For generations the waterfall has cast its spell. The glistening cascade flowing past millennia-old rock formations never fails to transport visitors into another world: the realm of The Roxbury at Stratton Falls.
Native Americans no doubt visited the falls in early times. More recently settlers, farmers, merchants, picnickers, innkeepers and vacationers have been drawn to the falling waters. The cataract that once provided energy to power mills is a marvel of nature’s engineering. It is also a fascinating place to visit.
The falls takes its name from an early family, the Strattons, who first cleared and farmed several hundred acres near the falls more than two centuries ago. The Stratton name and the waterfall have remained etched on the landscape and in the history of the Catskill Mountains ever since.
Brothers Joseph and Samuel Stratton, both of whom served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, moved with their families to Roxbury from Connecticut about 1790. They were among the earliest settlers in the area. Together the two Stratton families leased 530 acres of land, nearly a square mile, in the vicinity of the falls south of the modern village of Roxbury. The forested lands that they cleared and farmed were a part of the Great Hardenbergh Patent, 1½ million acres of un-surveyed land between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers that Johannes Hardenbergh and other merchant investors “purchased” from the Esopus Indians in 1707 for a pittance.
Hardenbergh’s transaction was confirmed the next year by Queen Anne of Great Britain. Needless to say, the questionable acquisition was not popular with Native Americans nor with other settlers and investors. Historian John D. Monroe has described the Hardenbergh Patent as “a gratuitous and fraudulent grant made by a corrupt governor, the cousin of a feeble queen, who was the daughter of a felonious king.”
Because the lands they settled were legally owned by descendants of the original owners of the Patent (or new owners who had acquired holdings from the Patent), the Stratton brothers, had to pay the non-resident owners both the taxes due on the land and an annual rent. Beginning about 1839 and continuing into the 1840s Catskill settlers who were disenchanted with this feudal-like arrangement staged an Anti-Rent War, a rebellion that ultimately ended the payment system and provided settlers with title to their land.
Joseph Stratton, who died in 1827, had eight children (two daughters and six sons); his brother Samuel (d. 1838) had three daughters and two sons, Jesse and Jonathan. Jonathan and his wife had four children, all daughters, while Jesse and his spouse had five children, of which two were sons. One son drowned at age 12, leaving the other son—Daniel Squires Stratton—as the only grandson of Samuel Stratton. Daniel’s father Jesse died in 1837 the year before Samuel died. As a consequence, Daniel inherited a significant part of his grandfather Samuel’s land (female descendants did not inherit).
Before his death Jesse Stratton had deeded land for the construction of the Meeting House Church (now known as the Old School Baptist Church) built in 1833 just north of The Roxbury at Stratton Falls. Some of the Strattons (as well as some of the Hicks family members mentioned below) are buried in the church cemetery. Other Strattons are buried in the Tyler Cemetery east of the falls.
Joseph Stratton’s six sons, Daniel’s uncles, were faced with dividing their father’s land among the six of them which would have left each with a relatively small holding. To remedy the situation five of the sons conveyed their inheritances to their brother Ezra and moved west to Ohio and to New Jersey.
Ezra Stratton would go on to help develop the area near the falls, operating a woolen mill on Mill Creek (sometimes called Mill Brook) just below the falls and also a nearby store. For at least a time before 1833 his partner in the store was Timothy Corbin, Jr. The mill originally had been owed by Ezra’s father Joseph and Ezra’s Uncle Samuel.
Over time the small community became known as Stratton Falls. Later Ezra would sell or convey part of his land to Daniel Stratton (his Cousin Jesse’s son), including the portion with the mill and the falls. Ezra, who had no heirs, later moved to New Jersey. Ezra may have looked after Daniel’s inheritance until Daniel reached adulthood.
In 1830 one of Ezra’s nephews, Lewis Stratton Jr., son of Ezra’s brother Eli and one of Joseph Stratton’s grandsons, moved to Stratton Falls from Ohio where he had been born. Back in Stratton Falls “Lewis, Jr.” (so named because one of his uncles—a brother of Ezra and Eli—also was named Lewis) worked in Ezra’s store and likely became a part owner. By 1839 Lewis Jr. was running a second store south of the Stratton Falls community in Middletown Township (where Margaretville is located). His business partner was the same Timothy Corbin, Jr., who had been in business with Ezra.
In 1840 a post office was established in Stratton Falls and Ezra Stratton served as the first postmaster. The post office was within the Stratton store. Four years later Lewis Jr. became the postmaster.
Timothy Corbin, Jr, the Strattons’ business partner, served as a town supervisor in Margaretville (in Middletown) and also was a justice and an undersheriff. At the time of the Anti-Rent War of the early 1840s Corbin was involved in staging sheriff’s sales at which the land and possessions of farmers who refused to pay rent to absent landowners were auctioned. He also arrested some of the anti-rent protestors (known as “Down-Renters”). For his efforts Down-Renters tarred and feathered him in 1844.
Both of Lewis Stratton’s stores had failed at the end of 1840, but he was soon back in business. This time he had another partner in the Stratton Falls store, Ira Hicks. Together they ran the store from about 1844 to 1848, when Ira may have bought Lewis, Jr.’s share of the business. Likely the store was in the same building as the store operated first by Ezra Stratton. In 1847 that building burned and a new one was built to house the store and post office (at a cost of $96, including $7.50 for labor). The loss of the original store and its stock may have hastened Lewis Stratton Jr.’s decision to sell to Ira Hicks.
When Lewis Jr. died in January 1851 (of “inflammation of the brain”) a notice in a local newspaper indicates he was still the Stratton Falls postmaster; there is no mention of his involvement in the store at that time.
Another early family to settle in the area was Ambrose and Margaret (known as Sarah) Hicks who were married in Rhode Island in 1795. Sometime prior to 1800 they settled on Upper Meeker Hollow Road about two miles west of the falls. The stone house the Hicks built on their 100-acre farm still stands today. When Sarah died Ambrose returned to Rhode Island, remarried, and returned to the farm with his new wife, Mary.
Ambrose and Sarah, his first wife, had three children. Daughter Polly, the eldest, married Samuel McKean just before her nineteenth birthday and she and her husband moved west to Ohio and then to Illinois. In 1847 they made the journey across the Plains to Oregon. She never returned to the Stratton Falls community. Today she is recognized as one of the original Oregon pioneers.
Polly’s younger brother by one year, Jesse, is listed in multiple United States and State of New York census records as a male. Curiously an oft-cited volume, “The Leading Citizens of Delaware County” published in 1895, says that he was born as a girl named Jessie. Jesse, who never married, drowned at age 61 in 1860. Polly and Jesse had a younger brother, Ira, born the year after Jesse. By the time of their father Ambrose’s death in 1848 (he was 91 when he died), Ira had taken over his father’s farm.
Eight years earlier, in January 1840, Ira had married Laura Chase. Timothy Corbin, Jr, who had been in business with Ezra and Lewis Stratton, Jr., performed the ceremony. The United States census taken later that year lists Ira and Laura as living on the family farm with Ira’s father, Ira’s stepmother, and brother Jesse. By 1844 Ira had added acreage to the farm and he was in business with Lewis Stratton, Jr., at the store near Stratton Falls.
Two weeks after his father’s death in 1848 Ira set about buying the land around Stratton Falls. Initially he purchased ten acres from Daniel Stratton and his wife Lucy for $500 dollars, a large sum of money at the time. The price was high because it included the falls itself, a portion of Mill Creek, a saw mill and lumber yard, and the right to use the creek below the falls for “hydraulic and mill” purposes, including erecting a building and dams. Apparently included in the sale was the former Stratton/Hicks store of which Ira was then sole owner. Though he no longer owned part of the store Lewis Jr., as noted above, continued to serve as Stratton Falls postmaster.
The 1848 land purchase included rights to a spring that was at the northwest side of the property, southwest of the Old School Baptist Church. The present land where The Roxbury at Stratton Falls is located lies within Ira’s original purchase and the spring is still there beside Stratton Falls Road. Today local residents continue to fill containers with water from the spring.
It is likely that Ira had the mansion at Stratton Falls built shortly after he purchased the ten acres around the falls in 1848. By the time of the 1850 U. S. census Ira and Laura were living in the new mansion along with their three sons: Samuel (8 years old), Addison (6) and Charles (4). Ira’s older brother Jesse also lived with them, along with a 40-year old man (who may have been a relative of Laura’s), a young woman servant, and a young man named Daniel Andrus.
Daniel Andrus was one of 12 children whose father died in 1836 when Daniel was 5 years old. Unable to care for all her children, Daniel’s mother had sent Daniel to live with the Hicks family who at the time were neighbors in Meeker Hollow. Ambrose Hicks’s second wife was a relative of the Andrus family. Young Daniel Andrus was living with the Hicks family on Ambrose Hicks’ farm at the time of the 1840 census (he was still living with the Hicks family in 1860, then in the mansion at Stratton Falls). Daniel, who worked for a time in Ira’s store, would marry Kate Stratton, Lewis Stratton, Jr.’s daughter, in February 1859.
In 1851 when Lewis Stratton, Jr., died, Ira Hicks became postmaster. Several years later his business ventures provided the capital to expand his holdings near the falls and Mill Creek. In early 1858 he bought 80 additional acres from the Burhans family for $500. A year later he bought 1⅛ acres for $100 from another Burhans family. The latter relatively expensive property was along Mill Creek above the falls and included hydraulic rights, suggesting the purchase included a mill. Mill Creek and its waterfall were valuable sources of power.
In 1859, Ira purchased an additional 20 acres adjacent to those he already owned from John Gould for $200. Gould was the father of famed financier Jay Gould.
With that purchase Ira and Laura Hicks owned 111 acres around Stratton Falls and Mill Creek in addition to the farm inherited from Ira’s father Ambrose. Ira added to the farm increasing it to 450 acres. As Christmas time 1848 Ira was operating a barrel factory at the Falls and was selling tubs and firkins (barrels) in which butter was stored and transported. Ira and Laura also owned rental property in the village of Roxbury, as well as the store at Stratton Falls, and they rented out farm land for others to cultivate. In addition, Ira raised cattle and he drew a modest salary as postmaster of the Stratton Falls post office (records indicate that he held that job for a decade; his annual salary in 1856 was $21.99). Ira also served as Colonel for the New York 174th Regiment, 25th Infantry Brigade of the U. S. army reserve, a position for which he received a salary. He served on various Roxbury town committees, was town supervisor in 1850, and was active in local political circles.
According to the 1860 U. S. census Ira and Laura Hicks were the wealthiest people in the community of Stratton Falls. Their real estate was valued at $12,000 (about $350,000 today) and their personal property at $5000 (about $143,000 today); their holdings included the mansion that today is part of The Roxbury at Stratton Falls.
Ira and Laura’s climb up the social and economic ladder is reflected in the U.S. census. In 1850 Ira is said to be a farmer and merchant; in 1860 he is listed only as a merchant, a wealthy one at that.
A Business Built on Butter
The stores operated by the Stratton and Hicks families were general stores in every sense of the word. They sold everything that nineteenth century residents might want, including: ivory combs, spices, butter, raisins, guns, paper, axes, molasses, slate pencils, bags, ax handles, flour, buttons, turpentine, shoes, lamp wicks, thread, spectacles, pork, cotton balls, cloth, tools, fish, eggs, rice, sewing needles, dyes, shot, starch, matches, potatoes, gun powder, tobacco, kerosene, firkins (barrels), stone jugs, writing paper, oysters, hard candy, tea, whiskey, crackers, and stoneware jugs
Ira Hicks, later joined by his son Charles, certainly made a profit from the store. The store’s daily ledgers list the names of customers and the items each purchased along with the prices. Later the amount of each person’s daily purchases was transferred to another book containing an alphabetical list of customers, one person to a page or half page. Periodically all the expenditures for each person were tallied. Though some customers paid their bills in cash, others traded Ira Hicks firkins of butter in lieu of money.
Ira derived a significant income from buying and selling butter. Store ledgers—curated at the Harvard University Business School Library—mention the butter he received from local farmers. Ira then had the butter transported down the Hudson River to the butter market in New York City.
On farms the winter months especially were spent churning butter, packing it in firkins, sealing the firkins with brine and wooden covers, and storing the barrels. In the spring, after the roads that were closed in winter became passable, the firkins were taken to Ira Hicks who sent them on to the Hudson River by wagon. That was no small task; a firkin of butter weighed between 80-100 pounds.
Butter was big business. In 1870 Delaware County, of which Stratton Falls was a part, produced 6,135,715 lbs. of butter!
The Stratton Falls Community, Its Neighbors, and the Arrival of the Railroad
For several decades in the mid-nineteenth century the community of Stratton Falls was at least as important as the small village of Roxbury to its north. Stratton Falls featured a woolen mill, the post office and store, saw mill, blacksmith, a cooper (barrel and firkin maker), grist mill, distillery, tannery, milliner, cheese factory, and inn and tavern.
In the 1860 federal census the Stratton Falls community is demarcated as a separate village within Delaware County, a reflection of its status. In that census people in the general vicinity of the community—such as those living in West Settlement and Meeker Hollow (both about two miles northwest of Stratton Falls)—were included in the census with Stratton Falls rather than with Roxbury.
North of Stratton Falls and south of Roxbury within and adjacent to the flat flood plain of the East Branch of the Delaware River was an area known (perhaps derogatively) as Shacksville. According to a local historian “riff-raff from both communities [Stratton Falls and Roxbury] lived in hovels there and a lively tavern was operated at full blast around 1844.” During the Anti-Rent War in the mid-1840s the tavern was a meeting place for local Down-Renters. At one point a sheriff posse’s coming from Roxbury routed a group of Down-Renters near Shacksville, arresting a dozen of them. The incident has become known as the “Battle of Shacksville.” In later years the Shacksville locality was known by a more genteel name: Brookdale.
West Settlement, mentioned above, was home to farmers and their families. Both Jay Gould, the famed financier, and John Burroughs, the equally famous naturalist, were born there, Gould in 1836 and Burroughs in 1837. In 1880 Gould, by then a well-known millionaire, took the train to Roxbury, visited his old home site, and had it and the one-room school he had attended photographed for posterity. On that trip he also commissioned headstones for the graves of his parents in the Old School Baptist Church cemetery.
In an 1896 article in Outlook magazine Burroughs recounts a number of anecdotes about growing up near Stratton Falls, including how he and his classmates would visit Stratton Falls to mine slate to make pencils:
“Once in a while we children at school would play hooky and make a trip down to Stratton Falls, a mile and a half distant, after slate pencils…. We would run away at noon and not get back until long after school had begun. Our excuse was that we had to go to get slate-pencils. It was a great adventure. Streaks of slate cropped out in the ledges [by the falls], and we used to get little slabs of it and carry them home. Some of it was red and some blue. The way to tell if the slate would do for pencils was to rub it across the ends under your teeth. You could tell instantly by the grit if it was too hard or too soft.
“We took the little slabs of slate home, and in our spare time would work them up into slate-pencils. I’d cut two straight, deep gashes with my knife about the width of a pencil apart on one side, drawing the knife back and forth and back and forth by the hour. Then I’d turn the slab over and start other cuts to meet the first ones, By and by you broke off the slab along the gashes, and then you could whittle your splinter of slate into shape. We got all our slate-pencils that way. You couldn’t buy them at the store—never heard of such a thing.”
In 1871 the Rondout and Oswego Railroad reached Stratton Falls and soon extended to Roxbury and beyond. One could take a steamer from New York City up the Hudson River to Rondout (near Kingston) and transfer to the railroad for a four-hour trip to Stratton Falls as well as the nearby villages of Griffin’s Corners (now Fleischmanns), Dean’s Corners (Arkville), Kelly’s Corners, Halcottsville, Roxbury, Moresville (Grand Gorge), and Stamford. Depending on the season the train passed through Stratton Falls either four or six times a day. The last train of the day left Rondout in the afternoon and was called the Steamboat Express.
The R&O Railroad gave way to the Kingston & Syracuse Railroad, which in turn became the Ulster & Delaware Railroad in 1875. By then Stratton Falls, unlike Roxbury, was a flag stop. The train only halted for passengers if it was flagged, indicating someone wished to board. Roxbury, with its depot, was a regular stop on the line.
The train brought people and progress to the Catskills as well as problems. In March 1872 a newspaper account notes that a lawsuit was soon to be filed against the railroad as a result of a horse being “run into” near Stratton Falls. In July, eight years later, a “track walker” who had over-celebrated the “Glorious Fourth” holiday had decided to take a nap on the tracks near Stratton Falls where he was spotted by the train’s engineer. Brakes were applied and the front of the train “gently rolled the man over, or rather shoved him along a few feet, without doing more injury to him than soiling his clothes and scratching his clothes and face a little.”
Accidents and bad behavior did not arrive in Stratton Falls with the trains, however. In August 1859, according to newspaper accounts, the store owned by Ira Hicks “was entered on the night of the 8th…by affecting an entrance into the cellar and then into the store room above. About $60 worth of Goods were taken.” The latter included: “a piece of broadcloth, a lot of vestings [ornate cloth most often used for vests], silk handkerchiefs, red-flannel, &c.”
The thieves, “some tough-looking customers,” forced two doors to gain access to the room where the merchandise was. They also took the key to the post office from the money drawer. Authorities later arrested several individuals and recovered the Post Office key and some of the items.
Nature also could provide misfortune. Twice barns belonging to Ira Hicks burned. On the Fourth of July, 1872 at 11 in the morning a bolt of lightning struck one barn that was “entirely consumed, together with some grain and a quantity of tools.” Eight years later on a Friday night fire destroyed another of Ira’s barns, destroying its contents, a “quantity of hay.”
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century Stratton Falls’ prominence would decline as Roxbury’s businesses and population grew. The Stratton Falls post office was closed in 1876, a harbinger of the end of the community as a rival to Roxbury. Two years before the post office closed Ira’s youngest son, Charles L. Hicks, was serving as postmaster. At the time Charles was still living in the Hicks mansion with his parents.
From 1870 on the people living in the Stratton Falls community, as well as those in Meeker Hollow, West Settlement, and Brookdale, were included with Roxbury in the census. Stratton Falls would continue to exist, but as a place within the village of Roxbury.
Stratton Falls Mansion in Later Years
The 1880 census lists seven people living in the Hicks mansion at the falls: Ira and spouse Laura, their middle son Addison (31 years old), son Charles and his spouse Mary, Charles and Mary’s four-year old son Samuel Wilson Hicks, and a neighbor woman who worked for the family. In that year Ira Hicks turned 70 and youngest son Charles was running the Hicks family economic interests. Ira died at the end of the decade (in September 1889; his spouse Laura had died two and a half years earlier).
Less than two weeks after Ira died (without a will) Charles began filing legal documents to settle his father’s estate and to put the family holdings in his name. That process was finalized in 1891.
By 1880 Charles was running the Hicks mansion as an inn. Two photographs (one of unknown age and one from 1912) show a large two-story addition built on the back of the Stratton Falls mansion, presumably to house the inn’s guests.
An advertisement that Charles Hicks placed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper in 1880 described the inn’s amenities:
Falls House on the line of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad. Accommodations for 25. Elevation 1,600 feet.
Falls 60 feet, and near the house. Easy of access. Mag-
nificent mountain scenery and walks. Fine trout fishing.
Fine piazza. Terms reasonable. Address C. L. Hicks,
Roxbury, Delaware Co., N. Y.
In June 1891 more ads appeared in the same paper:
IN THE CATSKILLS, A FEW ADULT
boarders can find board at STRATTON’S FALLS;
high elevation, large airy rooms, veranda, regulation
tennis court, dark room. Address
C. L. Hicks
ROXBURY, Delaware Co., N. Y.
Seven years later in an ad in the New York Sun newspaper Charles took a slightly different tact to attract guests:
GLENVIEW, Stratton’s Falls.
High locations; rooms large, airy; special attention
to table; mountain spring water. For terms, and &c.,
address C.L. HICKS, Roxbury, Delaware co., N. Y.
In 1902 the Ulster & Delaware Railroad published a guidebook to the Catskill Mountains, an attempt to draw passengers to the many hotels and boarding houses that could be reached by rail. Among the list of “establishments for summer entertainment” is that of Charles Hicks, said to be two miles from the Roxbury post office and able to house 50 guests.
Hicks had both souvenir postcards and small china items made in Germany to sell as souvenirs at the inn. Cards and china displaying the exact same view of Stratton Falls and thought to have been made in the 1890s today are occasionally sold as collectibles via the internet.
About 1900 two commercial creameries that bought milk from farmers and turned it into dairy products, including butter, were in operation near Stratton Falls. The Cold Springs creamery was near the intersection of Cold Spring Road and Creamery Road (an area earlier known as Travis Crossing) while the Brookdale creamery was on Stratton Falls Road just north of the Briggs Road bridge. Both were adjacent to the Ulster & Delaware Railroad which transported the dairy products to markets. The two commercial creameries effectively changed the dynamics of the local butter trade.
Charles Hicks, building on the accomplishments of his father, became a prominent member of the Roxbury community. But his fortunes and those of the Hicks family would not last. It is likely the Stratton Falls boarding house was not a financial success. Then by 1900 Charles Hicks was suffering health problems. According to an obituary in the Roxbury Times newspaper, Charles Hicks died while in Poughkeepsie on January 1, 1903. The obituary states that Charles had been “in poor health…for many months.” Cause of death was said to be “some disease of the stomach” which developed into “paresis.”
Turn of the century medical dictionaries describe paresis as:
1. Partial or incomplete paralysis.
2. A disease of the brain, marked by progressive dementia, tremor, speech disturbances, and increasing muscular weakness; in a large proportion of patients there is a preliminary stage of irritability often followed by exaltation and delusions of grandeur.
Charles Hicks received treatment for his medical issues in Poughkeepsie. He and wife Mary are listed several times in newspaper social columns as visitors to that town.
It seems certain that Charles Hicks is the Charles Hicks that appears in the 1900 United States census as a patient of the Hudson River State Hospital, a psychiatric institution in Poughkeepsie. That he died in that asylum is mentioned in a memoir written by a contemporary Roxbury resident.
Mary, Charles’s widow, continued to live in the Stratton Falls mansion. Son Samuel Wilson Hicks, 29 when his father died, had already moved out to pursue his own career. He had earned a degree from New York University and was working as a teacher and a librarian. An article in the Buffalo newspaper in late summer 1895 reports that Helen Gould, daughter of Jay Gould and later the spouse of Finley Shepard, presented a scholarship to Samuel so that he could attend New York University. The reason stated is that Samuel’s maternal grandfather Robert Wilson (the father of his mother Mary Hicks nee Wilson) had befriended Jay Gould when Gould was a young man living in Roxbury. According to the article Mr. Wilson “took young [Jay] Gould into his house and for three years boarded him and send him to school. In return for this Gould kept Mr. Wilson’s accounts.” At the time Wilson was one of Roxbury’s blacksmiths.
Samuel and his spouse Blanche would have a son whom they named Charles after Samuel’s father. The son attended Harvard University. In 1932 Charles committed suicide. Samuel, his father, would live until 1956 when he died in Albany at age 80. Samuel, Samuel’s son (Charles A. Hicks), and Samuel’s father (Charles L. Hicks) are all buried in the Village of Roxbury Cemetery.
The other two sons of Ira Hicks, Addison and Samuel, both older than brother Charles, did not fare well either. Samuel married Jennie Barnes of Delhi in December 1863. Less than a year later she died (November 1864). In August 1870 Samuel, who had continued to live at Stratton Falls, also died. Both Jennie and Samuel are buried together in Woodland Cemetery in Delhi.
The brother of Charles and Samuel, Addison, Ira’s oldest son, married Sarah Older, a local woman, in June 1864. In 1865 Addison and Sarah both about 20 years of age, were living on a farm in Roxbury. Ten years later Addison and Sarah had three children and continued to live on the farm. Their oldest daughter was Jennie, named for her deceased aunt (Addison’s sister-in-law and brother Samuel’s wife).
The marriage of Sarah and Addison fell apart sometime between 1875 and 1880. By the latter date Sarah and the children had moved to Stamford, and Addison was back living in the Hicks mansion at Stratton Falls. Before 1900 Addison was placed in the Binghamton State Hospital, a mental institution. He was still a patient there in 1910, the year he died. The death of Ira’s middle son Samuel and the mental illness of oldest son Addison, cleared the way for their brother Charles to inherit Ira’s property and business enterprises, though he apparently squandered the wealth.
Mary Hicks, the widow of Charles L. Hicks, continued to live alone in the Stratton Falls mansion after her husband’s death in 1903. Several times she made visits to relatives in Nebraska and during one extended visit in 1906 she rented out the mansion at Stratton Halls. By the mid-1920s when she was in her 70s it must have become too difficult for her to manage the property. By that time the store and the large addition that Charles had added to the house had both been disassembled and the wood sold to a Roxbury farmer to build a barn.
The Mansion Later in the Twentieth Century
In 1928 Mary, son Samuel, and his spouse Blanche (Samuel inherited some ownership in the property but did not live there) sold the mansion to Dr. William White, a Manhattan dentist and contemporary of members of the Algonquin Round Table in Manhattan. Mary Hicks then went to live with Samuel and Blanche in North Chatham, New York, but after a short while returned to live in an assisted living facility in Roxbury. She died in the late 1930s and is buried with her husband, son, and grandson in Roxbury.
Dr. White, who lived at 30 East 58th Street in New York City, originally purchased the Hicks mansion along with the adjoining 103 acres as a weekend home. Prior to 1928 he had vacationed in Roxbury and was well known in the area. Later he and his family lived full-time in the mansion while he worked as a dentist in Roxbury. The Whites sold off some of the original Hicks land, though they kept the land immediately around the mansion.
White died in August 1952 and his spouse Marion Cyphers White continued to live in the house for nearly a decade before selling the property in 1961 to Walter and Yvette Cozzens. Mrs. Cozzens, a native of France, gave private French lessons in the mansion.
Three years later the Cozzens, in turn, sold the Hicks mansion to James Anthony, a successful florist from Brooklyn, and his wife Lillian T. Anthony. Mr. Anthony, who was of Greek descent, was born in Istanbul as Euthemios Antoniades. With their children, the Anthony’s used the mansion as a summer home until James Anthony’s death in 1968. Lillian Anthony would live in the mansion until she died in March 1986 after which time her family once again began to use the house as a vacation home.
More than a decade later in 2014 the Hicks mansion was put up for sale. The present owners were given a tour of the property, including the falls. They stood at the bottom of Stratton Falls and looked up at the glistening cascade flowing past the millennia-old rock formations, and, like all the visitors before them, were enraptured. The rest, as they say, is history. Welcome, world, to The Roxbury at Stratton Falls.
Many, many thanks and big hugs to our dear friend, Jerald T. Milanich Curator Emeritus in Archaeology, University of Florida, for his four-year mission to compile this history of Stratton Falls, New York.