MAPS AND REMOTE SENSING DOCUMENTS
The maps and remote sensing documents yield a chronological depiction as well as a geographical description of the Henry Birdsall compound. A depiction of some of the atlas covers are shown for the purpose of citing and any additional research that may be desired.
A recent drawing of the area surrounding the Birdsall compound
This map covers an area 4 miles (north and south) by three miles (east and west) with the Birdsall compound in the middle. This map also has a thumbnail New York State map that allows the reader to pinpoint the Birdsall compound within the state boundaries.
(Extracted from a “Field Trip Guide – April 26, 1997”, Canal Society of New York State)
An “1838” Holmes Hutcheson map of the canal with respect to Lock # 105 (Old #29)
This map covers a smaller area around the Birdsall compound. It depicts Old Lock # 29 which was renumbered to New Lock #105. The reader can see two Birdsall homes (one on the northwest side of Stillwater Road and one on the southeast side of Stillwater Road), a lock tender’s house between the head of the lock and the house on the northwest side), a barn (located across the canal from the home and lock tender’s house), another unknown roofed structure and a farm bridge crossing the canal on the north side of the property. The reader can also see David D. Davis’ and Abram Storms’ property.
An ‘1855’ map of Tompkins Co. & c. & .c, by L. Fagan author
This map depicts the homes of H. Birdsall (Henry or Horace?) on the northwest side of Stillwater Road, J. Birdsall on the middle east side of Stillwater Road, and a third house with the simple notation “Birdsall” on the southeast side of Stillwater Road. H. Birdsall is assumed to be Henry [Jr.] because Horace died in 1850. Henry [Jr.] would have been 64 years old in 1855. J. Birdsall is assumed to be John, Henry [Jr.’s] son. He would have been 37 years old in 1855. “Birdsall” is assumed to be the next oldest living male, Epinetus, who would have been 29 years old in 1855.
An ‘1863’ map, by Pomeroy & Treat, surveys by Beers, Warner and Nichols
This map depicts the home of Henry [Jr.] Birdsall in the same position as the ‘1855’ map.
It also depicts both homes on the east side of Stillwater road as belonging to E. Birdsall. This may simply be an error on the map maker’s part or an interesting fact, as John Birdsall was still alive in 1863.
An ‘1873’ map, by Pomeroy , Whitman & Co., survey by Beach Nichols
This map depicts J. Birdsall living in the home on the northwest side of Stillwater Road. This home has been shown as being the home of H. Birdsall in previous maps. The home in the middle on the eastern side of Stillwater Road is shown as belonging to E. Birdsall. The home on the southeast side of Stillwater Road is no longer in existence.
The fine-lined and fuzzy detail of this map does not lend itself to this medium.
An approximately ‘1900’ USGS map of the northeast corner of Chenango Forks
This map yields a conceptual view of the Birdsall compound in relationship the North Fenton (where later descendants of Henry Birdsall are buried). It also shows “Pigeon Hill” named for the thousands of Passenger Pigeons that roosted there and mentioned in the section on Modes of Production.
A ‘1944’ USGS map of Greene (close-up view) depicting the Birdsall compound
This map shows that there are no homes remaining on the east side of Stillwater road. The remaining structures are not identified by name. The home that J. Birdsall lived in is the only home standing at that time. There is another home shown south of the J. Birdsall home. Although it is not known what that structure was, it has now been replaced with a factory built home. There is also a structure shown on the opposite side of the canal from the J. Birdsall property and this may be an outbuilding that still exists.
This map also depicts the relative nearness of this area to the Broome County border (where bottom of map ends). This proximity causes confusion in the census and other records. The people doing the enumerating were not exact. Sometimes Henry Birdsall’s family was recorded in Broome County and at other times in Chenango County.
A ‘1937’ air photo map, original in possession of Remote Sensing Lab, Cornell University
This map gives an excellent ‘history’ of the modes of production for the Birdsall compound. The observer can see:
- The barn/corral area
- The switch back road leading from the barn up the steep side of the hill
- A dug road leading up the remainder of the hill passing by two quarries
- Lower Quarry
- Upper Quarry
- An orchard or tilled plateau slightly upland from Stillwater Road
- Finally two cleared areas (assumed to be pasture land) on top of the hill
- Branch trails can be seen leading from the barn/coral area back to a – – –
- Home site and throughout the remainder of the hillside.
These paths, roads and cleared areas are now grown with mature trees.
Another view of the 1944 USGS map with an expanded view of the same area of Greene
This map gives the present view of the Birdsall compound. The reader can see the steepness of the hillside where the Birdsalls worked the quarries. The river flats and fields depict the garden and pasture areas. The proximity of the river shows the exposure to spring flooding.
There elevation rise from river to top of hill is 420 feet.
The two red dots overlay where the USGS map shows two buildings. These are apparently outbuildings because all existing homes are shown as solid dots. These were shown as empty squares. Notice the solid dot between the northernmost outbuilding and the roadway (depicted as a dashed line). This was the location of Henry Birdsall’s home.
© Copyright – Waldo Tomosky