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Half-Shire Odds & Ends

Submitted by Half-Shire Historical SocietyOn Saturday May 31, and Sunday June 1, Half-Shire was open to the public as part of the Richland Hamlet community yard sale weekend. A few area residents staffed tables inside our hall selling various wares and enjoying the cool (and dry) comfort level of the main hall. Some visitors took advantage of the opportunity to look over some of our research materials and scrapbooks while there. Trustee Erma Schroeder headed up the weekend event, and also provided free coffee and offered some lunch items from the kitchen.

On Friday June 6, Jackie Thomas from Sandy Creek visited with us and spent time going over materials for our new website. Jackie has procured the domain name halfshire.com for us, and our new web site is expected to be up and running by the months end. The new site will feature individual pages for each of the eleven townships in our coverage area, with hyperlinks to other pages of interest that pertain to each town. Several photo galleries will be featured, with changing images from our past and present photos. Other pages will contain cemetery and veteran listings. A link to our blog will feature our column each week, and we are also exploring putting past newsletters online in PDF format. Jackie is the webmaster for the popular Oswego County Fair website and does a very good job with all of her web designs.

Richland Historians have received word that grave markers for Revolutionary War veterans Joel Harmon, Jehiel and John Weed along with a military marker for cold war veteran Floyd “Spike” Nolan have all been approved by the Veterans Affairs Division and should be shipped soon for placement in Pulaski Cemetery. Additional markers for several other Revolutionary War soldiers in Richland, Albion and Redfield are also on order, with research underway on other veterans across the Half-Shire region.

Enhanced copies of the Revolutionary War pension and service records of John Castorer (1748-1835) are among the recently printed transcripts printed out on quality paper for our Redfield veterans file. We also printed and bound a set that was sent to Iraq as part of a care package assembled for Castorer’s 5th great-grandson Michael “Mic” Castor who serves there with a New York National Guard unit. The younger Castor is a veteran of several assignments and comes down from the Redfield patriarch through a direct line of John, John, William, Alvin, Ozias, Merton, his father Ralph. Included in the pension records is a copy of the original Ensign commission signed by New York Governor George Clinton.

Castorer’s file, along with a rough draft of the 5th book in the Redfield History series detailing the Revolutionary War veteran’s lives of that township will be on display at the Oswego County Fair. At least a dozen men who called Redfield Home served in the Revolution and many are buried in historic Myrtle Cemetery in the center of town. The long awaited project on Greenboro History has been set back longer pending completion of this book and the Richland Veteran book.

Weekly work at the Oswego County Fairgrounds is coming along well, Grounds co-superintendents Bob Battles has been staying up there to double as security. The work led by Bob, as well as George Comins and many other volunteers is truly impressive this year. The Heritage garden has been completely overhauled and will be a must see stop for fairgoers this year. Thanks go to Laura Kehoe and Rae Allen for their design and layout, and Bob Battles for the major “grunt work” that was required for the overhaul. The fair starts July 2nd and runs through the 6th. Gate admission is again free this year, with some grandstand events available for a modest charge. Check out the website at Oswegocountyfair.com for a complete schedule of events and times.

New on our library shelves at Richland are several books pertinent to local research. Gravestone inscriptions of Rupert, Vermont by Levi Henry Elwell (1913) is a detailed account of the inscriptions in the historic cemeteries of Rupert. Many eastern Oswego County families trace their descent to this small Vermont community from which some of the earliest settlers of Pulaski and Orwell came from. This book has been reproduced and is shelved in a notebook along with selected Rupert Vital records donated by June Walker last fall as part of an exchange with Flower Memorial Library in Watertown.

The Civil War pension papers and service records of John Valoris Munger (1837-1897) have been donated by a descendant in Washington State and are now bound and available for researchers. Munger was married to Minnie Yerdon of Redfield, and his extensive service is detailed in this binder. Copies of three large Genealogies have been acquired: The Harmon Family of New England (Artemis Canfield, 1920), The Lanfear Family Record (1919 edition) and the Castor family (1909 edition). These genealogies are part of our large and growing family file collection that now surpasses 500 individual families. We are updating our index to this collection and plan on posting the listing on the new website.

One of our very active members from the south will be in town to visit us during mid-June. Former Greenboro native Luella (Clemons) Long and her husband John are expected to arrive on the 12th and will be in the area seeing family and friends through the following week. A trip to Greenboro on Friday the 13th to meet cousins Bob & June Walker, along with this writer for lunch at Shar’s Diner is an anticipated event. Luella has transcribed countless individual census records for the Town of Redfield and entered them in an excel database that has enabled us to research with greater ease. Luella will spend time at Half-Shire on the 13th looking over our collected materials for the Greenboro book project, as well as other new materials we have gathered since her last visit in 2000.

The 2008 Farmers Market season is now upon us in many communities. Half-Shire conducts a table at the Pulaski Market most Friday nights from 4-7 pm. We will have many of out sales items available as well as some periodic displays of research materials and old photos. The public is encouraged to stop by the park and listen to bands as part of the weekly music series, and see what we have at our table.

Half-Shire can be reached at P.O. 73, 1100 County Rte. 48, Richland, NY 13144 or on the web at [email protected]. Our new web site will be located at halfshire.com in the coming weeks. Our facility in the former Richland School will be open each Friday through November from noon-4 p.m., or by appointment. Contact President Shawn Doyle at 298-3620 to schedule an appointment for research.

Below, June Walker examines the marriage certificate of her Great-Great Aunt Minnie Yerdon Munger, who married John V. Munger in Miller, South Dakota in 1864.   The certificate is part of the Munger family papers recently donated by a descendant in Oregon.

june walker