As Memorial Day weekend is now upon us, the annual pilgrimages to area cemeteries is under way. This time is always one of remembrance of where we came from and who came before us. Special significance is shown to the brave and honored veterans of our nations past struggles. Throughout the fifteen towns that makeup the Half-Shire region there are thousands of men and women at rest. Most are in area well-marked graves, while some though are not. Half-Shire continues to prioritize the marking of the unmarked graves in our region, with special consideration of our veterans.
Last fall we made arrangements to re-mark the grave of Seth Aldrich and his wife in Redfield’s Myrtle Cemetery. Seth is credited with four months service in the War of 1812, likely in the defense of Sacket’s harbor to the north. His stone was damaged in the 1980s and the base was all that remained. Through Half -Shire and donation of a descendant Virginia Munson, we were able to acquire a new stone that was delivered and tentatively set last fall.
This year Half-Shire will be working to place markers on the graves of several departed service members and/or their widows including: Samuel Gibbs and Abner Vorce in the town of Richland, Seth and Deliverance Warren in Redfield (Revolutionary War), widow Hannah Barber Rawls in Greenboro, (widow of Revolutionary War soldier Aaron, buried near Bethlehem, NY) Levi and Orinda Sharpe Buell in New Haven (War of 1812), and others as we find and research them. Donations towards the cost of these projects are gladly accepted, note “grave marking” on any checks sent to us.
The June issue of the quarterly Half-Shire Newsletter is taking shape as we write. We hope to mail this out the first week of June. Dr. Steve Bovee of Churchville, NY wrote an interesting piece on his ancestors who lived in Redfield and southern Jefferson County. We compiled a page long article on a recent bible acquisition from a town of Parish family, the Ludingtons, which also had a detailed history of the Miller family included. We have news from across our towns, and announcements of planned meetings and events for the remainder of the year pending our return to normalcy.
We also reported on the extensive renovations that have been taking place at Half Shire’s headquarters in Richland during our shutdown. The William Pomeroy Genealogy Library, a $12,000 addition to our site is the crown jewel of this work, but the completion of the restoration of the second-floor hall and doorways is near and dear to this writer’s heart as this much viewed area of the building has been a sore spot for some time. The men’s room on the first floor and the unisex restroom on the 2nd floor are both nearly done also. Extensive repainting, addition of twelve new rose bushes and removal of several dangerous trees also has been undertaken outside.
On the Property
We have gotten some feedback on the removal of the stately Siberian Spruce trees that have graced the north and southwest corners of our building since 2004. When they were planted, we were warned by one of our volunteers that they were too close to the building and one on the south was actually on the water line. Over the years we have grown more and more worried, particularly about the waterline. Each of these trees were planted in memory of a loved one by our members. The north tree was gifted to us by Carolyn Yerdon of Redfield in memory of Ken Yerdon (1912-2004) The south spruce was gifted to us by M. Edward Griffin in memory of his wife Cleo. Both have been replaced in their memory by new Jackson & Perkins rose trees.
The Williamstown Ladies' Book
In our publications work, the Williamstown Ladies’ book continues at a pace with edits, The Orwell Cemetery book is also on track for June publication. Early work on the Florence Town History project has begun, and a small group is working at the long dormant Tug Hill Bible Records book, Volume I, that was set aside many years ago. We hope to soon offer a new list of publications from our organization and affiliated groups.
We have tried over the years to revive our secondary publication the Tug hill Literary Review that ran from 2005-06. That quarterly was initiated as a joint project with South Jefferson Historical Society, and Lewis County Historical. It fell by the wayside despite its popularity due to the difficulty in assembling that as well as the newsletters. Some members have expressed intertest, and we hope to do this with a summer issue sent to all members perhaps in late June.
Half-Shire hopes to resume regular hours in June. In the meantime we can be contacted at email@example.com, viewed on Facebook as “Mary White/Half Shire” or contacted at 315.298.2986 our website is www.halfshire.org.