These photos of Rubble Manor are from the family archived collection of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann, Great Granddaughter of Architect, William S. Wicks of the Turn of the Century, Green & Wicks Architectural Firm in Buffalo, New York. Curiously, the photos are predominantly taken from angles other than the front of the house. The landscaping does not look like there is mature growth, so these photos may have been taken when the home was newly purchased, even though it is reported that the home was built between 1801 and 1809, so there would have been ample time for planned landscaping.
Wicks married Emma Egert Griffith in 1882 and she may have been from this area. If Wicks purchased the home in 1884 he would have been 30 years old. It would be the same year that his father died and daughter Ruth was born. Since Ruth was born in Trenton, now known as Barneveld, my guess is that the purchase took place around this time, if not sooner.
The history of Rubble Manor, Wicks summer home is available in bits and pieces, here, there and everywhere. Here is a brief and succinct synopsis of Barneveld, found on the “Oneida County Historical Society” website, and a little background on the beginning life of Rubble Manor, otherwise known as Mappa Hall outside of the time that Wicks owned the property:
Barneveld – The Village of Barneveld had its beginnings in 1793 when Gerrit Boon, an agent of the Holland Land Company, marked a trail through the forest north from Fort Schuyler. Arriving at the junction of the Steuben and Cincinnati Creeks, he pitched his tent, and soon began the settlement. He named it Olden Barneveldt in honor of Dutch Patriot, John of Olden Barneveldt in Holland. Boon was later succeeded by Col. Adam Gerard Mappa who constructed a beautiful stone mansion, of Trenton limestone drawn from the nearby quarries, on the same site. It was known then and today as Mappa Hall. The village of Olden Barneveldt was incorporated in 1819. In 1975, by a village vote of 88 to 49 the village name was changed to Barneveld.
Contemporary Photo of Mappa Hall Courtesy of the Wikipedia website
I have dozens of postcards to and from Ruth, Wicks and her mother using the Rubble Manor address, with most being mailed around 1909. The home would have been a hundred years old at this point and the subsequent photos reflect mature landscaping. The large urn shown in the photo provided by Elizabeth was kept at my childhood home in Whitesboro, New York for many years. It had a soft polished pottery finish of moss-green. It was an item chosen by my mother, from her mother’s (Ruth) estate. Eventually she sold it, and it graces someone elses garden now.
I believe a tennis court had been added to the grounds of Mappa Hall, I remember seeing it when I was young …. the gardens looked so inviting, yet forbidden.
Wicks died here, in this home on May 30, 1919 after being ill for several months according to a Buffalo newspaper, at only 63 years old. His wife Emma had died four years ealier, I believe she was only 56 years old.
Ruth was 35 years old and married, my mother was born just 5 months later. I wonder, did he have anyone with him when he was ill and dying? Was he alone?
Remembering Wicks & wondering.
(Above photo of Wicks and little Ruth is courtesy of his Great Granddaughter Elizabeth Hopkins wittemann. All rights of original material reserved, no duplication of content is allowed without consent of author.)