Half-Shire Historical Society
August 29, 2008
On Thursday August 14, the Oswego County Legislature held its August session in the historic H. Douglas Barclay Court House in Pulaski. Meetings of the Board of Supervisors and later County Legislature have been held periodically in the Court House for nearly 190 years. The historic Court House was built in 1819 by James Weed, and named in honor of Weed’s lineal nephew, former State Senator and recently Ambassador H. Douglas Barclay of Pulaski in 1985. Before the meeting began on the 14th, Legislative Chairman Barry Leemann had a 2-page proclamation read in honor of Ambassador Barclay, citing his lifetime of achievements and officially welcoming him home.
Following the session several people questioned this writer on who the Judge was in the portrait above the bench. Surely the late Richland Historian Mary Parker and many other older residents remembered, but it took this writer several days to solve the mystery of the “forgotten Judge” who was presumed to be either former Judge Irving Hubbs or Judge Clayton Miller.
Village Historian Mary Lou Morrow unearthed several pictures and articles that upon review convinced this writer that the portrait was of former State Appellate Justice Irving George Hubbs. Further research into Justice Hubbs brought forth many details of a fascinating life and a distinguished legal career. Born in Sandy Creek on November 18, 1870 the son of George & Catherine (Snyder) Hubbs, young Irving later moved with his parents to Pulaski where the senior Hubbs operated the Salmon River House on North Jefferson Street, which was located where the current one-story Hilton block is next to Community Bank.
At the age of 18, Hubbs chose to follow a different career, and over his fathers objections entered college. He went on to graduate from Cornell University and at the age of 21 passed the New York State bar. Hubbs was a natural legal mind, and also an able politician. In 1893 he was elected a special County Judge at the age of 23. He served until 1898 in this capacity, returning to the practice of law later on. In 1912 Hubbs ran for New York State Supreme Court in one of Oswego County’s most memorable elections. That election pitted young Hubbs against an incumbent Judge backed by Congressman Mott who at the time was very powerful in state political circles.
Through skilled campaigning Hubbs won over a majority of the delegates, and at the judicial; convention held in Pulaski came out the clear winner on the second ballot. Hubbs served as a Supreme Court Justice until 1928 when he resigned to run for a position on the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Hubbs garnered that position and held it until his resignation in 1939.
Following his retirement Hubbs was welcomed back to Pulaski officially at a gala dinner held in the cafeteria of the new school building, now known as the Lura Sharp Elementary School. Hubbs continued to practice law in Pulaski in association with his good friend, Judge Clayton Miller, until his death on July 22, 1952. Several articles in regional papers at the time honored Hubbs for a lifetime of achievements.
The painting of Justice Hubbs will soon have a proper name place affixed to its frame so future historians will not be at the loss that this writer was.
The Redfield Old Home Days will run August 30 and 31 in downtown Redfield, marking the climax of another summer season. Half-Shire will conduct a booth at the event both days, and researchers are encouraged to stop by.
The August meeting of the society was conducted on Saturday August 23, with over 21 members and friends in attendance. Greg Monette officiated at the grill for a picnic style lunch that was planned and executed to perfection by Erma Schroeder. During the meeting the second reading of the new bylaws was conducted, and the slate of proposed officers read. The annual meeting will be held on Saturday September 13, at 1 pm following a lunch prepared at noon. The lunches and meetings are always open to the public.
Thanks go out to our friends at Pulaski Historical Society for sharing some photos and clipping with us, along with a Genealogy of the Dewey Family in America. Additional thanks are also due to our newest life members, Charles Balcom and Brantley Deaton of Pulaski. Both of these gentlemen have been very supportive in the past, and their life memberships are most welcome.
Sincere sympathy is extended on behalf of the Society to the families of past members Irma Warren Corbett and Carl Bice. Irma’s family all attended the Richland School, and continued their patronage of the building once Half-Shire took over its possession in 1973. Carl has been a long-time friend and assisted us in many renovation projects with removal of debris.
Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or HalfShire@hotmail.com check out our new website www.halfshire.com.
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