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!