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Nicholas Hollenbeck's land in Willet

One of the items on my genealogy to-do list was to visit the home of my ancestor, Nicholas Hollenbeck. Little did I know, I had been there before! Reviewing this map of Cortland County in 1876, I realized that I had already been there many years ago. My great-grandmother's land had originally been his.

At the time this map was drawn, Route 221 had not been completed, making it hard for me to recognize where Nicholas' land was located. After visiting Willet recently, however, I realized the land belonging to Nicholas in 1876, situated on the border of Lot 76 and Lot 77, was where Leonard Road is today. It was where my Grandpa Leonard grew up, and may even have been where he was born. I had walked the property with my father years ago and driven past the "Leonard Rd" sign many times since then. Last time I was there, the house was still standing. It was a small one-story home that had replaced the one that burned down in 1949. The house has since been demolished and two new homes and a business have been built on Leonard Road. Leonard Road was actually the driveway leading up to Great-Grandma's house, so when the property was occupied by new owners, I never drove down the road because I felt like it would be trespassing - until recently. My sister and I finally took a trip down Leonard Road! It the perfect time of year, late September, when the leaves had turned from green to every shade of red, orange and yellow you can imagine. Aside from the new residents and their homes, the setting has changed very little.

This video was made in memory of our Hollenbeck and Leonard ancestors who bought the land, cleared the trees and planted our roots on Leonard Road.

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