Monday, March 31, 2014

Scipio Talbot Jacquard Coverlet

This blog attracts many viewers from across the USA (and a few overseas!) and this week I heard from someone without personal ties to our town, but with an interesting story.
Carol is an antiques dealer and recently purchased a jacquard coverlet from a Talbot family estate. It has "Scipio 1835" in one corner. The blue and cream colors are the same as others I have seen, but the patterns are different. You may recall from past blog posts that the coverlets were generally made by itinerants or as a supplemental source of income by farmers or other seasonally busy folks, using a large loom and punch card system.
In her search for details, Carol found this website and sent me an email with some wonderful photos.
She states that this coverlet was purchased from a Talbot family estate. It was discovered wrapped in tissue paper in an old trunk and is in amazing condition. This coverlet came with a note with a little bit of family history. The note said the coverlet was owned by Mrs. J. D. Freer of Cortland, NY, who was noted as "My Father's Mother" by the last owner of the coverlet. It also stated that is was said to have been presented as a wedding gift by the family of Henry Ward Beecher. Henry (1813-1887), a minister like his six brothers, was a brother to Harriett Beecher Stowe, author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
I am hoping that a Talbot family member from our neck of the woods can shed some light on the family's relationship to Mrs. Freer and to Henry Ward Beecher to their family before Carol has sold the coverlet. I'd be glad to share her email with anyone interested in speaking with her directly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

William Seward's Westfield Years

Today I was idly browsing NYS wineries information, as a friend had recommended a visit to a winery on Lake Erie. Their website recommended places to shop, dine and stay. The William Seward Inn caught my eye.
When I visited their website at found a wonderful narrative about William Seward and his years working for the Holland Land Company while living in Westfield, NY.
The Inn was built in 1832, and in 1837 it was purchased by William Seward. He made many improvements but sold it in 1841 to a George Patterson who shortly became NYS Lieutenant Governor.
In the 1960's, this 35-foot high Greek revival mansion was nearly demolished but in 1966 a small group of dedicated individuals were able to have it dismantled and reassembled in another location. In 1981, the building had been neglected and had again fallen into serious disrepair, then was purchased and restored as a bed & breakfast.
This story is one of so many that document the ability of small but determined groups of people to make a difference and save an important piece of New York history. I can't wait to visit!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Comstock's History of Scipio

In 1940, Austin Comstock's "Some of the Early History of the Town of Scipio" was published. I have a mimeographed typescript that I've read many times.
The publication is filled with names and relationships of our early settlers. I didn't find an electronic copy but it looks like the Finger Lakes Library System has it with OCLC #503217088.
This winter, I decided to build an index of the names in this 30-page document. The names include Hoxie, Chase, Sherwood, Gould, Heffron,Bennett, Wyant, Buckhout, Mosher, Bancroft and many more.I am almost done, and will be posting a copy to the blog so stay tuned!