Marshall Historical Society

Forge Hollow
By Janet Dangler, November 4, 2015
Forge Hollow was another once-thriving, prosperous community in the Town of Marshall. The first white settler (according to the 1860 Gazetteer) was David Barton in 1792. He first settled in land on the Brothertown Patent (on West Hill on the Bishopp farm) and was obliged to move). Forge Hollow was notable for its forges - hence the name. It used ore from Clinton and later scrap iron to turn into farm tools. The first forge was built in 1801 by Daniel Hanchett, John Winslow, Thomas Winslow and Ward White. It was located a short distance down the stream from the caves and was known as the upper forge. In 1808, Hanchett went into partnership with Skinner. The last forge man and blacksmith was Yemmans Phinney. Hunkerford & Daniels operated what was called the lower forge. As a side note, the curve on Route 315 going in known as Daniel's Nose. Forge Hollow was also known for its grist mills and saw mills; near the old stone school house was the Mowery Tefft sawmill, and further upstream was the grist mill, operated by Isaac Jones. There was a blast furnace, originated by Andrew S. Pond and later operated by Billy Titus. Forge Hollow also boasted a Universalist church, a furniture store, run by M.L. Lyman, at least two hotels or public houses, shop and a school. Willona Creek (or Big Creek or the West Branch of the Oriskany Creek) provided water for the grist mills and sawmills. A plank road extended from Waterville through Forge Hollow to Deansboro, later replaced by a hard macadam road. Yes, Forge Hollow was a important, busy place, where Town business was conducted in either Donohue's Hotel or the Ryan Building, and was bustling until the Chenango Canal was opened in 1837, followed by the railroad in 1867. Even though Forge Hollow has declined - the forges and mills are gone - it is still celebrated for the cave-pocked limestone cliffs over which a spring bubbles to a pool below. In fact, one of the largest caves in Central New York can be found on the highway near Forge Hollow. In the same area, plenty of horsebone rock can be found. In 1885, a scorpion fossil was found in the caves, and appeared in a exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History. This fossil is associated with the fossil Eurypterid, the oldest fossil in New York State. Today, one can see bicyclists stopping by for a cool drink, or people filling water jugs with the spring water from the "hollow." In the wintertime, water drips down the fact of the cliff, forming huge icicles.

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