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Half-Shire Historical Society News – March 18, 2016

Avery Skinner

Avery Skinner

On Thursday March 10, the Oswego County Legislature marked the 200th anniversary of the founding of the county.

The regular monthly meeting began with proclamations from various state officials, and recognition of the municipal historians that were present.

Avery Skinner
Avery Skinner

Bicentennial chairman Shawn Doyle gave a biographical overview of who the founders of Oswego County were and what became of them.

During a recess a large cake was cut and served with former County Historian and Schroeppel historian Barbara Dix doing the honors of cutting the cake.

The schedule of upcoming events tied to the bicentennial is still evolving.

The Pulaski Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce is planning a reception in association with the owners of Selkirk Lighthouse to unveil the restored mural depicting the mouth of the Salmon River including all the structures there, this will take place in mid-May tentatively.

On July 2, a commemorative postal station will be set up at the fort in Oswego to mark the 200th, followed by a gala community picnic the following day, July 3, at the same location.

Old Home Days in Orwell, Pulaski and Redfield are expected to have larger historical displays, and the Heritage building at the Oswego County Fair in August will feature many 200th themed exhibits.

The August 11 meeting of the Oswego County Legislature in Pulaski will feature another cake cooking and reception following the meeting in the historic courthouse.

Spring cleaning at the Pulaski Masonic Temple on March 12 uncovered some previously unknown photos going back to the 1850s.

Many of these photos have been scanned and are on our Facebook page.

We were particularly happy to find the early photo of Avery Skinner who lived in what is now Maple View.

Skinner was born in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, on June 9, 1796, the son of Timothy and Ruth (Warner) Skinner.

He was married January 9, 1822, in Mexico, to Eliza Lathrop Huntington (1802-33).

The couple had four children, and following her untimely death, Skinner was married a second time to Charlotte Pryor Stebbins (1802-88), they had five children, including a son who served in Congress, Charles R. Skinner (1844-1928).

Skinner built a large hotel on the northwest corner of Route 11 and Route 104 in Maple View, then known as Union Square.

Skinner’s Hotel was a landmark in its time, and an active meeting place for political leaders in northern New York, of which Skinner was an influential member.

Skinner served in most all offices in his town, Oswego County treasurer and judge, followed by a couple of terms in the New York State Assembly and later Senate.

Skinner was a founder of the Parish Masonic Lodge, and served in many offices.

He died in 1876.

His descendants are numerous in the region.

In the mid twentieth century, the old hotel was moved around the corner to face 104 to make room for a modern gas station.

The old landmark is still a private home.

As spring has sprung early we have had many visitors at Half-Shire bringing in amazing artifacts and photos.

Our staff has been very busy trying to keep up with it all.

On Monday March 14, Erma Schroeder met with one lady from the Lynch family who actually had a very old photo with her of the home Erma was born in!

We have learned of the sad passing of a few of our valued members lately.

Paul Ingersoll, formerly of Pulaski, passed away in Syracuse the first week of March in his 97th year.

Paul was the son of Clayton and Mae (Price) Ingersoll, both members of pioneer families in Richland.

Paul had been a member of Half-Shire many years, and was very interested in our family research.

Pratt Balcom, who died on February 10, was also a member of a very old Eastern Oswego County family.

Pratt was best known as a true “pillar of the community” in Pulaski, serving as a volunteer in  any areas, particularly the Masonic orders and the Methodist church.

Pratt’s great-great-grandparents settled Redfield coming from Lanesborough, Massachusetts, nearly 200 years ago.

The area of South Redfield on the Florence line was once called “Balcomville.”

Both these gentlemen will be sorely missed by their family and friends.

Half-Shire will begin our monthly lunch meetings on Saturday March 26.

We are always happy to see new faces for our events, drop by for lunch at noon and meeting at 1 p.m. that day.

Half-Shire can be reached at [email protected] or check out our expanded website at halfshire.org

Under historic maps there are many new postings and links to books online.

Photo Avery Skinner (1796-1876)