A new pair of boots — a shop local story

In researching the lives of Middletown’s Civil War veterans, I came across an interesting letter to the Catskill Mountain News published April 8, 1960. B. C. Todd wrote in to share memories and stories that old-timers had passed on to him, including this one about Calvin Crosby, a Clovesville merchant and tanner (and Civil War vet) who enjoyed almost instant gratification when he went looking for a new pair of boots. DG

“Thinking of my leather boots with red tops recalls a true story which I often heard father and others tell. For many years, before shoes could be purchased in stores, men wore for dress-up what were called “fine boots.” These were made from light, soft calf skins. In Griffin Comers there was, during this period and afterwards, a boot and shoe maker, one Jacob VanBramer. He was considered to be a craftsman at his trade. There was a Calvin Crosby who operated a grocery store where the home of the late John Curtis now stands. Mr. Crosby at one time owned and operated the tannery located on the present Jimmy Pavlos property below Clovesville , . . This farm was spoken of for years and years as the “Tannery farm.”

Mr. Crosby had occasion to go to Kingston on business. He discovered that his fine boots were not fit for further use. He went to VanBramer’s shop and asked if he had fine boots on hand that would fit. Mr. VanBramer replied that he did not, but said “if you have a couple of good calf skins at the tannery and will bring them, I will make you a pair of boots.” Mr. Crosby said he needed them by the time the stage came along about daylight next moming. Mr. VanBramer repeated that he could make a pair of boots and have them ready saying that he would leave them outside his shop door before daylight. This was in the early evening. Mr. Crosby said, “Man, you can’t possibly do that. I tell you I must have them to wear on the stage in the morning.”

However, Mr. Crosby went to the tannery and brought the calf skins. Before daylight the next morning, he found the boots setting outside the door, ready to pull on.”

 

Clovesville, from the Beers 1869 Atlas of Delaware County. Note the tannery, house and store of Orrace Crosby and son Calvin along Main Street to the right of Red Kill stream, and the shoe shop, presumably Mr. VanBramer's, across the street, to the left of the stream.

Clovesville, from the Beers 1869 Atlas of Delaware County. Note the tannery, house and store of Orrace Crosby and son Calvin along Main Street to the right of Red Kill stream, and the shoe shop, presumably Mr. VanBramer’s, across the street, to the left of the stream.

 

 

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