The Beginning of the Barneveld Library & Jacob Wicks . 1877



Barneveld Free Library . 118 Boon Street . Barneveld . New York

Illustration is courtesy of the website

History of the Barneveld Free Library – from the Mid York Library Website:

“Barneveld Free Library Association was formed in 1874 when Jacob Wick offered a room, rent free, for the use of a library. A subscription paper was circulated for the purpose of raising funds and the sum of $99 was secured. On November 21, 1874, the subscribers met in the home of Dr. Luther Guiteu and organized as the Trenton Library Association. The association started with 240 books.”

There is a slight error, as the name above should be Jacob Wicks, not Wick. Jacob was the father of William S. Wicks, who grew up in Barneveld, in the Octagon House, if my deduction as to his childhood home is correct. William S. Wicks studied architecture at Cornell and  graduated from M.I.T. in 1877, with a degree in architecture and among the first to be professionally trained in this discipline in the United States.

While successfully running an architectural firm in Buffalo with partner E.B. Green he returned to Barneveld to purchase Rubble Manor (aka Mappa Hall) as his summer home. I am not sure of the timeframe of this purchase or how the name change came about.

According to the library’s website, the cornerstone of the building, which is still in use, was laid July 27, 1877. The total cost of the building was about $1,700. The building was erected by the great- grandfather of Alexander Pirnie of Utica.

There is no reference as to the person who may have designed the library. Between the style which looks like a classic Wicks Adirondack simple design, his history in Barneveld and his father Jacob’s connection to both architecture & the library, I would take a wild guess and assume that either one or both had something to do with the design of the library.

Besides, why would the family keep an early photograph of the library seen here tucked away with all of the other treasured photos and postcards for over a hundred years? It would be interesting to find out if someone in the Library system might be able to find out more about this.

barneveld library   b lib

Above photos are of the Barneveld Library. Left: This photo is from the Wicks family archives,  and right, a current photo courtesy of the Village of Barneveld website. Below are photos of my Great Great Grandfather Jacob Wicks & Great Grandfather William S. Wicks. If I were a betting type of gal, I would wager a dollar that Jacob & son William had something to do with the design and creation of this sweet little library.

jacob wicks 1903   wicks 1890

Left: Jacob Wicks, Born 1823 . Died 1884, Father of William S. Wicks. Right: William S. Wicks, Architect, Born 1854 . Died 1919. Photos are from the Wicks Family Archives and Courtesy of Elizabeth Hopkins Wittemann, Great Great granddaughter of Jacob Wicks & Great granddaughter of William S. Wicks.

Remembering the Wicks men and work that may have been forgotten, unattributed or overlooked.

(all rights of original content reserved, duplication is not allowed without consent of author.)


One response »

  1. Love the blog about your great grandfather and so glad to see someone reviving interest in Wicks. You have such great material. I have a similar blog on J. L. Silsbee – though we have no relation. I often come across references to Wicks early work in Central NY while doing my research. Incidentally, Silsbee’s father, who lived at Trenton at the time, read a prayer over the cornerstone laying of the library. I look forward to reading more.


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