attendance at the HAGS meetings since 1952, and only missed two meetings. A total of 66 women were members over the 25 years, and the largest active membership consisted of 25 women.
In October, 1968, the remaining active members of HAGS voted to disband the Club. Membership had been declining, and many of the group's activities had been taken over by other groups. In many ways, the reasons for the group's existence were no longer relevant in 1968. The last meeting was held at the Patterson Library, with Mrs. Lawrence M. Scaperotta of Pawling acting as hostess.
The Hayts were one of Patterson's oldest families. According to the book, The Hayt Farm, written by Frank E. Hayt in 1958, the family could trace its family tree at least to King Edward III of England. The Hayt family came the New World in the early 1700s, and settled in the area of Patterson known as Elm Tree, near the border of the town of Southeast. The property remained in the Hayt family through the 20th century. The original Hayt house was built in 1720, and was one of the first ten houses to be built in what is now known as Putnam County. Most Hayts were farmers. Edgar Freeman Hayt was a life long resident of the Hayt family farm, a member of the Grange, a mason, and a well known Patterson farmer who died on April 5, 1960 at the age of 91. He attended the common school in the Elm Tree District of Patterson. His son, Frank E. Hayt, was a clerk of the Putnam County Board of Supervisors. He died in September, 1958.
|Two postcard views of a 1907 parade on Main Street (NYS Route 311), taken across from the home of Edward A. and James A. Hayt. The Hayt property was purchased by the Guaranty Trust Co. of New York in 1920, and was later owned by the DeBourbons. The sign on the store in the lower right of the first photo reads "Gents Furnishing". The store was probably located at the corner of Orchard Street.|
For more information on the Hayt and Perry families click here.
The Rev. Hillery was born in Monroe, Washington on November 12, 1886, and spent his childhood years in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was reported that he once trekked 300 miles into the Arctic Circle. During the summers, he ministered to lumberjacks. Hillery was a 1910 graduate of Occidental College, and graduated from the San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1914. He then did mission work in India, but that work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. He married the former Olive Denman in 1915. He continued his education, receiving a BD degree from the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and a masters in history from Columbia University in 1922. He would return to Columbia to work on his PhD in history, and earned the degree in 1945.
Rev. Hillery came to Patterson in November, 1923 to become pastor of the Patterson Presbyterian Church, and was a visible leader in Patterson and Putnam County for decades. In addition to serving as pastor of the Patterson Presbyterian Church, Hillery also served the Putnam County community. In 1933, during the Great Depression, Hillery was appointed chairman of the Putnam County Welfare District. He was responsible for administering work relief and family relief programs for County residents. In 1953, he was appointed Putnam County Historian. During his 43 years in Patterson, Hillery lived a multi-faceted and distinguished life of service to the community.
Rev. Hillery helped establish the Putnam Lake Community Church. He belonged to the Patterson Fire Department, serving as its chaplain. He was also a Patterson town assessor for a time, and was moderator of the Westchester Presbytery for two years. He spent ten years in Albany working for the New York State Legislature during the administration of Gov. Thomas E. Dewey. Hillery led a Boy Scout Troup in his early years in Patterson. He also was instrumental, along with Dr. Julian Swann, in establishing a library for the Patterson community. Both worked to establish the Charles and Annie Irish Memorial Library, which was housed in the home that the Irishes donated to the library. Hillery donated books from his personal library to the new community library. Hillery was a trustee of its successor, the Patterson Library Association. Mrs. Hillery was also an artist, and many of her paintings were exhibited locally. She also taught art.
Rev. Hillery retired as pastor of the Patterson Presbyterian Church on December 31, 1951. A reception for Hillery and his wife was held at the Parish House on December 30 to celebrate Rev. Hillery's 28 years of service to the Patterson community. Although it was a cold and rainy day, 100 people attended the event. Howard Kelley acted as chairman for the celebration. The Rev. Edward Roosa of Ludingtonville gave the opening prayer, and the Rev. Earle Clarke and the Rev. Charles Hardner of Pawling spoke. James E. Towner read an original poem written for the occasion, and John Crawford and Miss Dorothy Woodward provided song and music. Assemblyman D. Mallory Stephens spoke of his friendship with Rev. and Mrs. Hillery, and George Simcox, trustee of the Putnam Lake Community Church, spoke of the Rev. Hillery's assistance in the founding of the Community Church. Paul W. Townsend spoke on behalf of the rector of Christ Episcopal Church, the Rev. Richard W. Wamsley. Senior elder of the Presbyterian Church, James Mackenzie, presented the Hillerys with a gift from the Patterson community. A parchment scroll was signed by each guest. In addressing the guests, Rev. Hillery said, "After being in 47 of the 48 states of the Union, here is the spot that we call 'home'".
In June, 1953, the Putnam County Board of Supervisors voted to appoint Hillery the first Putnam County Historian. He held the post until 1962. He worked to make each Putnam County town aware of its past, and assembled his research to make it accessible to the community. He conducted many local history workshops to introduce County residents to events that shaped the County. Hillery taught high school history, was an active member of the Dutchess County Historical Society, and authored articles that were accepted by the New York Historical Society. Hillery spent much of his spare time visiting historic sites across New York State. He pledged to dedicate his tenure as County Historian to compiling and preserving the history of Putnam County, and one of the results was three volumes of County history.
In March, 1953, the congregation of the Patterson Presbyterian Church voted to call the Rev. Ormond L. Hampton to Patterson to replace Rev. Hillery.
The Hillerys left the small Patterson home they built on Cornwall Hill Road in November, 1966, for a retirement home in Santa Barbara, California. There new home was a unit in a home for senior citizens that was located near the home of their nephew. Hillery died in Santa Barbara on August 5, 1969, after a long illness. His funeral and burial took place in Santa Barbara. Mrs. Hillery was his only survivor.
Jennings served as Patterson Town Supervisor from 1915 to 1929. In 1931, Jennings donated a half mile strip of his farm to be used for the improved Route 22. In March, 1940, Jennings was named president of the Putnam County Savings Bank, a position he held until 1958. He was a trustee of the bank since 1918. He was also vice president and board member of the National Bank of Pawling. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Board of Visitors of the Harlem Valley State Hospital in Wingdale, and was vice president of the Maple Avenue Cemetery Association.
Jennings was born in Patterson on July 6, 1874. He attended school in Patterson and the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, Vermont. He married the former Grace Wheeler of Danbury, Connecticut on August 26, 1896. In September, 1896, Jennings bought the meat market and bakery in the Akin building on Railroad Street (Front Street) at the corner of Center Street, and operated a store for a few years. The July 14, 1899 edition of the Putnam County Courier reported that Jennings purchased the Akin Building. The building also housed John Carey's store. The post office was also located in the Jennings building prior to its move to the Judd Building across the street. The Jennings store sold candy, fruit, and bakery goods, and had a soda fountain. A room in the rear of the store functioned as an ice cream parlor. In February, 1901, Charles Sutton bought the business from Jennings. The building was demolished and replaced in 1941, and became the home of James Rinaldi's Cash and Carry Market in the late 1950s. The November 30, 1900 edition of The Putnam County Courier reported that Jennings bought a building from O. P. Anderson, who, in turn, had bought the building from John Carr. This paper reports that the building was also located on Railroad Street, but this does not appear to be the Akin building. Jennings was best known as a lifelong farmer. He was a member of the Quaker faith.
On December 31, 1951, the dairy barn on the Jennings farm was heavily damaged by fire, and 7,000 bales of hay were destroyed. The barn was located 40 feet from the Jennings house, which was saved by firefighters. The barn and farm were leased by Howard Irwin, whose home was located across the road from the Jennings barn. The blaze was discovered by Ferris Sprague, Jr., son of Patterson Fire Chief Ferris Sprague, Sr. Sprague and his friend, James Meriden, spotted the blaze as they were driving past the barn. Sprague ran into the barn and moved the cows and young calves from the barn, while Meriden summoned the Patterson Fire Department. 67 head of cattle, including several calves, were led to safety and were eventually taken to a farm in Carmel. Irwin and his son were working in another portion of the barn, and were unaware of the fire until noticing Sprague leading the cows from the barn. The nearest source of water was a brook one mile away. Firefighters had to dam the brook to provide a pool of water that could be pumped to the barn. The Patterson Fire Dept. laid 3,700 feet of hose, but had to summon the Pawling Fire Dept. to secure another 1,000 feet of hose to reach the barn. Firemen remained on the scene from 3 PM until 7 AM New Years Day, 1952. Firemen and neighbors helped move equipment from the burning structure. Part of the barn was saved, along with several small outbuildings.
George E. Jennings died on February 1, 1964 at the age of 89. The funeral was held at the Jennings home, with the Rev. Horace E. Hillery presiding. He was buried in the family plot in the Maple Avenue Cemetery. Trustees and board members of the Putnam County Savings Bank and the National Bank of Pawling acted as pallbearers. Mrs. Jennings died on May 15, 1965 at the age of 88.
Patterson resident Frank Lyden served as a town justice of the peace for seven years from 1942 until 1949, when he was elected Putnam County Sheriff. He had also served as chief of the Patterson Auxiliary Police from 1941 until 1948. In September, 1956, Lyden was elected trustee of the New York State Sheriff's Association at the organizations annual meeting in Schroon Lake. In 1956, Lyden was also chairman of the legislative committee, and was largely responsible for many of the revisions in New York State law passed by the State Legislature during that year's legislative session. He had also been a member of the jail management committee. Lyden served as Sheriff until 1966.
During his term as Sheriff, Sheriff and Mrs. Lyden resided in an apartment in the Putnam County Courthouse that Putnam County provided for County Sheriffs. Lyden was a common summer site in Carmel, sitting on the courthouse steps with his dog Midgy, enjoying the sunset over Lake Gleneida. Mrs. Lyden was paid an annual salary of $3,000 by the County to prepare and cook three meals per day for inmates of the County Jail, which typically numbered between twelve and thirty-one inmates. She also acted as a part time matron for any female prisoners who might be boarded in the jail. It was Lyden's philosophy that routine patrol services be supplied by the New York State Police, town police, or town constables. The Sheriff's Department, according to Lyden, was the coordinator of all County police services, fire services, and civil emergencies.
Mr. and Mrs. Lyden were congratulated for their 45 years of marriage at a cocktail party for the Republicans of Patterson in October, 1960. The event was held at the Shady Brook Lodge on NY Route 311 in Patterson. On October 31, 1965, the Lydens celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at a reception held in their honor at the Brewster Elks Lodge. Approximately 800 people attended the event.
In April, 1966, Lyden notified the Republican Party Committee that he would not seek re-election when his present term expired in December, 1966. At 70 years old and with eighteen years as Sheriff, Lyden was ready to retire. The Lydens retired to Florida in December, 1966.
Lyden was born in the Bronx, New York City. He married the former Camille Doudera of Patterson on October 30, 1915. They had two daughters and one son. Lyden worked as a steamfitter for a time, and was active in the Yonkers Steamfitters Union. He also worked for a time at the Harlem Valley State Hospital in Wingdale, New York. After arriving in Patterson, Lyden ran a fuel oil business in Patterson. He was a member of the Patterson Grange, the Brewster Elks, a founding member of the Putnam Lake-Patterson Republican Club, a trustee of the New York State Sheriff's Association, and a member of the National Sheriff's Association. He was chief of the Patterson Fire Department for five years. He was an honorary member of several local groups, and served as the local treasurer of the Salvation Army for many years.
Frank Lyden spent 44 years in Patterson. He died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on August 27, 1967, at the age of 71. Member of the County Sheriff's Dept. acted as an honor guard at his wake at the Dwyer Funeral Home in Patterson. They also served as pallbearers at his funeral.
Robert Montgomery was one of the celebrity residents of Patterson. The Montgomery family owned a farm in Towners, and had a long affiliation with the Town.
Robert Montgomery was born Henry Montgomery, Jr. in 1904 in Fishkill Landing in nearby Dutchess County. His family lived a comfortable life, provided by his father, Henry Sr., who was a vice president for the New York Rubber Company. The young Robert attended the Pawling School for Boys in Pawling and later studied in Europe. The world of privilege ended in 1922 with the death of Henry Montgomery, Sr. After his estate was settled, the family was left penniless. Robert Montgomery found work as a mechanic's helper with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, and later became a deckhand aboard an oil tanker operated by the Standard Oil Company. Henry Jr. eventually drifted to New York City with aspirations of becoming a writer. By 1924, Henry Jr. changed his name to Robert, and took an acting role on a New York stage. Several stage productions followed, and Montgomery became noticed by the MGM film studios, one of the largest and most influential film studios of the time. In 1928, he married socialite and fellow stage actor Elizabeth Allen, in 1929 both moved to Hollywood so that Robert could begin his career with MGM.
In 1935, Montgomery became president of the young labor union for actors know as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). He would serve four terms as its president, and was instrumental in establishing the union as a national organization. He continued a prolific acting career, and later turned to directing and producing. He produced radio dramas, and, in the 1950s, hosted the long running, live television anthology series, Robert Montgomery Presents. The series gave his daughter Elizabeth her acting debut. Elizabeth would later to star in the Bewitched television series for the ABC television network. In 1948, Robert Montgomery made a personal appearance at the opening of the Carmel Theater.
In May, 1940, Montgomery joined the American Field Services (AFS), an organization that had been formed in 1914 to provide volunteers to man ambulances in Europe during World War I. Before the United States entered the Second World War, the AFS was providing volunteer ambulance services in France, North Africa, the Middle East, Italy, India, and Burma. Montgomery served as an ambulance driver in France, operating from a field headquarters in Paris. When America joined the War, Montgomery joined the Navy and saw action in the South Pacific and in Europe. He retired in 1944 with the rank of Commander.
Montgomery was also active in national politics, beginning in the late 1940s with testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The end of World War II brought a fear of the growing power of the Soviet Union and Communism to America. A number of prominent Hollywood stars had been branded as Communists, and Montgomery gave "friendly" testimony to the Committee. He also served as a consultant to President Eisenhower in the 1950s.
In March, 1939, Montgomery told Collier's Magazine that his farm in Towners was his refuge from his Hollywood career. The article noted:
"He has a farm in a place called Towners, near Brewster in New York State, and that's his dish... He lives on the farm three months a year and anyone visiting there who mentions the picture business is apt to get slugged. ...He'll be an actor until he dies - Montgomery will. But not in Hollywood. It's too far from Brewster, New York."
Montgomery and Elizabeth Allen were divorced in December, 1950, and Elizabeth continued to reside on the farm. She died in 1992 at the farm, and the property was sold after her death. It had been in the Montgomery family for seven decades. Robert Montgomery remarried four days after the divorce, and he and his wife, the former Elizabeth Grant Harkness, divided their time between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island. He died of cancer in Manhattan in 1981. The farm was purchased by the State of New York in the 1990s, and is now part of Wonder Lake State Park.
|Robert Montgomery||Elizabeth Montgomery in 1956. Her first film to be shown in Putnam County was "The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell", which opened at the Carmel Theater on January 26, 1956.|
Actress Elizabeth Montgomery was best known for the early 1960s television program, Bewitched, which debuted in 1964 on the ABC television network and ran for eight years. She was the daughter of actor Robert Montgomery and actress Elizabeth Allen Montgomery, and was born in 1933 in Los Angeles, California. She attended the Westlake School for Girls and the Spencer School, in New York, and later the Academy of Dramatic Arts. She would make her television debut in 1951 on her father's program, Robert Montgomery Presents. Her first role on Broadway would win her the Theater World Award. She would marry four times, including a second marriage to actor Gig Young, and a third marriage to producer William Asher, with whom she would create the Bewitched series. They would have three children together, and one of her pregnancies was written into the scripts in one season of the Bewitched program. They divorced in 1974. Montgomery died of cancer at the age of 62 in 1995.
Elizabeth Montgomery spent most of her summers on the Montgomery farm in Towners, which was located on Cushman Road and would become Wonder Lake State Park. She exhibited a special love for Patterson that was reflected in the characters and places mentioned in the Bewitched series. Only people from the Patterson area would understand the many references to Towners and Patterson that would appear in scripts for the program. In a 1968 fan magazine article, she said, "Our life in Patterson was a paradise for us. That's why I placed Darrin and Samantha in the town. If I can't be there year-round, than at least Samantha can." Samantha and Darrin Stephens were the main characters in Bewitched.
The "Stephens" name may have been a tribute to the members of the Stephens family who have represented Patterson in the New York State Assembly for several decades. The TV couple's daughter, Tabitha, attended the "Towners Elementary School". Flowers were delivered by the "Patterson Florist" and Mrs. Stephens shopped at the "Patterson Department Store". Local street names were often mentioned on the series. Darren Stephens worked in the city of Carmel. Montgomery's cousin, Amanda Cushman Coley, was the inspiration for the character "Serena", Samantha Stephens' cousin. Coley still resides on Cushman Road. Samantha's pharmacist was Max Grand. A long time Patterson resident recalls that Max Grand may even have made a cameo appearance on the series playing himself.
The Grands and the Montgomerys were close friends and neighbors. The Montgomery home was the second house on the left on Cushman Road off NYS Route 311. The Grands lived on the first house on the right on NYS Route 164, off Route 311. For many years, the only house in between was the Ludkin residence, which was at the start of Cushman Road at Route 311. The Ludkins operated a turkey farm and factory for many years. Most of the property in the area was owned by members of the Montgomery and Cushman families.
Louis and Bertha Nelson were well known fixtures in Towners in the early and mid-20th century. The Nelsons were the postmasters of the Towners Post Office for 30 years, up until its closing in 1957. Louis Nelson was also the station agent for the Towners Station of the New York Central Railroad for nearly 50 years, up until the agent services were discontinued in Towners in 1958.
Louis Nelson was born in Russia in 1886. He married the former Bertha Berger on October 25, 1908, in New York City. They came to Towners in 1912. Louis was a past member and past master of the Harlem Valley Lodge No. 827 F&A.M. The Nelson has three daughters, one of whom lived in Patterson. She was Evelyn Grand, the wife of Max Grand, who owned Max Grand's Drugs on Front Street in the Patterson village. Evelyn operated the adjacent business, Evelyn Grand Wine and Liquors.
Mrs. Nelson died on September 27, 1960. Louis suffered a stroke on the day of his wife's funeral, and died in Yonkers General Hospital a week later at the age of 74.
Arthur Newcomb resided in Patterson for seventy years, and was a well-known figure. Besides his political career that included a term as Putnam County Sheriff and ten years as Supervisor of the town of Patterson, Newcomb literally built much of Patterson and the surrounding area in his very impressive fifty years in the construction business. He was considered an authority in all matters of architecture and construction, and he was often consulted by other builders and contractors.
Newcomb was born in New Britain, Connecticut on October 21, 1871. He was educated in New Britain schools, but his family moved to Patterson in 1883 when his father, the Rev. Homer Sacket Newcomb, became pastor of the Patterson Presbyterian Church in 1883. Newcomb's grandfather, David, was already residing in Putnam County. In 1899, Newcomb married the former Jessie Thompson, whose family was well-known in Patterson. Her father was James H. Thompson, who had a store in Patterson for several years. They had three children.
Arthur Newcomb was best known as a builder. At the young age of 16, he built his first structure, a barn for James Holmes in Holmes. Each day, Newcomb would walk the two miles to Holmes' property to work on the barn, and then walk the two miles back to his home at the end of the day. He eventually became a master mechanic and carpenter whose work was in demand in the Harlem Valley, with projects as north as Amenia and as far south at Katonah. As Newcomb's business grew, he employed several men, and also owned his own lumber yard for many years. His first commercial project may have been for George Hoyt in the present Katonah business strip. He also built the Katonah High School and the Baptist Fresh Air Home is Somers. In Patterson, he was responsible for building several private homes and many of the businesses along Railroad Street (Front Street) and Main Street (NYS Route 311) in the village of Patterson. He also constructed the Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street at the corner of Maple Avenue. In Patterson, he was commonly referred to as "Contractor Newcomb". In Pawling, he built the Pawling School for boys, which became the Trinity School. Newcomb was also responsible for the construction of many of the Sheffield Milk Plants that operated along the tracks of the New York Central.
|Arthur L. Newcomb||A receipt for lumber purchased by the Patterson Grange in May, 1906.|
Arthur Newcomb served as a Deputy Putnam County Sheriff for nearly fifty years, eventually becoming undersheriff, and serving one term as sheriff. Newcomb's November, 1930, election win was by the largest majority in over 50 years. During his term as deputy sheriff, Newcomb was involved in the murder investigation of Mrs. John Harrison. He led a posse that failed to locate the suspected killer, Samuel Haynes, who was employed by Mrs. Harrison's husband. Haynes eventually surrendered to Deputy Newcomb, turning himself in at the backdoor of Newcomb's home in Patterson. After leaving the sheriff's post, he became Patterson supervisor for a ten year period.
Newcomb and his sons also made news in Patterson when they experimented with an early invention known as radio. Their success in receiving long distance radio signals provided much entertainment for their neighbors.
Arthur Newcomb was a member of the Patterson Presbyterian Church, and was also a director of the Maple Avenue Cemetery on Main Street. Arthur Newcomb suffered a stroke while at home, and died at St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie on December 29, 1953 at the age of 82. He was buried in the family plot in the Maple Avenue Cemetery.
Mrs. Newcomb died at the age of 85 on July 5, 1963. She was born in Patterson on January 1, 1878, and attended the Patterson school and the Vermont Academy. She was active in the Patterson Presbyterian Church, the Patterson Grange, and was a member of the Enoch Crosby Chapter of the D. A. R.
Patterson has always relied on police protect provided by the Putnam County Sheriff and the New York State Police. At various times in Patterson's history, special constables were used to supplement those services. Volunteer auxiliary police were used during World War II, and were trained by Sheriff's Deputy Iverneware at classes held at the Patterson Town Hall. During the atomic war scare of the 1950s, Putnam County maintained a force of Civil Defense auxiliary police, and Patterson had its force of auxiliary volunteer officers. These officers were intended to direct townspeople to bomb shelters in the event of an attack, and to help coordinate emergency fire and medical services to those in need.
|Town Constables were used in the 1950s and 1960s in the Patterson village and in Putnam Lake to supplement County
and State police services.
Two constables were typically hired for the summer season in Putnam Lake by the Putnam Lake Community Council. The Town of Patterson was responsible for authorizing any constables hired by Putnam Lake.
In 1965, the Town Police Committee was comprised of Patterson Supervisor Donald B. Smith, Town Attorney Frank C. Bowers, Jr., and Town Councilmen John Schlump and Kenneth Renak.
Edward Seagrave was appointed a special deputy in January, 1931, and immediately proved the worth of his position. While on duty on a quiet Sunday night shortly after his appointment, Seagrave observed a suspicious car parked in the area of the Patterson New York Central Railroad depot. As he approached the depot, Seagrave observed two men attempting to break into the depot, which was closed for the night. The burglars fled when they saw Seagrave approaching. Seagrave drew his revolver and fired at the men, who returned the fire from their own weapons. They fled the scene in their car. Shopkeeper Ralph Massa observed the gunfight, and telephoned Putnam Sheriff Arthur L. Newcomb, who arrived in minutes with Constable M. C. Burns. The automobile and its occupants could not be found.
The New York State Police maintained a barracks in Patterson in the mid-20th century. In April, 1944, the house that had been used as the barracks was sold, and the purchasers intended to occupy it as their residence. The barracks was moved to a large house on the Storms estate in Brewster.
No constables were appointed to patrol Patterson in 1973. In February, 1973, Supervisor Donald B. Smith met with New York State Police Lieutenant Joseph Boone and Putnam County Sheriff Raynor Weizenecker to discuss the adequacy of the police patrols in Patterson from the two departments. Boone and Weizenecker both reported that there had been no increase in crime in Patterson without the constables, and both agreed to discuss their patrol assignments to ensure that Patterson would receive whatever protection would be needed in the future.
In December, 1975, the Patterson Town Board voted to amend the town code regarding town constables. The changes limited the number of constables to ten, and limited the annual appropriation for the constable force to $12,000. Maximum compensation for each constable was set at $1,000, and the total equipment allowance was set at $2,000. Any unspent monies would be returned to the general fund. Another code change exempted Patterson from a 1941 law that called for the establishment and operation of a police department when the annual expenditure for a security force exceeded $2,000. The Town Board voted to change the $2,000 figure to $12,000 since there was no plan to establish a formal police department in Patterson.
The use of town constables provided Patterson with a local, dedicated force to handle petty crimes and nuisance complaints. But the constables were not well-paid and were not well-trained. The use of constables came into question after a tragic incident in April, 1977. An 18-year-old Putnam Lake youth allegedly went berserk and threatened to kill himself with a knife at his home. He then allegedly broke several windows in a neighbor's home, and then broke into another home where he allegedly threatened the neighbor and her five year old child with the knife. Calls were made to the State Police and to the Putnam County Sheriff, but two Putnam Lake constables arrived first. The youth slashed the arm of one constable, and then jumped into their patrol car. The other constable then shot the youth. State troopers arrived shortly after the shooting, and had the youth taken by ambulance to Danbury Hospital, where he died from the gunshot wounds. At the time of the shooting, Patterson maintained a force of several part time constables.
A Putnam County Grand Jury was convened in August, 1977, to examine the shooting incident. Its report questioned the use of constables in Putnam County, and admonished the town boards "not to affect short-term budgetary savings by utilizing constables as a substitute for fully trained police officers". The report noted while the State of New York permitted the use of constables in rural areas of the State, Putnam County could no longer be considered rural as its population had grown substantially and the County had transformed into a suburban, bedroom community of New York City. The report continued, "The lack of statutory minimum standard of training in police procedures and the proper use of weapons for all peace officers [constables] creates a grave risk of harm to the public. We question seriously the advisability of having persons less than fully trained, either equipped with guns or allowed to carry their own firearms."
The constable force was eventually disbanded in lieu of police services from the County Sheriff and the State Police.
George S. Robinson was born in Patterson on October 19, 1873. The Robinson family was one of the oldest families in Patterson. John Robinson, the great-great grandfather of George S. Robinson, arrived in the New World from England in 1720 at the age of 21, and settled in Fishkill on the Beverly Robinson patent. He later moved to the area that is now Patterson, settling on the road then known as the Towners-Ludingtonville Road. The farm became the family homestead, and it is where George S. Robinson was born, and where he began his lifelong vocation of farming. He attended the Patterson School and the Saxon River Academy in Vermont. In 1899, he married the former Mabel Amanda Lyon, and they settled on the family homestead. In approximately 1927, Robinson purchased a farm on the Towners-Patterson Road, now known as NYS Route 311, and the Robinsons made there home there. Robinson was a member of the Patterson Grange, the Harlem Valley Masonic Lodge of Pawling, and the Patterson Baptist Church. George S. Robinson died in his home at the age of 79 on November 19, 1952, after a three month illness. His funeral was officiated by the Rev. Cornelius Otto of Poughkeepsie, a former minister of the Towners Baptist Church, and the Rev. Horace E. Hillery, pastor emeritus of the Patterson Presbyterian Church. He was buried in the family plot in the Four Corners Cemetery in Towners.
A George Robinson operated a hardware store on Main Street (NYS Route 311) in the early 20th century. It is unclear if this is George S. Robinson. The hardware store was involved in a major fire that destroyed much of the business strip in Patterson in 1917. In April, 1921, J. J. Kessler purchased the site of the former Robinson store and erected a garage just back of the former store. The entrance to the garage was on Orchard Street. Mr. and Mrs. Kessler relocated from New Jersey, and made their home in the Patterson village.
Don Smith led Patterson as Supervisor for a sixteen year period in the 1960s that saw many changes in the Town, as rapid development and a steady population increase brought many challenges. During Smith's administration, the population of Patterson would more than double. During that period, development issues required the Town to examine its zoning code to slow residential growth and attract industry. The solid waste problem led Putnam County to search for a new Countywide dumpsite, possibly in Patterson, while the Town itself had to look for a new Town sanitary landfill, and deal with private dumpsites that would begin to cause noise and pollution problems for the community. Recycling proposals would be made and threats to the Great Swamp watershed would be examined. Police protection would change, with the elimination of the force of Town constables in favor of greater reliance on the New York State Police and Putnam County Sheriff. Patterson would abandon the old Jacob Stahl Hall for a new Town Hall that would take the Town offices out of the village and into Towners. Finally, growth pressures on the County would lead to a change in the County Charter, eliminating the governing Board of Supervisors and replacing it with a legislative form of government headed by a full-time county executive.
Smith was a vocal advocate of a change in the Putnam County Charter. In February, 1976, he argued that the time had come for the County to conduct its affairs in a more business-like manner, and that a full-time county manager was needed to oversee County matters. In 1976, Smith was the longest serving member of the Board of Supervisors. He called for an appointment of a panel to recommend changes to the County Charter, to be comprised of "responsible citizens who have demonstrated sincere concern in a more effective County government, such as groups like the League of Woman Voters." He added that he was studying the issue himself, and would review the findings made by a County charter review committee several years earlier. He added that the present form of County government "is just not working, and poor government is poor politics...Putnam County has grown too big to survive any longer with 'shooting from the hip' solutions that don't solve problems." Carmel Supervisor Thomas Bergen also saw the need for a full-time county manager or administrator to supervise the departments comprising the County government. The Board of Supervisors was a part-time governing board, and there was no one person responsible for the daily overseeing or monitoring of each department and its employees. Bergin, however, stated that he was not convinced that a new form of County government was needed. In March, 1976, Kent Supervisor Ethel Forkell joined Smith in calling for a commission to study a charter revision, stating there was a need for an elected county executive.
Smith considered Patterson to be at a major disadvantage under the existing County charter. Under the charter, each town had a number of "votes", based on its size. Carmel, for example, exercised 26 votes, since it was the largest town in the County. Patterson, on the other hand, only had 6 votes because it was the smallest town. Under the proposed new charter, a County legislature would be elected, and each legislator would cast one vote.
In May, 1978, the revised County charter had been approved, and Donald Smith announced his candidacy to become the first Putnam County Executive on the Republican Party ticket. Putnam Valley Supervisor J. Robert Housekeeper also announced his candidacy as an independent. Current County Treasurer David Bruen received the Democratic Party endorsement for his candidacy one month later. The designation of Republican and Democratic candidates did not stop others from entering the race. In July, Southeast Supervisor John V. Joram became the fourth candidate, running as an independent. David Bruen would win the election and become the first County Executive of Putnam County on January 1, 1979. Bruen received 8,218 votes, defeating the second place candidate, Don Smith, by 1,432 votes. Smith received 6,786 votes. Patterson attorney Raymond Maguire became the first County Legislator from Patterson. Patterson would elect a new Supervisor, Democrat Lawrence Lawlor, formerly a Town Councilman. Don Smith assumed the job of Patterson Highway Superintendent.
|A Don Smith campaign ad for the office of County Executive. It appeared in the October 8, 1978 edition of the Putnam County Courier.|
Smith was also an outspoken advocate for a countywide consolidation of police forces. At the time, three of Putnam's towns had their own police forces: Carmel, Kent, and Putnam Valley. In addition, the Putnam County Sheriff and the New York State Police also patrolled the County's six towns. Smith saw the arrangement as an inefficient waste of tax dollars. The three towns with their own departments were adamant in opposing consolidation. It was their opinion that a local service was more responsive to their communities. County Sheriff Raynor Weizenecker also supported consolidation.
Smith served eight consecutive terms as Patterson supervisor before his unsuccessful run for the County Executive post. Smith was born on a farm in Towners, and had the typical farm chores as a boy. He was a member of the first class in the Towners Elementary School, the former four room building that would become the Patterson Town Hall in 1969. It is ironic that his office as supervisor was only feet away from the classroom where he attended school as a boy. He graduated from Brewster High School in 1940 at the age of 16. His goal of attending veterinary school at Cornell University was stymied by a lack of money due to the Great Depression. Instead, he went to work for Southeast Motors in Brewster, and eventually became parts manager. He later took classes in welding, and then established a trucking company in 1946. His varied career also included a stint as manager of a bowling alley in Pawling on NYS Route 22. Later he would spend seven years with the Putnam County Highway Dept. as a foreman. His career with the town of Patterson began as town clerk. He was also chairman of the Putnam County Soil and Water Conservation District, director of the New York State Soil and Water Districts Association, a director of the Putnam County Cooperative Extension Services, director of the Putnam County Legal Aid Society, and headed or belong to many other organizations. By the end of his administration, Patterson had become the fastest growing town in Putnam County. Smith and his family lived on Cross Road.
Daniel Mallory Stephens was a long time local and state official whose career in politics spanned 30 years in the 20th century. Stephens was born in Patterson on December 17, 1893, on the family farm that is now part of the Thunder Ridge Ski Area on NYS Route 22. His parents were Henry B. Stephens, two-term Putnam County Sheriff in the early 20th century, and Alice Mallory Stephens. He attended school in Patterson, and graduated from Brewster High School. Stephens was named after his maternal grandfather, Daniel Mallory of Sherman, CT, a former state senator.
D. Mallory Stephens worked for the Harlem Valley Electric Company after high school, and worked with crews that brought electric service to Patterson and Pawling. In 1914, he married the former Grace Hine of Brewster, and they had three children. Patterson's Little Red Schoolhouse was originally located on the Stephens Farm, and Mrs. Stephens taught in the School during the 1914 term. Their daughter, Alice, attended classes in the Schoolhouse until 1927. Stephens served with the U. S. Navy during World War I.
In 1923, his long political career began with his election as Patterson town supervisor. In 1925, he was elected New York State Assemblyman for Putnam County, and served in that role continuously until 1952, when he was succeeded by his son, Willis. D. Mallory Stephens was a powerful Republican Party leader and political official, serving on many influential committees in the New York State Assembly. He was chairman of the Ways and Means Committee for nine years. He was also a member of such legislative groups as the Rules Committee, the New York City Committee, the Public Service Committee, Joint Legislative Committee on Banking, the Committee on Military Affairs, and the legislative group formed to investigate the dairy industry. He was also chairman of the Putnam County Republican Committee for several years, which gave him influence over candidates for local office.
Stephens' business interests included the 525 acre Stephens homestead farm on NYS Route 22, which he sold in 1956 to the business group that created the Birch Hill Game Farm in 1956. He was also an officer of the Maust, Coal, and Coke Corporation, an officer of the Modern Industrial Bank, and the Knickerbocker Associates, a real estate and insurance firm.
Stephens was a member of the Patterson Presbyterian Church, the Patterson Grange, the Putnam Westchester Pomona Grange, and the National Grange. Mr. and Mrs. Stephens moved to Brewster in 1927, and maintained a home on Garden Street.
D. Mallory Stephens died in New York Hospital on January 11, 1961, at the age of 67 where he was being treated for a heart ailment. He was buried in the Maple Avenue Cemetery in Patterson. Over 1,000 people paid their respects at the Stephens home on Garden Street, and a police detail was needed to direct traffic and parking. Over 200 people attended the funeral at the Garden Street home. Former New York State Gov. Thomas E. Dewey and current Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson attended, with a delegation from the New York State Assembly. An overflow crowd waited outside the home. The Rev. Horace Hillery of Patterson, a long time family friend, conducted the service. 300 flower bouquets were sent to Garden Street, and they filled three flower cars in the funeral cortege to the cemetery. Many were donated to local churches and nursing homes in the Brewster area. Putnam County Sheriff Frank Lyden provided a police escort, while State Police and Civil Defense Auxiliary officers were stationed along the intersections of NYS Route 22 and NYS 311 in Patterson to direct traffic while the cortege traveled to the Maple Avenue Cemetery.
The Towners section of Patterson acquired its name from the many members of the Towner family who settled in the area. Samuel Towner settled in Frederickstown in 1773. A portion of Frederickstown became the town of Franklin, and Samuel Towner became the first supervisor of Franklin in 1795. Franklin is now known as Patterson. He received a lease for land from Beverly Robinson, and used the land as a farm. Robinson, a Tory, was on the wrong side of the War of Independence, and had his lands confiscated after the War. In 1781, the Commission of Forfeiture sold the farm to Samuel Towner. The property adjoins the Patterson Baptist Church and is south of the church. The property remained in the hands of the family until 1935, when Senator James Edwin Towner, Sr. died. James Sr. was also the school commissioner of Putnam County in the late 19th century.
|The home of Samuel Towner, located on Brickhouse Road off NYS Route 311. The road took its name from the house. In the 1960s, the house was the home of Joseph Peloso, Jr., the Patterson Town Clerk, and later the Putnam County Clerk.||Two undated photos of the home of James E. Towner, Jr., the former Towner House & Tavern. The first is a side view, and the second is a frontal view that dates from 1912 and is a postcard published by W. S. Crosby of Towners. The structure is thought to have been built in two stages, in c1750 and c1755. The section to the rear may have been constructed first. The building was identified as a tavern in the Erskin military map of 1780. After the War of Independence, the Commissioners of Forfeiture sold the property to the Towner family. In 1854 the owner of record was J. Towner & Son. In 1867, the owner was S. Towner. The tavern was probably located on the right side of the house. A third view, from the 1960s, is seen in the last photo. The house still stands on NYS Route 311 near the Patterson Baptist Church, but has received extensive alterations, including the removal of the porch.|
With the death of their father, James E., Jr. and his sister Ethel moved into the Patterson village. James E. Towner, Jr. was born on January 11, 1873. He attended the Brewster schools and graduated from Union Law School in Albany. He practiced law in Brewster and served as referee in many foreclosure cases. He was also a Republican member of the Putnam County Board of Elections, and a member of the Patterson Presbyterian Church. James E. Towner died on July 27, 1957 at his Patterson home at the age of 85.
Another noted member of the family was Dr. Albert N. Towner, another son of Sen. James E. Towner, Sr. Albert was a popular veterinarian who lived in Towners and practiced in Towners and Brewster. Albert attended New York Veterinary College in the early 1900s and became Chief Army Veterinarian with the American army in World War I.
The 1939 Fair was held at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens County, New York City. The same site was used for the 1964-65 World's Fair. The theme of 1939 fair was an optimistic "The World of Tomorrow", as a new world war was about to begin in Europe.
New York State planned to feature every county in its pavilion at the Fair, and Putnam County was invited to contribute images of life the County. Putnam County contributed sixty views of the County, ten from each of the six towns. The images included landscapes, major buildings and historic sites, and farm animals such as horses, oxen, and cows. Patterson contributed the following images:
A community band was formed in October 14, 1940. The band was directed by the principle of the Patterson School, Stanley Hoffman. The town band was open to anyone of any experience level who wanted to play a musical instrument. Meetings were held weekly on Wednesdays. Only those who had a serious interest were asked to apply for membership. R. Hall was elected president of the band organization, G. Flint was elected secretary, and George Pfahl was elected treasurer.
The Seeger family was a fixture in the Patterson village in the first half of the 20th century. Charles L. and Constance Seeger purchased the former Matthew Paterson property on NYS Route 311 and Cornwall Hill Road in 1918. The property had been in the Paterson family for nearly a century and a half, until a short time before the Seegers purchased the property. The Seegers raised three children in the home while also teaching classical music at Julliard in New York City.
Charles L. Seeger was born in 1886, and was the head of the UC Berkeley Music Department from 1912 until 1918. While at Berkeley, Seeger expanded the music department to include courses in composition, music appreciation, orchestration, and what may have been the first class in musicology. He was a pacifist during World War I and was active in the labor movement. His political beliefs brought him criticism, and he was forced to leave his job at Berkeley. Constance Edson Seeger was a concert violinist and violin teacher. Charles and Constance divorced in 1927, and Charles married Ruth Crawford in 1932. Mrs. Seeger remained in Patterson until April, 1944, when she sold the property to Mrs. Joseph D. Creveling of Scarsdale. Charles died in Bridgewater, Connecticut of a heart attack in 1979.
|A young Pete Seeger earns honors at the Avon School. The clipping appeared in the Putnam County Courier on June 22, 1934.||Pete Seeger (extreme right in red) performs in Riverfront Park in Beacon, New York, in June, 2003.|
Charles' love of music was passed on to his son Pete, who was born in 1919 in Patterson, and was raised in Patterson. He learned to play the guitar, banjo, and ukulele, and developed a love for folk music at the age of 16. In the 1940s he became involved in rallies for the Dairy Farmers Union during the New York Milk Strike. He was co-founder of the folk group The Almanac Singers in 1941 with Woodie Guthrie. He served in the Pacific during World War II starting in 1942. In 1948, he co-founded the folk group The Weavers, and later wrote many popular songs including, Turn, Turn, Turn and Where Have All the Flowers Gone. During the Cold War scare of the 1950s, Seeger refused to sign a loyalty oath, and was branded a "leftist". He refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee 1955. As a result, Seeger and the Weavers were blacklisted and were banned from the airwaves. Seeger continues to sing about civil and workers' rights and environmentalism. He has been active in the Clearwater Foundation and its effort to clean the Hudson River. He currently lives in Beacon, New York.
Duncan Segur was born on October 19, 1842, in Pawling, New York, just north of Patterson. His father was a farmer, a profession that Duncan would follow in his later years in Patterson. The Segur family left Pawling for Patterson at a time when the village of Pawling had not yet been established, and before the Harlem Railroad had reached the area. During the Civil War years, Duncan Segur worked as a carpenter in New York, St. Louis, and Memphis, but migrated back to Patterson to become a farmer in approximately 1882. One of Segur's local projects was the Mutual Milk and Cream Factory along the Harlem tracks in the village of Patterson. The building was 60 feet long, and was completed in 1900. Segur's farm consisted of 33 acres, with another adjoining 70 acres that he rented from the Patersons, and was located approximately in the area of the present Maple Avenue Cemetery. The farm was considered modern and up-to-date with the latest machinery and farming innovations. The Segur farm earned a .78 sanitary rating from milk inspectors, and was one of the first farms in the area to build a silo and to install water in the barns. The silo was machine powered, and pumps were used to bring water into the barns.
Segur was married to the former Elsie Parker, and they had two sons. The Segurs were Baptists, and attended the Four Corners Baptist Church in Towners. Segur was a Mason, and was an active and founding member of the Patterson Grange. Segur was also active in politics, and was a lifelong Democrat, but was also a reluctant politician. In 1910 he became the first Democrat to be elected Patterson Town Supervisor since the establishment of the Republican Party in 1854. In 1912, Segur was elected to the New York State Assembly at the age of 70.
|Duncan Segur is pictured on his farm in Patterson in 1912. The photo was published in the October 25, 1912 edition of the Putnam County Courier.|
Ward V. Tolbert was a prominent New York City lawyer who also served as New York State Senator for the 20th District from 1920-22. From 1935 until his death is 1946, he owned the Dell-Howe Farm in Patterson, better known by its present name, the Green Chimneys Farm. Tolbert raised Jersey cows on the farm.
Tolbert was born in Weston, New York on April 28 1877. He attended the University of Rochester and the Columbia University Law School. He was involved in athletic programs at both schools, and was an intercollegiate heavyweight wrestling champion while at Columbia. He married the former Laura Williams of Rochester in 1906, and they had one child.
|Ward V. Tolbert||Ward V. Tolbert and his prize beets at his farm in Patterson||An ad for Tolbert's Supreme Court campaign|
|(all photos - Dr. Samuel B. "Rollo" Ross)|
In 1905 he joined the New York law firm of Wilder & Anderson, which evolved into Tolbert, Ewen, and Patterson, the firm that Tolbert was associated with at the time of his death. Tolbert specialized in corporate law. As a state senator, Tolbert introduced a bill calling for the use of voting machines in New York City and also sponsored a New York City home rule act. Tolbert had been a president, vice president, and director of three investment companies, and a director of several local real estate companies. Tolbert was a presidental elector in the 1936 presidential election, and a member of the Republican Party State Committee from 1935 to 1938. He later moved to Pelham Manor in Westchester County, New York and was actively involved in several local and County organizations. He would live in Pelham Manor for over twenty years. After his death, his widow, Laura, sold the farm to Dr. S. Bernard Ross and his son "Rollo" Ross, who established the "Green Chimneys School for Little Folk".
Westchester Radio Aero/Modelers, Inc. came to Patterson in the summer of 1978. WRAM was a non-profit organization of approximately sixty model airplane enthusiasts from Putnam and Westchester Counties, and the surrounding areas. The organization spent $100,000 to purchase 82 acres of farm land on a knoll above Route 311. A 2,000 foot roadway was built to reach the property. Club rules limited the number of airborne planes to two at one time. The models included miniature bombers and fighter planes from both world wars, among others. WRAM's president at the time was J. H. Wimbrow of Mt. Kisko, an IBM employee in White Plains. The group held its grand opening on Saturday, July 15, 1978, when Patterson Supervisor Donald B. Smith activated the controls on a radio-controlled model airplane on the WRAM field off NYS Route 311. WRAM still uses the property on weekends to fly model planes. The driveway is about one mile north of NYS Route 311, marked only by a mailbox.
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