Half-Shire Historical Society
March 6, 2009

Our Treasurer Mary Yerdon recently found an interesting photo of a group of people taken in a hall somewhere around here. Her father, Roland Balcom is third person from the left in the middle row. Eleanor Walklett is also in the same row further down. Anyone that can identify others in the photo and tell what the occasion was, please drop us a note or email. The photo is on the clerks counter at the Richland Town Office during normal hours.

We were saddened on Saturday February 21st to learn of a tragic car crash in Wyoming County that took the life of David Colvin, age 31, who was son of one of our volunteers Fay Ann (Yerdon) Colvin. Like his Mom, David had a keen interest in history and was an earlier correspondent of this writer as he researched his Colvin and Yerdon roots. Many attended the services at Hax’s in Pulaski on Friday the 27th, including scores of coworkers from Fisher Price in Aurora, NY who came up on a chartered bus. This meant an awful lot to the family, particularly as each one told Fay Ann a story about David as they came through the line. The family has directed contributions to Half-Shire, and a suitable memorial use for them will be decided at the April meeting.

A caution to everyone who saves things to their computer exclusively—don’t! This past few weeks Half-Shire’s back up external drive has ceased working, and with it are 1,000s of our scanned digital images, the fruit of a like amount of hours labor. Most of these photos have been printed, however the last month’s work was all lost. Also on this hard drive were many of our templates and original documents. We are in hopes that someone can rescue these items, meanwhile we’re printing out everything the old fashioned way just in case!

The external drive crash was the last, best excuse this writer had for the late 2009 calendar. Four of our images were on the drive, and two borrowed from the owner while another two had to be located and rescanned. As we write the calendar is being assembled, and will now sell for $5 or $9 by mail. All existing mail orders will get a $2 rebate.

The Richland Revolutionary War book had gone on to “final edits” when two more soldiers popped up on a google search. Timothy Vorce died according to the Vorce Genealogy in August 1830 while threshing a field on his property on the south bank of the Salmon River. According to the Vorce book and subsequent research he served in the New York Line from Duchess County under the name “Timothy Force”. Vorce’s sons William and Samuel each married daughters of Col. Rufus Price.

A neighbor of the Vorce family in Port Ontario was Jacob Ellis, who served in the Massachusetts Militia. Ellis later moved to Vermont, and thence on to Richland Twp. about 1808. He appears in the censuses for 1810, 1814 and 1820 in Richland next door to his son Jacob Jr. (Jacob Ellis Jr’s father in law Thomas Burch is another Revolutionary War vet who we found lived in Williamstown and Florence townships, before moving west to Ripley, NY) The senior Ellis later moved before the 1830 census to Vernon, New York near to his brother Asa. It was here he purportedly died, but we have found no grave record for him yet.

Jacob Ellis the veteran was born in Walpole Massachusetts in September 1758 and died in 1843. He was married twice, the first wife’s name we have not discovered, but the second wife was Latitia Halstead, whom Ellis married in Manlius in March 1799. We are thinking that Latitia may have been related to the wife of Joel Harmon III, who also came to Richland from Vermont. These Ellis family members are not closely related to Caleb and Lyman Ellis, whom Ellisburg is named for.

On Wednesday March 25, Shawn Doyle will address the Pulaski historical Society on the topic of the Bragdon family and thee founding of Bethel Community Church. Half-Shire will re-open in April.
Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. Box 73, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at halfshire@hotmail.com www.halfshire.com

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