Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"A lot of this stuff may lose guts being passed on through the medium of these rapidly written notes?"

                                                      May 12
  Dear Carl,    

       Came up here late last night and have tried to clean up my notes to you to date.
      Are you coming here on Monday? I expect to a catch the Hardenburgh sheep flock at Stone Ridge. Also to talk to maybe an old timer or two. A guy who deals in antiques and is really smart will spend Tuesday going around with us. He wrote a few of those squibs in the paper. He is smarter than this Derringer kid and more thorough in what he gets. I am afraid the Derringer kid m is a kind of bum and would do most of his research in bars.
      I expect to go north either tonight or early in the morning. But you can reach me at the Governor Clinton as Kingston, New York as I will returns here to meet you either Sunday night or Monday morning. I am staying around the corner from the Governor Clinton at a rooming house.
      Tomorrow I will be around Catskill so if you want me or want to get a message to me in a hurry you can wire me care Western Union at Catskill, New York.
      I am trying to move more north because I think, don't you, that we ought to go over the ground quickly and then think over what we know about and then go back to get a more thorough bunch of details.
      So far I have made arrangements for the antique guy to go with us on Tuesday. I think it better that you visit Eagle's Nest yourself and Grahamsville. Also Noel Armstrong would be good for you to meet and Kelly the Kingston newspaper guy who knows the present day set up and Gruver who wrote to you.  Several people have suggested that I see the Hudson River Captain Gruver wanted you to see. His name is Murdock but we can wait and let Gruver do it for you. Also I think you ought to go to Rosendale with me and actually see the cement mines and talk a little to Jake Snyder yourself. I keep feeling that a lot of this stuff may loose guts being passed on though the medium of these rapidly written notes. So I’ll see you Monday as we planned. Otherwise be sure and wire me Friday, Western Union, Catskill NY.

Photograph: Govenor Clinton Hotel Building, Kingston, 2009, Lucey Bowen

Monday, May 10, 2010

In New York's Wine Country

Newburgh, New York
May 10, 1938

        The story of N.P. Willis’ slave Linda is known around here but in spite of a search of his complete writings in the library was unable to find anything. One of the girls (she’s about fifty) at the library is asking her Aunt about Lindy and will find out or talk to the Aunt myself.
At the Armstrong place near Roseton there was a slave girl who was “walking out” with another slave and the people who preceded the Armstrong at the place (am checking names) objected to her seeing this male. The mistress of the place was walking with the slave girl one night and they met the salve who was in love with the girl. He flew into a rage at finding her chaperoned and killed the mistress of the house. The slave girl fled into the woods and the slave fled to Newburgh where he hoped to jump a sloop and get out of town. A gang of men led by one Clary chased the negro up Second Street and captured him. The little assistant librarian’s Grandfather, George D. Woolsey, tried to stop them from lynching him. But the crowd cuffed him so that he took cover in one of his Father’s sloops lying at anchor at the docks. “I was certainly glad to let the hatch cover down on me that night,” he said. The negro was hung in the Court House yard. The Librarian’s Aunt remembers hearing a lot about Andrew Jackson Downing. Anyway, I will get back tomorrow and find out what has been extracted. It was difficult situation talking to the assistant as the Head Librarian thinks she’s your official gatherer of information in Newburgh. She kept piling books in front of me and virtually everything in what you is what you have already seen. The assistant says I can have access to some private papers regarding a Richard Woolsey who carried the mail on horseback from Albany to New York. But she wants everything done outside the scope of the library or rather outside the jurisdiction of the library.
Just to be safe I’ll put down a few books although I rather imagine you have seen them. Cornwall by Lewis Beach, Newburgh, 1873. See page 8 and 9 for Danskammer (Devil’s Dance Chamber). Page 149 regarding the Ward brothers whom I told you about as being famous in sports. Manors and Historic Homes of the Hudson Valley by Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Lippencott, 1924. You have Stories of the Hudson (reported author John Wilke Lee) GP Putnam, 1871. Several people told me to look Downing and Fredericka Bremmer but I knew you had.
Notes: I was tipped off that there is an Atheist Cemetery at Poughkeepsie. “Boots” van Steed was the guy at Saugerties who went bats for love of Jenny Lind and went around for years after making speeches on corners and lived in some kind of curious cave outside of town and dressed in a strange assortment of clothes. The Aunt of the library assistant is Mrs. Dan Gardiner of 228 Grand St. Newburgh. I presume you have looked through Sam E Eager’s History of Orange County, S.E. Callahan, Newburgh, 1846. In the Newburgh Gazette for June 12, 1824, there was an excerpt form a letter from an American in Paris who had talked with Lafayette and he said “Should I dare draw a conclusion from what I heard him say I would unhesitatingly declare that we should see him among us before fall, or perhaps in a very short time. The sooner the better, for without doubt as I have often mentioned he is the best person I ever came across in my life and one of the most modest and distinguished men in the world. He is absolutely too good for Europe. America is the soil alone congenial to him, and may he soon be there you know and see how much we cherish and love him and prove that Republics are not as formerly said, “always ungrateful.” The account of Lafayette’s visit to Newburgh is given in the Gazette for Sept 18, 1824 and is something. He slipped off to fiddle with the girls at one point and remarked that the Newburgh girls were lovely.
I talked with Walter Haible, Supt. of Parks who said that there are still remains of Downing’s planting around Newburgh. Said Downing was in the nursery business which statement would have probably shocked the darling. He said the ginkgo trees were planted by him. Downing’s house is not standing nor are there any remains, he said. His estate was cut up into lots. He laid out the Cedar Hill Cemetery. When Olmstead and Vaux, famous landscape people of Boston laid out Downing Park they requested in the contract that the park "be named after Downing as he was a high muckety muck in their kind of Business. He suggested that I check Ruttenberg's History of Orange County. He said he had a clip he would show me about Downing but I already know what's in it. It’s a recent features story on him.

Washingtonville, N.Y.

Virtually the only winery of any importance on the Hudson is The Brotherhood Wine Corp. located here. The company manager is named John J. Gleason and he showed me a write-up and it said that the winery was founded by a Franciscan Monastery in 1837 and that they made communion wines in 1839,  which consisted mostly of muscatel and angelica. The requirement of a communion wine is that it  have no foreign substance in it and that the sugar in it m must only be the sugar from the grape itself. They made and still make a Loyola. Then 25 years later the Monastery moved to Brockport and it was sold to Edward R Emerson. In 1880 it was incorporated under the name of The Brotherhood. The present president of the Corp. is Louis L. Farrell and son Junior who are located at 71 Barclay telephone Barclay 7~3477. The Emerson family still control the stock, however. They make The Brotherhood champagne, which is famous and was famous in the locality. They made it out of local grapes such as the Niagara the Catawba, the Elvira, the Delaware  the latter being grown at Hammondsport. They claim to have the longest champagne vault in the world 185 feet long and at present have 150,000 bottles in stock. All during prohibition they had a large supply. They send their sacramental wine all over to Puerto Rico and Cuban Islands. Farrell has a letter from Cardinal Hayes dated Aug. 1, 1929, which says: “The Brotherhood Corp enjoys the confidence of the authorities of the Archdiocese of NY. Mr. Farrell is a practical Catholic and over a period of years has established a reputation for reliability with the Rev. Clergy of this Jurisdiction.” They claim to age their wine in oak naturally. At present they ship much of their grape juice from their wineries in California. They keep their champagne in oak for three years and then bottle and blend it adding yeast and sugar. Then store for 4 years then clean the bottle and shake it twice a day for 15 weeks until the sediment is shaken out. Then a new cork is inserted and it is labeled. The longer is sets the better. Each bottle is handled 350 times says Gleason. There are 150 acres on the Emerson estate and they produce about 50,000 bottles a year. They get about $3.00 a gal for their wine. Most of their sacramental wine is 12 years old. This fall they will start pressing grapes from the locality although it is cheaper to bring juice from California. In 1923 their wine won the prize at the St. Louis World's Fair. At Middlehope and Marlborough good sweet wine grapes are grown. The buildings are made of stone and the same one is still lived in by relatives or descendents Mrs. Adantithia de L. Emerson and Mrs. Jessie Emerson Moffat. Moffat gave the library in town and now part of it is available for movies as he lost his money on some RR in the west. He was the town big shot. They're (the two Emersons, mother and daughter) in Florida now but a gal in the town is going to find out whatever she can about the winery if she can from them by writing to them.
I had a long talk with a guy named Dwight Akers who has published a ishtory of Orange County in 1937 called Outposts of History in Orange County. He said the Franciscan Monastery stuff is the bunk.  He has gone into the matter thoroughly. For instance, he dug up a piece from the Orange County Farmer of Dee 22, 1881. An official of the company gave the story as follows: In 1839 John Jacques was visiting friends on Long Island. He had been in the shoe business for some years. The friend induced him to grow some grapes in Washingtonville. Grapes were bringing 11, 13 cents per lb. About 1843 he produced his first barrel of wine made from Catawba grapes. In 1858 he turned the business over to his brothers Orrin and Charles Jacques. They were growing about 80 different varieties of grapes. They had 35,000 gals and produced about 12 to 15 brands of wine.
Brotherhood Winery, 2009, Lucey Bowen

I noticed there was a frame house at the winery whose windows looked like they might have been in a church. That made me believe in the Franciscan part of the story but it seems that building was moved there from the Presbyterian Church nearby. It was not until much later that Catholics had any part in Washingtonville on account of the Poles who came to live there. The Franciscan part of the story was inserted on account of their selling so much sacramental wine. That’s about all I was able to get. They supplied wine and champagne to the great Hudson River families and connoisseurs claimed for it qualities as good as any foreign wine. Gleason said the Hudson Valley could, if it wanted to, become a great wine growing section, I mean grape growing section. The conditions are ideal for growing sweet grapes. Importing foreign grapes does not work well he said and it is better to specialize in growing local grapes such as I mentioned. When I head north tomorrow I will stop at some of the big vineyards between Newburgh and Kingston.
Akers suggested that we look into The Traps, which are beyond Walden on the Minnewaska Trail in the Shawangunk Mountains. The sociological island people there made barrel stays and millstones. They came there probably during the building of the canal. The stones were made out of Shawangunk grit, a stone excellent for millstones. Someone wrote a novel called Hard Wood based on them, I hear. Their church is there and many of them are still there. Mrs. Marion Travor of Walden knows something about getting their story if you are interested.
One of the stories around Washingtonville has to do with the Widow Rayner. After the Revolution Sarah Rayner moved to the foot of what is now called Rayner Hill with her illegitimate daughter. Folks said that the daughter was by the crown prince whoosis of England who later became King William IV. He was here with the English fleet. Eager mentions something about it in his History Orange County, and Akers has tried to run it down. He saw the grave of the daughter and saw the old deeds and the daughter married a local man finally. Another version of the story has it that the guy was an English office. Akers is looking up what he has and will give to us. Am sending you his book under separate cover and he is sending you a pamphlet on the Craigsville Tory doings. Sounds like it might fit in and there is something in his book on it and also you can check it, I think, with the Philip Smith book I sent on to you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

No Culture in Rosendale?

April 29, 1938

Joseph Fleming sighed at dinner at his home and said; "There is no culture in Rosendale. There is no library and no "bank.” It is a ghost town because it is a town of memories. Sometimes these days I hear people talking about Rosendale get togethers. There is a club of Rosendale people who meet in New York for dinners. But I am not interested in the Rosendale of Tomorrow. I don't want to have anything  to do with them. Let them talk. I live with my memories and with the stories my father told me of the Rosendale of yesterday....of its hard drinking tough inhabitants..long row of saloons…the cockfighting and the famous Johnny Daly who was a great breeder of fighting cocks (people who took part in the sport were cockers)....the hills honeycombed with the cement mines.
Jim Fleming runs the local Grand Union grocery store. He did not come home for dinner as he keeps the store open late Saturdays. The Fleming Father and Mother are dead. A sister Mary teaches school in Poughkeepsie. Another sister is married and one of their nieces got dinner. Bill and Joe live together, "keep bachelor's hall". Joe gets home every other weekend so Jim is all alone now and then. Ambition has driven them all.. ambition to be cultured and important and respectable and associate with to nice people. They are the children of prosperous workers in the cement mines. They are considered one of the old families of Rosendale but like all the old families, the upper strata of the town (except one or two mine owners) they are the families of workers and have remained more or less workers except for their middle-class aspects.
Old man Fleming was a great storyteller and Joe is perhaps more like him. The other members of the family do not take Joe's literary pretensions seriously. It ism interesting almost the first time I ever heard of a guy who wanted to write having sense enough to see that what went on right around him could become literary materials
We drive around the town in the late afternoon. Jim insisted that I take a picture of a fighting cock. The cock was owned by a Tobacco Road looking woman who was living in one of the lockmaster's houses along the remains of the old Canal. Her children were dirty faced and in rags. Her husband is doing a little better these days as he is getting several days work each week in the new AJ Snyder Cement Works. Joe recalled that in the old days men at the bar used to sing a song, which went like this:

"Canaler, canaler you son of a bitch
you'll never get rich,
you'll die on the Delaware ditch.”

The berm side of the canal was the side not used for the towpath and Joe said he didn't know why it was called that. The Canalers came mostly from Hawley, Rondout, and Honesdale.
We walked on down the road paralleling the canal to the ruins of an old "tenement house" for the cement workers. It was built by a once prosperous cement mine operator, Watson E Lawrence in 1837. He recalled that just across the way over the Rondout Creek (which parallels the Canal) was an abortive attempt at gold mining. He said it was on the site of the Yellow Mill Bridge. He said his brother Bill (that's the brother name who lives with him) was a cooper by trade which means he made barrels to put the cement in and worked in the cooperage which was operated by the cement company.
        The men who operated the kilns were called cement burners and Joe recalled that a foreman of his once said that the dumber a cement burner was the better he was. He pointed up at a hill and said that was the site of the Old Mad House. Why ? Because so many old Irishmen lived in it. Rosendale now has only about 500 people in it and it used to have easily 3,000 in the old days.  There was a blacksmith up the road who was a soldier in the Civil War. When he returned from the War he brought back a negro slave with him and the Negro worked for him for years unaware that he was not still slave...and working for nothing.
We passed an old canal bridge forming an arc over the canal. We looked at the old slips where the barges were turned into the cement factories to be loaded. They were pushed with pikes through the slips into the canal. We talked a minute with Ashton Knight who was paint¬ing the Rondout Creek. He's over here because his daughter in at a finishing school.
We drove into the A.J. Snyder Cement factory.  A foreman told us a little about the new activity. A man from Kingston is burning the cement... an old timer who knows his stuff. Cement is put in bags these days and shipped by truck and rail. He suggested that I see the boss. I went up to a house only a few hundred feet from the old cement factory. A rough and ready looking guy dressed like a prosperous business man was standing on his lawn looking into a little stone rimmed fish pond. His house was newly painted and must have had about ten or fifteen rooms. He paused a long time after I told him what I wanted and then talked very slowly. Joe hung behind. Then, although, he was twenty feet away I brought his into the conversation by saying; "Mr. Fleming here tells me Rosendale cement set rather slowly.” The two men met for the first time in their lives when I introduced them although Jake Snyder's family had employed the Flemings for almost a half-century or more. Soon they were calling each other Jake and "Fleming.” I guess Jake Fleming went so far but not to saying Joe. But there was not quite the gap one might have expected. Jake, after all, has had to fight his way and as you can see, is perhaps still fighting. He is a survivor of a pioneer industrialist, that is a family of pioneer industrialists.
He said of the revival of the cement business at Rosendale: "You know it’s a lot harder to start something that ‘has been’ than something entirely new.” You noticed the lack of bitterness in his voice and kind of fatalism he seemed to have. He would say: "And then Rosendale cement was not as widely used. This happened because it had to happen. Times were changing. He talked with completely objectivity of the great merger around the turn of the century. "The consolidation of the Rosendale cement companies was their downfall. The business was in terrible shape. The price was way down. People were buying cement right and left but the price was so bad you couldn't make any money."
Joe Fleming re-called that during those last rush years they threw anything into the barrels and labeled it Brooklyn bridge and shipped it on down. Jake said that was right: "Rosendale cement got a black eye." Snyder held out against the merger. They owned their cement works outright. A man like Beech had given a lot of paper on his works and Miller and Snyder could not see why they should put their works in with companies already in bad shape. The merger group then cut the Snyders off from the Canal. So they shipped their cement by horse and wagon to the RR and then loaded the cement on their barges at Weehawken, New Jersey. Later Coykendall gave back the Canal but things were about over.
Jake Snyder is the fourth generation in the cement business. Just out of college in 1902, his Grandfather had just died and the cement works on his hands and there had been all the trouble.

"The Sociability of Rosendale Cement Was It's Downfall"

Rosendale, New York 
   April 29,   1938
Dear Carl,

Kids along the  D and H Canal,   Delaware and Hudson Canal, used to dance around the barges they floated through the Canal and sing:

"Canaler, canaler,  you'll never  get rich.
Buying at the store and boating in the Delaware Ditch"

The kids knew that canal boat captains  were riffraff and had little respect for them.  They were  ignorant and badly paid and  they were always in debt to the company because the D and H owned the stores along the banks of the canal and they charged most of  their supplies  there and  usually  spent more than they earned

"Canaler,   canaler,  you'll never get rich,
you   son of a bitch,  boating in the   Delaware Ditch."

Mrs. Read told me the first version and Jim Fleming told me the  second  version without my mentioning the Read version to him.

I  spent the afternoon and evening  with Fleming.  I must adroit that I started talking to  Fleming with a hopeless heart. But the story of Rosendale that  has reeled his imagination for so many years despite the fact that he was close to it all  and   worked in the  cement kilns is vigorous  and picturesque.  Somehow,   it sums up  the  commercial aspect of the Hudson,   the  West Bank story of  city  building  Industries, carpets,  bricks,   cement,  lime,  blue stone,  granite(?), and other things.  Coal  was shipped through from Honesdale,   Penn. to the Hudson. Blue stone also.  But the  cement business  started in 1827 just abut parallels  the  story  of the canal and the story of the  great commercial activity  of the   West bank of the  Hudson.
Fleming gave me so much stuff and it dovetails with so much I have yet to write which I got the last couple of days that I think I better get it  off even  if  I don't try to assimilate  it all.
An Irishman commenting to Fleming on the good old Rosendale cement days said: "I'll tell you, it  was the sociability of Rosendale cement that was its downfall."  That  is a significant remark because it is the truth. Rosendale cement took several hours to  set. As American grew the demand for speedy building grew. Folks wanted to built bridges and buildings overnight (Says Jake Snyder,  present day Rosendale cement manufacturer). Portland came in and knocked the spots out of Rosendale cement.  There  were  other factors, which we'll go  into. Masons  could talk  a bit while waiting for the cement to get hard enough to go on with another layer of brick or stone.
There are a few versions of how natural cement was discovered. An engineer experimented during the building of the Erie Canal.  Some cement  rock was uncovered and he found out it was cement.  The  same engineer noted the  same rock  when the Delaware was being dug.  That was in 1826. Local legend says that today you  can walk underground from Rosendale to Kingston through the  cement pits.  Probably not true but  it gives a rough idea of the extent of the pits.  I walked in  several today.  They  followed cement veins, which sloped down, into the ground. The veins were about  thirty feet wife and the roofs were held up by rock pillars. They carved their way around the pillars and vaulted the ceilings. A horrible eeriness comes over you walk in them.  They look as though they were built by vicious and giant gnomes. A damp dank, misty and heavy rises form the pits. Water runs through the caverns and drips from overhead icy cold. Ice forms in these cavern - like grottoes and stays there all summer. Folks have been lost exploring them. They are ideal for burying bodies.
        “You knew the weather was changing,” said Fleming who works in them, “When the mist began to rise in the pits. Sometimes horses were kept in the pits for days and nights. They brought their oats into them and spilled some. The manure fertilized the seed and they sprouted in the darkness only they grow along the ground and never seem to stand up when they grew in the pits.”
A cement man was  telling a barge captain what a great thing a woman was.   (I think this  is  one of those).  She can cook and keep house for you on the your boat. You  oughta get one.    The canaler thought he'd try one. So the cement man got him  a woman.  Six months later he saw the canaler and asked him how he liked the   woman. Said he didn't have her any more. “What happened said the  cement guy?” “Why,” said the canaler, “she broke her leg a few weeks ago and I  shot her
The  great thing among the workers  in those days was to  settle down in a  "little rum hole of me own". Plenty did and  especially  in Rosendale.  Practically the whole Main Street was saloons. There were sharp social distinctions between the workers. The  Irish stick together but on the other hand when the hard rock men from the quarries in Vermont, (granite, I guess) they called them Shalligees came to town there were fights. Jack Dillon, a Vermonter built like the butt of a tree,   small but tough,  was backed up on the Rosendale Bridge one night when a  gang of  Irishman passed by.   "Anything on your mind" one of them says, "Nope is there  anything on your mind. Then he  let the ringleader have it and using his left and  right hands on two more at the  same time he took the rest  of then.  There were chain gangs working too but we'll have to check that. Did the state rent out convict labor?
The boys used to visit Abe Simon's applejack place in Rosendale  (later it was  Sam Faley’s). Farmers drove  into town with their green apples sitting high on their seats and shouting at their fine  teams.  Later they'd come back down the hill zigzag, their feet on the seat and barely conscious enough to hold their lines.  San Haley had the miraculous power of pouring you out a drink and being able to tell you (on a bet) how far to a telephone pole you’d get on what he gave you to drink.  One Irishman took the pledge and stayed off the liquor. He vowed that one night he was chased up Sand Hill by an empty whiskey barrel. That cured him of staying off 1iquor. Pistol Hill was one of the toughest places in Rosendale where folks said: "there was a murder a week." Farther up the creek in a little estuary which connected with the canal (probably a feed lock) there was the haunted scow on which a girl was said to have been murdered. The scow was sold and resold but nobody would take her up or down the canal because the ghost of the girl would not let then. Finally, she was placed in the little estuary where she rotted and sank. That was down The Rondout by the Clinton Ford Pavilion.

"Some Come from Hurley, Some Come From Rhine, Some pop fresh from a pot cheese mine.

   April 28,  1938
Dear Carl,

Next week Kingston will hold an exhibit of John Vanderlyn’s paintings. Local legend has it that Aaron Burr saw his paintings on a Kingston blacksmith shop and took Vanderlyn as his protégée.  He went to Paris on Burr's money and besides  learning to paint he perhaps learned to drink what one writer calls the "ardent"  in my neck of the woods. After,  I think four years,  he returned.  He did  Burr and  such things as a picture of Versailles. Also some kind of a  vast panorama.  He never married "because he had no money for that kind of thing"  as Mrs.  Westbrook of the State House  says.  He drank a  great deal and in 1852 when he  died in hi s   studio here in Kingston he was drunk and had his palette in his hand.  He never had any money and legend says be died in poverty.  His Father’s name,   I believe was  Peter Vanderlyn and the Vanderlyns were a family  of painters.  Was born in Kingston in 1776. Coykendall  (may be wrong spelling)  a member of one of the old families is  going to  do  a biography  of him for the  exhibit. Burr used to visit a family here   in Kingston.
You   said to remind you   that  in Poughkeepsie  one is awakened early in the morning by the cries  of  the fish venders going through the streets. A man holding shad in each hand I believe one cow and one buck cries: "fresh shad,  fresh Hudson river shad.”  Also remember that  Sue Verplanck said that Grace Whittimore Newlin, whose Mother was Louisa de Windt   said “Why  the de Windts built the dock that the Verplancks  landed on.”
If you   haven't already found out about this  fellow Hines I understand that he wrote several books telling of walks along the Hudson. My landlady loved them and   has none.  She liked some of the stories so much that she took notes from the books when she was able to borrow them.
Hurley is a town near here. The cheese mines of Hurley were famous at one time but it merely meant that good pot cheese came from there. A guy from Hurley was called a “Pot Cheeser.” A piece of guttural verse ran like this:  

Some come  from Hurley.
Some from the Rhine.
Some pop fresh from a pot cheese mine.

I presume you have seen Palisades  of the Hudson,  Arthur C. Mack 1909. I noticed in that Legends thing on  the  Hudson that an Englishman lecturing around here in 1850 or so said that  an American looking at the  Thames  said   "Why  the ditches  that  run through our farms are bigger than this.” Funny the English stillsquawk about Americans talking big but today it’s our skyscrapers.

I presume you have the Times geological story on the Hudson dated July  11, 1937.

BRICKS. Out at the Hutton Bricks yards I talked with a guy named Tierny who is s in the office.  Also   some bookkeeper or treasurer. Around 1900 the Hutton Co. had 400 men making forty million bricks and today 130 men make the  same number..  You will perhaps remember that this aspect  of  a cause  of technological un¬employment   impressed Howard Scott,   the Technocrat very much.  in the old days the clays bricks were  dried in  the sun before going into the kiln. Brick workers are called “Brick Yarders.” The German and Irish immigrants received employment  in the yards  around 1830 says Tierny. He thinks the famine has something to do with the Irish coming across. A few French-Canadians come down. The came the Hungarians and Polish. Today most of the Brick Yarders are Italian and negroes. Nick Lamersdorft, the foreman of the yard, has been there 56 years, is, I believe, German. He calls himself Nick Lemister. He seems to have a kind of local accent. Suppose from being around the Irish who seem to have the better jobs. It was around the end of the 19th Century that carloads of negroes were imported from the south to work in the brickyards. Bricks are transported today much as they were a hundred years ago. They pile them up on barges about 350 thousand to a half million on a barge. Then a tug hauled not more than five barges to New York. The price of bricks used to be about five or six dollars a thousand (despite the fact that more labor was needed.) and from around 1923 to 26 it as high as $25 a  thousand.   Today it is about 9  to 12.50 a thousand. They make only common brick around here and they used the term Hudson River brick but claim not special advantages. It is interesting that no building substitute has been found much better. Kingston however is called  a frame town and never took advantage of the fact  that they could lave saved money by buying their bricks at  the yard. Kingston felt  the slightest sign of a  building boom and these days Kingston excited about the new Metropolitan Life housing project that will millions of bricks.   The  same   is true regarding cement, stone  and such industries as you saw in the Press articles.
When you see the machinery for making bricks, the machines that mix clay, press them in the moulds and feed them to the drying cages you can see the reduction in the cost of labor. They get the clay from deposits along the Rondout Creek (part of the creek along there is full of abandoned barges tugs etc result of the deepening of the Hudson partly). They use lime from around here (there used to be tremendous lime operations along there you can still see the remains) to make the brick stiffer, some coal or coke (it used to brought from Penn via the old Canal) some sand and a metallic ore color it that came from Ogdensburg, New York. When they molded the bricks they used to dry them in the sun but during freezing weather they couldn't. Now they give them six or seven hours artificial drying which makes possible year round operation. They use hay for insulation. Then they pile the dried bricks into kiln about 1 and a half million and leave a place for building fires every twenty feet or so. It’s in the shape of a rectangle and the fires are operated from both sides of the rectangle. In the old days they used wood and it must have been terribly difficult. Now they use oil. It takes about 12 days to bake them and the heat around 1500 F. The supervisors who watch the fires work in 12-hour shifts during that time. When they are finally cooled they used little wheelbarrows to pile them onto the barges. The bricks at the top and middle of the kiln are the best. The ones near the fire are brittle and break easily and they throw many bricks away including the broken ones. You see them using bricks chips to fill in dumps. Some yard pile the bricks so that machinery can slip in and get a bunch of the pile and load them. Derricks have curious grabbers that grab about 1500 bricks at a time. I believe that should be 100,000 bricks to a barge. Brickmaking used to be a seasonal labor business and in the winter during freezing weather the same labor went to work ice. Folks drove from miles around to the banks of the Hudson in sleighs to work cutting ice. There used to be tremendous icehouses. As a of fact I remember that Hudson river steamboat Captain John E. Frazer said he used to take insurance men from Home Insurance Company (father used to be with it) on tours of inspection of the ice houses. I believe they invested their money in them or merely insured them against fire. Artificial ice and the contamination of the Hudson killed the ice business. The Newark Lime and Cement Co. was the big company on the Rondout Creek. Coal came through the Hudson Canal from Scranton. Teams of four horses brought blue stone to the banks. One envisions great movement and activity. Smoke pouring from tall chimneys and money being spent freely on liquor etc

How to Catch Shad

Wednesday Night, April 27, 1938
Dear Carl,

There is  so much stuff to  put down that  I    won't  even attempt to get it all  down as  I am racing against the last  train down to New York.
Allwater is  a blacksmith by trade.  A couple   of winters ago he  worked in the   Federal  Iron Works as a  die polisher.   Last winter...c’est la vie....he worked on  WPA.  That should be Federal Bearing not  that it probably matters.  What’s the matter with you  memory?  I heard them tell you  it was a top  sim line   and a bottom sim line that holds  the nets. On the top you use a #42 twine and on the   bottom a #18.  Set buoys 18 feet  apart.  You're allowed to set out 2,000 feet of net.  The law I guess.  The squares in the nets are meshes. Most of them set one mesh every five and a half inches on the top sim line, same on the bottom presumably.  Some only give the mesh five inches.  The net is made of 35.2  cord.  There are 55 meshes from   the top sim line to the bottom sim line.   I said how  do you  spell it and Fred Whitney (the drunk and  knew All) Water, when they were  kids,  said "How the hell would you spell it’s S I M L I N E. "   Fred said you're allowed to  set out 2,000 feet of net and  buoys are 18 feet apart so figure that  out you chump.  I checked the data elsewhere so don’t worry. They buy net by  the shot   about 8 or ten pounds to  the shot.
There are two  sociological islands around here Eagles Nest and Grahamsville.  At Grahamsville they have their own Fair every year. Gruver is a nice guy but I dunno.  He spoke of this and that not having any literary value.  Anyway we  can't pal around with him until after the Apple Blossom Festival which ends May 8th.  I don't think he has much. The Captain of Hudson River Steamships  is running a series of articles   (ghosted by a cub on the paper) in the Freeman. Gruver   is  sorry he  didn’t do it when he  had  the  chance.  Gruver wants to take you there personally.  I think the  cub scooped him.
BUT  THE  GOT THAT IS A HONEY  IS KELLY.  Wait'til you hear Kelly.  He also works  on the Freeman. I met him by accident. A cop says there's a newspaperman,  too. Hey, Kelly. Kelly started talking about Father Devine. No help to us.  But it gave you an idea.  He was in polities and was born and raised here and is funny, cynical and a swell guy. Seems to like to entertain folks with his yarns.  Says he can't write. Does a sports  column and  wants to  take me out  to Grahamsville  tomorrow if he don't go to  Albany to promote some fighters he has as a sideline. He's mixed up in all sorts of  rackets and  we got on because he knows of a  lot of bandit  reporters I knew when I worked for Hearst.  He has an undying hatred of any newspaperman who dares to come up  here  and try and find out  anything without coming  to him.  I say  lets indulge him  in  this.
Gruver may be better for your money but Kelly just  slams it out. He says there's a story  in the  Dwyer who started with a  gin mill and ended up with all the  literage business  etc.
By the    way  I suppose you have  seen CG Hine,  1906,  West Bank of the Hudson, Albany to Tappan Zee. Also Legends and Poetry of the Hudson, 1868. Both seemed to be privately printed and are here in Kingston. After I went and dug around the brick works etc. I found that a new newspaper started up a year ago and did it all up with a bang.
         Some are good, some are poor according to the reporter. They changed reporters frequently. But I spent a helluva time looking thru back issues and I bought some of the back issues although some they are out of. The damn editorial office is next to the roof and I nearly died.
     Address my mail to Governor Clinton Hotel, Kingston, New York. Don't worry  I'm staying at a rooming house down  the street at a dollar a day.  Come up whenever you want to although I should think it would be better to wait until I tell you first what I've seen and  then you can cone up, and high spot it.
     In any case  I think I ought to be here a few days and  work out   of here unless you think differently.  Certainly there is an awful lot to  find out  and a lot of  people to see and I haven't wasted one minute on the Revolution.
     I'm only  sending along one   clip, the bricks.  It’s not terribly good but  I can supplement  it  from some stuff I picked up from Nick Linsdorfer at  the Hutton Bricks Yards. Van Dusen Hutton  is in Florida or I would have talked to him but Nick practically raised him.  Time for the train.