The spring round of renovations are nearing completion. We will be awaiting some changes to the new ceiling fan lights, which though they look good, do not provide enough light. Other than these lights, all parts of this project have gone well. We are hoping to continue with restroom renovations later in the year.
Scanning began on Saturday April 1, on the New Haven Congregational Church records. These records go back to 1817 and document births, baptisms, marriages and deaths as part of a narrative kept by the early secretaries. This project began with Robert Ballou of New Jersey scanning for two days, and has continued with Cheryl House taking on much of the scanning. We anticipate this will be a lengthy process.
Workdays on April 15 and 16 saw much of the lawn raked, and more cleaning inside. By Wednesday April 19th most of the 1st floor was cleaned and opened to the public for Screen free week activities. Despite lower lighting, many area youth enjoyed a day of crafts and games, and good food. Thanks to Kathy Watson, Shelly Joss, Caroline Staintan and others for assisting Erma Schroeder in the day’s events.
The next regular meeting of the society will be held on Saturday April 29th. Following a noon lunch we will go over the bills for the late project and discuss the work plan on genealogy and research for the coming year. All are welcome. On Friday May 5, we are scheduled to lead a bus tour of the eastern towns for the 2017 Leadership Oswego County class. Following visits to the Alford Farm, the Kallet Theater, Pulaski’s historic district, Salmon River Falls and the Altmar Fish hatchery, the group will enjoy a late lunch at Half-Shire. Shawn Doyle will guide the tour with leadership Oswego County staff.
Half-shire can be reached at www.halfshire.com or on facebook at “Mary White” (we are having trouble with our account currently. We are located at 1100 County Rte 48, Richland, NY 13144
It is both exciting and daunting to think that in a week when this column is printed, our current round of renovations will be at an end, and the main hall should be all painted and cleaned. At this writing, the primer coat of paint is being applied, and a thick layer of dust and plaster covers the floors. We will be working through the Easter weekend with a large number of community service workers and volunteers to clean the first floor. Our contractors from Pinnacle builders will have painted on Saturday and Easter Monday things should be completed and ready for the electrician to finish the electrical installation. Two Heathway’s air purifiers will be running full time to clear the air of dust particles.
We plan to be ready for screen free day on Wednesday the 19th, and we expect to be ready on Thursday April 27th for a scheduled event.
This current round of work completely renovated our main hall, finished the former boiler room and saw the beginning of the restroom work that we expect to do later in the year. As soon as we hear on additional funding through grants and donations, we will resume work in making the two restrooms handicapped accessible, and in “swapping them out” so the women’s room will be in what is now the men’s room, a room that needs 100% renovations. We consulted with officials from ARISE on how best to make these changes, and will be following their plans. Additionally, we had ARISE do on assessment for an elevator to get to the second floor, and once their recommendations arrive we will send them to Crawford & Stearns to complete plans and look for prices which we will then solicit foundation support for.
On Wednesday April 12, we hosted Karen Goetz and Penny Halstead from the Shineman Foundation in Oswego. We laid out our accessibility goals to them, as well as showing the needs to access the second floor for all. We were very proud to show them the work that has been accomplished on our own so far, with over $12,000 in private contributions from four of our members. The accessibility phase of the next plan of work is a requirement for USDA whom we are still working with to finance a new room in the near future.
Meanwhile while all the dust and noise has kept the main floor out of use, we have been working steadily on projects from the second floor rooms. Erma Schroeder has been at the building most days working on the Pulaski Alumni Newsletter, as well as general copy work and straightening out of files. Stephanie Pierce, Keven Stewart, Fay Colvin, Charlotte Deagatano, Shawn Doyle, Greg Monette and a few community service workers from the school have also assisted in the past few weeks. The Allison Balcom memorial room has been the location of much of the activity.
Cheryl House from Hastings spent a day with us scanning 99 pages of deeds from her mother’s family farm that stretched back to 1797 and ownership by then New York Governor John Jay. Governor Jay was one of the early American patriot leaders, served as an ambassador in Europe, and later was the first chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. Jay’s holdings in Oswego County real estate were speculative, and he never lived here, however the records that we were able to gain copies of provide an interesting connection of the celebrated patriot to our region.
On Thursday April 27th, the society will host a private party to raise funds for the Pulaski Community Festivals. The Winter Fest, Salmon Fest and Old Home Days are all in need of monies to continue in 2017 and 18. Robin Phillips, Tiffany Craig, Elaine Smith, Shawn Doyle, Shelly Joss and others will be hosting this event at $25 a ticket to raise funds for the festivals. Tickets are available at Designs of Elegance, A Cut Above Salon, Salmon River Wine and Spirits or from any of the above organizers. We are excited to host this event to show off our renovations!
The next meeting of the society will be on Saturday April 29th. Lunch at noon followed by a short meeting. Our next big event will be the May 20th dinner dance featuring “Still Kickin”. This annual event is free and open to the public from 5pm- midnight. Earlier on May 20 we will hold our monthly meeting. On Sunday May 28th we will be hosting a bus tour of Redfield, Williamstown and Orwell led by President Shawn Doyle. Oswego Expeditions will be selling tickets for the day excursion that will include stops at Salmon River Falls, the Redfield Cemetery, Otto Mills, and Half-Shire where a full lunch will be served. Contact Jennifer Mays (561-0223) or Oswego County Tourism for more information and pricing.
Half-Shire continues to have some trouble with our Facebook account, which is listed now as Mary White. Our website is fully functional and greatly enhanced with Facebook links as well as inventories and indexes online from our collections. Www.halfshire.org. We still have Oswego County History books from $10.80 incl. tax, and $3 postage. These books will soon sell out. We are located at 1100 County Rte. 48 in Richland, NY 13144 (PO Box 73) Our number is 315.298-2986. Our summer hours have begun, and we are open from 10-2 most days Monday through Saturday, or by appointment.
The first meeting of the season was held on Saturday March 25th. We had about twenty members and society officials present to review the winter’s progress in reports, as well as to look to the year ahead. President Shawn Doyle went over the proposed 2017 capital projects proposed which were approved pending receipt of grants and private funding. The current project underway to restore the main hall with work to the electrical, the east wall and the complete replacement of the drop ceiling was explained. As of this writing the room is newly sheet rocked and taped, with sanding to be complete by April 14. Painting, and installation of the new wainscoting and trim work will complete this room. The north former boiler room is now completed with installation of a new stair and landing as well as a 72 box capacity elevated shelving system. The secondary panel box was upgraded, the furnaces rewired and inspected. They will be cleaned and serviced immediately after the painting to the hall is complete.
On April 6th two officials from ARISE did a formal inspection of the facility for ADA access compliance planning. It was recommended that we plan for an elevator, and the detailed drawings to complete the accessibility to the restrooms were presented. In a revision to our John Ben Snow grant application we merged the main hall, boiler room and restroom projects asking for a match to private contributions. The restroom renovations are crucial to the USDA funding request for assistance with the roof replacement we have been working towards. ARISE also identified our new front door handles are not correct, and new lever handers were immediately ordered with the locksmith. We have also rekeyed the building doors in compliance with our insurance recommendations and our own master plans which call for every five years.
This work has been made possible through several successful and pending grant applications, as well as the generous contributions of some of our key members. We expect to be back in shape and fully functioning by mid month, and will host screen free week activities on Wednesday April 19th, and a reception for the Pulaski Festivals committee on Thursday April 27. Our next meeting will be on Saturday April 29.
On Wednesday April 12th members of the Shineman Foundation will tour Half-Shire. This foundation was set up in Oswego three years ago and has been a major booster in community development and human needs in a four county area. We are working on a proposal to the Shineman foundation to assist with our next round of capital projects.
As part of our renovations to the main hall we have added an additional line for a TV for use with power point demonstrations. The upstairs TV will be relocated here, while a smaller unit will move to the SW classroom. With two TVS in our main hall a larger group will be able to enjoy PowerPoint presentations from different angles of the room.
We have had several of the Pulaski area Chauffer license photos identified and will continue to circulate the scrapbook All 290 images are on our web and facebook pages, and also printed out in an album at Half-Shire. The Pulaski Democrat 1970s negative imaging project is on hold for a few weeks. We have had our facebook page hacked, and later Facebook shut us down until we reopened under the name “Mary White” while we convert our page over to a different type. Kevin Stewart has been working on this, as well as the main website, which is really drawing much more traffic with the introduction of our obituary index.
Half-Shire volunteers have worked to assemble the 2017 Pulaski Alumni Newsletter, led by Erma Schroeder. We have been asked to work with Sandy Creek Alumni on their newsletter also which is going out at the same time. We are working with the Pulaski Class of 1967 on their 50 year yearbook, and plan to print that in late June. 2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year!
We still have a small number of Oswego County Bicentennial books for sale. $10.80 soft cover, $21.60 hard cover. Add $3.50 for shipping. It is expected these will all be gone in six months; there is no plan to reprint these. These are also available at Designs of Elegance and Walkers Cleaners in Pulaski. Dick Brennan’s autobiography is also still available, $16.20 with also $3.50 book rate shipping. All prices include sales tax.
Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, Richland NY 13144. Our building is at 1100 County Rte. 48, and out website is www.halfshire.org.
The winter work schedule at our Richland headquarters is in full swing, delayed for a time due to the excessive snow in January.
During the weekend of February 25-26 we were able to remove some sheet rock on our back wall that we have long desired to replace, adding some new electrical in the process.
We also worked that weekend to catch up on files and correspondence, as well as to sell many of the Richard Brennan autobiographies that we took on consignment.
As this goes to press, another work weekend March 4 and 5 continues the same degree of work with some additional preparation for the carpenter to begin work replacing sheet rock the following week.
Thanks to Debbie Butler for answering our call for information on the Greenfield family.
Debbie had several years back brought in a small file with names and dates, she has now added to this with some high-resolution scans of old photos of people and places tied with that family in the Orwell area.
We continue to update our database as the information comes in!
Another member, Debbie Pollic of Richland, brought in many items of interest that belonged to her mother in laws family the Mattisons of Albion and Richland.
Some great images of old logging operations in Redfield and clippings from Pulaski made this a nice donation we can use in research!
On February 27, Trustee Margret Kastler and I met with an area church council to discuss digitizing their records.
More on that as we hear.
The church we were at has detailed records that span 200 years.
Our IT specialist and deputy Richland historian Kevin Stewart has been working with Trustee Erma Schroeder and secretary Fay Colvin through the winter in indexing the George Widrig obituary collection, as well as more recent deaths.
Kevin also took the smaller birth and marriage collections and has compiled databases of each.
These tables, along with the obituaries are all available in index format at our website.
There are errors in exact dates for birth and marriages due to some occasions when the local newspaper announced a birth as “last week” or “recently.”
In his role as deputy town of Richland Historian, Kevin Stewart continues to lead the Pulaski Alumni biography project.
This project seeks to prepare biographical sketches of all Pulaski school graduates from 1854 forward.
Half-Shire Historical Society
March 3, 2017
The Society is saddened by the loss of two long-time members and solid supporters recently, Roy Weldon of Dugway and Richard Brennan of Boylston and Pulaski.
Roy Meacham Weldon was born in Howardville on November 7, 1921 the son of Rex and Jessie (Meacham) Weldon. Roy spent most of his 95 years in the same Howardville-Dugway community of his ancestors, and was literally the “Sage of South Albion”. Roy had a photographic memory and knew the bloodlines of all his neighbors and of particular interest “the back stories” also. Roy was an essential contact for anyone to meet when researching the region. His grandfather Martin Meacham had the distinction of being the last village Clerk of Sandy Bank (later rechristened Altmar) and many years ago Roy bequeathed the Sand Bank Village Board minute book to Half-Shire. Roy was a longtime member of the Maplelawn cemetery in Dugway, and was invaluable in assisting Jack Steinfeld in the definitive mapping of the graves several years ago. Roy and his wife Muriel had gone to Pennsylvania a few years back to live with their son and daughter in law, and last fall Murial passed away. They are now together again, and we will miss them here.
Richard Thomas Brennan was born October 20, 1934 in the East Boylston neighborhood known as “Catholic Church Corners” where Redfield’s County Rte. 17 meets County Rte 15. His father was John J. Brennan, a 2nd generation Irish American and his wife the former Elsie Ingersoll, who had left Pulaski to teach in Boylston. “Dick” recently penned his autobiography, and relates many colorful stories of childhood on Tug Hill. Brennan went on to college and a career with the New York State DOT. During his years with the transportation department Brennan became aware of an undeveloped section of eastern Lake Ontario leased by a Syracuse company. Brennan envisioned a waterfront development, and over several years with persistence was able to obtain title to lands that are now known as Brennan’s Beach. The Brennan family developed the Beach into the largest east coast RV resort of its kind.
Brennan had a keen interest and knowledge of history and in recent years has spent time during the summers culling the files at Half-Shire and adding to our databases and collection. We have been selling his autobiography this winter, and we very much looking forward to having him at a book signing this summer. Our sincere condolences go out to his family in this time of loss.
Recent work which we have featured on our facebook site includes the scanning of 260 negatives that we have long had in a small box. Initial identities of these images have indicated that were drivers license or Chauffer’s license photos from the 1930s and 40s. We have had several of the people in the images identified, and encourage our facebook friends to look at the site and offer help.
On the genealogy front, we have resumed work started last year on the Greenfield and West families of Orwell. Richard Greenfield came to Orwell in the Early 1800s from Saratoga County, New York. There are three West families connected with Orwell: The family of Revolutionary War Soldier Aaron West, Ira West and the West Monroe Wests that many of the Potters come down from. Anyone who would like to contribute and share data get in touch with us. We are looking to scan photos and bible records where they are available.
Ephraim Jerome Greenfield (1866-1942) was a grandson of Richard Greenfield and a great grandson of Ira West. Born in Orwell, Ephraim was married first to Edith Crouse who died very young, and secondly to Grace Barnes of Ricard. Ephraim and Grace lived in Ricard, Albion, Richland hamlet and finally most of their married life on Maple Avenue in Pulaski in a house still occupied by their granddaughter Rosalie Walter Zufelt. Grace had eight children, five of whom lived to adulthood. Besides their large family, the Greenfields were always open to taking in relations, and the old house on Maple Ave. has been home to scores of nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren and great grandchildren over the years. Grace’s mother Fannie Allen Barnes, and Ephraim’s grandfather David West also lived with the family in their declining years, From David West down through the Zufelt, Pflueger and Seyer G-G-grandchildren that makes six generations spanning over one hundred years that have lived for a time in Rosie’s home.
Every older home in our region has a story, it is fascinating to be able to trace out one hundred years of residency and learn the stories. Pulaski historical Society has been collecting house histories for many years, and encourage donations of stories such as this.
Half-Shire Historical Society can be reached at P.O. Box 73, Richland 13144, or online at www.halfshire.com. Our facebook is “Half Shire” We are open by appointment until April 1, as we are conserving heat and doing some winter renovations.