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  • Writer's pictureAngela Moonan

Work begins on old 2nd grade classroom; "Family Feud" live at the Society headquarters raises funds.

At the years end we received a bequest that now enables us to go forward with the renovation of the southeast classroom on our second floor. The classroom is pictured here on November 2, 1950 when a set of photos were taken of all rooms in the building. Mrs. Rena Riley Cobb (1903-1997) was the teacher at time in this 2nd grade room. When the school closed in October 1969 Betty V. Warren was the teacher in this room, 51 years later Betty manages our monies as our elected Treasurer.

Since the late 1990s the room has been used as a storeroom. Emptying the room has been a task during these past few weeks. The Pulaski Lions Club has graciously allowed us to move many items across the hall into their room as they are meeting during the winter months in the auditorium. Renovation will begin about the 1st of February and the principal work will be done by Josh Philips of Pulaski. We expect to have the room completed by early March.

The chalk board seen in this photo will be gently removed and put back in the same location after new sheetrock and insulation is installed. One change to the rooms look will be the little door that once went into the Southwest classroom will be relocated to the center of the west wall and will become a sliding door utilizing a 200-year-old chestnut door we have. Also, on the west wall an elevated shelving unit similar to the ones we have installed on the first floor will be installed to store collections. It appears the hardwood flooring will have to be replaced due to damage from the October 1983 earthquake that buckled the floors in the building.

When completed the room will house a small school room set up in the south portion seen above. the north half of the room will have displays relating to education in our 15 towns over history. Yearbooks, old text books, photos, scrapbooks and school memorabilia will be all displayed on new hardwood cabinets being constructed by members John Allen and Ron Wilson in Oswego. We have some great old roll down maps, globes, and a set of old desks that will enhance the feel of the replica classroom.

In other news, the staff at Half-Shire have continued to work behind closed doors during our closure. Librarian Sharon Turo and her team in the Pomeroy room have been re-shelving and inventorying family histories. Venita Ackley and Sharon additionally scan collections from their homes. Betty Warren assists on Tuesdays and keeps track of our finances seven days a week. Stephanie Pierce and Gayle Brosnan are back clipping old papers from our miscellaneous newspapers, as well as helping with mailing preparations. Becky Kennedy recently completed a multi volume set of photo albums on the town of Florence. These photos were made from originals owned by Leo Seaton, and will also be used in the Florence town history project that is slowly taking shape for a book in a couple years.

Fay Ann Colvin leads the effort to organize and gather our obituaries and other vital records. Fay spends a great deal of time on this project, and also assists in many other projects including updating the Yerdon/Castor/Gibbs/Clemons family trees which are among our largest genealogy files.

Life member Rodney Tilkins has been home for a month from the Navy, during his time home Rodney has been a great help to Shawn and all at the building moving furniture around, particularly from the SE room. Rodney has reenlisted and will be posted at the Naval Academy in Annapolis Maryland where he will serve as an instructor in fire protection. Rodney's kinsman and another life member of ours, Erin Bacon Klarner lives nearby outside of Baltimore and the two friends have gotten together for lunch.

The winter edition of the Tug Hill Literary Review was mailed out on Monday January 25th. The 16-page quarterly was mailed to paid members of both Half Shire and the Historical Association of South Jefferson as a joint project. We are delighted with the response to both issues, and are working on the Spring edition which will be mailed out by March 31. The US mail has been experiencing some issue with COVID related delays, if you are a paid member and don't receive your Literary Review or newsletter in a timely manner please don't hesitate to contact us.

On Saturday January 23rd Cassidy Philips organized and led the first two of a series of locally themed "family feud" games. The game pits two five member "families" against each other in local trivia games based on the popular TV shop. In order to play, the contestants donate to a fund to raise money for sports equipment for needy students at Pulaski Schools. The fund is managed by Rural and Migrant Ministry of Oswego County, which is located across the tracks from Half-Shire. Future games will continue to be livestreamed on our Facebook page as teams come together.

The annual Salmon River Winterfest is all virtual this year. As part of the annual event the "family feud" games have been advertised as well as a snowman contest that will last until late February. The annual food challenged has been delayed pending a clearance later in the year of health concerns.

Work continues on our new website; visitors will see changes weekly as we rearrange and update information posted. Special thanks to webmaster Angela Kimball-Moonan who has done a great job with this so far! We are seeing an uptick in new members who are using our easy payment method on the site.

Our website can be found at and our Facebook at "Mary White/halfshire. our email is

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