Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Missionaries, Madison County History, Emily Chubbuck, and the Old Town of Eaton Museum!

While working on a new book named “The History You Never Knew” the past few days, I came across much information that has actually never come to light in regular history books.  Many of the young folk in Eaton actually tried to become missionaries to exotic lands many were successful.  It seems the lure of Burma and Siam was a firm and large part of the missionary movement here in the early 1800’s.
Everyone remembers stories of Eaton’s Emily Chubbuck, the writer who wrote under the pen name “Fanny Forrester,” who married Adoniram Judson and went off to Burma, but what about Andrew Bigelow Morse???
 Do you know this man?
The Reverend Andrew Bigelow Morse was the son of Ellis Morse and grandson of Joseph Morse. In 1849, at the early age of nineteen, Mr. Morse was graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, where his ranking as student admitted him into the scholarship roll of Phi Beta Kappa. 

After two years’ experience as principal of a Young Men’s Classical Institute in Albany, N.Y., he entered the Princeton Theological seminary, where he was graduated in 1864.  After another two years, part of which was spent in post-graduate work in New York and a part in the service of the church, he and his young wife, commissioned by the Presbyterian board of foreign missions, started for Siam.  This was the goal of their ardent ambitions and consecrations. 

Once in the field, he threw himself whole-heartedly into the work, but within two years Andrew’s health was shattered and he was ordered home. He continued working for several years on a literary work of permanent value.

 Because of his poor health during the Civil War, he was exempt from military service and debarred from the Christian commission.  So instead, he spent three years at Washington in the Treasury Department, ministering often in hospital and barracks.  In Washington he served in the somewhat famous “Treasury Guard” of which he frequently spoke with a smile. 

It is here he also became acquainted with many men who afterward became famous.  Among these was the one whom he always mentioned with a great admiration and reverence – the distinguished martyr President Lincoln.

Andrew takes his place of honor with the other young men of Eaton who also went to Siam (Burma) and China, Jonathan Wade and William Dean. **Newspaper stories filled with letters sent back to Eaton from Siam still exist in the Old Town of Eaton Museum today.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Peace, Pope Frances, removing hatred, and Simple Gifts!

This week’s trip to New York City by Pope Francis has been a rare opportunity for many of us to see the man and listen to his wise concerns.  I myself admire him for stepping out of traditional ways to bring a message of hope to the poor, concern for mankind to the world, and humility to a station in life that has had few champions.

We say that we do not have the class system like India and other foreign countries… but in truth… do!  It is becoming increasingly evident that we have two classes emerging…the rich and poor, as these income levels are becoming farther apart daily. His remarks at the United Nations certainly sounded a cord with the hearts of many who understand the suffering that is present in the World today!

Of particular importance I feel was the ceremony at the World Trade Center Memorial…here all the leaders of NYC’s religious communities were able to interact in a service that few in other more secular countries would believe possible.  The service was opened and closed with the anthem of another religion that I have become fond of…Shakers and the song Simple Gifts.

Another aspect of the ceremony was a number of interactive prayers from religion to religion.  My favorite quote from the bible…
Mathew 5:3 … Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted…Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth…Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled…Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God…Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God…. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
We must learn to view ourselves as part of the whole and understand that we are all brothers and sisters related from the start …black, white, red, etc.  That the life we have as humankind is all the same… that everyone feels the same emotions at one time or another... that we all love our children, families, friends, communities and personal religions the same, and that we each and everyone live in a world that is getting smaller, with hatred at our doorsteps waiting to be let in… there will be no peace and no end to humankind’s suffering.

From the Pope’s words…

(Peace ) This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment. We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven. Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer. Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces, which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world, which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE.

Simple Gifts..the Shaker Anthem...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall, Local Books, Art Zimmer, and a Story of Wendover Road on Leland Pond.

Fall has officially arrived here in CNY, although at 37 degrees the other morning it felt like we were moving right into winter.  Some of the trees along route 26 (The Old Georgetown Turnpike) near Leland Pond have started to turn into orange and brown reminders of Fall.

The area around the ponds will in a few weeks be filled with travelers of the winged variety rounding up a tour to head south.  In the old days the ponds was a favorite haunt of Utica city dwellers who flocked there in the summer to eat chicken and escape the heat and in the Fall to savor the multi-colored show that Mother Nature was putting on.  So I insert here a little history on the area…

”On February 16, 1906, Steven and Ella Wendover bought the farm of twenty acres from Theda Appleford.  They settled there and for many years were prosperous, happy and contented.  Their home was well known to many who came from various towns and cities, some came a long distance to rent boats for fishing and tables for picnics.  Mrs. Wendover also served chicken dinners to many who came to spend the day in the quiet and rest of the surroundings.

 Vacationers and convalescents found a welcome rest and cure in her gentle care and wholesome food. Her words of welcome were always extended to all who came to their home, which made many lasting friends for the Wendover’s, and brought many fishermen to try their luck fishing in Lake Leland (Leland Ponds”

 ***The Wendover’s had an adopted daughter, who became Mrs. John Black of Morrisville, New York.  Their daughter was Flora Cramphin of Eaton. Flora now dead was one of the original founders of our museum group then called Neighbors for Historic Eaton and a great personal friend of mine.

As the week progressed and our little museum team had the privilege of going to Art Zimmer’s book signing at the Colgate Bookstore and have since been delving into Art’s fascinating past via Making it Count: From A to Z The Life and Times of Art Zimmer.  Art from Hamilton… and his wife Shirley Sherburne Zimmer from Eaton…have done it all I think and best of all have retired back to their roots and our local area. Published by a local company “Log Cabin Books” and publisher Brian McDowell, it savors of our special CNY area and its many talented people.

The book is filled with tales of Art’s many business adventures from ski resorts, to Zimmer Cars, from publishing and owning the Syracuse New Times to musical theater and so much, MUCH more… It is hard to believe he has crammed so much into his 77 years, which he attained on his birthday this week.  Happy Birthday Art!

***Here is a video of Leland Ponds near Wendover Road which was once home to Pecks Port one of the busiest ports on the Chenango Canal.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Something to think about...clean water, Waterstep, our pollution, and our local wells!

Summer glances should not be lightly thrown,
For winter waits in grim disguise
To take the gleam from Summer’s eyes.

I was writing a bit of poetry this week and realized that the lines seemed to apply to a blog I was thinking of writing.

As I was thinking this week on all that has transpired in my time, which is a speck of dust in the progression of time, I became aware of how little we have progressed morally in so many ways.  As I looked around me... I am & I was appalled that the progress that we have made as humankind has gone forward and yet it has regressed globally.

Like a new love that brings hope we reach for the future and try to forget the problems of the past.  We forget wars, we try to enrich our heritage by making ourselves the victor of our struggles, yet somehow failing to use that knowledge as a base to gauge what lies in the future.

Few of us come to understand the struggles of foreign cultures that have not progressed.  Yes we say that we care… we say that we are conserving energy; we say that we are trying to save the planet for future generations, but in reality I ask... are we?

We here in the north have an abundance of water… in most places our water tables are filled by Winter in its somber white suit.  We are lucky.  Today California in summer attire awaits its future to unfold, a future that has loomed for sometime…a future that nobody seemed to want to recognize…the lack of one of our most precious commodities…WATER!

Today clean water, which is a staple of life, has been afforded us in a good part by our wealth and our past forward thinking, although this thinking may in fact be at fault.  As we strive for more agriculture we dammed our streams that filled with mountain snow runoff and delivered it to land below. In our quest to beautify our homes and take our many showers we are depleting our precious supply of clean water, and we are failing to realize the implications of pollution whether it be by pesticide, liquids like petroleum, by hydro fracking, or by poor management… For money, pleasure and supposed progress we have turned our heads away from water conservation.

As a historian I can tell you that in the past in our little area distilleries were one of the first businesses to be opened because early settlers drank and cooked with distilled goods to prevent illness.

Seeming plentiful in the past, we fail to see that the earth and its globe are filled with 90 percent of water, however today only about 10 percent of that water source is clean enough to drink.

My own house has a drilled well and yet I filter it because of runoff from the hills that have been sprayed with liquid manure. Both detergents, animal and human waste have all been named as the culprit in the algae bloom contamination of our ponds and lakes. In flood times it is more than prevalent in the wastewater that flows to our local streams and enters our watersheds.

I was visited by Rev. Wheeler this week and he brought to my attention a program that has great promise for underdeveloped countries and perhaps in the future for our very own.  The company is called “Water Step” and it provides a simple safe water filtration system solution attainable global wide.

The funding for this particular project uses shoes… Yes water step supporters use shoes to raise money to purchase systems to distribute as a missionary effort to underdeveloped countries.  The simple premise is that collection boxes are place to collect worn serviceable shoes that are in turn sold to companies that resell them… the money raised is used to buy these chlorinating units. (Old shoes, are another commodity that our society is rich with.) One young woman in our southern tier raised $30.000 that way.

Waterstep is a not for profit company that has managed to successfully distribute these water saving devises through churches and missionary outreach and I suggest you take the time to read about it and take the time to understand how important water conservation and ecology go hand it hand for not only the outside world, but for our future as well.

For more information go to....www. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

9-11, November 22, 1963, Warmth of the Sun, Beach Boys, hope for the future!

This week has flown by… the whole summer has actually.  Summer is exiting and sitting here in the dark tonight I have been remembering the past.  It is true that certain dates on a calendar seem to hint of past history and act as a reminder of times gone by… dates like today’s 9-11.  This date in our time takes us back to an awful tragedy in NYC and for me the death of a history friend.

On this day in time I always remember the death of Ken Morse, a great friend, and a major help in founding our little Old Town Museum.  Other dates that bring to mind history include for us “that are older”... November 22…the day Camelot died in Dallas, with the slaying of JFK.

Interestingly, this date comes to my mind each time I hear the Beach Boys song “Warmth of the Sun”… a song they wrote on November 21, 1963 and last night for some reason I began humming it.

Mike Love who co-wrote it with Brian Wilson said that on learning of JFK’s death the next morning they were saddened and finished this song they were working on… A song that was unlike their others for it was in a key that had never been used on their recordings before, a haunting melody. Love wrote in a blog…”Being the eternal optimist, as hard as that kind of loss is, the one good that comes from it is having had the experience of being in love in the first place. That experience became "The Warmth of the Sun".

Here is a link to the blog...

“Warmth of the Sun” has always been my favorite Beach Boy cut and the harmony and its tone reflect a certain sadness and yet a hope for a possible love after loosing someone you love. 

The words “the love of my life, left me one day”… still evokes a melancholy meaning to me. In this case they wrote it as a love that walked away… but now as we are older it denotes someone we loved that died... someone we fear can never be replaced.

Ironically…as sad as it sounded then, and as sad and dark as their feeling were that day, they decided they needed to give it something more uplifting … hope… that God given gift that allows us all to face the future. “But I have the Warmth of the Sun, within me tonight”… Yes they decided they needed to add a warmer feeling…and today to me it denotes a “hope for finding love in the future”.

I first heard this song in the War Memorial sitting in the front row in the middle of a concert they did early in their career, many years ago now… 50 to be exact.  I loved it then, went home and learned to play it on the guitar…it is still my favorite…and as Fall in its dazzling colors and warm days with chilly nights approaches… I guess I am reminded of “The Warmth of the Sun”.

*Listen to the song below… Enjoy! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!