Marshall Historical Society

Home Sought for Historic Anvil - A Park is Recommended
By Ted Townsend

Captain Julius Waterman phoned us and he barely mentioned his two buffalo, Ted and Ned.

It seems the captain has an anvil. It has a history, he points out, and he hopes suitable recognition will be given when he "unveils" his anvil for public gaze.

The anvil is 12 inches wide, 13 long and stands 19 inches high. You can almost put it in a waistcoat pocket, yet it weighs close only 800 pounds.

Waterman has been in touch with the Town Board of Marshall and he says he will donate the anvil if the board will arrange for a suitable spot to display it on a concrete foundation.

The anvil came from one of the forges at Forge Hollow, which is just a couple of miles upstream from the Waterman domicile. Big Creek, which flows from the slopes of Tassel Hill, under Main Street, Waterville and then northwest to the Oriskany at Deansboro, flows swiftly through the break in the hills at Forge Hollow, and at one time there were a dozen or more mills using the abundant water power.

Back in 1801 there were forges at the "Hollow" manufacturing articles of iron. Later furnace castings were made. Forge Hollow, at that time was quite a settlement with a church, a "merchant", and homes for mechanics. Then steam replaced water power and Forge Hollow became just a wide place in the road, being a beauty spot with a couple of limestone caves, facing the tumbling stream.

The anvil tucked away in the Waterman barn comes from an early forge. It is suggested that a small plot of ground on which a town barn once stood, and which was used to store snow fence, be used as a small park with the anvil as a centerpiece.

The land is at the edge of the Hollow at the junction of route 315 and Gridley Road.

Waterman has visions of a state historical marker at the spot, giving a brief description of the anvil from the Forge Hollow Forge.

One of the items manufactured in a forge was the hop bar used extensively through the area in the hop growing days. this was a sort of crow-bar with a bulge just above the point. Many a farmer still has a hop bar among his equipment.

We inquired as to where the twin buffalo will roam come summer. Waterman is not sure whether he will be at his old post on Route 20. He says travelers from every state in the union stopped to see "Ted" and "Ned"; in fact he thinks its one of the best attractions along the Pike. Waterman told about a herd of 19 deer which spends the evening in the cedar swamp along side Big Creek. Come breakfast time the herd moves across Route 315 to feed in the bean field alongside the highway. The beans were planted last fall by Claude Hinman. Bean vines, with pods remain in the field and the deer have been dining there regularly. Milton Wratten and Clarence Lloyd who farm it on Route 315 have also reported watching the herd.

Back to the anvil, this is the second bit of “history" owned in the Deansboro area. There is a brass cannon, presented by the Dean Brothers from which family the community acquired its name. Both cannon and anvil have in years past been used to make the necessary racket, when a celebration is in progress. Both were loaded on heavy wagons or trucks and carted to Utica, and the cannon fired in an attempt to shatter all the windows within a quarter of a mile. When McKinley was elected President, the anvil was pounded. The cannon is housed at the Barton Hose Fire Company.

More information about the anvil and forges :
         Anvil         First Forge and          a further report by Ted Townsend.

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