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Half-Shire Historical Society News – May 20, 2016

The historic Davidson Organ.

The historic Davidson Organ.

Spring seems to be playing hide and seek with us lately as snow fell on the Tug Hill plateau May 15.

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The historic Davidson Organ.

Our geraniums that we optimistically panted in April at Half-Shire have been hit a couple times with frost.

On May 13, Calvin Kampff and Shawn Doyle went to Redfield to move the historic Davidson Organ from storage in the old Episcopal Church, down to Half-Shire.

The Redfield Community Church board had donate this beautiful instrument to us earlier in the year.

The organ is completely intact, yet is does need work on the bellows and the add-on electrical is antiquated.

We immediately moved the beautiful piece up to the Allison Balcom Memorial Library on the second floor where it balances the room nicely.

On Saturday May 21, our annual spring dinner dance will be held.

We will use this occasion to cut the ribbon formally on the Allison Balcom Memorial Library at 5:15 p.m.

Members of Allison’s family are expected to be on hand for the event.

We had initially planned to also officially open the John Southwell memorial research room on the same night. However, we have postponed that event as John’s widow Kimberly, and son, Conor, are planning to be out of town on that night.

We want to be able to properly recognize the Southwell family for its generous donation, and will look to do this in early summer when it is convenient for the family.

Still Kickin, our “house band,” will play beginning at 7 p.m. on the 21st following a light meal.

The whole night is free, and open to the public. (Donations are gladly accepted!)

We have continued to be very busy through the spring, working on several different projects.

We have continued to scan and file the Leo Finn Maritime photos from Oswego and Lake Ontario, as well as the Redfield Church records.

We have a backlog of scanning to keep us busy for some time.

Volunteers Stephanie Pierce and Barb Monette have assisted Erma Schroeder through the early spring, and will soon be augmented by Greg Monette, our vice president who we expect to return from Arizona this week.

Family history research continues under Shawn Doyle and Kevin Stewart, who both look into particular families as time allows, growing our already enormous files.

Recently Doyle took down information on a family record montage donated three years ago by Judy Chase Catella on her Richardson family.

At the time she said that there was a link to fellow teacher Jan Monnet.

We entered all the family info on the framed chart into our database, and found the link between the two esteemed former Pulaski teachers to be they are both great-great-granddaughters of William H. Downey and the former Sarah Hindemarsh, both residents of Morristown in St. Lawrence County.

Extensive trees were found on ancestry.com with backup information coming from the Pine Hill Cemetery file which we had a Half-Shire.

We now have compiled a pretty detailed Downey family tree which joins 1,000s of others on our shelves.

Half-Shire is open most days of the week now 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Best to call ahead if coming from a distance to ensure someone will be present, 315-298-2986.

Our email is [email protected] as well as our popular facebook Half Shire.