Patterson Historical Society,  Patterson, NY

Our purpose is to collect and preserve materials which relate to the history of the Town of Patterson,
and to promote an awareness and an understanding of  Patterson's heritage.

The Hollows Project

The Hollows--A Historical Retrospective

The accompanying pages are slides from a talk given on Nov 13, 2016 at the invitation and on the location of the Great Hollow Nature Preserve, Rt 37, New Fairfield, CT by the Patterson Historical Society. (Some linking commentary has been added.) That site was the pivot for the discussion of land and families. Although the material is sketchy, we offer it in hopes it will be of some historical interest. The presentation was a step in a long-range project, of re-searching and presenting the in-depth history of a particular locale, that we hope will culminate in the publication of a book.  
We are indebted to Minnie (Barnum) Durga (1861-1943), who was born in a house on Haviland Hollow and lived there for many years, for most of the images and the memories quoted, from a set


of reminiscences she collected from locals. These "Reminiscences" were published as a series of articles in The Putnam County Courier in 1927-28. We must also acknowledge Edward T Scrivani, who grew up in Putnam Lake and lived in New Fairfield and in Haviland Hollow for many years as well, for preserving Mrs Durga's albums and scrapbooks, and for sharing his many memories of the Hollows with us. Images and the information about Walter Gordon Merritt were supplied by Mrs Ballard out of the archives of the New Fairfield Historical Society. Family information was extracted from the Federal Census; the Wanzer, Merritt, and Haviland genealogies; and the records of the Gerow Cemetery Association. A more comprehensive list of sources is given below.  
  • Census, Federal are available from several online subscription sites (, HeritageQuest), check a local library to see if they have a subscription. 
  • Durga, Minnie (Barnum) (1861-1943), photographs mounted on album pages with some labels; in the collections of the Patterson Historical Society. Scanned by Edward T Scrivani 2012; indexed by Christine B Neubauer; digital enhancements and formatting for this presentation by Ron Taylor. 
  • Frost, Josephine C, The Haviland Genealogy: Ancestors and Descendants of William Haviland of Newport, Rhode Island, and Flushing, Long Island, 1653-1688: With Special Records of the Allied Families of Field, Hull, Torrey, Willett-Willis (1914).  Available from: and as a nicely-bound, archival-quality reprint from:
  • Gerow Cemetery Association (New Fairfield, CT) unpublished records maintained by the Secretary. Scanned by Edward T Scrivani and Ron Taylor 2011; in the digital archives of the Patterson [NY] Historical Society; contact them at
  • Maps: 
    • 1854 O'Connor Map of Putnam County, NY scanned by Theresa Williams of AVP, Patterson, NY 2008. Available for viewing at . The original is in the collection of the Patterson Historical Society and is displayed at the Patterson Town Hall, second floor. 
    • 1856 Clark's map of Fairfield County, Connecticut available for download at: U of Ct, Map and Geographic Information Center, MAGIC: .  Reproduced from the original map in the Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress. 
    • 1867 Beers, Frederick W maps of Patterson, NY, New Fairfield, CT, the former from an original in the archives of the Patterson Historical Society.  Copies of these maps can be downloaded at: .
    • USGS maps available for free download at various internet sites. 
  • Merritt family documents and photos are available in a folder at the New Fairfield Historical Society in the New Fairfield [CT] Free Public Library. 
  • Merritt, Douglas (1847-1930), Revised Merritt Records (1916). Available from: . 
  • "Reminiscences" serialized in The Putnam County Courier weekly Oct 7, 1927-Feb 10, 1928; assembled by Minnie (Barnum) Durga from letters and notes of old-timers.  Scanned from a scrapbook of Mrs Durga by Edward T Scrivani 2012; ocr by Ron Taylor and copy edit by Christine B. Neubauer.  The scrapbook is in the archives of the Patterson Historical Society. 
  • Wanzer, William David, History of The Wanzer Family in America from the Settlement in New Amsterdam, New York. 1642 to 1920 (1920). Available from: .  Abridged, rearranged, and some punctuation changed by Ron Taylor.