×

Interesting Artifacts

Randolph Family Is Steeped In History

Mary Williams and daughters Eva and Fallon pose on the porch of the home Williams’ parents bought in 1966. Submitted photos

The Randolph home that Mary Williams shares with her husband, Adrian, and their children is a perfect house for them for many reasons. It has been in Mary’s family for 54 years. Before this, her father and mother, Howard and Beverly Freeman, lived with his mother and grandmother in the house Mr. Freeman was born and raised in. The house, which was on the site where the Onoville Marina is located, was destroyed when Kinzua Dam was built.

The Freemans chose the Center Street house because it had been made into a duplex by a previous owner, allowing space for the two older women.

Another reason the home fits the family is because Adrian does residential, retail and historic restoration. His passion for his work has a lot to do with his upbringing in the Hudson Valley, where there has been a lot of restoration.

The couple completely gutted and redid the home and added a 2-storey addition, which Williams designed, planned and built. It ties into the American Gothic house with board and batten exterior and is historically accurate. The front door of the house in Onoville was installed on the back of the addition.

During the renovation, the couple discovered a board that had been signed by the builders in the 1870s. This board has been framed and put behind UV-protected glass and hangs on a wall in the family’s dining room. Other interesting artifacts found on the property were shoes from the 1800s, dinnerware, china, silverware, pottery, perfume bottles and horseshoes.

The Williams purchase a few pieces of china from Buckingham Palace each time they visit England.

Mr. Williams Dutch and Prussian family came to New Jersey in 1551.

“I feel that’s why he’s so connected to history and historical buildings,” his wife said. “He opened Williams Restoration and Construction Company in 2004. He traveled for many years doing retail stores. Now he’s back to doing residential and historical again. He’s kind of like a do-it-all kind of guy.”

“The need for people who weren’t losing the craft” is Williams response to why he does what he does. “In the 70s, 80s and 90s people were throwing things away. They went minimalist. It’s a wasteful society.”

His talents are wide-ranging, including working with slate, tile, copper, bricks and plaster molding. He builds luxury retail buildings, kitchens and baths and traditional custom housing and does period work. He does a lot of work for Vintage House Design and is currently working on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. He is one of few people who installs and repairs slate tile. He built a barn on his property for little or no money using recycled materials, including the slate tiles on the roof, which came from a house in Ohio.

Not only does the builder find value in older structures. He has restored all of the 1940s era equipment in his woodworking shop.

“This equipment does the job the way it was meant to be done. It will last forever,” he said.

He does woodburning and wood sculpting and his oldest daughter is interested in learning the skill of woodturning.

Mrs. Freeman excelled in art in high school, and went on to Syracuse University where she majored in art education with a minor in drawing and painting. She finished the first year, but was compelled to transfer after her sister was diagnosed with liver cancer. Shortly after that, it was discovered that the art student had a tumor at the base of the pituitary gland. After her recovery, she went to care for her sister who was living in the Hudson Valley, because her disease had returned and she had been declared terminally ill. It was during this time that she met Williams.

“I’m hoping to return to school in the fall. I have my studio set up and will be producing art to sell,” she said.

The couple have other interests besides creating.

“We enjoy traveling and adventuring and have traveled to Ireland, Norway and three times to England. We have plans to go to Scotland,” she said. “We’ve returned to England to explore family heritage and culture. We took our children to see my great-grandmother’s home and where she grew up. She lived in Liverpool but spent her summers up north in Yorkshire with her grandparents. Her brother helped plan and laid the Transatlantic cable.”

The woman left several journals containing her life story and wrote about her crossing (the ocean) and coming through Ellis Island when she was in her late 20s. One of her brothers resided in Ontario, Canada and the other in Jamestown.

Each time the family has visited England, they have gone to Buckingham Palace to purchase a few pieces of turquoise, gold, burgundy and white china.

Mrs. Williams has offered several recipes that represent her family’s favorites and recipes she has created after tasting them during their travels.

“My mom and Grandma Barlow were phenomenal cooks. My mom taught me how to bake pies. I love to bake,” she said. “I’m kind of old-fashioned. When you have a family, it’s important that you cook your own food.”

Her daughters Fallon and Eva pick one meal per week and help prepare it.

The mother of two, gardens in boxes made by her husband. She cans the bounty, taking after her mother.

“My Aunt Cheryl Posey said ‘your mom would be very proud of you because you cook from scratch and it’s really good,'” she added.

Her Grandma Barlow spent a lot of time at her house following the death of Mrs. Williams’ father. She taught her how to do spring cleaning and how to clean properly.

“After our second trip to England we had noticed fish pie on most menus

in the restaurants. I decided to create my own when we returned,” she said. “It has now become a favorite Sunday dinner.”

Her mother’s Aunt B’s Baked Beans was the dish family members looked for at family functions. Her aunt requests peach-blueberry pie for her birthday each year.

“I fix many different flavors of scones throughout the year, usually based on the season. These are traditional British scones that taste great plain or with a little clotted cream and jam. I make these every Sunday and they are Adrian and Eva’s favorite,” she said.

Williams Restoration and Construction Company can be reached by calling 397-9343.

FISH PIE

1 lb skinless haddock

1 lb smoked fish (I like to use trout)

2 1/2 c full fat milk

1 small onion, sliced

4 cloves

3 bay leaves

5 eggs

1/2 c chopped parsley

1 stick unsalted butter

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 c flour

3 lbs potatoes

3 oz cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. First poach fish. Put haddock in a frying pan and pour milk over it. Add onion, cloves, bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Lift fish onto a plate and strain into a heatproof bowl to cool. Next, use a fork to flake the fish into larger pieces in a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Break up the smoked fish and combine it with haddock in baking dish.

Hard boil the eggs. Peel and slice eggs and then arrange on top of fish. Scatter chopped parsley over fish.

Make sauce by melting 4 T of the butter in a pan, stir in flour, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in a little of the cold poaching milk. Gradually continue to pour in the milk and mix well until smooth. Return to heat, bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth. Remove and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and pour over the fish in the baking dish.

Boil potatoes — drain season and mash with remaining butter and milk. Starting at the edges of the dish, use the potatoes to top the dish, spreading to the inside, completely sealing the pie to the edges. Fluff the top with a fork and sprinkle cheese on top then bake for 30 minutes.

AUNT B’s BAKED BEANS

54 oz can of baked beans

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c ketchup

1 c water

6 strips raw bacon

1/4 c onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour beans into large baking pan. Mix brown sugar, ketchup and water together in a separate bowl. Combine with beans. Add 6 strips of raw bacon and 1/4 cup of onion and stir into beans. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours, stirring half way through cooking time.

* To make these vegan, I use plain baked beans and smoky tempeh in place of the bacon.

PEACH-BLUEBERRY PIE

Double crust

3 1/2 c sliced peaches, about 4 large

1 3/4 c blueberries

2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 to 1 c raw cane sugar, depending on sweetness of fruit

2 T tapioca

1/2 tsp salt

3 T butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss peaches and blueberries in a bowl with lemon juice. Mix together sugar, tapioca and salt in a small bowl. Add to peach mix and stir to combine. Let fruit stand for 20 minutes. Put bottom crust into pie dish. Spoon filling into crust and dot with butter. Cover filling with remaining crust and press the top and bottom crusts together, crimping edges to seal. Cover crust with a pie crust shield to prevent overbrowning. Protect oven from drips by lining with foil. Bake at 425 for 50 minutes. Cool for 1 hour before serving.

RAW CASHEW CHEESE

2 c raw cashews

1/2 c nutritional yeast

3/4 c water

3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

5 cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt to taste

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

fresh parsley

Soak cashews in filtered water for at least 4 hours. Drain water and place cashews, nutritional yeast, half of the water, half of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in processor and pulse until roughly blended. Gradually add more lemon juice, garlic powder and salt to taste. Transfer to a bowl and stir in desired amount of parsley, about one tablespoon. You can create your own variation of this with any herbs or vegetables you would like.

SCONES

2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/4 c raw cane sugar

1 T baking powder

1 tsp salt

6 T cold butter

1 c heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl mix or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Butter must be kept cold until needed. Cut up butter and add to dry ingredients. Use a pastry blender to combine. Add heavy cream and mix with hands until combined. Put into an 8-inch round parchment lined cake pan and flatten. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Let cool for 10 minutes before turning out. Cut into equal portions. Serve warm with clotted cream and jam.

RHUBARB JAM

3 lbs fresh rhubarb, or about 8 to 9 cups

2 1/2 c sugar, less if you prefer tangier jam

2 tsp orange zest

1/2 c orange juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 c water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened, approximately 45 to 55 minutes. It will thicken more as it cools. Ladle into hot sterile jars and seal with lids and rings. Freezes well

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
   

COMMENTS

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today