My paternal family "roots" go deep in Baldwin Township, Chemung County history. My 5th great-grandfather, Henry W. & Lydia Olin, bought land and settled in Baldwin (Chemung at the time) in the 1850s. He and his wife later, along with all of his children except the eldest, removed to Michigan. The eldest, my 4th great-grandfather, William & Sally Olin, purchased the land from Henry and they remained in Baldwin Township. There is a short road off of Breesport-North Chemung Road that is called "Olin Road" even today, and that is where the family homestead was. William served as Poormaster for Baldwin for many years. I have several interesting documents related to his position.
Several years ago, a friend sent me several newspaper clippings related to a tragic story in the William Olin family’s history, that when read today points to how difficult life was in days gone by. Unfortunately, the copies did not all have the newsprint heading in order to know exactly what newspaper and date was the source. I believe all but the much later one (Editorial), came from the Elmira Daily Gazette and Free Press.
The events happened as William was taking his three daughters and one of his grandchildren to Elmira to celebrate News Years Eve events in 1885. He hitched up his horse team and buggy and off they went to the "big city," a route that would take them down what we call today, Jerusalem Hill. Back then, I think it was called, or referred to, as Water Cure Hill, as the road went past where the Water Cure was built.
I transcribed the clippings from the copies. I could provide scans of the page copies if you prefer.
To personalize the story a bit, I have included a copy of the only picture I have of William Olin. In the photo is his only son, Henry, who is mentioned, not by name but by relation to Mrs. Emma Bunto. Henry, and his wife, Adelia, lived most of their married life also on the family homestead in Baldwin and are buried, as are his parents, in North Chemung Cemetery.
|January 1, 1886
An Accident which Proves Fatal to One of the Ladies.
William Olin, postmaster of the town of Baldwin, together with his three daughters, Mrs. Nurse, Mrs. Bunto and Mary Olin and Mrs. Bunto's little daughter, who is about three years old, started to drive to Elmira yesterday morning. When coming down the Water Cure hill, just above that institution, in going over a water-back, one of the truces became loosened, which let the tongue fall out of the neck-yoke and plow along into the ground. When the tongue fell the wagon went forward on to the horses’ heels and they at once became unmanageable, starting down the hill at a furious rate. The tongue was soon broken, and the part which was attached to the wagon stuck in the ground, hurling the wagon some distance through the air and landing with the occupants underneath. Assistance was soon rendered and the five people, groaning and bleeding, were extricated from their position. They were taken to the water cure, where it was found that they were all more or less injured, Mrs. Bunto the most seriously. She was badly injured about the head, and died at 9:30 o'clock, never having regained consciousness from the time of the accident.
Mrs. Nurse was also injured about the head and remained unconscious for a long time. At the present writing she is reported slowly improving. The others all received injuries, but not of a serious nature.
December 31, 1885
FIVE PEOPLE BADLY HURT.
Terrible Accident Happens to William Olin and His daughters and May Result in the Death of One of the Party—How It Occurred.
From Thursday's Daily.
A very serious and perhaps fatal accident occurred this morning near the Water Cure. William Olin, poormaster of the town of Baldwin, was coming to Elmira. He drove a team of horses attached to a wagon. in which with him were his three daughters Mrs. Bunto, Mrs. Nurse and Mary Olin, and a grandchild, the daughter of Mrs. Bunto, a little girl about three years of age.
Just above the Water Cure, in going over a small gully the tongue to the wagon broke and let the vehicle on the horses' heels, frightening them. The animals immediately darted down the hill at a terrible pace, the wheels hitting them at every jump. In front of Mr. Beecher's residence the half of the tongue attached to the wagon stuck in the ground and the wagon shot through air and landed some distance away with the occupants underneath in a heap. The horses had wrenched themselves loose and went down the hill being stopped near the D, L. & W. railroad by Ed. Lande.*They were not much injured.
Helpers from the Water Cure and the surrounding houses ran quickly to the over-turned wagon beneath which the occupants lay groaning and bleeding. They were carefully carried, to the Cure and the physicians gave them the best possible care and attendance. Mrs. Bunto was found to be the most seriously injured, and at this hour the doctors say it seems doubtful whether she will recover or not. All the others were badly bruised, and some of their injuries may result worse than now anticipated. It was a very serious accident and occurred in about as bad, a place as could be found.
WHAT MR. OLIN SAYS.
Since the above was written a representative of the .GAZETTE has interviewed Mr. Olin. He escaped with fewer bruises than any of the party, one leg and one wrist being wrenched and badly swollen, but not so but he can get about He states that the prime cause of the accident was the unloosening of a tug, so that when the wagon struck a water-back the tongue fell out letting the vehicle on to the horse and the tongue plowing in the ground finally overturned the rig as described, breaking it to pieces.
Mrs. Bunto resides in Howard City, Michigan, where she has a husband, and with her two little children is here on a visit. She is badly injured about the head and conscious only by spells. The physicians think she has sustained a fracture of the skull and will die.
Mrs. Nurse's injuries are also to her head. She has been unconscious most of the time, but a favorable result is expected. Miss Olin and the little girl were severely scratched and bruised but their injuries not of a serious nature.
Mrs. Bunto who was injured Thursday by a runaway on Water Cure Hill died from her injuries at 9 o’clock the same evening. She leaves a husband, two children and innumerable friends to mourn her loss.
January 1, 1886
A RIDE TO DEATH
A Pleasure Party Hurled From a Runaway Wagon on Water Car Hill
William Olin, postmaster of the town of Baldwin, Mrs. Nurse, Mrs. Bunto, Mary Olin, his three daughters, and Mrs. Bunto's little daughter, met with a runaway accident on the dug-way on Water Cure Hill, Thursday morning. They were enroute to the city at the time, when one of the traces become loosened which let the tongue dlown and the wagon forward on the horses heels, which frightened them so that they tore down the dugwya [sic] at a furious rate. The tongue quickly, and the part attached to the wagon caught into the ground aud hurled the wagon in the air landing the occupants underneath it. Mrs. Bunto was so badly injured that she died soon after the accident occurred. Her home was at Howard City Michigan, and she leaves a husband and twp little children to mourn her untimely death. All the other occupants of ill-fated wagon were -more or less injured, but not seriously.
THE VICTIMS’ CONDITION.
HAMMONDS CORNERS; Jan. 2—Poormaster, William Olin, who was injured at the recent Water Cure hill accident, is able to be about, but is suffering from a badly swollen arm and bodily injuries. Mary Olin, his daughter, is doing nicely, yet her face is considerably disfigured and her hearing badly affected. Mrs. Bunto, whose death was caused by the accident, was also daughter of Mr. Olin. Her husband was at his home in Howard, Mich., in feeble health. He was telegraphed immediately after the disaster and is still unaware of his wife's death. He is expected from the west to-night. Luckily Mrs Bunto's two children did not accompany her on the ill-fated trip. Mrs. Bunto's funeral will occur from the church in this village at eleven o'clock to-morrow. Mr. Bunto is a nephew of ex-Policeman John.Bunto of this city, and was formerly a resident of North Chemung.
Mrs. William Nurse, who is still in Southport, is slightly improving, as is also her three-year old babe, who received a terrible scalp wound. This accident is the third of the kind that has happened in exactly the same place.
Many thanks are extended to Dr. and Mrs. Gleason at the Water Cure, who did everything in the power to make it comfortable for the injured and dying.
January 4, 1886
OBITUARY OF MRS. HENRY BUNTO
The funeral of Mrs. Henry Bunto, who was killed in the recent runaway accident on Water Cure Hill, was observed at North Chemung Sunday. As her husband, who was in Michigan at the time of her death, was in the lumber woods many miles from a telegraph station, it is possible that he has not yet heard of the terrible affliction that has befallen him.
January 4, 1886
MRS. BUNTO’S FUNERAL
The Victim of The Water Cure Hill Accident
Correspondence of the GAZETTE.
NORTH CHEMUNG, Jan. 4.—The funeral of Mrs. Henry Bunto, who was killed by the terrible runaway on Water Cure hill last Thursday, occurred at the North Chemung Union church, yesterday morning. Rev. DeWitt Myers preached an eloquent and impressive sermon. The deceased was 29 years of age and her maiden name was Emma S. Olin. Several years ago she was married to Henry Bunto, a young man of North Chemung, and they removed, soon afterward, to Howard City, Montcalm Co., Mich., where they have since resided. She had come back to her childhood home to spend the winter, bringing her two children, aged two and four years respectively, neither of whom were with her at the time of the accident. A telegram was sent to Mr. Bunto, but as he is in the lumber woods; twenty miles from a railroad station, the news could not have reached him in time for the funeral. Mrs. Bunto was loved by a large circle of friends and the news of her death cast a gloom over the community. The rest of the injured ones are improving with the exception of Mrs. Nourse who, it is feared, cannot recover.
Mr. Olin desires, through the GAZETTE, to thank the many kind friends and neighbors who have cared for his afflicted family.
date and source unknown (source likely Elmira Star-Gazette)
Tells of Runaway Down Steep Hill
Dear Editor:— This may give you a thrill to read.
Some time ago I heard a question on the radio about what a thank-ye-mom is. Had I been at the microphone I could have answered the question, as I shall long remember those thank-ye-moms on Watercure Hill.
A team of horses was hitched to a three-seated platform wagon[with six people in it, when the end of the wagon tongue dropped out of the neck-yoke; and fell to the ground, scraping along until it reached the next thank-ye-mom, the horses running meanwhile to keep free of the threshing tongue.
When the wagon hit the thank-ye-mom, the rear end raised from the ground and it changed ends. This threw all six people into the air, and only two escaped unhurt.
The horses kept running and were caught on State St. in Elmira. This was horse and buggy days
The driver was a prosperous farmer at the time, William Olin; it was 1888.
I am not sure if all thank-ye-moms : have been removed, but probably they have as they would be very inconvenient for automobiles now.
An Afflicted Family
[Correspondence-of the Gazette]
North Chemung, N: Y., Feb. 16.— Death has again entered the family of Henry Bunto, claiming his only remaining child, a bright little girl four years old, and leaving the heart-broken father alone in the world. The funeral occurred at the Uonon church Sunday afternoon, Rev. Dewitt Myers officiating. It will be remembered that Mrs. Bunto was killed on Water Cure hill New Year's. Both of her :children have followed her to the grave within six weeks. Mr. Bunto arrived Friday evening from Michigan, having just received the news of his wife’s death, which he chanced to read in the ELMIRA GAZETTE. He left his father, Peter Bunto, just alive, to come East and care for his children only to find that his affliction was deeper, than he thought.
February 10, 1886
Two Funerals at North Chemung
NORTH CHEMUNG, Feb. 10.—Sunday was an unusually sad day for the people of this community, being called together twice to witness the burial of the dead. In the morning at 11 o'clock occurred the funeral of the son of Henry Bunto, who it will be remembered lost his wife in an accident on Water Cure hill, near Elmira. His only son, aged nearly two years, fell victim of scarlet fever, and his only daughter lies dangerously ill with the same disease. Mr. Bunto, is still in Michigan and is not aware of his children's illness.
At 1 o'clock in the afternoon occurred the funeral of Mrs. Phoebe Asey, who died from the effects of a paralytic shock. Mrs. Asey was fifty-three years old, and leaves a husband, Earl Asey, and two sons and one daughter. The services were conducted by the E. A. union, of which the deceased was a member. The Baldwin, Erin and East Baldwin unions were in attendance. The REV. Mr. Durland, of Erin, preached a very interesting sermon from the text, ''Blessed are_ the dead which die in the Lord." The house was filled, and many went away unable to gain entrance.