March 13, 2009

In last weeks column we made mention of our computer troubles. On Saturday we received a call from Jonathan Goodsell of Rainbow Shores Rd. who offered to take a look at the computer and the non-working external drive. On Sunday Jonathan came down to the Court House and worked through the afternoon (one problem led to another) by 3 pm we were back in business, and all our files we thought were lost have been recovered and are accessible again! Our sincere thanks go out to Jonathan, who can be reached at He comes highly recommended by us!

On Friday night Marie Lambie and I went to Camden to pay our respects to the family of Amy Darling Joyner of Williamstown. Amy was a founding member of Half-Shire, and served in various offices over the course of thirty years. Amy was a native of Redfield, and at one time was quite a basketball player for the old Redfield Union team (my grandmother Jane Ballou Seeley also was on the team). Our condolences go out to the family, and to the community of Williamstown who mourn her loss.

Also over the past weekend we had a close call at Half-Shire’s Richland headquarters. Snow from the last storms had piled up around the roof drains and formed ice, blocking the drains during our warmer weather. A large amount of water built up on the roof and the pressure separated a portion of the north drain from its expansion coupling. The result was that some water entered the Lion’s Club room, and wet the floor pretty good. I happened to check the building that day, and unable to break up the ice by the drain, called Phil Rombach who got Sancona’s roof specialist George Ballou up there on Monday. We’re pleased to report that the drain is fixed and the water that did enter the north end has proved more of a clean-up nuisance than a damaging one.

We neglected to mention last week that the annual research day at Springbrook apartments in Pulaski went well on Thursday February 19. Our thanks go out to Betty Griffith, Glenna Gorski and Florence Gardner for bringing treats; and to Eleanor Trendell of Pulaski Historical in joining Ann LaDuke, Roberta Cleveland, Erma Schroeder and myself in working with the residents. This year marks the 14th year we have conducted this research day there.

We are pleased with the number of renewing memberships received. Also, a large number of subscribers entered our afghan raffle. The drawing will be done on March 17, and winners will be offered their choice of two fine afghans handcrafted by two of our members Keith Munz and Carol Thompson. On the heels of that drawing we will begin another raffle for an amazing American flag-crocheted afghan recently donated by Richland Town Supervisor’s clerk Jodi Wickert. We have not set a drawing date for this amazing piece, but will print tickets for sale at the county fair and the weekly farmer’s market in Pulaski.

Research is underway for eventual books on the Revolutionary War veterans who lived and died in Florence and Redfield townships. While working on the Richland book these past two years we have kept an eye out for veterans in the other Half-Shire towns. We now have discovered 12 men from Florence who positively served in the revolution and another 12-plus for Redfield. In the coming weeks we will mention many of these men as we begin to flesh out their families.

Benoni Fleming from Florence has been one of the more interesting and better documented men we have looked into so far. His pension papers number over 60, primarily due to his widow’s lengthy battle to secure a widows pension after his death in 1838. Born in Cornwell, Connecticut in 1764, Fleming enlisted in the Militia there in 1781, serving variously along the Hudson River in New York during that year through 1783. He married his wife the former Laticia Squires in Cornwell, and by the early 1810s was living in Florence where they raised many of their 13 children. Fleming died in Lysander while visiting a son; his wife came back to Florence until 1840 when she moved to Onondaga County. No grave has been located in either Florence or Onondaga County for the couple yet. William Empey is one of the Florence neighbors who attested to Flemings character in his 1832 pension application. (Empey was son of another vet, Anthony Empey whose family graveyard was featured in one of our past newsletters, following clean-up and survey by Leo Seaton.)

Half-Shire can be contacted at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at Our Friday hours will continue at the Barclay Court House until at least mid-April noon-4pm. There are times we may be away “making a house call” but we leave a note on the door. Call ahead at 298-3620 to be sure to catch one of us.

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