Transcribed by Jaylyn Thacher

From The Spectator

By Kelly Dickerson


Passing through... Whitesville

Passing Through Whitesville Photo 1 of 1

WHITESVILLE -- While many small hamlets have lost their sense of identity as businesses, post offices and schools closed, this small community just 5 miles north of the Pennsylvania border proudly remains independent.

Whitesville still has a school -- although one of the smallest in the state -- along with churches, a store, bars, and a thriving factory.

"There are three churches and three beer joints," said Thelma Westlake, Town of Independence historian.

While Whitesville Central School is probably the biggest employer in the hamlet, the community also boasts Whitesville Wood Products, which produces rough and semi-finished dimension squares for the furnature and stairway industry. The company, which has been in the area since 1973 and occupies a former creamory factory, employs 25 people.

The school is the rallying point for the community with standing-room-only crowds at home basketball games. Towns-people have overwhelmingly rejected proposals to merge with other area schools.

Other business includes a bank, barbershop, library, gas station and a couple of used car dealers. One car repair shop operates out of a former blacksmith shop. The Independence Emergency Squad and Whitesville Fire Department also are housed in the community.

The first settler in the hamlet southeast of Wellsville was John Cryder of Dutchess County who located on a stream now known as Cryder Creek, which flows alongside the nearby Cryder Creek Road. Cryder arrived in 1798, but was only a squatter and didn't stay long, Westlake said.

Samuel S. White from Hopkinton, R.I., was the first permanent settler and the hamlet still bears his name. He moved to the area in about 1819 and built the first house near the present school.

Westbrook said White arrived with $2.50 in cash and an ax. At the time of his death in 1860, his property was worth $80,000. "That would have been like a millionaire."

Several of the early families of the area have descendants remaining including the Bledsoes, Teaters and Wildmans.