History of the Stone Foundation
HISTORY of the STONE FOUNDATION and the Frog Pond Seminary Schoolhouse
On the hill above Hathaway Pond there are the remains of a stone foundation. Over the past 50 years, many Kingswood visitors have undoubtedly gazed at these lichen-covered stones and wondered what stories they might tell about the history of this monument to the past. This foundation happens to be of significant interest to me because it is part of my heritage…..my great-grandparents lived in the log house that stood on this foundation and my grandfather was born in that house. In fact, many Hathaways lived there over a period of 35 years from 1851 to 1886. At least 12 children were born in the house and 2 deaths occurred there.
My name is Frank Hathaway. I am a great-great-grandson of Benjamin Hathaway who in 1850 purchased a number of adjoining properties and developed the 700-acre farm that is now Kingswood Campsite. The log house residents were all related to Benjamin in one way or another, so to hopefully assist the reader in understanding the kinships, I will frequently refer to their relationship to Benjamin.
I am pleased to share what history I know with the understanding that it was necessary to apply some logical circumstantial evidence when sorting out the facts from these sources: (1) federal and state census records, (2) 1890 History of Cannonsville by Mrs. Hester Lane Miles, (3) Civil War military records of Edwin Hathaway and (4) my personal records of Hathaway family history.
Before we consider a more detailed account, here is a thumbnail list of adult residents and approximate dates of occupancy:
1790–1800 Memucan & Jemima (Leonard) Lowry
1800–1851 Unknown, but probably Lowry family members
1851–1853 Edwin & Elizabeth (Russell) Hathaway
- Edwin & Jane Leonora (Russell) Hathaway
Amasa & Mary (Minor) Hathaway
- Allen Dean & Elizabeth Jane (Hathaway) Moore
1886 & after Unknown
Memucan & Jemima (Leonard) Lowry (1790-1800)
A man by the name of Memucan Lowry built this foundation in 1790 and on it erected a log house. Memucan was born in Farmington, Hartford County, CT in 1768. He migrated to Delaware County, NY in 1790 and acquired the tract of 275 acres where his stone foundation still stands. Memucan married Jemima Leonard from Cannonsville in 1794, and their first three children were born in his log house.
The site seems remote today. But in those early times, it was on a well-traveled wagon trail called Cannon Hollow Road that ran between present-day Hathaway Pond Road and Cannonsville, a
distance of about 3 miles. A section of that road still exists on Kingswood property and is well used by visitors.
Inspection of the foundation reveals that this was not a casual structure. It was not a slab house as was common at that time, but was constructed with uncut logs. And it undoubtedly had two floors because at one time as many as three adults and five children lived there. The house also had a basement for storage of foodstuffs having both a ground level entry and a first floor entry accessed by stone steps. A short distance below the house is the stone foundation for a barn. Not a barn as we think of one today, but more an animal shelter that would typically house a couple of horses, milk cows and pigs.
At the time, this whole area was a dense forest of mature trees, mostly hemlock and white pine, so
Memucan’s first objective would have been to harvest and market the timber, and then farm the cleared land. It therefore makes perfect sense that it was also Memucan Lowry who constructed the dam at the head of Sands Creek (now Hathaway Pond) with a spillway and sawmill adjacent to the dam.
All this construction required exceptional mechanical skills, and Memucan indeed had such skills. It is well documented that Memucan was a talented mechanic, carpenter and woodworker. He vacated the log house in 1800 and moved to Cannonsville where he would build a house, stay there a few years and then move elsewhere to build another house. He in fact built several houses including one in a small valley that was thereafter called Lowry Hollow. It is also documented that Memucan was one of the craftsmen who built the large Cannonsville Hotel. In his latter years Memucan built a workshop at the mouth of Johnny Brook, just east of Cannonsville, where he turned out fine furniture. Of course, all these structures were lost to the Cannonsville Reservoir in the early 1960s.
Memucan Lowry was Benjamin Hathaway’s uncle (his mother’s brother). We have no proof, but tradition is that Benjamin purchased this old homestead from the Lowry family when he put together his 700-acre farm.
Edwin & Elizabeth (Russell) Hathaway (1851-1853)
My great-grandfather, Edwin Hathaway, was born in 1832 and was Benjamin Hathaway’s oldest child. In 1851 he married a neighbor, Elizabeth Russell, who lived at her parent’s farm on Sands Creek Road that included Russell Lake (now Camp Hilltop). Benjamin had recently acquired the Lowry homestead that included the log house, so Edwin and Elizabeth began their marriage living there.
In 1853, attended by Dr. Samuel Cottrell from Cannonsville and a neighbor by the name of Lucy Rose, Elizabeth delivered a baby girl they named Elizabeth Jane. Tragically, Edwin’s wife Elizabeth died 20 days after giving birth. That birth and death occurred in the log house.
Edwin & Jane Leonora (Russell) Hathaway (1853-1867)
Five months after Elizabeth’s death, Edwin married her sister, Jane Leonora Russell. They had four children, all born in the log house. The youngest was my grandfather, Stephen Russell Hathaway, born in 1861.
During his tenure at the log house, Edwin continued to work with his father, Benjamin Hathaway, in lumbering and farming the land. But over the years he had acquired carpentry skills, so he also worked independently in Cannonsville building and then selling a number of houses.
For whatever reason, probably caught up in the fervor of the Civil War, Edwin left Jane and his five
children at the log house in September 1862 to join the 144th Regiment, New York State Volunteers.
Just before the end of the war, tragedy struck again. Edwin was wounded in the leg on James Island near Charleston, SC on 12 Feb 1865. He died three days later at the Union camp on Folly Island, SC and was buried there in an unmarked grave.
Jane Hathaway continued to live in the house, enduring her sorrow and caring for her four children and her niece until 1867 when she moved to Cannonsville. She died there in 1913 at age 93.
Amasa & Mary (Minor) Hathaway (1867-1877)
Amasa Hathaway, born in 1835, was Benjamin’s second son. In 1861 he married Mary Minor from Coventry, NY, a niece of Benjamin’s second wife. Amasa and Mary lived with Benjamin from the time of their marriage, and Amasa worked on the farm with his father as he had done from childhood. (Amasa holds the particular distinction of having worked the Hathaway farm for 61 years, longer than any family member. He eventually inherited the entire farm when Benjamin died in 1899. Amasa operated the farm until his death in 1911 and left it to his oldest daughter, Gertrude Hathaway Seymour.)
After Jane Hathaway and the five children left the log house in 1867, Amasa, Mary and their three daughters moved from Benjamin’s farmhouse to the log house. This was probably a matter of convenience because the farmhouse was rather crowded at the time with five adults and five children living there. And about that same time, Benjamin deeded the log house homestead to Amasa.
Another child was born to Amasa and Mary in 1876, and shortly thereafter, again probably for convenience, Amasa and his family moved back to Benjamin’s farmhouse.
Allen & Elizabeth Jane (Hathaway) Moore (1877-1886)
As explained above, Elizabeth Jane Hathaway (called Lizzie) was Edwin’s daughter by his first wife Elizabeth, and therefore Benjamin Hathaway’s granddaughter.
In 1872 she married a neighbor, Allen Dean Moore, who worked as a farm laborer for Benjamin. They had lived with Allen’s parents since their marriage, so when Amasa and his family vacated the log house in 1877, Allen, Lizzie and their son moved there and Allen continued to work for Benjamin.
Allen and Lizzie had six more children while living in the log house. (They eventually had 11 children with nine surviving to adulthood.) Needing a larger residence to accommodate their rapidly expanding family, Allen acquired a nearby farm in 1886 and they left the log house.
What happened to the log house after 1886 is anybody’s guess. It undoubtedly deteriorated from neglect and it’s likely that the logs would have been salvaged for lumber. Small scraps of metal including broken stove parts and many flooring nails were found in the basement area indicating that whatever structure remained was probably destroyed by fire. But we can take comfort in knowing that this old stone foundation will remain for ages a memorial to those hardy souls who were born and lived and died in that log house.
The Schoolhouse Foundation
- In the early 1800’s on the right side of the pond was a sawmill house.
- Later it was fixed up for a schoolhouse for the local children to go to school in the winter months.
- The teachers were Ellen Seymour and Mrs. Gertrude (Hathaway) Seymour.
- “Frog Pond Seminary”
- Later the building was converted back to a sawmill, and as far as we can tell, it remained that way until it collapsed sometime in the early 1900’s.
Frank Russell Hathaway
January 10, 2009