Saturday, April 6, 2019

Some history that's kept alive by a postcard

In the grand tradition of Water-Stained Works of Art and The Georgia Klinefelter Collection™, here's postcard from the 1910s that was postmarked in Urlton, New York, and mailed to Miss G. Kleinfelter [sic] in East Orange, New Jersey.

A century later, Urlton — which is located in Greene County, New York — is better known as Earlton, which itself is a tiny hamlet that doesn't even make Wikipedia's list of places you should know about in Greene County.1 It does still have its own post office, though, and has since 1886. Hence the postmark on this card. One post office history site says the change from Urlton to Earlton happened on January 1, 1929. Interestingly, the first postmaster of the hamlet was named Luman A. Earle.

And what is a hamlet, in terms of New York state's definition of names and places? It's this, per Wikipedia: "Though the term 'hamlet' is not defined under New York law, many people in the state use the term hamlet to refer to a community within a town that is not incorporated as a village but is identified by a name, i.e. an unincorporated community. Hamlets often have names corresponding to the names of a local school district, post office, or fire district." So it's a nicer term for what we just call incorporated communities here in Pennsylvania.

The hamlet of Earlton is located within the town of Coxsackie.

So what about Potic Mountain, which is noted on the front of the postcard? Again according to Wikipedia: "Potic Mountain is a mountain in Greene County, New York. It is located in the Catskill Mountains west of Limestreet. Indian Ridge is located west, and Flint Mine Hill is located east of Potic Mountain." Here are a couple excerpts from issues of Daughters of the American Revolution magazine of about 100 years ago...

  • Two hundred and forty years ago on a semi-circular line of hills, five miles from the Hudson and the Catskill of today stood a row of Indian wigwams. These Indians cleared the lowlands along the waters of the Catskill Creek by burning the trees, tilled the soil with crooked sticks and clam shells; hunted in the surrounding forest, and fished in the streams. On Potic Mountain was their fort.
  • Most country dwellings of Colonial days seek the shelter of the hills without regard to the outlook which in those days was restricted by an unbroken forest, but the Van Bergen house and the parsonage, now replaced by a modern building, were set on the top of hills and had inspiring views of the surrounding country; the Catskill winding around through green fields, crossed by the stone bridge of 1792; the village of Leeds with the white spire above the trees of the successor of the church of 1732, itself nearing the century mark, and across the flats Potic Mountain, upon whose sides the wolf howled, and the panther and wildcat set up their cry in the long winter nights.

Finally, here's the neat cursive note that was written to Georgia more than a century ago:
Am having a nice time. This is a beautiful place.
Swick [?]
1. These hamlets do make Wikipedia's list of places in Greene County: Acra, Cornwallville, Climax, Hannacroix, Surprise and West Kill.

No comments:

Post a Comment