Correction to january 13, Column

Note:
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.

Sincerely,

Shawn Doyle
Half-Shire Historical Society President

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