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Talcville

By David J. Schryver
Originally posted March 2012

The hamlet of Talcville has been in existence since around 1830.  In the 1940s and '50s, the area was one of the leading talc mining regions in the world.  It got its name from the mining, but wasn't always known as Talcville.

Originally known as Freemansburgh, it got its start from the prospects of iron mining in the area.  In 1830, Captain Alfred Freeman believed there was iron ore in the rocks of the region.  Iron works were already located in nearby Fowler and Fullerville.  His initial efforts were not successful.  He built an iron furnace there in 1843 but the quality of the iron produced, known as bog iron, was not up to standards.  After about 20 years, the efforts were abandoned.  The furnace was destroyed by fire in 1847.

It has been established that Captain Freeman was of no relation to the current Freeman family in the area.  That line was begun by Thomas Freeman, an immigrant who settled in the house which is located on what is now NY 58, a short distance west of the Talcville Road, where Joe Creech now lives.  The farmland that surrounds that home is now owned by Marjorie Hurley Davis and was farmed for many years by her late husband, Genie Davis and their family.

According to a 1949 newspaper account, discovery of talc and the resulting boom it created have been credited to Col. Henry Palmer.  Palmer, who had participated in the California Gold Rush of 1849, had come back to the area to "spend the balance of my days in the east."  While riding on a new road in the area, he saw a "peculiar formation of soft white rock."  After examining it "under the microscope" he found it to be beneficial to the paper making process.  He was also quoted as saying "No other such mineral deposit is known in this country."  He bought the land and began mining talc.  The Agalite Fiber Company opened a mine there in 1878.  By 1890, they were "shipping 100 tons per day".  Around 1880 a small mill was operating at Butternut Falls using power from the river.  There is no Butternut Falls known in the area today, so there is speculation that this may be Hailesboro Falls, since that is where the ore was taken.

The area flourished.  In 1889, the population of the area had increased significantly and the residents petitioned for a post office.  It was granted and the post office was established on September 6, 1889.  It was at this time that the name of the community was changed to Talcville.  According to the previously mentioned newspaper account "No reason has yet been found why the name was changed.  The National Archives records in Washington, D.C. discloses that there was no other Freemansburgh."   We can only surmise that perhaps the residents felt that Captain Freeman's efforts at iron mining had failed but talc was bringing them prosperity and they wanted a name to reflect that.

Palmer eventually owned about 100 acres of land with mineral rights in the area.  He sold his mine in Talcville to the International Pulp Company, which later became International Talc, in 1893, reportedly for $100,000.

In late 1891, Grant and Bell built the Talcville House, which was promoted as a "First Class Hotel".  It burned and was rebuilt as the Bell House, pictured at the left, which was a larger structure.  Notice the painting of a bell, rather than the word in the name on the building.  The dates of operation of these facilities is detailed in a separate account further below.  The site of these hotels is now the location of the Schryver house.  Since 1978, David and Marcia Schryver have lived in a house that they bought from Marcia's grandmother.  For those whose knowledge of Talcville pre-dates the early 70s, it is the old Hurley house, where Anna Hurley operated a store for many years.  That house was built in 1910.  Prior to the Hurley ownership, the house was owned by the Fenner family.  Luther Fenner was postmaster when the Talcville Post Office was closed and the last post office in the hamlet was located with their store in the back of this house. 

In 1893, the New York Central built a railroad line through Talcville to Edwards.  A station was built and soon after, a school, stores, several houses and a church were built.  Before the rail line, it was common to see caravans of teams of horses hauling the ore to the various mills in the Hailesboro and Fowler area.  A newspaper article dated September 12, 1892 notes that twelve houses and other buildings were moved to allow the railroad, which was being built at that time, to come through.

The photo at the right was reportedly taken around 1893 when the railroad was new through Talcville.  The train depot is visible just above right of center and a train is on the right of that.  At the left of the depot and across the road is the Bell House.  The white house on the hill at the extreme right is the Henry and Iris Waugh house.  They have lived there since 1962.  The two houses in the center foreground are probably the old Woodward and Rowe houses (back to front), which have both been gone since the late 1970's.  The Rowe house was torn down by Ron Holly in 1978 and a mobile home was put in, which is still there today.  The Woodward house burned in 1979.  The darker building at the right of these two is probably the house where the Matejcik family lived back in the 30s.  The Mike Waugh family lived there later.  It was an old company house and is also gone now.  Note that this picture has been cleaned up somewhat.  The original, at almost 110 years old, was showing its age, including a couple of blotches that may have been coffee stains!  The original can be seen here.  A vast majority of the structures in this picture are no longer around.  If you enlarge the original, you can see two houses on the island that were torn down around 1990.  Of course, this was before the dam was put in, so there wasn't an island then!  

Because of this boom, employment in the mines increased and the local population was not sufficient to satisfy the need for workers.  According to an article provided by LaVerne Freeman, "The talc company brought immigrants from the New York City area to meet the demand. The natives were not happy. These men would work for very low wages from dawn to dark under very poor working conditions. There was also the language barrier, lots of homemade moonshine and even a few riots. Accidents were many which resulted in numerous injuries and a number of deaths.  Two cave-ins occurred over the years in the area.

The photo on the left shows the second Talcville School, which was built in 1894 by Grant & Bell, the owners of the Bell House Hotel mentioned earlier.  Housing about 50 students at the time, it was taken out of service in June 1963 and is now a private home.  St. Edward's Catholic Church is visible in the left background.  Consecrated in 1894, it was razed in 1962.  Apparently the first Talcville school was a smaller, one-room building.  This one was built when it was determine that a larger two-room school was needed.  We are researching where the first one was located and what became of it.

A picture of the Talcville Depot, ca 1910-1914, appears at the right.  The people are identified as Elwin Luthergren, Florence Gaines Luthergren, Adelle Hopper Johnson, Mrs. Wall Gaines, Mrs. Henry Thompson, Adelle Johnson, Mrs. Whitney, Amy Wells-Cole-McKee-Dahlberg, Loretta Doyle Whalen, , Mrs. Moses Compo, George Bean, Mrs. Henry Thompson-Taxi, Carl/Carol Johnson (station agent), Harold Hurley, Floyd and Jeffery Whitney, George Hurley, Florence Gaines, Leila and Melena Compo, Mussetta Dawley Williams, Iva Carswell, Pauline Carswell Sills, Ruth Whalen Hurley.  We have some questions because there appear to be 22 people in the photo and 24 identified with one left blank.  We are working on deciphering who is whom!

According to local lore, the first fatality of the New York Central Railroad on the G & O Line was in Talcville on December 16, 1915.  Eugene Powers had just dropped off his grandchildren at school and got struck and killed at the railroad crossing.  He was on a horse drawn wagon.  One horse was killed immediately and one died later.

Rail passenger service ended in 1935 but freight service continued until the late 60s through Talcville and into Edwards.  The post office in the community closed on December 8, 1935, about the same time as the passenger train service ended.  The mail went to Edwards at that point and Talcville became a rural delivery.  The train depot came down in the mid to late 40s and became a place where many children growing up in the 50s played baseball.

As the mining industry declined over the years and America became much more mobile with the advancement of the automobile, people moved out of the hamlet.  Talcville is a quiet residential area, a mere shadow of the once bustling community it once was.


During the research for this article, much data, pictures and other information was found that, although it wasn't practical to use in the article, it was none the less interesting so we decided to publish it here.


Postmasters in the Talcville NY Post Office

Established on September 6, 1889
Discontinued on December 8, 1835

Postmaster Appointment Date Notes
Thomas Whalen September 6, 1889
Amelia Gardner April 2, 1891
Henry Ryan July 19, 1893
Jerome M. Darling November 18, 1899
Patrick Hurley August 2, 1900 This was probably Patrick Francis Hurley, who along with his wife Nellie ran a store in Talcville in the early 1900s.
Ray A. Shafter March 11, 1904
Michael E. Holley March 22, 1905 Michael Holley was the father of John Holly who ran Holly's Everybody's Store.  Note the difference in the spelling.  John, for whatever reason, changed the spelling of the name.
Alice T. Holley May 13, 1915 Alice Holley was Michael Holley's daughter and a sister to John Holly.  She held the longest tenure as a Talcville Postmaster.  She never married.
Leslie D. Fenner February 24, 1927
Luther D. Fenner September 29, 1930 This was located in the back of the Fenner/Hurley/Schryver house.

Pictures of the dam being built in Talcville.  These are identified as being taken in 1909.

Talcville mines

Number 2-1/2 mine

This mine, located on the Ames Road just downstream from the Talcville Dam on the north side of the river, was part of the original Freeman mine.  The Ames Road exits the Talcville Road near the bridge over the Oswegatchie River where the old schoolhouse still stands.

An undated and unidentified newspaper human interest article tells that it was business as usual in Talcville during the "Great Depression".  Based on pictures and the talk of depression, this article obviously was published in the 1930s.  "For a while the miners were on a five-day week" which alludes to the fact that perhaps they were accustomed to working a six-day week.  It goes on to state that  "villagers declare" that "at no time during depression" were workers laid off a full week.  The picture and caption at the right were taken from this article.  This was the "two and a half" and was proclaimed in this article to be the "world's largest talc mine".

Although this once was the largest talc mine in the world, all that remains now is a portion of the foundation of the mine shop.  The picture at the left shows that structure as it appeared in 1960. It sat on the right side of that road, just past a small creek, just downstream from the Talcville Dam.

Number 3 mine

The undated photo at the left shows the old Number 3 mine.  Operated by International Pulp, which later became International Talc and then Gouverneur Talc, this was located off of Mine Road.  This road, which is no longer maintained, public, or for that matter very passable, exits the Talcville Road across from a cluster of three houses just downstream from Newton Hill.  One of these houses was once the residence of the Lutz family and another is the current home of Irene O'Shea.

There once was a farm on the way into this mine where the Hart family lived.  At one time the Waughs also lived there.  This is the mine where Doug Skeldon, Howard Fuller and Clark Zanker were killed on July 11, 1960.

Wintergreen mine

This mine was also located off the Ames Road.  A short distance downstream from the two and a half, there is a road that goes in to this area.  This property is now privately owned and posted.

Hyatt mine

This mine was located on the Cole Road.  A purist might contend that this is actually in Pleasant Valley and not Talcville!  It is across the river from Wintergreen.

Reynolds mine

This mine was located on Newton Hill.  It was a small independent company headed by a lady from the New York City Area named Reynolds.  Henry Waugh, a 1955 ECS graduate, told us that the mine had recently opened by the time he was graduated.  This picture at the left shows what it looked like in 1959.  All that is left of it today is the remains of one of the structures and the sealed-up entrance.  The picture on the right shows the sealed-up entrance as it has looked for the last 40 years or more.

During our research, we were told that a former worker at this mine said that "it was a nifty little operation and compared to the Talc Mills of International and Gouverneur Talc, the Reynolds Mill was the best and cleanest of any of them."  The following is folklore and wasn't going to be included.  After hearing this story related from the second person, we figured it was worth mentioning because it relates to why the mine was closed.  The owner's wife apparently caught him with a mistress and gave him the boot, taking over operations of the mill and mine. She in turn, struck up an affair with the book keeper and they took off together, closing the operations!


Mine Fatalities over the years in Talcville Miner Date
According to an article by LaVerne Freeman, there were eighteen recorded deaths in Talcville mines during their operations.  This article provides many details on these accidents but only documents fourteen of the deaths.  Some of the men died on the train en route to the hospital in Ogdensburg.  Their deaths are probably registered in the towns where they died.

The first fatality occurred in 1893 in the original Freeman mine.  Hiram Heath (pronounced Heth, with a short e sound) was only sixteen years old.  His father ran a store in Talcville at the time.  He is buried in the Edwards Riverside Cemetery.  The second man killed in the mine was William Apple.  This happened a year later in 1894 and he was only 22.  He is buried in Fine with his father who was the victim of a mining accident the year before in Jayville, a neighboring community.

The worst accident in the history of the Talcville mines, and in fact in mining in Edwards, occurred about 30 minutes before the work shift ended on February 13, 1897 at the Freeman Mine.  Tons of rock came crashing down killing six miners.  These men left five widows and 26 children without fathers.  The United States Talc Company was leasing the mine, we believe from International at the time.

* In the list of fatalities at the right, William Dawley was involved in the accident on February 13, 1897 but he didn't die until the next day.  He apparently had exited, but then returned to the mine.

Hiram Heath January 21, 1893
William Apple March 9, 1894
Charles W. LaRock February 13, 1897
John Mathews February 13, 1897
Fred Hurley McCoy February 13, 1897
Milford Stuart McLaughlin February 13, 1897
Alfred Tetherton February 13, 1897
* William Dawley February 14, 1897
Patrick Goodrow August 15, 1898
Abel "Archie" Girard October 20, 1901
James Whalen June 7, 1902
Stewart Hill January 15, 1903
Mato Antonovich October 28, 1903
Nelson Laraby (LaFlare) December 24, 1907
Howard Ernest Fuller July 11, 1960
Douglas Skeldon July 11, 1960
Clark Milton Zanker July 11, 1960
John Thomas Matejcik May 4, 1970

Talcville Hotels

Two hotels were operated in Talcville in the late nineteenth century.  Attempts at piecing together a time-line from a number of old newspaper articles has met with mixed success.  It is known that Grant and Bell built the first structure, known as the Talcville House.  This opened in late 1891.

One account indicates that the Talcville House burned in 1892 but a May 1894 clipping that states "Our village was thrown into a state of excitement Sunday night about 10 or 11 o'clock by the burning of the hotel, Bell's House, and Grant & Bell's store."  Since May 7 was a Monday, this would seem to indicate that the fire occurred on May 6. However, being realistic, it doesn't seem that the technology of 1894 would have allowed the printing of this the next day so April 29 might be more likely for the fire.  It appears from this information that although it was originally called the Talcville House, it was either renamed Bell's House before the fire or else the reporter simply referred to it this way since the Bells were the proprietors.  

There is an old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words."  If you compare the Bell House picture to an enlargement of the 1893 picture of Talcville (shown at the left), it is clear that the two structures are different.  The 1893 picture also shows a smaller attached structure which was probably the store mentioned in the article about the fire.  Whether it was called the Talcville House or Bell's House at that time, the original structure was still standing in 1893.  It was the building destroyed in the 1894 fire.  Therefore, our best theory is that the original Talcville House was here from late 1891 until April 29, 1894.

A July 1894 article indicates that Grant & Bell are "at their new hotel."  It seems quite remarkable that the building was re-built so quickly, but it appears that a new hotel was built and opened within two months of the fire, "although the bar was open by June 16, 1894"!  Details are somewhat muddled by the fact that an 1895 reference mentions the Talcville House and several from 1897 and 1899 mention Bell's House.  The only thing we are sure of is that we are unsure, but it is likely that the two names were used somewhat interchangeably.  Nothing was found in reference to the demise of the second structure.  Local folklore is that it also burned.

Whether it was burned or torn down, this happened prior to 1910.  The site of these hotels is now the location of the Schryver house, which was built in 1910.  Therefore, our best guess for a time-line on the Bell House is that it was in operation from June 1894 until sometime before 1910.

On a side-note, a Mrs. Girard ran a boarding house at some point.  Apparently it was located at what is known as the Lutz house, the one closest Saloon Hill.  We are looking into when that was in operation.


Talcville Stores

Over the years, many grocery stores dotted the road through Talcville.  There was Carswell's, Ryan's, Freeman's, Heath's, Gardner's, at least three different Hurley Stores, Fenner's, Everybody's Store (Holly's Store) and Pascoes.  Although we have a few pictures and information on some of these stores, we don't even know where some of them were.  We are looking for pictures and information if anyone has that and are willing to share.  Please contact us.  In some cases, we have a pretty good idea of when the stores operated.  In others, we have done our best to piece together a time frame based on newspaper clippings and family folklore.

Gardner's ... Early 1891 until the middle of 1893

Several newspaper articles have been found that make mention of Gardner's Store.  One dated May 18, 1891 tells that "Miss N.A. Gardner is painting her new store."  Another, dated December 26, 1892, tells of a disturbance in Talcville.  "At another time, a riotous mob with clubs and other weapons chased one of their kind into the street and then around a private house and into the store and post office of N.A. Gardner & Co."  This is in line with the fact that Amelia Gardner served as postmaster of Talcville from 1891 through 1893.  The post office was probably located in her store at that time.  Several references are made to N.A. Gardner, so it would see that she was not married and used her middle name, although a previously mentioned article does refer to her as "Nin."  Finally, another article from March of 1893 notes that "notwithstanding their steadily increasing business here, N.A. Gardner & Co. wish to dispose of their stand and stock of goods."

Heath's Store ... at least during 1892 and '93

There is a reference that the father of Hiram Heath, the 16 year old who was the first mine accident fatality in Talcville, ran a store there.  There is also a newspaper article dated January 18, 1892 that states "Philemon Heath, our genial grocer, is doing a rushing business."  It has been noted that the family pronounced their name with a short e sound ... Heath rhymes with breath.

Bell's Store ... December 1892 until March 1893

An article, dated March 27, 1893 states "N.A. Gardner & Co. have bought out the entire stock of groceries of W.H. Bell who started in business here in December.  There is no use, boys, of trying to compete with 'Nin.'"  The article goes on to indicate that Mr. Bell planned to move his building next to the hotel and convert it to a billiard parlor.

Freeman's

We have no time-line on this store, which was mentioned in the Esther Webb article in "Edwards on the Oswegatchie."

Carswell's ... time still unknown

This is also mentioned in the Esther Webb article in "Edwards on the Oswegatchie."  Although we have no information on the store, we do know that Hattie Carswell was the first recorded owner of what is now the Schryver home.  Since she only lived there for two years, from August 1910 until July 1912, the store probably wasn't located there.  It is presumed that they moved elsewhere in the hamlet and opened a store there.

Ryan's ... June 1893 through October 1899

A newspaper article dated August 4, 1893, states that H.H. Ryan came to Talcville on June 1st and "purchased  the good will and general stock of N.A. Gardner".  Another dated November 13, 1899 indicates that "H.H. Ryan, our popular groceryman (sic), has sold out his entire stock of goods and moved to Potsdam."  He was postmaster from 1893 through 1899 so we assume that the post office operated from the store.

Darling's ... 1899

"J.M. Darling carries a nice line of groceries, etc., on which he seems to be having good trade."  This was taken from a newspaper article dated August 2, 1899, which substantiates still another Talcville grocery store.

Hurley's Store ... November 1899 until before 1945

The original Hurley Store is pictured at the right.  It was run by Patrick F. and Fannie Helena "Nellie" Lawrence Hurley.   According to a newspaper account dated November 28, 1899, "P.F. Hurley, who recently purchased the good will and general store business of H.H. Ryan, has his store filled to overflowing with all kinds of first class goods, which he offers for sale at a living profit."   Nellie continued to operate the store, with the help of her children, after his death.  The store was attached to their home and was located just up and across from the Talcville School, just about where Ralph and Barbara Gayne's garage now stands.  Later they added a second story dance hall over the store.  Nellie died in 1945 but we do not know when the store closed.  The Hurley family is pictured in the front yard in this photo. 

Fenner/Hurley/Pascoe's Store ... ? until 1978

We do not have an exact timeline on this one, but we do know that a store was operated for many years in the same location by three different owners.  This store was located on the Talcville Road near the corner of the Ames Road.  The Talcville School is located on this corner.  Next door to the school is a home now owned by the Bobby Facey family.  Edmund Skeldon and his family lived there in the 60s and 70s.  The store was next door to this house, almost directly across the road from where Hurley's Store was.  It appears the original owner was a Fenner.

By the early 1930s, George and Ruth Whalen Hurley owned the store.  Clarence Skeldon, who grew up in Talcville and was graduated from ECS in 1948, remembers gathering around the radio with a group of friends every afternoon at 5 to listen to the "Lone Ranger" and other shows.  This was between 1936 and the early 40s and George Hurley ran it at that time.  Wally Hurley, who grew up at the same time and has lived in Talcville his entire life, shared that another show they listened to was "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy".  He also related that anyone coming in to listen to the radio would grab a piece of fire-wood off the pile and use it for their chair.

The final proprietors were Alfred and Mildred Pascoe.  Based on information we have received from a couple of different sources, it appears they bought it in early 1949.  The exact date isn't known, but it is known that the Hurleys were still there in 1948 but the Pascoes were running it when Anna Hurley opened her store in 1949.  This store closed in 1978, making it the last store still running in the hamlet.  This structure was torn down in the fall of 2011 and a new building built at the site.  This picture was taken during the summer of 1960, so we assume that it is Al standing at the entrance.

Everybody's Store (Holly's Store) ... ? until prior to 1949

This store was located on the Talcville Road, across from the end of what is now known as Waugh Road.  It would have been just in front of and to the left of what is now the Marty and Dianne Reese home.  John and Ethel Holly ran "Everybody's Store" which was attached to their house.  According to their grandson Ron Holly, there was an old family story that he heard from the time he was young.  "Grampa would walk out of the store into the house for his lunch everyday, soup, sandwich and hot tea and then stretch out on the couch and instantly fall asleep, waking up at exactly one o'clock and then go back to the store. If anyone should have come in to purchase anything, they waited on themselves and left the money on the counter."  Try that today!  In this picture, taken sometime around 1939, left to right, are Russell "Rusty" Clintsman with his mother Mary Clintsman, Adell Skeldon and Maude Skeldon.  At some point, the Hollys sold the property to Buster and Louise Walker, who ran the store until closing it prior to 1949.  We know this because Anna Matejcik Hurley had worked at the store and she opened her store that year after the Walkers had closed theirs.  The building burned somewhere in the mid-1960s.

Fenner's Store ... early 1920s until around 1935 and Hurley's Store ... 1949 until 1964

Both of these stores, which were completely independent of each other, were located in a house on the river side of the road, across from the railroad depot.  The Talcville House and the Bell House, two prior hotels, also sat on this location.  They were two separate buildings that were both destroyed by fires before this house was built.  Luther D. and Julia E. Fenner bought the home in July 1912.  We don't know the exact date when the Fenners opened their store, but an autobiography written by Anna Matejcik Hurley notes that she remembers Fenner's Store as a child.  This means that it was in operation in the early 20s.  Luther Fenner was the last postmaster in Talcville and the post office was part of the store in this house when the post office closed in 1935.  We also don't know when the store closed but Mr. Fenner died in 1942 and Mrs. Fenner in 1945.  Since they were 87 and 88, respectively, at the times of their deaths, the store probably closed at the time of, or shortly after, the post office did.  According to the time-line we have constructed, it would have closed by 1942 at the latest.  On September 8, 1948, Patrick and Anna Hurley bought the property from Charles L. Marsh.  The next year, Anna Hurley opened a store there and ran it until 1964.  This was the third and last Hurley's Store in Talcville and the one that most people in modern times remember.  


Along the Talcville Road

The Talcville Road is a 3.3 mile town road.  Most of it "parallels" the Oswegatchie River. The US Postal Service numbered the road from the NY 58 end so the numbers go down from the Edwards end.  This direction is also downstream on the river so we are starting our "tour" from that end and going "down" the Talcville Road.  Most of these pictures were taken in the late 50s to mid-60s.  They are part of a collection of old pictures provided by the Edwards Historical Association.  A history of the homes and buildings is included where available.  Our "picture tour" of the road is a work in progress.

As you start down the Talcville Road, the first home you encounter on the right after crossing the bridge over the Oswegatchie River is shown on the left as it appeared in 1960.   Owned over the years by the Newtons, Thompsons and Doyles, it has been the home of Don and Amanda Hart Fuller and their family for many years.

Across the road, at the entrance to a dirt road, sits a little ranch style house that has been the home of Tom and Flossie Brayton for decades.  This picture was dated February 1965.

At the end of the dirt road beyond the Brayton house is another residence.  In its early years, it was the Cole Farm.  The Bressette family lived there in the 60s and 70s.  It is now the home of Clay and Cindy Bressette.  This is how it looked in April 1965.  The barn burned a number of years ago.

As we travel down the road, there is about a quarter mile stretch with no homes.  On the right was an old farm.  That farm is long gone, but there are a number of new homes in this area.  On the right side of what once was a meadow is the Ward and Shelby Bacon home.  This ranch style home was built in the early 1990s by Eugene "Rip" and Amy Waugh.  They had lived there for a short period when Rip was tragically killed.  A NYS DOT employee, he died of injuries sustained when struck by a car at a work site.

For many years, a trailer sat at the other side of this meadow.  It has been gone since the 80s.

The railroad tracks cut through the back of this meadow.  The tracks were taken out in the 1980s and the Edwards Town Board created a nature trail through there in the 90s.  Behind that is a home that was built by Richard and Ruth Callan.  Dr. Callan was the District Principal at ECS (now known as Superintendent of Schools) from 1972 until 1975.  He then became the Assistant Superintendent at the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES and retired from there after a number of years as the BOCES Superintendent.

Across the road from this meadow, there are two new homes on the river side.  They were built in the first decade of this century.

On the right as you drive over Newton Hill is the site of the former Reynolds Talc Mine.  For as long as most people around can remember, there has been the skeleton of an old concrete structure there and the entrance of the mine has been blocked with a metal door.  This picture shows what is left of the structure.  It has looked the same for the last 40 years or so.

As you come down the other side of Newton Hill, there are three homes.  The first one, on the left or river-side, is the current home of Dick and Ruth Callan.  They had is built in the early 2000s when they decided that their previous home just up the road was bigger and had more land than they needed.  It sits atop the hill with views in both directions on the river right by the rapids there.

"Next door" to this is a  house that many "old-timers" remember as the Lennis Skeldon residence in the 50s and 60s.  Before that it was the home of Manual Gaumes.  Sometime in the 70s, ownership went to Ken and Dody Clement Woods.  Kenny died around 2007 and Dody moved out around 2010.  It is currently abandoned but looks very much like it did in 1960 as this picture shows.  The old house/structure next door was torn down back in the 70s and a two-stall garage was built at that location.

The photograph on the left shows a house that sat on the hill across the road from the Skeldon/Woods house.  An Aldridge family once lived there, possibly in the 40s and early 1950s. Our information identifies this as the Skeldon house in 1960 when the picture was taken.  Whether other Skeldons lived there, we aren't certain, but John and Linda Skeldon lived there about that time.  The structure apparently burned and they put in a mobile home on the site.  That was sometime in the 60s or 70s.  They lived there for many years.  Since the late 1990s it has been owned by Sally Allen Matthews.

Although we don't have any pictures available, there were, at one time, some buildings along the low spot in the road heading to "Saloon Hill".  Currently, a family from Gouverneur has a small camping trailer on the river side which serves as their summer get-away.

Our next stop on the "tour" is the area on the river side of the road, across from the road that leads into what was the old number 3 mine.  Three houses sit in this area.  On the right is the old Lutz house as it appeared in 1960.  From 1973 until around 2003, it was owned by the Daileys, a couple from Canada who used it as a summer home.  They sold it and it then served the same purpose for a family from New Jersey.  It is currently on the market again.  Webmaster's note:  On our few trips past this home, there have been vehicles there so it appears that it is now occupied, perhaps year-round.

The photo on the left shows how the middle of these three houses looked in 1960.  At that time it was the Wynn Whitford home.  Af various times before that it was the home of the Vern Lutz family and the Paul Matejcik family.  It became the Charles Toth residence in the early 60s.  When they took ownership is unknown, but Tim and Anita Bishop owned it during the 70s and up to the mid to late 80s.  They relocated after the St. Joe strikes of that era.  It has gone through a couple of ownerships since then and is still a family home today.

The last of these three structures, as it appeared in 1960, is at the right.  At that time it was the Blackburn home.  It is our understanding that it is now owned by Chuck O'Shea, who does not live in the area.  He is the son of the late Charlie and Irene O'Shea, who lived for many years in the old Clintsman house further down the road.  Irene has lived here for at least the last 20 years.  Webmaster's note:  Mrs. O'Shea passed away on February 2, 2016.  It appears that the home is now occupied by someone else.

Across the road from these three roads is the Mine Road.  Once leading into the mines over this hill, the road is now unused and for the most part, not passable.  At one point, there was a farm and home on this road.

The next stretch of the road skirts the river.  A family from Edwards with Talcville roots has a couple of camping trailers on the river side here.  It serves as their summer place.  Webmaster's note:  A new house has been built here.  It is possible that this is now a year-round home.

The next stop is what most people know as the old Rowe and Woodward houses.  Located on the opposite side of the road from the river, the lighter house was the Woodward house and the darker one the Rowe house, as they looked in 1960.  Before the Woodwards, the Lindon Aldridge family lived in that house.  The Rowe place was torn down in 1978 and a mobile home put there.  That is still there and a rental home today.  The Woodward place burned in the spring of 1979 when Jerry and Joanne Thornton lived there.  Ownership has changed a few times since then and one of those owners constructed two greenhouses at the Woodward location.  For the past few years, they have not been used.  Webmaster's note:  The greenhouses have been removed.

There is a dirt road that takes you up the hill just past where these two houses were.  At the end of it, which is now known as Waugh Road, is the Hank and Iris Waugh home.  Their house is much different today than it was in 1965 as the picture on the right shows.  They had lived there about two years at that time.

There was at one time, another house on the hill near the Waugh house and behind the Woodward and Rowe houses.  This one is pictured at the left.  The Matejcik family lived in this back in the 1920s and 30s.  A number of families called it home over the years.  This photograph was taken in 1965.  When it was torn down is uncertain, but it was probably not long after this picture was taken. 

Across the road from the end of the Waugh Road sat Everybody's Store, also known as Holly's Store.  This picture, dated November 1959, shows the house and attached store.  This side actually faced the road.  According to our timeline, Buster and Louise Walker owned the house at this point and, although they once ran the store, it was not in operation in 1959.  Originally, we had information that indicated that this house burned in 1960.  However, Henry Waugh, who has lived across from it since 1963, has told us that the fire occurred after they moved in.  Although we are not absolutely certain as to the date, it was probably in 1966.  A Sanford family lived there at the time of the fire.

The photograph below, dated July '60, shows three properties.  The truck on the lower left is sitting in front of Holly's Store.  The garage at the left of the truck is also no longer standing.  The photo also identifies this as the "Webb" home at this point.  That claim does contradict two other accounts we have found so we are continuing to further research that.

The house immediately on the right of this is called the "Hutton" house in this 1960 picture.  A Guiles family lived there by the mid-60s but since around 1990, this house has been home to Marty and Diane Facey Reese and their family.  At the time of this writing, three of their five daughters are married.  It is very common to drive by here on a weekend and see a number of cars.  Three generations of the family remain close and get together often.  The younger two daughters and their son are still in school at this point.  A number of years ago, they built a one-stall garage just about where the garage in this picture stood.

The house on the far right in this shot is identified as the "A. Hurley" house.  Known for decades as the Fenner house, this sits at the location of the Talcville House and Bell House, two former Talcville hotels.  Luther and Julia Fenner owned this from 1912 until about 1942.  The records of the home show that a bank or the county owned it between 1942 to 1945, so it apparently was a rental then and she moved sometime around her husband's death in 1942.  Clarence Skeldon has related to us that his family lived there around 1942 to 1943.  He was only 12 or 13 at the time.  After 1945, ownership was transferred three times in as many years. Pat and Anna Hurley owned the home from 1948 until 1978.  Although various generations of Talcvillians have known this as the Fenner or Hurley house, current residents know it as the Schryver house.  Both of the previous owners lived there close to 30 years.  In January 1978, David and Marcia Davis Schryver became the owners when they purchased the property from Anna Hurley, Marcia's grandmother.

Webmaster's note:  In October 2015, after over 37 years and nine months, the longest of any owner, the Schryvers sold the home to Jason Colton.  He and his family now live there.

From the looks of the 1960 photo, the siding only covers a portion of the side of the house.  We are guessing that this was the year that aluminum siding was installed on the home and it was being done at the time the photo was taken.  That picture also shows an old garage behind the house.  The 1965 photo at the right also shows a section with a sloped roof on the back of the house.  The shed, garage and an another shed attached to the house were torn down around 1970 and garage replaced with a new, one-stall unit.  In the mid-1990s, the Schryvers built an addition on the back that was quite similar in shape to the original section.  A couple of years later, they tore the front porch off and replaced it with an addition, again, similar in shape to what had been there.  In 2001, an attached 3-stall garage was built connecting the house to the other garage behind it.  During this process, the aluminum siding was removed and the entire structure sided with vinyl.

Next to the Fenner/Hurley/Schryver/Colton house was the Clintsman place.  Dudley and Mary Clintsman raised their family here.  The photo at the left shows how it looked in 1965.  At this point, it was probably the home of Charlie and Irene O'Shea.  This house was torn down in the mid-1980s by another Edwards resident who used the wood to build another structure elsewhere in the town.  The property is still in the Clintsman family.  Robyn Clintsman now owns it.  She is the daughter of Russell "Rusty" Clintsman and a grand-daughter of Dudley and Mary.

Next door to this was what was commonly referred to as the old Drake house.  Shown at the right in 1965, by the late 1970s, this house had fallen into a serious state of disrepair and was being used by various people to house a variety of farm animals.  It burned in the early 1980s, curiously on Halloween night.  Now a vacant lot, the property is listed as an estate with a Long Island address.  Efforts to contact them a number of years ago were met with no response.

A double-wide trailer has been located on the corner of the road into the island since the early 1970s.  In the 70s it was the home of Martha Allen.  It has changed hands a number of times since then.  Webmaster's note:  New owners took occupancy of this around 2012.  Since then, extensive updates and improvements have been made.

At one time, there were eight parcels of land, most of them with houses on them, on the "island" in Talcville.  Originally not an island, it was created when the dam was first constructed in 1909.  The higher water level that resulted caused this section of land to be surrounded by water.  Today, all eight parcels are owned by a couple from Gouverneur.  These two pictures are of the island as it was in 1965.  The one on the left shows two houses on the back of the island that were the homes of the Burr and Camidge families, left to right, respectively, in the 1970s.  The house on the right was occupied by the John Matejcik family in the 40s until around 1952 or '53 and then the Allen family lived there.  Hank and Betty Allen sold the home to the Camidges somewhere around 1970.

The photograph on the right shows two other houses on the down-river side of the island.  John Burr, whose family moved from the island around 1978, told us that a Jesse Streeter lived in the larger house when they lived there and built the small house, which is the only structure still standing on the island.  Mr. Streeter moved into the smaller house at some point and Sherwood and Sharon Horne lived in the big house for a while.  The Dawley house once stood near this smaller house which now serves as the current owners' summer hideaway.   

Across from the entrance to the island is a road that leads up the hill.  Now known as the Blackburn Road, there were, at one time, two houses up there.  Sometime after the fire in their former residence, the old Woodward house, Jerry and Joanne Thornton bought these houses.  One served as their home and the other was used for storage and animals.  The storage building was torn down several years ago and only one house remains.  For a number of years, it as been the home of Dave and Nettie Rice Whitford.

In front of the island, on the river side, there used to be several homes.  The first was a house occupied by a Frank Poverly in 1965 at the time the photo at the left was taken.  It sat very close to the road.  Another house can be seen behind it in the picture.  That is the Matejcik/Allen/Camidge house on the island that is shown in the picture above this on the left.

Next was a house that was owned by the Albert Skeldon family in the 1940s.  Sometime in the 70s, Ralph "Peanut" and Sally Allen Matthews became the owners.  It burned in the late 70s and the Matthews family moved across the road to the old Pascoe Store.  We haven't been able to located any pictures of that structure.

The next building was the old Hurley Store.  Pictures of that appear elsewhere in this article.  The last place on the river before the bridge was the Dean and Doris Bishop home in the 60s and 70s.  The Bishop house, as it appeared in 1960, is at the right.  That house burned down during the first week of December.  Ralph Gayne, a descendent of the Clark family of Talcville, built a log cabin there.  He and his wife, Barbara, have called it home for many years.  Their garage sits where the old Hurley Store used to be.  A small house is visible in the left background of this picture.  That is the only structure still standing on the island.

On the downstream side of the entrance to the Blackburn Road, there used to be a building right next to the old Fenner/Hurley/Pascoe Store.  Stories have been told that this was known locally as the "pool hall" in the 30s and 40s.  It wasn't a pool hall at that time and the origin of that term is uncertain.  However, there was a pool hall in operation in Talcville earlier than that, so perhaps the expression is a throw-back to an earlier day.  "Grandma" Pascoe lived there at one time.  To look at this parcel today, it doesn't seem possible that a building could have fit there, but the picture at the left shows how it looked in 1960.  If you look closely in this picture, you can see a small corner of the front of the store.  This building must have come down in the 60s because it wasn't there in the 70s.

The old Fenner/Hurley/Pascoe Store came down in the fall of 2011 and, at the time of this writing, a new structure is being built there.  It appears to be a garage, possibly with a living space above.  Between the store and the school on the corner, a house with detached one-stall garage has sat for years.  This picture shows it in 1960.  At that time, it was the home of the Edmond and Phyllis Skeldon family.  Edmond died in 1997.  Phyllis sold the home shortly after this and moved to Gouverneur.  For several years now, it has been the home of the Bobby Facey family.  An Aldridge family lived there before the Skeldons and the George Hurley family may have lived there for part of the time that they ran the store next door.

This is how the Talcville School looked about the time it was taken out of service.  On the corner of the Talcville Road and the Ames Road, it has been a rental property for several decades and has been the home of Bill Zeller for many years. 

St. Edward's Catholic Church was located on the Ames Road, just behind the Talcville School.  Built in 1891, it served the community until around 1960.  This picture was taken in the fall of 1959.  The structure was torn down in 1962.  The cross that was on the roof is now part of the memorial that stands on the front lawn of the Parish Center on Trout Lake Street in Edwards.  Manie Hurley had this built in memory of her son, Terry, who was killed in a car accident.

Behind the area of the school and Pascoe's Store is a small road off the Ames Road where two more homes are located.  This short, dead-end road is known as the Mine Road.

The picture on the left shows the first house on the right side of this road as it looked in 1960.  This was the home of Martha Donnelly.  Martha was the grandmother of Gary Lutz who, along with his wife Jo-Ann, live there today.  The basic house is the same today, but overall, there are many changes.  The entire section on the back is no longer there.  Gary and his brother, Vernon Jr., tore that off, sometime in the 60s.  Also, there is now a porch on the front side.  They have been there since the 70s.

Back in 1960 when the picture at the right was taken, the Ray and Rennis McCue home sat just beyond the Donnelly/Lutz house.  This house burned and another house was built there.  We aren't certain which of the houses is pictured.  In the mid-80s, Jim and Eleanor Finley lived there when the second house burned.  Gary Lutz and his son, Gary, tore the second house down.  Some of the wood from it was salvaged and used to build the porch on their home, the house pictured above-left.  The Finleys installed a trailer on the site.  Jim passed away a number of years ago but Eleanor still lives there. 

Today, the Lutz and Finley houses are both on the right side of this short road.  "Back in the day" this wasn't the case.  The road actually went between these two houses and continued up over the hill through the area of the Number 3 mine.  The other end of this road came out about one-half mile or so up the Talcville Road.  This explains why there are two Mine Roads in Talcville!  At one time, they connected.  The situation is actually a bit confused.  The people who now live on this road have a Mine Road address, but the highway map published by St. Lawrence County only labels the other end, which is no longer used.  mapquest.com does show and label both sections.

Pictured in the 1960 photo on the left is what is identified as the McQuade house.  This sat next to and beyond the Donnelly/Lutz house and across the road from the McCue place.  This house is has been gone for decades.

Continuing down the Ames Road, there is a home owned by Liz Bishop Rice.  She has been there for at least the past 35 years. Just beyond this on the same side of the road, was a house where her grandmother lived.  Known commonly as "Grandma" Bishop, the Bishop home is shown at the left as it looked in 1960.  Stories have been told about going to "Grandma Bishop's" for cookies.  Mrs. Bishop was Dean Bishop's mother.  He and his family lived on the Talcville Road and when his children were growing up in Talcville in the 60s, there were many children around.  Liz and her family lived there when it burned, probably in the 1970s.  It was then that they built the current home.  At some time before this, the Kelsey family lived here.

Across the road from this was a house owned by the mines.  Occupied by various families over the years, it was at one point used as a stock room by the company.  This house was abandoned by the early 60s and has long been gone.  The picture on the right shows it as it appeared in 1960.

Just beyond this is where the old two-and-a-half mine used to be.  A portion of the foundation of the old mine shop is all that remains today.  A picture of that structure appeared earlier in this article.

Still further down the road was the location of one of the old Freeman farms.  That is gone today.

The photo at the left was dated 1965.  The two houses in the foreground sit on the hill overlooking the river by the bridge in the hamlet.  At that time, they were the homes of Eugene and Marjorie Hurley Davis and Wally and Shirley Hurley, left to right.  This was a year before Genie and Margie moved their family to the farm at the southern end of the Talcville Road.  At that time, Louis and Marilyn Skeldon Burns bought that house.  Wally still lives in the house on the right.  Another view of that one, taken in 1959, is at the right.

Many people who currently live in the Talcville area probably don't remember when the bridge in the hamlet looked like the view at the right.  This shot was taken in 1964.  At the right side of the photo, you can see the construction that is taking place on the "new" bridge.  Part of the pavement of the road leading up to the bridge on the north side of the river still remains today.

Once you cross the bridge there is a house on the left, at the corner of the Sullivan Road.  The photo at the left was taken in 1960 and identifies it as the home of C.T. Freeman.  We have received information from Town Historian LaVerne Freeman that this was Charles T. Freeman.  He was a grandson of the immigrant, Thomas, and son of Charles C. Freeman who lived at the corner of Route 58 and Burg Road.  He had that house built.  At some point after selling her store, Nellie Hurley lived there and after her death in 1945, her son Harold bought the home from the estate.  Our information tells us that he owned it when the new bridge was built in 1964.  Ivan and Eva Davis bought the home in 1966 when they sold the family farm to their son "Genie".  Ivan died in 1970.  Eva continued to live there and after her death in 1993 the house was sold to Jeff and Amy Carr Sykes, who still make their home there today.

Across from this is a home that was the Clement residence in the 60s and 70s.  As you cross the bridge leaving Talcville, this is the first house on the right after the dam.  The picture on the right shows how it looked in 1965.  The Glen Kennedy family lived there in the late 40s.  It has changed hands a number of times over the past decade or so.  Today it is unoccupied and unattended.  Over the past couple of years, many of the windows have become targets for local youths.

Just beyond the Sykes house (pictured above left) is the Sullivan Road.  A number of homes were down this road.  The first was the Tom Sullivan farm, which is pictured at the left as it appeared in 1960.  The barn, at the right, was across the road from the house.

Continuing on this road, today there is a mobile home on the left and then a newer home built a number of years ago by Kevin and Annette Brassard Hurley.

Just beyond this is the old Webb farm.  Our pictures show this house as it appeared in 1953 and 1962.  The barn sat just to the left of the house as you viewed it.

Back on the Talcville Road, at one time there was a building on the river-side, just beyond the junction with the Sullivan Road.  Owned by Harold Hurley in the 60s, dances were held in this structure.  Today, nothing remains of this.  It is part of the Sykes property.

At the bottom of this small hill, the Cole Road is on the right just before you head up the next hill.  Before the current Talcville Road was built the Burg Road was the access route from Route 58 to Talcville.  The current Sullivan Road joined it and the Cole Road continued to a bridge over Pork Creek to that road.  What is left of that old bridge is still there.

For several years there has been a trailer on the corner of the Talcville Road  As you go down this road the first place is a rental trailer on the left, now owned by Bill Hawn.  Bill is the owner of Jim's Auto in Edwards and a grandson of Paul and Ione Cole.  The next house beyond this is Bill and Carole Hawn's house.  This new home was built a number of years ago and sits just before the old Paul Cole farm, which is shown at the left.  Although this photo is not date-stamped, we believe that it was from the early 60s.  That house is still there and a rental today.

Just beyond the Paul Cole farm, on the opposite side of the road there was at one point a Freeman Farm.  This was owned by the Nelson Freeman family and later by the Delbert Freeman family.  At one point Bob Cole lived there and farmed it.  The photo at the left shows what this looked like in 1961.  Shortly after this was taken, the house became a memory.  This was located near the entrance to what is now known as the Hyatt Mine.  The gate and entrance to the mine is still evident but nothing remains of this house or farm.

Beyond the Paul Cole farm, on the opposite side of the road, is the Chet Cole farm.  Chet and Jean Goodnough Cole lived and farmed this for several decades.  Jean passed away in 1994 and Chet died in 2010 but their son, James, still lives here today.  The barn for the farm, which is no longer being operated, is across the road.  Both of these photos are not dated.

Back on the Talcville Road, as you drive up the hill toward NY 58, the last place on the left is the Davis farm.  Although many homes have been known by different names based on the owners over the years, your generation doesn't matter on this one.  It has been the Davis farm "forever".  Eugene Lorenzo and Adella Prestige Davis began farming there in 1913.  Their son and his wife, Ivan and Eva Law Davis took over the farm in the early 30s and then their son and his wife, Eugene and Marjorie Hurley Davis, took it over in 1966.  Eugene ceased the dairy operation here in 1993 when they built a new home on route 58.  Their son Michael and his wife, Deb Sykes Davis, moved there in 1993 and bought the property the next year.  They currently raise beef cattle there.  Five generations and 99 years later, it is still the Davis farm.

As an interesting historical note, Ivan Davis approached the town when plans were being put in place to build a new road to Talcville.  He gave the town the land for the current road.  Prior to that, residents traveled on the Burg Road to get from Route 58 to Talcville.

For decades, ever since the Talcville Road was first built, the Davis farm was the first home you came to from the Route 58 end.  In the mid-1990s, Mike and Deb Davis sold a piece of land to Brian and Dianne Hurley.  Brian, a Talcville native, had a home built in a meadow on the Davis farm.  It is now the first house you see as you turn on to the Talcville Road from route 58.

We need help in identifying our last photo.  The caption in the album with this reads "Barn on Sullivan farm - burned in 1967".  This barn is definitely different than the one above that was on the Tom Sullivan farm.  We have run this by several people and we can't seem to place this barn or the fire.  The photographi is partially double-exposed and was very dark.  We have tried to clean it up a little, but that only enhanced the double-exposure!  If anyone recognizes this barn, or remembers a fire in 1967, please contact David J. Schryver.


The Residents of Talcville

As we collect more pictures, we will add to this section of the people who lived in the hamlet over the years.  When possible we will try and give information on where they went and what they did.  This section will probably be a work in progress for some time.

Hank and Betty Allen

Hank and Betty lived on the island.  The picture of them at the left was taken there in 1962.  They had lived on the Rice Road and moved to a house on the island in Talcville in 1953.  There were 11 of them living in that house that was owned by the mines.  Vernon Allen has some great memories about growing up in Talcville and said it "was a place where everyone knew everyone."  The photo at the right, taken somewhere around 1955 or '56, shows Betty standing in the back with oldest daughter Mabel.  Mabel was married at that time and is holding her son Jeff Davison. Across the front are Linda, Karen, Sally, Ellen, Nancy, Vernon.  Martha and Jim were not in this picture. 

Ron and Grace Rice Holly

Ron was a son of John and Ethel Holly who had run Everybody's Store.  They lived in Talcville a couple of different times.  The last time they moved there was in 1978.  Ron and a son, Greg, tore down the old Rowe house and put in a mobile home.  They lived there until Ron died in 1992 and Grace moved a few years later.  The trailer is now a rental property.

Pat and Anna Matejcik Hurley

Pat and Anna spent much of their lives in Talcville.  Patrick was the son of Patrick Francis and Nellie Lawrence Hurley who ran the family grocery store.  He was born there.  Anna, who was a Matejcik, moved to Talcville with her family when she was six months old.  They were married in 1936 and lived in the Hurley farm for about a year.  They then bought the house on the hill which has been the Waugh house since 1962.  They lived there until buying what many remember to be their family store in 1949.  Pat delivered milk by horse and buggy before going to work at the two-and-a-half mine.  He died in 1971.  Anna lived at the family home until selling it in January 1978 to her granddaughter Marcia and her husband, David Schryver.  She spent the next 29 years, until her death in 2007, in Gouverneur.

Vernon and Mary Girard Lutz

C:\Users\Owner\Pictures\Vern & Mary Lutz with Vernon Jr  1952.jpegVernon and Mary Girard Lutz were married in 1928 and resided in Talcville all their married life. They were the first couple to be married in the Sacred Heart Church in Edwards.  When first married they lived in the boarding house and then moved to the house on the hill near the Donnelly/Lutz house but in approximately 1944 they moved the family to the other end of town in a house owned by International Talc Co.  Vernon was a foreman  with them until  his death in 1959 at age 50.  Vernon and Mary Lutz are pictured at the left in 1954 with their oldest son, Vernon Jr., who was home on leave from the army.

An interesting tale about the move was that they decided to move earlier than originally planned and their eldest daughter, Betty, was out on a date.  When she came home and set her purse on the table it landed on the floor.  She turned the light on and saw the note “moved to new house”.  That was always a joke in our family that they may move when you weren’t home.

In 1959 Mary Lutz purchased the home.  She lived there until 1969 when her son, Bert, purchased the home and she moved to Gouverneur to live near her daughter, Shirley Sheen.  She passed away in 1998.  At that time twelve children were living.  Bert sold the house to a Canadian couple around 1970.

There were thirteen children born to them.  One son died as a baby.  The children all attended the Talcville School and approximately 1962 the Talcville School closed and they were bused to Edwards. Vernon served on the school board for ten years.

C:\Users\Owner\Pictures\Family picture 1993.jpegI remember Mother, Mary Lutz, telling me that when they were first married they would have to leave the car at the state road in the spring, because the road was not paved and was too muddy to drive.  They would carry their groceries into town.  She also said our house use to be a hotel before we moved there.  At the other end of town our great grandmother ran the boarding house, and then Grandma Girard.  The house was twice as big as it is now.  Originally it had three floors with lots of rooms and the miners would rent the rooms while they were working in the mines.

The thing that was interesting to me about our house having been a hotel was that we had two outhouses.  They said one was for men and one for women.  It wasn’t until many years later that our brother, Henry, built a nice bathroom in the house.  Also, you could sometimes feel the vibration from the work in the mines because the veins ran under the house.  The mines were a part of our everyday life,  we played in the woods, having to be careful about the mine holes, and were aware of the accidents and danger to all the men that worked there.

We had a happy and fun life in Talcville.  We played on the ice in winter, swam in the river in the summer, played softball with other residents and played in the tunnel that ran under the railroad in front of our house.  Sometimes the water would be really fast and other times, hardly any at all.  We just had to get out of the tunnel when the train was going across the top because it would be blowing the whistle and it could hurt our ears.  We always looked forward to the engineers on the train because they would throw chalk or candy to all the kids in town.

The Lutz family is pictured above right as adults in 1993.  Front row: Virginia (D), Henry, Mother Mary (D), Vernon Jr. (D), Betty (D).  2nd row: Donna, Bonnie, Marion, Sue, Jackie.  Back row: Shirley (D), Gary, Lucky (cousin), Bert (D).  (D) denotes deceased as of 2011.

Submitted by Donna Lutz Barlow

John and Mary Matejcik

John and Mary were Czechoslavakian immigrants who met at a wedding in New York City after they had come to America.  They lived for awhile in the city before moving to the Hermon area.  In 1919, they moved to a gray company house located on the hill above the railroad tracks just upstream from what is now called Waugh Road.  They raised seven children here.  Only the youngest daughter was born there, although they had two stillborn sons while there.  John worked at the two-and-a-half mine and died on March 31, 1930.  Mary moved away from the area sometime after John's death, although she did spend some time at her daughter Anna's home in her later years.  She died in 1979.  Two of the sons stayed in Edwards and one settled in Gouverneur.  Anna was the only child to remain in Talcville for most of her life.

The picture at the upper right shows the family shortly after they moved to Talcville.  In the back are Mary and John and the oldest child Mary.  In the middle row are the three sons, John, Peter and Paul.  In front are Helen "Nellie" and Anna.  This was taken before Josephine Pauline, the youngest, was born.  The picture on the left shows the three Matejcik boys and two of their sisters' husbands.  From left to right are Paul Matejcik, Pat Hurley (who married Anna), John Matejcik, Peter Matejcik and George Brown (who married Mary).  This picture was probably taken in the mid-1930s.  The final picture, which is also estimated to be taken in the mid-1930s, shows some of the females of the expanded family.  From left to right, Nora Marsh Matejcik (Paul's wife), Doris Foy Matejcik (John's wife), Anna Matejcik Hurley (who married Patrick), Mother Mary Matejcik and Dora Robinson Matejcik (Peter's wife).

Ken and Ethel Rowe

The Rowes lived on Talcville Road.  At that time, there were two houses at the bottom of the hill at what is now called Waugh Road.  Their house was the second from the corner.  Ken was crippled and spent a lot of time on the front porch.  He and Ethel had a trucking business.  They hauled for the mines and hired many guys in the area to drive for them.  Ethel would drive herself when drivers didn't show up for work, which was usually after the weekend.  Ken also taught most of the boys how to fix bikes and build them from the frame up and told them how to fix their cars and trucks.  He had a great mind. He would sit on the front porch and people would stop and talk to him all day long.  Ken died May 30, 1961.  

Their daughter Marlene shared this story ... "A lady slipper plant grew in the area of the depot, or as we called it the ball field, across from the Hurley house.  I picked a flower and took it home to mom.  Dad told me I could be arrested if a policeman saw it.  Just then a police car pulled in our driveway to talk to dad.  Because dad was always on the porch, they figured he saw everything.  Well, I thought they were after me and I hid under my bed most of the day until mom found me and pulled me out."


Author's note:  I remember my first trip through Talcville even though it was almost 38 years ago.  My first few years as a teacher at the Edwards Central School, I was a basketball coach.  In my first year, the fall of 1973, before the games had started, we had a joint varsity/JV practice on a Friday afternoon.  Six or seven of the boys were clustered around the exit when I went to leave.  One of them wanted to find the janitor so that he could call home to get a ride for the group.  I was on my way from there to my home town of Watertown to meet with some friends and wanted to get going but I couldn't leave before they did so I asked where they lived.  The response was "Talcville."  I asked where that was and they told me it was on my way.  We all piled into my four passenger car, all seven or eight of us.  Welcome to Talcville!  Little did I know at that time that I would end up marrying a girl with strong family ties to the hamlet and that we would end up raising our family and living there for over 34 years.


Bibliography

  • Newspaper article with a notation "Gouverneur, Feb. 5" ... it was noted that this was from 1949 but we don't know the exact newspaper it was taken from

  • "Talcville Village" by Esther S. Webb ... included in "Edwards on the Oswegatchie, 1812-1976" ... published for America's Bicentennial 1776-1976

  • Unnamed and undated article provided by LaVerne Freeman, believed written by Leah Noble

  • "Depression Is Still Unknown in Talcville, Where World's Biggest Talc Mine Is Worked" ... unidentified and undated newspaper article with a by-line "Talcville"

  • "Livelihood of a Town - Mining in Edwards Talcville Mines and Edwards Village Mine ... an article by LaVerne Freeman dated February 5, 2003

  • Numerous articles, pictures and other data provided by LaVerne Freeman

  • findagrave.com ... on-line source for many cemetery records


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