Wednesday, November 21, 2012


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

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This photo was taken by my trusty camera on a visit to our State Archives in Albany this summer. It is one page from the 1897 report of GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Post 632, Selah Cornwell based in Merrifield, Town of Scipio NY. Post 632 was one of many local Posts active in the years following the Civil War.

Selah Cornwell GAR Post 632

Between a recent donation from the owner of Scipio business St. John’s Memorials and another trip to the NYS Archives in Albany, I have gathered some more information about Scipio and Cayuga County in the early years.
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) records stored at the Archives are not complete, but there were several for Scipio, Union Springs, King Ferry and Auburn. I plan to share some of them in the weeks ahead, and of course will make them available at the Scipio Town Hall for anyone who is interested. Here are a few details about Scipio Civil War veterans who belonged to #632.

Yearly reports submitted by Post 632 of Scipio tell us who was an officer, how many members the Post had and what the dues were.

In 1895, there were 22 members reported with their Headquarters in Merrifield, Town of Scipio. Officers were Wm. C. Tripp, J. B. Hitchcock, Libeus Merry, Francis Flynn, W. M. Clark, P.T. Shorkley, M. M. Palmer, C. Sincerbox, T. C. Tallman and S. Williams.

June of 1897 shows the Post Headquarters listed as Association Hall, and there were 23 members; two members were lost by suspension leaving 21. Dues were $1.68 per capita.
Officers listed were: Wm. C. Tripp, W. M. Clark, J. B. Hitchcock, P.T. Shorkley, M. M. Parker, C. Sincerbox, S. Williams, T. C. Tallman, Libeus Merry and Francis Flynn.
They met the 1st and 3rd Saturdays in Morgan Hall.

For December of 1897, a report was filed showing 21 current members, and another two mustered in: John Muldoon, aged 72 and a resident of the neighboring town of Fleming and J. P. Northway, aged 52, born in Cortland and residing in Venice (which was formed off from Scipio in 1823).
John Muldoon was mustered in on December 30, 1862. He served as a Private in Company E of the 9th NY Heavy Artillery until his discharge on October 18, 1865 due to a surgeon’s certificate.
J. P. enlisted on January 7, 1864. He mustered in as a Private in Company H of the 16th NY Heavy Artillery. At discharge on November 29, 1865, he was a member of Company A of the 4th NY Cavalry. His discharge was due to General orders #144. Dues had been lowered to eight cents a member. Meetings were held the 1st Saturday of the month at Association Hall.
Officers listed were Morton M. Palmer, John P. Northway, William C. Tripp, Thomas C. Tallman, Pardon T. Shorkley, Chester Sincerbox, Leonard Williams, Wilbur C. Clark, Alonso A. Austin, James B. Hitchcock and Francis Flynn.

On June 28, 1902, 37 years after the end of the Civil War, Post 632 had just 13 members and they each paid eight cents for dues, so a total of $1.04 was collected. The roster of members was as follows:
Francis Flynn, J. P. Northway, W. M. Clark, P.T. Shorkley, M.M. Parker, Chester Sincerbox, Wm. C. Tripp, J. W. Jaquette, A. A. Austin and J. B. Hitchcock.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

American's Creed

William Tyler Page, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote “The American's Creed” in 1917. It was accepted by the House on behalf of the American people on April 3, 1918.

Where were you?
Where were you 11 years ago? I had just arrived at work when I heard the news that changed our lives forever. We gathered to hear the news on a television, and in stunned silence watched as the second tower was hit. Wave after wave of broadcasts told us what was happening almost as it occurred. No one knew if this was the beginning of something or an isolated incident, and we were all fearful of what would happen next and where.
Washington DC then Pennsylvania appeared on the news and normally calm newscasters gave unguarded and personal accounts of what they saw. We heard report after report of strangers reaching out to each other, valiant men and women sacrificing their lives to save other. In the days and weeks that followed, people untouched personally gave deeply of their time and money to help those left devastated in the aftermath.
Today I participated in a remembrance ceremony in Auburn, NY at City Hall, at the monument erected last year to commemorate the 10th year since the attacks took place. Surrounded by military, police, fire and rescue personnel, politicians and civilians we once more renewed our pledge to each other and to our country:
“I believe in the United States of America as a government of the people, by the people, for the people; whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes. I therefore believe it is my duty to my country to love it, to support its Constitution, to obey its laws, to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.”

Sunday, July 29, 2012


New York State played a large role in the Revolutionary War. The Daughters of the American Revolution Owasco Chapter currently has 81 members; many of their Revolutionary ancestors fought in and are buried in New York.
Many of us have seen “Drums Along the Mohawk” with Henry Fonda and more recently with Daniel Defoe. The movie is an attempt to accurately portray life in central New York during the Revolution, and the brave men and women who defended their homes and families.
Of all the battles fought in the American Revolution, few, if any were as violent as the Battle of Oriskany. The National Park Service provides us with some details.
The Battle of Oriskany occurred on August 6, 1777, when the local Tryon County Militia attempted to come to the relief of the besieged Fort Schuyler (Stanwix). In 1777 Tryon County covered the area that now embraces the Counties of Fulton, Montgomery, Tioga, Ontario, Herkimer and Hamilton.
On July 30, 1777, the militia's commander, General Nicholas Herkimer, had ordered his men to begin assembling at Fort Dayton located in the modern Herkimer NY area. By August 4, around 800 of the militia were assembled and ready to begin the march to relieve Ft. Schuyler. General John Burgoyne was attempting to force General Philip Schuyler's army of some 1,000 men to abandon their positions along the Mohawk, opening the route to Albany. He selected Lt. Colonel Barry Saint Leger (1737-1789), to command the expedition. Between regular troops, Hessians and Indians there was a British fighting force of about 1,400 men.
Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer's Command consisted of the Tryon County, New York Militia. Along with his eight hundred men, Herkimer had between 250 and 400 ox carts filled with supplies for the besieged Fort. The column was almost one mile long.
The militia brigade was composed of four regiments, mostly of Palatine German immigrants or their descendants. The 1st (Canajoharie) Regiment under Col. Ebenezer Cox, the 2nd (Palatine) Regiment under Col. Jacob Klock, the 3rd (Mohawk) Regiment under Col. Fredrick Visscher, and the 4th (Kingsland-German Flatts) Regiment under Col. Peter Bellinger.
The battle of Oriskany was devastating on both sides. Losses on the Tryon militia side may have been as high as 500 killed, wounded, or captured out of the 800 engaged. The battle of Oriskany led to Gen. Herkimer's death and destroyed the Tryon County Militia Brigade as an effective fighting force for the remainder of the war. This made it impossible for the militia to effectively defend their settlements from the Indian and loyalist raids that would plague them for the rest of the war.
General St. Leger's claim to victory in his letter to General Burgoyne of August 11th, 1777 was true enough. He had stopped the attempt to resupply and relieve Fort Stanwix. The Americans' claim that they still held the field of battle is an empty boast, as they did not achieve their goal. But, that they broke the back of St. Leger's fighting force and gave the British Indian allies something to think about was a true victory. Through their heroic defense, in the worst possible circumstances, they were truly victors.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank a Veteran Today

We have a lot to be thankful for, and today is a good day to seek out a veteran and tell them that.
Maybe your veteran is your neighbor or someone you work with. Maybe it is an ancestor who fought in the Revolution, Civil War, or so many many more to preserve our freedom. Send a thank you to the VA Hospital. Visit the cemetery. Write a letter to the Editor for your local paper. "Like" a vet on Facebook. Or just sit on your porch, enjoying your freedom to do just that,while you look at the flag and reflect upon the meaning behind the day.
Thank you every one!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scipio and British Aliens in 1812

I have done some research on Scipio and the War of 1812 as you can probably tell from my last couple of postings. June 18, 2012, marks the 200th anniversary of the tart of the War of 1812.
I obtained some information from the NYS Archives on Scipio during the War of 1812. There were Scipio residents loyal to the USA who fought in the War of 1812; some had already served their country in the Revolutionary War. They are a story I will write another day. Today, I’d like to tell you about the list I found of British aliens (non-citizens) who were required to register with the government due to the outbreak of the War of 1812. This was done per a notice from the Department of State dated July 7, 1812 regarding British aliens residing in the USA during the War of 1812.
Some Scipio men on that list are:
Timothy Reddy, aged 34 with 15 years in the USA, a tailor with a wife and 6 children. He had made no application for Naturalization, and was noted as being “in opposition to the administration.”
Joseph Varty, aged 55 with 1 year as a resident and a married farmer but no children. He had made no application for Naturalization and was noted as being “an inoffensive subject.”
Robert Wallace, age 50 and a 23-year resident, a farmer with four children. He had not applied for Naturalization and in the remarks it was noted he appeared “to be unfriendly to the administration.”
Edmund Wright, age 52 with 23 years in the USA, a distiller of whiskey with a wife and 5 children. He had made no application for Naturalization, but the comments reflect that he was reputed to be “an honest man with a respectable family, and a good friend to the American government.”
William McMillin, age 52 and 24 years in the USA. A farmer with no family and no Naturalization, he was noted as being “a stranger, but an inoffensive man.”
Patrick Brannan, age 66 and 12 years in this country. He had a wife and 4 children and was a farmer who made application for Naturalization in January of 1812. He was noted as being “a respectable subject and a good friend to the government.”
John Kellett, who was a 32-year-old farmer here for 6 years with a wife and 3 children. He had made no Naturalization application, and was noted as being “opposed to the present administration of the government.”
Thomas Cowen, who at age 34 had been here for 20 years. He was a farmer with a wife and 4 children. No Naturalization application, but noted as being “friendly to the American Government.”
Patrick McLaughlin, who was 28 years old and had been here for 5 years. He was a Distiller with a wife and child. He was noted as being “peaceable and well disposed.”
Lawrence Gaffany (Gaffeny?) who was 25 and had been in the USA for 9 years. A labourer with no family, he was noted as being “a respectable young man and friendly to the Government.”
John Flynn, age 22 and in the USA for 9 years. Also a labourer without a family, he was noted as being “peaceable and inoffensive.”
Joseph Bird was 27 and here for 1 year. A farmer but no family, he was noted as being “a respectable young man and inoffensive.”
Samuel Brannon, age 22 and here 12 years, had no family. It appears from the notations on the list that he was related to John Brannon, also on the list as age 18 with 12 years in the USA. Both were farmers, and the notes say the two young men are “sons of Patrick and friendly to Government.”

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812

The USPS Civil War stamps I mentioned in my last blog got me thinking of an earlier Battle of New Orleans - in the War of 1812.
I had several older siblings and they all loved music. My earliest memories include the popular songs of the day playing on a radio in the background. Elvis, Fabian, the Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, and many more - I could probably sing along with them all today, and many of them take me back with startling clarity to a specific moment in time when I chance upon them today.
One of my favorite songs was “The Battle of New Orleans” sung by Johnny Horton, although when I was seven years old, I had no idea what he was really singing about. I just knew the song was loud and lots of fun to sing along to. Casey Kasem would tell us in his mellow radio announcer voice that this song made the charts for twenty-one weeks, hitting #1 on June 6, 1959, and staying there for six weeks. The song also reached #1 on the country single chart, and won a 1960 Grammy for both Song of the Year and Best Country & Western Recording. I guess I wasn’t the only one who liked it!
With Memorial Day later this month and the 200th anniversary of the onset of the War of 1812 right around the corner on June 18, 2012, I listened to the song again (I love the Internet) and this time, it takes on new meaning. Many Americans who fought for this country’s freedom in the American Revolution also bore arms in the War of 1812. Horton’s song is an extremely simplified and exaggerated account of the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans, which was fought on January 8, 1815 and was the last major battle of the War of 1812. The Americans did defeat the British in this battle (with about 70 casualties versus the British’s 2,000+), and the British did withdraw, but the battle was a bit more complicated than the song suggests!

The part of the song that was my favorite, next to the part about the alligators, goes like this:

“Yeah, they ran through the briars
And they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes
Where the rabbits couldn’t go
They ran so fast
That the hounds couldn’t catch ‘em
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.”

You may also recall that the War of 1812 was when Francis Scott Key penned his poem, The Star Spangled Banner, as the smoke cleared at the Battle of Fort McHenry in September of 1814. Professional flag maker Mary Pickersgill had sewed the flag under government contract in 1813. Fort McHenry was built prior to the War of 1812, and was named after James McHenry who was the U.S. Secretary of War from 1796 to 1800. Key’s poem officially became our national anthem by an order of Congress in 1931. The original flag that inspired Francis Scott Key is among the most treasured artifacts in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Each of the 15 stars is about 2 feet in diameter, and the 15 stripes are about 24 inches wide. I had the opportunity to see it about ten years ago while it was being restored, a monumental undertaking. I didn’t really grasp the enormity and presence of this flag until that day; then my imagination let me see and hear it, flapping and snapping high atop the flagpole, watching over the fort as the battle raged.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

USPS Stamps that Commemorate Civil War Battles

On April 24, 2012, The U.S. Postal Service issued the second of an annual series of Forever stamps that pay tribute to one of the most far-reaching events in our nation’s history: the American Civil War.

The stamps in this second series remember the Battle of New Orleans, the first significant achievement of the U.S. Navy in the war, and the Battle of Antietam, which marked the bloodiest day of the war.

A major achievement of the United States Navy during the war, the Battle of New Orleans placed the Confederacy’s most vital port in Union hands and as a result, Southern trade, finance, and shipbuilding were greatly disrupted.
Five months later came the bloodiest single day not only of the Civil but in American history — the Battle of Antietam.

The Battle of New Orleans stamp is a reproduction of an 1862 colored lithograph by Currier & Ives titled “The Splendid Naval Triumph on the Mississippi, April 24th, 1862.” It depicts Admiral David G. Farragut’s fleet passing Fort Jackson and Fort St. Phillip on the way to New Orleans.

The Battle of Antietam stamp is a reproduction of an 1887 painting by Thure de Thulstrup. The painting was one of a series of popular prints commissioned in the 1880s by Boston publisher Louis Prang & Co. to commemorate the Civil War.
The stamp pane’s background image is from a photograph of Union soldiers in the vicinity of Fair Oaks, VA, circa June 1862, and includes comments on the war by David G. Farragut, James C. Steele, Walt Whitman, and the New York Times. It also includes some of Charles Carroll Sawyer’s lyrics from the popular 1862 song “Weeping, Sad and Lonely,” or “When This Cruel War Is Over” (music composed by Henry Tucker).

Soldiers were allowed to mail letters without stamps beginning in July 1861 by writing “Soldier’s Letter” on the envelope; postage was collected from the recipient. In July 1863, postage rates were simplified and in some cases lowered when distance-based letter rate categories were eliminated and all letters given the lowest rate. That same month, free home delivery of mail was introduced in the nation’s largest cities. And in November 1864 the money order system began, making it safer for soldiers and citizens to send money through the mail. A letter that cost 3 cents to mail in 1861 would cost seventy-seven cents in today’s dollars.

The Library of Congress has some great photos of Civil War mail wagons. You can check some of them out at:

While you’re there, take a look at some of the other Civil War drawings and photographs that have been digitized. There are several, and they are searchable. The Library of Congress has an excellent digital collection on many subjects and they are a great resource for historians.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New York History: A NY Classic: Drums Along the Mohawk

New York History: A NY Classic: Drums Along the Mohawk: After its first publication in 1936, Walter D. Edmonds' classic historical novel Drums Along the Mohawk battled Gone With the Wind as the most popular historical novel of the ensuing years, and became a feature film in 1939 directed by John Ford, and starring Claudette Colbert and Henry Fonda. Edmond's sources were varied, but he pointed out the importance of the Minute Book of the Committee of Safety of Tryon County "to understand what valley life was really like". This summer we will be able to have a taste of that life at an outdoor drama based on Drums Along the Mohawk that coincides with the British Brigade and Continental Line’s national Revolutionary War encampment at Gelston Castle Estate in Mohawk, NY. About 1,000 reenactors are expected to take part in honor of the 235th anniversary of the Battle of Oriskany. My Revolutionary War ancestor, Michael Edick (Ittig) was there. His name is in the book, and his family lived through the events of the day. So did the Fonda acting family ancestor, for whom the upstate town of Fonda is named. I think it will be great to see this outdoor drama and get a small sample of the difficult and frightening life they led on the "New York frontier."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The 1940 Census Comes to Town

No foolin'! It's finally here, the day many of us have been eagerly awaiting for several months, the release of the 1940 census.

Details about the lives of approximately 132 million Americans were recorded with the taking of the 1940 census, and these details are being made available to researchers for the first time. The 1940 census will be the first U. S. census to be released digitally, and the first one to be available to researchers everywhere for free on its release date. Here are some places on the Internet to find these tantalizing facts.

At 9 a.m. on Monday morning, April 2, 2012, the entire 1940 Census will be available online at the following National Archives website:

You will be able to browse digital images of the census records for free on shortly after the official release.
With census template and facts, this site will have the 1940 census available for free soon after release. This company is also participating in the community-based indexing project for this census.

Bureau of the Census:
You will be able to find the enumerator’s instructions for the 1940 census here. It is interesting to read these instructions, and this information can also help to clarify what was recorded. Another site where the census will be available to search for free shortly after census day is
FamilySearch is also leading the community-based indexing project.

Steve Morse’s Site: will have a unified 1940 census enumeration district finder. Steve Morse has a lot of helpful information; in particular his guidance to search the Ellis Island database is worth checking out.

As you may already know, the 1940 census will not be indexed upon release. Until the indexes are created, you can locate individuals of interest by conducting geographic-based searches through the census data. Start with a possible address for the family you are interested in finding. Use Google Maps to locate cross-streets. Then use the cross-streets in the “Unified Census Finder” to narrow down to one or two Enumeration Districts. Pay attention to street names and house numbers; many were renumbered since 1940, particularly when 911 addresses were created. Checking an older City Directory can be helpful.

Let’s really celebrate the release of the 1940 census by finding our families among its pages, and by updating and sharing family stories that will certainly contain new chapters based on 1940 census data. Let your fingers do the walking through the 1940 census!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Scipio Civil War Veterans

The various municipal Historians in Cayuga County have expended a great deal of time and effort in compiling service records and names of the Civil War veterans of their respective towns. That includes this Historian! But just when I think I have every name, I find another one. Such was the case when I was looking at, a website I highly recommend. Filled with searchable newspapers from the central NY area, it is often possible to find new information on a subject.
Some of these names are new to me, some are not. I wanted to share them with you today:

From the Auburn Semi-Weekly Journal of January 4, 1907:
Libbeus Merry, a well-known citizen of Scipio, suffered a paralytic stroke this morning. Mr. Merry is 71 years of age and served during the Civil War with the ninth Regiment.

From the Auburn Citizen of August 1, 1930:
James Benton Hitchcock , 89 years old, prominent farmer of Scipio, died yesterday at his home in that town after being in failing health for some time. Mr. Hitchcock had lived in the Town of Scipio for many years, and was well known throughout that vicinity. He was born in Uxbridge, England on March 24, 1841 and came to this country May 10, 1850, when nine years of age. Mr. Hitchcock had a splendid war record, having served in many battles during the Civil War. He saw service in the siege of Yorktown in the battles of Hanover Courthouse, Gaines Mills, Malvern Hill, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. He was honorably discharged at the close of the war with the rank of quartermaster sergant.
Mr. Hitchcock in 1874 married Miss Carrie Batten who survives him. He was the son of Thomas and Hannah Gunnell Hitchcock. For many years Mr. Hitchcock operated his farm in Scipioville and at one time was employed by the American Express Company in this city. He also had worked at cabinet making in Auburn and the vicinity of Scipioville. He was a member of the Scipio Center G. A. R Post and attended the Presbyterian Church at Scipioville. For 28 years Mr. Hitchcock served as Justice of the Peace.
He is survived by his wife; one son, Byron Hitchcock; four grandchildren and one great-grandson. Funeral services will be held at 2:30 o’clock Sunday afternoon at the home in Scipio with the Rev. Casper Gregory, pastor of the Presbyterian Church,. Officiating. Burial will be in Evergereen Cemetery, Scipioville. Mr. Hitchcock is also survived by two nephews, C. A. Hitchcock of Chittenango and Frederick W. Hitchcock of Sonyea.

From the Auburn Citizen of Tuesday October 10,1905:
Funeral of a Veteran
The funeral of Eber F. West was held at his late home in Scipioville yesterday afternoon. The house was filled with sympathizing friends. Rev. W. P. Garrett, the retiring pastor of the M. E. Church officiated. The M. E. choir sang two appropriate selections. The bearers were J. B. Hitchcock, Nathaniel Hoagland, George E. Carr, Daniel Sunshall (sic), George Bowen and Martin Myers, all of them veterans of the Civil War. Mr. West was a veteran, having enlisted in Company K under the late Captain Angel serving from November 5 1861 until June 30, 1865. There was a profusion of flowers. Burial was made at Evergreen cemetery, Scipioville.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Early Scipio Marriages

It is a challenge to find vital records in New York for any period much before 1850, and even those are pretty sparse. I am also always on the search for ways to identify maiden names of women so their branch of the family tree can be fleshed out.
I was fortunate enough to receive a transcription of some early marriage records for central New York, including Scipio, Springport and Aurelius. Let's see if you are related to any of these folks.

These early marriage records were provided courtesy of Norma Bilak in January 1998. A former very dedicated Historian, Norma is now deceased.
This material was copied from Nellie Flinn’s scrapbook by Arlene Young, then transcribed by Norma.

The following record of the marriages of some of the old inhabitants of Springport, Scipio, and Aurelius is taken from leaflets of a memorandum kept by Rev. Warner Lake, who for 20 years was Pastor of the Baptist Church, located near Powers Corners. Some of these folks descendants are still living in our midst. On a side note, the Rev. Lake was grandfather to J. B. and George W. Clark.
The town listed appears to be the residence of the husband. Some did not have a town listed, but presumably at least one of the couple was local.

Date names town

Nov. 20 1817 Harvey Bush to Arbella Whipple Aurelius
Feb. 19 1818 Timothy Bush to Lydia Bliss
Sep. 03 1818 Justus Boid to Almira Nutt Aurelius
Sep. 10 1818 Nicholas Gray to Laura Clark Aurelius
Nov. 01 1818 Gyeduthor P. Tabor to Mary Rob
Dec. 16 1818 Elam Anthony to Nancy Hunt
Mar. 23 1809 Wm. Crise to Eliza Elenor DeShong
Oct. 7 1809 Daniel Lummis to Polly Corley Aurelius
Oct. 14 1819 Mr. Roberts to Mary Bush
Nov. 2 1819 Hull Thompson to Diana Allen Scipio
Nov. 9 1819 Samuel Burghardt to Sally Snider Aurelius
Nov. 11 1819 Lewis Clark to Rhoda Lake Aurelius
Dec. 30 1819 Herlan Chamberlain to Anna Bush Scipio
Mar. 14 1819 Ichabod Clark to Hetty Gray
Mar. 21 1819 William Richardson to Hannah Dougherty Aurelius
Jul. 16 1820 Benjamin Roberts to Sarah Mosher Aurelius
Aug. 23 1820 Joshua Millard to Hannah Hall Scipio
Apr. ? 1822 Lenineu Mosher to Patty Booth Aurelius
Jul 7 1822 Abraham Johnson to Maria Bancroft Aurelius
Dec. 19 1822 Thaddeus Bennett to Betsey Ingram
Jan. 29 1824 Benjamin Sherman to Phebe Sprague Auburn
Dec. 29 1824 Amos Darling to Alma Hale Aurelius
Apr. 19 1827 Abraham Flinn to Fanny Weed Aurelius
Jan. 19 1826 Sylvester Frances to Lovey West
Jan. 19 1826 Alanson Rittenhouse to Mary Swallow Fleming
Feb. 2 1826 Manson Powers to Eliza Gray
Jun. 15 1826 William DeCoy to Harriett Duboll Springport
Oct. 18 1827 Abram Kirby of Ledyard to Lydia Gray of Springport
Jan. 17 1828 John Clark to Lizzie Flinn Springport
Mar. 9 1828 Oziah Smith to Hannah Lamb Springport
Apr. 9 1829 _?__ Wheeler to Sally Bigsby Aurelius
Dec. 13 1829 Mr. Boseman to Maria Beardsley Springport
Jan. 1 1827 Philip W. Hewitt to Nancy Seabolt Springport
Sep. 26 1827 Jacob Schenck to Maria Roberts Springport
Feb. 28 1828 Benj. F. Martingail to Widow Clark Springport
Mar. 29 1828 Zurah Curtis o Maria Wheeler Springport
May 12 1829 Samuel Dills of Scipio to Mary Lawrence of Springport

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mail in the 1830's

I was browsing through some old newspapers, including some available online at, and found some records of mail waiting to be picked up. Looks like the Post Master wanted to start the new year off by clearing out some old mail.

On January 1, 1832, several Scipio people had letters remaining for them at the Post Office. Their names were printed in the Cayuga County Patriot. Where the name was not too clear, I have placed a question mark:
Roger Alexander
Uriah Benedict
Daniel Benham
Jas. E. Brinkerhoff
Thomas Bowman
Isaac Brown
David Carpenter
William Cowen
Ebenezer Chevall
Terry Clark
Gideon Cornell
William Daniels
Daniel Dearborn
Skaden Dean (?)
Mathew Easton
Owen Eddy
Jeffrey A. Takman (?)
John Fancher
Jonathan Green
Nathan Hale
Solomon Hull
Ebenezer Kimball
Reliance Newcomb (?)
Joseph Pierce
Richard Shaw
Henry Spencer
Alexander Story
Ephraim Starkweather
Lewis D. Sutphen
Seneca Tracy
John Winslow
Josiah Woodworth
Josiah C. Wheaton
Raymond Warin
William Weed
Marrin Warner or John Rellett (?)
Jethro Wood
John T. Walker
Certified by Andrew Groom, Post Master

Letters were also waiting for pickup at Sherwood’s Corners, but the newspaper is difficult to read and many names are illegible. Some I can see:
John Anthony
Timothy Butler
Humphrey Howland
Robert Lawrence
Lydia A. Palmer
Jethro Wood
Wilbur Dennis
Allen Hoxie
Josiah Letchworth
Irene Peck
Mary Smith
John Wood
Samuel Worden
Certified by A. Thomas, Post Master

The 1827 list of letters waiting at Sherwood’s Corners is much clearer:
William H. Allen
Thomas Alsop
Abm. Barker
Josiah Bowen
Nathaniel Close
Joseph Estes
Jesse McCarty
John S. Gifford
Phebe Johnson
Daniel Maybey
Henry H. Mosher
Joseph Manly
Monmouth Purdy
Benjamin Smith
James Stillson
James Sayles
Lucinda Sanford
William Slocum
Mr. Stubbs
John Vanduser
John Wood
William Wooden Jr.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Year in a Nutshell

Every year, I complete a report that captures many of the duties I perform as Scipio Historian. I want to share my 2011 report with you today.

YEARLY REPORT of Town Historian, Scipio 2011

This year I completed my eighth as Town Historian. The duties I performed included but were not limited to the following items:

I attended Cayuga County Historian’s meetings when they were offered and otherwise shared information with other local historians by letter and e-mail.
I responded to inquiries and requests for information of a historic or genealogic nature directed to me on: Mullally, Akin, Gould, Story, Chamberlain, Ensenore, Lawler, Peckham, Seeley, Doyle, Edgbert, Percy, Root, Batten and Fordyce among others.
I accepted and inventoried donations to our historical holdings.
I maintained and updated our scrapbooks.
I submitted a brief article for our town newsletter to inform our residents and increase local interest in our history.
I obtained and organized copies of historical writings about our town and made them available for our residents and visitors.
I kept a supply of business cards at the Town Hall so residents could have a means to contact me by mail, phone or Internet, and added the blog URL.
I wrote articles for the Citizen newspaper and the Genoa-King Ferry Tribune about Scipio history.
I maintained contact with the APHNYS to access information and share ideas.
I transcribed some otherwise unavailable vital records for Scipio provided through the County Historian’s office.
I continue to work with the Town Clerk, other municipal Historians and our residents to identify people places and other things about Scipio.
I continued a BLOG for Scipio at to encourage younger residents to participate in their Town’s history in a medium they understand, and for others to communicate electronically with questions, etc. That blog has had over 15,000 hits since inception in October of 2007, with 5,000 occurring in the past calendar year and has generated many e-mail inquiries and much interest and information about Scipio and her early residents.
I continued to add material to my file cabinet drawer at the Town Hall.
I met with various residents at various locations to discuss our history, accept donations of historical significance, and to gain new insight on our past.
I continued work on a family file system to cross reference early family surnames, to make sharing and look up more productive.
I obtained the results of a Cayuga Community College American History class project on the individuals buried in Scipio cemeteries and made them available.
I continued to compile information on our Civil War veterans in celebration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.
I continued to research Scipio’s connection to the USCT and other Civil War information.
I accepted historical gifts from the public and provided archival quality storage if needed.
I delivered a bus tour of Civil War venues in Cayuga and Seneca Counties. This tour was held in August of 2011 as part of the National Conference of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW).
As always, it is a pleasure to serve the Town of Scipio as her Historian.

Sandie Stoker Gilliland, Town of Scipio Historian
January 18, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Records in the National Archives

I was excited to learn of The Lincoln Archives Digital Project, which is busily digitizing all federal records created during Abraham Lincoln's administration that are housed within the National Archives. This is the first digital project to scan the entire contents of a president's administration. Once completed, the approximately 14 million executive, legislative, judicial and military records housed within the National Archives, including all documents, maps, and photographs, which encompass the Civil War era 1861-1865, will be available online, in color, transcribed and fully searchable to the global community.

This project will provide a full inventory of the holdings of the National Archives, which are within the scope of the project beginning after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln, ending on April 15, 1865, with his assassination. The exceptions are all records that are involved with the assassination.

There will be free access to these records through Memorial Day of 2012. The website is located at; there is also a blog located at
A quick click around the website shows detailed links to newspapers, photographs, maps and political cartoons to name a few features. For the teachers out there, or historians who give presentations, there are lesson plans too.

You can do a search to locate records, and there is an online site map that has an index of topics with links directly to the records. Scans of original handwritten letters and other documents are easy to read, and contain information from the Archives that has never been available online before. They include for example, handwritten orders from Auburn NY resident and Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, exempting specific aliens from military service.

All these features will grow over time as items are transcribed, and volunteers are always welcome to assist with the project. As we celebrate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, it would be an interesting project to participate in. The website is well worth a visit if you have an interest in Civil War information.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Direct Link to Ensenore Photos

And this should be a direct link to the Ensenore photos.
I will edit out the links that do not work if you will give them a try and leave me a comment. I am able to access the album with all 3 links, including the first one, so I am at a loss.


Photos of Ensenore - second try!

Ensenore or Culver’s Point

In the previous blog, I posted some photos of Ensenore Glen House. Here are some interesting facts about where the name came from, and how the House came to be:

Few people are aware that Ensenore is the title of an epic-length poem written in 1840, by Auburn attorney Peter Myers. In it, the hero Ensenore whose sweetheart has been captured by Indians and taken to their campground, disguised himself as an Indian chief and followed the band to their summer camp on Owasco Lake, then successfully escaped with sweetheart Kathreen in a rain of arrows and a frantic chase.

Peter’s brother Michael had moved to Auburn in 1817, and brought his younger brother to Auburn where he attended an Academy in Aurora. In 1829 Michael became County Clerk, and appointed Peter as his deputy. Peter continued his legal studies and entered into a partnership with his brother.

In 1870 Peter moved to Auburn, and General William Seward sponsored the reprinting of his poem Ensenore. I found a readable copy of the book containing Ensenore on .

The poem is dedicated to William H. Seward, Governor of NYS, “the scene of which is principally upon the beautiful lake in the vicinity of his country residence.” Here are a few excerpts to give you the flavor of this rather long and flowery poem:

Three times the setting sun has shed
Its light upon their forest way;
Three times the shades of night have fled,
While, in her guarded bough-built bed,

Kathreen, unsleeping, waits the day,
And they, at early eve, have found
Their fav'rite western hunting ground,
Upon the shore of that fair lake,

Whose waters are the clearest, brightest,
Whose silver surges ever break
Upon her pebbled margin, lightest ;
Owasco's waters sweetly slept.

Owasco's banks were bright and green,
The willow on her margin wept,
The wild-fowl on her wave were seen,
And Nature's golden charms were shed.

As richly round her quiet bed,
From flowered mead to mountain brow,
A century since as they are now.

He stood before her come to save
Or share with her a captive's grave.

This poem purportedly became a favorite in Cayuga County, and in 1847 a steamboat was named after it. That boat was launched into Mill Creek and horses dragged it to the inlet. When launched, the boat began to sink. This ended the steamer’s only voyage!

In 1868 Dr. Horatio Robinson asked Ansin Culver for permission to put up some cottages on his Owasco Lake property; he was looking for a location where General William Seward could recuperate from his Civil War injuries. At that time there were mostly farmers located along the shore. Two little cottages of two rooms each were constructed at Culver's Point, later known as Ensenore, in Scipio. Ensenore was a station on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which stretched eventually from Sayre, Pennsylvania to Geneva NY, and the point was also used as a camp by the men building the tracks for the railroad during construction. Culver's Point then contained two summer cottages, the Scipio post office and a boat landing so area farmers could send produce to market by water.

During his stay in Ensenore, General Seward met a young farmer and ex-soldier named George Clark. Clark was appointed postmaster of the Culver Point post office in 1874, and renamed that office Ensenore the same year.

Clark began to purchase land and began work on a hall that measured 100' x 28'. Ensenore soon became a favorite picnic place. Clark then built a four-story hotel named the Ensenore Glen House, which opened in June of 1875. It had 40 rooms, a huge hotel for our area at that time or even now. Each room had access to porches that encircled the hotel, with a large observatory at the top.

The grand opening of the Ensenore Glen House was held in 1874. The facility according to Clark could accommodate over 100 people. It had a black walnut staircase and a large barroom with an L-shaped bar. Captain Clark had 10 boats, supplies for croquet and other games, and of course you could get a ride on his steamer The Owasco, which was later named Ensenore. The featured attraction that drew people from far and wide was the walk up through the Glen to the falls. Clark had constructive flights of stairs for the trail, some of wood and some carved right out of the native stone, which ended with a downward view of 437 feet.

According to the Oswego County Palladium Newspaper of Friday, September 14, 1894, George Clark was fined $100 for exploding dynamite in Owasco Lake for the purpose of killing fish -I would love to know the story behind that little escapade!

In 1875, it was two dollars a day for board (about $40 in 2011 dollars) and $.50 for meals. Clark, ever the enterprising individual, decided to bring boat racing as well to the area. Spending a few minutes on the website brought up lots of articles about those races and the several hundred people who attended them. There were some articles in local newspapers about the Ensenore Glen House and her attractions, pretty smart advertising by the Clarks.

George’s obituary reads:
George G. Clark, proprietor of the Ensenore Glen House, died Wednesday November 28, (1906) after an illness of 2 weeks. He was 65 years of age. He was born in Sullivan, PA, and when he first came to this section his house was in the Town of Sempronius. Later he moved to Scipio and about 30 years ago he built the Ensenore Glen House, which he has since conducted.

I also found his wife’s obituary, published in the Auburn Citizen of Friday, January 14, 1916 and it yields even more information: Joanna Melvina Johnson Clark was born in Sempronius June 8, 1837. She was the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. James H. Johnson. She lived with her parents in Sempronius up to the time of her marriage to George G. Clark of Sullivan, PA on September 6, 1863. In the spring of 1865, having purchased the Hiram Close farm, Mr. and Mrs. Clark took up their residence in the town of Scipio about one mile west of Ensenore where they resided for 40 years. They then took up their residence in the Ensenore Glen House which Mr. Clark had recently built.
Mrs. Clark made this her home until the death of her husband, November 28, 1906. She then went to live with her son, Frank Clark of Ensenore, where she remained until her death January 5 last, with the exception of several winters, which she spent with her son, Prof. George Clark of Boonton, NJ. Mrs. Clark is survived by two sons Frank and George, having buried one son, Seward, at the age of 13 in the year 1889. She is also survived by one sister, Mrs. Minerva Rhoades of Cortland, and several nephews and nieces. Mrs. Clark was a member of Scipio Chapter No. 173, Order of the Eastern Star, having joined the Chapter November 11, 1902. She was a devoted and active member of the order up to the time of her death.
The funeral was very largely attended Sunday last, at the home of her son, Frank J. Clark of Ensenore. Rev. Mr. Warner of Venice officiated. The Eastern Star service was beautifully rendered by the members of Scipio Chapter No. 173, assisted by Brother Noble T. Merritt, past assistant grand lecturer of the 27th Eastern Star district of the state of NY. A large number of floral pieces were banked around the casket as a silent tribute of the high esteem, love and respect in which she was held by the people who knew her. Burial was made in the family plot in Indian Mound Cemetery, Moravia. Both obituaries were found on
With this information, I located George and family in the 1870 and 1880 Scipio census records – Mrs. Clark apparently using her middle name of Malvina. In the 1900 census, George and Malvina were still living in Scipio, right next door to his son Frank, his wife Emma and their children Alpha and Louisa.

Quite an entrepreneur, George brought many visitors and tourists to Scipio and Cayuga County through the use of clever advertising and of course a beautiful location in our lovely Finger Lakes!


This link will I hope take you to pictures of the Ensenore Glenn House, and a map of its location. Stay tuned for a brief story of how the Hotel came to be!