Joseph Henry House

  • Jeannine Woutersz - Town Historian

Joseph Henry built the first home on this site just below the Lookout on Mt. McGregor. After the original house burned, the Henry’s built this fine place. Orchards and vineyards once abounded on these lands.

The lovely old homes that are sheltered by Mt. McGregor have many things in common. They are all a century old and of differing design. They bring to mind a more leisurely and simple time. All of the families were busy and productive. The daylight hours were filled with scheduled chores. Social life was planned and simple entertainment filled their leisure time. A day trip might be planned to visit friends or relatives. A dance might fill a Saturday evening.

A journal kept by Charlotte, one of the Bush family, in the year 1912 and 1913. It records a daily routine of physical labor and social interaction with neighbors and friends.

Saturday, July 20, 1912 – “Men cleaned up hay which was cut. All four of us went over the hill. Ray cleaned out strawberry bed which he set out last spring. Stan picked strawberries and H. and I picked currants”.

Wed. July 24, 1912 - “Went to Wilton to see play for benefit of M.E. church. Name of play was “The Country Doctor”. Every character was well done. Took in sixty four dollars and ninety cents. Hall was well filled. Danced a little after supper. “Salvation” fellow left a call for charity”.

Saturday, July 27, 1912 – “H and I went to Glens Falls this morning. Went to Eda’s to dinner and supper. Emma and Lillian came over. Lillian, H and I went shopping. I bought a dress at 2.50, corset at .50, table runner at 2.75, also table cloth at 1.50. Stan came to supper and he and H. went to Round Pond. Ida, Eddie and I went to moving pictures. I came home on 9:00 car. Ray met me”

We understand from the journal that the land in the valley was plentiful. All members of the family were industrious. They enjoyed each other’s company.

Friday, September 20, 1912 – “Wrote to Mrs. Clarke and sent her 6 ½ # butter. Stan cleaned back yard where woodpile was. Boiled pork brine. Dr. Roods was here”.

Home made products were sold or bartered. Work was done at home and a good living was possible.

Monday, September 23, 1912 – “Boys started to pick grapes, picked only 12 baskets for market when rain forced them to stop. Stan bought basket of Alberta peaches for seventy-five cents. Sent a “Cosmopolitan” to Emma Green”.

We can only speculate about their lives. On July 20th when “all four of us went over the hill”. Was that just to gaze on scenery? What hill was that? On July 27th, the only hint of transportation to Glens Falls and back is “I came home on the 9:00 car”. Was that the Trolley car that passed through Wilton at that time? We have a small glimpse of life in that time frame and do we wish we could go back to a simple life? Was this such a stress free life? These wonderful historic homes of Wilton could tell us these secrets. Let’s preserve then to remind us of a gentle past.