Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Eaton's Annual Pie, Bake, & Gift Sale is coming!!

Michele Kelly and Barb Keough Have been workg on the apples for our sale.
The Annual Pie & Bake Good & Gift Sale is set for the Saturday before Thanksgiving…November 18th from 10 until 2 pm or so and gives the museum an opportunity raise funds to keep it going.

The little museum has been striving for 19 years to preserve the history of this historic town. Eaton has its roots stepped in New England and the Mayflower and so I thought I would include a bit of history in our publicity to try and entice everyone to visit us or to support us on Facebook.

Few people realize The ties between the Stowe family, Harriet Beecher Stowe... and Eaton’s founders.  The museum helps preserve these links with displays and remembrances of the traditions from Natick … “Old Town” and Eaton.  From the book Old Town Folks by Harriet Beecher Stowe….

     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.”

     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.”

Sure enough we have tons of pie recipes here in Eaton and the museum put out a cookbook with tons of pie recipes and pictures from Eaton’s past that will be on sale from our Thanksgiving Pie Sale... along with pies of every variety that you can bring home and freeze today… in a modern freezer.  To give you a sample of old fashioned pies I thought I would include a recipe here….


 8 to 10 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
 20 pieces of fat salt pork, cut the size of pies
 3/4 cups sugar (maple sugar preferably)
 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
 ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
 ¼ teaspoon salt

     Fill a deep dish with apples.  Mix salt pork, sugar, spices and salt and sprinkle the mixture over the apples.  Cover with pie crust.  Cut slits for steam to escape.  Bake in a hot oven (450 degrees F.) for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to moderate (350 degrees F.) and bake 30 or 35 minutes longer.  If crust becomes brown, cover with foil so that it will remain a golden brown.     While pie is baking blend a package of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon thick cream and allow to become firm in refrigerator.  Serve pie warm with slice of cheese.

Seems Old-time New Englanders used salt pork from soup to dessert.  This recipe is said to have made first by an old fisherman who used dried apples, salt pork and molasses.  His wife improved upon it, using fresh apples and maple sugar.  It became a popular dish, often served in Vermont homes for the Sunday evening meal.  Calvin Coolidge, in the White House, extolled its goodness. Pork pie has a more succulent flavor than ordinary apple pie. So we may not have Pork Apple Pies but we do have local pies made with local apples calling them rightfully... “Heirloom Apple Pies”. So come down and buy one!!!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Our Historic Ties to Thanksgiving... from the Mayflower to Eaton!

Many of our original settlers in Eaton date back to the Mayflower and the settlers of Natick especially the Morse, Leland, Kent and Stowe families.  Eaton followed much of the tradition of Natick so I thought I would include some wonderful history on Thanksgiving and Governor Bradford who Grandma Clark was a direct relative of. 

  The first Thanksgiving was truly different from what we see portrayed today on TV and in the movies.  In actuality, the Pilgrims who had invited the Indians over to thank them for their help in cultivating corn, in fishing and in hunting, and for basically keeping them alive for the first year, were stunned when the Indians arrived for the feast in numbers far beyond what the Pilgrim’s could feed.  So, the Indians left and hunted for deer and fowl and returned with the food necessary for the feast to last three days…yes, three days.

     This occasion was unusually frivolous for the stern Pilgrims and comprised of continuous eating, the marching of Myles Standish’s little band of soldiers, bow and arrow competition etc…  The feast meanwhile was tended to by five of the eighteen women who survived the first terrible winter.  Imagine trying to fix a feast for 140-150 people over an open fire, and then stretch it to three days.

     The great Governor Bradford delivered this prayer on the first Thanksgiving and I thought I would include it for us:

     Oh give thanks unto the Lord; sing unto him; sing praises unto him, for the precious things of heaven for the dew, and for the deep that couches beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth from the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the everlasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and its fullness.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord, Praise ye the Lord.

     Of interest, I think, are a number of passages from “Of Plimouth Plantation” by Governor Bradford, which mention the colony’s success only by acts of what he referred to as “God’s divine providence”.

     Bradford mentions windfalls of corn from unexpected quarters, a mysterious voice that warned the colonials of a store-house fire, showers that came just in time to save the crops, even the turning back of a ship that would foreclose on the colony.  These quotes show the success of the colony having been squarely laid on the cornerstone of faith.

     This faith led Bradford to guide the colony through all of its terrible trials and gave him the moral capacity to do what was right for all without wish for personal gain.  From his first election in 1622 until 1639, he received nothing for dining the court during their monthly sessions.  One comment I received after the piece on the “Common Good” read “too bad things could not be like that today!”  To this I say, “Amen!”  The word “altruism” is too seldom used to describe our modern leaders.

     The key word in our pursuit of the history of the Pilgrim’s is DEMOCRACY.  Democracy, is the basis for the Pilgrim’s government, carried through both the church and the state, something we need to concentrate on today I think.

More to come and please remember our Thanksgiving pie sale on Saturday, November 18th from 10 am until 2 or support our vast history and our museum.

The Morse House today and before!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ghost Stories & the Thanksgiving Pie Sale!

The Old Town of Eaton Museum is closed for the winter season...with a special "thank you" to those who turned out..I enjoyed seeing you.  Some fun visitors included relatives of the Morse-Motts.  Thank you Dan it was fun to talk and listen to the stories, Sad the way the old stone house is in such limbo!

Our members are gearing up for our Annual Pie & Bake Sale set for Saturday, the 18th of November from 10 am until 2 pm.  We hope you will come done and join us,,,pick up a pie or bake good to have on hand for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The sale will be held at the Old Auction Barn next to the US Post Office on Rt. 26 in Eaton.  Thank You... Jim Monahan for the use of the neat little historic building. Lots of parking!

This year you can get update information from the Facebook page Friends of the Old Town of Eaton Museum.  Visit the page and friend us, leave a message, and look forward to a wonderful upcoming holiday!

I thought I would include a history story from my new book that with other gifts will be available on the Pie Sale Day!

As Halloween approaches stories of Ghosts, Ghouls, and Goblins make their way into the spotlight.  Eaton like any other old community has its share of ghoulish tales.  One such tale involves the Historic Eaton Cemetery.

Many years ago people were laid to rest with their jewelry and favorite personal belongings, this coupled with the common method of filling wealthy people’s teeth with gold made grave robbery a profitable thing.  A story of one such robbery is famous in the Eaton Hamlet.

Years ago a very famous Eaton minister was laid to rest in a well-attended service in the Eaton Cemetery.  This minister was renowned for his preaching and his assortment of gold teeth.  A few days after the service the Sutcliffe family of Landon Road went to call on the nearby Cary Road.  To the horror of the visitors and the chagrin of the host the Sutcliffe’s arrived and found hanging on the old woodshed a body that was being stripped of its flesh.  On a second look at the skull they saw a set of familiar shiny gold teeth.

The grave robbers explained that they were paid $100 dollars by a college in Syracuse for the skeleton, which they said was used by students to study anatomy.  The gold teeth were just a bonus!

The cagey thieves removed the bodies from the coffins by digging down, breaking the wooden lid, inserting a hook, and then pulling it out!

After that, to thwart their efforts, the equally cagey Eaton Cemetery sextant hauled huge slabs of stone off of a local farm and placed it over each coffin at burial, to prevent robbery using this method.

So truthfully, when writing stories about the Eaton Cemetery, I should say...“most likely buried in the Historic Eaton Cemetery.”  

Be sure to support our sale that the ladies work so hard at each year.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tales of Old Eaton, the Confederate Flag in Eaton and old Mr. Leach!

Leach house to the left of museum.
I realize that I have been tardy in getting some new blogs out...but I have also been struggling along trying to beat cancer.  Yes, modern medicine may be able to cure you, but the side effects of the drugs effect every part of your body...including your ability to think and write.

This week has been good for me and my brain and while watching the hullabaloo on TV about the Civil War statues I was reminded of an old story about Eaton.  The story actually revolves around the house next to the museum on River Road, the road that was once called Water Street. The building is one of the oldest in town and was owned during the period before and after the Civil War by the Leach family. It is "Henry" I believe who served in the Confederate Army while the rest of the town for the most part was pro North.

Small towns in those days stuck together in a more cohesive way than today I guess... and after the War had past, it is said that on all holidays and during parades old Mr. Leach would don his Confederate uniform and march in the parade with the many members of the GAR.  Both sides it is noted paraded up and down the streets with pride. As a matter of fact... it wrote Mr. Leach into history and he has become part of the "Tales told of Old Eaton"... ones that you can enjoy.

Curiously, when redoing the museum we held a very large opening day celebration... and Chris Staudt and I who bought the building and refurbished it as the museum for Eaton... invited friends and family down for the occasion.

Chris' dad came down and toured...after the crowd had gone home and as he was leaving, he looked up at the American flag flying over the door, he glanced across the yard to the Leach house and said... "You really need a Confederate Flg flying here also".  To this day I wonder if old  Mr. Leach was around giving us a hint of his past... could be I guess.... after all it was Memorial Day!

I hope everyone will come out and visit what has become the Old Town of Eaton Museum currently owned and run by the not- for- profit museum group Old Town Folks.  Of great interest... a new group has formed to help support it...Friends of the Old Town of Eaton Museum. The group has officially become a recognized charity so all donations to it are are tax deductible. The museum is open on the First and Third Sunday's until October or by appointment.

The "Friends of the Museum" will be hosting a special event in September... "Fall History Day" and if able I will be speaking to help raise money for the group and to tell more "Tales of Eaton"  and its rich historic past.  Please join us then.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day always makes me think of my Dad!

Memorial  Day always brings thoughts of my dad who I worked with as a helper as a child and who worked with me when he retired as an adult.  He never really swore in mixed company using his famous “NUTS!” as the expletive if something went wrong.  He was an ‘officer and gentlemen” as the old saying goes.

He had actually been with Patton at the Battle of the Bulge time and I guess he picked up the phrase “Nuts” from General McAuliffe who was the acting commander of the 101st Airborne at the siege of Bastogne.  The general had quite a history..he had flown in on a glider before D Day.  When asked to surrender by the Germans who had his troops surrounded,  he sent back one of the most famous WWII replies…one word…”NUTS!” Some say it was because he didn't want to be remembered for a swear word..but whatever...

Dad taught me everything about construction and electricity - I remember his saying, ”If you are going to learn to drive a car, you should know how it works and how to fix it”.  If I had and older model truck I could still do it today.    I even rebuilt an engine in the dead of winter and repaired anything I could.


My favorite story was the time I bought a house in Syracuse and we had to jack up the basement in one part because of a broken beam.  I came home from a job…contracting…and dad was in the basement.  He told me to hold this timber in place and he worked the jack.  We could not lift it…the timber came loose and hit me in the head. 

After much effort and two jacks we got it sort of up there.  One day I decided to hang a shelf on the wall above the bad area and “bam” I found the reason why we had such a hard time.  A former owner had taken a chimney out in the basement and on the outside but not in the middle…. He or she had walled it off! 

P.S.   The word he used when 
the beam came loose and hit me was “Nuts”.  I said something 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Thoughts on Community and Eaton's Day!

Memorial Day Monday is once again calling you to come to Eaton and help support the Old Town of Eaton Museum.  

Each year through pies and goodies the museum manages to bring the history of the area to the public and to preserve the artifacts that have been handed down over the past 220 years plus.  Some of our artifact gems date to 1797 and Eaton’s earliest settlers.

Until you get older you never realize how important a role the small town you were born in has played and how it shaped your life.  In actuality it is part of your family because in many cases your parent or grandparents may have come from the town as well.

In Eaton many of the founding families are still here, names that still fill classrooms, societies and eventually come home to rest in our local cemeteries.  History and our American root system are what hold us together as a people, and hold our tree of Democracy upright.

On Memorial Day we celebrate our many veteran’s who served with honor to protect that Democracy.  Eaton the Town and Hamlets were founded by soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War. Here in our cemeteries every war is represented a grim succession of graves.

Community Spirit has made us what we are so we the “Keepers of the Fire” for the community… known as the Friends of the Eaton Museum… invite you and your family to come to Eaton on Memorial Day Monday. We ask you to pick up a bake good, a history book, a garage sale item, a hot dog or a drink and contribute to the Old Town of Eaton Museum.  These donations also pay for this event each year.

This will also give you the opportunity to visit over refreshments with neighbors and relatives… some not seen over winter’s long drudge.  You will also be helping keep open an 1806 stone building that houses the “Past for the Future”. It is nice to remember that memories are still a part of our “Reveries” whether we are young or old!

The event runs from 9 am until 3 pm…the museum will be open from 1 pm until 3 pm and the location is the Old Auction Barn next to the Post Office on Route 26 in Eaton a road once called the “old Skaneateles turnpike”.

Watch the videos below and see some of your relatives and friends or maybe even you much younger....and  remember the many who are gone.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Memorial Day the Weather and Our Lady of Fatima rolled into one!

This week of unbelievable turmoil politically, has been made even drearier by the rain and unusual cold in Eaton. 

Our little group of workers have continued toward our goal of getting things together for our upcoming 22nd “Eaton Day” on Memorial Day Monday.  The old Auction Barn on Front Street (Rt.26) next to the Post Office is being painted for the occasion, (thanks for its use Jim Monahan) and the bakers, seamstresses, and even this writer has been getting things together.

In the midst of this I picked up the calendar and realized that today was May 13th..2017.  Now to some this is just another day, but to me from good old Solvay… it brought back a small vision of the church I attended as a child… The basement the church had a “Grotto” of rocks dedicated to Mary…who I always believed was Our Lady of Fatima.

The story was one I knew from childhood, by coincidence or by reality, the Secrets of Fatima seemed more relevant to me today, than any time in the past especially with news of this

The story started on a hillside in Portugal in 1917 where three children tending sheep belonging to their family were greeted one day by an apparition… many call it the “Angel of Fatima”. The Angel appeared to them to foretell that the Blessed Mary would appears to them on a specific date...  which the children said she did.

The children were at one point examined by the authorities that of course thought they were making it up or seeing things.  As their stories of the apparitions and the Lady words that they were told reached the public… it caused 20,000 people to take a pilgrimage to the hillside in Fatima on the day specified for the “Lady” to appear again.

That day after a dark stormy interval, an unearthly sun danced in the sky above them, the sphere looked like a disc in rainbow colors as it zigzagged across the sky… miracle cures occurred some claimed.

Two of the children who became resolute followers died very young during the outbreak of the horrible flu epidemic of 1918.  One… Lucia, the eldest lived, to be 95 and wrote books on what she saw and what the Blessed Lady told her.

This year Pope Francis was in Fatima for its 100-year celebration and to declare the children Saints.  The trip was much like the other Popes before him had done in different capacities. Of interest…Pope John Paul who was shot on a May 13th brought the bullet to Fatima, and placed it in the crown of the statue of the “Lady”… he believed Mary had saved his life.

The three secrets told to the children were predictions of what awaited the world unless it changed.  Written down by the third child, Lucia, who became a nun, the third secret continued to be sealed and tucked away from the World until opened by Pope John Paul.

The first two were predictions of the coming if World War II, noting the rise of Fascism even predicting Kristallnacht—the "Night of Broken Glass.  in Austria as the start.

I personally believe the vision of “Hell” given to the children was the dropping of the nuclear bombs on Japan… scenes that still haunt the world today, with their visuals as the vision of “Hell”..…

The third secret or prediction…released on 2000 I copied verbatim here….”

 [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated' (13-VII-1917)”….

The Lady basically said we needed to stop our hatred... our persecution of religions... to act as one and to come together..for there to be peace on earth.... Much to think about in today’s world huh!

On  a lighter note…. please come out to our event on May 29th, Memorial Day Monday…. celebrate community and take a pie or gift home as a way to support history and goodwill among neighbors and men.