A step back in time  - pictures by Robert Decker


Mason Stewarts Store

Matt Decker Hotel

See anyone you know from 1926

Bill Decker was my grandfather. This is the homestead where my father and siblings grew up. This house was damaged beyond repair in the mid sixties by fire. 
This house sits only 25 yards from a previous house of my grandparents that burned to the ground on a hot afternoon August 13, 1908, killing their son Alon Monroe Decker. My great grandfather Isaac Vanaken Wiest, was asleep in a chair downstairs, and being an old man, deaf and probably quite comfortable, required a couple of disturbances by Alons older brother Oswald to alert him that the house was on fire upstairs. He and Oswald escaped after being driven back from rescue attempts to save Alon. 
The fire most likely started as a result of childhood curiosity with fire and matches.

The family story says that my grandfather made the coffin and carried it and Alon from Willowemoc to Claryville and buried him - Bob Decker

This fire that took the lives of the Lobdell children took place in Debruce, NY near Frick Pond. There is a state trail that passes a marker of  this spot for all those interested in visiting the site of this tragedy.




O&W train yard in Liberty - 1928

FYI, I noticed that the two RR wreck photos on the Willowemoc page are at Liberty, not Livingston Manor.  I have a couple scans of other photos taken at the same time that show unmistakeable Liberty landmarks in the background. Jeff Otto

Derailed tanker

"Traffic was delayed nearly three hours Sunday on the main line of the Ontario & Western when seven cars of a fast southbound freight left the rails and piled up on both tracks at Liberty.  The mishap occurred  directly in front of the freight station which was damaged when one of the derailed cars upended and toppled over on the roof. Another wedged into the wooden platform tearing away part of the planking. 
No one was injured. 

Wreckers were dispatched from Middletown. The accident occurred at 5:57 a.m. Traffic along the west bound track was restored starting before eight o'clock, but the other track remained blocked throughout the day and night, and workman were still trying to clear the eastbound tracks for the through traffic Monday. Two of the seven derailed cars were damaged. A driving bar on an oil tank which worked loose and came in contact with the roadbed is believed to have been responsible for the mishap. About two hundred feet of roadbed was torn up. 

Elmer Francisco of Middletown was conductor of the freight, and W.J. McEwen, also of Middletown, the engineer. Fred Hawk, of Middletown, transportation inspector, was in charge of the wrecking crew. Other Middletown officials who went to the scene were W.C. Heidenthal, chief engineer of maintenance of way, S.J. Meyers, his assistant, Isaac D. Talmadge, roadmaster, Charles Tracey, foreman of electricians and Chief of Police, Grant R. Wilson and his lieutenant, Ray H. Wilson."

Sullivan County Review, October 18, 1928


The Willowemoc Acid Factory

The Acid Factory in Willowemoc in full operation near the turn of the century

Load of tannery bark. 
The boy/man who is sitting on the top of the load is my great uncle William Wallis Wiest. When you blow the picture up, he looks a bit nervous and I can't help think that he may be only posing for the photograph and one of the older gents on the ground was the teamster. I may be wrong. 
Bob Decker

The acid factory before it burned

All that's left of the acid factory


Unknowns - Help us name them

This, the smallest Post Office was located on the Cooley Road, just about 1 or 2 tenths of a mile north of where the Cooley Mountain road intersects with Cooley Road. It sat on the right hand side as you are driving north.  (Going from Parksville to Willowemoc).  Near or about where the Symanski residence is today.

 This information was passed verbally to me by my late Aunt. She remembers her mother telling her that her grandmother "ran the post office there".




The Broom Company Mill was located at the bottom of the now unfinished ski slopes just above Willowemoc along Pole Road. I am not quite sure but believe this house was called "The Broom Company Mill House" and may have been used as housing for workers at the mill. I too think the mill sawed lumber and didn't have anything to do with brooms. 

This photo of a mill was taken somewhere locally. Quite possibly around Livingston Manor. Does anyone know for sure? 

DeBruce - by Lloyd Davis

Katherine Hogencamp Davis 
Great Grandmother of Lloyd Davis.
Born 1842 in DeBruce  

Link to more Hogencamps

Same Great Grandmother but different Great-Grandson - Ken Mears - John in the next photo is his grandfather

Lloyd's Great Grandparents Joseph D and Katherine
with GrandFather Joseph L. 

Grooville (Emmonsville)

Coming: The History of Willowemoc by Robert Decker
If you have pictures then send them to me and I'll post them

for information or questions contact - Harold Van Aken - mail@hvanaken.com