Half-Shire Historical Society Celebrates Anniversary

The Half-Shire Historical Society 43rd anniversary dinner dance was held on October 24, at our Richland headquarters.

More than 100 people enjoyed a dinner of London broil, herbed potatoes, baked ziti, vegetables and salad.

At 7 p.m., the renowned local band “Still Kickin” set up through our new stage door, and regaled the crowd to some great country music past 11 p.m.

Special thanks to Erma Schroeder and Stephanie Peirce our chief volunteers, as well as Marcy Newman, Fay Colvin and Shelly Joss who assisted through the night tending to guests and with clean up.

The annual event marks the society’s November 15, 1972, founding, and also serves as a year-end thank you to participants of the Pulaski Farmer’s Market and as a chamber of commerce mixer.

A young dancer, two-year-old Lilla Bellomo stole the show as she took to the floor with her mother, Morgan, and grandmother, Shelly Joss.

Lilla also danced a set with the “Lord Mayor of Port Ontario” Vern Chamberlain that was recorded for posterity on video.

Young Lilla thoroughly enjoyed herself and as a sixth great-grandchild of Pulaski’s founder and first tavern owners, Benjamin and Betsy (Smith) Winch, Lilla is a true “daughter of the Eastern shore.”

We were pleased to meet several new guests to our facility at the dinner/dance, including The Suits from Sto-ne-Nols Campgrounds in Camden.

Cousins of our secretary, Fay Colvin, the Suits had an enjoyable evening and plan to come back!

We were pleased to also welcome Hank and Louise Meyer of Mexico. Louise is a long-time member and supporter and has been recently bringing us many amazing artifacts and photos from the area.

She has recently loaned us the Civil War diaries of Oscar Field (1831-62) who died at Bull Run.

Field was married to Mary Ann Smith, an aunt of this writer, and the couple have thousands of nieces and nephews in the region.

We will plan our next dinner dance for spring, likely in May.

In other news, we are “buttoning up for winter” with several building projects geared to this end.

The new stage door replaces an old bricked up window that now will be more energy efficient.

Six windows will soon be replaced as part of the 2015 Snow Foundation grant.

Three of the windows will be replaced in the Southwell Memorial room and three in the kitchen.

This will complete our window replacement campaign that began in 1999, now all windows and doors (save the stage door) are under a lifetime warranty with PACE window and doors.

Since we last wrote in these pages, we received a $2,500 valued Epson Scanner from Epson Corporation.

This scanner is actually one step above the one we purchased in the spring, and will enable us to scan negatives as well as any item up to 11 x 17 in size.

Kevin Stewart has been busy through the summer training Stephanie Peirce in its use, and himself scanning many large items.

Sharon Turo, who scans the majority of our collections, will be taking the first scanner to her home for the winter months to work on the backlog of donated and earlier collections.

The digitalization of our collections is one of the foremost accomplishments of our volunteers this summer.

We are at a point now that we can much more readily share copies of our vast collection of research.

Pulaski and Sandy Creek cemetery ledgers are now digitalized and the ease of research now has opened up so much more information.

We had recent guests from Michigan searching the Samson, Philbrick, Tryon and Lilley families of the northwest quadrant of Richland.

These folks corrected our files that early settler Thomas Sam(p)son was twice married, and that they descend from the first wife Roxanna (maiden name not yet proven).

The second wife of Thomas was Charlotte Tryon.

Thomas’ mother was Olive Lilley Samson Bragdon, who was married first to Levi Samson and second Samuel Bragdon.

Working with several other researchers on these lines we are learning many new things.

The next meeting of the society will be our last for the season on November 14.

This will be a joint holiday party with members of Parish Historical Society.

On December 6, we will take part in Light up Pulaski by making cut out cookies with children at the Pulaski Masonic Temple from 11 a.m. on.

Half-Shire can be reached at [email protected] and halfshire.org

The phone number is 298-2986.