Half-Shire Historical Society
July 3, 2009

As this column goes to press the 152nd Oswego County Fair should be in full swing at Sandy Creek. During the previous week the Heritage building was stocked full with many new and unique exhibits. We even brought down a piano for some live music! An interesting week of interactive history is planned, with historians from across the County and region present. Many unique crafters are also planning on being present at various times.

Special exhibits are set up for the communities of West Monroe, Amboy, Redfield, Minetto, Parish, New Haven Volney, Granby, Mallory, Sandy Creek, Pulaski, Williamstown, Richland, Oswego town, Schroeppel and Boylston. Rae Allen will be there each day to quilt and do demonstrations. Carol Thompson, Mary Mason, Florence Gardner, Julie Paintor are on tap among our crafters. Friends of history who wish to learn more about specifics of any given day can reach us at the Fair 387-3257 or 532-5919.

Last week I submitted a correction to an earlier column, and in the apology I cited Phyllis LeBeau, Sandy Creek Historian’s Office volunteer. I mixed up Phyllis’ maiden name which should have read Rowe. Her Dad was J. Hunt Rowe, and there was the mix up. I again offer my apologies.

On June 24, Shawn Doyle and volunteer Ian Lowery worked at bringing more materials to Heritage Hall in Sandy Creek. Later in the day the two set out a government marker for the late Elwood Bristol in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Florence. Bristol, a decorated soldier in the Second World War was a Redfield native. Following his death in 2003, Bristol was buried with his parents in St. Mary’s along the back tree line. This marker is the first monument to his life and service.

While in “the east end” Lowery & Doyle worked at some landscape work in Redfield cemetery, and then joined other town youths in the traditional summertime ritual of “jumping the bridge” to cool off. The reservoir was a perfect swimming temperature, and a couple dozen area residents were also enjoying the waters under a cloudless sky. In this writer’s opinion there is no better season then summer in the Tug Hill/Eastern Lake Ontario region where we have so many recreational opportunities. The Redfield Reservoir is another “hidden gem” in our county that is often overlooked.

Our sister organization to the north, the Historical Association of South Jefferson has published a new book on the history of Lorraine. The book will be on sale at the fairgrounds, and later at Half-Shire. Editor Debbie Quick has penned several local books, and this one is sure to be similarly popular.

Congratulations to Virginia Chrisman Peter of Lacona and Shirley Potter Purvis of Vero Beach, Florida for each correctly guessing the identity of this past newsletter’s “Guess Who”. The mystery man in the child photo was Fred Potter of Boylston. Virginia and Shirley each will be credited a years’ membership and receive a 2009 calendar—and as it is late in the year, a 2010 calendar when they are printed.

In our membership list printed in the last newsletter we omitted several names among those members are Francis Sullivan, Fulton; Kay Dealing, Sandy Creek; Sharon Robarge, Richland; Joan Carter, Charlottesville, VA and life member (Secretary) George Widrig. The printing of the list –and gathering corrections, is helpful before we fill out our annual state report with membership numbers, so if you feel you were omitted please contact us.

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

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It’s Fair Time!

The 152nd Oswego County Fair is soon to be upon us, for the past couple months many volunteers have devoted countless hours to setting up exhibits and maintaining the grounds. The Fair is again not charging admission, and the buildings and exhibits are also free. Prices vary on the midway and the grandstand, but are still quite reasonable.

Heritage Hall has a full week of events planned, with historians from the various townships onsite during their themed day. Several crafters will be on hand, demonstrating spinning, chair caning, weaving, quilting, tatting and crochet work. These demonstrations alone are quite interesting and worth the trip up to see.

On site photo scanning will take place again. If you have some precious photos you’d like to allow us to copy for our records this is a great time and place to take care of things. We will have volunteers behind the counter most of the day who can scan your photos or entire collections. Last year we had a few friends of the society come in with the proverbial shoeboxes, and they left with organized collections, in sheet protector’s compliments of the society. Please call ahead if you have a big collection, 532-5919 or the Hall 387-3257.

We will have Kelsey Munz of Osceola one of the days in the hall, playing her harp. As of this writing that date has not been set. On July 4, Florence Gardner is expected to play some patriotic tunes for us on her keyboard.

There will be iced tea and lemonade available most of the week, with fresh coffee in the morning. The Heritage Hall has two sitting area where folks can rest and enjoy a nice conversation. On Tuesday evening we will have our informal kick-off reception from 5-7 to coincide with “Special Times” on the grounds.

On Wednesday July 1, the commemorative stamping will take place from noon-3pm with the Sandy Creek Post Office on site. This year’s design is again from our good friend Heather Sweeting of Sterling, NY. The theme for Wednesday will be the Oswego River Valley towns of Volney, Oswego, Granby, Minetto, Hannibal and the two cites. Historians from these regions have been asked to attend and meet with people.

The parade will run through Sandy Creek on Wednesday night, and Jerry & Lorraine Orton will be part of the Half-Shire group marching.

On Thursday July 2, it is “North Shore day” where the theme will revolve around the towns of Constantia, West Monroe and Hastings. We expect to see many friends form this region.

On Friday July 3, it will be Central township day with Mexico, New Haven, Palermo and Scriba highlighted.

On Saturday we will honor our veterans with Military History Day. Researchers can consult experts on Revolution, War of 1812 and Civil War topics on this day. Photos from the Pulaski historical Society World War I & II collection of servicemen will also be able to be perused.

On Sunday July 5 the eleven Half-Shire townships will be the focus: Albion, Amboy, Boylston, Florence, Osceola, Orwell, Parish, Redfield, Richland, Sandy Creek and Williamstown along with the villages of Lacona, Sandy Creek, Pulaski and Altmar. Local authors will be on hand from noon until near 4pm to sign books and meet with people.

10am and 7pm each day we are planning roundtable discussions on various history topics. Call ahead for more information, or check out the schedule as it evolves on our blog; halfshire.blogspot.com.

We had another error in the column two weeks ago, in the photo caption Olga J. “Pat” Frye was the proper listing, and I had “Pat” listed as a Weed, which was her mother’s name. Please let us know when we make mistakes so that we can correct them in print. Thanks to Leitha Wills for helping us there.

The June newsletter is out, and should reach homes by this column. We have enclosed a set of raffle tickets for your consideration on a beautiful American Flag design afghan made by Jodi Wickert of Pulaski. We don’t like to go to the members more then once a year on a raffle, but this was donated mid season and is a gem. A September 19, drawing is planned at the annual meeting.

We were very shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Jack Parker of Pulaski. Jack and Bonnie have been members for several years, and have been very supportive of our organization. Several years ago when the lawn mower in Richland broke, Jack donated one to us that lasted for over 5 years of continuous use, which if anyone is familiar with the size of our lawn, that is pretty good for a little push mower. Our thoughts are with Bonnie and the family at this difficult time.

Half-Shire can be reached at the fair all week, 387-3257 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com. Please stop in and see us during the week!

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Correction to january 13, Column

This letter has been submitted to the Queen Central News in Camden and the Salmon River News in Pulaski to correct a serious error in the January 13, 2009 column, which can be found further down in this blog

“To the Editor,

In the January 13th Half-Shire column that appeared in this paper I wrote a story about an ebay purchase I made of four photos from the 1890s, advertised as from Sandy Creek-Orwell area. When I received the photos, two were labeled “Edith Waggoner” and “May Crocker). I thought it would be interesting to determine exactly who they were and write something about their lives in my column. (See our blog at halfshire.blogspot.com for the exact column)

I found information on May Crocker quite readily in our files, however determining who Edith Waggoner was proved more of a task as there were two Edith Waggoners (cousins) who lived during this general time period. Up to the challenge, I pulled our slim files on the Waggoner family, got out some Orwell area scrapbooks, and finally looked on the internet using the Fulton History.com newspaper web browser. I still was uncertain which Edith Waggoner was in the photos from the obituaries I found.

Previous to this task, I had been researching George Waggoner who was responsible (along with son Victor) for building the old keystone bridges in Orwell. During this time I had consulted with some researchers in the area, who I phoned to ask for advice. I was quite innocently led to believe that the lady in the photo was likely Edith H. Waggoner who was born on September 4, 1872 the daughter of George Henry and Jane (Duncan) Waggoner. On my own, I next extrapolated that the lady born on this date was the same Edith Waggoner who was the second wife of Fred Rowe from Boylston, according to records found on ancestry.com, submitted by one of our members Brenda Tanner.

Back on Fulton History.com I found an indexed scrapbook that had a detailed obituary of Fred Rowe, and explained that his first wife died in 1898 and that Fred and Edith Waggoner were married October 24, 1900. I mentioned that Fred’s son J. Hunt Rowe was a well-known figure in our region, and helped with programs at Half-Shire in the mid 1970s, and that many of J. Hunt’s family live in our region and are active in our communities.

I summarized what I had found by mentioning that further information on these folks could be found in the files of local historians and researchers. I mentioned that Phyllis Hunt LeBeau, a volunteer at the Sandy Creek Historians office was a very meticulous researcher and a descendant. I went on to cite the solid family history files that are available in the Sandy Creek office, and other locations, and that despite the internet opening up the world to people there was no replacement for the research knowledge and local files of such exceptional historians such as Charlene Cole, and family members such as Phyllis.

Well, it seems I didn’t follow my own advice, and “got the two Ediths mixed up” I was wrong and made a terrible mistake. To compound matters, when I received a detailed correction and letter of admonishment on my research, I failed to print the correction in a timely fashion in the column—which did not run for over a month when I was involved in other work. This oversight has caused the problem to grow.

And so quite belatedly, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to the descendants of J. Hunt Rowe for the mix up in the identity of their step-grandmother, and more importantly for not setting the record straight sooner. I have enjoyed the friendship of many of these fine people over the years and I intended no slight. As a columnist in this newspaper I should ensure that the material sent in is as accurate as possible, and I will be more careful in the future.

For the record, as I have been corrected, Fred Rowe’s 2nd wife whom he married on October 24, 1900 was Edith Waggoner granddaughter of George and Anna (Sayer) Waggoner solid pioneers of German origin, who settled Orwell in the mid 1800s. Their son John Waggoner, who served nobly in the 24th NY Infantry during the Civil War, was married to the former Frances Crocker of Orwell. Their daughter was Edith Waggoner Rowe, and the photo collection I purchased seems to have come from one of their descendants.

I have made copies of the photos in question and am donating them to the Sandy Creek Historian, with extras for interested family; I hope that this correction serves to restore respect of those whom I may have inadvertently slighted.


Shawn Doyle
Half-Shire Historical Society President

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June 19, 2009

On Saturday June 13, a handful of historians met at the Oswego County Fairgrounds to set up exhibits and discuss the upcoming fair. Representatives from Mexico, Volney, New Haven, Sandy Creek, Pulaski, and Richland joined Half-Shire members to review plans for the 5-day annual event which begins on the evening of June 30.

This year Shawn Doyle and Greg Monette of Half-Shire will be Superintending Heritage Hall, and will be joined by representatives from most of the communities in Oswego County. The building is expected to be quite full, and diverse. Among the available categories for entry are the three separate scarecrow contests (best-dressed, unique and scariest) with prizes ranging from $3-$10 along with ribbons. On behalf of the Oswego County Genealogical Society Doyle and Monette are also organizing the 2nd annual family photo wall. This unique exhibit will cover wall space of 20’ by 15’ and will be situated in what is known as the red sitting room. Interested people who have a framed antique photo of ancestors past are encouraged to bring them to Heritage Hall before the fair for inclusion. Prizes for best photo will also be awarded, entry deadline is June 28, Contact Shawn Doyle at 298-3620 or SPDinPUL@hotmail.com to save a space.

Renown youth harpist Kelsey Munz of Osceola is planning to perform on a yet to be determined date in Heritage hall, our own Florence Gardner of Albion is also expected to play patriotic anthems on July 4, on her keyboard. Spinning, chair caning, weaving, tatting and crochet work will also be demonstrated by very capable experts. At 10am and 7pm daily historians will conduct “roundtable discussions” on topics of interest. Coffee and iced tea will be available as well as very comfortable furniture to relax in while taking a break in the hall.

In other news: more fantastic photos have arrived via email from the St. Mary’s of Mt. Carmel restoration project. The inside of the church has been completely painted and the images are astounding! A light “Irish Green” was selected for the walls, accented by a both a darker green trim and a crisp New England white ceiling. We eagerly await an opportunity to visit this historic Irish landmark in the hamlet of Florence.

Our second week at the Pulaski Farmers’ Market proved both profitable and busy. A small exhibit on Half-Shire region railroads prepared by Glenna Gorski in 2006 was displayed. Many interested people took time to thumb through the large notebook as well as study the detailed map prepared by Dick and Glenna. On Friday the 19th some of our recently completed scrapbooks from the digitalization project will be on display (weather permitting), On June 26th we will have some select yearbooks from Pulaski and Sandy Creek out for review in the park as we mark “Alumni weekend”. The Pulaski market has musical entertainment lined up each weekend all summer long—and best of all its free to attend!

The Maplelawn Cemetery of Dugway is preparing to construct a new drop-chain style fence along the front of its property line. Bill Sheeley, Tom Burke and Ed Bennett have been marking the site out in preparation. Thanks go out to New York State Engineer Jamie Tompkins of Redfield who took time on his way into work on June 10, to meet with the fence committee to review the right of way rules. Maplelawn cemetery has many old pioneers at rest in its grounds, and their locations are additionally backed up by a detailed map on the wall of the vault painstakingly prepared a few years back by former Trustee Jack Steinfeld. This map is critical to genealogists, and lists unmarked graves as well as the marked locations. The recent work at Maplelawn is able to be undertaken thanks to a generous legacy left by the late Barb Walter of Dugway.

Half-Shire Vice President Greg Monette has recently updated the county-wide data base on War of 1812 veterans. This first of its kind database is being edited and will appear on the Oswego County tourism website soon. New information has doubled the number of men we have been able to prove as veterans of the forgotten “second war of American Independence”. The front line for our region was Lake Ontario where the British North American capital was located in Kingston Ontario. George Widrig is working on a good-sized display that will incorporate Monette’s work as well as a detailed map of the region in 1813. This display will be at the Oswego County Fair and other venues throughout the year.

On June 9, Lorraine Twp. Historian Arlene Moore and her son Tom visited Half-Shire and donated a tremendously valuable collection of family photos that relate to our region. George Widrig and Erma Schroeder spent time finding information for the Moores and had a delightful morning. Arlene edited a book on Lorraine written by her late husband that we still have available for sale. “The Huddle” is a detailed account of the history of Lorraine and well worth the price of $20.

Half-Shire’s Richland research facility is open four days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 9-1pm and Fridays 9-4 pm. We are also pleased to schedule any other appointments. Our faculty is located in the former Richland hamlet school, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, (PO 73) or on the web at www.halfshire.com/.

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June 12, 2008

Preparations are moving along for the 152nd Oswego County Fair in Sandy Creek.. President Carol Sweeny along with the officers and Department Superintendents have been busy with planning and set up since the snow cleared. The Fair runs July 1-5 with “Special Times for Special People” on June 30. The annual parade will be the first night, Wednesday July 1. For more information check out the detailed schedule on the web site
The Heritage Hall Committee will meet on Saturday June 13 to review the plans for set up and sales. Our building has been cleared and cleaned and will be ready for set up that day. Several interesting historical “roundtables” are planned for fair week, and many new items of interest have been added to our family files that will be available for review. A brief Half-Shire meeting will take place at noon on the 13th to review affairs as well as a report on the building work in Richland.
The Pulaski Farmer’s Market kicked off its season on Friday June 3, with the 10th Mountain Division Dixieland band. The South Park was filled with people from 4-7 to partake of the first of the weekly events under cloudless skies. Half-Shire had tables set up just north of the bandstand, and assisted in feeding the band members and their families. Each week we will try to have rotating displays from across the coverage region, on June 12, the exhibit will feature railroad information.
The new book on World War I & II Veterans from the Williamstown region is available for $40, or $43 by mail. The Williamstown group has done a remarkable job with this edition, and are due praise. Editors Ann LaDuke, Glenna Gorski and Roberta Cleveland have printed a limited supply of these books which we have available for sale along with the earlier book on Revolution to War of 1898.
The Pulaski community lost a dear friend with the death of Judy Franklin Miller on June 3, after a very short illness. Judy will be remembered for her years of dedication to the beautification of her home village. For many years she quietly organized the planting and maintenance of the flowers in our village parks. Judy was a summer resident of the Elms, on Sandy Pond and was equally well known to the summer community of the lake shore.
The eastern shore lost its eldest resident on June 2, with the death of Perry Hastings. Perry would have been 106 this summer, and had lived at home until just a couple years back. Perry was an avid student of history, and assisted the Pulaski Historical Society in the compilation of its Salmon River Odyssey a few years back. Perry also worked with Half-Shire in the identification of many photos from our collection two years ago.
Both the Hastings and Miller families have our sincere condolences.
Half-Shire is now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 9am-1 pm. Friday afternoons often go longer, and we can make other arrangements with notice. We can be reached at Halfshire@hotmail.com or on our web site www.halfshire.com or by calling 298-3620

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