Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas day!
Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on Scipio and central NYS.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Always Remembered Gravesite Maintenance

I heard from my neighbor this week that the new website for Always Remembered Gravesite maintenance is up and running. I've placed a link to it at the bottom of the page. You may recall reading in a November post on this blog that Always Remembered is a business provided by a Scipio family to anyone wanting to ensure that a grave is cared for, here in Cayuga County as well as in our neighboring counties.
Combined with the recent project we partnered in with Cayuga Community College to research and document some of Scipio's oldest burials, it seems to me that Scipio respects and honors her ancestors to a great degree. What a nice gift!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Revisiting Lucinda with Nancy Walker

Lucinda the Mountain Mourner - that title seems custom made for a sad song. This blog has shared Lucinda's story; her book is available at our town offices and recently was also listed as available to order in reprint through the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.
Singer Nancy Walker has now given voice to Lucinda's story in her song "The Mountains Are Calling." Nancy contacted me while she was creating her song, when she discovered Lucinda's story on my blog. She was awarded a grant through the Saratoga County Program for Arts Funding (SPAF) which partially funded her final product, a CD named True Colors.
According to Nancy's website at, SPAF is a re-grant program of the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization (DEC) Program. The program supports the arts and cultural programming in Saratoga County communities through Project Grants and Artist Grants.
Yesterday, a complimentary copy of True Colors arrived in the mail and I heard Lucinda's story as sung by Nancy for the first time. The acoustic guitar and echoing background of Nancy's retelling of this young woman's tragic life evokes the sad inevitability of Lucinda's shame, her family's unquestioning acceptance of the morals of their times and the potential consequences in earlier and less forgiving times of an unwise choice. My hat is off to Nancy!

Ten Thousand and Counting

I am so pleased to know that this blog has exceeded ten thousand hits! It is encouraging to know that there are so many people interested in central New York and this small town nestled up against Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes.
Thank you for listening, and let me know if there is a topic you'd like me to write about.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ambrose Sperry's Daughter

It has been a real pleasure working with Cayuga Community College students over the past few months on their cemetery project. They have sometimes unearthed new information, and have shown me some great new research ideas.
One young lady researched the Ambrose Sperry family. Born in Connecticut in 1755 and buried in Scipio in 1817, Ambrose served his country in the American Revolution with the 4th Regiment out of Connecticut.
This dedicated student discovered a lovely family history written by Ambrose's granddaughter that attests to the strength and determination of this man. He was present for the Siege of Boston, serving for about 6 years in total, and was present for the taking of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, the same place where his father had met his fate as an Englishman battling for the fort with the French in 1757.
Ambrose developed typhoid fever, but somehow survived and came to Scipio about 1800 and remained until his death in 1817. Patience followed just 3 years later in 1820. Both are buried in the United Baptist Cemetery, which no longer exists. It was located just south of Scipioville across from Goose Lane. It seems a shame that we don't yet have a marker for that location, or know for certain what happened to the gravestones. However, we now have a nice Sperry family file located at Scipio thanks to this student project. Included in this file is a photograph of Ambrose and Patience's daughter Lucetta. If you look at the blog entry titled "Scipio Center NY History" (just 2 entries before this one), you can click on a picture of a census page. That will take you to a series of 7 thumbnail photographs that include one of Lucetta Sperry. Thanks to the collaboration between the Town of Scipio and Cayuga Community College, future Sperry researchers will find this information more easily and that was the whole purpose of the project!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Excitement Builds

As we reach the end of another year, I am excited to draw to your attention the fact that since I began this blog in October of 2007, it has drawn far more attention than I ever thought it would. Today, it is closing in on the 10,000 view mark, just 13 views away. That will be a cause for celebration for this little town in central NY.
So tell your friends, tell your neighbors, let's get clicking and reach that exciting milestone so I can share it in my year end report to Town Supervisor Keith Batman and NYS Historian Robert Wieble.

Scipio Center, NY History

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dutch Reformed Church of Fleming Again

Earlier this month, I published a list of marriages of Scipio folks that I found in a transcription from the Dutch Reformed Church of Fleming records. Fleming is our next door neighbor, and many of the other names are familiar so I decided that I would publish them as well.

The earliest marriage in the transcription pages that I have was performed on March 16, 1844 by B. W. Knight. On that date, Oliver Perry Hicks married Lucinda Philips of Fleming. It would be interesting to find out if Oliver is related to the family that Hicks Road, located in the southwestern part of Scipio, is named for.

Rev. A. B. Winfield performed several marriages in 1845:
On February 8 Wm. Morgan of Oswego married Elizabeth Thompson of Sand Beach (Sand Beach is the name of the area this church is located in. In later years, it was known as Sand Beach Dutch Reformed Church until its sale in recent years first to the Mennonite community who used it as a school and place of worship, then to the owners of the Springside Inn, who christened it "The Point" and use it as an event building).
On December 25th, Erastus Strong and Elizabeth L. Tryon, both of Fleming, tied the knot, ensuring an easy to remember Christmas anniversary!
On September 23rd, 1846, Rev. Winfield married Richard Selover and Rachel Ammerman of Niles.
January 6th, 1847 brought the wedding of Nathan T. C. Haines of Chatauqua County NY to Mrs. Mary W. Hamilton of Sand Beach.
January 16th, 1847 was the wedding day for Mr. Cornelius Van Arsdale and Miss Hannah V. D. Van Nest of Sand Beach.
January 18th, Rev. Winfield married Mr. Benjamin Van Auken and Miss Elizabeth Crawford of Sand Beach. And on April 11th, 1847, he united Thomas Jorolemon and Miss Maria Burnet, both of Owasco.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Scipio Post Office

Every trip to the Scipio Post Office brings to mind the old Post Office that was located on the east side of State Route 34 almost where it intersects with Center Road, in the front of the house where the Powers family lived. Mr. Powers was the Postmaster for many years. I recall visits there to mail a package or buy stamps in the 1950's and 1960's.
As time passed, that building eventually was replaced by a home and Scipio built a new Post Office just down Route 34. Venice Center's post office was closed and Venice merged with Scipio when their postmistress retired, and their zip code was dropped in favor of using Scipio's.
The postal system itself has been in use in our country since Revolutionary War Times, headed originally by Benjamin Franklin. Home delivery wasn't added until the 1920's.
I've been doing some research on the postal system, for an article I am writing about a Scipio man named Harry Lawler. Harry was a rural carrier for many years. The first reference I found to his occupation was in 1907 when he would have been about 23 years old. The latest reference is in 1934 when Harry would have been a postal carrier for at least 27 years.
While researching Harry and his career, I stumbled upon a couple of news articles about Scipio Post Office being created. May 1st of 1934 was the day that Scipio Post Office first opened its doors. The Postmaster was George McDonald. As part of this new arrangement, on April 30, 1934, the Post Offices at Ensenore and Merrifield were closed. Moravia rural carrier Millwood Fitch retired with 30 plus years under his belt, leaving room for George Shorkley who had been the Merrifield rural carrier to transfer to the Moravia route, and Harry Lawler to transfer in from Ensenore as Scipio's rural carrier. Timing was everything, I guess!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Harry Lawler

The post you see directly below this one was my feeble attempt to learn how to use and I have a photo of Harry Lawler, who was a rural mail carrier for Scipio since the Scipio Post Office was opened on May 1, 1934.
I wanted to sharpen this photo a bit, then post it to this blog. Easy, right?
Each website on its own is fine, but somehow I missed a beat when transferring the photo to this blog. So what you see below is one page of the Special 1890 census of Civil War Survivors for Scipio.
Click on this census page, and it will lead you to the other 3 census pages - 2 more for Scipio and one for Venice. And you will also see there, finally, the photo of Harry Lawler!

Scipio Center, NY History

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The Fiddler on the Roof had it right when he sang about "Tradition." Perhaps more than any other holiday, Thanksgiving smacks of tradition. Every family has certain foods they like on the table, and people travel many miles to be with those they love.
Although harvest celebrations and days of thanksgiving were celebrated since Pilgrim times, the Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, smack in the middle of our Civil War. In 1941, Congress officially declared Thanksgiving to be the 4th Thursday in November.
I have celebrated Thanksgiving many ways. As a child, we all shared the day with my paternal grandparents. I remember ripping my dress at about the age of 5, while engaged in an exciting game of "crawl under the big long table as fast as you can with a bunch of cousins."
Eventually, my mother was the hostess as our family grew. My favorite photo of her was snapped in a moment on Thanksgiving Day. She has her worn pink apron on over her good housedress, and her smile reaches from ear to ear. I think she had just put the big yellow Pyrex bowl on the dining room table, filled with perfectly mashed potatoes. That picture always brings a smile to my face because it helps me recall the day with startling clarity.
So what does Thanksgiving mean to you? Is it about gathering with family? Are you the host, or do you travel every year? Who carves the turkey? Take a few minutes right now to note what Thanksgiving has meant to you personally through the years. Now, share that with someone dear to you, and take a picture. They will cherish the memory.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dutch Reformed Church of Fleming, NY

In 1919, the NYS Genealogical and Biographical Society transcribed the records of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church at the Owasco outlet in Fleming, Cayuga County, NY. Edited by Royden Woodward Vosburgh, I obtained copies of pages listing marriages from 1844 to 1850; a few from 1854, and 1861 to 1863. Fleming borders the northern edge of Scipio, so several names were of interest. It is difficult to find vital records from these years, so I hope you find one here that you have been seeking!

The Reverend A. B. Winfield performed these marriages:
Henry Farnam married Cornelia Adeline Darrow of Scipio on December 4, 1845.
John H. Smith married Jane Elizabeth Knox of Scipio on March 18, 1846.
Herman Macumber married Mrs. Margaret Knox of Scipio on October 14, 1846.
William De Groff of Fleming married Helen Holmes of Scipio on October 26, 1848.
David Keeles married Lydia Close of Scipio on December 3, 1850.

The Reverend S. R. Brown performed the marriage ceremony for Baxter Colvin of Cato and Miss Mary A. Knox of Scipio in June of 1854.

These weddings were performed by the Reverend John Garretson:
John Graham of Fishkill, Dutchess County, NY married Phebe A. Hasbrook of Scipio, Cayuga County, NY on September 18, 1861.
George W. Miller of Scipio was married to Celia Stocker also of Scpio on August 28, 1863.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Scipio Comprehensive Plan

I saw an article in the Citizen newspaper the other day that Scipio residents have until November 22, 2010, to submit comments on the proposed Comprehensive Plan. A committee of several dedicated town residents put a lot of effort into crafting this document, the result of those surveys sent to us all last year. You can view the draft Plan online at: You can make comments or ask questions of your Town Board, or send an e-mail with the subject "Scipio Comprehensive Plan Comment" to

There are some very interesting parts to this plan, which will be voted on by your Town Board after November 22, and drive future zoning and other local laws. Perhaps the entire town will become a Historical site, like the Hamlet of Sherwood. Shall we allow building near our lake? Bigger farms? A park, or other common green space?

A lot of hard work has been done; now it is time for us to review and be thoughtful. What do you see Scipio becoming in the future? Only you can decide.

Always Remembered

A municipal historian spends a lot of time focusing on cemeteries. Taking photos, reading headstones, and even locating where they are or used to be. Often the small rural cemeteries and headstones show their age. Families have moved away from the area, and little to no maintenance occurs to their ancestral grave sites.
That's why I was especially pleased to learn that a Scipio family runs a business of grave site maintenance.
In talking to the owner, she tells me this is the most personally fulfilling work she has ever done. Their company provides a menu of grave site services to make sure that your ancestor's final resting place is being kept neat, clean and well-groomed. Although located in Cayuga County, they also service grave sites in our neighboring counties: Onondaga, Tompkins, Seneca, Cortland, Wayne Monroe, Ontario and Livingston Counties.
They will visit once a season, once a week or any range in between. For $85 to $320 a season, you can arrange for basic clean up, planting and watering of flowers,washing of the stone, and other services. Always Remembered will then send you a photograph that shows you how nice the cemetery looks afterwards, and to document their work. I am always glad to see another new business in Scipio.
If this service sounds like something you'd like to know more about, send an e-mail to them at:

Friday, November 12, 2010

History Detectives

I think I mentioned in a previous blog that I have been spending some time working with students on a Scipio Cemetery project. It has been interesting to learn and grow with them! Some students have accomplished a lot independently, and are teaching me new resources and even some different research methods. Others have experienced an awakening of the importance of honoring our ancestors; of "marking their spot" so to speak so that they don't become forgotten and pushed aside.
Like any other small town Scipio has experienced the loss of old cemeteries through benign and not so benign neglect. In the 1960's dedicated ladies from the local Daughters of the American Revolution completed an enormous project; they documented all existing headstones. Some have fallen, disappeared, or been used to pave walkways since then and we would perhaps never know of their existence.
One student was concerned at the fact that an entire cemetery and the headstones were destroyed and displaced, in the name of progress. A Revolutionary War veteran was among those now without any marker to guide us to his final resting place so we can pay our respects to him for his brave deeds.
Scipio is right now trying to create a Comprehensive Town Plan. You can view it online at We struggle with maintaining economic viability while preserving the history of this Military Tract town. How do we find the balance?
We find the balance by being involved; by showing up. Read Scipio's proposed plan and ask questions; send your comments to your Board or to with a subject of "Scipio Comprehensive Plan Comment."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peter Fort and the Battle of New Orleans

One of the first songs I remember my sister singing along to on the radio was “The Battle of New Orleans.” Sung by Johnny Horton in 1959, you can hear it on youtube if you have a high-speed connection to the Internet. My favorite verse was always this one:
They ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
An' they ran through the bushes where the rabbits couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Peter Fort was there! The article that I blogged two days ago including the names of so many veterans also included an excerpt from Peter Fort's partly finished autobiography.

Peter’s family was Huguenots who came from France via Holland. Of the three brothers who came to America, Peter was descended from the one who became a farmer in Poughkeepsie, NY by the name of Major Abram Fort, who was a Revolutionary War veteran. That is where Peter was born on November 27, 1783, one of 11 children.
He recalls the first steamboat, the Clermont, and watching it come noisily up the Hudson River as he worked in the field, and his family was personally acquainted with the man who went on to become NYS Governor, Dewitt Clinton. In 1799, aged 16 or so, Peter sailed off to New York City to seek his fortune, a voyage that took 2 or 3 days. Then in October of 1808 at the age of 25, Peter sailed out of NYS and after a voyage of 39 days, reached New Orleans.
In 1814, he joined Captain Beal’s company of rifles, an independent organization of 63 men but under the immediate orders of General Jackson. Peter was the only survivor of that rifle company. His brother John A. Fort was a Colonel on General Jackson’s staff.
Peter speaks of the return to New Orleans and the welcome of its citizens. He remained there only until 1815, and then went to New York with his health completely broken down. He returned by sea for a visit in 1820, but never made his home in the Crescent City again.
In 1821 Peter and his brother John and John’s wife undertook an overland journey to New Orleans. It took them about two and a half months to make that journey. He remained in New Orleans until April 10, 1822, when he took a ship for Providence, Rhode Island, reaching that place on May 4, 1822. He says his life from then on was “cosmopolitan” and that he lived in Salisbury Connecticut, New York City, Albany New York, Schenectady and Geneva. He says “I kept my horse and gig and was seven years searching for a home until in 1838, being in my 55th year, I found it in Aurora.”
Peter was conscientious of his right to vote, and voted for Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Polk, Pierce and Buchanan for President through the years.
Never married and never a church-going man, although of Dutch Reformed background, he nevertheless advised anyone reading his autobiography to read the Bible. He gave God credit for his longevity and endeavored to live his life in His service.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veteran Burials

I have been prospecting again on and I found an interesting article written in June of 1925. It seems the Attorney General appointed an E. P. Grey of Aurora to take a census of soldiers buried in the Town of Ledyard. E. P. also apparently conducted this census in some other small rural cemeteries in Cayuga County. Here is what he reported.

Cuyler Cemetery in Ledyard:
Benjamin Ledyard
Major General Asa Burnham

War of 1812:
Philip Buckhout at Scipioville (Evergreen) Cemetery
Peter Fort in the Fort vault, Aurora (and there is a story to go with this man, check back soon!)

Ira Terwilliger and Daniel Nichols in private ground in Aurora

Civil War soldiers in Oak Glen Cemetery:
Thomas Sherman
Captain George Smith
Lt. Henry Smith
John Winters
Nathan Prue
Charles H. Hardy
Peter Matthews
Thomas Hickey
Davis Fox
Daniel McGordon
Cornelius Van Horn
Hiram Ellis
Henry Shaw
Charles Smith
Lt. Lansing Tracy
William Graves
John Vanderipe
Dr. M. B. Van Buskirk
Charles Pendell
Charles Gunn
Ithiel Winters

Scipioville Cemetery Civil War soldiers:
Eban West
James Rose
Benjamin Cain
George Blowers
George Austin
Elisha Winters
Davis Ross
Chester Sincerbeaux
Dog Corners Cemetery Civil War soldiers:
James Smith
Theodore Hogar (?)
Justin Trim

Civil War soldiers in Friends Cemetery, Poplar Ridge:
William Peckham
John Peckham
Albert Doan

Civil War soldiers in Ledyard Cemetery:
Thomas Peckham
Charles Nye
Seward Dean
Thomas G. Steward
Charles Smith
William M. Smith
Oliver F. Bennett
George P. Wheat
William H. Jones

Civil War soldiers in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Aurora:
Thomas Turney
Patrick Hickey
Jeremiah Coughlin
Thomas Quinn
William Goslin
John Dane

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Early War Graves

I guess you would believe I have been down a rabbit hole for the last few months since I have not been writing but nothing could be farther from the truth. Although I haven't posted since mid-September, I have been kept quite busy working with students of American History at Cayuga Community College. Our Town Supervisor arranged in partnership with their professor to conduct a study of some of our cemeteries. Students have been assigned a particular name, and are gathering information on the individual, their family, and any other items of interest they discover.
Often in Scipio, this includes Revolutionary War or Civil War service records. It has been refreshing to watch these students catch the genealogy bug! And I am learning new facts from them as well. Just this morning I learned that Ambrose Sperry, buried in one of our small cemeteries, was a Revolutionary War veteran, serving the state of Connecticut and settling here in Scipio until his death in 1817 at the age of 62. He may also have served in the War of 1812. Ambrose's wife was Patience Wheeler.
This same cemetery also holds the remains of Dr. Perley Kinney, whose first wife was Mary Sherwood. She was the daughter of Judge Seth Sherwood, who came to Scipio from Vermont in 1794 or 1795 and gave his name to the town. Dr. Kinney came from Connecticut, perhaps as early as 1797, when he would have been about 28 years old.
There are only about 5 other known burials in that little Baptist Cemetery, now defunct. Some of our very first settlers rest here, and I am happy to see that their stories are being preserved.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Museum Day

When I visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois this summer, I was pleasantly surprised to get a substantial discount on the admission price because I am a card-carrying member of the NYS Archives Trust. The museum was wonderful, and I want to return since there was so much to see. Most museums that I have visited have an enormous amount of historical information. Often, you can get a sense of earlier times and what life was like for those that came before you.
Saturday September 25th is Museum Day. Free admission!
Museum Day is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian Media in which participating museums across the country open their doors for free to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket, which you can download from the Smithsonian website. You can also find a list of participating museums there. So pack up the family and make a day of it by exploring some of the museums near your home!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Winter of 1779 - 1800

A lot of people who research their ancestry are interested not only in finding our who they descend from, but where they came from and what conditions were like. It's difficult to imagine walking from Sherwood to Aurora instead of driving it in 10 minutes; much less remembering to take your gun and knife in case of bears or wolves, and following a blazed trail through a forest of trees 50 feet or more tall. On a recent research trip to the NYS Archives in Albany, I was thinking about neighboring towns that used to be included in Scipio. Not only towns, but counties. I picked up a book titled "History of Seneca County New York 1766 to 1876."
Chapter 3 starts off like this: "At the close of the Revolution northern and western New York was a wilderness, but the march of armies and the forays of detachments had made known the future promise of these erst untrodden regions, and Companies, State and Government, took immediate steps as policy and duty seemed to dictate, to acquire their ownership. It is notable that the seasons seemed to conspire to render the woods untenable to the Indians when the time approached for the first few isolated settlements of adventurous pioneers. The winter of 1779 – 1800 was marked by its unprecedented severity. All western New York lay covered by a blanket of snow full five feet in depth. Wild animals, hitherto numerous, perished by thousands. The dissolving snow in Spring disclosed the forests filled with the carcasses of the deer, and the warlike Senecas became dependents on English bounty and hoped for British success.”
These few paragraphs, flowery as they are, still paint a vivid portrait of what that winter was like. Imagine our early settlers, most living in crude buildings or log huts of one or two rooms, huddled around a fireplace while the wind outside howled and the snow banks piled up against the walls of the house and the barns and outbuildings. Imagine going outside for more wood, or to feed and care for the livestock. An illness serious or life-threatening enough to need a doctor’s presence would require a ride through snowdrifts in a forest filled with hungry predators, if there was even a doctor close enough to return. People learned to be self-sufficient, or they did not stay long in the wilderness that was New York.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Constitution Week 9/17/2010 to 9/23/2010

I think that September 11th is a good day to remind everyone that right around the corner is Constitution Week.
Friday, September 17, 2010, begins the national celebration of Constitution Week. The weeklong commemoration of America’s most important document is one of our country’s least known official observances. Our Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties and freedom, and to ensure those unalienable rights to every American.
The resolution was adopted by the U.S. Congress and signed into Public Law (#915) on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The aims of the celebration are to (1) emphasize citizens’ responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, preserving it for posterity; (2) inform the people that the Constitution is the basis for America’s great heritage and the foundation for our way of life; and (3) encourage the study of the historical events which led to the framing of the Constitution in September 1787.
The United States of America functions as a Republic under the Constitution, which is the oldest document still in active use that outlines the self-government of a people. This landmark idea that men had the inalienable right as individuals to be free and live their lives under their own governance was the impetus of the American Revolution. Today, our Constitution stands as an icon of freedom for people around the world.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Auburn Cars

While I was visiting the ACPL in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I stayed in a nearby town. I couldn't resist, it was the town of Auburn!
The town is where the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg cars (ACD) were made and I visited that museum, which is on the National Register of historic places.
Much of the first floor is the actual showroom from the early 1900's, the time when these cars were being sold. All the original Art Deco lights, wallpaper or paint and flooring is still there and makes an awesome background for these luxurious cars. I took several photos, and I am going to put together a display for the Scipio Town Offices.
These cars were sleek and luxurious, and I had a hard time settling on a favorite! There was also a display of specialty cars that included a baby blue Shelby mustang, a personal favorite of mine. The second floor had displays of the engines and a room featuring the very first of these cars. On the walls were several prints by famous architect of that era, Frank Lloyd Wright.
The gift shop was nice, and I almost bought myself a wireless computer mouse that was a facsimile of the Auburn autos but settled on a t-shirt and a magnet. I would visit again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Covered Bridges

Another side trip from Auburn Indiana was to Spencerville, De Kalb County, Indiana, to see the covered bridge. This is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
This web address gives some details and photos about the bridge:
I drove across the bridge. It is over St. Joseph's River, a wide enough river that apparently has some good fishing spots as well as a place to put a boat in. I could see upstream a small rapids, and looking downstream a more peaceful meander of water around a bend. I stayed in the parking area for a bit and listened to the sounds of nature, feeling right at home.

Fort Wayne Library

I am still on the road, folks, in Ohio for a few days at my niece and nephew's home near Akron. I spent the last few days at the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I encourage anyone who can to spend some time there. It is a large facility, and genealogy is only one facet of what it offers.
The family history room was amazing. I took a book cart with me and as I filled it from my surname list, I found a few other names of interest. As a Scipio Historian, how could I resist the Howland histories, or the Battey and Howie books?
I had downloaded my Family Tree Maker and personal family wants onto my Netbook, and that was very helpful as I was able to be sure I had the correct family line. I found some information that was previously unknown on two of my families that I had pretty much been stalled out on.
I took the cart to a table. There are plugs for computers, or there are research computers available for use. Cameras are allowed, and I took several photos of books pages that I can print and review when I have more time. Copiers are right there as well. And if you use one of the ACPL computers, and find something to save instead of printing it you can use a thumb drive storage device.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Springfield Illinois

Today was mostly a travel day for me on my way to Springfield. This morning I left Richmond, Indiana and followed the National Road, Route 40, to Glen Miller Park. There I saw the Richmond Madonna of the Trail.
The National Road is pretty interesting and you can find out more about it at
The Madonnas were the brain child of the Daughters of the American Revolution. They commemorate those brave and hardy pioneer women who bore the children, planted the gardens, and learned to shoot as well as sew as they traveled by wagon towards the west. I hope you have an opportunity to see one of the Madonnas. For now, I will try to add one to the blog.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Travels With Sandie

Today's blog comes to you from Ohio! This Scipio Historian is on the road. Certainly, my trip will be easier than that of my ancestors. I am heading for a conference; the National conference of the Daughters of Union Veteran's of the Civil War. It is being held in Springfield, Illinois - the land of Abraham Lincoln. I am excited about the opportunity to see the Lincoln Museum and the several other Lincoln sites in the area. I also look forward to experiencing my first National DUVCW conference. It will be helpful as we prepare for next year's conference, scheduled to be in Syracuse NY.
On my way to Springfield, I will be traveling sometimes on Route 40, otherwise known as the National Road. This stretches across the center of our country, and was the route taken by so many of our pioneer ancestors. I will also spend some time on Route 30, the Lincoln Highway. There are many historical sites along the way and I hope to share them with you as I go.
At the end of the week, I will be going for the first time to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is one of the largest genealogical libraries in our country, and I have a list. Actually, two lists - one for me and a few of my "brick walls" and one for Scipio and Cayuga County. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Loss to our Community

I'd like to take a moment to say I will really miss a fellow historian. Hallie Sweeting of Sterling passed away into history on July 8, 2010. She was part of our Fillmore Days celebration just a few weeks ago; that's just the kind of person Hallie was.
She loved her town and it showed. She wrote several books about it, and was a source of information and assistance to the general public as well as her fellow historians. She had been at it for more years than I can count, and will not be an easy act to follow.
Thank you, Hallie.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scipio Hitchcocks in the Civil War, Part 3: Battlefield Letter

James Hitchcock wrote a letter home from the battlefield a few short months before the 44th NY mustered out. It is a letter from a literate man to his aunt and uncle. The fatigue and battle weariness is evident. I have always chosen to believe that the “English Lady” is the woman James married a few years later in 1869, my great-grandmother Caroline Batten. Here is that letter:

1st. Div. 5th Corps A of P (For Army of the Potomac – sg)
Hancock Station VA Sept. 17th/1864

My Dear Aunt,
Your welcome letter was gladly received on the 15th inst. I was glad to receive an answer promptly and I was agreeably surprised to find your letter contained a “Picture of an English Lady” of my acquaintance. I recognize her and am really glad to see her looking so well. Why Aunt it seems to me that she is growing younger every year. It is an excellent likeness. I shall be happy to have an introduction. It will be very agreeable to me at least, and I hope it may be the same to her; please speak a good word for me.
I am very sorry to learn that Mary Ann has been sick and as she promised to write me and did not I presume that is the reason she did not. Give my love to her, and tell her I hope to see her soon and then she will have to give an account of her delay in writing me.
We have been moving around considerable lately. Grant is continually maneuvering and although we have not a very large tract of land to travel upon still the Army does a great deal of walking.
Dear Aunt as the time to return home draws nigh the members of this Reg’t. begin to indulge in very bright anticipation; not least among these is your Nephew James. I promise myself a grand good time and after being from home 3 years all the time engaged in active Campaigning, do you not think that I am entitled to a little enjoyment?
Dear Uncle you too have my warmest thanks for the kind and cheering words you have expressed in my behalf. I hope I may meet you all soon and find you enjoying all the blessings of this world and resting in the calm assurance of joys to come. The condition of our Country seems brightening. Mobile and Atlanta are just now glorious words; not only do they announce the greatest Military and Naval successes of the time but they are the Handwriting on the Wall announcing in most emphatic tones the doom the very death throes of the Chicago nominees.
McLellan and Pendelton stock is not worth one cent on the dollar; in the Army it is in very truth a “dead letter.” The ides of November next will usher in their funeral on the same day that Fremont and Cochrane are buried. Abraham Lincoln and Andy Johnson will guide the ship of state and with the volunteers now coming to him Grant and Sherman will establish to our distracted country peace founded on a sound basis.
With much love I remain in haste your Nephew James.

Sunday, June 27, 2010



Links to a great article and photo in the Citizen. I have not tried this before, so I will see if this works!

Scipio Hitchcocks in the Civil War, Part Two: Brothers

In 2001 and largely due to the Internet, Hitchcock descendants who now live all across America began a correspondence. Through their efforts Richard’s vandalized gravestone was replaced with a military marker on Flag Day, 2003 in a moving ceremony, attended by several descendants of Richard and of his brothers from as far away as California and as close as Scipio.
Two of those brothers had also served their adopted country in the American Civil War. Fred Hitchcock, later a furniture maker with a shop in Aurora, NY who is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, enlisted in April of 1861 at the age of 22 in the 19th NY as a substitute for John H. Osborne, and was subsequently “veteranized” into the 3rd NY Artillery, and mustered out in July of 1865. The 19th, as the 75th, was mainly composed of Cayuga County men. Fred’s wartime injuries were minor although he did spend some time in a hospital during the War.
James Hitchcock enlisted in the 44th NY Volunteers, also known as “Ellsworth’s Avengers” in October of 1861 when he was 20 years old. Wounded in battle at Hanover Courthouse, and again more seriously in July of 1862 at Malvern Hill when a minie ball struck him in the chest and another broke his leg, James’ gallantry on the field is described and his picture shown in the book “History of the 44th” by Eugene Nash. James received promotions and eventually served the 44th as their Quartermaster Sergeant, participating in holding Little Round Top at Gettysburg among many other battles. He was mustered out with his regiment in 1864, and returned to live out his remaining years in Scipio as a farmer, also holding the post of Justice of the Peace for 25 years. James died at the age of 89 in 1930 and is buried in Ledyard’s Evergreen Cemetery. James was my great-grandfather.
This band of 3 brothers, living in this country and this county just a bit over 10 years, chose to follow their convictions and make the personal sacrifices that enlistment could require and gave years of their lives for their new country. All three spent time convalescing at some point during the War; none of the 3 were the same man who left Cayuga County when they returned.
Their sacrifices helped to shape our values and our country.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Scipio in the Civil War; the 75th NY Volunteers and Hitchcock Family

It has been almost 150 years since the American Civil War began. Its origins, its battles and its outcome continue to be a source of strong feeling, endless discussion and fascination for Americans today. Books are still being written and films being made that speak to this War, relating to each author’s perception of a different facet of this fiercely contested action on American soil.
To me it seems the American Civil War is a story of families; families in conflict or in agreement; families pulled closer or torn apart but in every case, families changed forever.
Men showed their convictions by quite literally stepping out of their ordinary lives and into battle. Gone for months, years, or all too often forever, they sacrificed much in order to do what they perceived as their duty.
Men were not the only ones to sacrifice. The rest of the family had to live with the consequences of their decision to go off to war. Left behind to cope were the children, the women and the elderly; the weak and the infirm. There was no public safety net to help them in 1861. People either took care of themselves and their neighbors or they did not survive. Lacking in many cases the knowledge, skill and abilities necessary for daily life, the continuing existence of those left behind depended on them learning how to survive on their own. They struggled; they managed and made do with less, some with the war right on their doorstep and some forever when their soldier did not return.
The soldier I want to tell you about today is part of such a family. He is one of three brothers who stepped for a time out of Scipio and into the harsh reality of what it meant to be a soldier in the American Civil War. You have heard of the brave men of the 75th and the battles they participated in; I want to tell you the story of just one of those soldiers and his family.
Richard Hitchcock was the second oldest of six brothers, all born in England. In 1850 when Richard was 13 years old, the family boarded the Philena Bath in Liverpool, England, and set out for America. Members of the serving class, his parents came here to give themselves and their children the opportunity for a better life.
In 1855 when Richard was 18, he married Elizabeth Van Ommen of Auburn, who was born in Holland. Four of their seven children – Alice, Frances, George and Katherine – were born before September 25, 1861, when Richard enlisted in Company A of the 75th NY Volunteers as a Private. Twenty-four years old, Richard was with the 75th until June of 1862 when he was discharged for disability in Pensacola, Florida. A letter written by his brother James in 1901 states that Richard was discharged due to blindness. That appears to have been a temporary, for a year and a half later in December of 1863, Richard reenlisted in Company M of the 22nd NY Cavalry, shortly after transferring over into Company I. Either that or the Union Army felt the horse could see well enough for both of them!
Richard Hitchcock was mustered out as a Corporal on August 1, 1865 with his Company at Winchester, Virginia. He returned to Cayuga County and his family, which now included a fifth child, Elizabeth, born shortly after he had reenlisted in the 22nd Cavalry. The family eventually settled in Auburn, where Richard was principally an Express or Delivery Man. He and his wife Elizabeth had two more children, Mary, born in 1869 and Frederick, born in 1878.
In the winter of 1881, Richard, by now 44 years old, was driving his Express Sleigh down Clark Street in Auburn when he was struck from his left side by a pair of runaway horses, linked together only by a neck yoke. He was thrown over the dashboard of his sleigh with such force that he broke through it, falling in the shafts of his own sleigh nearly under his horses’ heels.
His injuries were extensive according to the newspaper coverage. His recovery was slow and probably never complete. Just a few years later in 1885, Richard’s wife Elizabeth contracted Cholera and she did not survive the disease. Their youngest child, Frederick, was six and still remained at home as did their adult daughter Katherine who had some serious medical problems. Elizabeth’s obituary tells us that Richard was afflicted with Consumption, or as we know it today, Tuberculosis.
Less than 2 years later and a month shy of his 50th birthday, this Civil War Veteran passed away. Katherine was sent to an institution; Richard’s brother James became legal guardian to Frederick. The Salvation Army, less than 10 years in operation in the United States, took responsibility for the funeral and Richard was buried in Auburn’s North Street Cemetery. All that the family has left from that day is a brief obituary and a remembrance card.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Genealogy Trip

I have a list of places I want to visit in my lifetime. I think it will come as no surprise that several destinations are genealogy-related. This summer I am crossing a big one off my list.
I will finally be heading to the Fort Wayne/Allen County Indiana Genealogy Library! This has been on my list for several years, and I look forward to spending some quality time there in August.
I have spent some time recently getting my family history notebooks updated, and I am making a list of what I specifically hope to accomplish when I go. The Library has a great online catalogue, and their website has a map of the layout of this facility that will help me plan my search efforts.
It will be interesting to compare it to say the NYS Library, or other genealogy resources such as historical societies that I have visited. You can check them out at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Vacations

School is almost over for this year, and many of us are planning some kind of family trip for the summer. Near or far, we are packing up and heading out.
I have some great memories of family trips, and some stories too. In fact, I'm not sure we ever did tell dad who left their bubblegum on the car seat that he sat in one a memorable trip to Florida.
Last year I packed up the grand kids and their parents, and we spent nine hours together in the car to reach our destination. By the time we returned a week later, we were all a little worse for wear. But I bet in a few years, they will have as much fun remembering the trip as I do my childhood vacations - including that u-turn we took in Virginia for an ice cream cone!
Three generations in one car for a few hours sure sounds like a chance to share some family history to me. Why don't you think about spending a special day or weekend with your family, and share some stories of your own summer vacations?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Nathaniel Coe

I was looking for Scipio information in old newspapers on, thinking I could find some of the articles written by William Wooden as I mentioned a few blogs ago. I haven't found them yet, but I did find an interesting article I wanted to share.
One of Scipio's very first settlers was Joel Coe, also a Revolutionary War veteran. He is one of 9 veterans buried in our Cornwell Cemetery, purportedly the oldest cemetery in Cayuga County.
The Thursday, October 20, 1960 edition of the Nunda News has an article about some of Joel's family. Nunda is a town in Livingston County, NY, several miles from Cayuga County.
Written under the title of “Woman Says” with a byline of M. C. F., here is the majority of that article:
The appointment as US Mail Agent for the Oregon territory brought honor to the Nunda man who received it soon after the territory was opened for settlement. He was Nathaniel Coe, who was given the appointment in 1851 by President Millard Fillmore. As many of you know, Millard Fillmore was born in Summerhill, Cayuga County and it is not unlikely he knew the Coes personally.
Born in September of 1788 in Chester, NJ, Nathaniel was the son of Joel and Huldah Horton Coe. The family settled in Scipio in Cayuga County, NY in 1795, paying a shilling an acre for 640 acres of land to which Joel said he had veteran’s rights. The trip from NJ to Scipio took a month. The family lived there until 1818 when they came to the section of Nunda that is now known as Portage. Nathaniel then was 20 and he immediately became one of the prominent young men of the area.
The wording gets pretty flowery here, but the article goes on to say that Nathaniel worked as a schoolteacher and a surveyor, and operated a general store for a time. He also was a supervisor of the town, and a justice of the peace, and served four terms as a NYS Assemblyman.
Nathaniel also spent 8 years in New Orleans as a teacher, going by boat all the way from Olean, NY with a brother and a friend. In 1828, he returned to NY and married Mary Taylor White, daughter of Lawrence Emery White of Auburn, Cayuga County, NY.
Nathaniel then operated a general store in Oakland NY with a partner, moving his family to Nunda a few years later.
According to the article Nathaniel first went to Portland, Oregon, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, eventually homesteading on the Columbia River at the mouth of the Hood River. The article mentions two sons, Lawrence and Eugene, and states that they were the first white men to navigate the turbulent waters of the Columbia River above The Dalles, where a huge dam had recently been built.
Nathaniel apparently sent back many communications to Nunda for publication, that described life in Oregon in those times of Lewis & Clark. Nathaniel died in Oregon October 17, 1868. One son is known to have returned to NY, and that was Henry Clay Coe for a visit in 1908.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mama Hattie Post

If you lived on Wyckoff Road in the early 20th century, then you know who I mean when I speak of Mama Hattie.
And if you knew Mama Hattie, then you knew how good a cook she was. I still remember the day I was apparently considered old enough to walk to Mama Hattie's house by myself to visit. I was probably about 10 years old. I'm sure my mother had spoken with her to make sure my visit was alright, because when I entered the kitchen the aroma of fresh-baked cookies hit my nose. I sat down with Mama Hattie and over a glass of fresh-from-the -barn milk and her homemade cookies, we visited. I felt very grown-up that day, and there were many more visits to Mama Hattie's kitchen through the years.
Imagine how pleased I was when looking through Winifred Cowles Glanville's collected notes to find one recipe. It must have been her very favorite, since there were no other recipes in the booklet. It was labelled simply Brown Bread, Mrs. Post.
Since Winifred's Christmas card list is part of her booklet, I looked at the names and the only Posts were Mr. and Mrs. Otto Post. And Mrs. Otto Post was Mama Hattie! Now I haven't tried making this recipe yet, but rest assured that I will soon. I thought you might like to try it as well.

Brown Bread, Mrs. Post:
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of buttermilk or sour milk
2 tablespoons of shortening
1 1/2 cups of white flour
2 teaspoons of soda
some salt
whole wheat or graham flour, about 2 cups
raisins - a cup or whatever you want - dates etc.
Makes 2 loaves. Cook about 3/4 hour in moderate heat

William D. Wooden

It always amazes me that so many people are willing to preserve our history. I recently had the opportunity to look at a scanned and bound booklet of notes and information that had belonged to Winifred Cowles Glanville of Fleming, NY. This information had been gathered by a local family who found it at a barn sale in the 1960's. Fleming is adjacent to Scipio, and I found some Scipio names and information.
Chief among them was Winifred's notes regarding William D. Wooden. She states he lived in (Great) Lot 20, with a Post Office address of Scipioville. Apparently William wrote articles concerning early history of Cayuga County that were published on a weekly basis in the Cayuga County Independent in 1874.
Winifred's notes tell me that he also authored a historical sketch of Scipioville and vicinity that was published in the Auburn Daily Advertiser, the Auburn Journal and the Moravia Citizen in 1877.
I knew I had heard this name before so I took a look in Storke's 1879 History of Cayuga County and in the Scipio section on page 422 I found him. The entire page was given over to a lengthy article, a picture of William and one of his wife. Her name is not given other than as Mrs. Wm. D. Wooden. The pictures are of an older couple and the article states he is in his 77th year; as William was married twice it is likely this is his second wife who he married in 1857.
The article beneath the pictures is a thorough biography of William's life and work. It tells us he was born in Fishkill, NY in 1802 and came to Scipio in 1814 with his family. He was a teacher for several years in the area, beginning at age 16, and a prolific writer as well as a farmer. Many of the names mentioned as his students are familiar as early Scipio settlers - names such as Benoni Smith, Calvin Tracy, Wm. Howland and E. B. King to mention a few.
William was proud of his record of voting in every election and never missed a town meeting. The article gives a very good picture of a man of firm beliefs and actions.
Now I will visit to see if I can find any of William Wooden's articles about Scipioville!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Landowners in 1799 Scipio

So far I have leafed through the assessment records for 1799 in Scipio. It is amazing to see that so many folks came here in those very early pioneer days, when survival depended on planting and harvesting food before winter set in, while building some type of dwelling to keep out the bears and the snow with few tools other than muscle power.
There are a few smudges, but it looks like the total taxes owed on real and personal property in 1799 amounted to $236.82. Using the Consumer Price Index I found at, that would be equivalent to $4,260.00 in 2009.
Many of the names are familiar. There are Allens, Browns, Adkins, Delano, and several others I have seen mentioned. Olney, Tracy, Strong, Eddy, and many other names familiar from the Revolutionary War are sprinkled among the entries. There are also several pieces of property listed with owner unknown; maybe as yet unclaimed. What an interesting look at our town this promises to be!

Early Assessment Records

I recently spent some time looking through the information available at the NYS Archives in Albany. I think it's time for another visit! I did find they held the assessment records for Scipio (and many other towns in Cayuga County) for 1799 to 1803. Scipio became part of Cayuga County in 1799. It is also when the Revolutionary War veterans were moving here to claim their land. The first census record for Scipio is the 1800 census; before that documentation is pretty sketchy for who was a resident.
I sent for copies of the microfilm records and received 100 pages. At a cost of twenty-five cents a page that was quite a bargain!
I plan to compare the assessments to the list of names from the balloting book, to see how many of those veterans who drew land in Scipio were among those residing here in those early years.
For those other Historians or just plain interested folks, you can order the records from the Archives through inter library loan to your local library. If they have a microfilm reader and printer, you can review and print whatever you like. The series is B0950 Tax Assessment Rolls of real and personal estates for Cayuga County.
Unfortunately, my library does not have either a reader or a printer so I elected to use some of my budget to pay for printed copies of all 5 years.
All hand-written, some of the names are difficult to make out as are older census records. The name, Great Lot number, acreage and real and personal property values are given in most cases. Some of the records mention whether there is a house, a house and farm, or just a lot. Land on the Indian Reservation is separately accounted for.
From this list, it will be possible to determine pretty nearly where property owners resided in Scipio's early days.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Final 1860 Assessments for Letters A through C

Here are the remaining 1860 assessment names for Scipio:

Conran, Jno
Culver, Ephraim
Close, Hiram
Clsoe, Erastus
Clsoe, Erastus
Culver, Ansel
Chidester, Clarry
Cornwell, Selah
Cowan, Jno
Cain, Francis
Comstock, Alonzo
Colling, Thomas
Clark, Harry
Chase, Jno F.
Cummins, Jno
Cowin, Allen
Cowin, Thomas
Cowin, Leonard
Curtis, Chester
Calvert, W. M.

Bostwick, J. M.
Batten, Henry
Baldwin, C. R.
Banks, Riley
Botsford, E. M.
Barnes, G. G.
Banks, Smith
Barnes, Elisha
Buckhout, P.H.
Buckhout, Edward
Burke, Thomas
Babcock, Jessie
Babcock, Riley
Boult, C & A
Barber, David
Briggs, Gilbert
Bishop, Joseph
Barnes, Elisha Pars(?)
Bishop, Augustus
Bower, Andrew
Butler, Merritt
Buckhout, Henry
Bancroft, W. F.
Barnet, Jehua (?)
Bennett, Isaac
Brenen, Luke
Bowers, Elezar
Brigden, Timothy

Allen, Lemuel
Allen, Lemuel
Akin, Iva
Akin, Isaac
Akin Jno M
Ames, Henry C.
Akin & Gildersleeve
Akin, Mariah
Andrews, Robt.
Ames, Dennis T
Ames, Chester W
Adriance, Geo
Alpin, Michel
Adams, Orwell
Adams, Jno D
Adriance, Jno
Adriance, Edward
Adams, Silas
Ames, Oren
Ames, Chester
Akin, James

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The 1860 Assessments In Scipio, Letters D to G

Continuing in my backwards alpha here are the 1860 assessments for Letters D to G:

Gifford, Gardner
Groom, Andrew
Graham, Jno
Golden, Henry
Gildersleeve, Jno
Gardner, William
Gould, D. W. C.
Grey, samuel
Gibbons, Minon
Gallup, Myme
Grey, Jno
Green, S. W.
Griswold, Asa

Fordyce, Seymour
Fordyce, Wheaton (?)
Fordyce, Jno
Fordyce, Jno
Freeman, Alvin
Fish, Mary
Fick, C. M.
Finch, Bethuel (?)
Flinn, Jas.
Fleming, Thomas
Flinn, Thomas
Farrall, Patrick
Fell, Moses
Fitch, Alva
Farrall, Thomas
Fordyce, Benjamin
Forbs, Jothan

Eddy, oliver
Eddy, Owen
Eddy, David
Eddy, David
Eddy, David
Elliott, William
Elliott, William
Edwards, Jas.
Eggleston,E. J.

Daniells, Huron
Daniells, William
Daniells, Hiram
Daniells, Hiram & Huron
Dickinson,Wisel (?)
Dakin, Jno & Samuel
Durkel, Auguston

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Assessments in 1860, Letters H to L

Here are more of Scipio's assessed property owners:

Lull, Joseph
Loveland, Alfred
Loveland, Hinman
Lyon, Alfred
Lacy, Enoch
Lum, Melissa
Leach, Dewitt C
Leason, Joseph

Kent, Geo. R.
Kuntz, Conrad
Kerr, M. B.
King, Anza
King, E. B.
King, Alanson
King, Ezra
King, Adaline
Know, R. J.
Knox, Manassah
Knox, Jno
Kinny, Paul
Koon, Jno

Johnson, Abigal
Johnson, Moses
Jones, Ambrose
Jones, Ambrose
Jump, Theadore

Ide, Nathan
Ingraham, Elizabeth

Hudson, Richard
Hudson, R. V. (or N - sg) in Trust
Hare, Triphena
Hudson, Julia A.
Hathaway, Royal
Hill, Joshua
Hoxie, Allen
Hoxie, Eleanor
Hoxie, Hannah
Hill, Hiram
Howetran, (?)
Hoxie, Zebulon
Hoxie, William
Hurd, Phinehas
Hurd, Phinehas
Hurd, Phinehas
Hudson, William
Holley, David
Howland, William
Howland, Slocum
Howland, Slocum
Husted, James
Hazlit, William I.
Heffernon, Thomas
Helm, Elizabeth
Hill, Erastus
Howland, Sally
Howell, Isaac
Hoxie, Allosa
Harington, Joshua
Harris, Philip
Howell, Elliott
Hunter, Levi
Hall, Spencer
Hale, Ebenezer
Hle, Thomas
Hunter, Oscar
Haskell, Daniel
Howland, David
Hale, Lushuz (?)
Hae, T. J.
Hunter, Daniel
Hunter, Daryl
Hathaway, Ann
Hall, Henry
Hoskins, Chas.
Hunt, Hanah M.
Hunter, Salman
Hamilton, Seth
Hasbrook, Pheba A.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The 1860 Assessments, Letters M to R

I am hearing from many of you who are finding relatives in Scipio's 1860 assessment records. I am pleased that so many females are property owners, as that is a difficult group to find published records for. Let's continue our list:

Roach, Patrick
Rathbun, Geo
Rumsey, Reuben
Reynolds, Caleb
Robinson, William
Rumsey, Daniel J.
Rumsey, Daniel
Robinson, William Sr
Russell, Samuel
Rumsey, David
Richardson, Martin
Reynolds, William
Reynolds, Alanson
Reed, Jno. J.
Reynolds, Abijah
Race, Andrew
Robinson, Wm.

Pickens, Geo
Poppino, Amanda
Post, Abram
Pickins, Jno
Post, Jacob
Phelps, Austin
Pearsall, Morgan
Pettitt, Silas
Philips, Herman
Pearl, Denison R
Peckham, Jno C
Parker, Nelson
Parker, Perry H
Pettitt, Joseph
Peas, Allen
Post, Geo I. (Executor)

Olney, Elluna (?)
Otis, Jos. D.
Otis, Samuel
Owens, Geo M.
O'Hara, Hiram
O'Hara, Hiram
O'Hara, George
O'Hara, Henry Jr
O'Hara, Jno
O'Hara, Henry
O'Hara, Henry in Trust
O'Hara, Andrew
O'Hara, Jno B
O'Hara, Enos
Olney, Judson
Olney, Rachel

Nichols, Daniel
Newman, Wilson

Manchester, Daniel
Mott, James
Marsh, Geo I
Macomber, Zebedia
Macomber, Pheba
Murray, Edward
Mone, Polly
Manchester, Caleb
Mancheser, William
Merrill, Noyes
Merryfield, Wm.
Macomber, Arch
Merrit, George
Merrit, Andrew
Mastin, Leoenyne (sic?)
Myrns (?), Benjamin
Merrifield, Samuel & Syman
Myers, Jno
Macomber, Herman
Mony, Gideon
Morgan, Jacob
Morgan, Harvy
Mulvaney, Christopher
Martin, David

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Broadband Comes to Town

I am actually feeling giddy, I never knew that was anything but an expression until now - I at long last have a high speed connection to the Internet!
Scipio does not have access to any of the advertised high speed connections except satellite, which is a bit rich for ordinary folks and that includes me. I use my computer a lot, though, and wish I had a nickel for every time I have clicked on download and gone to make a sandwich or otherwise find something to do so I don't give myself a concussion from banging my head against my monitor.
I have just begun trying out the Cricket 3G broadband modem and folks, I think we have a winner! It greatly outperforms my trusty dial up service so I believe that I will be keeping it.
I'll try not to let it go to my head. I have always found it annoying when websites are rich in content but I can't view it, and I don't want to have that happen here. In my opinion, Internet access should be similar for everyone, even if the cost varies a bit. A heady feeling, indeed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Friend's Cemetery Photos

Drum roll, please! The Friend's (or Quaker) Cemetery is in the Town of Ledyard, which used to be in Scipio until 1823 or so. I serve on the Board of Directors, because my Peckham great-great-grandparents, many of their children, and their parents are buried there.
We try to repair a few of the stones every year, and otherwise maintain and clean up this historic cemetery.
I am pleased to tell you that some of the gravestones have been photographed, and are now available from the Cayuga County Rootsweb site. Select cemeteries, then in Ledyard, select Friend's Cemetery. Where you see the camera (what a cute graphic, Bernie, thanks!) there is a clickable link to that persons gravestone. Or, just follow this link:
I owe a huge thank you to the Cayuga County Rootsweb Coordinator, Bernie Corcoran for getting this project off the ground. We hope to continue it with some Scipio cemeteries, perhaps adding a GPS component.
If you have ancestors here, let me know. Some of the names are Searing, Haines, Hotchkiss, Peckham, and Mosher.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Assessment in 1860 continue

More of Scipio’s property owners:

Strong, Joanna
Story, M. A.
Smith Elijah
Smith, Jno V
Smith Bonin(?)
Smith, Bemjamin
Smith, Valson
Shorkley, Julia A.
Slocum, Giles
Sperry, Ambrose
Smith, Harvy
Searing, Chas W
Searing, Richard
Searing, Leonard
Searing, Rebecca
Searing, Samuel
Sandwich, Isaac
Sensabox & Gould
Standish, Henry
Smith, Thom (?)
Spangleer, Henry
Smith, Daniel
Smith, Hannah
Shaw, nos T.
Shelf (or Shelss), Jacob W.
Smith, Robt.
Scully, Wm.
Shirlock, Nicolas
Slocum, Geo
Slocum, Henry
Smith, Chaz F.
Smith, Ellnathan Jr.
Smith, Eli
Smith, Cynthia
Snyder, Jno
Smith, Ellnathan
Smith, Crosby
Snyder, Henry
Snyder, Cynthia
Seely, Alvin
Seering & Green
Searing, Leonard
Sperry, Philo Jr

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Scipio Property Owners in 1860

I am continuing with the 1860 assessment book, listing the names of Scipio property owners:
Vanliew, Daniel P.
Vanliew, Fayette
Vanliew, Peter
Van Arsdale, Peter

Daniel owned 235 acres in Lot 17. Fayette and Peter owned 84 acres and 75 acres respectively, in the same Lot. The Vanliew family (and that’s another name that spelled many different ways) was and continues to be a prominent one in Scipio. Daniel’s father was a Revolutionary War veteran and Daniel went on to fight in the Civil War.

You’ll recognize some of these names as well:
Tracy, Uriah
Tracy, Calvin
Tracy, Calvin
Thomas, Allen
Tallman, Jno. K.
Taber, Wm
Tallman, Gideon
Townsen, Samuel
Taylor, Franklin

The Tracy family also was one of Scipio’s earliest arrivals, again due to the military balloting of land to Revolutionary War veterans. A Calvin Tracy fought in the Civil War, dying in service in another state and returned here to lie with his family in death. One Calvin is listed as owning 210 acres; the other owned 1/2 acre.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More 1860 Assessments

Let’s talk some more about 1860. By this time, Scipio had been in existence about 65 years. It was populated by families, many of whom were farmers. There were churches, schools and libraries. Members of a Quaker group in the hamlet of Sherwood participated the Under Ground Rail Road. If I squint when I read the assessment book, it appears there were 366 pieces of property that year, everything from ½ acre to 200 or 300 acres.
State Taxes were $1420.65. County taxes, $2529.97. School taxes were $780.28, and Town taxes were $298.99.
Usually with the lists I put on the Scipio blog I start at the top of the alphabet. Let’s change things up for 1860:
Wooden, Sally
Wooden, William
Wright, Wilson
Whitfield, Geo.
Walton, Hannah
Ward, Hope
Ward, Irvin
Wood, Amzi
Wood, Amzi in trust
Wood, Oliver
Webster, Nathan
Webster, Nathan J
Watkins, G. S.
Wilson, Isaac
Whitfield, Chs
Wilson, Isaac in trust
Watkins, Sedra (?)
Watkins, Roswell
Weeks, Ira
Warner, Sally
Wallis, Sally
Wyckoff, G. B.
Wilson, Wm
Wyckoff, Alonzo
Wheat, Samuel
White, David M.
White, Luthan (?)
Waring, Raimond & Geo
Waring, Raimond
Ward, Hiram
Ward, Artemas & Bro(?)
Wilson, Samuel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Scipio in 1860

It was 1860, the year of turmoil just before the Civil War began. In Scipio, many men sacrificed their time, their lives and their livelihood for this war. I wondered who lived here then, so I checked the assessment book for 1860.
The total acreage that year was determined to be 22,426 and 3/4 acres. An acre in Scipio was valued at an average of $38.48 (or $1,020 in today's dollars).
That 1860 real estate was assessed at $863,166.00. Personal property was assessed at $190,650.00, for a total of $1,054,186.00. Take a deep breath - according to, $28,100,000.00 in the year 2009 has the same "purchase power" as $1,054,186.00 in the year 1860.
That year, there was an additional assessment of 50 cents for military purposes. It appears that anyone liable for military service, including any household with a person age 18 to 21, was asked by law to pay this amount to defray town expenses. In Scipio, about 97 folks did not pay that bounty at the time the records were filed, and they are listed by name in the assessment book. They include George Adriance, Edward Buckhout, Fay, William and Edward Close; Robert and Manassah Knox, Manassah Story, Abram Post, Henry and Giles Slocum, and Alonzo Wyckoff.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ozam Merryfield

Faithful readers may recall just a few posts back, I mentioned where the little hamlet of Merifield got its name. Ozam Merifield's father Thomas Merryfield was married to a Eunice Watkins in Massachusetts. Ozam lived and prospered in Scipio; the 1850 and 1851 assessments show that he owned 270 acres in Lots 21, 22 and 29. The same record shows Thomas Merryfield owning 100 acres but fails to show in what Lot.
Jane Merrifield, daughter of Ozam, married the second time to Samuel Russell. Samuel shows up in the 1853 assessments owning a small piece of property in Lot 38. Samuel's mother was Ann or Anna Russell and her name is also found in the assessment book as a property owner in Lot 38 in 1850 and 1851. Her name is missing in 1852, but we find a Dolly Russell, her daughter, owning property in Lot 38 so perhaps this is an indication that Anna deceased that year and ownership passed to Dolly. In 1853, the small and presumably same piece of property is in Samuel's name, no Dolly and no Ann.
Ozam started spelling the name with an I; previously it was spelled Merryfield. I also see this spelled as Maryfield. As many of you know, surnames are spelled as they sounded to whoever was doing the writing!
Little is known about Ozam, such as his wife, or what year his family arrived in Scipio. I have checked the Balloting Book, and this name was not granted land in Scipio or any other town in exchange for military service. They may still have arrived here that early. I also checked the Balloting Book for Russell, as it is believed that a Jonathan Russell was a Revolutionary War veteran and he is shown in the assessment book owning property in Lot 22 and he was indeed granted that land.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Property Laws

I found some interesting terms while researching property laws in NY.

Coverture: In English and American law, coverture refers to women's legal status after marriage: legally, upon marriage, the husband and wife were treated as one entity. In essence, the wife's separate legal existence disappeared as far as property rights were concerned. Under coverture, wives could not control their own property unless specific provisions were made before marriage, they could not file lawsuits or be sued separately, nor could they execute contracts. The husband could use, sell or dispose of her property (again, unless prior provisions were made) without her permission. Sir William Blackstone, in his 1765 authoritative legal text, Commentaries on the Laws of England, said this about coverture and the legal rights of married women:

"By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing; and is therefore called ... a feme-covert...."

This is from 1765, a time when women did not have the means, the societal approval, or the protection of society's laws to be self-supporting; the husband's job was to support and protect his wife and children. It was the woman's lot in life to find the best possible "feme-covert" to ensure not only she, but her children would be well-taken care of. In exchange, she ran the house and was responsible for meeting the domestic needs of the family.

Dowers: Under English common law and in colonial America, dower was the share of a deceased husband's real estate to which his widow was entitled after his death. After the widow's death, the real estate was then inherited as designated in her deceased husband's will; she had no rights to sell or bequeath the property independently. She did have rights to income from the dower during her lifetime, including rents and including income from crops grown on the land. One-third was the share of her late husband's real property to which dower rights entitled her; the husband could increase the share beyond one-third in his will. Where a mortgage or other debts offset the value of real estate and other property at the husband's death, dower rights meant that the estate could not be settled and the property could not be sold until the widow's death. In the 18th and 19th centuries, increasingly dower rights were ignored in order to settle estates more quickly, especially when mortgages or debts were involved.
In 1945 in the United States, a federal law abolished dower, though in most states, one-third of a husband's estate is awarded to a widow automatically if he dies without a will (intestate). Some laws limit the rights of a husband to bequeath less than one-third share to his widow except in prescribed circumstances.

Curtesy: A husband's right of inheritance. This is a principle in common law in England and early America by which a widower could use his deceased wife's property (that is, property which she acquired and held in her own name) until his own death, but could not sell or transfer it to anyone but children of his wife. Today in the United States, instead of using common law curtesy rights, most states explicitly require that one-third to one-half of a wife's property be given outright to her husband at her death, if she dies without a will (intestate). Curtesy is occasionally used to refer to a widower's interest as surviving spouse in the property left by the deceased wife, but many states have officially abolished curtesy and dower.

Dowry: refers to a gift or payment by a bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. As an archaic usage, dowry can also refer to dower, the goods a woman brings to a marriage and retains some power over. Less commonly, dowry refers to a gift or payment or property given by a man to or for his bride.

The Lawes Resolutions of Womens Rights: or, The Lawes Provision for Women. London, 1632:
New York State followed English common law in regard to the right of women to retain their property after marriage. This 1632 compilation of laws regarding women states:
Whatsoever the Husband had before Coverture either in goods or lands, it is absolutely his owne, the wife hath therein no seisin at all...
For thus it is, if before Marriage the Woman were possessed of Horses, Sheepe, Cowe, Wool, Money, Plate and Jewels, all manner of moveable substance is presently ... the husbands, to sell, keepe, or bequeath if he die: And though he bequeath them not, yet are they the Husbands Executors and not the wives which brought them to her Husband.

Pretty specific, in 1632!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Married Women Property Laws

I decided that since March is Women's History Month, I would do some research about when NYS decided that women had rights to property. Property rights include the legal rights to acquire, own, sell and transfer property, collect and keep rents, keep one’s wages, make contracts and bring lawsuits. In history, a woman's property has often, but not always, been under the control of her father or, if she was married, her husband.
In colonial times, law generally followed that of the mother country, England (or in some parts of what later became the United States, France or Spain). In the early years of the United States, following British law, women's property was under control of their husbands, with states gradually giving women limited property rights. By 1900 every state had given married women substantial control over their property.

Here are some laws of New York State:

New York, 1771: Act to Confirm Certain Conveyances and Directing the Manner of Proving Deeds to Be Recorded: this required a married man to have his wife's signature on any deed to her property before he sold or transferred it, and required that a judge meet privately with the wife to confirm her approval.

New York, 1848: Married Woman's Property Act: this was a more extensive expansion of property rights of married women, used as a model for many other states 1848-1895.

New York, 1860: Act Concerning the Rights and Liabilities of Husband and Wife: expanded married women's property rights.

I think it is important to see the text of the 1848 New York Statute known as the Married Women's Property Act, as amended in 1849, as it reads in full:
§1. The real property of any female who may hereafter marry, and which she shall own at the time of marriage, and the rents, issues, and profits thereof, shall not be subject to the sole disposal of her husband, nor be liable for his debts, and shall continue her sole and separate property, as if she were a single female.
§2. The real and personal property, and the rents, issues, and profits thereof, of any female now married, shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband; but shall be her sole and separate property, as if she were a single female, except so far as the same may be liable for the debts of her husband heretofore contracted.
§3. Any married female may take by inheritance, or by gift, grant, devise, or bequest, from any person other than her husband, and hold to her sole and separate use, and convey and devise real and personal property, and any interest or estate therein, and the rents, issues, and profits thereof, in the same manner and with like effect as if she were unmarried, and the same shall not be subject to the disposal of her husband nor be liable for his debts.

This law may seem like it would not be necessary to someone in the 21st century, but reading it will give an indication of just how far it has really been for women from 1848 to 2010.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scipio Assessments in 1898 Part Two

It is interesting to find so many women listed as property owners in 1898 Scipio. Aside from the ability to finally own property independently, for genealogists the women of the family are usually difficult to track as many of the references to women use their husband’s first and last name, as in “Mrs. Byron Hitchcock” rather than “Mrs. Mariam Hitchcock”.
I will need to look up under what circumstances women were "allowed" to own property in 1898. For now, let’s continue with the almost-alphabetical list of landowners for 1898; if you find a relative, let me know!

Amos Mosher
Charles Merritt
Mary Libeus
Henry Marsh
William Manchester
John Murphy
Thomas Murphy
J. L. Mack
Charles Morgan
Patrick McIntyre
Robert Manchester
Gershom Nichols
John Neville
Thomas Nolan
James Oconnel
William Orchard
Mariah Payne
John Payne
Martha Pease
John Perkins
George Perry
David Parks
Mrs. David Parks
Sarah Pope
Edward Powers
Ellen Quinn
Rumsey & Shorkley
Phillip Ringwood
Caroline Reynolds
Frank Sellen
Theo F. Smith
Alma Smith
Levi Sanders
Lydia Strang
Henry Spangler
Hettie Caroline Shaw
Mrs. Davis Shaw
Enos F. Shaw
W. D. Smith
Patrick Tehan
John Turner
Harriett Toan
Hannah Miller
Sarah Talladay
Dan Thurston
Lewis Thurston
Amanda Underhill
John Van Liew
Mrs. Guy Van Liew
William Young
George Waldron
Cornelia Whitten
Sally Wallis
William Ward
Lotti Wallis
Frank D. Wright
Marsh Webster
A. L. Watkins
George Watkins
William Wilshere
Charles Wilshire
Eber West
James Whalen
Thomas Welch
Arlington Watkins
Henry Wheat

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Assessments in 1898 Scipio Part One

By 1898, the larger land holdings were gone. Few in Scipio owned much more than 100 acres. The assessment book for 1898 showed 151 unique landowners, with some of those owning more than one piece of taxable property. Those landowners declared a total of 52 dogs, also apparently taxable. The majority of them were men, but women were well represented as owners too. Most residents owned 25 or fewer acres. Here are some names that are still extant in Scipio:
Phillip Buckhout owned 58 acres in Lot 27. A W. F. Buckhout, also in Lot 27, owned ¼ acre. I will have to ask the current-day Phil Buckhout how those two were related!
Day Chamberlain owned 84 acres in Lot 7. Mary Conklin, 50 acres in Lot 20.John Fisher owned 19 acres in Lot 14. Susie Howland as executrix was listed as owner for 110 acres in Lot 14. The Hoxie women were represented in Lot 13, by name Mary E., Dorinda L. and Mrs. Phebe.
My great-grandfather James B. Hitchcock was listed as the owner of 98 acres in Lot 13. E. D. Mosher owned 145 acres and E. S. Manchester, 101. Mary E. Smith may have owned the largest piece of land; she was shown as possessing 195 acres in Lot 6. Close behind with 180 was Hellen Tate.

Other owners more or less by alphabet are:

Sarah Anthony
Leonard Brewster
William Batten
Larry Bruten
Maggie Burns
Lewis Baker
James Boddy
Martha Baldwin
Michael Bresnan
John Bowness
H. Brewster
C. Butler
William Conley
Chauncey Culver
Loren Curtis
John Canaly
Orsevilla Cowles
Edwin Cooper
Mrs. John Casler
Henry M. Cain
F. B. Chapman
William Coss
Alenzo Culver
Josephine Darrow
John Donnelly
Daniel Dean
C. D. Dowd
Frank Doane
Robt. B. Eaker
Mrs. John Eaker
Heny C. Elliot
Charles Fritz
Isaac Fiester
Mary Fieser
John Folay
Andrew Foren
John Farley
Nancy Fish
Geo. Groom
William Gulliver
James Grady
B. F. Gould
Henry Golden
William Grant
Arthur Golden
Thomas Gray
Anna Hilard (Hiland?)
Martha Hoxie
Edward Hoskins
Hiram Hill
George Hoxie
Abigail Hunter
L. B. Hunter
Thomas Hanlon
Benjamin Houghlin
Allen Hartman
Charles Jones
John King
Patrick Kinsella
John King Jun.
Mary J. King
Lillian King
John Knox
Thomas Lynch
Clarence Lawson
George Loyster
Nettie Leeson
Sarah Lawson
Hinman Loveland

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Scipio Surnames and the price of Beer in London

I spent some time looking through Scipio property assessment books recently. As I did, I realized that many of the names in our town today were here in our early years as well. Perhaps this phenomenon is common to small towns everywhere. Let’s see what names you recognize from earlier times.
In 1850, there were 2 landowners with more than 400 acres in Scipio. They were Joshua Cornwell with 456 acres in Lot 26 and Herman Macumber with 400 acres in Lot 9. Actually, Henry Snider topped them both with 3 different parcels in Lots 31 and 41 totaling 501 acres.
Landowners with property of 300 to 400 acres were Joseph Pettit with 335 acres in Lot 1; John Guildersleeve with 354 acres and Elisha Barnes with a total of 304 acres in Lots 31, 32 and 33.
Do you recognize the name Jacob Adriance? He owned 286 acres in the northeastern edge of Scipio. Perhaps you will know where the old hamlet of Merifield got its name when I tell you that Ozam Merryfield (sic) owned 270 acres of land in Lot 22.
Calvin Tracy, one of our earliest settlers, was owner of 225 acres in Lot 28. And Henry O’Hara whose surname is among those still well-known in Scipio owned 216 acres in Lot 4.
The other owners of property exceeding 200 acres were:
Abel Close, Alvin Freeman, Alfred Lyon, James Obrine (sic), John T. Rathbun and George Slocum.
According to the assessment book, there were 415,459 taxable acres in Scipio in 1850. The tax burden was $2,013.09 county taxes, $205.93 town taxes, $233.73 in school taxes and $50.00 for roads and bridges. That would be about $1.00 for every man, woman and child living in Scipio in 1850.
I visited the interesting website to learn that the $1.00 in 1850 would have the same purchasing power as $28.34 in 2009.
For more interesting comparisons of money and goods through the years at home and abroad, visit some rainy afternoon. I liked the cost of living in London in 1700 the best. Fourpence would get you a quart of beer, or a boat across the river. A common workman could earn 18 to 22 shillings a week. With 12 pence equaling one shilling, that’s 54 to 66 beers or rides a week!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vital Records of 1865 Scipio

Phebe Allen was 77 years old when she died of Apoplexy on June 27, 1865. Phebe was a native of New Jersey. Today, we’d probably be calling this a stroke.
Rosa B. Hale died of congestion of the lungs on June 3, 1865. Probably today we would refer to that as pulmonary edema; basically, heart failure. Difficult for someone like Rosa and her family I’m sure, as she was only 10 years old.
Orrin Ames, a native of Albany and a married farmer, died on March 12, 1865 of chronic diarrhea. There are so many causes of this condition, from viruses to cancers that it is difficult to know why this 61-year-old man really died.
Daniel Van Liew also died in 1865. Aged 67, and a farmer who was married and a native of New Jersey, he died on May 27th of a rupture. Perhaps this was an aneurysm, or it could have been a ruptured appendix.
Sadly the 1865 vital records that I reviewed had one suicide. Cornelius Ostrander, a hotel keeper, died on March 29th of that year. The cause is given as suicide by hanging. He was married and a native of Dutchess County, NY.
The US tax assessment records for 1863-64 find a Cornelius Ostrander listed as a meat peddler [sic] in or of Aurora, NY. He was responsible to pay a license tax that year of $2.92. Perhaps this is the same man. Something to look into further, so stay tuned.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

1865 Deaths in Scipio

Continuing to review the record of deaths in 1865, I found two ladies with the same surname, presumably from the same family. Sarah F. Shaw, age 9, died January 19, 1865 of diphtheria and 17 year-old Jane E. Shaw died of the same disease on March 3rd of that year. Diphtheria is mostly eradicated from the US thanks to the development of a vaccine, but historically this bacterial disease has claimed many lives.
Little Carrie Waldron was only 17 months old when she died due to croup on February 28,1865. Usually but not always, croup is due to a virus. Anyone who has had a child with croup can tell you what a scary sound that barking cough is in the middle of the night!
An Irena Hoskins died on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1865. A 77-year-old native of Connecticut, her death was caused by congestion of the lungs. The Hoskins name is well known in Scipio, as is the name of Fordyce. On July 22, 1865, Alpha Fordyce died due to an inflammation of the bowels. Today we know that as Crohn’s Disease; also we have ulcerative colitis. Both are very limiting and serious diseases even today.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scipio Website

If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you'll find some of my favorite links. One of them is the link to the Town of Scipio website. Take a few minutes and click on it to see the improvements that have recently been made.
We now have a volunteer webmaster, and he has worked hard to make Scipio information easier to access. Pictures have also been added; some of scenic views and some of our historic buildings. It is a work in progress, and I am sure that it will grow and improve over time.
Let the town know how you like the new look, it's your website!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tundra Swans

I was visiting a friend who is lucky enough to live right on Owasco Lake. Her house is about at the midway mark of the west side, and in the summer it is a pleasure to sip a cup of coffee on her patio and watch the baby ducklings make their way along the shoreline.
Last week, the weather was a bit chilly at 20 degrees, and so we were indoors looking out at the many birds that call Owasco Lake their home for some or all of the wintertime. There are plenty of Canadian Geese of course, but what struck my eye was the lovely line of tundra swans; a long white thread of graceful birds making their way from Auburn at the north end to Moravia at the south end, heading for their evening meal.
There is a certain grace to their flight, unmatched by the geese or other birds of their size, that makes them immediately recognizable. Every winter, they visit Scipio. That is not a bad idea!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Diseases of 1865

A previous blog entry discussed some diseases we don’t hear about today. Some of them have thankfully been eradicated by modern medicine; others have been renamed.
Consumption was prevalent in America in the mid-1800’s. Also known as Phthisis, today we refer to it as tuberculosis.
On July 10th of 1865, Emily Conklin died of Consumption in Scipio. A native of Onondaga County, Emily was 24 years old and married. It was not until 1882 that the bacillus that caused tuberculosis was identified. Immunizations began in 1921 and gained acceptance in the 1940’s.
Ever hear of Dropsy? Elizabeth Van Liew died of it on June 27, 1865. Today, we would say she had edema due to congestive heart failure. I can’t read her age on the copy of the vital records so perhaps an alert blog reader has some Van Liew family tree information that would tell us how old Elizabeth was when she died? Calling all relatives!
Patrick Meullally was only 3 when he died on January 20th, 1865. He was diagnosed with an inflammation of the stomach. Today usually referred to as gastritis, this can be caused by an infection, an acute injury or burn, or can be a symptom of stomach cancer or other serious disease.
Sadly, another child only two years old died on October 27th of that year. Ada E. Sharp’s cause of death was given as Infantile Fever. Most likely, this was Typhoid Fever.