In 1822, the first land purchase by the Washburn
family in Jefferson County occurred between Dyer
Washburn, born 1790 in Connecticut, and his in-laws
Samuel and Catherine Bass of
Northampton, Montgomery Co., New York. The property consisted
of 100 acres of unimproved land with no dwellings, situated on
Old Salt Point Road, between
Sulpher Springs Road and the Town of Adams line, in the neighborhood
known as Camp's Mills.
1825, Dyer's two brothers, Schuyler, age 25 and
age 24, removed themselves to Hounsfield, leaving behind their
parents in Schoharie County. Together they set about clearing
the lots and erecting homes.
house to be built was on the east side of the road and was accompanied
by a barn. As family members grew of age, they erected more
homes in its vicinity. Land ownership maps from 1855
indicate that Dyer Washburn owned the main house
in that year and Robert owned a house no longer
standing on the west side of the street. When land ownership
maps were again made in 1864, they had
traded homes permanently.
of the house used to contain a chime which would play a pleasant
melody whenever the knob or a key was turned. Inside, the home
had six bedrooms and a root cellar. The most spectacular room
was the parlor which was guarded by solid wood double sliding
doors. In this room the family spent most of its time. All the
Washburn children in this line of descent were born there until
1916. When a family member died, they were laid out in the parlor
and the funeral services were conducted there in the home with
the whole family present. This was the family way until
depended on one another for their livelihood. For over 150
years, it was typical for successive generations to live and die
at the homestead, having stayed there all their lives to assist
their parents with the farming.
Washburn died in 1874, but handed management of the homefarm some
years prior, for in Child's 1864 Business Directory of Hounsfield
is listed "Washburn, Silas
R., (Sackett's Harbor) r 66, 13 cows, 150 sugar trees,
farmer 90" which indicated that Silas was primary operator of
the farm, and participated in the dairy trade and in maple sugar
Silas died, leaving the homefarm to the care
of his eldest son, William
Wallace Washburn, age 34. He worked the farm
for over 75 years before dying in May 1952. He left behind
a widow, Ada (Stokes) Washburn, three daughters,
Mrs. Beulah Jenkins
of Camp's Mills, Mrs. Margery Gordonier
of Adams, Mrs. Esther Fee of
Adams, and one son Leon Silas Washburn.
remained on the home farm and took care of his mother until her
death in 1972. In 1973, Beulah's daughter
Ann and her new husband stayed at the home briefly
after their marriage, adding a fifth generation of Washburn descendants
to the home's history.
after, the siblings sold the property to a family friend.
The new owners renovated the downstairs, but the upstairs has
been left in the condition the Washburns kept it. The owners
graciously welcome visits from those who still hold fond memories
of times spent on the farm with family.