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Andrew Dickson White’s House

Location: NYS Historical Marker located at 82 South Main Street, Homer NY
(42.633294, -76.178811)

“…in the autumn [1] of 1869 this peaceful region was in commotion from one end to the other. Strange reports echoed from farm to farm. It was noised abroad that a great stone statue or petrified giant had been dug up near the little hamlet of Cardiff, almost at the southern extremity of the valley; and soon, despite the fact that the crops were not yet gathered in, and the elections not yet over, men and women and children were hurrying from Syracuse and from the farm-houses along the valley to the scene of the great discovery.”

Excerpt from Andrew Dickson White Autobiography, the first president of Cornell University

On October 16, 1869, William “Stub” Newell, had employed his brother-in-law Henry Nichols and his friend Gideon, who had lost his arm in the Civil war, to assist him in digging a well. The location of said well seemed, well, odd, as it is nowhere near the house or barn, but they persist in the grueling labor nonetheless.

After managing to dig down a few feet, the fellows come across a rather larger toe. They ran to the farmhouse to fetch Stub, who oddly enough knew a thing or two about toes as he was missing one of his. Not that it had been lost exactly. While the offending toe required amputation after a nasty case of frostbite, he continued to wear it as a watch charm. Today, his charm proved lucky, for the men had reviled a 10-foot tall, 3,000-pound giant.

This was the home of Andrew Dickson White, the first to publicly announce his suspicions regarding the story that unfolds below. These events, regarding his neighbor, affected him so profoundly that he included its retelling in his autobiography.