Excerpts from Iron Fever

In 1827, March 7th, the Kent Iron Works completed its purchase of the Wilson Forge property by buying for $250, “four shares, 1/4 each from Zacariah Winegar, and Garret Winegar, Asa Parks and Harvey Smith, a little north of the gristmill including land, water privileges, coalhouse, and tools, blacksmith shop standing on or near the opposite side of the highway (west) from said forge and 1/4 of its tools.

Although the previous purchase gave control of the land around Wilson’s Forge and its water power, now the site of the new furnace, land purchases by the Kent Manufacturing Company continued.

Acreage on the Sharon line and Fuller Mountain from Samuel Fuller, March 24, 1828. This might have been for charcoal as there are old pits all over this area. (12)

One hundred acres from Benjamin Davis of Amenia, March 4, 1830, bounded north by Samuel Beecher, east by the state of New York (from Fuller Mountain Road west to New York state and also more New York state and Nodine land). (13)

April 15, 1828, from Erastus Chamberlain, a place in Macedonia with buildings, north on Zacariah and Garret Winegar, west on Garret, south on Dimmon and Hiram Converse, more Fuller Mountain land. (14)

Previously, March 1827, they had bought out the Winegars right to dam Fuller Pond, though the deed was not recorded earlier. (15)

May 6, 1831, they leased for three years “a dwelling and garden where David Nodine now lives with the privilege during said term to repair and build an addition to said house.” This plot was bounded on the south by Zacariah Winegar, east on the highway, north and west by Garret Winegar. (16)

December 6, 1831, a small dwelling west of the highway, adjacent to road leading from Levi Stone’s through Nodine Hollow neighborhood (so-called) was bought from Philetus Winegar for $150 adjacent to company lands. (17)

Rufus Fuller on July 3, 1832, sold the Kent Iron Manufacturing Company, ten acres where he previously lived (with buildings, the same piece I purchased of William and Polly Davidson and Abigail and John Wilson) where Samuel Brenton now lives. At this time he moved back to town buying the Swift house in the middle of town. (18)

Other purchases included an acre and five rods near Fuller Pond for $20 on January 8, 1833, west of the pond. (19) Ten acres on top of the hill near Simon Beecher from Milton Brown, January 28, 1834. (20)

From David Nodine, March 14, 1835, two acres in Nodine Hollow conveyed to Mary Nodine by Thomas Barlow for $40. (21) Finally, May 25, 1835, 50 acres were purchased from Hiram Converse for $250 bounded south on Amasa Leonard, east on Philetus Winegar, north on Ambrose Wilson, west on Hiram and Simon Converse heirs. (22)

NOTE: All this land in Macedonia around the Furnace and on Fuller Mountain and across the mountain to New York State would be purchased later by Rufus Fuller, Jr. for the White Family who gave it to the State for Macedonia Park…

…Samuel W. Johnson must have had faith that the business could be made to operate successfully for he bought the assets of the company on September 2, 1842, “at a Director’s Meeting duly held at the Counting House, Charles Edwards as Secretary was empowered to sell to Samuel W. Johnson for $8,000 all parcels and tracts of land and all the buildings and furnaces, forges and iron works, water privileges and real estate embraced and contained in a mortgage deed to Phoenix Bank of Hartford dated April 4, 1839.” (30)

Two years later, October 22, 1844, Samuel W. Johnson turned the Macedonia Furnace property, three dwellings, furnace forge, coal house and blacksmith shop and other buildings, 80 acres, also two acres with puddling forge, wood and coal house and the outlet of Fuller Pond and water privileges to his son Edward Johnson. (31) The same day Edward borrowed $509 from his father with the furnace as collateral. (32)…

… Still standing at the entry of Macedonia Park is the remnant of the stack of the furnace on the edge of the brook below the gorge. The steam from the vent from the furnace shows its stone framework on the upper level of land across the highway on the west side, and the sides of the big dam below the furnace show clearly on the brook above the bridge to Fuller Mountain. The mill house, frame, sawmill, gristmill and cider mill, last operated by Ebers Peters stands across from the stone house now owned by the Levines (1990).

The final episode in the life of the furnace was told by Sherm Chase. At the time of World War I metal of all kinds was in great demand and everything that could be used was salvaged. The huge iron shaft that drove the water wheel at the furnace was still lying beside the brook. Ten to twelve feet long it took two teams of heavy work horses to drag it up the hill to load it on a truck and carry it away.
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