September 26, 2009

The annual meeting of the society was held on Saturday September 19, at the Richland headquarters. Trustees Rose Graham (Orwell); Mary Munz (Osceola-Florence); Mary Lou Guindon (Parish); and Charlene Cole (at-large Trustee) were all reelected to succeed themselves. In other business, President Doyle went over the progress in the SW classroom, and outlined some broad goals for the upcoming year. The assemblage wished Mary Munz a Happy 80th birthday, complete with a cake sent up by her daughter in law Amy. Cards were signed for many members who were sick or had lost loved ones. (Mary pictured right)

Former Vice President Keith Willis was in attendance, and told the membership about his recent activities with Albany’s Vale Cemetery. Other reports were given by Vice President Monette and Trustees Munz, Gardner, Kastler, Graham, Rombach and Secretary Widrig. A delicious meal was prepared by Trustee Erma Schroeder. The next meeting will coincide with Archives week activities across the county on Saturday October 24th. A lunch at noon will be both preceded and followed by research programs from 10-4 pm.
Also on September 19, the society attempted an exhibit on the Civil War at the Barclay Courthouse foyer. Member Richard Cooper staffed the exhibit for three hours and saw one person. This event was planned to be part of the Salmon River Fest in the park, which otherwise was a great success.
Back a couple weeks, the Redfield Old Home days were quite successful, and Half-Shire sold a few books and took in some membership. Thanks to Erma Schroeder for her good work at the booth both days.
Visitors to the society recently have included members of the Edger and Gurley families who left an extensive file for our records. These folks travelled here from Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Several other local visitors have come in during our museum days open.
On Sunday September 20, over 350 parishioners and guests filled the shrine of St. Mary of Mt. Carmel in Florence for a thanksgiving mass conducted by the honorable Bishop Emeritus Thomas Costello of Syracuse. Costello, a “son of Florence” had agreed to assist the community of faith in December 2006 when the former church was slated for demolition. Since that meeting less than two years ago, over $200,000 has been raised and the church is now restored and in excellent repair. The mass blended Catholic liturgy with several homilies on the historic church and its people. Following the service the graves were blessed by the bishop, (seen left) and doves released. A reception was then held at the Florence Hotel. Representatives of most all of the legendary Irish Catholic clans of Florence were in attendance, and this writer was one who enjoyed the day immensely.
Other Half-Shire members who were noticed in attendance and who had contributed to the restoration included John & Ann O’Mara, Thomas Clark, Bob & Susan (Archibee) Hemings, Leo Seaton and Sue Kidney, Stedman & Mary Lou Twiss, Mary Adams Lambie, Sylvia Yerdon Adams, Doreen Tilton, Barb Paufe, Dorothy Fey, Jack Plumley, Matthew Clark, Martin Clark, Michael Clark and Monica Clark—the last named siblings being central to the renovation efforts. It was a proud day for Florence and for those among us who appreciate history.
Half-Shire is open through the falls months Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays from 9-1 pm. Friday afternoons usually until 4 pm. We can be contacted at emailed at Our mailing address is P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144

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