Information on Empire Sewing Machine Company's web pages, regarding the Juengst family and their various companies, factories name and location, including those links to Remington S.M. Co., come from different sources, appear to present some discrepancies and also seem arduous to line up dates.
WHEN OUR TOWN WAS YOUNG
Stories of North Salem's Yesterday
Collected and Written by Boys and Girls of Today
Early Farms and Industries in North Salem
The outstanding early occupation of our Town was farming and, with it, dairying. Scharf’s History of Westchester County tells us that "by market-wagon twice a week, or once a fortnight by private families, butter, cheese, eggs, etc., were carried to the Hudson River, at Sing Sing or Peekskill and from thence shipped by sloop to New York, while the fatted cattle found purchasers in the numerous drovers who passed through this vicinity". Mr. Stewart B. Butler recalls an old story of how the cattle were given lots of water to drink so that they would weigh more and consequently bring in more money! In time, milk became our most important product. When the railroad was put through, it was said that there were close to twenty-five hundred cows in North Salem. Mr. Edwin Crosby, grandfather of Mr. Stewart B. Butler, was the first to ship milk to New York City by train from Croton Falls. At Purdys and Croton Falls, combined, the receipts of milk by the railroad rose to five thousand quarts a day, with the American, later, the New York Condensed Milk factory at Purdys, founded by Mr. William H. Ireland Howe and of which Mr. Alfred B. Mead was later President, using six to ten thousand quarts a day. In addition, large milk producers in the northern part of our Town delivered milk to the Borden Condensed Milk Company at Brewster. Large quantities of butter and cheese were also produced. In the year 1860, thirty-eight tons of butter was our production record. An interesting glimpse of how an early Dutch group in our general region helped each other with their farming has been given to us by Mrs. John T. Jeffery, daughter of the late Mr. Arthur J. Outhouse, former member of our Board of Education. The Outhouse family of our Town are among those whose Dutch ancestors were farmers of our State and they have continued this agricultural tradition in North Salem. Mrs. Jeffery wrote us, “The Outhouse family in North Salem and surrounding Towns traces its ancestry back to Holland. Under the original name of Stymus, several emigrated to the New World in the early seventeenth century and settled along the Hudson River in the vicinity of the present village of Peekskill, as members of the Dutch patroon system. All members of this Dutch Stymus family were farmers and since there were several of them, they adopted the community plan and established their homes in groups apart from the other Dutch settlers". Here they erected their small dwellings, dairy and grain barns. Because of the fact that these buildings were erected in groups by themselves and apart from those of the other Dutch settlers, they became known as "outhouses". Gradually the name of Stymus was changed to Outhouse, Oothouse, Althouse, or Othouse, by various branches of the family. Daniel Outhouse, grandfather of Arthur J. Outhouse, established a farm home northwest of Croton Falls in the section then known as Drewville, now covered by the waters of Hemlock Dam. Mr. Arthur Outhouse often told of working on the Drewville farm in his boyhood. Few people realize that manufacturing played an important part in our Town of North Salem a century and more ago. But such was the case, due largely to the Titicus and Croton rivers, whose flow was excellent for milling. Our earliest industrial development was along the Titicus River, which was the main source of our early water supply. Following its course was a highway connected by crossroads running north and south and the old Post Road, now Route 118, was very convenient for taking products to the Hudson River markets. The Titicus was a busy spot. Along its bank, from North Salem to Purdys, were mills for pressing apples, grinding grains, making paper and sawing lumber. There were factories for making woolen goods, clothing, cheese, condensed milk, farm implements and carriages. Upholstery was also made for carriages and the way in which this was done is very interesting. Whenever farm animals died, their tails and manes were cut off and twisted into rope. This rope was soaked in water and allowed to dry slowly, after which it was cut into small pieces and used for cushions in the carriages. Near Salem Center were a brickyard and lime kiln. And an iron mine and forge was operated near North Salem. The iron was melted in furnaces and then pounded out with trip hammers. Names of our early pioneers appear among these manufacturers. Miss Mary Rich tells us that Captain Lewis Rich, her ancestor who directed our Town Militia at the time of the Revolution, built a shop near the Wallace home for the making of hats. His partner was a Mr. Lockwood and the hats that they manufactured were shipped to New York City and to Providence, Rhode Island. They employed about twenty men in the shop. The spot where these mills used to be is now a stretch of woods. Mr. Isaac Purdy owned a woolen mill here. About the time of the Civil War and for many years afterward the Croton River furnished water power for turning the wheels of a number of shops and factories in Croton Falls and vicinity. A paper mill on the east bank near the Putnam County line was in operation for many years, as was later a brass and plumbing works and subsequently one of the Juengst machine shops. Remains of the river dam and shop foundations may still be seen near the bubbling spring on Route 22. A short distance west of the present village of Croton Falls, on lands now owned by the Department of Water Supply of New York City, was located a tool factory manufacturing, at one time or another, steel wrenches, augers used in boring holes in wood, spoke shaves for shaping wooden spokes for wagon wheels and faucets for molasses barrels. Here was also located a slate and toy factory. The slate stone was brought from Vermont, polished, shaped and framed for school use. Mr. Frederick A. Purdy tells us that one day, when a huge grindstone was in operation in the tool factory, it broke into small pieces which were sent crashing through the roof of the building. Within the memory of older residents, a hat shop here manufactured ladies’ millinery and men’s styles in soft hats and derbies. Grist and saw mills and the Whitlock Lumberyard were also included among the industrial plants of this part of the Town. Traces may still be seen of the foundation sites of the business enterprises mentioned above and of the millrace that brought water from Croton River to turn their machines.
Manufacturing declined when the Titicus and Croton rivers were taken by New York City for a water supply.
Another cause for the decrease of the manufacturing industry, especially in the Salems, was the fact that the New York Central Railroad did not connect with these villages. During the War of 1812, in his woolen mill on the Titicus River between Purdys and Salem Center, Mr. Isaac Purdy made cloth for army uniforms. This spot is now covered by the Titicus Reservoir. In addition, he made cloth for his other customers. This, Mr. Purdy would travel the countryside to sell. The bolts of cloth were carried in a large wooden wagon drawn by two horses. Shelves lined the inside of the wagon. Since Mr. Purdy was very busy with all this, he decided to hire his nephew, Isaac Quick and send him to tour the western part of New York State. At first Isaac was quite successful in his sales of cloth to the people along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. But then the war ended and hard times came. Sales stopped and he had little money. People were sympathetic but he couldn’t live on sympathy. In desperation he wrote his uncle and started homeward with the wagon load of cloth. Mr. Purdy, an able businessman, at once knew what to do. He started out on horseback to meet his nephew. They met outside Albany and you can well imagine the surprise of the nephew, who had heard nothing from his uncle in weeks. Then Mr. Purdy told Isaac about the plan he had. They would exchange the cloth for cattle. By the time they returned home to Purdys, they had turned defeat into victory, for they had three hundred cows and oxen. These were known as the "cloth cattle". After that, the cloth was made for local use from wool purchased from the farmers of the township. What was known as the Farmers’ and Drovers’ National Bank was the financial center for North Salem, Somers and vicinity for over half a century. This bank was established in 1839 and was in Somerstown Plains, now Somers. It was located in a portion of the old Elephant Hotel, which had been built in 1824 from bricks that were made near by. Among the famous men who dined there were Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Aaron Burr, Washington Irving and Edwin Forrest, the great actor. The Farmers’ and Drovers’ Bank was given that name because a great share of its business was with farmers and drovers. Among the directors and depositors of the bank were many prominent people of North Salem. Being on the direct route to city markets, Somers was an ideal place for a bank. When the drovers approached the town, a horseman, galloping ahead, would announce their arrival. The women at the Todd farm, where the drovers stayed, would hastily prepare a delicious feast in brick ovens for the hungry herdsmen. Often there were twenty or thirty of them who were glad to rest and clean up at the pleasant Todd home, just outside of the village. The animals, sometimes as many as a thousand or more, were also fed and pastured there. There is an interesting story, connected with the Farmers' and Drovers' National Bank, about a country boy who found a large sum of money at the entrance to the bank. He quickly returned it to the cashier. The cashier was so impressed with the boy’s integrity that he offered him a position in the bank. The boy advanced in his work and today is a trustworthy and highly respected official in a large Westchester bank. Silas Finch, the grandfather of Mr. Albert Ward Chamberlain, who lives in Carmel, had a paper mill where the Juengst powerhouse now stands outside Croton Falls.
On the opposite bank of the river was the office of Silas Finch’s son, the Hon. George C. Finch, of New York acquired the property. Dr. Finch was one of the founders of the County Courthouse in White Plains. In 1852, he represented the 1st Assembly District of Westchester in the State Legislature. Silas Finch built the colonial house on the hill across the road from the powerhouse.
In 1889, on the west side of what is now Route 22, near the bubbling spring by the roadside, a machine shop was established by Mr. George Juengst and his sons, Charles and George Jr. After their father’s death, his sons continued to manufacture machinery for many years. Here in our Town, through the work of these men, were developed ideas which led to the manufacture of adding machines. Mr. Charles Juengst is credited with inventing the cash register's basic features. And under the firm name of George Juengst & Sons were developed and manufactured gathering machines used in the gathering of pages, the stitching and the covering of books and periodicals. The first of these machines was completed for and bought by Frank A. Munsey in 1901. Others were used by Sears, Roebuck & Company, the New York Telephone Company, the United States Printing Office at Washington, D.C., the McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and many others. Under their direction were also established in our Town dynamos for the generation of electricity.
The manufacturing interests of the Juengst family in our neighborhood go back to the days before the Civil War when Mr. George Juengst established a factory on the Muscoot River in the Town of Somers. Here he used the water power for turning machinery in the manufacture of sewing machines.
In 1886 (???), a company was formed and one hundred men were employed in the Empire Sewing Machine Co. factory. As a result, a small community called Empireville sprang up around the factory. Empireville was a busy community until the water supply was needed by the New York City water system. As a result, the Juengst manufacturing activities in Somers were discontinued. It was then that the Juengst factory outside Croton Falls was established. Despite the many demands upon his time and energy, in his business career, George Juengst Jr., took a keen and active interest in the affairs of our Town. For over half a century he was a member of our Board of Education, serving for a considerable period as President of the Board. He always took an active interest in school affairs, attending our basketball and baseball games whenever he could. He played a prominent role in making our Central High School the first centralized rural school in New York State. In the hall of Central High School is a plaque with this inscription:
This Tablet Is a Tribute to
GEORGE JUENGST JR.
As Member and President
Of The Board Of Education
Of This District For Over
Half A Century
hi Recognitio7i Of
His Uiitiring Efforts And
Devoted Service hi Behalf Of
The Youth Of This Co?}mmnity
From 1888 to 1939
Erected By The District
WHEN OUR TOWN WAS YOUNG
Stories of North Salem's Yesterday
Collected and Written by Boys and Girls of Today