Half-Shire Historical Society
October 5, 2007

The Society will hold a research open house on Saturday afternoon October 6 from noon until 4 pm at our Richland headquarters. The public is encouraged and welcome to attend. Our next scheduled meeting is Saturday October 20 at noon.
Work continues on our current round of building renovations headed up by Sancona Lumber Company of Sandy Creek. Our ladies restroom is currently undergoing a complete overhaul. This work is expected to be completed mid-month and is reimbursable through a grant obtained by Assemblyman Barclay in 2005. Also included in this work was a complete overhaul of the front roof and work to the main roof.
Research into the Revolutionary War veterans who settled our region continues on several fronts. In Boylston, our trustee Rita Rombach is seeking information on the family of Amos Ormsby. Ormsby was born November 5, 1749 the son of Samuel and Diana (Fisher) Ormsby in Windham, Connecticut. He was married May 25, 1775 in Canaan, Connecticut to the former Lucy Franklin. Ormsby served as a private in the Connecticut line through the war.
A few years after the war was over, Ormsby, his wife and son Almon moved to Montgomery County, New York where they lived several years. Lucy Ormsby died in Little Falls, New York on October 31, 1826 and was buried there. Amos and son Almon later moved to Boylston Township where some other relations had earlier located.
Amos Ormsby died there on July 9, 1845 according to his pension records. His grave has not been located as of this writing, and information is sought by Rita and Half-Shire.
In Richland Township, Shawn Doyle and George Widrig have been working hard on the families of the 35 known veterans who lived or died in that jurisdiction. Last month we reported the discovery that Jedediah Durfey who is buried in Ferguson Cemetery on the Schoeller Paper Company property east of Richland had served in the Revolutionary War. Intensive research on Durfey in Vermont, New York and southern Ontario Province has yielded an amazing amount of information on the man. Uncovered documentation has proven that Durfey first enlisted in the Connecticut Militia following the Lexington alarm in 1775. He worked his way up to the rank of Sergeant before he moved to Vermont in 1778, where he continued to serve conspicuously throughout the war until 1782.
One of the most interesting discoveries on Jedediah Durfey was found recently among the 52-page pension record of Sandy Creek settler Stephen Lindsey, who served under Durfey in Connecticut from 1777-78. In August 1828 Durfey swore out an affidavit in the Pulaski Court House attesting to Lindsey’s service, aiding him in his pension application. This occurred only three weeks before Durfey’s death. The Lindsey pension record, along with statements found in a Mr. Richardson’s pension from Ellisburg, proved to us that Sergeant Jedediah Durfey of Cornwell, Vermont was the same man buried in Ferguson Cemetery.
Further work among the papers of the Bennington Library in Vermont has also brought forth the information hat Jedediah Durfey was one of the founders of Lincoln, Vermont and served as a state representative for that district in 1801. Durfey was succeeded by his brother Ebenezer who served 13 terms in the position. Durfey left Vermont to settle the Canadian wilderness near North Crosby, Leeds County Ontario about 1807. He later returned to the United States living in Ellisburg and Richland before his death. Information about the thirteen children born to Jedediah Durfey and his two wives add more color to the biography, one son, Royal Durfey, followed Joseph Smith and Brigham Young west with the Mormon movement.
What is amazing to us is that this fascinating life history has been unknown to us for all these years. Contacts made among Durfey descendants and Vermont researchers are also pleased to finally know where this missing ancestor and Vermont Republic patriot is buried.
Half-Shire Historical Society is located at 1100 County Rte. 48 in Richland. We can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 73, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com. We have a blog also at halfshire.blogspot.com/

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Half-Shire Historical Society
August 10, 2007

The summer reunion season is in full swing in the North Country. We note in every week’s paper at least one mention of a gathering big or small. The tradition of family reunions seems to be an essentially American one, and since the nineteenth century reunions have been more commonplace.
On Saturday August 4, the Descendants of Marvin and Beulah (Munger) Randall gathered in Greenboro at the 204 year old Randall farm to celebrate the 90th birthday of family patriarch Vernon Valoris Randall. “Uncle Bill” was actually born March 24, 1917, but the celebration was postponed in deference to his wish to have all his family around him for a hot dog roast “under the old maple tree” at the farm. Bill’s wish was granted when the entire family came together. They included: his wife Marie, two daughters and sons-in-law, Richard and Lowana Davenport of Brooktondale and Dale & Judith Huyck of Saranac Lake; grandson Russ & Traci Huck and their son Deryck; grandson Brian and Terri Huyck and their sons Matthew and Steven; granddaughter Chris Day and sons Randall & Steven; granddaughter Cathy Caveney and her girls Carley & Morgan. A friend stopped by and took a family photo of the occasion which will be surely cherished by generations.
Bill’s Great-grandchildren are the eighth generation of the Randall family to wander the fields and woodlands
On Saturday August 11, three notable gatherings will take place: In Mexico the 80th annual reunion of the descendants of Rolan Edgar Dennis & Addie (Rogers) Fox will be held at the community park just east of town. This reunion encompasses hundreds of people scattered across the world that descend from an early Redfield family. Our friend Sarah Darling Rector keeps track of the growing family tree, and will surely be there to enumerate and sort the attendees. Meanwhile, in Pulaski many members of the Alonzo & Grace (Colven) Flagg family will be in attendance at the Pulaski Public Library to fete the family matriarch, Pearl Flagg Bontomaise on the occasion of her first book signing. For many years Pearl has written poetry, and finally at the insistence of her family (particularly granddaughter Angela) Pearl is able to present her poetry to the public. Half-Shire will have copies of Pearls book for sale among our books, but first editions will only be available on the 11th at the Library.
Also on August 11, Half-Shire will host graduates and attendees of Redfield Schools for the 22nd annual school picnic. The reunion was moved from Redfield this year due to the closure of the Century House and also to allow attendees to look through Redfield photos and scrapbooks at our facility. George Widrig, Erma Schroeder and Shawn Doyle will be heading up the kitchen staff for an old fashioned chicken and biscuit dinner. Anyone who ever went to school in Redfield is welcome to attend!
On Saturday September 1, the Ballou and McCaw families of Redfield will be gathering for their annual reunion during old home days.
Any other upcoming reunions we will gladly publicize. We also may be able to help organizers add a little bit of history to the event. Half-Shire now has hundreds of family files, and many are computerized for ease of printing. Major north country families such as the Yerdons, Casters, Joyners, Randalls, Howards, Buells, Ballous, McCaws, and countless others are all kept updated as we take in information. Contact us for your specific request for information! On Tuesday July 31, former Volney Historian George Wise paid a visit to us for a day of cemetery inspection and research. In an upcoming column we will go over our joint findings from that day that will add a new chapter to Pulaski’s George Washington/Henry Lyman story. New evidence of the abolitionist movement in our region has been found by George, and in our travels we linked other clues to flesh out the story.
Work continues on the Richland Revolutionary War Veteran book due out this fall. New material has been obtained on the David Soule and Abraham Bull lines. Significant work has also been done on the Doane families. Thanks to Alice Campbell Gasperini for the loan of some DAR papers that have assisted us in sorting out the Doane families. One interesting facet of this project is that each of the 25 veterans we have identified can be linked with at least one of the other veterans either by service or family record. It truly is a small world.
Half-Shire Historical Society is open every Friday from 12 -4 p.m. or by appointment. We can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com our columns are also posted on our blog at: halfshire.blogspot.com/

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August 3, 2007

Half-Shire Historical Society
August 3, 2007

On Saturday July 28, Half-Shire held the annual July picnic meeting. Twenty-five members attended and enjoyed a picnic lunch and dessert. Thanks go to Erma Schroeder of Richland and Greg Monett of Oswego for their key assistance in getting the meal out on time. Trustees Rita Rombach, Mary Munz and Margaret Kastler were also key components of the kitchen team.
Following lunch a brief meeting was held. Reports were given on the Society’s finances, building work, publications and other items of interest. Grant monies received from Entergy Corporation and The Pulaski Community Fund has greatly enhanced our ability to work on building repairs as well as our continued photo digitalization. Paid memberships have now surpassed 200, and this milestone is of great importance not only to our finances but our outreach and presence in the region and state. The meeting was adjourned before 2 p.m. with the next meeting planned for Saturday August 25 at the Richland facility. Lunch will be served at noon, followed by another quick meeting and program.
During this last meeting Leah Munz worked on scanning and storing images for our collection from Osceola. Leah will be working with her grandmother for the remainder of the summer on the Osceola Cemetery photo project that they began last summer, a copy of which is held at Half-Shire
We received a phone call last week from Ed & Rhea (Noble) Roche of Wooster, Ohio. The Roche’s called to order copies of the photo of 1957 Oswego County Fair officers that ran in our last newsletter. Rhea was friends throughout her youth with the late Paul Woodard’s daughters, and wanted to get them copies. Paul was the President of the Fair Association for the centennial fair. Congratulations also go out to the Roche’s on the milestone of their 60th wedding anniversary, which was marked on Sunday July 22, in Pulaski by a renewal of their vows at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church where they were first married in 1947.
In other member news, Esther Rancier of Carson City California has been assisting us with research on various families for several years. Esther has recently taken up the task of editing our veterans list by cross referencing the names we have with her extensive files. Esther has sent us data on one of her Revolutionary War ancestors, David Soule, who lived and died in the town of Richland. Esther continues to gather proof of David’s service in the Rhode Island Militia, and with what she has sent we are confident enough to count David as number 35 in our biographies of Veterans from The Revolution who will be featured in our new book due out by years end.
On Saturday August 11, Half-Shire will host the 24th annual lunch for Alumni of Redfield School. This group was started by Meda (Perry) Yerdon and Florence (Adsit) McCaw in 1983, and each year former graduates and students who attended any of the rural schools of the Town of Redfield have gathered for an afternoon of reminiscing. A Chicken and Biscuit lunch will be served at noon, and the remainder of the afternoon will be devoted to catching up. Half-Shire is a perfect backdrop for an affair such as this, with the wealth of research materials and photos on display and file in the hall. Anyone who attended Redfield Schools is invited to attend, contact Shawn Doyle at 298-3620 or SPDinPUL@hotmail.com to reserve a spot for lunch. A $5 donation is asked for lunch.
Half-Shire is open to the public each Friday from noon-4 p.m. or by appointment. We can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at Halfshire@hotmail.com

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Half-Shire Historical Society
July 13, 2007

The numbers are in for the 2007 Oswego County Fair, and over 30,900 people came through the gates.
We do not have numbers for 2006, but in 2005 there were only 15,000 attendees. So it is very apparent we are getting more visitors, and often repeat fairgoers. The ribbon cutting on the new Cattle barn took place beneath a cloudless sky on Friday June 30. Senator James Wright, the honoree, was flanked by fair officials and members of town and county government as he cut the ribbon. Half of the ribbon is preserved in Fair records at Half-Shire, the other half was given to Charlene Cole for the Sandy Creek Historians’ collection.
The Heritage building was as usual one of the busiest on the grounds. We had many people come from a distance to do research and meet with other researchers. One lady, Marian Steward from Georgia spent a considerable amount of time in the building meeting with people she has written back and forth with for a long time. Marian is researching several different families, including the Ackleys of eastern Oswego County.
The Half-Shire newsletter went out late, after the fair as we were unable to print our mailing labels do to a computer glitch. The next newsletter will be coming out in August, to “catch up”.
Thanks go out to several people for work on display panels that commemorated the Fair’s 15oth year and were scattered around the grounds: George Widrig, Charlotte DeGaetano, Julie Lattimer, Mary Hicks, Glen Hall and others from the local scrap booking club. Thanks go out to Dee Dee Barclay for donating many older fair related photos that we utilized in the barns.
The Central New York Genealogical Society provided much needed assistance with our sales table this year. CNYGS officers were a great addition to our building and we are gratified by their joining our building.
Winners of the highly competitive room display competition were: 1st place, Mexico Historical Society witrh “The Wedding”; 2nd place, New Haven Historical with a display on the Hamlet of Dempster in its railroad hay-day. Third place went to Pulaski Historical with their restaurant display. Special notice and appreciation goes out to West Monroe Historical for their kitchen and Amboy Historical for their “attic” both groups which are normally in the placing did not have their forms filled out and in to the office before the fair.
Special thanks go out to Trustee Mary Lou Guindon of Parish for her three batches of cookies and her time spent volunteering at the Fair during crucial times. Also to be lauded was Osceola historian Mary Munz and her granddaughter Leah Munz. Mary did a lot of work on filling scrapbooks, while Leah spent three days scanning photos into our database. Leah’s work was crucial as we have fallen behind since our snow scholars graduated from the program.
On Friday July 6, we completed the take-down and cleanup of the building. We also began our new Friday hours at Half-Shire. Phil & Rita Rombach and Polly Carner joined Shawn Doyle in re-shelving items and greeting researchers (2). We will continue these 12-4 p.m. hours through the summer and autumn months.
The Town of Richland has assumed maintenance responsibilities for Ferguson –Blue Spring Cemetery on Stowell Drive east of Richland Hamlet. John Fox’s crew trimmed the three trees on the grounds and did a great job with the edging. The Town of Richland sees to the mowing of Brown’s Landing Cemetery on Rte. 5, McClelland on Tinker’s Tavern Rd., and Riverside on State Rte. 13 in Pulaski. Thanks go out to Richland Supervisor James Atkinson and Highway Superintendent John Fox for helping to keep these hallowed grounds trim.
We are not sure what happened to our last column, but the most important item that needs to be conveyed is a sincere and grateful thank you to Phil & Rita Rombach for purchasing a new sign for our headquarters lawn. The Rombachs are tremendous supporters of our continuing efforts to renovate our building. Phil chairs our building committee and has recently overseen the successful roof replacement of our back entry.
Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. Box 73, Richland, NY 13144; halfshire@hotmail.com or our blog at halfshire.blogspot.com call 298-3620 for more information on hours, or for an appointment.

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June 22, 2007 Column

Half-Shire Historical Society (June 22, 2007)
It’s now down to “crunch time” at the Oswego County Fairgrounds in Sandy Creek. Every building Superintendent is working extra time to get things ready and in order before opening day Friday June 29. The last item of work (also the most important) is the preparation of the race track. As of this writing that too is coming along as planned, and the grading and rolling should take place by the last weekend of June. In the Heritage building, progress has been slow but steady as historians have been bringing up their items to display. This year we are going to have a full building, and have had to cut back on some of our “sitting room area” we are hoping that with placement of several more round tables in each exhibit area people will still find lots of comfort to sit and talk with historians and friends.
On Friday June 29 the new cattle barn will be formally opened. The Association has voted to dedicate this new structure to Senator James Wright for his continued and sustained support of the Fair Association through the years. At 2 p.m. on the 29th the Senator will be on the Fairgrounds for the ribbon cutting that will take place at 2 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and thank Jim for his great support over the years. The last cattle barn was constructed in 1959 under the direction of the local 4-H clubs and the Future Farmers of America. George and Sybil Cummins provided us with a 4-page brochure given out on the opening day. We expect to have a new brochure out for this barn also. The accompanying photo is from the construction week, and shows several of the workers. We sure would like to know who is in this photo! A special display panel on the 1959 barn construction will be on display at the fair, come and see if you can guess who is in the photos!
To mark the 150th fair the sesquicentennial committee has gathered photos from the past and will have free standing exhibits in each building. For the new several of these photo exhibits we are indebted to Doug and Dee Dee Barclay of Pulaski who donated photos of animals and flowers shown at the fair in years past. For the Cattle barn, two large panels detailing the pedigree of two specific cows have been completely re-matted by Charlotte DeGeatano and her scrapbook club. Glenn Hall re-framed these large displays, and they will be on display in the new cattle barn. The scrap booking club also has done two floral panels showing some orchids and Iris shown by the late Dorothy Barclay in the 1930s. The Barclays also donated three very nice silver trophies that will be on display in the Heritage building.
Our tri-fold fliers were a little late in arriving this year, so on June 19, we hurriedly assembled a Fair newsletter that had been held up waiting for the material. Thanks go out to Julia Marie Lambie, Milferd and Pat Potter And their two Florida houseguests for coming up to Half-Shire to assemble the Fair newsletter with Shawn Doyle. It is great to have a “mail girl” helping with such work, and Pat Potter is great at these tasks.
On June 22 and 23 the Sandy Creek Class of 1957 will be meeting at Half-Shire for a class reunion lunch and mixer. Milferd Potter has charge of the affair, and he had worked hard on a commemorative book on the class. Thanks go out to Erin Bacon for her assistance to Milferd.

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