Monday, March 31, 2014

Scipio Talbot Jacquard Coverlet

This blog attracts many viewers from across the USA (and a few overseas!) and this week I heard from someone without personal ties to our town, but with an interesting story.
Carol is an antiques dealer and recently purchased a jacquard coverlet from a Talbot family estate. It has "Scipio 1835" in one corner. The blue and cream colors are the same as others I have seen, but the patterns are different. You may recall from past blog posts that the coverlets were generally made by itinerants or as a supplemental source of income by farmers or other seasonally busy folks, using a large loom and punch card system.
In her search for details, Carol found this website and sent me an email with some wonderful photos.
She states that this coverlet was purchased from a Talbot family estate. It was discovered wrapped in tissue paper in an old trunk and is in amazing condition. This coverlet came with a note with a little bit of family history. The note said the coverlet was owned by Mrs. J. D. Freer of Cortland, NY, who was noted as "My Father's Mother" by the last owner of the coverlet. It also stated that is was said to have been presented as a wedding gift by the family of Henry Ward Beecher. Henry (1813-1887), a minister like his six brothers, was a brother to Harriett Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
I am hoping that a Talbot family member from our neck of the woods can shed some light on the family's relationship to Mrs. Freer and to Henry Ward Beecher to their family before Carol has sold the coverlet. I'd be glad to share her email with anyone interested in speaking with her directly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

William Seward's Westfield Years

Today I was idly browsing NYS wineries information, as a friend had recommended a visit to a winery on Lake Erie. Their website recommended places to shop, dine and stay. The William Seward Inn caught my eye.
When I visited their website at found a wonderful narrative about William Seward and his years working for the Holland Land Company while living in Westfield, NY.
The Inn was built in 1832, and in 1837 it was purchased by William Seward. He made many improvements but sold it in 1841 to a George Patterson who shortly became NYS Lieutenant Governor.
In the 1960's, this 35-foot high Greek revival mansion was nearly demolished but in 1966 a small group of dedicated individuals were able to have it dismantled and reassembled in another location. In 1981, the building had been neglected and had again fallen into serious disrepair, then was purchased and restored as a bed & breakfast.
This story is one of so many that document the ability of small but determined groups of people to make a difference and save an important piece of New York history. I can't wait to visit!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Comstock's History of Scipio

In 1940, Austin Comstock's "Some of the Early History of the Town of Scipio" was published. I have a mimeographed typescript that I've read many times.
The publication is filled with names and relationships of our early settlers. I didn't find an electronic copy but it looks like the Finger Lakes Library System has it with OCLC #503217088.
This winter, I decided to build an index of the names in this 30-page document. The names include Hoxie, Chase, Sherwood, Gould, Heffron,Bennett, Wyant, Buckhout, Mosher, Bancroft and many more.I am almost done, and will be posting a copy to the blog so stay tuned!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

2014 Suffrage Calendar

I am happy to pass along the news that the 2014 Woman's Suffrage Calendar is now available for sale. The format is similar to last year's calendar, but the content is new. The inside front and back covers focus this year on Miss Isabel Howland, niece of Miss Emily, and some of her activities in local, county, state and national woman's rights movements as well as her commitment to the hamlet of Sherwood. There is a poster image for each month, all different from last year. The birth dates of famous suffragist are listed, along with events occurring each month.

As you know if you saw last year's calendar, these are much more than just a calendar. They are a collector's item, a work of art, an important historic story, and a wonderful gift item.I will be adding my 2013 calendar to the Scipio History Room collection for future viewing. This calendar sold out last year, making it a real collector's item!

The calendar can be obtained online at the Howland Stone Store Museum website or locally by contacting Patricia White at 315-364-5587 (or The calendars cost $16.00 (plus postage added for all online orders (@ $3.50).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Honored at last : Schuyler Cemetery Honors Civil War Veterans

I happened across this article, and was pleasantly surprised to find a Cayuga County man among those honored - James R. Clark. Hope you enjoy the article too.

Honored at last : Schuyler

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This time of year many of us think about what we are thankful for in our lives. I am thankful for good friends and family, and banana cream pie! I am also thankful for the opportunity to continue to research the history of Scipio Center and Cayuga County, and share what I learn in this blog. Most of all I am thankful to have a working internet connection - and high speed, at that!
Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621. More than 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving, and Congress finally made Thanksgiving Day an official national holiday in 1941. In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Thanksgiving stamp. Designed by the artist Margaret Cusack in a style resembling traditional folk-art needlework, it depicted a cornucopia overflowing with fruits and vegetables, under the phrase "We Give Thanks."
In a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88 percent of Americans said they eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Fossil evidence shows that turkeys roamed the Americas 10 million years ago! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America, with a planned production total of 46.5 million in 2011. Six states account for nearly two-thirds of the 248 million turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. this year: Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and Indiana.
In 1621, the only two items that historians know for sure were on the menu are venison and wild fowl, which are mentioned in primary sources. The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians. And the pilgrims didn’t use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers.