Saturday, October 15, 2016

Life, Good Workers, Me and A Purposed Filled Life...

A special thank you to everyone that has kept me in his or her thoughts and prayers in this past year.  I assure that it has helped. I need you to keep it up if you can.  The world has thrown many obstacles in my way over the years but I keep bouncing back, so rest assured I will beat this one.

I had a visit from Reverend Don Wheeler yesterday and he pointed out something I have advocated all my life…whether it is building a house, running a Fair, making a museum, or putting on an event…we each have one job to do…and if we do that job well…right…or to the best of our ability, our efforts will be a success.  If working with others it will be considered by our maker and the world around us that “we lived a purpose filled life”.  That is something to ponder.

Just in being here in the hospital I was privy to watching it work.  Last night some of the workers were just marking time till they got go home.  I called them Daryl his other brother Daryl…they had little concern for how I was really feeling…then this morning after I lodged a complaint in came Shannon and Alicia…two workers who did their jobs well and who were able to broadcast this feeling to me their patient. They did their jobs well…and it showed.

A purpose filled life. They didn’t have to be doctors to help me... they only had to do their job, and it made a world of difference.

Barb and I did a video for the Rev. and his Labyrinth Project for the FBC of Syracuse… and I will include it here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Eaton, Fall Festival History Weekend, Lectures and Me...20 years of history!

Old Auction Barn on Rt. 26 in Eaton.
For me here in “Old” Eaton …Saturday, Sept. 24th… is a special day, it marks the 20th year I have been promoting a special Fall History Day.  I called it Fall Festival History Weekend.  It was my attempt to get people to tour the small lesser-known museums that could never be open every day of the week.  Those that you pass on your travels who never seem to be open when you drive by.

The day evolved to over 20 sites and museums across 3 counties and ran for 8 years.  During that time I had the pleasure of writing the history and meeting the people involved with all of the participating museums.  We became friends who met in our yearly lunch get –together.  I was so happy to see one of our original group this past week, a hard working historian and writer from Chenango County…Rose Wellman.

I promoted actively a day to cover the whole state where by societies and history museums would allow people to enter for free and would encourage families to celebrate history.  Well 20 years later it has evolved into an event that is national.  This Saturday is the Smithsonian Magazines History Day Live.  If you go to their website you can down load a ticket to visit any participating museum for free…and so the Old Town of Eaton Museum on 2776 River Road in Eaton will be open…for free…as always.
Old Town of Eaton Museum on River Road.
The museum, like almost all small museums needs money and so after a years hiatus of illness and troubles I will be speaking to promote history, raise money and be part of a small celebration we call Fall Festival History Weekend Revisited.

Of great interest is the fact that I will be delivering 2 lectures one on Thursday night at 7pm, and one on Saturday at 2pm.  The location of the talks will actually correspond with the first lecture on the lesser-known history of Madison County… history that you probably do not know.  The site is of not only national importance but also international importance… and yet we pass by it daily with out a second look.  It is here that Samuel Chubbuck invented something that brought the world together.  There are a number of sites like this that I think should be recognized and so the talk will cover some of Madison County’s.
So come down to Eaton the Hamlet… to the old Auction Barn on Rt. 26… and enjoy history, and take the time to visit the Old Town of Eaton Museum just a hundred yards or so away.

Support your local museums as they are the “Keepers of the Fire” for your community and are our personal link to the past.  If you can’t come out to buy a bake good or hear a lecture… send a donation.

Future generations looking to revisit their families past and the future community will thank you for it. 

Also remember everything that happens today is tomorrow’s history!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Alderbrook- Eatonbrrok History......West Eaton Mills, and the Heat Continues.....

The heat continues....Humorously I ran into one of the cashiers in the local grocery store who saw how hot and tired I was and commented that I was just as miserable when it was freezing cold...TRUE!  I did get to sit near the Alderbrook again and so this weeks blog came to mind...How many know the history of the West Eaton Millarea? Then this history blog is for you!

(Eatonbrook) -Alderbrook Mill History

 This mill is one of the old landmarks which our citizens will regret to see pass away.  Some 35 years ago, an old saw mill stood upon the site, which was purchased by Alpheus Morse and John Brown.  They also obtained land of Simeon Chubbuck , …land upon which to erect and build bogs and to flow water into the pond.  In 1849, they built and put into operation the well-known Alderbrook Woolen Mills. 

It was a wooden structure four stories high.  They built a fine boarding house, a cottage or two and the Long Block, a long building.  The factory was in the shadow of the northern mill, a very pretty location.  The Mill employed some 75 employees and manufactured some of the best quality cashmere and doeskin. 

In 1856, the firm failed, after which Alpheus Morse effected an arrangement and continued the business.  During the war, he made the army and navy blues, his goods being in such demand in the early years of the war that much of the time the works were run night and day.  Mr. Morse ran the mill with the cooperation of different individuals with varied success until 1874 or ‘75, during which time he built three cottages on the terrace overlooking the sheet of water. 

In 1876, the premises were purchased at a mortgage sale by Messrs. Lakey & Co., who sold to D.E. Darrow and Philo Walden in 1879.  Darrow and Walden soon after removed two stories of the upright part of the mill, putting in a new roof and otherwise repaired it.  The Long Block had become a ruin nearly ready to fall when they removed it. 
In 1883, they leased the mill to John Klock from St. Johnsville, N.Y., for paperboard manufacture.  Later, James Healey from the same place became associated with him.  Last year, Klock and Healey sold their interest to Messrs. Howe and Son. 

The cottages on the terrace have all been sold to different individuals, and now all of the buildings belonging to the mill property, all that is left, are the wool house and the boarding house. 

Fifty years ago, before there was ever sound of factory bell, hum of wheels or clash of looms in Alderbrook dell, it was the delightful home of Emily Chubbuck, the gifted “Fanny Forester.”  Here with her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, she lived her free joyous childhood – amid the wild picturesque beauty of nature, inhaled the breath of poetry…and wrote some of her most charming stories.  

The stories of busy enterprises silenced the Muse and for more than a third of a century held away.  The actors in the drama and their works are low in the dust; and should the pristine romantic beauty and poetic atmosphere of Alderbrook return to it, then this third of a century is simply bridged over by the force that evolves destiny; a period, a scene, fallen into oblivion…dead and buried.

**And so it is today...back to the wild pristine slumber of the ages…

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Eatonbrook, the Warm Summer... and Eaton's MIssionaries!

The hot steamy weather continued in old Eaton this week and for a few nights Barbra Keough and I spent a pleasant evening or two at Michele Kelly’s house.  Michele is lucky enough to have a lawn that butts up to the Eatonbrook or as it was called 200 years ago the “Alderbrook”’.  The title was given to it because of the many peg alders (as they are called locally) that grace its winding banks. 
The heat has cut the flow of it this year …but not the plush green that lines its banks,  and sitting next to it of course, brought thoughts to me of Emily Chubbuck and the many tales she recounted in her early book “The Alderbrook Tales.”  Though Emily did marry Andoniram Judson the famous Baptist Missionary to Burma (todays Siam-Thailand) many other young people ventured out from our area to help in the missions… so I thought you would enjoy a bit of that history for this weeks blog. Of interest is the fact that this brook also runs behind our museum that houses much of this early history.
Eaton and its Missionaries
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???
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 sent back to Eaton still exist in the Old Town of Eaton Museum.

Judson's Story in video!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer, Col. Leland, the Dunbar House and the Leland Pond History!

The week has been hot again and summer is in full swing down here in Eaton... with summer people and boating, kayaking, fishing and reopening summer camps....I had a request to do a piece on Eaton's Leland Ponds and someone is restoring the old Dunbar house which in actuality was the original site of Col. Leland's first as lazy as I am lately about writing, I pulled this from my past writing and put it up for your enjoyment.  If you can please share and help our small rural Southern Madison County area attract new people and in the process help restore awareness to those who have forgotten what a wonderful place they live in.

The heat of this summer has drawn people to small bodies of water to cool off, swim and fish. Since history lurks everywhere some those that have enjoyed fishing at the beautiful Leland Ponds in the Town of Eaton may actually not realize what a special part of history the “ponds” have.

Located equidistant from both Eaton Village and Hamilton, the ponds today are a vibrant part of NYS Fishing areas and are also a very early and important part of the Town of Eaton’s history. A NYS Historic Marker denoting its famous founding family, the family of Joshua Leland, today marks the site but of course, a marker cannot tell the full story.

Born in Massachusetts in 1741, “the Colonel” as he was always referred to, moved to the town of Eaton, then a part of Chenango County and a large tract of land called Hamilton. Leland settled first on English Avenue near today’s Eaton Village, but then moved to the current site of today’s Leland’s Ponds, then called Leland’s Lakes.
The Col. was a Revolutionary War Militia soldier and ventured out with family to find a new home and a fortune. Their removal to Eaton was not without troubles as when the Colonel after clearing land, went back home to get his wife and five children and their wagon got stuck in the mud at the very location they would eventually move to. The Leland’s also arrived so late in the year that they are recorded as spending their first winter in a three side hut with their animals.

An avid astronomer, hotel owner and miller, Leland was a favorite of the many Native Americans who fished the ponds and who regarded the Col. and his wife Waitstil with great esteem. The Leland Family also ran an ashery that made potash and in fact it is how the Col. died. When on a trip to Albany with this much needed commodity, Leland was killed when the barrel of potash they were carry on a wagon rolled off and fell on him as he was ascending a steep hill on the Cherry Valley Turnpike.

Leland is mentioned as Hamilton’s first Supervisor but at that time Eaton was part of Hamilton breaking off in 1795. At that time Leland became and important part of Eaton’s history and he actually owned one seventh of the landmass of Town of Eaton at one time. His heirs continued in their father’s footsteps’ becoming businessmen and the Leland family name is well remembered.

Leland’s Ponds was also the early fisheries of the Oneida Nation, and later was the site of the largest port on the Chenango Canal, Peck’s Port. Today its waters are a vacationers paradise and allow fisherman to revisit the quiet haunts of native fishermen.

For those who like cemeteries, the family cemetery lays 
on Route 12B a short distance from the site of his home. Crow’s Hill, his property that he once gazed at the stars from, is today dotted with wind turbines, proving that Eaton is still a place where “history meets progress!”.