December 4, 2009

The last meeting of the year will be followed by an exciting musical program held at the H. Douglas Barclay Court House in Pulaski on Saturday December 5, beginning with a light lunch at noon. At 1 pm Kelsey Munz of Osceola will perform Christmas selections on her concert harp. This is a “must not miss event” from 1-3pm as the acoustics in the nearly 200 year old Court room are fantastic for the harp. The event is free, and there will be cookies and refreshments provided. For more information contact Shawn Doyle at 298-3620.

During the Thanksgiving holidays the scores of people who helped us this year came to mind. Half-Shire was very fortunate in these tough economic times to continue our building repair program, offer monthly lunches and occasional programs, and continue our Revolutionary War grave marking endeavors. All of our work could not have been accomplished if it were not for the generous contributions of over 300 dedicated members and several local industries such as Entergy Corporation and Healthways.

During the year volunteers such as Erma Schroeder, Rose Graham, Rita and Phil Rombach, Kay Ann Colvin and Richard Cooper have spent a great deal of time at the building assisting with various projects. Members of the Pulaski history Club such as Adam Wickert, Kenny & Kari Bacon, Jon Thousand, Dan Bellinger and their advisor John Gosek have begun a new cemetery documentation project, picking up where Leah Munz left off the year before on the east end. Jodi Wickert, Carol Thompson and Keith Munz donated three gorgeous hand-made afghans that in toll netted us nearly $1,700.00 during two very successful raffles.

As we look forward to 2010 with George Widrig continuing on as our Experience Works employee four days a week, we will again offer hours first at the Pulaski Court House Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Fridays From 9-12, then at Richland the same days beginning in April. Our new Snow scholars Christi Savastano and Colin Wansink will undoubtedly add much to our collections with their two projects that will span the winter. All in all it is an exciting time to be working in the historical field in our region!

We are hoping to re-launch the Tug Hill literary Review in 2010, with George Widrig and Richard Cooper’s valuable research we have uncovered some good poetry and prose from the past 150 years that we would like to share. This writer has been working on compiling a couple of historical ballads based on material from our files. In one such work the Florence town “character” Edwin “Ned” Roach has been spotlighted. Some good data on Roach’s colorful life has been located, detailing his six marriages, his business activities and support of St. Mary’s Church. However, we are still in search of a photo of this colorful Irish Immigrant who dominated Florence town democratic politics during the late 1800s before his death in 1889. Any information that can be shared is most appreciated.

Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, Richland, NY 13144 or on the net at or halfshire

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October 30, 2009

October 30, 2009

Our October 24th meeting which coincided with archives day went quite well at our Richland facility. We had 30 for a sit down lunch at noon, and another 10 or so folks came in and out through the afternoon. At 1 pm we held a brief meeting of the society, our last at Richland for the season. Our next meeting will be held at the H. Douglas Barclay Court House in Pulaski on Saturday November 21. We are trying to also reschedule our annual holiday musical concert for that afternoon, and will let everyone know in this space as time gets closer.

Also during the 24th four students from the Pulaski School History Club (SHIP) worked at photographing stones in Richland cemetery around the corner from our facility. The students have taken on a project to photograph all of the existing stones for our records. A good two hours work was undertaken before they were driven out by the rain. Our thanks go out to history club members: Ken and Cary, Dan, John. Back at the facility, Ian Lowery, another student worker assisted in insulating an interior wall on the second floor.

Our dinner was donated by Barbara Brown of Palermo, and consisted of three choice hams, scalloped potatoes and salads. Roberta Cleveland also brought one of her famed tossed salads that this writer is particularly partial to.

Tours of the nearly completed 2nd floor room were ongoing through the day. We need to install a drop ceiling before the room is put into use. Right now our insulation and the beams are exposed. The work has come along very well though, and we are grateful to the contractors as well as our volunteers and donors.

Effective Monday October 26, our librarian George Widrig will be working from the Barclay Court House Historians office off the elevator over DMV. George will be there Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 9-noon. On Fridays this writer will generally be there from 2 until 5 pm. We have moved our family files to this location for the winter, and many other research items are available for perusal, including access to our and accounts.

We have had a couple of new life members: Bob & June Walker of Chaumont, NY and Edwin Fisher of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Mr. Fisher has also made several archival donations in the past year. He is researching the Gurley, Laney, Hazzard and Edgar families of Central Oswego County. Life memberships are available for $250.00 while our regular membership is $12 annually or $25 per household.

Half-Shire can be reached at or on the web at Our mailing address is P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144. 298-3620 for hours or inquiries.

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October 16, 2009

On Saturday October 24, the society will open its doors from 10am until 4 pm for a full day of research. At noon the society will serve a roast ham lunch just prior to our regular monthly meeting. The meeting and lunch are open to the public. There are many new research volumes on the shelves, and even those familiar with our collections will be surprised.

As the season goes forward we still continue to welcome researchers from near and far. Over the weekend of October 11, we had a research her in from Utah looking for information on Blakeslee and Kitts ancestors who lived along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario as well as the foothills of Tug hill.

Also on the 4th and the 11th Ian Lowery assisted us in some winter storage work. We began at the Heritage Hall on the fairgrounds, and put away the last of the remaining exhibits from the 2009 fair. Some items were then transported to Half-Shire for storage.

On October 2, the Agricultural Society of Oswego County held their annual meeting and dinner. Officers were elected for the upcoming year which include: President, Carol Sweeney; Sr. Vice President, Fred Potter; Three Jr. Vice Presidents: George Commins, Shirley Rice and Robin Seaman.; Treasurer Kathy McPhearson and Secretary Anne Gibbs. One third of the jurisdictional directors were also up for election, new among the list are Margaret Sullivan for Fulton; Kathy Mulcahey for Minetto and Betty Atkinson for Sandy Creek. The 2010 County fair will be held the first week of July at Sandy Creek.

Fall cleaning has begun at the Court House office of the Richland Historian in anticipation of relocating Half-Shire’s research center for the winter months of December-March. We’ve added a new set of shelves to try to alleviate some of the congestion. More information as the move gets closer.

Two seniors from Pulaski Schools have been meeting and communicating with us on their proposed projects for the school year. Colin Wansink will be starting a digitalization project that will focus on photographs from the Pulaski Masonic Lodge collection. Colin prepared his proposal and looked over the work area last week, and hopes to begin soon. Another student is looking to work on re-mapping of area cemeteries. More on that project as we get closer.

Half-Shire can be reached at or Our mailing address is P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte 48, Richland, NY 13144

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October 2, 2009

With the first week of autumn now past us, we still continue to see several researchers dropping in at Half-Shire. George Widrig is available to work with people during his regular hours at the facility each Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am until 1 pm. Erma Schroeder follows George on Fridays keeping the doors open until 4 pm. For out of town researchers we can also open up by appointment most anytime.

George has been adding many new volumes of “topic binders” on the research shelf. One particularly interesting set is a three volume folio set on the Salmon River “from the source to the mouth” which is loaded with images, articles and even some poetry. A companion book on the 1983 Tube races is also available for review, with many familiar faces evident, including this writer as a 17 year old participant.

On September 26th several Half-Shire members spent time at the Silver Mine in Sandy Creek to take part in a Cancer society benefit organized by Trustee Glenna Gorski of Williamstown. Gorski has been undergoing treatments for several months now, and wanted to do something to advance the research into cancer cures. All proceeds raised were sent to the Cancer society. Williamstown Supervisor “Chip” Hamlin was also present to support his town historian.

Later in the day, Shawn Doyle, Roberta Cleveland and Anne LaDuke were among those who attended the 50th wedding anniversary of Warren and Florence (Pizon) Gardner held at the Sandy Pond Sportsmen’s club. Florence, our trustee from Albion was very surprised, and both were pleased to have all four of their daughters in attendance.

Work on the southwest classroom seems to be progressing well, the closet doors are all now attached and the primer coat of paint applied. We are going to be at a standstill on the drop ceiling until we raise a little more money, but none the less are quite pleased with the progress so far.

The Oswego County history consortium has set Saturday October 24th as a county-wide day of open houses for all historical and Cultural locations. Half-Shire will be open 10-4pm and offer chili and free coffee and cider to mark the day, along with full access to our research materials. More information will follow in future columns.

Half-Shire can be contacted at or 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144. 298-3620

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We have a winner!!

The drawing for the beautiful American Flag afghan was conducted, and Phyllis McNitt of Boylston was the winner. Trustee Margaret Kastler later delivered the afghan. Thanks go out again to jodi Wickert for making the amazing coverlet that was a profitable fundraiser for us.
Kelsey Munz drew the winning ticket for us.

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