It was easy to know you were in Bedell . . .

I lived in Bedell, just “over the hill” to the west of Halcott. There were (and are) several ways to get to Bedell from Halcott. From the old Halcott Store and post office you could go west then north over the mountain into the head of Bedell, and Big Red Kill Road, or go a little farther south and come out by Joe Todd’s house, which led to Little Red Kill Road. You could also go over the Old Halcott Road to Moseman Road and also end up by Joe Todd’s house.

It was easy to know you were in Bedell. Coming up Little Red Kill Road, past the cemetery, before it intersected with Big Red Kill Road, you could see the white letters in my great uncle Gilbert Streeter’s pasture, way up on the hill behind his house that spelled out “Bedell NY.” The letters could also be seen from Big Red Kill Road as you passed by my parents’ house (Hilton and Stella Kelly) and continued up the valley.

My great grandfather Ward Kelly, Uncle Gilbert’s father-in-law, laid out the large flat rocks, and painted them white. They were placed in the ground on a slant so they could be seen more easily from the road. The rocks were evenly spaced so the letters appeared from a distance to dot the hillside.

Anyone seeing the rocks from the road might imagine the letters to be at least 5 feet high. My cousin Karen (Finch) Hull and I knew from experience (since we walked the hills on his farm regularly as we played outdoors) that each letter was at least 20 feet high. As they weathered we thought they should be repainted. One of our hill treks took us up there with paint cans and brushes to repaint them. It took us longer than expected. There were a heck of a lot of stones to paint! They were a mix of chipped paint, weathered stone, and dried moss.

The historic stone sign is gone today, replaced by a road, which leads to the Treetops housing development on the hill. Would anyone like to re-create the Bedell sign? There is ample room on my father’s land, and he’s agreeable to seeing it up there again. Please contact me at larmour1@nycap.rr.com, or the Historical Society, mtownhistory@catskill.net

Linda Kelly Armour

3 responses to “It was easy to know you were in Bedell . . .”

  1. Hello Linda…….your blog about Bedell New York stirred some wonderful childhood memories. As a youngster I lived in Kelly Corners and also the Denver-Vega valley. My aunt and uncle lived in Bedell just a short distance from the cemetery. My aunt Emma Kelly was the Postmaster in Bedell for many years and my uncle Merchant Kelly had a gas pump on the corner of their property to serve all the locals gasoline needs. My parents Dell and Dorothy Shultis are buried in the beautiful little cemetery in Bedell, I can still vividly recall the wonderfully pungently sweet aroma of the wild thyme that grew as a groundcover over much of the cemetery. And I remember well seeing the big letters on the hillside spelling out BEDELL……I am 70 years old and live in Phoenix Az. Would love to know if you knew my aunt and uncle.

  2. It was so good to hear from you, Richard. Merch and Emma were my next door neighbors growing up. They were the only couple I ever knew who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Just walk down the hill, across the stream, up the hill, and you were at my house on Big Red Kill Road (not Little Red Kill Road where the cemetery is). Stella and Hilton Kelly are my parents. I walked the approx. 2/10 mile daily to get our mail. I remember the small post room quite well and either Merch or Emma, sometimes both, greeting me with a smile. After the post office closed, we received our mail via roadside mailboxes from Fleischmanns. Wilbur Woolheater was the postman. When he passed away, my mother Stella became the postman, er postwoman. She served that role for 43 years, retiring in 2007. Mom and Dad moved to assisted living last year and we sold their home. The white Bedell sign will live in memory only. I wish I had a photo of it, other than in my memory.

  3. thank you Linda for responding…..and you do indeed have sweet memories of my aunt and uncle. Emma and my mother Dorothy were sisters. I am sure that I met your father sometime in the 1950s. They spoke of him often. The people who lived in that Red Kill valley were the best people on earth…..honest hardworking and neighborly……..With best regards, Richard Shultis

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.