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  • Writer's pictureAngela Moonan

Connecting the path from yesterday to tomorrow

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Half Shire Historical Society News, May 11, 2020

In the May 4th edition of the Queen Central news there appeared a photo of the former Crow’s Department Store in Redfield showing the iconic Martin houses built for the birds by owner Harry Crow in the early 20th century. The Sign above the windows that said “Home of the Martins” hung there for over 40 years.

As a postscript, that sign was taken by the Crow family after the store closed and hung for many years on the garage of Bethel Crow Falvey’s home on Salina Street in Pulaski. Following the sale of her home after her death in 1988 the sign was donated to Half-Shire Historical. We used the sign in displays for several years until the family requested its return in the early 2000s. We understand that it is displayed at the home of Bethel’s granddaughter Tracy McEachern Tassinari in Spencerport, NY.

While our Richland museum and research facility is closed to the public, we have continued to do some much needed work. This past week the upper hall and stairway walls were painted in a new Benjamin Moore historic beige/yellow tone. A sole carpenter continues to work on rebuilding all six doorways on the second floor and to re-hang the original refinished doors and transom windows. Three doors were refinished in 2019 with funds from donors Greg & Lori Monette, Don White and Jean White Rautio. This year Fay Ann Yerdon Colvin and Shawn Doyle provided monies for two additional doors to be rehabilitated. We have two more doorway to do, and a new slider to purchase for the 2nd floor restroom. Contact us if you are interested in assisting this program.

The second-floor hall also had new hardwoods installed last week, these pre-finished ash floors flow perfectly from out of the Allison Regnar Balcom Memorial Library to meet the stairs and each of the eight doorways. Our carpenter will also install baseboard trim along with the new ash door trim. The area really looks great!

Work continues on the Williamstown Ladies Book as well as the Evergreen Cemetery book for Orwell. Both of these books have required 1,000s of hours of research and editing to ensure the records within are correct.

We have been contacted every few days by someone quarantined in their home doing genealogy. We are delighted to help people, and only ask for patience as the volume of requests has been great, and our time in the building is not as much with our volunteers off and some of our key staff working elsewhere. With work on the Orwell book coming to a close we have been frequently encountering mistakes on the popular web site “Find a Grave”. We have been working with the “red tape” of correcting these mistakes and wrong linkages, and find often the work to be frustratingly slow.

The extended Quarantine and cancellation of so much has moved us to cancel out planned May 16th Dinner dance with “Still Kickin”. This was a needed, but sad choice. The May meeting is also cancelled, but we hope to be able to resume monthly meetings in June with the June 13th luncheon. We will make a firm decision on this as it draws closer. We are planning to get our volunteers back in mid-May for limited work as we have much to do before we open to the public sometime in June.

Work has been stepped up in the preparation of the School Alumni newsletters for Pulaski and Sandy Creek. These are compiled and assembled each year at Half-Shire. We hope to mail these out by the middle of May. Work on a 2020 Pulaski Community Fund grant is ongoing, we are gathering estimates to replace our front sidewalk and enhance the accessibility to the front doors. Whatever the outcome, we must door some concrete work this year as the walks have deteriorated badly.

On Friday May 1 Half Shire President Doyle and Boylston Trustee Marcy Newman met area DEC officers in a wooded location in North Boylston where a previously unknown cemetery had been discovered on state land. The Cemetery is referenced as “lost” in a book by the late Lottie Rudd. It is composed of five rows of neatly placed field stones, and seems to indicate 25-40 burials. Bill and Betty Davies of Pulaski returned with Doyle and Newman on May 2nd to try to further map out the boundaries by “Witching” the graves with dowsing rods, which both Davies and Doyle have found they have the ability to do. The tests seem to confirm the likelihood of at least that number of burials. The graves are said to pre-date the settlement of that property in 1840 and stories about who were interned there are varied. Thanks to retired DEC officer Larry Rudd on Mannsville for showing the two current agents the location and involving us. The DEC officers are planning to clean up the site and properly mark it with a rough fence and signage. It is at a junction of two ski trails off the Wart Rd.

Half-Shire can be reached at or on our Facebook “Mary White Halfshire”. Our phone is 315.298.2986 and our website is undergoing some maintenance at

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