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.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Memorial Day & Eaton Day and the PIES are almost here!

Rain, Rain, Go away… come again any day but Memorial Day Monday also known as Eaton Day!  

The usual Eaton Day (Memorial Day Monday) plans are firming up and some new ideas are going to be put together.

The “Day” that runs from 9 am until 3 pm is an opportunity for everyone to grab a pie or a gift or arummage sale item to bring home.  This year we are adding more items to our “Museum Gift Shop” and more books to our vast new local history book selections.

A special addition to the fun this year will be a historic reproduction tin sale, used book sale and of course, our “what not” museum rummage sale.  These little additions should prove to be fun to look through and any purchases will of course go to helping the museum fund.

This spring the Friends of the Old Town of the Old Town of Eaton Museum became an official 501 charity, this will allow the group to look for grants and also allow museum supporters to donate tax-deductible money to the cause. Few people realize the cost of keeping a little museum going!

This year’s Pie Sale will feature a number of locally grown fruits and a good variety of local favorites made by our local pie bakers and volunteers.  So come out get a pie and enjoy a special piece of our local history.  The Museum’s cookbooks that are for sale, list a number of local recipes handed down from local bakers of the past.

If you have relatives or friends from the area and need a Christmas Present…come down and pick something up in our gift area. We even have gifts for your cats and a coloring book for kids!!  This year we will have our 2018 Historic Eaton Calendar available early.. it comes with an envelope that allows you to mail it out.

Our new Friends of the Old Town Museum Facebook and Internet pages will be up shortly and you can learn more on everything there! Right now you can go to our Old Town of Museum Facebook page!  For information or to make a donation you can email

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May and Memorial Day Monday Means Pies and History!

Old Town of Eaton Museum
Dreary as it has been the past few days, at least it is not SNOWING!  It is May 1 however, and so it is time to get out the information on Eaton Day! Once again our historical group will be hosting Eaton Day in the Hamlet of Eaton and as always ...invite everyone to come and join us in our history celebration. 

This year’s event is scheduled as always for May 29th, Memorial Day Monday, from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. It will be the 22nd time the event has been held to honor Eaton’s rich history.  The event also brings the Town of Eaton together... in actuality it is like an “Old Hometown Day”!

As always the event will feature the Huge Museum Pie Sale, raffles, rummage sale, and the usual Hot Dogs and Soda with a whole lot of history thrown in.

The Old Town of Eaton Museum itself will be open from 1 pm until 3 pm, with its rich history on full display, much of it dating from 1797 forward!  Yes, Eaton is that old... and hence why the museum is called the “Old Town of Eaton Museum”.  Just a short hop down the road from the museum is the marker for the first clearing in Madison County dating to 1788.
The group that is putting the event on “Friends of the Old Town of Eaton Museum,” is excited because it has recently become a federally recognized charity, something the group has been working for a long time.

If any of the local societies or clubs would like to set up at the event… please email  If anyone would like to volunteer to bake or help sell please email as well.

So come out and celebrate a history that started with Revolutionary Soldiers who came to the wilderness call New York to find homes....and to found communities for their children and the future!

Monday, March 27, 2017

More on the Old Madison County Home, winter and Welfare Reform

Workers starting the rebuilding of "The Home!.

This week as usual has been cold for the most part.  Winter does not read its still winter.  The snow is still on the I thought I would continue with the story of the old "Madison County Home.

The building of the news Almshouse almost coincided with the new wave of welfare reform that swept New York State after the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as the new Governor.  Roosevelt, elected in 1928, set to work immediately modernizing the poor laws and the rules governing public assistance in New York State.

The Superintendent of the Poor at this point in Madison County (since January 1, 1927) was Freeman MacIntyre.   The new governor signed the new Public Welfare Act into place.

The new Welfare Act came into law in April of 1929, modernizing the Madison County poor laws, which had been put into place in 1821.  This “Act” placed all the monies at the charge of the new Commissioner of Public Welfare.  Freeman McIntyre’s title had changed.

This new Welfare Act removed the terms “pauper, alms house and superintendent of the poor”.  The term Alms House that had been used for over one hundred years, was to officially become County Home.  (It is interesting to note that in Madison County documents it continued to be off and on referred to as the “Almshouse.”

Those interested in historic markers can go to the Town of Eaton Office Building and see the beautiful plaque that was removed from the Gerrit Smith Infirmary before it was sold; this bronze plaque clearly reads “Almshouse.”

From a 1931 clipping we find that the County Home and Freeman MacIntyre was placed in a number 1 classification for administration.  These times were the times of great poverty and depression in the United States, and the County Home contained over 95 occupants.  The highest number for the year was 112.  From July of the year before, there were 67 admissions and 61 discharges in addition to many “transients” that received food and shelter.