Historic Houses in Our Area
Town of Southport, Chemung County NY
Chemung County NY
Home Page More Historic Buildings Town of Southport
Sagetown Photos from 1936
1.The old Sagetown Hotel. Here hardy lumberjacks tossed off their drinks in days long past.
2. [1936] - Present residence James Mayhood and birthplace of Lt. Colonel James Riffe.
3.Old schoolhouse built in Civil War days.
6. Former Nathan Stewart store.
8. Rusting boiler of Sagetown's last mill, run by steam.
9. A reminder of the lumbering era, a pile of logs awaiting a gasoline motor saw of today.
4. Title - Three Young Beauties Out for Stroll
A telegram photographer snapped these young women taking a stroll at Sagetown. From left: Ruth, June and Jean Mayhood. Ruth and Jean, sisters, live at Sagetown. June their niece, is from Binghamton
Source of all of Sagetown article and pictures - The Sunday Telegram - Elmira Star Gazette, Sunday edition, August 23, 1936

Were a Rip Van Winkle, wearily arousing on a Sagetown hillside from a sleep of anything from 50 to 100 years, his astonishment would be as great as was that seen in Washington Irving?s (unable to figure out). (Page torn) century has this little community, tucked away down in the southwestern corner of Chemung County.

To reach Sagetown, as most readers will know, one drives south past Pine City and Webbs Mills and, below the latter community, takes a right hand turn to a highway that follows the tortuous course of Mudlick Creek. After and 11-mile drive from Elmira, one is at Sagetown.

A community store there identifies it; nothing else, other than that several houses are grouped here. Off on a side road is a white-painted schoolhouse. Behind it, on a gently sloping hillside, is a cemetery, its quietness disturbed only, during part of the year, by the shouts of school-children at recess.

Not far from the cemetery is a terraced hillside where in years past was a vineyard.

Mudlick Creek gurgles past in the valley and now and then a cow-bell tinkles. Otherwise there is no sound.

There is nothing to indicate that in years past this little place of present death-like quiet once resounded with the whine of saws eating into pine and hemlock. Here, too, the anvils of at least two blacksmith shops pounded their chorus of steel. The hillsides, now pasture and meadow land, once were alive with the activity of men felling trees. Teams of horses, straining at their harness as they transported loads of log to (page torn).

Up the road a bit ? the building still remains ? was a farmhouse converted into a hotel. A bar was in the basement and here barrel-chested lumberjacks stood shoulder to shoulder with travelers and tossed off their liquor.

The man who ran the hotel ? John Morris ? was a personage of considerable pomp at times. He would organize fox chases and 15 or 20 hounds, following the scent, would fill the valley with their doleful baying, frightening a colony of beaver in the Mudlick Creek flats a half mile from the hotel.

Such was Sagetown a half century or more ago. Once at least 150 persons lived there. Now a Sagetown mobilization might produce 30 people.

5. James Kelly, son of Ora Kelly
Ora Kelly, dead 35 years, owned the old hotel property. But his son, James, 67 lives at Sagetown today. He suffered a stroke three years ago and a wheel chair is his conveyance now. But he recalls when his father owned the hotel and one of the two saw mills in the valley. Sitting in his chair, he looks out from his home ? once the old Nathan Stewart store ? and immediately before him is the site of the old mill.
7. Edward Wilkins, 71, who remembers Sagetown's old lumbering days
Another of Sagetown?s old timers, Edward Wilkins, now 71 years old, will tell you the history of Sagetown. A Telegram reporter found him repairing a high barn roof, in defiance of his 71 years.

Sagetown was named after Sam Sage, who built a saw mill here. This section used to be covered with pine. In fact, Pine City used to be called Pine Woods. Up to about 1855 pines were lumbered, little attention being paid to the hemlock.

(Page torn) around 1860,? (page torn) to call for hemlock (page torn). The first mills used up and down saws, rather than circular ones.

?The logs were drawn to Elmira, made into rafts on the Chemung River and at high water, were taken down the Chemung and Susquehanna to tide water. My father, Charles Wilkins, used to make many of the raft trips.

?As I recall it, there were three tanneries in Elmira then, Sheeley?s, the Palmer and Decker tannery at the present Lake Street bridge site. The third I don?t recall. The Sheeley tannery was the south end of the present Walnut Street bridge. There was another tannery at Pine City, run by a man named Wells and located near the present Pine City depot.

?In later years, Addison Hill bought the Sage saw mill. These mills were run by water power, and sluiceway being built to provide a swift current from the water impounded by a dam.

?Later, Hill changed his mill to a steam mill. The old boiler now lays beside the creek bed,? said Mr. Wilkins.

.Source of all of Sagetown article and pictures - The Sunday Telegram - Elmira Star Gazette, Sunday edition, August 23, 1936
March 2010 - Pat NEWELL Smith typed the captions for us and Tom Sparrow typed the article
Chemung County NY
Published On Site 13 MAR 2010
By Joyce M. Tice