Half-Shire Historical Society–October 3, 2008

At long last the planned renovations and replacement of the second story fascia of our Richland headquarters has been completed! The work was done in less then a week by Basciani Construction and looks terrific. The Bascianis also did some additional masonry work while we had the hydraulic lift rented (rental courtesy of members Phil & Rita Rombach). This work and a little additional upkeep to the chimney complete our planned capital projects for the year.
While the work in Richland was ongoing, Trustee Margaret Kastler and I were in Niagara Falls participating in the NYS Association of Counties annual conference. On Thursday evening we were pleased to join members of the Niagara County historical community as they celebrated the 200th anniversary of the county founding. The event culminated at a gala dinner that night under a tent alongside the majestic Canadian falls. Many re-enactors depicting various eras in history greeted and served at the dinner. It was a beautiful evening capped off by fireworks at dusk.
On our return trip Margaret and I detoured to the Finger Lakes region where we made two stops to investigate cemeteries. The first stop was in rural Potter Township in the north part of Yates County where fourth-great grandparents of my mother, Ichabod & Paulina (Ferre) Randall are buried. Recently a distant cousin Ted Worrell contacted me to let me know that he had purchased and placed a new marker in the small farm-field grave site. Margaret and I found the Thomas family cemetery with little problem at all, and the new marker was discovered right away, placed in front of the original 200 year-old deteriorated slate markers for the pair. It was interesting to learn that this small cemetery is said to be atop an old Indian burial site.
Headed back north we visited the city of Canandaigua to look for Pioneer Cemetery where some former Pulaskians were said to be buried. Upon discovery of the neatly kept cemetery in back of the city hall we believe we have solved a local mystery over “where Abijah Hubbell is buried”
Abijah Hubbell was born in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1761. He enlisted in the 2nd Connecticut Continentals during the American Revolution, serving from 1777 through 1783. He departed the service as a Corporal, having served at the battle of Fairfield as well as several miner skirmishes. Seven years after marriage to Clarissa Fitch, the young couple relocated to Saratoga County, New York. They raised five sons, three of whom lived to maturity and graduated from law school. Each of these sons, Walter, Hiram and Levi rose to judicial seats in their adopted localities. Two of the sons, Hiram and Walter also served terms in the New York State Assembly. Hiram was the second Oswego County Clerk, and a prominent member of the Pulaski community.
When Abijah and his wife left Saratoga County for Oswego County in the late 1830s they left behind two sons buried in Union Cemetery at Malta. A cemetery stone there had also been pre-chiseled for Abijah and his wife. Clarissa died shortly after moving to Pulaski, and by all accounts was buried there where a new family stone was erected. Two years after his wife’s death Abijah apparently was staying with his son Walter in Canandaigua when he himself died.
With his wife buried in Pulaski it seemed unusual that the prosperous Hubbell family would not transport Abijah’s body back there, however Margaret and I are now convinced that the family in Canandaigua kept Abijah there, and buried him in Pioneer Cemetery with Walter’s wife Elizabeth who had died in 1839. Walter himself died in 1848, and they all rest in very well marked plot on the north side of the historic grounds. The obelisk style marker tells the full tale of where all were born and died as well as listing the dates. Later that day Abijah’s death notice was discovered in the archives of the Ontario County Messenger proving for us finally that he indeed died and is buried in Canandaigua.
As we write we have learned of the untimely death of our good friend Shirley Balcom Hort of Pulaski. Shirley was an occasional participant in society affairs, and was last with us one evening this summer during farmer’s market. Shirley was the daughter of the late Charles and Leona (Lighthall) Balcom, and was a descendant of Revolutionary war veteran Nathan Mellon of Richland. We extend our sincere sympathy to her son, daughter and many descendants.
Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, 100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at www.halfshire.com email halfshire@hotmail.com Our Richland facility continues to be open Fridays from noon-4pm, our next lunch meeting will be at noon on Saturday October 18, 2008 and will feature a musical performance by acclaimed concert harpist Kelsey Munz of Osceola.

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