Even in those primitive days the march of progress worked disaster to some communities; in my childhood a more direct road was built by the North Plank Road Co, and to this new highway the stage line was diverted, and thus, VanBurenville having lost the one activity connecting it with the outside worked, became deserted. My earliest recollection of it was that it simply consisted of an unoccupied roadside tavern two dwellings and one or two other buildings, all in a run-down condition.
The place was just one mile from our farm and on our route to Middletown. Our district schoolhouse was about one-eighth mile beyond the little hamlet, and so the place was very familiar to me in my boyhood days. Today there is nothing left to suggest to the passerby that there was ever a settlement located there; the passing of the stage line apparently brought about its ruin.
Our farm consisted of 110 acres, and the one farming industry of the time was dairying. The farm produced the grain for the stock—cows, horses, sheep, pigs and chickens; the farm also produced the wheat for the family flour. The milk was used for butter-making, and as soon as a butter tub was filled with better—which was the product of several days' work—it was taken to the nearest railroad station for shipment to New York.
At that time there was a grist-mill located in every community—and this brings to mind a little incident which happened when I was about eleven years old. My father had loaded our farm wagon with bags of grain and started me with the team to the mill, three miles distant, to have it ground. He gave me money to pay for the grinding and cautioned me to tell Mr. Norbury at the time of unloading at the mill to not "toll it", as I wanted to pay for the grinding. The custom was that when nothing was said about the pay, the miller took one-tenth of the product for his work of grinding. My mind was very much taken up with a fish hook and line which I had in my pocket, and I was eager to get to the millpond; so, as soon as the last beg disappeared from the wagon I whipped up the horses to the shed and tied them, and was then off on my little fishing excursion. When I thought sufficient time had elapsed for the grinding of the grist, I came back to the mill and was told that it was all ready. Bringing my team up to the platform, the bags of round meal and flour were quickly loaded on the wagon, whereupon I put my hand in my pocket and asked Mr. Norbury the amount of his bill. He looked surprised and said, "Why, you did not tell me you wanted to pay for the grinding, and I tolled it". Of course the expression on my face must have revealed that I had made a
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