Saturday, October 27, 2012

Too Close for Comfort

The process I use when writing a monograph is to do the research, write as I go, and then input the data into Reunion software. I like to include a description of the geographic area in which the ancestor lived, as well as information on any unique or unusual jobs they held. In the Hardenbrook monograph recently completed I researched and wrote about the Craig Colony for Epileptics, a place I never knew existed.

Yesterday I was working on the line of Mary Jane (Tucker) Doolittle.  Mary Jane married John Doolittle. Their first son was Jay. Jay married Cora L. Bennett in 1889. Jay and Cora had two sons, Omer H. b: Oct 1891, and Walter b: July 1894.

Following Omer Doolittle, I found he married Maude Case b: 1894; they had one child, Ralph Doolittle.

Omer died in July 1951 at the age of 59 as a result of injuries suffered following a fall from a tractor at his job at the Seneca Ordnance Depot.  I decided to include in my monograph a short write-up on the Seneca Army Depot (Ordnance), officially closed in 2000.

Walter Gable, Seneca County (NY) Historian does a wonderful job of researching, writing and putting on the Internet a wealth of information on the history of Seneca County.  With the help of Mr. Gable’s research my monograph includes the information below:

As the Second World War threatened our shores, the Seneca Ordnance (Seneca Army Depot) was chosen for munitions storage. Five hundred concrete igloos were to be built as quickly as possible. Land was taken from farm families, and accommodations sought for the many workers and their families that descended on rural Seneca County to complete this task.  By November 1941, 7,000 people were employed at the Depot; at the end of the war, in 1946, only 595 civilian workers remained. By the early 1980s it was disclosed that the Seneca Army Depot housed the Army’s nuclear weapons, and that uranium for the Manhattan Project had been stored there as well. The FOIL documents lead to anti-nuclear demonstrations. By the year 2000, the base was permanently closed. This eliminated concerns of nuclear weapon storage as well as eliminating many jobs and economic vitality for the region.[1] 

In 1980 we were living fifty miles south of the Seneca Army Depot with two children, ages 4 and 8.  Mr. Gable’s article jogged my memory of how I felt when the FOIL report was released about nuclear weapons being stored so near to our home.  It was too close for comfort. 

[1] Gable, Walter. Written History of Seneca County, digital image,

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