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Using Old Maps to Find A House Site

Success - We Found The Old Woodbury House Site

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Two weeks later I went back to the Wolcott/Elmore/Morristown area and found the old "AM Woodbury" site, lost in thick brush at the edge of some new development. Thereís nothing left now but the foundation of what must have been a large house and a barn foundation a short distance away.

 Finding the site was a trick, as it was not evident, even from the new gravel road that passes nearby. The discovery happened with the help of Arlo Sterner, Wolcott surveyor and Town Lister, and Larry Demar, whose family once owned the old farmstead. The site was indeed as shown on the old maps - some distance off the road. As a student of old maps, I was pleased to learn how accurate these maps turned out to be. But it was not the maps that led us to the Woodbury cellarhole, it was our guide Larry.

Dave Allen standing in the old cellar hole with a copy of the 1859 map showing the owner "A.M. Woodbury"

The brush was so thick, even with the leaves off, that Larry actually walked right past the foundation.  At one point I looked off to the left and saw a slight opening in the growth with a few larger trees. Sure enough, it was the old house site. The area is overgrown, but by young growth - not a forest. It looks like the area had been grazed or cultivated in recent decades. It is on a gentle slope leading down to the east. The old house must have been fairly large, as the foundation is a big one - about 25í x 30í.

Most cellarholes Iíve seen are about half that size. Larry recalled a two-story house with an attic. It seems to have been still standing in the 1940s. We found apple trees and even an old lilac shrub by the ruins - typical of an old New England house site.

I donít know anything about this site except that it is labelled "A.M. Woodbury" on the 1859 map. Albert Merrill Woodbury was Urbanís father.

Albert was 46 years old at the time of the map. While it looks like he and his family lived here at this time, I note that three of Urbanís siblings were born in nearby Morristown, so the family may have moved a few times. Albert had moved on by 1878, as the Beers map shows someone else at this site.

After this success, we moved on to look for the sawmill site which was co-owned by Urban Woodbury This next site was a short distance away in  the Town of Elmore. It is shown on the 1859 map at the end of a short road leading north from Lake Elmore.

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Revised: 01/30/14
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