document is excerpted from an article written by Lois (McWhorter) Kilmer,
granddaughter of Harvey
& Georgiana, for the book Argyle,
published by the Argyle Historical Society
(their permission to quote from the
article is gratefully acknowledged)
Williamson was born in Argyle on June
the son of James and Jane E. (Black) Williamson. His parents lived on a farm that had
been previously owned by Williamson families. After his
mother and father's deaths, Harvey
bought the 105-acre farm from the other heirs on March
12, 1890. This was called "Hillside Farm" and
Harvey and Georgiana were married.
Georgiana was born July
the daughter of William (1850-1915) and Mary Ann Powell
(1855-1940) Williamson. William and Mary Ann married
and had four children - Jennie E., Georgiana Powell, Harry Webster and Almon David.
and Georgiana had 12 children . William James Williamson,
the oldest living son, and his wife Rachel bought the farm from his mother,
Georgiana on August
and lived there for over forty years with their five daughters before selling it
to a non-family couple. This made
five generations and 174 years that "Hillside
farm" was in the Williamson family.
well as operating the farm with his son's help,
taught school. During the nice weather he rode his old fashioned bike with the
big front wheel and the small back one to the school house at the head of
Lake. Many townfolks
recall this same bike being ridden by his son, John C., in the Argyle Fourth of
July parade and in late years Johnny's son, Ronnie rode it in the
in the olden days, the Williamson farm was self-sufficient, having chickens for meat and eggs, cows for milk
and beef and pigs for pork and garbage disposal. From the pigs they would make their own
sausage, fry out their own lard, make head cheese and smoke the bacon and
hams. Another type of meat they had
was corned beef. Chunks of
fresh beef would be put in a large earthen-ware crock and covered with a brine
and left to cure for many weeks in the cellar.
several fields of fruit trees grown, including assorted kinds of apples, pears,
plums and crabapples. . They
pressed their own cider and sold the surplus, and raised and sold various
berries. Crops raised were hay,
corn, rye, oats, buckwheat and potatoes.
What was not used for the family was taken by horse drawn wagon to
and shipped to Maine
for seed potatoes. The grains were
taken to the grist mill to be ground into feed for the animals, but some were
ground fine for making breads at home.
wagons carried the milk
that was not used for drinking, baking and butter, to the creamery
where it was sold or made into cheese.
In the spring, maple trees were tapped and the sap was boiled down to
make maple syrup, maple sugar and maple snow cream.
horses played a major role in the rural living, a seven passenger
car, one of the first in the area, was owned by the
Williamson's. Later on this was
replaced by a seven passenger Nash.
It was said that it was quite a sight to
see their car pull up to the West
on Sundays and see their big family emerge. Saturday afternoons during the
summer, the family would load into the car and go to Comstock Prison to see the
weekly baseball games played by the inmates. Of course, the car was not used during
the winter but replaced by the old faithful teams of horses with cutters,
sleighs or wagons.
children walked to attend the Goose
which was only three tenths of a mile down the
road. They would go home for lunch
unless it was a very stormy day.
In 1916, an Edison
electrical plant, one of the first in the area, was purchased for $500 and
installed in the cellar to generate electricity for the house and the outside
buildings. A telephone was also
installed. The phone cost $1.50 per month.
On the Argyle Assessment Roll, Harvey
owned 160 acres which were valued at $3,700 and on January
he paid taxes of $50.08.
familiar sound in the fall after the crops had been harvested and the potatoes
and apples picked would be the chug-chug of the engine on the sawing machine
used to cut the logs which had been hauled down from the hilside. They would be cut into stove length and stored in
the woodshed for the cook stove and round stoves used to heat the large farm
the winter, ice was cut on Mud
and loaded onto horse drawn sleighs and placed in the ice house. The ice was surrounded by sawdust to
help insulate it and to keep the blocks from sticking together, and was used for
the icebox in the kitchen and to keep the milk cans cool until they were taken
to the creamery.
the peak of the house there was a large iron bell which was rung to summon the
men in from the fields for the midday
meal. The only other time the bell was rung was for an emergency. The bell still