Harmony Lodge Papers
January 1, 1863
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin
The standing types which have for the last twelve-month denoted the annual date of the Recorder, are changed, and the new cycle upon which we enter to-day is marked with the figures 1863. How brief the interval, since the incoming of the year which, yesterday, departed to swell the accumulation of Time’s grand aggregate—how the shadows lengthen backward on our road as the even-tide of life draws on, and with what accelerated step we pass these milestones which mark our progress on the journey of life.
"Three score years and ten" have passed away since those, whose memories I have sought to revive, affixed their signatures to the compact which bound them together as brothers in Harmony Lodge. To those who remember them, the lapse of seventy years will seem brief as a morning’s dream, and yet, all the hands are clasped in fraternal amity; no more those hands perform the generous acts which Charity, the cardinal virtue of the order, imposes, and no more those hands assist each other along life’s rugged way, or lead an erring brother back to the haven of safety and of peace. Their earthly labor is over, for "there is neither work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave."
Of most of those whose names I have recorded, I have a personal recollection—in some cases confused and vague, and in others, distinct and clear. Two examples are JOSEPH GRAHAM and GEORGE TAYLOR. The first I can just remember at about the time he left Catskill for New York, where he established a boarding-house, then and long after celebrated as the Pearl Street House, and which, I presume from its location, was destroyed in the great fire of December, 1835. Of Mr. Graham, I know but little beyond the fact that he was esteemed a model landlord, and that he was the uncle of DR. JAMES H. GRAHAM of our Village, and of MR. STEPHEN BOSWORTH and MR. JAMES D. GARDNER, formerly of Catskill. Joseph Graham has long been dead.
Captain George Taylor also removed to New York and engaged in the same business. On my first visit to the city, with my father, about forty-five years ago, we sojourned at this boarding-house, in Water Street, near Coenties Slip, where the Catskill sloops and most of the other North River vessels laid up in those days. Some years subsequently, while employed as a clerk in New York, I boarded with Capt. Taylor, in Pearl Street, from which place the family moved to Broad Street, where they remained until the Cholera of 1832 swept nearly all of them to the grave.
A pleasant old gentleman was George Taylor—sociable and kind. I remember being present one night, at W. W. VAN LOAN’S, in South Street, when he met there his old friend JAMES BOGARDUS (or uncle Cobus, as we used to call him.) I listened with much interest to their stories of the olden time, and the night wore away, almost to its close, before they could make up their minds to part, and when at last they did so, I well remember the remark of one of them, that it might be "The last time that they should so enjoy an evening together." The words were prophetic, for the same night Capt. Bogardus, soon after retiring to his cabin on board of this favorite vessel, the James Monroe, was suddenly taken ill, and though he lingered for a day or two, he never spoke again—his last conversation had been with his old friend—his last words had been exchanged with his in a parting salutation.
With perhaps one exception, I believe the children of George Taylor are all dead. The two sons, JAMES and GEORGE, died many years ago; EVELINE, who married GEORGE H. COOK, MARY and NAOMI were all, I think, victims of the cholera, as before stated, and Mrs. FRANCIS SAYRE has recently died in your Village. Mrs. PENFIELD, widow of the late esteemed SAMUEL L. PENFIELD, is the only survivor of the many immediate descendants of Captain Taylor.
Looking down over the array of names before me, I notice those of some whom I barely remember, and of whose histories I know little more than might be gathered from the inscriptions on their grave stones. Of these are PHILO DAY, LYMAN HALL and ASHLEY GILBERT, (the first the son, and the other two the sons-in-law of Judge STEPHEN DAY); RUFUS STANLEY, the father of Mrs. WM. H. WEY; PETER OSTERHOUDT, who I just remember as the Sheriff and Goaler of Greene Co. (the father of PETER OSTERHOUDT Esq. of Schoharie C. H.;) JOHN M. CANFIELD, CALEB STREET, JOHN BUNCE, and others. Among those who I more clearly remember, with whose histories I was more intimately acquainted, and of whom I have not yet spoken, are ISAAC VAN LOAN, THOMAS HALE, JACOB HAIGHT, JAMES PINCKNEY, FREDERICK CHOLLETTE, and others.
But, Mr. Editor, as it may be considered slightly inappropriate, at this time, to mix, too profusely, the memories of the dead with the holiday festivities of your readers, I will "pull up" here, and, according to custom, (although I must confess that I have generally found its observance less profitable than pleasant) tender to all my old acquaintances, to the patrons of the Recorder, and to yourself, my sincere wishes for a Happy New Year.