Sunday, June 15, 2008

4-H Clubs

There is a reunion coming up of 4-H members. It will be on July 5th, 2008, at the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, NY.
The organizers are asking for old memorabilia and photos, so I have begun looking through some old scrapbooks. It has brought up lots of great memories.
I, like most of Wyckoff Road north of Hunter Road, belonged to the Wyckoff Highlanders through the mid-50’s and 60’s. I don’t know the origin of the club name, but it was around for a long time. Our skills were mainly in baking, sewing, raising animals and gardening. That’s because those were the skills of the volunteer leaders we had.
Our leaders were our parents. We attended a meeting, paid dues and elected officers, conducted business and then some part of the meeting would be dedicated to an activity.
We had a lot of fun at those meetings, and we learned a lot too. I remember attending a session on basic electricity, taught at the (by then abandoned) one-room School #2 on the corner of Wyckoff and Skillett Roads. One parent taught us how to properly iron a shirt, with gusto! I learned to sew almost anything from another cherished leader and got the blue ribbons to prove it.
We baked muffins and biscuits; pies and cakes. Our goal was to enter them at the County Fair and win a blue ribbon, and perhaps be selected to go on to the State Fair. Of course we needed to practice, so our families were our lab rats. To this day I cannot choose cherry pie for dessert and I have 2 older sisters to thank for that!
I’ve mentioned the website before; it is an awesome searchable site of newspaper articles. So I searched and you guessed it – found an article on my sister’s cherry pie recipe!According to the Auburn Citizen of November 7, 1954, Cynthia Stoker and her cousin Joan Minde entered, for the second year, the cherry pie contest held at NYSEG, then located on North Street in Auburn. After the judges were through, Cynthia won by a mere 2 points over her cousin Joan – the exact opposite of the previous year. The article contains the entire recipe. When I shared a copy with these two ladies, they had lots more memories to talk about. If you have some to share, send us a comment!
I will write some more about the 4-H and the county fair this week.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Lucinda the Mountain Mourner

High in the mountains in a rustic cabin we left poor Lucinda, cowering in her bed with shame about her pregnancy by a man who now ignores her. A man who was likely Melvin Brown, one-time resident and shopkeeper in Sherwood in the Town of Scipio, Cayuga County, NY.
The early 19th century has a very different outlook on unwed mothers, and Lucinda's reputation is forever destroyed. Mr. Brown will not likely suffer in any way unless he experiences a few pangs of guilt someday.
Eventually, Lucinda delivers her child. She never leaves the mountain. To discover how the book ends, visit the Scipio Offices where we have a copy available. You can sit and read it in our History Corner! Or, Google books by the title or author.
Let me know what you think of the book if you read it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lucinda and Why She Mourns

Picking my way through the letters that make up this book, and understanding what Lucinda was agonizing about was no easy task. The language and morals of the day kept me hanging until about midway through the book when I finally was clear about what was the issue.
Lucinda was raised by a relative through her formative years after her mother died. As a young lady, she met Melvin Brown, who apparently made promises of marriage that he had no real intention of keeping. Lucinda was naive, and believed him. This naivete led to Lucinda compromising herself.
When she tried to discuss this with Melvin Brown, she was met by hasty and rash assurances that he failed once more to live up to.
Despondent and suicidal, a pregnant and forlorn Lucinda made her way to her father and stepmother's primitive cabin and was temporarily taken in.
Poor Lucinda!
In an agonizingly embarrassing letter, we learn of the visit to the family from the Town officials, who need to determine who is responsible for Lucinda's situation so he may be held accountable for any cost, rather than the Town. Lucinda herself is unable to discuss this and takes to her bed.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Lucinda the Mountain Mourner

I spent a lot of time earlier in the week on Sherwood Select School, and some of was with my nose deep in Storke's History of Cayuga County 1789 - 1879. On page 430, I read about Sherwood and its select school established in 1872 with about 36 pupils under Principal Hepsibeth C. Hussey and her Assistant Dorcas Gardner.
My eyes skipped down to a section on merchants and stopped at the name Melvin Brown. Melvin was an early merchant and inhabitant of Cayuga County. In partnership with another about 1808, Melvin was in the potash business for about 2 years.
In another early history of Scipio where I gathered some information for my post about Tracy and the Bear, I had seen a reference to Melvin Brown stating he was probably the man in the book "Lucinda; or The Mountain Mourner."
This book was written by Mrs. Manville, Being Recent Facts , in a Series of Letters, from Mrs. Manville, in the State of New York, to Her Sister in Pennsylvania. It is a novel comprising 30 letters, set around Saratoga Springs and in Marcellus, near Syracuse.
I was able to download and read it through Google books. What a sad, sad story!
You need to remember that times and morals were different in 1800, the year this book was written. There was no welfare system; people took personal responsibility for their actions and suffered the consequences.
Town Board meetings for Scipio and probably most towns of the day always included an amount set aside for the Poormaster to use on behalf of someone fallen on hard times; to pay for an urgent medical need or prevent someone from starving or being thrown out of their dwelling. Our ancestors were compassionate folks but they felt that those responsible needed to be held accountable for any costs.
The next blog will tell you about Lucinda, and why she mourned from the mountaintop.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Graduates of Sherwood Select School

Today I am posting to the blog the last of the graduates for 1910 - 1926 under the Regents. These folks graduated from Sherwood Select after attending a one-room schoolhouse until probably eighth grade.
Some went on to be teachers themselves, giving back to their community and enriching it for future generations. You probably recognize a few of the names, I know I did.
Stop on over to the Scipio Offices and see our current display of one-room school photos. Maybe you can find a picture of an aunt or uncle that you haven't seen before!

The five who graduated in 1920 were:

Helen Beck
Margaret Cotter Bowness
Anna Dooley McSweeney
Mildred Hoxie Atkinson
Frank Powers

In 1921, Sherwood graduated six:

Ethel Bowen Perkins
Elizabeth Crowley
Edith Ely Scileppi
Fred Howland
Raymond Mahaney
Eva White Schenk

Sherwood had seven graduates in 1922:

Herbert Heffernan
Dorothy King Kearnis
Mary Murphy Maroney (another of those one-room school and eventually Sherwood School teachers)
Harriet O'Neill Landice
Mildred Smart Youtt
Edgar Ward
James Welch

And there you have it, all the Sherwood Select School graduates for 1910 - 1926 are available on this searchable blog. Were any of them your teacher? Do you have a story to share? Either post a comment to the blog or e-mail me at Scipio, we'd love to hear from you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sherwod Select School

We have a selection of pictures of the Sherwood Select School over at the Scipio Town Building. It was a great-looking building, like something out of a Gothic novel. I don't know much about styles of architecture, but I can say without hesitation that the school was an imposing building, truly one of a kind.

The class of 1917 had six people:

Florence Beck
Ruth Bradley Tuttle
Esther Ely Manchester
Clarence Heffernan
Warren Loyster
Walter Wyant

In 1918, seven graduated:
Irene Bowness Welch (another dedicated teacher at Sherwood, Irene lived in "downtown" Scipio Center for as long as I can remember)
Ida Ferris
Robert Harold Manchester
Frank Mekeel
John Stephenson
Pearl Wood Chamberlain
Ruby Wood Balsley

The Mekeel family lived on Wyckoff Road in Scipio at one time - we have a picture of School #2 (corners of Wyckoff and Skillett Roads) taken about 1922 with a Hilda Mekeel in it; she looks to be under 10 years old.

In 1919, the six graduates were:

Harold Beebee
Elizabeth Fenn
Mildred Holland Hockeborn
Muriel Holland Winard
Carrie Mekeel Hoag
Francis Tierney

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sherwood Select School Graduates

In 1914, we find seven in the graduating class:

Gertrude Bowness Nolan
Anna Haines Smith
Mary Keefe
Jessie Marshall Chilcott
Mary Marshall Hatch
Virginia Mekeel Morse
Elizabeth Mosher Hoagland

1915 brought 5 graduates:

Harriet Buckhout Young
Agnes Conaughty (and now that I think about it, I believe this was the Sherwood teacher I knew as Mrs. Conaughty, not the 1912 graduate Jennie Conaughty)
Catherine Cunningham Gosline
Marie Fordyce Loyster
Alleine Winn

In 1916, only four graduates:

Eugene Bradley
Hazel Casler Scott
Francis Harris
Amy Winters VanDuyne

If you recognize any name and have a story to share, please post a comment - we'd love to hear from you!