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Half-Shire Historical Society Column – July 19, 2013

The 157th Oswego County Fair is now history.

Muddy parking lots, intermittent rain and sustained heat made the week somewhat uncomfortable and difficult for fairgoers.

Despite this, George Commins at the chicken stand said he was only “down 100 halves” from normal.

In the Heritage building we were kept busy with a steady stream of regulars and new friends.

We took in some amazing artifacts for the Half-Shire collection, and borrowed thousands of photos to scan from a handful of history buffs.

Half-Shire vice president Greg Monette logged the most time in, staffing the building 9-9 each day without fail.

We saw trustees from 10 of our 12 townships and all line officers were fully involved.

Local historians from across the county were also present from Mexico, Minetto, Sandy Creek/Lacona, Volney and Granby.

Fulton historian Peter Palmer sent in some material for copy and use, and the Marine Museum in Oswego had a nice informational display.

Exhibits were up from the following towns:

Albion (first place Gettysburg display), Boylston, Mexico, Orwell, Parish, Pulaski (second place), Sandy Creek, Volney, Williamstown and West Monroe (third place).

Half-Shire staffed a Redfield booth and had extensive material from Richland.

The Bethel Community Center also had a presence all week passing out information on that historic compound in Port Ontario.

Rae Allen did her usual wonderful job with sewing classes on old machines; Florence Garnder caned an antique chair and played piano variously throughout the week.

Several of us assited people with family research, led by Anne LaDuke who had a display on the Williamstown/Half-Shire Project on the Trumbull families.

Mary Mason crocheted and talked about other crafts such as tatting.

Doris Brown Allen came in to show off the template of her new book on her amazing life.

Doris will observe her 92nd birthday this year and following her birth in Redfield had an amazing life of adventures around the world.

The book should be available by Christmas.

The Sons of the American Revolution held its annual summer picnic on July 6 in our building.

A total of 22 enjoyed a meal and heard talks by various officers and a visiting grave expert.

Members of the Sandy Creek town based Coterie Club helped staff the Sandy Creek/Lacona exhibit through the week.

Many people met relatives and friends in the building and relaxed beneath our fans on our comfortable chairs and sofas.

Larry Porter of Central Square met his second cousin once removed Amy Tressider of Oswego city, who was very grateful to receive a copy of their common ancestor Simon Clearwater’s Civil War discharge.

Three 100-year-old photo albums brought in by Jim and Barb Joslyn were instantly identified by Larry who was related to Jim’s uncle who owned them.

During a week like this it is all about networking and sharing, and this writer was delighted to see the sharing and assistance that prevailed throughout the week in our building.

On July 8, we were all moved back to Half-Shire.

Erma Schroeder, Pam Kellogg, Barb Monette and Shirley Purvis are now on the “home stretch” of their years old obituary project, which incorporates the Widrig collection in with numerous other smaller collections.

Tens of thousands of individual clippings are involved.

A full index of all names is being compiled by Pam as the collection moves forward.

On July 13, we received the remaining photos, records and clippings of the Frances Nichols collection from west Albion/South Richland.

The initial work into cataloging these items has shown an amazing collection of photos from both the area schools and the Rome school for the deaf (1944-64) where Alice Nichols taught.

The best thing is most all are labeled!

Many great photos of the construction of Interstate 81 are in the albums, as the family lived next to Exit 25.

Selections of this are being posted on facebook to show what we have.

Check out “Half Shire” on this social media site.

Our address remains P.O. 73, 1100 County Route 48, Richland, NY 13144 and dues notices for those not yet paid will go out in the expected newsletter.

Our dues of $12 a year help fund all our efforts as well as the building upkeep.