A Tombstone, A Dam and the Brothers Cook
By Lloyd T. Shanley Jr.


In 1848, Wakeman and Steven acquired a parcel of property from their father’s 20-acre home lot, described within the deed as follows "so mush land as may be flooded by a brook". The dam stands several feet above the stream and is approximately 80 feet in length overall. Splitting, transporting, and wrestling such stone into place with the tools and equipment available during the mid nineteenth century required great know-how and determination!

The dam, once constructed at the south end of the nearly flat swamp or marsh the extends nearly to the New Hartford Town Line, more then a mile to the north, would have held back a great amount of water over the properties of several owners. The availability of such a large reservoir of water during periods of operation would have been highly valued by the operators of a down stream mill during the days when water power was king.

Strangely enough, research reveals no mill site, product produced or record of there ever having been a mill built in association with the dam! Old timers have told, however, of encountering an old water wheel while harvesting ice that has been stored for preservation beneath the water, upstream of Cook's dam. There were also those who told of a rumor that Wakeman and Stephen had been unable to obtain sufficient flowage rights to flood the properties of their upstream neighbors.

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