Thursday, December 24, 2009

Traditions at Christmastime

Saturday was our family Christmas party. We have had this particular tradition for about 40 years. I know I can count on my sister’s homemade rolls (the size of a small loaf of bread!) and ham; Brian’s crab dip and the fudge made from my mother’s recipe.
I can also count on the chaos of a dozen or so children assembling gingerbread houses from milk cartons, covered in sticky icing that lets the candy gumdrops slide right off if you aren’t careful. Sometimes spitting is involved, used to settle a disagreement.
Then there is the tree. We pick a family member to lead the children in Christmas carols in front of the tree, while we adults look at the bubble lights and the ornaments that are our favorites. There is always one child that is a little shy and needs a hug from their grandmother, or an out-of-tune aunt or uncle who will chime in on their favorite verses.
And then it is time for the gifts. At Thanksgiving, we have picked a name from a hat, and for this party everyone has wrapped their name gift and piled it under the tree until there are so many it seems the tree will be lifted right off the floor! The children have of course spent much of the afternoon finding the gift with their name on it, and speculating on what it might be from a distance, since we have a “no touching” rule.
The level of excitement is at its peak when we end our caroling and ask a child to hand out the gifts. Everyone must wait to open theirs until every present is handed out.
And then the big moment arrives – the signal is given, and the air is filled in seconds with shreds of wrapping paper amid the exclamations of surprise and pleasure.
Every family has their traditions; whether Christian or not, holiday or not. Imagine how perhaps my great-granddaughter would enjoy reading this little note about our family celebration. A wonderful gift to your children and grandchildren would be for you to take the time this year to write down what you recall from your childhood traditions, and share it with them next Christmas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Alanson Tracy

Faithful readers may recall previous entries about an Alanson Tracy, and others in that family. This entry is about a descendant who had moved on from Scipio, then fought valiantly in the Civil War. Dying of his injuries, he returned to Scipio for his eternal rest.
This Alanson Tracy was 24 when he died, single, and a Lieutenant in the 3rd Michigan. The Scipio Clerk’s book says Alanson was born in Scipio in 1838. He was a Lieutenant in the 3rd Michigan Cavalry. He mustered in as a Lieutenant in October of 1861. He was single, and his father was Calvin Tracy. The Clerk Book says that Alanson died in Cincinnati of disease in June of 1862, and is buried in Scipio, Cayuga County, NY.

We know a little more due to the generosity of his descendants. They have shared a photo of Alanson, which we have on display right now in the History Corner at Scipio.
A dashing young man in his uniform with the bars on his shoulders, Alanson is the very embodiment of our romanticized idea of a Union soldier in the Civil War. We also learned that his mother was Lucilla, and that he was born at the Tracy homestead at Sherwood, Cayuga County, NY on September 15, 1837. He died June 18, 1862 of injuries received in the US Army before Corinth, Miss. and is buried in Aurora, Cayuga County, NY.

He had been living in Detroit at the time of his enlistment. Corinth, at the junction of the Memphis and Charleston and the Mobile and Ohio Railroads, was recognized by both Confederate and Federal Commanders as being of such strategic importance that the village was occupied by one or the other of the forces from 1861 - 1865.
Following the 2-day battle in April 1862 named for Shiloh Church, the Confederates were forced to withdraw to Corinth.
Following Shiloh, Corinth became a vast Confederate hospital center. Hotels, churches, residences, warehouses, and the college were filled with wounded; but, more troops died of sickness and diseases than wounds.

The Tracy family was one of the first to settle here and make Scipio their home. Search this blog for “Tracy” and you will find a few previous entries that demonstrate their importance in the early Scipio community.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lewis Truman and Daniel Manchester in the Civil War

The Record of Military Deaths mentioned in my previous entry shows Lewis Truman, single and age 23 at the time of his death. He enlisted in September of 1861 in either the 1st or the 138th (as the entry has been crossed out) as a private; and was a private in the 9th Heavy Artillery when he died. Since the 138th became the 9th, that is likely correct.
The heaviest casualties for the 9th were at Monocacy, MD with 264 killed or wounded, and at Cedar Creek, VA with 208.

Dan’l H. Manchester according to the Scipio Clerk’s Book, was born in Scipio in 1833. He was a Sergeant in Co. E of the 138th NY Infantry. This regiment, organized in August and September, 1862, was converted into a regiment of artillery, December 19, 1862, designated the 9th Artillery. He would have served alongside Lewis Truman.
Daniel mustered in Sept. 8, 1862 as a Sergeant for 3 years. H entered service from Scipio and received a bounty of $50. His father was Caleb, and he himself was a married farmer.
The Clerk Book says he was discharged, and died in Scipio March 20, 1863, and is buried there. It is likely he is buried in the Manchester family cemetery on Manchester Road in Scipio. His parents, Caleb and Lydia, are there, and there is a single stone with “Daniel – a soldier” written on it. The Record of Military Deaths says he was 32 at the time of his death and he mustered in October of 1861, a discrepancy from the Clerk’s Book.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

John Johnson and the 3rd Artillery

Thanks again to our Cayuga County Historian, Sheila Tucker, for sharing some information about Scipio. I now have a copy of a document named “Deaths of Officers and Enlisted Men who died while in the military or naval service of the United States or from Wounds or disease acquired in said service and reported by the families to which the deceased belonged when at home, in the town of Scipio county of Cayuga, NY.” This table was prepared by Enumerator D. Gould on the 5th day of June, 1865.
Thankfully, there are just four names upon the page.
First is John Johnson. According to this document, he was 20 when he died and single. He enlisted in September of 1862, in the 3rd or “Seward” Artillery as a private, and all was the same when he died.
We also find John on page 6 of the Scipio Clerk’s Book that I’ve mentioned before, listing all who served. That book tells us John was born in 1845, and that he died of disease at Morris Island on January 22, 1865.
Morris Island was the home of Fort Wagner, a confederate fortification that guarded the entrance to Charleston harbor.
I find a John P. Johnson in Battery B of the 3rd Artillery, in “Cayuga in the Field” by Henry Hall and James Hall of Auburn, NY, and this could be our Scipio boy as I found no other John Johnson listed in the 3rd. The book also says he “died in the service.” In January of 1863, this Battery was attached to the 10th Corps and sent to Hilton Head, NC. It shared in the operations against Fort Wagner and the reduction of the fortifications of Charleston harbor, and remained in that vicinity until it was mustered out at Syracuse, July 13, 1865.
The Division of Military and Naval Affairs has a lot of detailed information at their website at about this and many other Civil War units, and is well worth a browse.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Today Show Comes to Scipio

I opened up my Citizen newspaper this morning and there on the front page just below the fold was an article about a very old and historic home in Scipio Center.
The home is up for sale, and has been for a while. Known as the Merrifield Estate, it will be featured on the Today Show on NBC on Friday 11/13/2009 in a segment they are running on real estate at bargain prices.
The original settler was Ozam Merryfield, as the name was spelled at that time. Born about 1775, he died in Scipio NY in 1852. In his will, he gave about 90 acres of his real estate to his widow Adelia; his only son Thomas received an additional 100 acres. Ozam also mentions the potential for a railroad to run across his property that was bequeathed to Thomas, and Thomas' right to collect any damages if that occurred.
One of the small settlements in Scipio was (and still is for locals) known as Merrifield, named for this family. And yes, the railroad ran through it!
The house was used for a period of time as a stop on the Underground Railroad. I seem to recall an article in the Citizen a few years ago with some interesting details about the basement, and the documentation that led to that conclusion.
If you can, watch the Today Show on Friday to see a little piece of Scipio's history!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Alphius Jaquette

Civil War veteran Alphius (also spelled as Alpheus) Jaquette of Scipio, NY had the respect of his neighbors when he returned from the War.
His was I believe one of the marriages I mentioned in my last post. I did look his name up in the Complete Record of Officers, Soldiers and Seamen from Scipio completed by the Town Clerk, Allen Shorkley.
This book tells us some additional details about Alphius Jaquette's life post-Civil War. He resided in the neighboring town of Fleming when he came home; he had been born there in 1844. He served his country as a Private in the 111th NY Volunteer Infantry.
Alphius enlisted on April 19th, 1861 from Scipio, for a term of three years. The town paid a $50 bounty. He was discharged to Fleming, and married.
I also looked at the Special Census of 1890 for surviving soldiers, sailors, marines and widows. The census listed Alphius as a veteran, and his wife as Ann (perhaps a nickname for Dannis, or perhaps another Alphius) as his widow. This record showed he had enlisted in the 3rd NY Light Artillery on May 13, 1861, and served for 2 years and 19 days, coming out on June 2, 1863; no mention of the 111th.
This name is unusual enough for the size of Scipio at that time, so I believe this may be the same person. There are some possible explanations for some of the discrepancies; he could have enlisted in the 111th then transferred to the 3rd. He could have enlisted in the 111th for the bounty, not an unusual occurrence, then enlisted a second time with the 3rd LA and actually served with that unit.
This example shows why it is a good idea to be thorough in your research and use as many source documents as you can find. I will continue to look for information to clarify this matter.
The 1890 Special Census also tells us that Alphius had suffered a gunshot wound to his right arm. It also stated that he was a hard working man.
Not a bad record for an ordinary man who served his country when it was needed.
On this Veteran's Day, let's take a moment to thank Alphius and all our veterans, for all they have done through the years for all of us. Thanks, ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Scipio Marriages in 1865

It was 1865 and the end of the Civil War was approaching. Transportation problems and successful blockades were contributing to severe shortages of food and supplies in the South. Starving soldiers began to desert Lee's forces. In February General Sherman moved from Georgia up into and through South Carolina, destroying almost everything in his path.
On March 25, General Lee attacked General Grant's forces near Petersburg, but was defeated -- attacking and losing again on April 1. On April 2, Lee evacuated Richmond, the Confederate capital.
On April 9 R. E. Lee and U. S. Grant met at Appomattox Courthouse, and agreed on the terms of surrender. Lee's men were sent home on parole -- soldiers with their horses, and officers with their side arms. All other equipment was surrendered. And on April 14, as President Lincoln was watching a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., he was shot by John Wilkes Booth.
Back in Scipio, as in many of our country’s small towns and villages, life continued as it always had. And that included eleven marriages recorded as of June 5, 1865, for the preceding year (June of 1864 – June of 1865). Some of these men were veterans of the Civil War, their names appearing in the Town Clerk list for Scipio that I have mentioned earlier this year.
June 7, 1864, Alanson Reynold, age 25, married Cathrine Hudson, 21, in Scipioville in a ceremony solemnized by a Baptist clergyman. And on June 11, 1864, Alphus Jaquette, 25, married Dannis Jones, 19, in Groton, NY. Alphus was a veteran of the Civil War.
September 6, 1864, Elwood H. Fell, 21, married Lavicy Akin, also 21, in Scipio.
On December 10, 1864, the last marriage recorded for the calendar year occurred between John Blowers, 21, and Phebe F. Thurston, 17, by a Justice of the Peace. John was a veteran of the Civil War.
On February 25, 1865, Theodore Smith and Thalia E. Reynolds, ages 21 and 20 respectively, were married in Scipio and that was solemnized by a Baptist clergyman. Theodore was a veteran of the Civil War.
Just a few days later on February 28, Artimus Ward, 35, married Phebe C. Ames, 23; also in Scipio in a Baptist ceremony.
March brought 4 more weddings:
James Dresser, 21 and Sarah Brister, 19, were married in Auburn in a Presbyterian ceremony on March 12. On March 14, Humphrey T. Crapo, 30, married Martha M. Van Liew, 28, in Scipio. March 23 brought wedding bells for John Knox, 32, and Elizabeth Bulkley, 29, in an Auburn Presbyterian ceremony; and March 26th saw Benjamin Houghton, 34 and a widow, and Eliza Forbes, 25, also married in Auburn.
On April 20th, Theodore Wallace, 27, and Charlotte Wadsworth, 21, were married near Utica, NY.
I will look up my copy of the Clerk’s Book of Civil War veterans, and will soon share with you what it has to say about John Blowers, Theodore Smith and Alphus Jaquette.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Veterans in Cornwell Cemetery

Back in May of this year, I wrote about Ebenezer Cheever. Eb is buried in Cornwell Cemetery and like Frederick Van Liew, was a veteran of the American Revolution. When I started to work with the Owasco Chapter of the DAR on verification for the grave marking for Frederick Van Liew, I spent some time at Cornell University in Ithaca NY looking at some genealogical records for Scipio. I also used the NYS Library and the NYS Archives, the DAR website, and It is always amazing to me to see how much information is available that would have been nearly impossible to track down and very costly, not so many years past.

In addition to Frederick Van Liew, I have verified that this little country cemetery includes the following Revolutionary War veterans:

Ebenezer Cheever, Privateer for CT
Samuel Hoskins, Private for MA
Elias Manchester, Private for NY
Caleb Wadham Sr., Artificer for CT
Nathan Webster, Private for CT
Elijah Weeks, Private for MA
Israel Ward, Member, NY Militia
Joel Coe, Member, NJ Militia

In addition, I believe that three more men, Nathaniel Olney, Ezekiel Parker and William J. Cook, are also Revolutionary War veterans but I have yet to verify them.
Some of these men can be found on our Scipio census for 1800, placing them here very early in Scipio's existence. Some of these names are still found in Scipio today. I will be writing more about them in the next month as I explore the Cornwell Cemetery more thoroughly, so stay tuned!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Frederick Van Liew

I have a copy of Frederick's pension. It states that while he was residing in New Brunswick, NJ, he enlisted in the summer of 1776 and served 2 months as a Private in Captain John Taylor's Company of Colonel Duyckin's (also spelled Duychinck) New Jersey Regiment; from sometime in the summer of 1776 to about June 1, 1777, he served at various times on short tours, as a Private in Captain Lawrence Van Cleef's Company, Colonel Henry Vandyke's New Jersey Regiment.
About June 1, 1777 he enlisted in a company of light horse commanded by Captain John Stryker, New Jersey troops. He was not engaged all the time in active service but kept himself in constant readiness to mount and ride for an over all period of about 7 months.
August 1, 1779 he was appointed forage master under Sidney Berry, Deputy Quartermaster General; this service he rendered at different times until the close of the war for at least one year in all. Frederick participated in the Battles of Monmouth and of Springfield, as well as in a number of skirmishes. He was allowed a pension of $30.00 a year by application executed on September 25, 1832 under the Act of June 7, 1832, at which time he was 79 years old and lived in Scipio, Cayuga County, NY.
Frederick died June 20, 1835. Many of his descendants remain in Scipio and nearby towns to this day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cornwell Cemetery

Exciting times are coming to Scipio. This Saturday, the Owasco Chapter NSDAR is having a grave marking ceremony in Cornwell Cemetery for American Revolutionary War patriot Frederick Van Liew.
Frederick Van Liew was born on the family farm near New Brunswick, Somerset County, New Jersey. The prior generation of Van Liews had migrated from Jamaica, New York to build farms along the Raritan River in the Harrison Tract. His birth date was 5/20/1753; he was one of 12 children.
During the Revolutionary War he was a Private in the Somerset county Militia serving under Captain John Stryker's Troop of Horse and Captain Lawrence Van Cleave's Company second regiment. Service dates Nov. 1776 to after June of 1780. He was in battles of Monmouth N.J.(June 1778) and Springfield N.J.(June 1780).
Frederick and some of his family migrated to Scipio Center NY in the late 1790's to early 1800's to claim land grants he was awarded or purchased for his service in Revolutionary War. Frederick was buried in Cornwall cemetery in Scipio; he died 6/20/1835.
Cornwell Cemetery sits in a farmer's field to the east of State Route 34, on a slight rise. The land is in the Military Tract Great Lot 16 and was part of a parcel originally purchased by another veteran also buried there - Joel Coe.
Joel bought the land from General George Fleming, the man the nearby town of Fleming was named for. The first burial in this cemetery was sadly an infant son of Joel's in 1799. If you search this blog, there is some previous information so I won't repeat it here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Illnesses in 1865

The Cayuga County Historian’s office has been a tremendous resource through the years. Most recently, County Historian Sheila Tucker was able to share with me some copies of old vital records she found for Scipio. Today I was looking over some death records. Some diseases have names I am not familiar with, so I looked them up online.
An 85 year old widow and a native of Connecticut, Rachel Remington died on April 21st of 1865 in Scipio of apoplexy. Usually, this referred to a sudden heart attack or stroke.
Milk fever, the cause of death for 26-year old wife Cynthia Lockwood of Cayuga on 2/6/1865, is sometimes called puerperal fever and is the result of infection. Before antibiotics were available, and when the notion of keeping surgical instruments and areas clean to prevent germs was still pretty new, women were frequently susceptible to this painful disease developed post-partum, and often did not recover.
Poor George Flynn; he was only a year and 7 months old when he died on 5/10/1865 of scarlet fever. This was a highly infectious disease and got its name from the scarlet rash developed by the infected person.
If you have wondered about a disease or cause of death on an old certificate, you may find it listed at this website: or google the term “old illnesses.” Many of these diseases are still around today but we know them by another name.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bolt's Corners District

I ran into an old SCCS classmate at the Bouckville Antique Show this month. He is a self-professed “bottle nut” and had some interesting ones on display from Auburn and Cayuga County. I reminded him I am the Scipio Historian, and asked him if he had ever seen a bottle from Scipio.
In the 25 or so years that I know he has been collecting, he has never seen a bottle from Scipio. We lamented that fact, and then he reminded me that his family had taught in the Scipio school districts for many years, and he wondered if I had any information on them. He was particularly interested in Bolt’s Corners school district, and has some early photographs of the classes there.
If you do a search of this blog, you’ll find I have mentioned Bolt’s Corners before; at one time it was a thriving little district in the town of Scipio and now it is just another 4 corners marked by a NYS historical marker.
But as things have a way of doing, Bolt’s Corners crept into my conversation with another person this month; a teacher from SCCS who called to ask if I knew what happened to the NYS historical marker there.
Last year her class researched and created a book about the historical markers in the school district and this year, they are hoping to repaint these markers. The Bolt’s Corners marker was standing as far as we can figure until June of this year. Now all that stands there is the pole that it was attached to.If you know what happened to it, send a reply to the blog or e-mail me. We’d really like to see Bolt’s Corners get its marker back, wouldn’t you?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Henry Hudson and a Scipio connection?

I was reading the Port Byron Historian's blog at earlier this week and was interested to see her mention Henry Hudson. NY is celebrating the 400th anniversary of his voyage up the Hudson River this year.
A few years ago, Scipio had a visitor from North Dakota who was researching his Hudson and Pitts family lines. He had done a lot of research before his visit, and shared what he knew so we have a family file at the Scipio Offices. I had not known that the lovely cobblestone home in downtown Scipio was once owned by his ancestor.
There was also once a cemetery on Hunter Road and the ancestor named for both families, Pitts Hudson, was buried there. The Pitts Hudson gravestone is in broken pieces, stacked in a pile. He found that when he turned over some of the pieces he could still read the Pitts name and dates. A little further on there are other broken pieces scattered about, probably from some of the other Hudson stones.
He shared that he had heard two versions of his Hudson line. One version was that Henry Hudson had a son named Richard, who died while working for the British East India company. This Richard had two sons that eventually came to America. The second version was that this Hudson line would have to be through one of the brothers of Henry Hudson.
I think it is time for another trip to the NYS Archives, to do a little research and see what I can find about Henry Hudson. Isn't it interesting to think, one of his family members may have lived in our little town? You never know where genealogy and research will take you.

Family Reunions

It's that time of year again when folks are having their family reunions. Last year was the 100th Stoker family reunion. It was wonderful to see over 100 relatives, and catch up on all that family news.
The 101st reunion will be Sunday August 9th at Fire Lane 22 on the east side of Owasco Lake. I have been busy updating my Family Tree Maker database and printing a new family tree and getting a list of questions together.
We have tables set up with albums of photos, family tree information, and old letters and other items. Those are always a popular spot. We keep it simple, with everyone bringing a dish to pass and their own table service.
If your family is having a reunion, I hope you are planning to attend if you can. If there is no reunion, give some thought to helping organize one for next summer. A five or ten year reunion can be fun, and if a small group can work together it isn't too difficult. Googling (or I guess Binging) "reunion planning" gives you lots of ideas for invitations, games, and feeding the crowd.
And you never know what relative will attend that will say "oh, I have the family Bible and all Aunt Matilda's pictures - with labels!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Town History Day

This Saturday, July 18th, is Town History day at the Ward O'Hara Agricultural Museum. Across from Emerson Park on Owasco Lake, the Ag Museum has really grown over the years under the careful management of its dedicated staff. I understand they have a little gift shop now so I look forward to seeing that.
Saturday, there will also be draft horses to look at and haying demonstrations to show folks how things used to be done. I don't remember a time when we did not have a tractor, but I heard my mother speak many times of the pair of workhorses my grandfather used to work his farm in Scipioville.
I enjoy the Ag Museum because there are many old tools and other equipment and it's interesting to guess about how they were used or what they were for. I will be joining some other municipal historians Saturday and I hope to see you there too. Let me know if you are there because you saw it in this blog!

Sharing Treasures

I had an interesting phone call last week. It was a woman who lived in Scipio. She was doing some home remodeling and had discovered some old papers she didn't want to throw away, but wasn't interested in keeping.
Being a resourceful woman with a computer, in short order she had found out how to contact me and was dropping off a bagful of old papers that I couldn't wait to poke through.
Her discovery was of records for School #14 for about 1938 - 1942. A previous owner of the home, Mr. Wyant, had saved every scrap of paper and we now have tax and assessment information as well as receipts for teacher's pay. Some itemized lists are there, too, giving the prices of the everyday items needed to run the school like a coal pail, a water bucket, pencils and so on as well as the name and location of the merchants who sold the items. What a great little snapshot of a corner of our town for a few years!
So if you have some old papers lurking in a cupboard or a corner of your attic, that you don't quite want to throw away, let me know. I think we can find them a new home at the Scipio Offices.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vacation Review

You haven't lived until you have made a road trip with three adults, a ten-year-old and a teenager that lasts for 8 hours. It's a lot like making sausage - you don't really know what it will be like until you're doing it, and it can be really messy.
We made a family trip to Chincoteague Island in Virginia last month and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We toured the wildlife Refuge at Assateague, which is a lot like our neighboring Seneca County's Montezuma Wildlife Refuge but larger, and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. We saw wild horses, egrets, herons, ibises, Seka (a type of elk) and some of the biggest mosquitoes and flies you can imagine.
Chincoteague is all about their ponies, largely due to Marguerite Henry's series of books beginning with Misty of Chincoteague, and some truly awesome seafood. We went to an indoor pony show one night and as a historian it was interesting to see that one wall had a mural depicting the Spanish galleons breaking up and the ponies swimming to shore, which is the story of how the ponies came to live there. Another wall held the family tree of Misty of Chincoteague. History is evident everywhere we look!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Scipio for Tourists

One of the official duties of a municipal historian is to promote tourism. Scipio has a lot to recommend it to travelers, and I was pleased to hear that the Cayuga County Tourism Office is considering a booklet for various tourist-rich locations that gives a few details about our towns.
I thought it would be interesting to post a portion of my submission here on the blog:

Scipio, named for the Roman General, was formed as Township number 12 of the Military Tract on February 6, 1796. Our earliest settlers had arrived about 1790. Nestled snugly in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, our town’s eastern border is Owasco Lake, one of the loveliest Finger Lakes of central New York State.

A drive along State Route 38 on the west side of Owasco Lake from Auburn to Moravia takes less than half an hour and will show you some of the prettiest scenery in central NY, particularly in leaf-peeping season. Deer, turkey, songbirds and other wildlife are easy to spot on a leisurely drive or bike ride along our byways.

Our cemeteries are the final resting place for over 45 Revolutionary War veterans. Scipio also had 156 known Union veterans of the Civil War; approximately 10% of her population at that time; many of whom rest alongside their Revolutionary comrades.

Several of our buildings and structures are on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including the entire Hamlet of Sherwood where free men and women of European and African descent lived in harmony in the early 1800’s. The Underground Railroad was also very active in Scipio, particularly in Sherwood where several Quakers and like-thinking people actively assisted the freedom seekers. The women's suffrage movement so often associated with neighboring Seneca Falls had its proponents here in Scipio as well.

The Town of Scipio remains a unique mix of farmers, independent businesses, lakefront users and short-distance commuters who enjoy a greener, more country style of life over that of the city. Visit her on the web at

Revisiting Lucinda the Mountain Mourner

If you look back through this blog, you will find a series of posts about Lucinda the Mountain Mourner. A sad story with a heavy moral, when written it most likely did not contain “just the facts” but was styled in such a way as to present the story in a light favorable to the female protagonist.
This series of posts has generated a lot of discussion, and discussion is a healthy thing. It provides an opportunity to be open-minded; to look at something from a different angle and maybe gain some previously missed insight into the way people thought and interacted in a previous era.
History is full of examples of the healthy exchange of opinion and information, and hindsight is a wonderful tool. It allows us to add to our knowledge and sometimes to understand another point of view even if we do not agree with it. It is important however not to stray from the subject so far that we are no longer engaged in presenting and interpreting information. There is always a back story, and that is what is fascinating about our history.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vacation Time

School is almost over for this year, and it is time for vacation! This year, we are going to drive to the Ocean City area with the grandchildren, and take some day trips nearby. I am hoping to spend an afternoon at Jamestown, a place that fascinated me from the first time I read about the disappearance of the entire town.
There are also a lot of Civil War sites in Virginia. I have been looking on a website: for some routes to take. Several Scipio men fought in battles in Virginia. The 44th NY went through the Peninsula Campaign, and that was waged mainly in Virginia. I look forward to telling you all about some of the Civil War information I find and memorials I see.
Yesterday was the dedication of the new Veteran’s Memorial Park in Auburn, Cayuga County, NY. There were at least 200 folks there, many spending time before and after the ceremony walking the path lined with memorials to each war, from the Revolutionary War to the Iraqi War. If you are in the area, it is a beautiful park and well worth a stroll some sunny afternoon.
Wherever you vacation, take a few minutes to look for the monuments and parks. I'd love to hear about your favorite spot!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ebenezer Cheever in the Revolutionary War

Decoration Day, or Memorial Day as we now call it, is a day set aside to remember very ordinary heroes; our neighbors, our friends, the farmer down the road and all those who put aside their own needs for a time or forever for their country. Sometimes volunteering and sometimes not; injured, slain or returning in good health - what these men and women have in common is their sacrifice for others.
I have been working on compiling additional information on those from Scipio who served in any war and last week spent some time looking at the pension applications for Revolutionary War veterans. Today I’d like to write about Ebenezer Cheever, born in Connecticut and buried in Scipio NY. I would have enjoyed a conversation with him about his service!
Ebenezer was a privateer. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1763, he enlisted in New London in September of 1780 when he was barely 17 years old, on board the privateer ship Randolph commanded by Nicholas Fosdick and was out to sea for 2 months. During that time the Randolph engaged in a battle with the British privateer ship Hibernia, which they won and so took the Hibernia as a prize.
In 1781, Ebenezer enlisted on the ship Young Crommel of ten Grives ( a name I’m not sure I am spelling correctly). They took a British privateer ship this time as well, one mounting ten 4-pounders and one 12.
1782 finds Eb serving on the privateer The Randolph. The crew was taken by the British frigate Vestall. Ebenezer was on board the Vestall as a prisoner for about 2 weeks, then put on a transport ship for another 2 weeks, detained a few days in another transfer then spent six or so months as prisoner on the Jersey prison ship.
Besides the sea, Ebenezer served on land with the Connecticut state troops for about another 9 months spent primarily in helping to build forts. He was taken another time by British Ship of War Gallatee after a running fight of 10 or 12 hours and spent another 3 months on a prison ship. What stories he must have had to tell!
After the war ended, Ebenezer lived for 4 years in Vermont, for 5 years in Montgomery County NY then spent some time in Saratoga County, NY. From there, Eb moved to Cato NY for 5 years then to Scipio about 1815 where he continued to live when he gave his sworn statement in 1833. For his service, Ebenezer was given $30.00 yearly pension. In 1841, he died in Scipio and was buried in the Cornwell Cemetery on State Route 34, leaving behind his widow Jerisha Cheever.
Just an ordinary man, a farmer in central NY, Ebenezer served his country as so many more continue to do today. My hat is off to you all.

Visiting Scipio - Then and Now

Without fail when I hear from someone who is seeking information about their ancestors, they also want to know more about where they lived. What was it like? Did they have a log cabin, or a stick built home? What were the roads like and how did you find your way from place to place? Were there bears? Wolves?
Often, maps provide our best picture of the area and conditions at a given point in time, especially of transportation routes for the movement ever westward. Occasionally, local Historians or newspapers add some detail to that picture. I found one such article in an 1877 edition of the Auburn Journal.
The article describes the summer of 1825 in Scipio. 1825 was 26 years after Scipio was set off from Onondaga County, and 8 years before Ledyard and Venice were set off from Scipio. On a lot just east of Scipioville, where today Center Road leads us to Scipio Center, the news article states that a large number of Onondaga Indians set up an encampment.
During that summer they traded with Scipio’s early settlers by exchanging their handmade moccasins, brooms, baskets, and beadwork for farmer’s produce such as flour, butter, meal, lard, meat, vegetables etc.
When it became time to leave, the Indians simply cut down a large elm tree and made it into a canoe. Two neighboring farmers drew the canoe to Cayuga Lake, a distance of about 5 miles, with their teams of four horses.
The Indians launched it down Cayuga Lake; rowing until eventually they entered the Seneca River and moved on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Going to the Movies

I don't believe that Scipio ever had a theater. Her residents mostly went (and continue to go) to nearby Auburn, NY for that type of entertainment. My favorite place was Schine's Theater with it's planetary theme. Our choice of theaters has changed, but Auburn still supplies the product!
I went to see the new Star Trek movie last week with another "Trekkie" friend. Neither of us was sure that Star Trek without William Shatner as James T. Kirk would make the grade, but like gawkers at a natural disaster we couldn't resist going to see for ourselves.
And what you might ask does this have to do with a history blog? Well, in my opinion, this movie was a historian's view of the Star Trek crew. Where did they grow up? Who were their parents? How and where did they each meet? Were they friends right away? What was their childhood like and perhaps most importantly when did they learn to trust each other enough to follow Kirk and blast those Romulans out of the sky?
We are all influenced by our past, and the person we become is largely due to the customs and rules we were brought up to follow. This is the same whether we are looking back at our history as a country since the Revolution in 1776, or looking forward towards a Star Date in Kirk's Captain's Log.
Live long and prosper.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thomas Gray and the Cold Winter

Every winter I reach a point in time when I wonder why on earth I live in the northern USA. Then spring arrives in Scipio; the smell of lilacs and mock orange fills the air; the hummingbirds begin to dive and dart around the feeders while the blue jays squawk away and I remember why central NY is such a great place to live.
Winters can be harsh, and the new exhibit at the Scipio Town offices have some photos that show just how harsh they were only a few decades ago. The photos contributed by a former resident show snow banks on Skillet and Wyckoff Roads that reach to the tops of the telephone poles!
While those photos are from the 1940’s and 1950’s, it is not unusual for our wintertime environment to be harsh. The Fulton History website had an article from the January 28, 1914 Syracuse Post Standard that caught my eye.
According to the Post Standard, there was an extreme cold spell around January 14th, 1914. During that time, a Thomas Gray, age 63 and living alone, fell asleep beside the stove and when he woke several hours later, the fire had gone out leaving his extremities numb from the cold.
Even though he started the fire and tried to warm himself, the damage had already been done to his feet and hands. Two days later, a neighbor discovered his condition and called for help for Mr. Gray. Dr. Hoxie of Sherwood and Dr. Smith of Fleming came, and tried to send Mr. Gray to the hospital but he refused.
By the day of the article in the Post Standard, his condition had worsened and at the urging of Reverend Doran, he finally took the train to Auburn City Hospital, where he had several toes from both feet removed due to being frozen.
We forget sometimes how our early settlers had to work so hard just to feed their families, and to stay warm in the winter. Even in the early 20th century, before electricity came to Scipio, life was harsh and required a kind of constant vigilance to stay ahead of the game.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Harry Wilshire of Scipioville

April turned into a very busy month and before I knew it, was gone! I was finally able to get outside and pick some daffodils; this week I have been watching the newborn calves in my neighbor’s field. There is a new one almost every day! No doubt about it, Scipio is still a farming community for many of us.
I was also honored to receive Registered Historian status from the NYS Association of Public Historians in April. I have been working towards that for a few years now. Maybe you are reading this blog because you saw the address in the nice article in our local newspaper, The Citizen about my achievement.
Or maybe you are looking for an ancestor, or to learn more about central NY and the Finger Lakes in our early days.
An interesting way to learn more is to use the Footnote website to look up old news articles (there is a link to Footnote at the bottom of this page).
In the first decade of the 20th century, there was a local paper called the Auburn Semi-Weekly Journal. I found a story about a Scipioville teenager named Harry Wilshire that was quite intriguing.
The headline boldly declares in capital letters “CHASED BY A WHAT-IS-IT – Scipioville Youth is Driven from Woods by Strange Wild Beast.” With a heading like that I just had to read more.
It seems that Harry was a good boy who did not indulge in alcohol, lending credence to his “bloodcurdling” tale. Out for an afternoon of squirrel hunting on the Searing farm, and doing a little daydreaming, Harry suddenly looked up to see a wild beast, not five rods away.
Being a smart fellow, Harry shot at the beast, causing it to jump into the air, then make a beeline for poor Harry who turned and ran. Or as the writer put it, Harry “put on the high clutch for the open country.”Somehow, Harry managed to outrun this beast, and safely made it home. The description he provided later matched that of a bobcat. The story mentions that a similar creature was seen a few years past in Union Springs, less than 4 miles away.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Port Byron History Blog

I received an e-mail from the Port Byron Historian, Dawn Roe. She has started a blog for Port Byron. You can check it out at
There is a lot of history in Port Byron, I have saved Dawn's blog address so I can "follow" it - be made aware when she posts an update. I look forward to learning more about this town, especially its ties with the Erie Canal.

Chamberlain Family Tree

It happens every year about this time. The weather gets nicer (well, for a day or two) and people start thinking about vacations and visiting their ancestor's hometowns. I have been busy working with some folks doing just that. The Chamberlain family name has been in Scipio from early days, and I have found ties to several other families, including Schenck, Bliss, Post, Truesdell, and Bush - yes like the former Presidents. So I have spent some time at our Records Retention Office, the Cayuga County Historian's Office, and with the old Town meeting and town assessment records in an effort to help verify relationships back to Abner Chamberlain, a Revolutionary War veteran from Vermont who lived out his days in Scipio and Springport.
First up is to construct a family tree. I use Family Tree Maker software so I can add photos, comments, and facts about each family member then print a tree. This lets me see what is missing and who I need to concentrate on.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Photo of Scipio Cemeteries Etc.

I was looking for some information on our early businesses and citizens to give to the Committee working on Scipio's Comprehensive Plan when I found an old map. This map was apparently reviewed by a previous Historian and then provided to the Planning Board.
She had marked in some interesting places - old cemeteries that are gone or half-forgotten; houses that had walk-in fireplaces or were very old, etc.
With some help from our Cayuga County Rootsweb folks, I am now able to post a link so you can view this map for yourself. Let me know if you have anything to add!
Go have a look-see at:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Town of Brutus and Civil War

My last post started the list of information found on a yellowed sheet of paper, tucked in the Town Clerk book for Brutus. Here are the remaining entries on that paper. If the information is accurate, it means that Ausmun Titus was only 11 years old when he enlisted! Many young lads were caught up in the fervor of the times, and served maybe perhaps not directly in battle but in other ways shared the burden of the men:

William Goodwin Faatz, Brutus Cayuga County Born May 23, 1843, Weedsport, N. Y. E. Jan. 16, 1864. M. Jan. 16, 1864. Private 3 Y 16 Art(?) Bat. M. Enlisted at Elbridge, N. Y. Married. Parent’s names Jacob, Louisa Ernts (?). Occupation Stone Cutter. In the Battle of Fort Fisher. Discharged Aug 21, 1866. Still living. P. O. address Weedsport, N. Y.

Reenlisted: William Henry Christian. (Reenlisted) in 16 Cavalry, Co. G.
E August 1, 1863. M. August 19, 1863 for 3 Y. Enlisted at Buffalo, N. Y. Single. Parent’s names Jeremiah, Esther Ann Young. Occupation Butcher. In Battle of D(?)ranesville, Cull Pepper Court House, Warrington Station, Centerville, & wounded in the left shoulder, Ruckim (?). Discharged October 1, 1865. Still living. P. O. address Weedsport, N. Y.

Ausmun O. Titus, Brutus, Cayuga County N. Y. Born July 13, 1853 Cato N. Y. E. Sept. 2, 1864. M. Sep 2, 1864. Private, 3rd Art. Bat. A. 1 Y. Enlisted at Auburn, N. Y. collar (color) White, discharged July 3rd 1865. Still living. P. O. address Weedsport, N. Y.

Scipioville Remembered

Scipioville was once a busy little town in Scipio. I can remember the grocery store there from the 1960's, run by Horace and Alice Hitchcock King. I'm sure I can blame at least one of my fillings on those delicious chewy caramels with the nougat centers they used to sell! The store was previously owned and run by Alice's grandfather's brother, Fred Hitchcock.
Much earlier than that, in the 1840's, Scipioville was home to one of Scipio's first enterprises, the tannery built in 1797 by Israel Busby and eventually run by Lemuel Allen. The Citizen of January 11, 1976 had a great article by our current County Historian, Sheila Tucker, that described the process of tanning in those days.
In the 1840's, Scipioville also had a carding mill, and a hotel. By the 1890's, the tannery had mostly burned down, but Scipioville had a wagon shop, blacksmith, harness shop, sawmill and 2 feed mills. Fred Hitchcock ran his upholstery business in Scipioville for awhile until relocating in Aurora, NY.

There were several more businesses, and I am going to try to find the article by Sheila by going to and searching "Scipioville."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weedsport and Brutus Civil War men

I didn't copy all the Town Clerk books on veterans of the Civil War, but there were a few entries that caught my eye. Mostly, it was impressive that so many Clerks spent the time to be as accurate and thorough as possible. These are all available on microfilm from the NYS Archives, folks, as well as in their original paper form.
In the Town of Brutus book, I found a piece of paper tucked in the back. Here begins the information on that piece of paper:

Residents of Brutus but enlisted elsewhere:

George Marien Rhoades, Weedsport, Cayuga County
Born Mar 29th 1839, Cato, N. Y. , E. (enlisted) Aug 22, 1863, M. (mustered) Aug 30,1863, 3rd Art. Bat. C. Private, for 3 y. Enlisted at Syracuse N. Y. Coller W. (color white)
Single Man, parent’s names James F. Wethy Bennett farmer Discharged July 14, 1865
Still living P.O address Weedsport N. NY.

Augustus R. Jacobs Weedsport Cayuga County born May 28 1844 Camilus (?) N. Y.
E. Sept. 25th 1862 M. Oct. 22, 1862 151 Inf. Co H. Private, 3 y Enlisted at Lockport, N. Y. coller (color) White single man Parent’s names Clark D. Eliza Rude Occupation Shoe Maker In battle Gettysburg, Locu Grove, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Coal Harbor, Petersburgh, Mono (-?-) Bridge, Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek, Sailor’s Creek, and slightly wounded in two places. Still Living. P. O. address Weedsport N. Y. Discharged in June 1865.

Albert E. Jacobs, Weedsport Cayuga County born June 7, 1847 at Weedsport N. Y. E June 26, 1864 Private 3rd Artillery Bat. G 1 y. Enlisted at Jordan N. Y. collar (color) White Single parent’s names Clark D. Eliza Rude Occupation Shoe Maker Discharged May 28, 1865. Still living. P. O. address Weedsport N. Y.

Obviously, Albert and Augustus were brothers - same parents, same occupation. Augustus sure saw a lot of action, some of these battles listed after his name were fierce.

Sherwood School Photo of 1923-34

We have spent some time on our local schools in this blog, as well as through displays at Scipio Town Hall. Several of our "Scipioites" have contributed photos of our one-room schools, and names of teachers and classmates. Other local municipal historians have also, as school days were something we all have in common. I will be taking down my school display soon and replacing it with a display of some photos of our early citizens.
The December 10, 2008 edition of the Genoa-King Ferry Tribune had a photo of Sherwood Select School 1923 - 1924. All the students are lined up alongside of the school, 37 folks in all.
We have tried to identify folks in this photo for several months, having a copy of the photo on display and had some luck, and another historian had quite a bit of luck so the article in the Tribune included the names of close to half of the students.

Here is a link to that same photo:

Spring Cleaning

My mother always said you knew Spring was almost here when the sun came into the house at a new and brighter angle so you could see all the dust bunnies hiding in the corners! Using that as a barometer, I'd say by looking around that Spring must be arriving this weekend.
Of course, we will be setting our clocks forward one hour tonight too. The dates to start and end daylight savings time have been uniform within the USA since 1966. Those uniform dates have been changed a few times, in attempts to be more energy conscious. Since 2007, we have had an additional 4 weeks of daylight savings time by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Spring cleaning extended to this blog, and I have updated my profile to include an e-mail contact and other information. So if you want to ask a question or make a comment but prefer not to do it on the blog, you can contact me more directly.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ledyard's List of Civil War veterans

Here are T through Z.

Trim, Chestine
Tierney, Richard
Tru (?), John
Tierney, Thomas
Trim, Samuel
Thomas, James

No “U”

Vanderipe, John
Vigh, Joseph
Vreeland, Abram
Vogelie, Henry
VanMartin (s?), Abram
VanWagnor, Jacob
VanSchaick, William
Vanderipe, Jonathan

Wybert, Isaac
Winters, Samuel
Winters, Ithiel C.
Waight, Mervin
Winters, John S.
West, George
West, James
Weeks, Charles F.
Wilson, Thomas D.
Webster, George
Winters, Andrew L.
Winters, Elisha
Walker, Frances M.
Weeks, George M.
West, Eben F.
Weaver, West

No “X’ or “Y” or “Z”

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More of Ledyard's Boys in Blue

Here are Q through S.

Quackenbosh, Robert
Quackenbosh, Peter Jnr.
Quackenbosh, Peter Snr.

Rash, Charles
Reamer, Richard
Rumswell, George W.
Roe, Martin
Redman, James
Rapp, Elias
Reeves, Albert
Reynolds, Norman A.
Richardson, John
Runnell, George
Ray, John
Reynolds. Austin

Steele, John
Smith, Charles E.
Smith, Harrison
Stewart, James
Smith, Thomas
Smith, Charles H.
Smith, Harry F.
Smith, Ansel B.
Smith, George N.
Smith, Horace W.
Smith, William N.
Strain, Joseph
Starks, Edward W.
Scollins, Michael
Smith, James
Smith, Polhemus
Smith, Charles
Simpson, Henry
Sullivan, Cornelius
Stewart, Thomas
Shepherd, John D.
Shepherd, Amasa
Salisbury, George
Snushall, Daniel
Smith, William E.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Civil War Veterans

Today, I continue listing the Ledyard Civil War Men, letters L to P.

Lockwood, Norman
Locke, Abram
Lathrop, Matthias
Lewsk (?), William
Linmans, Michael

Mattison, Winchester
McKellop, James
Moreland, Dier(?)
Myers, Rufus
Murray, Abram B.
Morgan, Rozalio
Mallony, Anthony
McDowell Johnson
Miller, John
Meagher, Daniel
McDonald, David
Muir (Mair?), John
Murway, William
Murphy, Edward
Mulladay, Peter
McGordon, Daniel
Madden, John
Marlatt, Hamilton J.
Marlatt, John G.
Minard, James J.
Morgan, John

Neil, Kit
Nye, Charles F.

O'Day, Patrick
Oakly, William
O'Neil, William

Peelo, Ned
Peckham, Job
Peckham, William
Peckham, George
Patchin, William H.
Palmer, Morton
Philip, William
Patterson, Robert
Parmenter, Spencer
Patchin, Elisha D.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ledyard and the Civil War List

Today, I continue listing the brave men of Ledyard, letters G - K:

Grey, James
Grey, Thomas
Gifford, Henry
Garner, Martin B.
Green, John
Gosline, William
Gleason, James
Gifford, David
Gifford, Henry
Gunn, Charles
Graves, William
Gaskin, Richard

Hart, Frederick
Hanford, Edwin
Halstead, Samuel
Hamblin, Abram
Hickey, Thomas
Hawley, William H.
Hays, Homer
Hart, John
Hickox, John
Henkle, Augus
Hartnett, James
Hartly, John
Hornite (?), Pat
Hoagland, Nathaniel
Hoagland, Samuel

No "I"

Judson, Thomas
Jones, John
Johnson, John
Johnson, Maurice
Johnson, Charles
Jenner, Stephen
Jacobs, William

Kelly, Joseph B.
Kelly, Patrick
Keibler, Richard
Keeler, Joseph
Kerr, Robert
Kimball, William

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ledyard and the Civil War

The Ledyard Town Clerk on April 24th of 1866 was Allen Mosher. He was evidently a man who was precise. I find the first page of the Ledyard book of Civil War service has a hand-written notation after the typed words "the preceding pages contain a full and complete record of the names of all Officers and Soldiers" in Mr. Mosher's writing that says "so far as obtainable."
And the book is indeed neatly and fully written.
We will explore the Ledyard book because until 1823, Ledyard was included in the Town of Scipio. Many of these names will be recognizable, including another of my great-grandfathers. Here are the names in the Ledyard book, A - F:

Barns, Wm. M.
Blowers, John L.
Benedict, James
Bowen, George A.
Burns, Daniel
Bently, George S.
Baker, David A.
Beebe, Edwin
Brightman, Sylvester
Bennett, George W.
Barry, Patrick

Chidester, George
Coghlin, Jeremiah
Cowen, Wilson E.
Carey, Andrew J. Carter, William B.
Clayton, Elihu
Cook, Darius
Curtis, Edward
Carney, James
Coghlin, Bartholomew
Collins, Charles

Dimick, Homer
Dimick, Ogden

Evans, Samuel C.
Eager, Theodore
Ellis, Hiram
Evidin(?), Robert

Fowler, William H.
Fowler, Walter S.
Fowler, George W.
Fallin, John
Fuller, Samuel G.
Fry, John
Frederick, Edward
Flinn, Patrick
Fink, Robert
Fry, Hiram
Fox, David
Fitch, Henry W.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Alfred Burlew in the Civil War

I've mentioned the NYS Archives information that I received on some of Scipio's men in blue. Today, I have the paperwork for Alfred Burlew in front of me. The Burlew name is well-known in the northeastern part of our town. Some of that family lived for many years in the beautiful cobblestone house at the corner of Wyckoff Road and State Route 38. The 1850 census likely finds Alfred living with his mother, Harriett, and sister, Cornelia, in Springport, previously a part of Scipio. Other Burlew family members lived along or near Owasco Lake. I'm not sure how Alfred fits, but will let you know when I find out.
The NYS Archives show me that Alfred was born in 1844 in Springport, NY, and was a farmer at the time he enlisted at Scipio on September 1, 1864. Brown hair, black eyes, light complected and 5' 8" tall, Alfred was a recruit assigned from Regimental Headquarters to Company B of the 3rd Artillery. He mustered out on July 13 of 1865 with his Company at Syracuse, NY. Alfred's service was credited to the 24th Congressional District (each Congressional District was held responsible for the numbers they recruited).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photos of 111th Flag

Now, faithful readers, if I have figured this out correctly, clicking the link above should take you to photos of the 111th Voluneer Infantry Flag and a few other relevant photos. I will check it later, and if not will remove the post.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Civil War Scipio Men

Here are the remaining men listed in the Scipio Town Clerk record; letters T to Z:

Taylor, Sanford H.
Tracy, Alanson
Taylor, Wm.
Taylor, James
Tallman, Frank
Tallman, Lewis
Tripp, Wm. C.
Tallman, Thos. Cushman
Tompkins, Warren B.
Turner, John

No "U"

Van Dyne, Martin
Van Liew, John
Van Liew, Danl. Prine

Wilder, George
Wood, Henry L.
Wood, John S.
Webster, George F.
Webster, Frederick
Walker, John H.
White, John P.
Watson, Nelson S.
Watson, Loran (?) M.
Wibert, Walter
Wright, John
Wheeler, Freeland
Welch, James
Wing, James

No "X"

No "Y"

No "Z"

So ends the list of the 156 men listed for Scipio for Civil War service.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scipio Civil War Soldiers

Today I will continue to list our soldiers, from L to P.

Lawrence, Norman
Landon, Egbert B. S.

Miner, Joseph
Meagher, John
Manchester, Danl. W.
Mullally, Peter
Myres (?), John
Morris, John
McLaughlin, James
Myres (?), John W.
McCarthy, Edward
Mack, Robt.
Mickley, Wredson (?)
Meacher, Danl.

Neville, James

Olney, Adoniman (?) I.
Overholt, Ewing
Osborn, Henry

Pickens, Warren R. Pease, Wm. Wallace
Pease, George
Plunkett, William
Pease, Marcus
Phelps, William
Phelan, Thomas
Pierce, Orvill
Perry, Dixon

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 111th NY Volunteers

I hope to post some photos linked to this blog and having to do with the 111th next week. Already available for your viewing pleasure are the 4 Scipio pages of the 1890 special Veteran's Census, showing Benjamin Gould of the 111th among others.

The 111th is the Unit my great-grandfather Fred Peckham enlisted in, too. A lot has been written and said about these men, who you may have heard referred to as the Harper's Ferry Cowards. Mustered in at Albany for one short month, these green troops were pitted against seasoned soldiers from the Confederacy. Their leadership was also untested and hesitant and as a result, several brave men died or were injured at Harper's Ferry through no fault of their own.

From the stunning defeat at Harper's Ferry, the 111th was sent to guard rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas in Chicago. Camp Douglas was the Andersonville of the north. During the Civil War, it held over 18,000 troops and 1 in 5 of them died, in many cases due to the deplorable conditions. Food was withheld as were clothing and blankets. Executions were regular and the remains were left visible to serve as a warning to those still surviving. A heart of darkness for our nation indeed.

The 111th redeemed themselves in the eyes of their nation at Gettysburg, and there are some very well-written books about their battles. If you'd like a list of 4 or 5, make a comment to this post.

Fred Peckham was injured after only 6 months, and discharged due to that injury. He convalesced in Virginia until well enough to leave. On Valentine's Day, 1863, Fred left Virginia and went to Williamsport Pennsylvania. We will pick up his story another day.

Benjamin Gould, also in Company I of the 111th, was injured badly and discharged on April 1 of 1865. A quick check of the battles fought shows that the 111th engaged in the Appomattox Campaign in Virginia, March 28 to April 9 of 1865. Just before the fall of Petersburg on 4/2/1865, they engaged in battle at White Oak Ridge 3/29 - 3/31/1865. In that engagement, 64 enlisted men were injured but recovered. Benjamin Gould must have been among them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Civil War and Scipio

Today, I will list more of the soldiers in the Town Clerk book of 1865. Listed here are surnames of R to S:

Ross, David

Richardson, Martin V.

Reynolds, Norman A.

Robertson, Alanson B.

Robertson, Jas. R.

Rounds, Alfred

Reynolds, Joseph

Ross, James

Rinker, Edward B.

Rourke, John

Reynolds, Chas.

Sturgess, Augustus

Smith, Theodore

Shorkley, Pardon Thornton

Sandwick (?), Thomas

Sandwich, Isaac W.

Sullivan, Michael

Scott, Wesley

Strong, Philip

Simpson, Henry

Smith, Chas. H.

Savage, David A.

Steves, Edward A.

Sheldon, Frank

Sincerbox [sic], Chester

New York State Archives

In my last post, I told you some details about information I got from the NYS Archives. I have added a clickable link below to the Archives.
Not only is there Civil War information, the Archives has recently begun building in an index to their Revolutionary War records. Today, I'd like to help you access these indexes.
Click on the link below to the Archives, and select "Research" from the left side list. Next, select "research tools" then "state archives name index."
From here, you can put in a name and search for it in all the displayed records, or browse by alpha. Fill out the simple form and send it off with a check. Tell them Sandie sent you!
This includes indexes to Civil War records, and soldiers databases; Revolutionary War records such as pension records and related correspondence, military patent information and some Loyalist information as well. Also available here are records of Attica Correctional facility inmates for 1930 - 1981, and Motion Picture scripts for 1927 - 1965.
I am constantly amazed by discovering what the NYS Archives has available for researchers , historians and genealogists.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Benjamin Gould and the 111th Infantry

A blogster left us a comment about Benjamin, giving some very interesting details of his injuries and his final demise. Those comments are associated with the blog entry that has Benjamin's name listed and are worth a quick click.
Benjamin met his final demise not on the battlefield, yet as a direct result of his military service.
When I saw the comment, I decided to check the details in the Town Clerk book, and to look at the special 1890 veteran's census.
According to the Scipio census, Benjamin Gould was a Private in Company I of the 111th NY Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted on 8/2/1862 and was discharged on 4/1/1865, a period it says of 2 years, 7 months and 29 days.
In June of 1890 when the census was taken, Benjamin had a post office address of Merrifield. He was disabled as a result of his military service, and those disabilities were listed as deaf, blind and (rather cryptically), "hand off." I wanted to know more.
I went to the Town Clerk book of military service. Benjamin, as our list shows, is on page 6. From this book, I learned that Benjamin was born in Scipio in 1844; he was a single farmer at the time of enlistment and his father was named Dewitt Gould.
Benjamin was mustered in to the 111th on 8/20/1862, the town paying a bounty of $50.00. Living in Sherwood at the time the Clerk book was completed in 1866, the book noted that Benjamin lost his hand in battle and was discharged, a few months short of his 3 year enlistment period.
It should be a simple matter now to check what battles the 111th fought in around April of 1865, and that will tell us where Benjamin was likely injured so badly.
More to follow!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

NYS Archives CIvil War Records

Because I was in the middle of listing the names of Scipio men who served in the Civil War, I sent away to the NYS Archives to see what they could add to my knowledge.
I have checked many websites, and have some information from the National Archives,, rootsweb, Sons of Union Veterans - the list is extensive so I really didn't expect to learn much but it was only $3.00 so I sent in the form.
I asked for records on my 2 great-grandfathers, James Benton Hitchcock and Frederick Augustus Peckham. I knew that James had 2 brothers who also served and I asked for information on them, as well as one of the Scipio names, Alfred Burlew.
I wanted to compare what I got to the Town Clerk and other records that I have.

The info is good, showing enlistment and muster in and out dates; rank and company, place of birth and age, occupation and identifying facts such as height, color of eyes and hair. But the best part is the remarks section.
For example, my great-grandfather's paperwork was thorough, covering his enlistment and enrollment, and eventual promotion following a stay in a convalescent camp in Virgina for recovery from taking a minie ball in his knee at Malvern Hill. It was inaccurate about his place of birth (England) instead they had listed Seneca Falls, which is where he lived at his enlistment. I did learn he was a stove maker at that time, so I was pleased since I don't know much about his Seneca Falls years.
Next I reviewed the paperwork from James' brother, Frederick Hitchcock. Fred ran a furniture and upholstery shop in Aurora for many years, so I was not surprised to see his occupation listed as upholsterer. I also knew he was a private in the 19th Infantry, later changed to the 3rd Artillery; a story for another day.
What I was surprised to learn was that Fred was sick in a hospital in Rochester, NY for 2 months before being mustered out. I also did not know that he had gray hair at the age of 26, and served as a substitute for John H. Osborne.
A person could pay someone else to serve in their name during the Civil War; also a subject for more discussion another day.

Civil War Soldiers from Scipio

Say that title 3 times fast!

Today, I'll continue with listing G through K.

Green, Sam'l Walter
Gould, Benj. F.
Glenn, John (no, not the astronaut!)
Gallup, Wm. W.
Gisty (?), Richard
Gerber, Henry

Hoxie, Allen E.
Hill, Lyman
Humphrey, Jno. J.
Herring, Danl.
Hart, Fredk. R.
Haight, John
Hitchcock, Jas. B. (my maternal great-grandfather)
Heidson, Jno. A.
Hardman, Michael B.
Hartnet, James
Hillard, David D.
Hartley, Chas. W.
Hankin, Thomas
Hale, Geo. (?)

No "I"

Jones, Justan
Jagnelt (?), Alphius
Johnson, John
Jones, Edward

King, Wm. W.
Kerr, James R.
King, Wm.
King, Henry
Kelley, Andrew
Kirby, Patrick

Monday, February 2, 2009

List of Civil War Names C to F

Here is another partial list of names from the Town Clerk Book of 1865, photographed in it's entirety at the NYS Archives last September:

Cory, Edwin Y.
Casler, Oliver J.
Casler, Jacob
Coffin, Franklin
Casler, Henry
Corning, Andrew Yates
Corlies (?), Chas. W.
Canner, Edwin J.
Cain, Benj. S.
Crawfoot, Chas. F.
Cain, Andrew J.
Cain, Danl.
Cain, Ira
Campbell, James
Cooper, Saml. W.
Caruthers, Robt.
Clark, John
Crosby, John
Cowell, J.

Debois, Jacob S.
Doyst (?), Michael
Duck, Thos.
Daley, John
Doyst (?), Terry
Dismond, Timothy
Donahue, Danl.

Edson, Daniel
Edwards, Jas. Y.
Emeson (?), Lewis H.

Fordyce, Jno. Horton (Note: JNO = Jonathan)
Freeman, Lewis
Flynn, Francis
Fell, Edward
Flambugh (sic), Peter
Furgerson, Wen. (?)
Finn, Michael

Saturday, January 31, 2009

List of Civil War Names for Scipio Center

These are alphabetical, so today we will start with you guessed it the letter "A!"

Ames, Bishop C.
Alpine (?), Edward
Adams, John Dempster
Atchley, Wesley

Baird, Wm. A.
Baker, George
Brown, Chas. A.
Blowers, John
Burlew, Alfred
Butterby, James
Bates, Wm. E.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scipio in the Civil War

As promised, I have been busy getting started on Civil War information for our town. I have reviewed all the names listed in the 1865 Town Clerk's book of those who served. I believe it is pretty accurate, and our boys in blue numbered 156.
Next I will need to check the census data for Scipio in 1865. I believe we'll find about 10% of our residents served their country.
I will publish the names of those listed in the Town Clerk Book over the next few weeks, so check back to see if you recognize any names.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Civil War in Scipio

As you may have seen in the Auburn Citizen newspaper, I am doing some research in preparation for the 150th anniversary of our Civil War, which will begin in 2011. My visit to the NYS Archives provided a wonderful resource; the town clerk book that lists all soldiers from the town, and some facts such as what unit they fought in, when and where they were wounded, etc.
I thought it worth noting that Auburn, our county seat, has a Civil War memorial that was dedicated in 1921.
A friend and fellow history buff let me borrow and photograph a book about the memorial published in 1928. I will have to add this book to my E-Bay wish list!
This book describes the unveiling and dedication of the memorial, complete with the ceremony and public addresses given on May 30, Memorial Day, 1921. The foreword mentions that the horse trough at Richardson Square was cleared to make a place for the memorial, which you can find located beside Auburn's City Hall.
The quest to create a Civil War memorial was begun in April of 1903, but the committee disbanded for lack of interest in February of 1904. It was not until 16 years later in April of 1919 and with the personal efforts of General William A. Seward that a serious effort began. General Seward did not live to see its completion, but his son William Jr. was Chairman of the Dedication Committee. The Commander of the NY Department of the GAR or Grand Army of the Republic, presided over the dedication ceremonies.
The Cayuga County Board of Supervisors provided $15,000; checking that in today's dollars, it would be about $150,000. There were several smaller contributors. Among them was the Owasco Chapter, NSDAR who gave $100 ($1,000 in 2009). Mary S. V. Wait of the Owasco Chapter was a member of the Dedication and Unveiling Committee.
As you can tell from the size of the contributions and the list of those who participated, this Civil War memorial was a very big deal for Cayuga County. The next time you are in Auburn, stop by City Hall and take a look at it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

NYS Library

It is hard not to find something interesting at the NYS Library website (see the link below). I decided to search for Scipio information at Heritage Quest, available through the Library, in the Congressional papers. Pensions were reviewed by a Congressional Committee and a report was made on December 22, 1836 on the petition of a John Bosworth.
John alleged that he was captain of a company of infantry in the town of Scipio in 1814 and was ordered by a General John Tiltason to march with his company to Buffalo and join with General Brown's army at Fort Erie.
John went on to say he did so, but wasn't provided with tents or camping equipment and for over a month was forced to endure "the peltings of severe storms, by night as well as by day, wholly unsheltered by a tent or any other covering - lying on the bare ground, and receiving directly on his body the wet and the cold as they were dispensed by the elements;" also he was 31 and a strong young man to start but the above exposure had caused him excruciating suffering. His joints misshapen by rheumatism, John became dependent on others for everything, and was destitute. Four witnesses also testified that he was a helpless cripple.
A soldier's lot has never been easy.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Patents from Scipio

As I mentioned in my last entry, I read a copy of Jethro Wood's plow patent. Curious, I looked further and found a few more patents filed by Scipio residents.
Patented on July 19, 1881 was a road scraper, invented by John N. and Theodore Wallis. John was of Scipio; Theodore from Fleming.A labor-saving device, the declared purpose of the road scraper was to scrape up earth in such a manner that it also served as a dumping cart. The earth was taken up by the road scraper, transported to wherever it was needed, and deposited without a lot more labor. A timesaver as well as a back saver!
1970, 1974, 1979 and 1980 found patents by Bernard Tuft on behalf of General Electric Company. In 1978,Robert Duffany invented a radio frequency intereference suppresosor conductor for Gulf & Western.
In 1884, The Wallis men were at it again, this time inventing an improved horse hay rake that revolved with less vibration. I imagine that made parts last longer, don't you?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year in Scipio

It seems hard to believe. I blinked, and December was gone! My son reminds me that the older I get the faster time passes. I hate to say he's right, but...
So here we are in a brand new year - 2009. Scipio has been Scipio for over 200 years, imagine that.
I took a look back and about 100 years ago, electricity first arrived. Empire Gas & Electric was started in 1911 by Edward H. Palmer of Geneva, according to the NYSEG/RGE Credit and Collections Department. Twenty-five years later, Empire served over 31,000 customers between the four counties of Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga and Yates.
Another hundred years in the wayback machine finds us in Scipio in 1809. It is a bustling little town. Earlier settlers had stayed and begun to carve a living out of the wilderness between Owasco and Cayuga Lakes. By 1809, families were arriving and setting up in the mercantile business; we had several farms and small business enterprises such as blacksmiths, harness making, a distillery, wagon makers and so on. In a few short years, schools and churches were built and incorporated and the area thrived.
In 1819, Jethro Wood's plow was patented, as filed and witnessed by Samuel L. Mitchell and I. G. Bogert on August 14 of 1819. Through the NYS Library, I was able to print a copy of the patent. Jethro explains in minute detail why he claimed an exclusive privilege in the invention and improvement of the plowshare or cutting edge.