Friday, November 22, 2019

John and Sarah Decker of Cayutaville, New York

We are so excited that hubby's book, The Descendants of John and Sarah Decker, is now available on Sign in to FamilySearch and click on "Books." Then Search John Decker, Cayuta, NY. The book is digitized and searchable. The text, photos, and descendant charts for each generation comprises 53 pages, two maps of the area are on page 2. There are forty-seven pages have newspaper clippings of birth/marriage/death, society notes, military notes. The index is four pages, two columns.

It was so neat to read through this work online. Hubby had the book bound by Bridgeport Bindery near Springfield, MA, then sent a copy to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Besides having the book on their library shelves, they digitized it for all to read. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Death of Cassie White

Cassie White is not a family member, though she feels that way to me. And yes, this is a shameless commercial. Cassie White is the reason I've not had time to devote to chasing down my ancestors. She is the subject of the third Caitlyn Jamison mystery that I've written/published over the past four years. The writing is fun, challenging, and provides a learning event every day. Just like genealogy. But putting on the marketing hat, which every author has to do if they want to sell books, is not an easy one for most writers. Me included. Below is a synopsis of the story. The books can be purchased directly from me (signed), or on or Barnes and Noble online. Please pass the word. Thanks!!!

Caitlyn Jamison, a self-employed graphic artist living in a suburb of Washington, DC, is strong willed, and when confronted with an injustice, she throws caution aside and pursues the case. This passion for justice is how she met, worked with, and then developed a personal relationship with Sheriff Ethan Ewing.

The first two books, An Unexpected Death and Fatal Dose are set in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. The third book, The Death of Cassie White, is set in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

The Caitlyn Jamison mysteries feature strong characters, interesting and current plot lines, where clues and red herrings are interspersed to keep the reader turning the pages. After reading An Unexpected Death, one retired New York State police chief said, “You had me. I missed that one clue . . .”

In The Death of Cassie White, Caitlyn is in Ingram Bay, Virginia, to interview with a potential client, one that is located in the same town to where her parents have recently moved. When the interview ends, she learns that skeletal remains were discovered in conservation land adjacent to her parents’ home. Against all advice, she pursues the case.

Her investigation brings her in contact with marine biologist Chad Owens who is working to solve his own mystery—a new and dangerous dead zone has developed in the Chesapeake Bay. She’d met Dr. Owens in Fatal Dose when she was in Riverview, New York, and he was monitoring the health of the Finger Lakes.

In the meantime, and unbeknownst to Caitlyn, her crime solving partner and romantic interest Ethan Ewing, has accepted another position, closer to Caitlyn, and is immediately sent to Ingram Bay on a suspected kidnapping case. Ethan and Caitlyn run into each other, quite unexpectedly, and their investigations become intertwined with Chad’s. Their cases are not without peril as they learn that the quaint town of Ingram Bay, Virginia, is full of secrets.

M.E. Maki Bio
Mary E. Maki grew up in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York where her first two mystery books are set. Her third Caitlyn Jamison mystery is set in Virginia’s Northern Neck. A work in progress is a suspense novel set in Savannah, Georgia.

As well as writing mysteries, Mary is a family historian. Along those lines, she played an integral part on the team that produced three volumes of the Newtown (CT) Oral History Project, the Ulysses Historical Society (NY) Oral History Project, and the Newfield, NY Historical Society Oral History Project. She is a volunteer at the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. and on the committee to create a visible likeness of the 18th century Fielding Lewis Store.

Mary is a member of Sisters in Crime, Fredericksburg’s Old Town Sleuths, and the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s Memoir and Fiction Critique writing groups.



Published Works:
An Unexpected Death
Fatal Dose
The Death of Cassie White

Contact Information:

Sunday, November 17, 2019

John and Bridget Conlon of Bronx, New York

Another day of searching for a connection between the Conlon siblings so that I can prove that my Nana (Mary Agnes Doyle) and Mary (Mae) Conlon were truly cousins.

In the 1915 New York State Census, I found Mae and her bothers Edward, George and Lawrence living as “boarders” in the 1902 Wallace Street, Bronx home of John and Bridget Conlon. I learned that John worked his whole career as a street cleaner for the City of New York, as did Nana’s father, Patrick Doyle.

By 1917, the Conlon children were living at 164 East 97th Street, Manhattan, New York in the Doyle household.

John (b: abt 1871) and Bridget (b: abt 1873) had four children: Katherine (b: 1901), Elizabeth (b: 1903). Margaret (b: 1904), and Michael (b: 1912). I followed this family through 1940 where they lived in the same house (owned), and at that time, John was age 70, Bridget age 68, Elizabeth 36, and Michael 28 lived at home.

In 1910, John and Bridget had John Higgins (21), James, Thomas, and Peter Dignan, and George Markey “boarding” with them. In 1920, six year old Charlotte Sisler, William and Harold Shant, also six, all born in Ireland were “boarding” with them. More cousins? Or were the Conlon’s paid to take in boarders? But this last group were only six year olds. Another mystery to be solved.

Earlier in the year, my sister took a DNA test and the results came back she was closely related (second cousin, I believe) to a woman who was searching her Irish ancestors: Carney, Farley, Flanagan, Loreth, and Lahey. The woman whose test results were similar has not returned my sister’s attempt to contact. I’m hoping that some of these names will appear as I chase down the Conlon family.

No results on a Findagrave search for John, Bridget or Edward Conlon.

John and Mae (Conlon) Harrington of the Bronx, New York

On 24 March 2011 and 4 January 2013 I wrote blog posts about this couple. Mae is my grandmother’s cousin. In the past I’ve found very little about her and her family. Yesterday I decided to try again.

Thanks to Reclaim the Records, the books listing New York City marriages have been posted online. In 1930 Mae lived with my grandparents Harry and Mary (Doyle) Nunn in the Bronx. In 1940 Mae and her husband John Harrington were living in the Bronx, and stated they were at that same address in 1935. That cut the window for their marriage to five years. Their marriage date was found to be 25 March 1932. (Note my first blog post about Mae was a day after her 25 March wedding date-coincidence?)

My main goal is to connect Mae’s father, Edward Conlon, with my great-grandmother, Margaret (Conlon) Doyle. That I did not accomplish. But I’m getting close. There are other mysteries surrounding this family. I believe the mother Mary (O’Donnell?) Conlon died between 1905 and before the 1910 census as Edward listed himself as widower. I need to find her death date and cause of death. Then what happened to her husband, Edward? Mae and Anna disappear for a few years, until Mae is seen living with the Doyles. Where’s Anna? Mae’s brothers are in an orphanage, until they, too, are living with the Doyles in the 1920s.

I found an family tree that had Mae’s brother Edward married to Elizabeth “Lil” E. Graham (1892-1973). Earlier I’d found from a census document that Edward had a wife named Elizabeth, but had no maiden name. Now I do. Unfortunately, the woman who posted this tree on Ancestry has not been active for over a year. I sent her an email anyway, but we know what that tells us – sigh.

The other problem with this family is most did not marry, and the ones that did produced one or no children. There might not be much more information to be found, but their story deserves to be told and I intend to do that.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Dorns of Upstate New York

Today I was contacted by someone researching the Dorns of Utica, New York. He'd found my earlier blog of four years ago - smile - and asked, "Where's the follow-up?" A good question since I had mentioned that in one of the blogs. Since this family isn't closely connected with my Emma (Nunn) Dorn, I didn't research further. I pulled out my Dorn file and found that I had developed this document. I hope it is helpful. 

~ The Dorns of Upstate New York ~

On October 13, 1879 Conrad and Maria (Schuck) Dorn arrived at the port of New York with their children: Adam, Ann, Nicolas, John, and Josephine.  The family traveled from Germany through Liverpool, England to New York City on the ship City of Montreal.  The ship was built by Tod & McGregor, Glasgow, Scotland. It had three masts and one funnel. At the time of their journey, Conrad was 37; Maria was 35.  They were married in 1868.

The family traveled to Utica, New York where they resided in 1880. Conrad found works in a lumberyard. He states in this census that he is from “Biern” (Bayern), Germany.  Why did this family immediately head to Utica, New York? In 1880 there were seven Dorn families in Utica. There is a good chance they were relatives. One was a carpenter, who may have helped Conrad get his job in the lumberyard.

Conrad finds work at the Empire Woolen Mills in Clayville, about ten miles south of Utica. He then his hired by the Globe Woolen Mills in Utica where he enjoyed long time employment as a weaver of fine woolens. 

Descendants of Conrad Dorn (b: July 1842) and Maria (Schuck) Dorn b: abt 1844[1]
Adam Dorn b: abt 1869 m: Margaret Lutz
Anna K. Dorn b: abt 1872 m: John L. Rifer
Nicholas Dorn b: abt 1874; d: 1952
John A. Dorn b: abt 1876
Josephine Dorn b: abt 1878; d: 9 April 1970 m: John Wenzel

About 1894 Adam Dorn married Margaret Lutz.  Adam worked as a woolen weaver, and they lived at 31 Saratoga Street, Utica, New York. In their household also lived Margaret’s sister, Sabina Lutz, age 24 (b: Oct 1875) in Germany. Sabina worked as a cotton weaver.

Anna K. Dorn and John L. Rifer were married May 1896. “At St. Joseph’s Church, Tuesday, John L. Rifer and Miss Anna K. Dorn were married by Rev. Clement Lutz. Nicholas Dorn was best man and Miss Maggie Rifer was bridesmaid. A reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents, 31 Saratoga Street. Mr. and Mrs. Rifer will live at 90 Bristol Street.” [Utica Sunday Journal, May 24, 1896, p. 7, col. 1]

On 15 January 1897, Josephine Dorn married John L. Wenzel in St. Joseph’s Church.  John was the son of Louis and Mary (Werthmann) Wenzel.  John’s sister was Sophie (Wenzel) Hartmann. John L. Wenzel was born 5 September 1877; he died 18 June 1956 and is buried with his wife, Josephine Dorn Wenzel, in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. []

In 1900 the family continued to reside in Utica, City Ward 9. The family consisted of son John A. Dorn, 25, born in Germany, and Conrad’s mother-in-law Maria Schuck, 89, born in Germany.

~ Maria Schuck Obituary ~

“ Mrs. Mary Eva Schuck, who died December 9, 1900 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Conrad Dorn, 31 Saratoga Street, was born in Bavaria, Germany, February 22, 1811, and came to America 18 years ago, locating in Utica. She was the wido of John Adam Schuck, who died 24 years ago. She is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Henry Hillenbrand, and Mrs. Conrad Dorn of this city, and Mrs. Nicholas Ebert of Abernau, Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, and leave also two step brothers, John and Bartholomew Schuck of Utica, thirty-four grandchildren and forty-eight great-grandchildren. Mrs. Schuck was a member of St. Joseph’s Church and the League of the Sacred Heart and the Scapular Society established in that congregation.”  [Utica Sunday Journal, December 16, 1900, col. 2]

Maria (Schuck) Dorn died in 1927 and is buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Yorkville, Oneida County, New York. 

~ Conrad Dorn Obituary ~

“Conrad Dorn Died Early Yesterday – Was for many years employed as weaver at Globe Woolen Mill. Conrad Dorn, a well known German resident of this city, died at his home, 31 Saratoga Street, early yesterday morning. Mr. Dorn suffered a stroke of paralysis a week ago and since that time he had been confined to his bed. Mr. Dorn was born at Obernau, near Ashuffenburg, Bavaria, July 4, 1842. He came to this country in 1879, locating in this city. In 1881 he went to Clayville where he worked for the Empire Woolen Company. He returned to this city in 1885 and entered the employ of the Globe Woolen Company as a weaver and continued with that company for 22 years. He was a skillful workman and was highly esteemed by his employers.  Mr. Dorn was married August 13, 1867 in Germany to Miss Mary Schuck, who survives him. He also leaves three sons and two daughters, J. Adam and Nicholas Dorn of this city, John A Dorn of Schenectady, Mrs. John L. Rifer (Ann) of The Dallas, Oregon and Mrs. John Wenzel of Utica. He also leaves a sister in Germany and 12 grandchildren. Mr. Dorn was a member of St. Joseph’s Church, the C.M.B.A. Branch; the Bavarian Sick Aid Society, the Roman Catholic Sick Aid Society, the Deutsche Bruder and he was an honorary member of the Maximillan Section of the Bavarian National Verband. [Utica, New York Dispatch, Monday Evening, September 2, 1907, p. 3, col 2 with photo]

Descendants of Adam Dorn (b: abt 1869; d: 1917) and Margaret (Lutz) Dorn (b: abt 1873; d: 1929)[2]
John C. Dorn b: 1896
Margaret Dorn b: 1900
Albert John Dorn b: 1901
William A. Dorn b: 1905
Henry F. Dorn 1906
Herbert W. Dorn b: 1909-1950 m: Ruth E. Bruzeau in 1938
Clara Dorn b: 1912
Rose M. Dorn b: 1914
Andrew Dorn b: 1918

~ Obituaries for John Adam Dorn ~

“Died Suddenly – John A. Dorn suffered attack of Heart Disease – John Adam Dorn, 48 yeas of age, collapsed at Layfayette and Washington Streets at 9 o’clock last evening. Mr. Dorn, who resides at 100 Stark Street, was returning from the office of a physician when he suffered an attack of heart failure. The police automobile was called, but Mr. Dorn died while on the way to the General Hospital. Coroner Dennis L. Creedon was called on the case and pronounced death due to heart disease. Mr. Dorn had suffered from this malady for some time, the disease becoming worse during the last three weeks. He was employed as pattern maker at the Globe Woolen Mill where he had been for 25 years. Mr. Dorn was born in Bavaria, Germany, February 13, 1869, son of Mary and the late Conrad Dorn. He came to America in 1879 and had since resided in Utica, excepting four years spent in Clayville. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Church and the Holy Name Society, also Utica Lodge No 450, Loyal Order of Moose; the Bavarian Sick Aid Society, the Roman Catholic Society and Maximillan Section No. 1, Bavarian National Verband of North America. He was married September 12, 1893 to Margaret Lutz, who survives with his mother; eight children, John, Margaret, Elbert, William, Henry, Herbert, Clara and Rose; two brothers, Nicholas Dorn of this city and John Anthony Dorn of Pittsfield, MA, and two sisters, Mrs. J.L. Rifer of Portland, Oregon, and Mrs. John. L. Wenzel of this city.”  [Utica Herald Dispatch, Wednesday Evening, May 23, 1917, p. 3, col 2]

“The funeral of John Adam Dorn was held this morning at 9 o’clock at the residence, 1100 Stark Street and at 9:30 from St. Joseph’s Church where Rev. Edward Borkhardt celebrated a requiem high mass. Professor Thomas Ryan was at the organ and the junior choir sang. Among the floral tributes were an anchor from friends of Mill No. 2 of Utica Knit; wreath from the office of the Globe Woolen Mill.  The bearers were Henry Hillenbrand, Fred Hillenbrand, Henry Lynbenlist (?), and Alois Henitz. Interment was in the family plot, St. Joseph’s Cemetery.”  [The Utica Observer, Friday, May 25, 1917, p 16 col 3]

Descendants of Albert John Dorn, Sr. (1901-1976) and Lois Mary (Brown) Dorn (1919-1995)                                                                                                                                                    
Conrad Dorn
Dennis Dorn (Jeannette)
Christopher Dorn (Margie)
Matthew Dorn (Kathy)
Albert John, Jr.  Dorn (Larraine DeAngelis) 15 Dec 1945 – 17 Feb 2012
Susanne Dorn (Burkhart)

Private Albert John Dorn, Jr. married Miss Beverly Barringer at St. Joseph’s Church on Saturday, July 24, 1965.  She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Barringer of Richfield Springs.  Dennis Dorn was best man. Ushers were Paul Atchley, Frank Combs and Conrad Dorn.  [Richfield Springs NY Mercury, Thursday, July 29, 1965, p. 4, col. 1]

[1] Information on this Dorn line from Conrad Dorn. Family story is 1879 Koonrad and Maria arrived via boat with children.  Also, "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 March 2015), Konrad Dorn, Utica city Ward 9, Oneida, New York, United States; citing sheet 10A, family 225, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,241,133.
[2] for John Adam Dorn d: 23 May 1917. Margaret Lutz Dorn 1872-1929. St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Oneida County, New York.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Hackney Family - Florence Smith aka Alva Mae Page and

One of the Hackney family researchers has sent me a couple of articles to share with the hope that it helps others. The particular family member's grandmother was put up for adoption as was her father. The first article is her grandmother trying to locate her birth mother, the second is her father trying to do the same thing. This is such an interesting family. 

"I am a descendant of Armour and am working on documenting my family tree.  I too was perplexed about missing census records and assume too its because he was a seaman.  There are some discrepancies in the documentation I'm finding on his mother so I'm trying to sort that our.  Hackett and Scull are the two women his father was married to so I'm trying to sort out the children.  I also can't seem to figure out what happened to Armour's first wife, Elizabeth Ackley.  I would so much appreciate you letting me know what documentation you have uncovered.  I was stuck but did some googling about the Hackney House that discovered on someone's tree, which is how I decided to google the house and came upon your blog.

"I’m trying to tie my grandmother’s connection into the family, see attached.  She was adopted.  She also put her son, my father in foster care and never came back for him, so I never met her.  I’ve concluded Armour and Elizabeth were her grand or great grand parents via DNA matching and clustering. "

Here is a second half to this story.  Its another newspaper article where my father was trying to find her before entering the military.  He died in 2003 and never found her.  I’m tracing her life and researching to find closure in honor of my dad.  Alva really had an interesting life, with Atlantic City mob connections and even cash treasures her husband had to dispose of per his will when he died.

Florence Smith seeing birth mother Myrtle Smith of Philadelphia

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hackney Family Genealogy

I have received several requests recently for information on the Hackney family, so I decided to post the brief genealogy that my husband created on this family. Unfortunately, the family tree boxes that were included in this write-up from our Reunion software did not paste into the blog. This is not our family, but my husband did the research because a friend of ours moved to the neighborhood where the Hackney castle once stood and she wanted to know the history of the castle and the family. One thing led to another and here is what was found. I hope the family researchers who contacted me will share any new information on this family so I can post it here. 
The Hackney Family Genealogy

A.S. Hackney was born in 1846, the second son of Joseph and Mariam Scull Hackney.  His full name was Armour Scull Hackney.  The middle name, Scull, was found on a public family tree so it hasn’t been confirmed but it seems reasonable.  His older brother was Mahlon, his two sisters were Almeda and Rejoice and the last child in the family was Clark, the younger brother.  Joseph’s occupation is listed on the census as seaman or bayman.  The family lived in the Egg Harbor Township of Atlantic County, New Jersey, near Atlantic City.

Armour followed his father’s footsteps and earned his living from the sea.  His occupation is variously listed as bayman, or oysterman and it appears he lived most of his life in the Atlantic County area of New Jersey, although he is unaccounted for on the censuses beginning in 1900.  Armour, born in 1846, was a bit too young to participate in the Civil War.  His older brother, Mahlon, did, however, enlist with the New Jersey 7th Infantry Regiment which saw extensive service in such notable battles as Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and The Wilderness. 

Armour married Elizabeth Ackley shortly after the end of the Civil War.  The wedding date is reported on a public family tree as May 12, 1866 with the location of Egg Harbor City but no primary source was given.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Amos and Ann Ackley.  She was born in 1850 so she was about sixteen when they married.  Eight children were born to the couple.  Elizabeth died in 1892 and no census information has been found for Armour after the New Jersey state census of 1885.  He had young children so he presumably would have remarried but his history in this period remains a mystery.  He died January 24, 1925 and is buried, along with Elizabeth, in the Salem Cemetery, Pleasantville, NJ.  His obituary, if found, could provide details of his last forty years of life.  The Atlantic City Free Library reported they researched their local papers on microfilm and found no obituary for Armour Hackney.

No information has been found to explain Armour’s construction of the “castle” in Kilmarnock or his interest in that area.  His vocation as a waterman explains how he became acquainted with the area and, perhaps, after the Civil War and the resulting decline in the Virginia economy, land became very cheap.  Whatever his plans, Elizabeth’s early death in 1892 may have changed his level of interest.

Harry Samuel Hackney was six years old when his mother died.  His oldest sister, Nora, had married the year Harry was born so presumably she was out of the household.  There were two other older sisters who could have taken over raising Harry and his younger sister, Susan, but little information on the family has been found after 1885.  There is, however, ample evidence of Harry’s appearance in Virginia.  On January 17, 1911, he married Leora (aka Lola, Lela, Lelia) McKenney in Lancaster, VA.  Leora was the daughter of James (already deceased) and (Livinia) Opal Farley.  A public family tree reports Leora’s birth date as July 2, 1893 and gives the McKenney/Farley family bible as the source.  Harry was twenty-five and Leora was about seventeen.  Nine months later, on October 26th, their first and only child, Christina Olivia was born.  Some public family trees show Christina being born at “Hackney Castle” but no primary source is provided.  At least one tree says she was born in 1912 but the Social Security Death Index shows her birth date at 1911.

Their marriage lasted only a few years.  Leora, now reported as Lola, married Roland B. Ferguson, February 2, 1914 in Lancaster, VA.  Little subsequent information has been found on Leora.  Her second marriage may not have lasted long.  A WWI draft registration card for Roland Brooks Ferguson, born December 1893 in Virginia, living in Norfolk, has been found.  If it is the same person who married Leora in 1914, he now is single and has no left arm.  Both the marriage record and the draft card indicate the man was born in Middlesex County so it’s probably the same man.  Roland, Lola and Christina do not appear on any 1920 census under the Ferguson name.  He reappears in 1930 and 1940 married to Nannie, who was previously married to a Cardwell.  Roland Ferguson of Middlesex, VA died in March 1973 according to the Social Security Death Index.  No further verifiable information on Lola has been found.

 Harry Hackney also remarried in 1914.  He married Bessie Hale who was born in Virginia about 1897.  No official marriage record has been found.  Seven children were produced by this union.

Harry died in 1974 and his obituary is included.  It said he was a retired oyster boat captain and a WWI veteran.  No military information was found for Harry other than his “old man” draft card for WWII.  If he served in WWI he must have been in the service prior to the draft for WWI as no card for him was found and almost everyone had a WWI draft card.  His obituary indicates Bessie had preceded him in death.  It’s assumed both are buried in the Dividing Creek Baptist Cemetery.

Christina Hackney married Edward McGowan sometime before 1930.  Her obituary, shown in the appendix, said she was born and raised in Kilmarnock but no supporting evidence for a Virginia childhood has been found.  The 1940 Census indicates Christina completed 8th grade and Edward completed four years of high school.  He was an iron worker.  They had three sons, Edward, Harry and Clyde.  At some point prior to 1974, Christina married an Anderson.  It’s not known if this was before or after Edward’s death.  She subsequently married a Ralston.  Her obituary shown in the appendix implies she outlived all her husbands as none are mentioned.


·      Armour Hackney family per New Jersey State Census of 1885
·      Harry S. Hackney birth record, 26NOV1886, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic Co., NJ
·      Tombstones for Armour and Elizabeth Hackney per FindaGrave, Salem Cemetery, Pleasantville, NJ
·      Leora McKenney/Harry Hackney marriage record, 17JAN1911, Lancaster, VA
·      Lola Hackney/Roland Ferguson marriage record, 02FEB1914, Lancaster, VA
·      WWI draft card, Roland Brooks Ferguson
·      WWII draft card, Harry Samuel Hackney
·      Harry Hackney obituary published 16JAN1974
·      Christina Ralston obituary published 10AUG2001
·      Lawrence Aulffo, spouse of Shirley Hackney, obituary, 09JUN2010
·      Horace Godown, spouse of Emma Hackney, obituary, published 29NOV2007
·      Myrtle Hackney Schwegel obituary, published 29JUN2012

Monday, August 26, 2019

Pete and Anna Ford, Gorge Road, Trumansburg, New York

Holiday card from the Fords send to Merritt and Maude Agard

This weekend the great-granddaughter of Pete and Anna Ford wrote to thank me for one of my earlier posts (December 1, 2013) and showing a photo of Pete and Anna's house that was located on Gorge Road, Trumansburg, New York. Since Pete and Anna's great-granddaughter lives across the country from Trumansburg, I sent her the oral history I'd transcribed of her grandmother June Ford Yager, and June's sister, Flossie Ford Heathwaite. It also prompted me to find the other holiday cards my grandparents, Merritt and Maude Agard (the Ford's next door neighbors by a half mile), received from Pete and Anna.

Holiday card featuring one of Pete's boats anchored at Taughannock Falls State Park

From their oral history. The change in fonts indicates who's speaking:

About 1920 we moved down here, just above Taughannock Farms.[1]

[We lived] on south Gorge Road, just up from Route 89 about a quarter of mile. Dad always wanted to be a farmer, I guess.[2]  It was all fruit farms and orchards.  The five acres on the other side of the road, they were mostly Alberta’s and Dad never thought much of them anyway, but the state bought that portion way back. So it was only 25 acres. 

Also, Dad liked the water. When they were looking for farms they looked for places near the water. So, that is where they settled.

Peaches were the main crop, and apples.  Peaches we sold. We would send out cards every year to certain customers that would want to know when the peaches would be ripe. And they would come and be lined up all the way up the road. And they weren’t the varieties they have now. The kind they came for mostly were the Rochester and they didn’t keep well at all.  We used to send Tompkins County apples. We had this one customer who always wanted to send a barrel of apples – Tompkins County.

[The Kings were prominent fruit growers in the area. They had a] cherry orchard – we picked cherries at Kings.
When we first moved there we had horses.

We had one that ran away.  As a team they were all right, because the other horse was slow. She probably couldn’t have run anyway.

            It was a wonder she didn’t kill somebody. She spooked every once in a while and ran. The first time we had the team, we were going to go to church; we went up to Jacksonville to church, and dad hooked up the buggy to the cart, and two or three of us – I don’t know how many of us were going, and we got up about where Stover’s lived and met a car. There weren’t many cars then, and that scared her. Mom pulled on the reins to try to stop her, and the people that lived just up above Stover’s called up the road to Clyde Wintermute, and told him there was a run away horse coming up and he came out and stopped her and lead her back.  Dad came up to meet us because they had called him and he lead her almost all the way back. So he got in the buggy and she started running again. He drove her into the farm and that slowed her down.

[1] This interview was conducted by Ed and Ruth Farrell on November 4, 1991.
[2]  The Ford family consisted of Elwyn (Pete), wife Anna, and children: Verna, June, Caryl, Frances, Leon, Merle, Frank, Virginia, and Louise.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Book arrived

Jacksonville Church History through 1946. Binding by Bridgeport National Bindery
 The Jacksonville (NY) United Methodist Church history is done and delivered. I think Great-grandmother Jessie (Tucker) Agard would approve. Below is the acknowledgement page, because every work is a team effort.

Acknowledgement and Notes

Putting this manuscript together was a team effort. I thank Nan (Agard) Colvin and Joyce (Vann) Basilius for supplying photos, Judy Barkee, Beth Hickman, Nancy Dean, Pastor Geri Judd and the church trustees for their help and support of the project.

Indexing this manuscript was a challenge. That is especially true when figuring out women’s names. Sometimes listed as “Mrs. [husband’s name], other times with their given name, or just initial, and figuring out which wife goes with which man. Men were listed with first name, just initials, and sometimes just last name. That’s when the U.S Federal Census was helpful.

I took license with the indexing. There are several church members who served as trustees in a variety of capacities for many years. For those folks, in the interest of space, I put the page range instead of listing every page in which they appear. For instance, Philo B. Smith served in some capacity or other for years so his index entry reads: p. 40-89. Arthur Agard’s entry is p. 56-113. These men don’t appear on every single page of the range, but close.

What I learned from this project is that the Jacksonville Community United Methodist Church has survived because of the community’s faith and perseverance. The church faced many tough financial times, but over and over they figured out how to survive, overcame the odds, and today is a thriving and growing community of faith.

Truly, “. . . it is claimed to be the handsomest church in Central New York.”   The Free Press and Sentinel, 10 December 1898

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Jacksonville (NY) Community United Methodist Church history

Introduction page

An exciting and stressful day. Exciting because I finished transcribing and indexing my great-grandmother’s handwritten history of the Jacksonville, New York M.E. Church. Readers should note that the name of the church changed over time, and as I was finishing the project, I asked: What do I call this? I decided on the name the community is using now.

Next page with quote from an 1898 newspaper

While transcribing her diaries I learned in 1946 Jessie (Tucker) Agard was asked to write the history of the community church. In January 1947 she purchased a manuscript book for $10.00 at Miller’s Paper Store in Ithaca, New York. Every day that winter she noted, “worked on church history.” I was curious to see this book, but no one seemed to know where it was. Thanks to my cousin and former Jacksonville Town Historian, Nancy Dean, a copy of the handwritten pages were found.

Jessie’s history of the church starts in 1790 and continues with board of trustee minutes through 1946. I learned this spring that she was asked to continue, which she did until 1957 when Florence Graham took over. During our visit to Jacksonville this May I was able to hold the manuscript book that Jessie purchased and copied the history into.

The morning was stressful because I took five copies of the completed history to the UPS store to ship to the Bridgeport National Bindery in Agawam, MA—a good thing, but always wondering, did I get everything right? Are all the pages in order (even though I checked each one)? Murphy's Law?

Five copies prepped and ready to ship to Bridgeport National Bindery
 I look forward to holding the bound books in my hand, and then distributing them to the proper repositories.

This project is for you great-grandma Jessie Agard.