April 17, 2009

Old man winter seems to be gradually receding across Tug Hill. After a late year of snow coverage the spring flowers have begun poking through. We expect to see cow slips soon in all the usual wet areas, that old spring tonic of the greens family.

Half-Shire’s grounds are starting to look good; Trustee Erma Schroeder has had a good crew of workers that have the front lawns raked as of this writing. We expect soon to have some fresh mulch to be applied soon around our large bulb collection that should enhance the building’s appearance.

Work will continue through the week of April 11, to mop the floors and wash dishes in preparation for return to Friday hours on April 17th. The Library holdings have been brought back through the past weeks. Until mid May we will continue to have George Widrig also at the Court house mornings through the week (Wednesday off) at the historian’s office over DMV.

On Saturday April 18, our first lunch meeting of the year will beheld from noon on. A scalloped potatoes & ham dinner is planned with the trimmings. Please call Shawn Doyle at 298-3620, or email SPDinPUL@hotmail.com and leave a message if you are planning to attend so we have a close number to prepare for. The meeting agenda has consideration for bids on the upstairs room and the general work plan for 2009. There will be a report on the War of 1812 committee as well as the County Fair Association.

Over the past few weeks we have been checking out the conditions of area cemeteries and how they survived the winter. Some of our rural cemeteries have limbs and other debris on the ground. In a few cases some stones have fallen or been tipped over. Frost heave, not vandalism seems to be the culprit on some markers that have been leaning for years. In 2009 Half-Shire will be replacing monuments for several of our damaged or missing veteran’s graves. As we try to get the known Revolutionary War vets completed we will move into the War of 1812 men. Initial review of some of the graves is showing many are in terrible condition.

In our email inbox: We received an email from an Orwell researcher who will be in town on the 24th to exchange information and photos. We also received a troubling email from a source that the missing St. Paul’s’ Catholic Church windows have been turning up in south Florida where they are being sold. The former owner of that structure removed all of the stained glass windows two years ago; we had tried unsuccessfully to work with him on sale (to families) of some of the windows. We are fortunate that St. Mary’s in Florence has not experienced this indignity.

Additional copies of the Richland cemetery books on Daysville ($30) and South Richland Cemeteries ($40) have been received and are for sale. Both of these books have been edited from the first edition to correct typos, and have been well received by researchers. Copies can be mailed out for additional $3 postage.

As School Alumni reunion season approaches we’d like to remind graduates or attendees to keep in touch with your school. The following local groups are active:

  • Sandy Creek-Mary Hicks, Secretary, c/o 240 Miller Rd., Lacona, NY 13083 shop@marysneedleart.com
  • Altmar-Parish-Williamstown-c/o Mary Lou Guindon, 2885 E. Main St., Parish, NY 13131 guinfam@aol.com
  • Belleville-Craig Veley, President, c/o P.O. Box 155, Belleville, NY 13611 mlherron99@yahoo.com
  • Camden-The annual Alumni Banquet will be held Saturday June 20, 2009 at Katie & Karl’s Restaurant, Route 13, Camden. Reception 3-5 p.m., business meeting, 5 p.m. followed by dinner and program. See: www.camdenalumni.com Camden Alumni Association, 35 Fourth St., Camden, NY 13316-1401.
  • Pulaski Alumni Association, P.O. Box 344, Pulaski, NY 13142; The 120th banquet will be held on Saturday June 27, at the Pulaski American Legion. Newsletters going out, check our new blog at pulaskialumni.blogspot.com for more information
  • Mexico-The Mexico Academy Alumni will hold its 182nd banquet this year. Contact Karen Brown at 150 Tudo Rd., Mexico, NY 13114 or Cookie92762@aol.com
  • Redfield School Alumni Association—will hold the annual lunch meeting at the Half-Shire building in mid August, contact Half-Shire for more information.

Half-Shire can be contacted at P.O. Box 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com www.halfshire.com

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April 10, 2009

Just when spring seemed here, another blast of cold and snow reminded Tug Hill/Eastern Lake Ontario residents of that “it’s not over yet”. On Saturday April 4 over a foot was reported in sections of Redfield while Florence residents coped without power for several hours.

During the outage I phoned Leo Seaton to discuss the growing list of Revolutionary War soldiers who lived in Florence at one time or another. Only a few have marked graves, and some have been found to be buried elsewhere. This list is a work in progress, and represents a culling of the census data from 1814-1850 and cross referencing names with US pensions and other data sources. Any additional information on these men is welcomed by Half-Shire, as well as Leo who will be working on this through the year with us “on location”. The state of origin for the veteran (if known) is given following the name:

Nathan Allen (Mass); Ebenezer Barlow, (Mass); Barnes, Jonathan, (CT); Thomas Burch, (Mass); Anthony Empey, (NY); Benoni Fleming, CT; Peter Humphrey, (NY); Eliakim Miller, (Mass); Abraham Morton, (Mass); Azariah Orton, (CT); Eber Rice, (VT); Joseph Woodcock, (Mass). There could very well be many others who came to Florence when it was a wilderness, and died unnoticed by history. In Richland we started out with a list of 17 men that now has grown to 49.

The topic of veteran research was expected to be raised at a meeting to be held in Sacket’s Harbor in anticipation of the War of 1812 commemorations. Margaret Kastler and George Widrig plan on representing the society, and will bring back a report at the April 18, meeting in Richland. Half-Shire has begun the process of gathering data on the men who served in that conflict for inclusion in a multi-town volume of research that may be later printed. Notebooks for each of our towns with the known lists of names and available data have been placed in our library.

As mentioned earlier, the Richland list of Revolutionary War soldiers has now hit 49. For a long time we have believed pioneer Gershom Hale (1756-1826) belonged on that list, but it was not until we were able to untangle the military and family records of his 1st cousin, also Gershom Hale, who died in Addison County, Vermont that we proved our belief. In fact, both Gershoms served in the same unit at one time in 1780 from Windham, CT. The company clerk noted that one Gershom was “#2” Our Gershom Hale was an early officer of the town of Richland, and is buried in Pulaski Cemetery. His son William was the 1st town clerk and served as Sheriff of Oswego County in the 1830s and as a Judge prior to that. Other children include a son Stephen (buried with an Aunt and other cousins in Scripture cemetery, Sandy Creek). We now are set upon the task of learning whom Gersham’s remaining family members were.

Lawn work at the Richland facility will again pick up when the last snow melts. Erma Schroeder has two willing workers in mind to assist us on school break. Our spring flowers were just poking through when old man winter returned, but should be coming up nice by the April 18, meeting. That first meeting of the year at Richland will be held Saturday April 18, beginning with a noon lunch. The meeting that follows at 1 pm will be of short duration. Please call if you are able to come to lunch 298-3620 and leave a message. We are looking at scalloped potatoes and ham dinner. We have begun the bid process to begin work on our 2nd floor classroom that is gutted. We are looking to get this room restored this year, beginning with a new floor.

Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com. Our web site is www.halfshire.com

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