Memories of Stottville, compiled 1939

Memories of Stottville
Compiled for the 80th birthday of Mrs. Thomas Williams
(Emma Wells Stott) of Lawrence, N.Y.
April 6, 1939


  1. John M. Pearson – married Kate Stott, Emma’s sister.
  2. Mrs. William Stott (Leila Whitney), Emma’s sister-in-law.
  3. Mrs. Marselis Parsons (Jessie Stott), Emma’s sister.
  4. Mrs. John Meyerkort (Clara Oakley), Emma’s first cousin.
  5. Mrs. Richard Franchot (Grace Helene Stott), Emma’s sister.
  6. Mrs. Louis Stott (Ethel Doulton) – married Emma’s first cousin.
  7. Mrs. Arthur Jenks (Kate Pearson), Emma’s niece.
  8. Mrs. Allan Peck (Jessie Pearson), Emma’s niece.
  9. Miss Lee Stott, Emma’s niece.
  10. Mrs. Van Ness Philip (Helen Stott), Emma’s niece.
  11. Miss Ruth Dean, Emma’s niece.
  12. Mrs. Douglas Hartshorne (Leila Whitney), Emma’s niece.
  13. William Whitney, Emma’s nephew.
  14. Mrs. G. Dillard Harber (Prudence Whitney), Emma’s niece.
  15. Thomas Resolved Williams, Emma’s son.
  16. Mrs. Vail Blydenburgh (Edith Stott Williams), Emma’s daughter.
  17. Mrs. Morris Douw Ferris (Dorcas Williams), Emma’s daughter.

Note: Emma Wells Stott Williams was born in 1859 in Stottville, the sixth child of the eleven children born to Charles Henry Stott and Catherine Adams Oakley. She was one of our grandmother’s many aunts. –KPJ


1. John Magoun Pearson (1845-1940)

Probably you remember Aunt Liz. Oakley. She had a very sad life, but your Grandmother gave her a lovely home and did much to make her life happy.

Aunt Liz was always happy and lively and enjoyed a practical joke. She selected your Uncle Charlie as her victim. Well, one hot day the family were sitting on the lawn, near the dock and Aunt Liz was teasing Charlie, tickling with straws, throwing grass on his head and such like. Finally Aunt Liz went to the edge of the low bluff and stood there looking off. Charlie quietly crept up behind her and putting his arm around her, rushed her down into the creek and after swimming around for some seconds Aunt Liz lost her plates. Your Grandmother was very angry at Charlie, but, took Aunt Liz. into the house. Soon Bill Hill appeared with a rake and after a time secured the plates. Aunt Liz reappeared in a new costume and your Grandmother and Charlie went into a private conference. What was said never was divulged, but practical jokes ceased.

– – – – – –

Your mother will remember Schuyler, a little mongrel pup, which your Uncle Will picked up somewhere. Schuyler became a great pet and learned tricks easily. His best one was to sing. Whenever anyone played the piano Schuyler would sit underneath and sing as long as the playing continued.

– – – – – –

Then there was Thanksgiving Dinner, which your Grandmother gave for the family. All the older persons occupied the dining-room, while the 24 Grandchildren were in the back living-room. Reg. must remember it, he was there, also Bill Whitney and Jack. Everyone enjoyed that day immensely.

John Pearson


2. Leila Whitney Stott (1857-1947)

In trying to remember and reproduce for you some pictures of our life in Stottville in the old days, I am faced with the difficulty of making you realize how unique were the conditions, how entirely different from anything that has been the experience of you children and grandchildren. In the first place, there was the size of the family. Did you ever know a family of ten children?

When I went to Stottville [in 1879], everybody was young and, except for Jessie and Grace, all seemed about the same age. Jessie was about fourteen and was always in trouble because “Jessup” wanted to brush her long hair which was curled over a stick, and because she was not allowed enough starched petticoats. Grace was twelve and seemed to be always up in an apple tree with a big doll, playing house with her cousin, Dora, of the other family on the opposite side of the creek. Only one was married, Kate, and she had a young baby, Kitty Pearson.

I remember going sleigh riding one winter afternoon, driving behind a fast horse up and down Warren St. and being arrested for exceeding the speed limit. While the fine was being paid at the Police Station, I was left at Kate’s and when I asked to see the baby, the affectionate mother exclaimed, “The darned thing cries all the time!” The Stotts were never sentimental.

Of course we had no cars then and the roads, being clay, and cut into deep ruts by the mill teams, were unbelievably difficult, so snow was a blessing and we usually had plenty of it and drove daily with plumes and bells and plenty of fur robes, even going up and down on the frozen river, where we could watch the ice boats racing in the wind. Of course the coasting was wonderful; long bob sleds were the favorites but one morning I met Emma, as I was going for my mail, starting out to coast from the house down to the creek on a broom!

When the young people were home for the winter holidays, there were always guests in all three houses and once we had a cotillion at the Big House, where all twenty five couples dancing, were living or visiting in the village at one of the family houses.

Emma was under the doctor’s orders, my first winter in Stottville, and was expected to take a tonic at intervals. Of course she wouldn’t take it and her mother offered everybody twenty five cents for every spoonful they got into Emma. There were frequent races all through the house and porches, Emma pursued by her determined sisters with bottle and spoon.

Summers however, were naturally our gayest seasons. One annual event was Aunt Jane’s waffle party. We all went to supper in the big basement dining room. The supper included besides waffles, every variety of cold food, ham, chicken salad, chocolate cake, Kuchen (a sort of glorified apple pie) and when we had eaten all we could, we carried home our favorite cakes, since we were never able to eat them there. We always tried to eat waffles until the batter gave out, but “Goody,” the cook was too liberal a provider, we never could.

The next wedding in the family was Emma’s and not long after that, the cottage was built for her summer home. She had a horse and a very high English dog cart in which she dashed around the country until one day something happened and the whole outfit upset with no great damage. We played croquet those days and tennis was just coming into fashion. We had a court behind my house, not by any means what you would accept today, and the girls played in long white pique shirts and big hats. As it was easy to beat them in such costumes, they decided one day to handicap the men by dressing them the same way. They wore long skirts and big hats and even false curls. The game was very hilarious but there was too much falling down to make very good tennis.

One Fourth of July party, I am sure we all remember. At the cottage were Louise Oakley and Albert Boardman and I think Kate Oakley was at the Big House. There was a big dinner there at midday after an exciting game of baseball and a swim. After the soup, the waitress brought on a great roast but Grandma Stott whispered “Where is the salmon?” The answer came “Miss Emma got it.” At that the young people rose with a shout and rushed to the cottage, too late to rescue the salmon, but a platter with the roast was just coming in and was grabbed by the invaders. The food went flying in all directions and the cottage people were well punished.

You may see that the head of the family at the cottage was not at that time the stately and dignified lady whose birthday we celebrate today.

Leila Whitney Stott


3. Jessie Stott Parsons (1865-1948)

Jessie Douglas Stott Whitney Parsons, Grandma’s aunt

To the “Great Emma”

These are just a few little reminders and remembrances of Emma Wells Stott Williams of Stottville.

She was always what the boys and girls called “a swell guy” to the kids as she preferred playing tag – hide and seek – Rover come over – and scattered sheep – with us – and I am sure she really enjoyed it – for when her Ma sent word the Folgers and other friends from Hudson were calling she would run and hide. She never did care for the grown boys and was cruel to them, especially one devoted to her; he spent hours and days carving a wooden necklace but even this magnificent piece of workmanship had no effect upon her or allowing the attentions from “David” the lion tamer.

She was a great worry to her Mother for she would not attend parties or funerals, and I can remember the awful arguments between them. I don’t know which she hated the most – you can all guess who won out in such arguments.

And how her husband ever won her, is still a mystery to all. We children treated him as if he had stolen our family jewel.

The most appreciated gift from Tom was a nasty, hateful, vicious Italian greyhound – which spent all his time on the foot of her bed. If anyone stepped inside her room those awful teeth showed up. I honestly think she like that dog named (Vita) better than her beautiful engagement ring. She had a queer side to her – always wanted Pets, but never any petting.

I remember her first pet, a baby lamb, which ba-baed every minute except when she sat on the lawn with it in her lap, feeding it the bottle. Everyone hated Daisy, finally Daisy disappeared and it was given out she had run away, but was never found alive, and soon roast lamb was served for dinner and one by one left the table. Not one of the ten hungry children could absorb Daisy.

Emma was wonderful in taming horses and her riding habit with long train was never equaled then or since, and consequently it was impossible for the ugly little horse mink to run away with this heavy burden.

Even as a devoted Mother she was caught by “Booy” playing cards on the back of her first born, which typifies her gambling spirit of today – for the sake of her family I omit many embarrassing facts –

From her seventy-three year old baby sister, Jessie


4. Clara Oakley Meyerkort (1861-?)

Some one has asked me to tell a few secret vagaries of our Emma; how she looked and how she behaved. As a girl she was tall and slender with a wealth of golden hair and a deadly night shade of eye pupils. Very athletic and could vault a fence twice as high as any of her playmates. Swam better than any of them, had the creek and the family reservoir for practice, it was an unused reservoir and called the “Plunge.” One day when the plunge was full of happy girls, Emma gave an unearthly yell “girls, girls hurry there is a snake in the water.” She was out in no time, imploring the girls to make haste, but the girls knew all about that snake, which they had made of a long piece of rubber hose.

Stottville was always a lovely home with a great family that laughed with its mother and played games every minute. There were oodles of children, young and older and many birthdays. When Willy, one of the older brothers had his twenty first birthday, there was a great party and because he was fond of animals and especially fond of cats, the country was scoured for kittens till 21 were found, black, white, tortoise-shell, maltese, young and not so young, all put in a covered basket and when Willy had cut his cake and received many gifts, some one said, “sit down Willy we have one more gift for you” and brought in the basket and dumped the 21 kittens in his lap; he was a bit surprised at all the meowing but delighted and gathered together as many as he could manage and said “get some milk somebody, they are hungry.” I often wondered what became of those kittens, maybe “Vite” Emma’s greyhound settled some of them.

Willy had three or four brothers, all on the ball nine. July 4, Stottville’s gala day, was always chief game of the season; one hot, very hot July 4th, the pitcher did not turn up and what to do! There was not a boy left to pitch. But quite soon one the younger uncles appeared, perfectly

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5. Grace Helene Stott Franchot (1967-1939)

As the youngest of the Stott tribe, perhaps I had the best chance to remember many of the Stottville doings, because I heard them told oftener and there were more to make “history.”

Often when people have said to me “What fun to have belonged to such a big family,” I have thought to myself, “More like a survival of the fittest.”

I heard Mother correct Jule and Adele once for something I had done and she said “Remember you girls never had so many older ones to correct you, she is the best child I ever had.” Her words had two effects upon me, I swelled up until I nearly cracked — then I thought, “Mercy, they must have been awful.”

Lawrence Bradley “Laurie” Stott, 1869-1882

I was still having my tea in the nursery when Kop Pearson was born and was much disappointed at not having a boy to play with, so from Fred up, my contact with the older ones was mostly confined to school vacations, but you, Jane, were the only one who paid any attention to me; you liked the things that I liked, skating, coasting, games and wild flower hunts, while Jess and Jen played together. My two cousins Larry and Dora, one a year older, the other a year younger, both died the year I was eleven and from then I played alone mostly; when Jane went over to our Church school with us, it was Heaven; when she stopped I got into all kinds of trouble, because I played on the boys’ playground; all the children my age were boys, and I was used to playing with them.

Dora Aborn Stott, 1870-1881

After Larry and Dora went, Angels and Fairies got sort of confused in my mind, but I knew they were alive, because when we used to go in the parlor to see Mamie’s picture, her eyes always followed us around the room, and sometimes we would go in there and play with the prisms, so she wouldn’t be alone. When M. Geuillum came to paint her picture, Mother later told me he painted much of it from me as I played on the floor with my horse and cart, my size (I was six, her age) coloring, etc.

When I was with Jule during the war, she told me one day she thought she would burn it, that no one would want it. I made her promise she would leave it to me, that I dearly loved it, but I couldn’t tell her why.

Do you, Jane and Jess, remember the grand peanut candy we all made when we got tired of skating, and the pop-corn balls. Never was there candy like that. Will always wanted me to steer the bobs, and one weekend there was a crowd at our house, and I think some at yours Leila. We went to coast on the Spring hill; Will and Tom were pulling up my big bob, and Will said “Can you turn at the bottom with a full bob?” It held about 14 without counting me. I said, “yes, but you know what will happen.” Yes, they did, “But do it.” “Alright,” I said, “You and Tom ride on the last two seats; when we start to turn you two lean hard to the right and throw yourselves clear” – the result was all that could be desired, as nine girls went head-first into the deeply filled ditch.

I cannot remember what started the time when we girls all went up to Frank’s room to pack Jack Harriman’s bag, but the boys, Tom, Jack and Frank, ran up and locked us in and, the Folgers called, Mother kept sending for us; finally we decided to let Mimma down to Charlie’s room via sheets, when they let us out, and we knew Jack would be fixed when he opened his bag at night on the boat, and some of the girls turned a glass of jelly upside down in his overcoat pocket, so when we went downstairs Tom was lying on the hall sofa. You, Jane, sat down on the sofa by him, when all at once the rest of us grabbed him and carried him out to the pump by the back door and gave him a grand pumping, and do you remember how mad cook was, because Will and Tom where her pets?

Do you also remember the Sunday the Donkey went with the cows over to the pasture back of the Church, and how hot it was and every window was open, even the Chancel ones. Suddenly as Mr. Rainey read the words from the first lesson of Numbers, 22 chap. “and the ass opened her mouth,” the donkey opened her mouth and let off her song right under the window. Some rushed right out, and we could hear them laughing, while one by one those inside joined them. When they could not hold in any longer, Mr. Rainey said “Sing,” but no one could, so Mary played till I put up the Hymnal, opened at “The Church’s One Foundation.” Soon we all got into it, but the donk never went over to the pasture with the cows again.

Now of all the queer things that have happened to me, and there have been many, this I am going to tell, was the queerest. While we lived in Olean I went down one day to see the doctor. While I was waiting for him to come in, a splendid looking man came in, tall, with slightly iron gray hair. Soon he asked me if the Dr. was apt to be in before long, and we fell into conversation. He said, “You are not a native of Olean, rather of Eastern New York are you not?” I said “Yes, and you are from Boston, are you not.” He said he was, and did I know Boston well. No, but I knew Lynn quite well. He began to laugh saying “I never think of Lynn but I laugh. My Uncle and Aunt lived there on a short street that ran down to the sound, Prescott Place it is. Right opposite Uncle’s house was a large house occupied only in the Summer by New York people. We never did know the relationship of the people. Sometimes a beautiful yacht would come in with a load of young people, stay over night and leave the people and take away some from the house. The yacht had the prettiest name, the “Seawitch.” One time the girls must have played some trick on the boys, for I heard them say ‘You wait, we’ll fix you,’ so the next week soon after I had arrived, I saw the boys coming down the street, each lugging a hand-organ. Quietly they got under the girls’ windows, then each organ played a different tune. You never heard such a noise; the girls and older people all came tumbling out. Finally one of the older women threw a shawl around her shoulders like a gypsy and with the oldest man whose organ played Norma, began to sing the opera as though she really could, while the littlest girl began to turn hand springs with a tambourine like a monkey. It seemed we could never stop laughing, but finally Aunt called them all in and – ” I put up my hand and said, “You gave us lemonade and little chocolate cakes with white crosses on, and picked me up and kissed me, saying I was the best of all.” He gave a gasp – then said “Who are you.” I laughed and said I was the monkey. We were still laughing when the Doctor came in. He, the man, told me had had seen Mimma when she drifted out and was just going after her when Will went out after her. She didn’t know she had drifted so far out as she was deaf and thought we were right near her. Do any of you remember the name of the small candies that they made at Lovejoys candy shop – were they buttercups – my but they were good, as good as Walls big square ginger snaps, that you found opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

                                                                                         Helene Franchot


Ethel Doulton Stott

6. Ethel Doulton Stott (1873-1959)

It gives me great pleasure dear Emma to add a line or two to this little collection of Stottville memories. Although I am only by adoption a Stott, having married Louis, I like to feel that I am also, one of the family, and indeed, on all occasions you have made me feel that I was.

My reign in Stottville was brief. Louis and I were married in 1900 and he took me home as a bride. It was all so new, and interesting, to find myself suddenly planted in such different surroundings. Scarcely more than a month after the death of his Father, and with the mills partly closed, the village was all very quiet, and impressed one of having seen brighter days. However, its traditions lived on, and I listened with much interest to the tales of more prosperous times, when there were trips to California and Mexico in a private rail car, happy family gatherings, and many friends coming and going, in both homes, your own and Louis’ across the way.

I have already mentioned that Louis and I were married in 1900. It was on the 28th of November. After a “honeymoon” at Del Monte and back to Miramar for another ten days, we journeyed on to Stottville, and to make the picture a little more complete I must go on from there, arriving the day before Christmas. Louis’ mother had planned a family party. Aunt Jane was there, and in her black silk gown and little lace collar. She looked as though she had just stepped out of an old daguerrotype, quite a contrast to my wedding gown and veil which Louis’ mother had asked me to wear on account of their not having seen us married. It was altogether a happy occasion, and in the weeks that followed I was introduced to various cousins, and those of your own family who were left at home, and there were lovely drives about the country. Having grown up in California I knew nothing of the thrills of winter sports. A sleigh ride, was one of the things I most looked forward to. So Louis promptly hired a sleigh, wrapped me in a buffalo robe and off we started. Alas, only to bump, bump, over a very hard rough road. It happened to be a mild winter, the sleigh ride never came off! Nor did I master the art of skating on the Stottville creek! And so, the winter months slipped by. With the coming of Spring, the spot that I loved best of all was Aunt Jane’s garden, which I never tired of watching as it blossomed forth. Its neatly kept paths, and sweet old fashioned border plants, so fragrant, and lovely were a delight, and in the midst of it all was a graceful white marble fountain. I shall never forget that garden, nor the quaint old house, colonial in type, with its picturesque porch from which one stepped into the garden, or could sit with a book and enjoy it all. The cottage as a whole had great charm, and as I saw Aunt Jane in it, the night she gave one of her famous waffle parties.

This is a feeble attempt I fear, to add my impressions and memories of Stottville, for I know it only as I found it in 1900. Not the “hey day” that you remember, but out of it, came Louis, who claimed me, and in time three more Stotts arrived, and grew up, all of whom you know, and have been so good to, including their Mother. We shall never forget the many happy times we have had in your home dear Emma –

                                   As ever –

                                                                        Most Affectionately

                                                                        Ethel Doulton Stott

Feb. 25th/39


7. Kate Oakley Pearson Jenks (1878- ?)

I can shut my eyes now and hear the mill bell ringing before daylight. Bill Hill pumping the well water, the hum of the mill machinery, the horses coming down the hill from the church and over the bridge, and the creek rushing over the dam.

I can smell the wool and grease in the mills, the sulphur water I went with Bill Hill to draw at the springs, the lilac by the north parlor window, the yellow rose bush.

Grandma’s beds of heliotrope and verbena, the buffalo robes in the big sleigh and the ole-kuchen baking in Auntie’s basement kitchen.

In Auntie’s house only a few things stand out, though every Sunday afternoon I went with Aunt Jule to “call on Auntie.” There were the wax flowers, the gray mantel vases, the short large sofa in Auntie’s bed room, homemade I think, for great grandfather Stott, the Empire sofa in the dark back parlor through which Auntie took us to the garden. She wore a sun bonnet as we went back and forth on the paths between the fountain and the summer house looking at the plants.

“Brightside,” Home of Commodore Francis Horatio (“Big Uncle Frank”) Stott

In Big Uncle Frank’s there is a memory of Aunt Lizzie showing me the portraits of the children she lost – of Flora McDonald playing in the Library – of Big Uncle Frank, Cousin Jen, Tim and Charlie Van R. on the porch.

In the office grandfather, father and the Uncles worked in the back room. Big Uncle Frank, Cousin Arthur & Tim in the front room – and where I remember watching with Grandfather, through the open back door, the creek roaring over the dam in a spring flood.

The people of the older generation, Aunt Liz Oakley, Aunt Jane, Cousin Mary Meyer, Big Uncle Frank, Aunt Lizzie, Miss Lathrop, Mr. Fisher, Aunt Adele and Uncle Bill Oakley and Aunt Fanny Roome – I loved them all – all but Aunt Fanny and I wonder if she wasn’t a disagreeable old lady.

The servants in the house, Mary Gill with red hair – Eliza Jordan the cook – someone will surely tell you how when Grandma had occasion to scold her she said “Eliza, you and I will have to part” and Eliza answered “where are you going Mrs. Stott?” – Bill Hill, beloved of the the children your “Booey,” – Maggie Bateman – William the coachman.

I’ll never forget one day when there was a parade going down Allen St. and we all sat on the front porch. Grandma and Grandpa came through the opposite yard. Driving down the alley to avoid the parade, the victoria had parted in the middle – leaving them stranded while William drove on.

View from The Mountain House (1836), by William Henry Bartlett

The drives were a source of joy and to go as far as Chatham and home through Kinderhook an adventure. Often we bought shad on the river road. Once or twice a year there was an all day picnic to Copake Lake – so Aunt Jule could fish. In the summer there was often a real journey by boat to Catskill and a drive up to Mountain House. There was always a fall picnic for chestnuts when we drove by the Brick Tavern and the little red school house where Grandfather went to school. One drive I remember making in haste with Uncle Charlie – out from Hudson – when we arrived spattered with mud and a snow storm coming on – next day – March 11 – in the midst of the big blizzard of 1888 Jack was born. That time I had a real visit for the roads were blocked. The mills were closed and the men put to work shoveling the Upper Road.

When I was very small there were only Charlie, Fred, Helene, and Jule at home – and Uncle Frank week-ends – Charlie had the big south bedroom – Helene the north room – Fred the room over the Kitchen and Jule the room over the laundry. Grandma’s room was in the center front and opening off a small hall bedroom where I slept. There was an open radiator in the floor – a perfect God-send to me for I could both see and hear what went on downstairs and was never lonesome. Sometimes, when Grace was in school in New York, or away visiting, I slept in her room – Bill Hill came in early in the morning to make the fire and in her corner desk were crackers and cheese. The middle room was for guests and Aunt Liz had the little room at the head of the stairs. What a sad life she had had and how gay she was. Uncle Frank’s room was on the third floor. How I envied him the candle shields he used to reading in bed. Aunt Jul’s room was the most attractive to me. There were five windows so one could see what went on in the garden, at the barn, or at your cottage. There was a couch in front of the fire and a book case filled with German novels and a set of George Eliot I always wanted. There were just as interesting book-cases downstairs in both sitting rooms.

The front and back parlors I only remember being used on Christmas – for weddings and funerals and on Sundays and hot summer afternoons when a breeze came in from the north porch. How many people today would give anything for those furnishings in the craze for the Victorian – the mirrors, window benches, alabaster vases, Rosewood furniture, pineapple table, the pictures of Mary Elizabeth over the mantel and “Aurora” over the horse-hair sofa. The hall was filled with wraps – the “Leuters families” on the wall – the sitting rooms with Grandma and Aunt Liz industriously sewing by the front windows – and both Uncles taking pre-luncheon naps. I’ll never forget being made to sit on Grandma’s foot stool all one afternoon till I learned “what desireth thou in prayer?” There was a bedroom off the sitting room and some sort of porch or entry – later turned into the dining-room. I can see Grandpa now at the table but all I ever remember his saying to me was Hi Hi! One time when I hadn’t seen Aunt Adele and Uncle Bill Oakley in a long while, I remember asking at the dining-room table “where is Uncle Bill anyway?” and Grandma explaining to me, amidst roars of laughter, that she hoped Uncle Bill was in heaven.

Is it any wonder so many of us are fat when you consider how we ate for pleasure – and what good things there were on that dining-room table? And no wonder we all love the country and our flower gardens. I can’t be too thankful for early Stottville days which made it possible.

                                                                                                Kitty P. Jenks


8. Jessie Douglas Pearson Peck (1883-1983)

So this is your birthday! May Allan and I add our congratulations and best wishes to the many you are receiving?

When Dorcas asked for a story about Stottville I sat down to write one and that started my reminiscing.

Catherine Adams Oakley Stott, 1830-1900, Grandma’s grandmother

One of my strongest memories is Grandmother. I can see her now, sitting in her big rocker on the porch and on the other side of the front door was Aunt Fannie, who always seemed so stern. Aunt Liz would be there too – how you all loved to tease her! Off on one end of the porch would be an exciting game of backgammon, perhaps two. Do you remember the morning calls by Hudson friends? The Van Vlecks, old Dr. Wheeler or perhaps the Folger “girls”? There at eleven o’clock we would be enjoying lemonade and Eliza’s hot gingerbread and by twelve thirty, with appetites unspoiled, would be in the dining-room for the big midday dinner. Small wonder many were overweight!

And those dogs, who on hot days seemed to like to come directly to the porch from the creek. I believe they took a secret delight in shaking themselves just to see people jump out of the way.

Scandalous Duxback fishing costumes, ca. 1900

There was Aunt Jule who spent so much time alone in her room. But she did love the outdoors and taught me much about it. How shocked Grandmother was when a “duxback” fishing suit arrived for Aunt Jule. It was scarcely below the knees.

I can’t seem to recall much about your days in the cottage but I do remember old “Booie.” She was always trying to correct Rez & Harry but never quite catching up with them. How they liked to tease her.

Then there was the donkey and the trips to the store for that awful candy. We always had to lead or practically drag that animal every time we crossed the bridge.

The walks in Aunty’s garden and the waffle suppers she had – Goody always ran out of batter (for our own good, I suppose). One of my own chairs came from Aunty’s parlor.

One Christmas stands out in my memory. We grandchildren had our table in the back sitting-room. Poor Rez was so hurt because Kitty was in the dining-room with the grown-ups. Lee tried to console hime by saying “But she is the oldest grandchild.” Rez’s reply was, “But I am the oldest grandson.”

Stottville means Bill Hill, Maggie Bateman, Mary Gill, old William and Eliza – what a cook! Can you remember her last days? One was never sure what dessert would be; just what she wished to serve, no matter what Grandmother ordered.

In the afternoons Grandmother would sit in the parlor or on the north porch overlooking the big oval bed of red geraniums, with lemon verbena and heliotrope in the corner beds. A little way down the lawn was the big maple we all liked to climb. Towards evening the ducks would come waddling up across the lawn, the morning doves would call and as the sunset faded the frogs would begin their croaking and fire-flys appear. Such a peaceful place and one of such happy memories. Ones we shall never forget.

Much love from us both and a very happy birthday.


                                                                        Jessie Douglas Peck

March 1939


9. Leila “Lee” Vanderbilt Stott (1880-1969)

Echoes of Stottville in the Decadent Generation

Even though transplanted from Stottville, the Stotts still carry on the tradition when they get together and even the relatively decadent World War generation, under the leadership of their parents, do show occasional signs of vitality. The annual visits of the Long Island and Rye branches of the family to one another have marked outbursts of this kind, which are matters of congratulation to us all and deserve a place in the annals, even though it may be only as a postscript to Stottville proper where the Settled Family dwelt Secure and Happy.

Naturally, in accordance with the Stott tradition, there has always been a lively feud carried on between the Whitney-Parsons contingent at Rye and the Williams contingent at Lawrence concerning the relative advantages of Westchester County and the South Shore of Long Island. The Rye family maintain that Lawrence is mosquito ridden while the Lawrence family find Rye hot and “too dressy” for a summer resort. The Williams family therefore decided one summer to make their mass visit to Rye a demonstration of their position. Accordingly they left home armed with suit cases full of their best clothes and on the ferry changed into full evening dress, slippers and all, arriving at the Parsons’ homestead bareheaded, barenecked, brearmed, delightfully cool in the hot morning sunshine and very gorgeous to behold, determined for once not to be outdone by Rye magnificence. Aunt Jess, I understand, welcomed them with delight., saying she had never seen them look so well before and the party was a great success except that the Williams outfit hurt the feelings of their hosts by leaving too soon and hurrying back to their own cool breezes. In the opinion of the Parsons and Whitneys, they ate and ran!

When the time came for the return party at Lawrence, I had the good fortune to be visiting there and was a harmless observer of the party. Naturally, we were all full of anticipation from break of dawn, but it was not until about noon that we were startled by the sound of an automobile horn outside and loud singing of “Hail, hail the gang’s all here.” Everyone of course dashed out to welcome them and there sat the visitors in a car swathed in mosquito netting. Charles the chauffeur was particularly protected by having his hands covered with netting, tied around the wrist in dainty bows of white baby ribbon and his head covered in the same careful and decorative way. As the Parsons and Whitneys emerged, each looked like a bride, but not content with the protection of the netting they were armed with magnificent Egyptian fly brooms which they brandished about with energy.

Sweeping into the dining room, Aunt Jess took the head of the table with dignity, placing Cousin Louise opposite her and indicating to the rest of us where we should sit. Aunt Emma, she placed on her right, where she could carefully supervise her food and see that she ate nothing that might disagree with her. With such delightful thoughtfulness shown all through the luncheon it was a more than charming family gathering and we were unprepared for the shock that came with the arrival of the finger bowls. Like Cinderella at the stroke of the clock, the whole visiting party arose with the cry “We must catch our boat” and dashed through the house and into their car.

“That,” commented Aunt Em, “is the kind of party I like!”

                                                                                                Lee Stott

[Lee, our grandmother’s first cousin, was an early member of the women’s suffrage movement, and later teacher and assistant principal at the City and Country School in New York from 1917 to 1945. She was also associated with the Henry Street Settlement in New York, the Public Education Association, and the International Ladies Garment Workers. She used to have a couple of beaux, who stuck around her for “hundreds of years,” Bill Whitney remembered, though she never married, and died in Hudson at the age of 88. -KPJ]


10. Helen Munroe Stott Philip (1883-1973)

The Resurrection of Rosy

Stottville – 1890 (with the apologies of our Clan to the other Clans and its Biographer)

In the years we call the “nineties,”
In the dull and quiet nineties
On the sores of Claverack creek-let,
Dwelt a large and happy Family,
Dwelt in peace with all their neighbors,
Husbands, daughters, sisters, brothers;
Knowing earth could hold no finer,
Braver clan than that of Stottville.

Many little ones abounded;
Little ones with mous-y ringlets,
Little ones with snubby noses,
Little ones with muddy feet-lets,
Racing through the long piazza,
Climbing in the Family fruit trees,
Hunting in the Family barn yard.

One, among these heavenly children,
Fair of hair, much touched by sunshine,
Fair of face, much scrubbed by Booey,
One, among these heavenly children,
Him, a youth of tender summers,
Him, a youth of manly prowess,
Playing stoutly with the maidens,
Carried, hid, a gentle nature.

As he watched his maiden cousins
Playing with the doll called “Rosy,”
Playing with her little cradle,
Playing with her little dresses,
All his heart arose in longing
For a doll to love like “Rosy,”
For a doll to dress and carry
In his little four wheel wagon.

Stern, his mother (young and noble,
Equal to the men in prowess!)
Turned aside his plea for “Rosy,”
Saying, “Dolls are not for man-child,
Dolls are just for maiden cousins.
Dolls are not for youths and warriors,
Who must fight, and chase the chickens,
Who must drink their milk at supper.”

So, in sorrow and in longing,
Did the youth keep right on playing,
Hugging hard the secret purpose
To become a father some day;
Till, one day, the maiden cousin,
Clasping in her arms poor Rosy,
Running on the Cottage sidewalk,
Fell and broke the head of Rosy!

When the weeping ceased, and wailing,
There was planned a noble funeral
And the children buried Rosy,
Poor and broken-headed Rosy,
On the lawn beside the creek-let,
Buried her with pomp and singing,
Deep among the flow’ring border,
(Trampling up just where they shouldn’t!)

Then the maiden so bereaved,
Leaving Rosy deeply buried,
Answered to the call for supper,
Running quickly to the wigwam,
Running quickly to her Esther,
Esther, waiting on the hilltop,
Esther, armed with comb and brushes,
Esther, making curls like sausage!

Slow, the sun drops on the mountain,
Quick the feet of young Resolved
Speed him to the grave of Rosy,
Lying lonely in the twilight –
Quick he digs, in stealthy silence,
Deep his stalwart spade he pushes,
Till the muddy corpse he reaches,
Till his Rosy he embraces.

Swifter than the swallow flies he,
Clasping Rosy, to his shelter,
Jubilant to know his purpose
Well achieved – a doll acquired!
As the warrior feels in battle
When he sees his victim fallen,
So the mighty young Resolved
Feels success upon his shoulders.

Summers go and winters follow –
And the children grow to manhood –
Grow to great and noisy manhood,
Grow to squaws of weight and poundage,
Rez’s curls become a skull cap,
Shining on his head like silver,
Shining in the lights of Broadway,
Shining in the lights of Lawrence.

But the spirit that won Rosy,
Thinking quick and acting quicker –
Still is flaming in Resolved,
Still is making him push onward,
Till he knows the Trees and Timber,
Till he knows their Voice and Barkings,
Mighty in his great achievements,
Mighty warrior, Lord of Lumber!

Helen Philip

11. Ruth Stott Dean

 One of the things I used to particularly enjoy, was going out to the barn with a cousin or two, getting the nice fat donkey squeezed between the shafts and hitched up to the cart, then drive across the bridge to the store and stand entranced before a box of peppermint sticks and “Jackson balls.” We usually chose the “Jackson balls” as one would last out almost an entire morning of the most athletic sucking. During the sucking period, we were wise enough to keep out of range of Grandma, our Mothers, Uncles and Aunts.

Aunt Jule’s garden always inspired me with reverence. She was the only person I ever knew who could grow roses and pansies to look like the seed catalogues. I can see her now on the back piazza arranging her flowers, surrounded with vases and baskets of flowers.

Helping Bill Hill collect the eggs and following him about when he fed the chickens and milked the cows – watching the ducks parade up the lawn from the creek, late in the afternoon – all these are Stottville.

                                                                                                Ruth Dean

How to make delicious Jackson Balls!


12. Leila Whitney Stott Hartshorne (1887-1976)

My dear Aunt Em:

Wishing you many happy returns of the day from us all. Some of the scenes that took place in Stottville in Grandma’s House, when we were children, that will always be alive in my memory are, first, the mad rush to get up early and make the one bath room (that at least seven people were expected to use) rush into the sewing-room to see if Mary Gill was there to help push us all in the elevator with Grandma for a ride down to breakfast. Sometimes, we would go downstairs to find the elevator had not arrived and run upstairs again. I think the fun was to help pull the ropes and see how fast we could go down, for with a crowd of children and Grandma the trip was truly fast!

Those of us who struggled many hot summer hours with the “Donkey,” coaxing and beating him to make him just walk one trip to the “store” for “Jackson balls” and jelly beans and return before dinner at 12:30 noon – will never forget how he would only go on one side of the bridge, the side away from the dam. This of course, caused great traffic confusion, and if the White Prairie Schooner top was up, many a horse shied and ran with farmers yelling quite unfriendly words at us. The most eventful trip the Donkey ever made, was to Hudson and return in a day, driven by Helen and Bill Whitney and one St. Bernard dog (that Helen was afraid of too), but they will tell a full story of that. Another daily sight before the noon-day dinner, was Uncle Fred, always asleep on the leather sofa in the sitting room, and after dinner, everyone back to the porch to finish the game of “desperation” that had been going for hours. Later in the afternoon I remember Grandma sitting in the parlor beside the window, looking towards the garden; the “ducks” returning from the creek was a signal for us to clean up for supper. It was such a pretty sight to see so many white ducks together quacking and waddling over the green lawn, and great fun when Uncle Frank would put the young ones in the water for the first time; and lots of trouble trying to find them at dusk by rowing around the creek.

I never go past the front steps without thinking of the story that was told of two of my Uncles (which two I never heard) taking Aunt Liz out of her chair while knitting, one on either side of her and running down the steps, over the lawn to the dock and jumping in the water fully clothed; as she reached the water and yelled the false teeth dropped out. Were they ever found?

For me there was only one thing wrong with “Stottville” and that was the “dogs.” They haunted me all day, but I was quite safe indoors, except on Sundays when Uncle Frank would open the window and call the dogs in for ice cream and cake. They would leap through the window. I used to squeeze my chair in tight to get protection from the “beasts.” On Sundays when Grandma would drive to church with “Mary Jane” hitched to the “Phaeton” and “Bill Hill” sitting on the little seat behind, if there was room we would sit on the floor, and I used to get such a thrill seeing Grandma drive. I expect that arrangement was made to give “William” and the horses a day’s rest.

Some one like Lee or Helen who have been in Stottville more than any of us, of our generation, should write a record of some of the larks for future generations to read.

                                                                                    Leila Whitney Hartshorne


13. William Minot Whitney III (1888-1983)

My first impression of Stottville was a large white house, with quite a sizeable covered porch right in front of the door and standing at the rail, like an old sea captain, was a stocky, red faced man in a black suit, with a very high white linen stand-up, polk collar, with plenty of room for his Adam’s apple. This man possessed a loud and fearsome voice and was very much occupied in calling two tremendous St. Bernard dogs, Bemmy and Queenie. I was pushed forward and told to go over to this stranger and say, “How do you do, Grandpa.” I must have been quite small, because I was born in June 1888, and this must have been in the early nineties.

My second impression of Stottville was of another hot summer day, when a crowd of six or seven of us children were continuously being driven away from the front of the big white house and being told to “Shush! Shush! Your Grandfather is very sick and he is now sleeping.” “Go away, don’t play here or you will wake him up.” But towards the latter part of each afternoon, we would be herded around to see Grandpa, as he was being pushed up the path in a wheel chair from the green well-house, which was covered with crimson ramblers, and about half way down the path leading to the front gate, by “number one” mill. The crowd of nine or ten St. Bernards following the wheel chair stood almost as high as we children. Dogs, with long slobbering tongues, drooling all over us, kept pushing in among us children as the entire entourage made its way slowly to the side steps, where another man was needed to help work the wheel chair up onto the porch.

The big white house, with the drive in front stood back quite a bit from the winding, muddy creek, which never seemed to flow at all, but which was always a fascination, on account of the many insects on or near its surface, and the swift flying birds swooping down near the water. The space between the steep muddy bank and the road in front of the house was planted to a lovely green lawn, with large trees scattered here and there. About halfway to the creek was a rose covered summer house. From this summer house one had a very excellent view of the flock of ducks, numbering well over a hundred, which would waddle down each morning, shortly after breakfast time, from the duck yard near the barn. As they reached the small embankment on the upper side of the road, ducks would sometimes crowd each other and fall down and roll to the sidewalk, especially if some other young cousin had been able to sick one or more of the great big St. Bernards after the flock of ducks. So the summer house was a great point of vantage, as well as a safe retreat from the flock of geese, which always followed the ducks. These geese, especially when they had very young goslings with them, could be angered by a child hissing at them. When angered, the geese, sometimes the entire flock of ten to twenty, would lower their heads, open their beaks, hiss, flap their wings and charge the one who had hissed at them. But if a child were in the summer house, there was feeling of security, because the geese never seemed to want to be cornered in the house and always stopped at the open doorway. And of course, if they even did come in, one might climb up the gingerbread curlicue decorations and get out of their reach.

These ducks and geese always came down over the lawn in the morning, and returned over the same way in the evening, always between the big white house and the smaller red house, not more than a couple of hundred feet further along the private road, running parallel to the creek. This red house was occupied by our Uncle Charley and Aunt Grace Bogardus, with their two small red-headed girls. It was spoken of as “Aunt Emma’s” or “Em’s cottage,” which always troubled us, because Aunt Grace always lived in it. We never seemed to meet this mysterious Aunt Emma at Stottville. She had always just been there or was expected for a visit with her family, after we had departed. She did have quite a curiosity in her family, which we were always interested in as very young children. She had a daughter with a most peculiar sort of name, a name which we had never found given to any other girl: “Dorcas.” And, another and curious thing about her: her birthday was on the “Fourth of July,” and that, according to Cousin Tim, was why we always had fireworks.

It was some years later, before we ever got to see Aunt Em’s boys, Res and Harry. They were a great surprise because they did not, like all our other cousins, fight over who was to drive Jack, the donkey, over to the store. This amazing phenomena was later solved by learning that these boys had a pony, who was much faster than Jack and so he held little attraction for them.

This donkey Jack, was quite a curiosity. He had a very flat back, upon which a person could stand very easily. He also had a very muscular neck, with great bulges on both sides. He was always turned out in the lot with the cows each night, and while trudging up the back lane, he would lower his head, blow the dust and lay down to roll three times, no more and no less. In the morning he would not come to the gate with the cows but would hide way up in the woods, where we would have to surround him and put a halter on him. If turned loose in the barnyard, with some daring village boy or an uninitiated relative standing on his back, where there were almost stirrups in his carcass, Jack would canter sedately around, making three complete circles, when his head would go down and his heels up and his rider would make a perfect arc to the ground, while Jack stood still to look at him with his lips curled up and his ears back. Uncle Frank had purchased him from a circus. He fitted our family because he was used to clowns.

Jack had other peculiarities; when finally hitched to his cart he would walk sedately up the road to Uncle Will’s house, follow the road around that house and then return to his barn. It took three or four children, pulling all together on one line to double his head right back against his neck, in order to keep him from turning into the road to the barn. The same process was necessary at the front gate to keep him from turning down the Columbia Springs road and thence up the lane to the back entrance to his barn.

The bridge over Claverack creek had the roadway divided by a timber. Traffic kept to the right, but Jack didn’t like the dam and its noise on the upstream side, so he could not be persuaded, mauled or driven over this bridge on any but the downstream side, regardless of direction in which he walked. This often necessitated someone running ahead to wave their arms and stop traffic until the donkey had walked slowly all the way across the bridge on the wrong side. Of course the main reason for going driving in the donkey cart was to get to the post office, to buy some Jackson Balls, called All Day Suckers. Either going or coming back, a stop had to be made at Aunt Jane’s not especially to see Aunt Jane, but to find out if her cook “Goodie” had made any new cookies.

Mary Gill and Mary Jane were the two best known Marys at Stottville, when I was a small boy. One was the seamstress-upstairs maid-children’s guard at night., to keep them all in their rooms, and the other was the 30 year old horse that mowed the lawn all week and pulled the phaeton, with Grandma sitting under the fringed umbrella, to church and back, on Sundays. If grandchildren were good, they might ride backwards on the little folding seat, where they could look at William Scott, the coachman, with his square black derby and white tile tie, as he sat on the little rumble seat and drove.

It was always a great treat to wait in the sewing room for Grandma to come to the elevator and ride down with her, especially, if she let you handle the brake rope.

One of the few things which detracted from a visit to Stottville was the oppressive cloud which hung over our heads until the annual trip to Hudson was over. This trip to Hudson, was for the purpose of seeing the dentist, Dr. Charley Van Vleck, who had the largest hands, the most soothing assurances and the most cruel dentist’s drill it has ever been my misfortune to experience. After he had worked on us, the entire family would lunch with Aunt Kate Pearson on Allen St. We liked that except for the fact that Charley Van Vleck lived right next door and always tried to be so neighborly and friendly with us, after putting in the entire morning raising merry hell with our faces.

On the way to Hudson, we would drive past Grandma’s farm on the Upper Road, to see the turkeys. We always tried to hold our breath as passed the Pest House, where a man had died of small pox, we were told. There was a small grade, just in front of it tho, and William always let the horses walk, so we would finally explode our held-in breath and hope none of that hot thick dust we then breathed in, had any small pox in it.

I had lived out in Colorado, where prairie schooners were a common sight, and my Uncle in Albany had one made for me which I drove with a pair of goats. Later, I had a pair of shaves made for it and sent the schooner to Stottville, where I hitched the donkey to it. Helen Stott became fascinated by this wagon from the west, and we planned a trip to Hudson in it together. We started early one morning, about eight o’clock, with food enough for a week and water pails, small stove, pans, kettles, etc., hanging all over the rig, just like the real thing. One of the big St. Bernards insisted on following us all the way. We stopped for our picnic lunch at the farm on the upper road and arrived at Aunt Kate’s house about three that afternoon – seven hours to go four and one half miles. About 200 people followed us thru Hudson’s streets. The family sent in for Helen and me and we left the donkey in Aunt Kate’s barn that night and one of the coachmen had to in next day and drive him home.

                                                                                                Bill Whitney


14. Prudence Whitney Mallory Harber (1890-1993)

I think my earliest recollections were of playing hide and go seek one rainy Sunday afternoon, with all the grown-ups playing with us, and Uncle Frank hiding me on a closet shelf from which I could not get down! And again, how we all went to church Sunday, just for the fun of driving over the creek with Grandma in that old phaeton with her brown horse, Mary Jane, drive by old William Scott. Do you remember him, with his funny little whiskers? And of Bill Hill taking a lot of us children up that huge (!) hill, to the chicken coop, to see him chop heads off our Sunday dinner. And Aunt Adele, running out to stop a fight over who should drive the donkey, when Bill and Charley Dean were at it tooth and nail. Do you remember the big St. Bernard dogs jumping in the dining room windows to get ice cream on Sunday? And all the quarts of peas we shelled on the front piazza, and Grandma always had such delicious cough drops in her pocket. Grandma died when I was about nine and nearly forty years makes the memories pretty hazy. Bill and Helen Stott once drove the donkey and the prairie schooner to Hudson. As I remember, they told no one their intention, but just started out, and all Stottville was searching for them at lunch time. I think it took them most of the day to get there; and what funny sight they must have been, Bill and long-legged Helen, curled up in that little wagon with Bemmy running alongside. I think they spent the night with Aunt Kate and came home next day.

                                                                                                Prudy Whitney Harber


15. Thomas Resolved Williams (1881-1982)

One day stands out in my memory of Stottville, when I was about six years old. Harry and I were crazy to have a little lamb. Grandfather Stott heard of our ambition and ordered Grosvenor, the coachman, to bring up the victoria. The carriage was filled with children and we started off back in the country toward Claverack. Finally, we came to a farm where there were sheep, and Grandfather ordered the coachman to drive into the barnyard where the famer was working. Soon a little baby lamb was purchased, stowed right in the carriage and we drove home in triumph.

We named the lamb Daisy, and kept her out on the lawn between our cottage and the “big house.” As Daisy grew up, she used to follow us right upstairs in the cottage and finally got so strong, she would charge us, butting and knock us over. That Fall, Daisy disappeared and whenever lamb was served, Harry and I were suspicious that Daisy had been sacrificed. As we were never sure, and had good appetites, I guess we ate Daisy. We used to play with Daisy in the evening and Uncle Fred would throw cigarette cards out of his window. By Fall we had a great collection of cigarette cards.

Vintage cigarette cards, ca. 1900

I look back on two other pleasant recollections: one a picnic Aunt Jule gave when we drove to a cove of the Hudson River, cooked our lunch and ahd a grand time; the other was of skating on the creek, over wonderful block ice when “the big house” was full of grown-ups and children. The children ate in the back library in front of the big fireplace and always ate too much, but it was worth it.

The village store is another memory. They kept Jackson balls that we used to buy and suck. They lasted hours and it was a great treat to go and buy a few which lasted us all day. Once or twice we children were allowed to go into the mill and jump into piles of soft fluffy wool. The family knew all the mill hands and we were really one big family. No labor troubles in those days.

The Stott uncles and cousins were numerous enough to have a baseball nine which played against the village boys on Saturday afternoons. It was the excitement of the week. Fishing in the creek under the willows, by the front gate, was another sport we children always enjoyed, supervised by Aunt Jule. She was a great sport. When I was about seventeen years old, Aunt Jule took me, Harry and Prescott Oakes on a shooting trip to Maine. We had a grand time and each one shot a deer. We shot partridge, caught trout and lived on them and venison for a very pleasant two weeks.

                                                                                                Rez Williams


16. Edith Stott Williams Blydenburgh (1885-1981)

My memories begin at the Poughkeepsie Station, with delicious chicken sandwiches and a pleasant waiter, who always inquired from Mother about the various members of the family at Stottville. We had already arrived in the sacred radius where everyone knew the “Stotts of Stottville.” Then William, who we were delighted to meet, principally for what he represented, as he did not have much “come hither.” The drive out never seemed long, as we were constantly watching for landmarks and talking about them. I think we miss something now by whizzing out from Hudson. Then Mary Gill with her bright coloring, which impressed me even then. Grandma Stott, I am sorry to say, meant very little to me, although I enjoyed seeing her ride up and down in the elevator. I am sorry that we were not with her more than we were. Being city children, we enjoyed the country life, seeing the ducks march back from the creek every evening, playing in the hay-loft and gathering eggs with Vincent and Bill Hill. On rainy days I could slip away, and sitting on the floor in Aunt Jule’s hallway, read the sentimental “German translations,” the “Old Maraselle’s Secret,” etc. which were there in a bookcase. The high spot of my visits, was the Church Fair in June. Usually, on a lovely afternoon the fancy tables and candy and lemonade tables, under the trees and music playing; the shadows on the lawn, the water sparkling and mountain in the distance, made it all very memorable.

The low spot was being bundled up by about three Aunts and taken out of the frozen creek, where everyone was skating. Each time the ice cracked, I thought we would break through and not knowing anything about Winter in the country it was pure agony. The donkey was one of our greatest pleasures, and the way we spent day after day, pulling him up Aunt Leila’s hill and pushing him down. No modern child would stand for it a minute.

Mother’s household often makes me think of Stottville, with various members of the clan coming and going and all having a good time. She is following the example set in her own home and the grandchildren and great grandchildren will unconsciously absorb the same traditions, and backgammon will go on forever.

                                                                                    Edith Stott Williams Blydenburgh


17. Dorcas Oakley Williams Ferris (1886-1971)


Mother and Father spent the summer of 1886 in the cottage at Stottville and I arrived there July 4th; so “big” Uncle Frank wanted me christened “Columbia Star Spangled Banner.” Anyway I am lucky to be native born.

Rez, Harry and Edith all had whooping cough and like to hang over the new baby’s cradle and whoop admiringly – so Booie used to tell.

My own memories of Stottville, begin with chicken sandwiches at Poughkeepsie, to break the tremendous journey from New York, which finally ended with the thrilling sight of Hudson, where the carriage with two horses and William’s morose back waited for us all. It was heaven for us. I often wonder how Grandma Stott stood it – always so many people around. One Thanksgiving there were seventeen of us children at a table in the back room and twenty two grown-ups in the dining room.

We must have been quite little when we were content to play on the lawn with Queenie and Bemmy, and make pretend soapsuds on their white necks. The donkey trips around the “block” were unending journeys. The only time he ever went faster than a walk was coming down the hill from Aunt Leila’s – except a shameful rumor was only whispered – when Lawrence Durant suck pins in him and the donkey would suddenly go into high gear. I remember now, our feeling of shocked horror at such evil doings!

The very peak of all high spots at Stottville was the fair. I do not remember ever being there for the fair itself, but the preparations on the back porch – were excitement enough. There was always a marvelous huge blonde doll to “take chances” on, which Aunt Jule would take out and let us just look at. It seemed to be Spring always, when we were there, but we evidently did visit at other seasons too, because once there was skating on the creek and I fell partly in one of the holes where the ice had been cut, and Rez pulled me out. I was so frightened.

It was fun going to the “store” and getting a Jackson ball; catching a glimpse as we went by the office of handsome Uncle John and fun to catch fireflies after supper in the garden, where the yellow roses were and, of course, fun to go in the kitchen and watch the churning. Eliza always took some fresh unsalted butter out for Mother, shaped like an egg; there were ginger cookies, continually on hand. I remember Uncle Fred, who was always young, used to lie down and sleep on the sofa in the front room every day at lunch time. And the factory smells; and the church bell Sundays. For fifty years, Edith and I still say “no matter what bells are ringing, it sounds like Stottville” or “It smells so sweet” “Stottville” –

                                                                                    Dorcas Williams Ferris