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Neversink, NY history

Neversink, Sullivan County, New York, is a "lost village" 

Neversink, NY - "Old Neversink"

Neversink before the dam

"Old Neversink" is a  project of Between the Lakes Group

 --  but Neversink is still a real place. 

Neversink, of course, is the name of one of the townships that make up Sullivan County.  And, there are several hamlets that constitute present-day Neversink -- including a new hamlet named Neversink that's located  just a mile or two from where Old Neversink (once called "Neversink Flats") was located, and only a little farther from the hamlet called Bittersweet. 

Interestingly, Neversink Flats and Bittersweet were not the only lost communities in the Town of Neversink!  Eureka, near Grahamsville, is another one!


A little history of Neversink:

Here are the first few paragraphs of Hamilton Child's Gazetteer and Business Directory of Sullivan County, NY for 1872-3's write-up about the Town of Neversink:

NEVERSINK was formed from Rochester, (Ulster Co.) March 16, 1798.  Rockland was taken off March 29, 1809, and a part of Fallsburgh, March 9, 1826.  (The original act shows that the town of Neversink covered a portion of what is now Fallsburgh, Liberty, Callicoon and Fremont.)  The whole town is elevated, and the surface is very much broken and to a considerable extent covered with forests.  The principal elevations are Denman Hill and Thunder Hill, the former having an altitude of about 2,000 feet above tide, and the latter a little more.  It is watered by the Neversink and its branches; Rondout Creek, which flows to the Hudson, and Chestnut  and Lackawack Creeks, tributary to these;  Willowemoc Creek; Red Brook, and several small streams tributary to these.  It is a fact worthy of note that this town is the only one in the County in which there is neither lake nor pond.  The soil is generally a gravelly loam and is best adapted to pasturage.  The people are chiefly engaged in lumbering, tanning and dairying, though the two former branches of industry are receiving less attention than formerly in consequence of the gradual exhaustion of the supply of bark.  The town was early settled by tenants who have since purchased the fee simple.

The town covers an area of 41,989 acres, of which, in 1865, according to the census of that year, 17,993 were improved and 23,996 , unimproved.

During the year ending Sept. 30, 1871, it contained twenty school districts, in which nineteen teachers were employed.  The number of children of school age was 1,035; the number attending school, 842; the average attendance, 381; and the value of school houses and sites, $5,343.

The population in 1870 was 2,458.

Child identifies the following villages and hamlets within Neversink Township:  Grahamsville, Neversink Flats (the lost village that's the main focus of this collection), Claryville, Eureka (another lost village), Willowemoc, Unionville, Low's Corners, and Dewittsville.  Aden, Hasbrouck and Bradley -- actually located in neighboring townships but historically oriented toward Neversink -- occasionally figure in this collection as well.  (Bittersweet may have been considered a neighborhood of Neversink Flats.)

To the main Gazetteer page to go to the main Gazetteer page, with more information about our republication of Child's Gazetteer  and purchasing information.


For those who find it more convenient to have just the Neversink material from the Gazetteer in a single, indexed, file, we are pleased to offer that as well.  Including the index, this is an easily manageable (you could even print it out and work from paper!) 27 pages.  This is in PDF format, for $2.50.



More Downloads of Neversink History


(We recently acquired the very rare  1912 Souvenir Booklet for the Grahamsville Fair -- the "Little World's Fair" -- still an institution in the Town of Neversink and Sullivan County. We've made this rarity available as a download.  36+ pages, lots of ad and other information from the period.  Download it now, in PDF format, for $3.75. 

 Grahamsville Fair 

Also of great use to those interested in Grahamsville families will be Gertrude Barber's 1929 transcription of the Grahamsville Reformed Dutch Church's records.  This typescript of baptisms, marriages, funerals, and membership rolls, also including Mrs. Barber's index, is in PDF format, 38+ pages, and is available for download for $3.75.

 Grahamsville Reformed Dutch Church Records

Gertrude Barber's transcription (1934) of the Grahamsville Reformed Dutch Cemetery is an important record of the Town of Neversink. Those familiar with the history of the area will find most of the familiar names represented; this is an important accompaniment to the records of that church (see above).  34+ pages, in PDF format, download now for $3.25.

 Grahamsville Reformed Dutch Church Cemetery

Barber's transcription of the Methodist Episcopal Church charges in Fallsburgh, South Fallsburgh, Neversink, and Hurleyville is available as a download, with out own index (but it's included on our Fallsburgh page).  Please CLICK HERE to go directly to that page.

Genealogy from Old Neversink

The entire Old Neversink project was based largely on the collections of Eugene Cross and his wife, May Bonnell Cross, both born in Neversink in 1872.  Largely based on their allied families, we compiled some Neversink genealogy (and indexed it as well).  Probably not usable to "prove" ancestry, but thought provoking for sure, and a great source of Neversink family connections.  Download it now:  149 pages, in PDF format, with the index, for $2.50.


The Descendants of Noah Cross and Rachel Osterhout:  Cross - New York State - 1775 - 1975

This genealogy of a family that originated in Ulster County with many descendants in Neversink, originally published by the Cross Family Association, is now available for download.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Neversink -- some post cards

These cards are from several sources.  Postcards today represent much of what we have in color of Neversink -- regardless of the liberties the retoucher may have taken in making the picture marketable.  

Please click on the picture to see larger-sized

Old Neversink:  the covered bridge to Aden

Old covered bridge between Aden and Neversink Flats

View of the Village of Neversink

Village of Neversink, New York

Oldest House in Sullivan County, located in Neversink

Oldest house in Sullivan County, in Neversink, NY (actually in Hasbrouck, but the postcard refers to it being in Neversink)



Neversink:  some antique photographs

The photographs below on this page are from Mrs. Cross' general collection of photographs and tintypes -- the ones appearing here are the items that were not pasted into the albums that contained most of her photographs.  The complete contents of the three photo albums that held the bulk of her collection are available on the CD-ROM.

Some Neversinkers

"Old Neversinkers"

Covered bridge between Neversink's West End and Aden

Old covered bridge at Neversink, NY, near Aden

View of Neversink Village

View of Neversink from hill in center of village

View of Neversink from the hill

Another view of Neversink from the same site

Route 55 near Neversink Dam

Rock cut on new route 55, bypassing old Neversink Village

James Gorton Cross of Neversink, in 1917

James Gorton Cross, 1917

Neversink Dam core, during construction

Neversink Dam core

Prior to construction of the Neversink Dam

View of Neversink before construction of the Neversink Dam

Merriman Dam under construction, Eureka, NY

Merriman Dam core (Eureka, NY) (for car buffs, the auto pictured is a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr)

Neversink District Schoolhouse, circa 1917

Neversink District School, circa 1917

Neversink District Schoolhouse, circa 1933

Same Neversink District School, circa 1933

The Iron Bridge at Neversink, NY

The Iron Bridge

View down the Neversink River from the Iron Bridge, circa 1933

View down the Neversink River from the "iron bridge" circa 1933

Village of Neversink street scene, 1930s

Village of Neversink, 1930s

Neversink, NY in the 1920s

A view of Neversink, probably from the 1920s, from the finger of land that today extends south into the reservoir.  The river at this point is flowing right to left, and the site of the future dam is intuitively obvious if one looks near the top of the picture, where the valley narrows.  Shown are the Iron Bridge, the Methodist Church, and many of the houses and store that made up Old Neversink.

Neversink NY, house of Renno Cross

Renno Cross* house, Neversink (1)

Renno Cross house, Neversink Flats, another view

Renno Cross house, another view



Religion in Neversink

The 1873 Gazetteer contains some statistics about the place of organized religion in Neversink of that time which run counter to popular conceptions about the period.  Child identifies the following churches in the Town of Neversink, and shows the number of members each claimed at that time:

--Reformed Church of Grahamsville, 50 members

--Friends Society, 10 members

--Methodist Episcopal Church at Neversink Flats (seen in the picture above), 12 members

--Lows Corner Baptist Church, 107 members

This totals 179 total church members in the entire town of Neversink in 1873.  


Now, take the total population of the Township then of 2458, and subtract 1035 young people of school age (presumably few would have achieved "membership" in church while still in school), and assume an additional 500 children below school age.  This leaves an estimated adult population of 623.  


Given the total number of church members, the percentage of adults in the Town of Neversink sufficiently serious about their religion to join a church at a time in history when religion was thought to have permeated American rural life was a mere 29%.  A question to consider:  did "joining the church" mean something different back then?  Were there major hurdles to being accepted as a member of a church back in those days?


Excerpts from the 1910 of a Neversink native

First-ever publication of this Neversink material

Eugene Cross was a Neversink native, born in 1872 (around the time the Gazetteer quoted above was compiled), who followed several careers over the course of his life (as many Neversinkers did).  After 1910, he relocated with his family to nearby Liberty.  He was not unusual in that respect either.  

We have his complete diary from 1910.  Here are four dates (January 22 - 25); the tasks he notes depict a slice of life then that may not be what we would expect -- or perhaps we would!!  

Saturday, Jan 22:  Hired a household worker ($2 per week), and stacked lumber at a sawmill

Sunday, Jan 23:  Went to church, and was visited by W. Conklin and family

Monday, Jan 24:  Went to Monticello (County seat) as a juror, stayed at the Hotel Palm there, and roomed with one Norton White (evidently the old country inn custom of rooming with unrelated people was still in effect).

Tuesday, Jan 25:  Recorded a deed for one R. J. Cross* (?), and a mortgage for Higby Everitt* (his maternal grandfather).  (Not noted is whether he was involved in either of the transactions as a principal.).  Paid sixty cents to have his shoes half-soled.  Roomed again with Mr. White, and finally, attended the County Board of Supervisors' meeting.

Images of every page of Eugene Cross' diary for 1910 are included in the download, along with an index of all proper names and other items the compiler considers significant.  The entries show a slice of life that reflects on many aspects of history and culture in that time and place.  An index of the full diary is provided on this website and in the download (see below).  Cross diary index to see the Diary index

Neversink was one of the towns in Sullivan County that the New York Ontario & Western Railroad bypassed.  It's noteworthy in this diary to see the frequency with which the railroad figures in daily life when it didn't even run within the township of Neversink.  You could use the Diary to make a good case that the Cross family (and others) left Neversink because the railroad was NOT there. 

This diary, including our own index, totalling 173 pages, is available for download in PDF format for $2.50.



Neversink excerpts from Quinlan's History of Sullivan County

Anyone who has looked at much Sullivan County history has heard of "Quinlan's".  Originally published in 1873, and reprinted at least three times since, it is both a rare book and a definitive source.  We've republished it, and if you're interested in the whole volume, please click HERE to go to the page about it.  However, we extracted the "Neversink" chapter for the Old Neversink CD-ROM  (it would scarcely have been complete without it)  and have indexed the pages included in the extract.  

To the Neversink chapter of Quinlan's History of Sullivan County to see the comprehensive index of the Neversink chapter.

You can download the Neversink chapter of Quinlan, including our index of that chapter, here, 45 pages in PDF format, for $2.50.


Neversink:  some souvenirs

Paper souvenirs filled many roles around the turn of the 19th century, ranging from funeral mementos to an early version of a school yearbook.  Here are versions of both. 

Neversink:  a memorial card

A funeral card from the 1920s

Neversink Schools Souvenir for 1904

Neversink Public School "souvenir" for 1904 (cover)

(These preceded yearbooks)

School in Neversink, 1904, Souvenir, page 2

1904 Souvenir (inside page one)

Souvenir:  Neversink student names

1904 Souvenir (inside page two, with list of students)

Neversink 1905 souvenir, Eugene Cross, teacher

1905 Souvenir

Neversink Student names 1905

1905 Souvenir (obverse, with list of students)


Neversink:  May and Eugene Cross

May Bonnell Cross to read some biographical information about May Cross, the collector of these items, and her husband, Eugene Cross, the author of the 1910 diary (see above). 

Between the Lakes Group's Sullivan County project to learn more about the Sullivan County project underway at Between the Lakes Group.  We offer the largest collection of reference material about Sullivan County history for download available online.

To the Town of Fallsburgh pages if you would like to learn about our project on the Town of Fallsburgh -- adjacent to the Town of Neversink, and with many of the same family names present.   We offer a number of downloads about that township, and many of them also contain Neversink material because the two townships adjoined each other. 

Gazetteer of Sullivan County to read about our republication of the complete Child's "Gazetteer and Business Directory of Sullivan County for 1872-73" -- for the first time with a comprehensive index.  It's essential for research into Sullivan County history and it's now available!

Quinlan's History of Sullivan County for information about Quinlan's History of Sullivan County (1873) -- the authoritative history of Sullivan County's early years.  Yup, we've republished this one, too, in its entirety, and we've added a complete new index and other finding aids for your convenience.

Old Neversink is an e-History project of Between the Lakes Group

THANKS to the British Isles Family History Society - U.S.A. for their kind mention of "Old Neversink" in their January/February 2003 newsletter!!  


e-History and Between the Lakes Group





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