According to Phineas
Goodrich in his 1880 book, History of Wayne County, Pennsylvania,
“about , Jason Torrey, Abisha Woodward, and Moses Kellam
bought the place afterwards called the Daniels farm, built a frame
house, called it New Castle, and carried on lumbering on a
large scale there for many years, and then sold out the premises to
Joseph Atkinson who in his turn, sold to Russell Daniels from
Connecticut. [Daniels] became a noted lumberman, and for many years
kept a public house…The lumber manufactured at New Castle was
always in demand at Philadelphia.”
Russell Daniels (1794-1863) and his wife Cynthia (Kellam or
Killam) Daniels were among the earliest inhabitants of the area.
After purchasing, they cleared and farmed the property while raising
eight children to adulthood in New Castle. The Daniels were probably
living in this house when the canal was being built and starting in
1829, where boats locked through daily. About that time, a plank
road, now PA Rt. 6 was built on the other side of their house,
between Honesdale and Hawley. Russell died in 1863 at the age of 69,
and on 13th of August of that year, his wife advertised
the sale of the farm in the Wayne County Herald.
Later in 1863, Ira Daniel (1824-1896), their third son agreed
to buy out the interests of his mother and siblings, and took up
residence, with his wife Margaret (Atkinson) Daniels. The 1872 Beer’s
Atlas of Wayne County, PA, labels the house “I.
Daniels”. But fifteen years later, the property was sold at
sheriff’s sale to settle Ira’s debts to members of his family and
$200 owed to Patrick Weir, who had been the nearby lock tender for
the past fourteen years.
Thomas V. Taft, a land speculator, for whom nearby Tafton was
named, purchased the property for $1,525 and on the same day, 28
February 1878, sold it for $5,000 to Ernst A. Hintze (1840-1901).
Taft retained lumber rights for seven years except for twenty-five
Born in Germany, Hintze came to America when he was eighteen
and became a grocer in Brooklyn, NY. He extensively remodeled the
house and opened part of it as a hotel, renaming it Hintze’s while
living there with his wife Dorothy (Lieffers) Hintze, two sons, two
daughters, and sister-in-law. He immediately applied for a liquor
license, renewing it regularly for the rest of his life. He erected a
small store doing business with the boatmen until the canal closed
twenty-one years later. Locals also frequented Hintze’s for dances
held in the large room on the second floor.
Hintze died at the age of 61. His wife applied for yet another
liquor license in 1902, but she also sold the property in that year.
Ownership changed several times until 1910, when Annie Marie Hopes
Selberg (1885-1960) of Queens, NY paid $1.00 probably to a relative
for the property, thus beginning ninety-one years of the Selberg
family living and dying in the house by natural causes, fire, and
suicide. She and her husband John Henry Selberg (1872-1934) moved
into the house with their son Frederick William (1902-1986),
daughters Anna Katherine (1904-1970) and May Eva (Martha)
(1907-1977). William Walter (1915-1997), their last child was born
five years after buying the property. After Annie’s death, the
property was left equally to her four adult unmarried children living
in the house. After all of his siblings died, William lived alone in
the house for 20 years until he took his own life. William willed the
property to a cousin, Robert Olson, whose son and young family lived
in the house briefly.
In 2001, using grants, the Wayne County Historical Society purchased
this relatively unchanged house and the 10 1/2 acres surrounding it
from Robert Olson’s widow Debbie, adding it to the one mile of
canal and towpath it already owned.
Since then, much effort and resources have gone into its
stabilization and restoration, which consulting historic architect,
John Bowie describes as “constructed using a combination of
heavy timber, late-18 century, Colonial
barn framing techniques, combined with vertical board plank
construction. The building [is] large in size, more that a typical
residence of the period – more like a barn. However, in spite of
its generous size, it was well-constructed and well-apportioned by a
designer who cared about the aesthetic sensibilities being placed on