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Memory Lane

Memories of the Jacques Hill Accident


Written by Ira H. Briggs. Courtesy of Ann Briggs Brown.


Mary A. Turner Harder of Hemlock NY circa 1890.

Courtesy of Ann Briggs Brown.

Jakeway hill is often called Hemlock Hill. I don’t know how it got its name unless somehow it was connected with one of the hotels by the same name “Jakeway House”, which was located near the foot of the hill, and also near the foot of Hemlock Lake in the hay days of Hemlock Lake summer excursions, and steamboat days in the 1800’s.

So let us start at the top. We will begin at the home of my late grandparents George and Adeline Harder. Now the home of Ann and Bill Brown, 5168 Marrowback Road, joining Harder Road on the north. (Ann is their great granddaughter.) Going east on Harder Road past the Joe Morrissey place, formerly the Charles Turner place. Ken and Ruth Gladding, formerly the William Harder place, Neilson’s, which was the Fred Payne farm. Then to Nicols place, now Dead End! Now we are ready to go down the Jakeway Hill.

If three are riding in a buggy, two would probably walk, going down or coming up, with a team and wagon with a ton load of grain, etc., we would always carry a chain to wrap around the rim of the hind wheel to act as a brake all the way down. To come up the driver would walk along the side and drive the team, letting it stop for a breather every eight or ten rods, putting a block behind a wheel as soon as possible. This would ease the team while resting.

When I started high school at Hemlock High, there were no buses in those days. We got there the best way we could. I drove a horse and buggy or cutter. I was happy to stop at the Fred Payne place to pick up their daughter Marion, who now lives in Livonia. We both rode up and down the old hill every school day.

Going to the Hemlock Baptist Church one Sunday in June 1892 our grandmother Harder, and three young daughters, Aunt Mabel, Aunt Hattie, and Lulu, who later became my mother. Coming to the top of the hill the girls got out of the buggy. On the way down the harness broke scaring the horse, and grandmother was thrown from the buggy. Ed Brown (Brownie) who lived beyond the foot of the hill caught the horse, jumped on its back and went for help. Gramp (we always called him Gramps) and the neighbors carried her home on a make shift stretcher. She came too the next day, a few minutes, long enough to talk to her family. Burnell, Leonard, and I never knew our grandmother.

Along about 1919-20, the town of Livonia bought the right-of-way. Turning left about halfway between Gladdings and Neilson’s joining Blank Road north thus by-passing the old Jakeway Hill Road for good. I doubt if hunters could walk it now.

Editor’s note: Ira H. Briggs lived in Richmond NY and was married to Mary Greenman. Click the link below to read more about Ira and Mary Greenman Briggs. Ira was the uncle of Ann Briggs Brown. Mary A. Turner Harder was the great-grandmother of Ann Briggs Brown.

Ira H. and Mary Greenman Briggs