Elmdon, 49 Mead Street

Enoch and Jemima Mead

Solomon and Eunice Gilbert Mead c. 1807
Harvey Mead c. 1870-1904
Robert and Coralie Mead Brooke c. 1912

Portrait of General Ebenezer Mead (b. Dec 12, 1748 in Greenwich, CT, died 1818.) Received Major General’s commission in 1801.  Brother of Enoch Mead.

Portrait of General Ebenezer Mead (b. Dec 12, 1748 in Greenwich, CT, died 1818.) Received Major General’s commission in 1801.  Brother of Enoch Mead.

Enoch Mead was a nephew of Rev. Solomon Mead of South Salem.  Enoch represents the second Mead line to come from Kent, England, c. 1776.  This is the line that started the Mead family in Waccabuc.

At the corner of Mead Street and Schoolhouse Road is the Homestead built in 1820 by Alphred Mead, and a bit farther on, at the top of the hill and on the east stands, gable-end to the road and close behind a white picket fence, a house long known as Elmdon.  The stone marker set into the chimney carries the date 1780.  It was built during the Revolutionary War by Enoch Mead.  Both he and his wife, Jemima, were born in Horseneck, Greenwich, CT in 1756, where they were married in their twentieth year.  He acquired property on Mead Street about 1776, probably from his father.  In 1784 he bought an additional one hundred acres, and in 1787 forty more, all parts of Van Cortlandt Great South Lot #10 and making up a single farm.  This land was on the crest of the ridge on Mead Street with a wide-sweeping view to the hills beyond the Hudson.  Here they settled.

Enoch built first a log house beside a good spring to the east of the site of Elmdon.  To the best of our knowledge this was little more than a single room, perhaps with a sleeping loft, four walls of unhewn logs, a roof of crudely split shingles or possibly sod or thatch, a rough floor or one of dirt, the fireplace and chimney of fieldstone.  Here Enoch’s first son (Solomon) was born, and while he was building his second house nearer the road, his family continued to grow.

This was during the Revolutionary War years, and Enoch served as an enlisted man in the Westchester Militia under Col. Thaddeus Crane and later was Adjutant on the staff of his brother, General Ebenezer Mead.  He was also active, after 1784 when the present township was established, in the affairs of the town as overseer of the poor and as commissioner of highways.  He and his family must have gotten quite a surprise and thrill in July 1781 when two brigades of French troops under the command of General Comte Rochambeau, in their highly colorful uniforms, came marching right past the door on their way from Ridgebury, CT to Bedford Village, NY.  They were en route to join General Washington’s army in a surprise attack on the British forces at Kingsbridge, north of Manhattan.  This plan was abandoned; Rochambeau joined Washington’s troops near King’s Ferry and began the long march to Yorktown, VA, to the final battle of the war.

Solomon Mead.  He died in 1870 at the age of 91.

Solomon Mead.  He died in 1870 at the age of 91.

In 1786, Enoch was granted an excise license “to Keep a Publick Inn or Tavern and to Sell by retail all Sorts of Strong and Spiritous Liquors to be Drank in the House wherein he now Dwells”.  His account book from 1794 to 1806 lists many sales of rum, grog, liquor, gin, cider and victuals, while the very small number of transactions of “yard goods” shows that his business was that of tavern keeper rather than store keeper. Profits from his business allowed Enoch to continue to purchase land.  By the time of this death he owned Elmdon, the 2 farms south (later known as the Homestead and the Lower Farm) as well as a 5-acre tract on the north shore of Long Pond (Lake Waccabuc), several woodlots on Goldens Bridge Road (now Chapel Road) and “McCollum’s Woods” on the present Rt. 121.

Enoch kept meticulous inventory of all his holdings.  He grew grains (oats, buckwheat, rye, wheat, corn), root crops (onions, turnips, potatoes), fibers (broom corn, flax), pumpkins, and hay.  He kept cattle, sheep, hogs, chicken and geese.  He had an orchard and a cider mill – fermenting his own cider for sale in the tavern.  There were sales of butter and cheese, beef, pork and mutton, hides.  He generated additional income by pasturing and wintering stock for others, welling wood, charging “house rent” and for the “use of my team”.  His estate inventory in 1807 also indicated furniture (8 beds, textiles, tableware, a silver watch and a clock.  There were three enslaved Blacks to work alongside the family. There were a number of barns (west, south, old) and two stables (one was called “little”).  All told, this plus his considerable landholdings bespeak of a very prosperous man who at his death at the age of 51 made fine provisions for the future prosperity of the Mead family.

Enoch’s family grew but not all prospered.  The oldest stone in the Mead Family cemetery is that of his daughter, Sally.  Two of his four sons preceded him to the grave when he died in 1807.  Jemima lived on at Elmdon with her oldest son, Solomon; she died at the age of 81 in 1837.  Solomon survived until 1870, one month short of his 92nd birthday.  Solomon’s son, Harvey Mead, inherited the place and lived there until his death in 1904.

Late 1800s

Late 1800s

Late 1800s

Late 1800s

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Elmdon interior

Elmdon interior

Elmdon 6.JPG
2013

2013