Town of Edinburg, New York
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Edinburg Industry

Early settlers in Edinburgh soon realized that the most fertile farmland was on the Sacandaga river flats. Those who settled on the hillsides hopefully could grow enough food for their own family needs but not enough to add cash to their meager existence.

The earliest settlers worked hard to clear areas in the heavy pine forests. They built log homes from the trees they had cut down. As time passed these log cabins were replaced with frame houses.
Then, as now, businesses were formed to produce necessary supplies from the materials at hand. The desire for frame homes produced a need for sawmills to saw the lumber and soon, wherever a creek ran, a water powered sawmill popped up. Due to the abundance of trees, logging and lumbering became a natural industry. As the years passed many of these early sawmills expanded into woodenware factories. By 1870 Batchellerville had four woodenware or related industries.
Batcheller and Jenkins had $40,000.00 in capital invested in their business that operated 11 months of the year, employed 54 men over the age of 16 and paid out $23,000.00 in annual wages. A 25HP steam engine powered by a 25HP and a 50HP water wheel ran their circular saws, planers and lathes. This company produced barrel covers, clothespins, bowls, pails, grain measures and small tables. The woods were mostly hardwood, especially beech, maple, basswood and ash plus a lesser amount of pine and elm. Ten tons of hoop iron, eight barrels of glue and 45 kegs of nails were used per year.

King, Pearson and Company was a wooden pail manufacturer. Their mill operated with a 50HP waterwheel. Ten men earned a total $3,000.00 during an 11 month year. The firm had a capital investment of $15,000.00. Three sizes of butter pails were made; pails, tubs and a smaller container called a kit. Only softwood; pine, spruce and hemlock were used in the containers but the mill also did custom sawing. This smaller company used 2 tons of hoop iron per year.

Lucian DeGolia had invested $16,000.00 in washboard manufacturing. A 30HP waterwheel operated all saws, planers and other tools necessary to cut angles and grooves in the washboards. The annual (ten month) payroll was $9,000.00 for ten men. Annually, 15,798 dozen washboards were produced. All types of wood were used for the washboards as well as 27 ½ tons of zinc, six barrels glue and 1,000 pounds of nails.
Foreground DeGolias washboard factory prior to 1930 - Batchellerville
Zenstine Shop - Beecher Hollow
With the many mills whirring away, machine repair shops were necessary.

A 5HP waterwheel operated the planer, lathes and drill press of John W. Millet. John had invested $1,500.00; had one employee and worked year round.

The west side of the river saw nine businesses spread from Beecher Hollow to Tennantville. Chester D. Butler invested $1,500.00 and worked year round with one employee in his machine shop. His drills, lathes and planer were run by a 15HP water wheel. Chester did custom work and independent jobbing.

J.C. Pettit & Son owned the grist and feed mill. Fifty five hundred dollars was invested to operate the water powered mill with seven different stones to grind various types of feed, flour and meal. Almost 24,000 bushels of corn, oats and buckwheat were ground annually. The grist mill operated 12 months per year and employed two men.

Two thousand dollars started George Copeland on his business of cabinet making and coffin making. His 12HP water wheel operated his saws, lathe and morticing saw. His 12 month business had a payroll of $1,400.00 for three men. As well as cabinet furniture and coffins, George made hubs and handles for wheel barrels and did custom sawing.
Tennant woodenware mill
in Tennantville
Sumner's millyard and farm - Beecher Hollow prior to 1930
Ed Quinby had $150.00 invested in his blacksmith shop that earned one employee $600.00 per year. Ed did regular jobbing as well as custom work.

Arad Copeland paid one other man $80.00 annually to operate his carriage shop. Arad had invested $2,000.00 to get his first water powered circular saw, lathes, planer and jig saw rolling. His shop also did custom work.

G.F. Cameron operated his tannery on the south side of Beecher Creek just below the present bridge. The tannery, operated by water, was a $2,500.00 investment. With the help of two employees, Cameron tanned 3,000 feet of leather annually. To accomplish this process he used 35 cards of hemlock bark, 6,000 pounds of skins, 60 gallons of oil, along with lime and tallow.

Frank Whitney operated his twin businesses on an eight month basis.  Frank built and repaired wagon sleighs and ground apples for cider. A 12HP water wheel ran saws, lathes, a grater and the cider press. In 1870, six sets of sleighs were made and 1600 bushels of apples ground into 160 barrels of cider for private owners. Frank's initial investment was $750.00.
Newman S. Barker spent $3,000.00 to build his lumber and broom handle factory. The mill was located on Barkers Creek near what we now call Barkers Bridge on the Airport Road. Until the 1960's this was the Barker Road in honor of the Barker families that had once lived on it. Newmans mill operated eight months per year with a payroll of $600.00 for three men. Two water wheels ran the various saws and lathes; a 15HP turbine wheel and a 20HP reacting wheel. Hemlock and basswood were sawn into boards and planks. Twenty five thousand feet of basswood turned out 50,000 broom handles.
Sumner's rake factory - Beecher Hollow
On up the road in Tennantville, Sherm Tennant invested $2,000.00 in a 28HP and a 30HP waterwheel to run his saws and edgers. Hemlock, spruce, basswood and maple were sawn into boards, planks, siding, scantling, timbers and lathe. The mill also produced clothespins, chopping  and butter bowls. At times Tennant employed upwards of 30 men. The mill operated six months of the year. The other six months were spent logging or guiding hunting and fishing parties comprised of big city businessmen.

Then, as now, the forest has played an important part in the 200 year history of Edinburg.
Rear of Allen's grist mill - Beecher Hollow

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Edinburg Town Hall - 45 Military Road - Edinburg, New York - 12134 - (518) 863-2034