Henry Gardner, Sr. 1826-1920
In 1848, Charles Horton and Charles Knapp purchased land from the Griswold Estate and a year later built a tannery diagonally across from where they would build our Greek Revival General Store between 1849-1850. The hamlet derived it’s name from Charles Horton in 1869, splitting from Cochecton, the “Town of Delaware” was founded and the first town meeting was held at the Hortonville home of Charles Fisher in March of 1869.
A little more on Charles Horton…
Charles Horton was born in the Town of Colchester in Delaware County, his family moved to Liberty, (Liberty Falls as it was called) New York. With a succession of business partners including Isaac Clements and Thomas Casey, the tannery showed excellent profits during the Civil War period.
During the Civil War, 5 counties produced over 7 million dollars worth of finished leather. With the war, the need for boots, harnesses, cartridge cases, saddles and belts arose. The county was stripped of its magnificent hemlock forests to mill the demand. It took a full cord of bark, anywhere from 3 to 10 trees to tan 10 hides.
The tannery was located on County Route 121 (North Branch Road) on the right hand side going in the direction of North Branch, alongside the North Branch Creek. Charles Horton also owned a lot of land in Hortonville including the land where the school, Presbyterian Church and Hortonville cemetery are located.
Charles and Betsey Horton, Isaac and Elizabeth Clements and Thomas and Mary Casey sold 1/4 acre parcel of land for $1.00, part of Lot 29 Division 59 of the Great Lot number one of the Hardenburgh Patent to Christian Wagoner, Frederick Gottschalk and Henry Grebe, Trustees of the Free German Presbyterian Church.
Charles Horton and his siblings were a “Family of Tanners”. Charles led the way, and in 1845, with his brother-in-law, Nathanial Gildersleve, entered on the tanning business in Liberty Falls and in 1848 built the tannery in Hortonville. Charles went on to build a third tannery in Narrowsburg in 1854 with Webb Horton. In 1857, Charles along with Geo. F. Knapp and Isaac Gildersleve bought the Stevensville Tannery. Charles and O.B. Grant established a tannery in Ridgeway, Elk County, Pa. All his tanneries ran successfully until the bark ran out.
Charles Horton moved to Middletown, New York where he died of heart disease in 1896. Descendants of the Horton family still live in Middletown, New York.
Some of the Hortons fortunes which were made during the Civil War years, when Sullivan County tanning was at its peak were lost during the 1870 depression. But the Webb Horton Memorial Church and the Elizabeth Horton Memorial Hospital of Middletown were erected by a large share of money given by the heirs of the Horton family due to their vast holdings in county tanneries.
Henry Gardner, Sr. ran our General Store the longest, named H. Gardner & Company
(Now you know how we picked our name!)…
Henry Gardner, Sr. had worked at the tannery for Charles and in 1867, he purchased the tannery, farm and store from him. When Henry Gardner owned the tannery it annually consumed about 1000 cords of bark and tanned about 10,000 hides.
The first post office to Hortonville was right here in 1897
Henry Gardner, Jr. became the first appointed postmaster for Hortonville in 1897 and the post office was set-up within our general store as many were in our small hamlets. It remained in our store until 1942 before moving to several locations.
The Hardenburg Patent…
The land within the town’s boundaries was part of the
Hardenburgh Patent No. 1 tract, a division of land in Sullivan
County that was purchased in London in 1750 by a New York
distiller, Joseph Griswold. He had seen an advertisement listing
lands for sale in the Province of New York and purchased
two parcels of land for $10,000.
The first known settler was Joseph Ross, he settled just
beyond the location of the cemetery in Callicoon on
Creamery Road in the 1760s. Other early settlers were
David Young, John Ross and Charles Layton.
(who also may have frequented our general store!)…
Cook caught the polar wanderlust only a year after his graduation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at New York University, in 1890, perhaps influenced by the death of his first wife in childbirth. Hardened by a youth spent in the Catskill Mountains (he was born in Hortonville, New York, to an immigrant German physician), and later supporting his widowed mother in Brooklyn while securing his education, Cook had ambition and enormous energy. Over the next two decades, he earned a reputation as a doctor afield, interrupting a sporadic medical practice to offer himself as surgeon or leader of eight expeditions “Poleward,” a term he often used. Read more on the official website of Dr. Frederick A. Cook