Monday, March 31, 2008

Census for 1800 Scipio

I have one more page to share today. Here it is, page 15:

James Eastty
David Russell
James Rumsey
William Morgan
Ebenezar Green
William Vanderhoof
Elijah Vanderhoof
John Gare(?)th
James Stuart
Joel George
John Tone
Jonathan Siobie (?)
Robart (sic) Stuart
Nathan Tune
Sarah Baird
Morris Wilcox
Zeda Griswold
Joseph Lamb
Moses Rumsey
Ephraim Case
Luther Barney
David Corey
Henry Russell
David Dearbourne
David Griffin
Abijah Capone

Federal Census 1800

Today I will post some more of the 1800 census for Scipio. Soon, I will share some stories about the folks whose names you read.
Did you figure out who the "famous" person was on the last page? It was Jethro Wood, the man who invented the cast iron plow. Of course, there is some controversy about that so watch the blog for further details. Now here is page 14 of the census:

Jacob Shepherd Jnr.
Jeremiah Bailey
Moses Granger
Silas Tuttle
John Ewing
Darius Howe
Titus(?) Howe
Nathan Cash
George Nanne
Isaai Beach
Jedediah (?)yching
Timothy Howe Jnr.
Joseph Whitmore
Eli Shepherd
Rebecca Spalding
Samuel B. Richmond
Jonathan Brownell
Ephraim (sic) Buell
Isreal Buell
Edward S(?)elfredge
Daniel Brightman
Humphrey Tabor
James Smith
Samuel Smith
Benanuel Salsbury
John Bunce

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wind Turbines in Scipio

What a historic time for our town. We are considering the pros and cons of wind turbines in our town. With a 400 foot tall turbine that has 200 foot blades, this would have a huge impact on our rural landscape. We all know that energy costs are high, though, and we want to be less dependent on other countries for our energy.
I remember a time when most farms had their own windmill to generate electricity. I imagine the debate about allowing the electric companies to place poles in the town was also a topic of great debate at the time.

We are also planning for the future direction of Scipio, and every landowner was recently sent a survey. I hope you filled yours out. What direction will our town take in the future? I imagine that these topics will be discussed by Scipioites at length. The main thing is to involve yourself in the discussion; make your opinion known. Why do you live in Scipio? What do you want to see when you look out your windows ? Let's all join in the conversation.

1800 Census for Scipio

Another day, another page of the 1800 census! We are about halfway through this first census of our town. Today I am adding page number 13; there is at least one name here that brought some fame to Scipio. See if you know who it is:

Samuel Grant
Thomas Hand (?)
John Pease
Jonas Stots (?)
Benjamin Howland
Daniel Maibling (?)
Jonathan Hussey
George Alolen
Josiah Smith
Francis Hezlit
John Wood
Jethro Wood
Franc(?) Whipple
Wilbert Dennis
Benjamin Langdon
Thomas Barnes
Timothy Piane
Salmon Buell
James Wood
Thomas Rogers
Orin Paine
James Baron
Thomas Morgan
John Sackett
Jedediah Morgan
Jacob Shepherd Snr.

STOKER Family Reunion

Does your family have a yearly or biennial reunion? Are your roots in Scipio? Send me a comment, let's let everyone know when and where!
The Stoker family is celebrating their centennial reunion this year. That's right, folks, 100 reunions.
The Stoker family has roots in Cayuga County and in Scipio. Samuel and Mary (Brockelsby) Stoker came to America in 1835 on board the Albion out of Liverpool. With them were seven children; one more was born in Homer, NY.
Good farmers, the Stokers prospered and many remained in the area.
Their first reunion was actually a birthday celebration for Sam's oldest son John. Everyone agreed to meet again the following year and a reunion was born.
Photos survive from those early years of stern-faced ancestors, and the notes from those reunions have been preserved as well. You can find the earliest 20 years posted on the Cortland County rootsweb site ( ).
The fiftieth reunion was celebrated with special place cards, napkins and invitations that are carefully preserved. The goal for the 100th reunion is to make it memorable for everyone. We plan to have lots of activities for everyone.
I must confess to having a special interest here, I was born a Stoker - the 3rd great-granddaughter of Samuel and Mary. Some associated names in this family are Dalton, Holben, Hammon, Morris, Hardacre and Edick.
If you are a Stoker I would love to hear from you. Copies of the Samuel and Mary Stoker genealogy record are available at the Scipio Town Hall, as well as the Wesley Stoker genealogy. Wesley and his wife Jennie Dennis lived on Skillett Road in Scipio, in the brick house on the corner of Gilling Road.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Gideon Allen

You probably noticed Gideon Allen on the 12th page of the 1800 census. I wanted to tell you a little more about him.
Gideon, a sergeant in the Revolutionary War, came to Scipio about 1790, one of the very first settlers in the area. He was a cousin of Ethan Allen of Green Mountain fame. Gideon first settled near present-day Scipioville, eventually moving to Springport in Cayuga County. His wife was Phebe Beardsley. Both born in Connecticut, they married in Washington County then made their way to Scipio.
While in Scipio, Gideon ran a tannery for a number of years, and was a Town Supervisor as well.
His son, Lemuel remained in Scipio at least until 1879. So did a granddaughter, Betsey, who married Jacob Post.
A descendant has posted a comment about the Gideon Allen family, and has kindly shared a family history of the descendants of Gideon and Phebe (Beardsley) Allen. A copy of that seven-generation genealogy is available at the Scipio Town Hall. Please stop by if you are in the area and want to know more about this interesting family.

Census for 1800 Scipio

Today I am posting the 12th page of the Scipio census. A few of these names were difficult to make out and I have indicated that with a (?).

Jreal (?) Bushby
Samuel Atkins
Gideon Allen
Ezra Davis
Josiah Watkins
Jonathan Swift
Samuel Chidsey
Augustus Chidsey
Samuel Boutton
Jacob Cole
Samuel Branch
Jesse Swift
William Tomkins
Thomas Bush
Thomas Lapham
Gideon Freeman
James Barber
Thomas Stoddard
Sylvanus Hussey
Friend (?) Phelps
Benjamin Whipple
Isaac Jones
Joseph L(?)audie
Roswell Franklin
Robert Geers
Elijah Drake

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Frog's Patent

A Town Historian's job is all about people, places and things. One of the places I mentioned briefly in my November 26, 2007 blog was Frog's Patent. It is almost time for those spring peepers to start up reminding us where that name came from!
I think in our town's early years, every 4 corners had a unique and very localized name. Several of the farms did too. Generally the name had to do with the people who settled there, or where they came from. With time, some of those names changed or were forgotten.
Scipio itself was named for the Roman general, when it was surveyed as part of the original Military Tract. It was larger then. I have found Scipio history in publications about Onondaga County and Seneca County.
Through every publication runs the theme of the farmers who came here to tame the land and stayed to raise their families. Some of the best soil is ours, that is why our crops do so well - from the huge farms of several hundred acres to the smallest kitchen garden.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Historic Preservation Board

As Scipio Historian, I receive notification from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation whenever they are considering a property in Scipio for nomination to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. I was recently notified that they are considering the Job and Deborah Otis house at 1882 Sherwood Road. According to our local newspaper, they are also recommending the Augustus Howland home, located in the neighboring town of Ledyard. Ledyard was originally a part of Scipio.
The Otis house was built in 1815. Descendants of the Otis family remain in Cayuga County to this day. Placement on the National and State Registers would be a fitting recognition for the part played by this family in the direction and growth of our town in its early years.
The Howland family is also responsible for early formation of industry, governing, and education in Cayuga County. We would be pleased to see the Augustus Howland home also on the Registers.
We will talk more about the Otis and Howland families when they are placed on the Registers. Or you can always click on the link at the bottom of the page for the Cayuga County Rootsweb site where you will find more information.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scipio Census 1800

I have another page of the 1800 Federal census to add. I am willing to bet that the parents of the last man listed had a sense of humor. He must have been born in mid-February!

Here is the 11th page of the census:

Levi Stephens
Daniel Cothrell (?)
Daniel Loomis
William Allen
Henry Watkins Junr.
Benjamin Tracey
Au(?)thur Smith
John Tarpenter
Avery Tracey
Elisha Fitch
Timothy Hallstead
James Kerr
Gideon Allen Junr.
Ebenzar (sic) White
Shedrick Hubbell
Au(?)thur Phelps
Seth McKinney
Thomas McKinney
Job Loomis
Abijah Atkins
Ebenezar Harrington
William Smead
David Edie
Isaac Parks
William Devine
Valantine Eastter

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tracy and the Bear Web Links

I really need to check the blog comments before I post. Alanson's 4th great-grandson has posted some great information in the comments, including the web links for a version of the bear story, and a photo of Alanson. There is also some additional informaiton about Alanson's wife.
The format of the comments apparently cuts off longer web addresses, so I am placing the links here so hopefully all you need to do is click.

The bear story:

The biographical info on Alanson in Storke (1879):

Tracy and the Bear

A feww postings ago, I promised a story about Alanson Tracy when we found his name in the 1800 Federal census for Scipio. We found him, so here's the story:


One of the great stories about early Scipio is about Captain Alanson Tracy. It can be found in “Early History of Scipio” as well as in Storke’s “History of Cayuga County” and in the “Biographical Review.” It is widely accepted as a true story, although the details are a little murky.
Alanson came to Scipio from Massachusetts about 1793, making him one of our early settlers. About 23 years old, he settled near Sherwood and eventually married a Patty Howe.
The Sherwood of 1793 was much different than the Sherwood of today. The road to Aurora was little more than a dirt path through a forest. Wild animals such as bear and wolves roamed freely as did deer, turkey and other wild game. Imagine working in your garden or cornfield and seeing a bear appear in the clearing, intent on sharing the fruit of your labors! It was common for a bounty to be placed upon wolves or other wild animals that threatened the populizing of an area. Scipio was no exception, but that is a story for another day.
Alanson and other settlers were a hardy breed, needing to be creative and cope with situations we can only imagine in order that they and their family could survive.
The story of Alanson Tracy and the bear varies somewhat in the details, but the basic tale, most likely true, is the same.

Alanson Tracy was with another man, out working in the field. Unexpectedly, they saw a bear emerge from the woods and it attacked Alanson’s companion. Some accounts say the companion was injured quite severely.
Neither one had any weapons with them. In defense of his very life, Alanson Tracy jumped upon the back of this bear and grabbed hold of its ears, hollering for help.
The bear took off at a run. Hollering for help all the while, Tracy held on for dear life; he knew that loosening his grip would lead to the furious bear turning on him. For over a mile, Tracy rode bear back (I know, it really is a dreadful pun but I could not resist), hanging on to its ears, until the bear became exhausted. The bear could not shake him loose.
The bear became so exhausted that when he stumbled upon a small stream, Tracy was able to hold his head underwater until he breathed no more, according to one version of this story. Another version has someone responding to the cries for help and clubbing the bear to death.
At any rate, Alanson Tracy lived to tell the tale of his precarious bear ride for another 50 or so years, dying in 1852 at the ripe old age of 81.

Scipio Migrations

A lot of family history and genealogy research is centered on tracking the migration of ancestors; by boat, train, wagon or sometimes on foot they made their way first across the ocean and then westward across our nation. Sometimes they stopped for awhile at the newest frontier, then some or all of the family continued westward.
This time of year in Scipio you can witness another migration, that of birds returning from their winter homes. Some remain here in Cayuga County; some continue northward. We've recently seen the return of the red-winged blackbirds, and the blue jays have started squawking at the feeders in hopes of attracting a mate.
The Canadian geese are back and flying overhead as I write this posting in small noisy skeins towards Owasco Lake. This year we've had several snow geese as well. Their white bodies with the stark black wingtips stand out in the sky as they seek food and shelter in their journey.
Last week, it was possible to see a fairly uncommon sight; Tundra swans were flying along Owasco Lake. I looked out my window at the delightfully unexpected sight of an undulating white string of birds flying south, low over Owasco Lake in the late afternoon.
As we continue the sometimes frustrating search for our ancestors, the migration of the birds teaches us to keep our senses alert; because when we least expect it, we may find ourselves hearing or seeing something wonderful that we were not expecting. Happy researching!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Federal Census for 1800 Scipio

I'll post one more page today, and tomorrow I will share some stories about a few of the men you see on it. Maybe you have a story to share, too?

Here is page 10:

Zebe Branch
Alonson Tracey
Mary Tracey
Benjamin Butterfield
Amos Rathbon
Peter Robinson
Abel Robinson
Dyer Carver
Lemuel Chase
Samuel Ward
Pearly Kinney
David Carver
Seth Sherwood
Felix Phelps
Sperry Peck
David Jones
Robert L. Tracey
Daniel Carver
Elihu Carver
Allen Rood
Anne Rood
Henry Watkins
Elisha Fitch Junr.
Joseph Barns
John Swan
Daniel Wildman

Federal Census of 1800 for Scipio

I will post here the 9th page I've transcribed from the Federal census for 1800 Scipio, NY. One name on this page is Gilbert Tracey. It is established that Squire Gilbert Tracey came from Massachusetts in 1793. He ran a tavern near Bolt's Corners in the early 1800's (1815 to at least 1820). In later life, he moved to Venice, NY, still in Cayuga County but down the road a few miles.
When we find his cousin Alanson in the census, I'll share a great story about him that some of you may already know!

Here is page 9:

Abraham Dunning
Epaphroditus Strong
Levi Atkins
John Tully
John Olney
Elijah Root
Asa Harris
Philip Strong
John Fuller
Ezra Strong
Isaac Atkins
Levi Hill
Thomas Harris
Nathaniel Tibbins
Henry (?) Thomas
Solomon Denn
Elisha Durgie
Gilbert Tracey
Alexander Boulton
Jonas Wood
Jonas Wood Junr.
Jonathan Bailey
David King
John A. Thompson
Edmund Tracy
Calvin Waterman

Federal Census for Scipio 1800

I have always thought of Scipio as an example of small town America. That is until I started transcribing the 1800 census. For a town that was only 6 years old we sure had a lot of people living in Scipio!

Here is the 8th page of Scipio's 1800 census:

Elijah Coon
David Ward
Samuel Sharp
Matthias Sharp
Reuben Wyllys
David Lesure
Thomas Wyllys
Robert Neely
Abner French
Ddavid Barnhart
Christopher Snider
Gorge Elliott
Elisha Horton
Eleazer Hill
Robert McCollum
Alexander Weed
Benjamin Fordyce
James Harris
William H. Lee
Nathaniel Harris
Nathaniel Olney
Josiah Burk
John Roorbach
Stephen King
Ebenezar Crais (?)
Samuel Sweet

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Federal Census for 1800 Scipio

Here is the next or 7th census page for Scipio. It includes the first time we've seen the Wyckoff name; the old "Lake Road" before State Route 38 was built was and still is known as Wyckoff Road.

John Bushman
Daniel Eades (Earles?)
William Dickinson
Samuel Bennett
John Bennett
John O’Hara
Ezekiel Parks
Jesse Babcock
John Gibbs
Micheal (sic) Parrells
William Daniels
Robert Po(?)cell
Peter Wyckoff
Richard Hudson
Peter Van Lue
Thomas Brown Junr.
James Barnes
Caleb Watham (possibly Wadams - sg)
Samuel Higby
Frederick Van Lue
Isaac Bailey
John Lambert
Abraham Devone
Joel Coe
Ebenezar Durgie
Allwood Smith

The Under Ground Rail Road in Cayuga County

A few years ago, our County obtained some funding to pursue an Under Ground Rail Road (UGRR) project. Coordinated through our County Historian, local historians and others with an interest in the subject combed old records in an effort to identify people, places and things associated with the UGRR.
Most of us have heard of the UGRR; we know that before the 13th Amendment, slaves were surreptitiously assisted in escaping to freedom by freedmen and other sympathizers. Especially here in Cayuga County, we know the story of Harriet Tubman and her bravery.
The project resulted in a scholarly work, a copy of which is located in Scipio's History Corner, showing various residences and paperwork that verified the UGRR existed in our area, most specifically in Sherwood.
Today I was excited to learn that further work has been done. Now, there is a new website with information about tours relating to the UGRR and abolitionism in Cayuga County. There are also several links available to related information.
The website can be accessed at Check it out!