Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Holiday Wish for Peace on Earth and Understanding... from the Back Street in Eaton!

Happy Holidays to all… as we celebrate in this crazy year of news, crazy weather, and crazy political events.  What more can one say!  Rather humorously the phrase  “Peace on Earth” and “Good will to Men” has become an impossible wish that even praying appears unable to solve considering the religion of violence which has overcome us all.

As I sit here on the quiet “Back Street” of old Eaton I am blessed in a way... its quiet, boring, everyday life, is a far cry from the world out there.  Oh yes there are problems here and there, but it is a country town quite capable of sustaining itself in a permanent state of suspension.  No terror acts, little crime, prayer groups, basketball at the church, gossip at the local mini-mart and small groups of people that keep the cemetery, church, fire department and museum going.

I do wonder if we here in America who have so much ever stop to consider how very fortunate even the poor are.  We have no war that is bombing us, destroying our communities, reducing our cities to ruble or turning our children’s lives into horror.  Yes children’s lives, that help form the hatred for the invaders or the enemies that are causing them so much pain. A learned hatred that passes onto fighting of more wars and reasons to for them to become warriors.

Reflecting on all this I hope for a moment that we all stop to consider what we have and offer a prayer or wish that all men on earth would one-day share in the richness of what we have.

To those amongst us who are the “have not’s”…take heart and continue on… look around and appreciate what you do have if only good friends or good family or strangers that care.  To the “haves” try not to flaunt it…money and gifts cannot buy happiness for your loved ones or for you.  That “Christmas Feeling”…is short lived.

I try to look back to a time when a child was born…a child who changed the world’s thinking… a child that advocated peace and understanding. 

There have been many of them…and we need many more.  Children that grew up and changed the world around them with peace and hopeful words not words of hatred, boasting or threatening…only words advocating peace and acceptance… truly great men and women like Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, John the XXIII, and many more…and of course, the man whose birthday we celebrate this week Jesus Christ!


We need men and women who advocate on behalf of People... poor or rich, old or young, of this religion or that… ones who are pushing the one thought of Christmas… “Peace on Earth and Good Will to ALL Mankind.


A bit of history on John the XXIII.


Monday, December 12, 2016

The Holidays in the Old Town of Eaton and a "Thank You".


Morse House
First I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who donated cans to our museum can drive…. thanks…it was a success. Another thank-you to the helpers – Michele Kelly, Barb Keough, Jen Caloia, Chris Klein and a special thank you to Steve Brown for hosting us.

The season is upon us… yes that time of year.  I often get questions on what the “Holidays” would have been like in the old days of Eaton when it was just a fledgling community with log or stone buildings and no access to a shopping center... except perhaps traveling to market in Albany one hundred miles away!.

So I thought on the information I had in my archives and came up with this…Old Town Eaton as we call it was not far removed in tradition from its home base of Sherburne & Natick, Massachusetts.   In her book Old Town Folks author Harriet Beecher Stowe talks about the family of Deacon Badger. Badger was really a Bigelow who was her husbands Grandfather and her own relation via the Stowe family ties. This couple in essence is the Grandfather and Great Aunt or relative of a number of the Eaton settlers at that time including Joseph Morse’s wife Eunice Bigelow, the Morse’s and the Stowe’s and others.  The book gives us insight into the family life and “Holiday” baking.

From Old Town Folks
On holiday food: “The pie is an English institution, which, planted on American soil, forthwith ran rampant and burst forth into an untold variety of species. Not merely the old traditional mince pie, but a thousand strictly American seedlings from those main institutions to new uses. Pumpkin pies, cranberry pies, peach pies, huckleberry pies, cherry pies, green-currant pies, pear pies, plum and custard pies, apple pies, Marlborough-pudding pies, pies of fanciful flutings and architectural strips laid across and around and otherwise varied, assisted the boundless fertility of the mind, when once let loose in a given direction.”
Morse House Kitchen
The piece goes on to describe hundreds of pies put into an open back room that allowed them to freeze an be bought out throughout the holiday season and sometimes up until April.”
* I guess this inspired our traditional Thanksgiving Pie Sale.
One of Eaton’s great little stories is of a preacher who was so long winded that in the “Holiday Season”  the women at the service would be totally unnerved by his dragging the “Holiday” sermon on and on while their wood-fired ovens could be burning the food set for the holiday dinner.

If any of us can picture cooking the family feast over a wood fire or in a wood fired Brick oven?
 Since many of the residents were relations I am sure you can picture large family gatherings and a bill of fare that was gathered from the collective families larder. A long cry from today’s  shopping at Price Chopper or Wegman’s.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Memories of the past, the Old Town of Eaton Museum, and thoughts of the Holidays!

Words cannot describe the 20 plus years we (I) have spent down here trying to keep the history of Eaton alive. Time mixed with memories that are both good and bad. 

The original group of Neighbors for Historic Eaton formed out of the group that put on the Bicentennial for the Hamlet of Eaton… a thing that took great co-operation and time…and much effort.

The result of this is the Old Town of Eaton Museum and the Friends of the Old Town of Eaton Museum, a group now left in great part to new faces as the old ones have slipped from our grasp one by one.  How sad to look back, and yet how wonderful to have these memories.

I myself am not from Eaton or Madison County, and yet by that right alone was able to solicit help that bore no old grudge nor hard feelings… as do occur in small country towns.  I started by writing weekly updates on an old word processor loaned to me by Mike Curtis.  These articles were published in the Mid-York Weekly at a time when we had to take them to the paper’s office to get them put into print…a world of difference from  in today’s world of internet sending of both prose and pictures for publication.

We also… with the help of Bob Betz and myself put up the first webpage for Southern Madison County History called Our Old Town.  I did all the writing for that and took the pictures on old used computers and a cheap camera.  That progressed to covering 20 pus historic sites for Madison and Southern Onondaga County as Fall Festival History Weekend.

We have worked hard, and we need to continue in that vain to support the Eaton Museum.  This years pie sales were a great success and this years “Eaton Day” on Memorial Day Monday was an awesome opportunity to turn the whole Town of Eaton out to celebrate it vast history.

As Christmas closes in on us, although a season of hope and joy for many, let us remember the past struggles with happiness for their success…and let us remember with much sadness those who have passed on to become a piece of Eaton’s vast history.

This year coming …will bring us closer to the future…but with sad eyes we tend to in the holiday season to look back…This weeks passing of Ginny Chilson did that for me. 

***Please take the time to view the video below… put sound on… and revisit the Bicentennial in 1995 and view many of our neighbors, relations, and friends who have passed on! 




Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving and some Eaton History all rolled into one!

The original founding families of Eaton were from Natick, among them is the Morse  family.  Captain Joseph Morse was part of the original group of settlers.  His group of Militia men included whites, free blacks and Praying Indians  I thought I would do a piece on that and history of early settlement of Massachusetts . 
The date of May 26, 1637, a mere 17 years after the settlement of Plymouth, the tensions between the Puritans and the Native Americans had become strained.  The very people who they stole the corn from on their landing and who showed them how to plant corn and other crops. as well as how to fish and hunt, were being exterminated by the English and Puritans who had now flocked to the shores of New England. 

The most militant of the Native tribes the Pequot has started warring against the white settlers who were pushing them off of their land.  So Militia and English troops set up and ambush on May 26, 1637.  The surrounded the Pequot settlement and using surprise burned the native fort to the ground.  The women, children, sick and elderly hid in their teepees and thus were burned alive.

Governor Bradford is quoted as saying: “It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink there of: but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise there of to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them such a speedy victory!’

The history Channel named this as one of the 10 days that unexpectedly changed history, for the attitude of removal or cleansing would be our policy.  We regarded all those Native Americans who would not become civilized - near white as Devils who must be killed or driven out.

The Wampanoag’s and their famous Chief Massasoit, who were friends with Bradford and the Plymouth settlement, began to complain about the white settlers freely taking the crops and invading their land. In 1622 a militia Captain killed 8 friendly natives and impaled their sachem’s head on a pole in Plymouth.  Hostilities had begun and as the colony encroached more and more on their land, New England became a battleground.  The Wampanoag’s thought they could coexist with the whites but by the 1670’s Massasoit’s grandson Metacom, known to the English as King Phillip, began what would become known as King Phillip’s War. 

Metacom noted that The Wampanoag “had bine the first in doing good to the English and the English the first in doing rong.”

Metacom claimed that phony contracts were used to take large tracts of land from Indians who had been made drunk.

When a praying Indian who helped set up the Praying Indian Village of Natick was found murdered, three of Metacom’s followers were accused, found guilty and executed.  King Philips war was on…settlements, major towns and villages were burned and sacked until finally on August 12, 1676 he was killed…thus ending the King Phillip’s War. 

*It is noted that in Plymouth for that Thanksgiving they bought his head back and paraded it around town.  They Puritans thought it a sign from God of their righteous ownership of this new land...they the chosen people!


* Today Natick has a National Day of Mourning instead of Thanksgiving.  A monument was placed marking the genocide that took place at that time! 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Pie Sale, Thanksgiving, the Museum and my Thank You's

This has been a busy week, as the museum group is getting ready for our upcoming Thanksgiving Pie & Bake Sale next Saturday the 19th.

 I have been very little help so far because of my injuries but I am whipping into shape.  Here I would like to thank all those who sent cards or words of encouragement and also to Kate & Mary Mahoney, Don Wheeler, Doug and Diane Chilson, Michele Kelly, Barb Keough, Cathy Nagle, and my brother and sister in law Fritz & Nola for their visits to the hospital. Broken ribs, broken collarbone, fingers, etc. are on the mend. (Still not typing too well!)

The Pie Sale has grown in size and we are lucky enough this year to use Jim Monahan’s little shop next to the Post Office again. Thanks Jim…. great location… with parking and space.

The pies and bake goods will also have items from our museum gift area and as always all proceeds go to upkeep of the museum which this year hosted a number of events, days open and did writing of history and history lectures.. 

The Friends of the Museum group is growing and we hope to have our 501 3c by next year. So think about joining with membership forms available at the event.


The sale will run from 10am until 3 pm so stop by and say hi and grab a bake good that you can use for Thanksgiving Dinner or as a gift….We will be looking for you!


The Old Town of Eaton Museum is housed in the oldest stone building in the Town of Eaton.


Video of another stone treasure in Eaton laying to waste...


Pie Sale, Thanksgiving, the Museum and my Thank You's

This has been a busy week, as the museum group is getting ready for our upcoming Thanksgiving Pie & Bake Sale next Saturday the 19th.

 I have been very little help so far because of my injuries but I am whipping into shape.  Here I would like to thank all those who sent cards or words of encouragement and also to Kate & Mary Mahoney, Don Wheeler, Doug and Diane Chilson, Michele Kelly, Barb Keough, Cathy Nagle, and my brother and sister in law Fritz & Nola for their visits to the hospital. Broken ribs, broken collarbone, fingers, etc. are on the mend. (Still not typing too well!)

The Pie Sale has grown in size and we are lucky enough this year to use Jim Monahan’s little shop next to the Post Office again. Thanks Jim…. great location… with parking and space.

The pies and bake goods will also have items from our museum gift area and as always all proceeds go to upkeep of the museum which this year hosted a number of events, days open and did writing of history and history lectures.. 

The Friends of the Museum group is growing and we hope to have our 501 3c by next year. So think about joining with membership forms available at the event.


The sale will run from 10am until 3 pm so stop by and say hi and grab a bake good that you can use for Thanksgiving Dinner or as a gift….We will be looking for you!


The Old Town of Eaton Museum is housed in the oldest stone building in the Town of Eaton.


Video of another stone treasure in Eaton laying to waste...