The following article is based on an interview with Bill Abrams of Arietta, by Annie Weaver. The pictures included in this article are all from the "Sesquicentennial of the Town of Arietta Hamilton County, New York," by the Historical Book Committee, privately printed, 1986. Permission to post the photos was graciously granted by Roberta Abrams, wife of Bill and a member of the committee.
Floyd William Abrams is known by everyone as Bill. Bill was born in Gloversville, NY where his parents lived at the time. A couple years after his birth his parents moved back to the Town of Arietta. Bill worked in his father's construction company and eventually took over the business when his father retired. Roberta Howard Abrams, Bill's wife, came from Buffalo, NY and started teaching in the Lake Pleasant School and then finished her teaching years at the Piseco Common school. Both Bill and Roberta are now in retirement but still live in the Town of Arietta.
Bill's father, Floyd David Abrams, 1903-1976, was born in Day, NY and married Lena Louise Judway, 1899-1978. Floyd was in construction and house building and lived most of his life in the Town of Arietta. Both Floyd and Lena are buried in the Higgins Bay Cemetery in the Town of Arietta, NY.
Bill's grandparents were William B. Abrams, born 1875 and Lena Murphy. Lena died when her son Floyd David was only a couple of years old. William B. sent his two children, Floyd David and Ethel, to Arietta to live with their grandparents, Floyd W. Abrams, 1853-1926 and Mary E. Gilman Abrams, 1854-1935.
William B. Abrams, as a young man, worked at the Sacandaga Park before the Conklingville Dam was built. He worked on Sport Island on which a merry-go-round was operated. William B. eventually bought the merry-go-round when the land was flooded because of the Conklingville Dam and brought it to Arietta.
By the 1920's, William B. owned all the area around Vly Lake and had a hunting camp there. He also owned the area where the Ford Trailer Park is now located. On this land he had the Sawdust Dance Hall, the merry-go-round, refreshment stand, baseball field, a trap house (shoot clay pigeons), several cabins for rent, big tent area and a beach. Not only all these buildings but also a picnic area that had lights hanging through the trees to see at night, a very popular place for vacationers and area residents.
The dance hall eventually was torn down but the garage used with the hall is still standing today. The merry-go-round ended up in New Jersey when William B. sold the land. The animals on the merry-go-round ended up in the Shelburne Museum in Burlington, Vermont. Bill can remember the lions, tigers and horses. There was even a swan seat. Bill visited the Shelburne Museum and saw the animals in a special building. The only part he didn't see was the swan seat.
All this wasn't enough work for William B. He also owned a commercial ice-cutting machine. With three or four icehouses to fill, William B. was busy in the winter cutting ice on the Piseco Lake. He sold the ice all year round to local residences and summer people. Part of the ice-cutting machine can be found at the Piseco Museum.
Oh, and by the way, William B. ran a sawmill and a taxi. The taxi took people to Wells, Northville and Gloversville, NY. Bill says his Dad, Floyd David, started driving the taxi when he was thirteen years old and mentioned to Bill that one day on a trip to Wells, he changed or patched the tires thirteen times. In 1925, William B. married Mabel Saltford and that William B. and his two wives are buried in the Prospect Cemetery in Northville, NY.
The very first Abrams to come to Arietta was Barney Eugene Abrams, 1848 - 1924, who was Bill's great grandfather's brother. Gene's wife, Lucy born 1849, was a Postmistress in the Town of Arietta. Gene owned most of the land up Haskell Road and where the Irondequoit Club is now. Gene's brother, Floyd William Abrams came to Arietta and bought land from Gene. Floyd William built a three-story motel called Sportsman Home. This is the home that Floyd David and Ethel grew up in when their father sent them to live with their grandparents. Floyd William is listed as a guide in the 1892 census and elsewhere which Bill verified. Mary Gilman, Floyd William's wife, came from the family of Gilmans that named Gilman and Gilmantown. Bill is named after his great grandfather and both Floyd William and Mary are buried in the Higgins Bay Cemetery in the Town of Arietta, NY. Gene and his family moved on to Beaver River, NY.
Sportsmen's Home (built about 1880)
Floyd William's parents were David B., born 1813 and Barbara Ann Bradt, born 1816. Bill went on to explain that around 1830 many Dutchmen came to settle in Wells, NY. This included the Abrams, Bradts, and the Francisco's. David B. was a sawyer and a blacksmith according to the federal census. David B. and Barbara Abrams had the following children: David Henry 1832-1899 of Lake Pleasant NY, William L. 1842-1907 of Northville NY and fought in the Civil War, Barney Eugene, Floyd William, Rillie born 1854 who was married two times, and Dimmick born 1867 of Piseco and Gloversville, NY.
David B. Abram's parents were Bush Abrams and Mary Avanderhoof. Bush came up from Westchester Co., NY around 1830 to settle in Wells, NY. The children of Bush and Mary Abrams were Eve born 1790, Abram V. W. born 1795, Mary born 1795, Sally 1797-1882, Mahala born 1805 and David B. born 1813.
A long and proud history Bill has. How rewarding to know your family has been part of the history of the southern Adirondacks since 1830.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14-May-2008 13:19:36 PDT
Copyright © 2003: Annie Weaver