Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News - July 2011

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
Tues: 9 am–4 pm; Apr. 6 – Nov. 16;
Located in Eaton Hall, 3399 US Route 7.
Address mail to:
PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT   05763
(802) 483-2040

Curator: Anne Pelkey 483-6178
Membership: Doris Hoare 483-6470
Newsletter Editor: Peggy Armitage 483-2108. peggy.armitage@gmail.com

Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.

 PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763    802.483-2040    www.pittsfordhistorical.com


Bill Gladski's Memorial Day Speech, Pittsford, VT 2011 (thanks to Ken Lizotte's Post)


Pittsford Day on June 25 was a great success -- more sun than rain and not as many people, but the children and parents there were obviously having a ball. Congratulations to Randy Adams and his volunteer hosts. Below are a catalogue of photos submitted by Stephen Belcher. Enlarge the pictures by clicking on them. Captions by Peggy Armitage.

Pittsford Days Photos4062
Barb Pearsons (red cap), Barb and retired town clerk Gordon DeLong chat beside Marble Valley Grange and Bowen-Walker Fund
Pittsford Days Photos 4044
Charla Helton of PBCG serves 250th Town birthday cake by Odell and Carol Johnston of Creative Cookery
Pittsford Days Photos4037
Pittsford Business Community Group booth
Pittsford Days Photos4023
Anne Pelkey, Jane Orvis, Peg Armitage set up our publications for sale

Pittsford Days Photos4047
Anne Pelkey, Peg Armitage, Jane Orvis savor the Johnstons' birthday cake

Pittsford Days Photos4043
PHS members Joe Gagnon, Emerson Frost visit our booth
 Pittsford Days Photos4030
Kids get to operate hoses on the Fire Department's pumper
Pittsford Days Photos4020
Volunteers Anne Pelkey, Jane Orvis unpack vintage photo albums in Historical Society booth

Our booth displayed 1980s photo albums of local people and homes, Society books, and maps thatattracted a steady stream of visitors, including new residents in town. Jane Orvis, Steve Belcher, Anne Pelkey and Peggy Armitage enjoyed the visitors and slices of Odell and Carol Johnston’s two fantastically decorated Creative Cookery cakes served by the Pittsford Business Community Group.

On Sunday August 28 we will join the PBCG and Lothrop School to celebrate the laying of the school’s cornerstone 100 years ago. Festivities take place on the playgrounds, and tours of the school and our museum in Eaton Hall will be available.

The next members’ meeting will be at the Congregational Church fellowship rooms Sunday September 18. Society President Ernie Clerihew will talk about his collection of old Ford cars; you may get a short spin around the grounds! This program is open to the public, followed by a potluck supper at 6 p.m. Please bring a dish to share.

We will loan photos related to the Town Charter to the Library for their Oct. 12 program.

Our annual meeting on Sunday October 16 will feature the 250th anniversary of Pittsford’s charter signed in 1761 by NH Royal Gov. Benning Wentworth.

Great Gifts to the Museum from members and friends:
From Ron Smith: Dr. H.H. Swift’s records of local births and deaths that he attended in late 1800s and early 1900s, bought at a flea market; also a sign for O’Boyle’s Thrifty Market on Arch Street (1940s -1950s);
From Joyce Meade: Items from the former Baptist Church parsonage and Julius Randall’s cobbler shop in the Village; also a 1910 photo of Corrine (Randall) Denison in her wedding dress;
From Christine Maseroni: A tiny little Psalm Book with Hymns inscribed “Jona. Tilson and Charlotte Wood, February 8, 1813” (their wedding day), found in a wall during repairs to the Maseronis’ house at Pittsford Mills.
From Patrick E. O’Brian: his delightful semi-autobiographical novel about his summers spent on his grandfather Alec Paul’s farm, above the Cooley covered bridge on Elm Street. Patrick’s mother, Helen (Paul) O’Brian, was Alec’s daughter! You’ll find the “Paulsons” in the novel. Patrick will visit us with his book in late August. He hopes to find relatives and old friends here.


Previously on this page...


May, 2011  (Download a printable version in pdf form.)

Highlights of 2011 Events

     The Museum in Eaton Hall reopened for the season April 12 and will continue on Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until mid-November. In addition it will be open Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. from July 3 to October 10th.


  This year will be unusually busy, with two major anniversaries added to our customary calendar of events.

   At the Governing Board’s first meeting in February, Charla Helton, representing the Pittsford Business Community Group, suggested possible town-wide events to commemorate two important dates in our town’s history: laying the cornerstone for the Lothrop School building 100 years ago, and the 250th anniversary of our Town Charter.


  The Board agreed to join with Lothrop School officials in celebration of its anniversary on August 28. The School and our Museum will be open to the public, with commemorative exercises on the school grounds followed by an ice cream social.   


  New Hampshire Royal Governor Benning Wentworth signed Pittsford’s charter, granting land of six miles square to Ephraim Doolittle and 63 others on October 10, 1761. The Board voted to feature the event during our Annual Meeting in October.


  The full calendar follows:


  The Memorial Day speaker will be retired US Air Force Colonel William Michael Gladski, a Pittsford native and Otter Valley Union High School graduate with a bacheler’s degree from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT.  He now divides his time between the McDevitt/Gladski homestead at Pittsford Mills and another home in Beavercreek, Ohio.

A Fortunate Find on eBay

  Last summer Peggy Armitage spotted a stereoscopic view labeled “Havre de Grace, Maryland” on eBay, listed at $35.00.  Peg thought it was a wooden bridge, and might be a picture of the wooden railroad bridge Nicholas M. Powers built over the Susquehanna River between March and October of 1866.  She asked Bill Powers (no relation to Nicholas M.) to check it out; if Bill agreed that it looked to be wooden, it could be the only photo of the Pittsford bridge builder’s masterpiece. 


  Bill Powers bid on it and got it.  Before giving it to the Society, he showed it to his friend in Brandon, Blaine Cliver, a railroad buff and former resident of Maryland.  Here’s what Cliver wrote: “The Havre de Grace Bridge crossing the Susquehanna River, built of wood.  I believe it is a railroad bridge.  It may be that the photo was taken while under construction since it is not covered, which protects the wood from deterioration.  It is a combination Town/Burr truss.


  “The brid ge was completed in 1866... In 1906, the wooden bridge was replaced by an adjacent steel structure in use today.  The piers of the wooden bridge are still to be seen when one travels between Washington and Philadelphia by train.  


  “The wooden structure was reinforced with steel around 1880.  I don’t see any of the reinforcing in the image, so I would assume the photo is pre-1880.”


  Nicholas Powers’s great-grandson Alf Strom-Olsen lives on the Powers home farm in Clarendon.  Alf donated a photocopy of what is surely a steel bridge to the Society for our N.M. Powers exhibit at a Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge, although we knew it probably wasn’t the bridge his ancestor built.  Most of that exhibit is on display at our museum.  Nicholas Powers wrote often to his wife from Maryland in 1866 with news of his progress.  His letters are in the Vermont Historical Society archives in Barre, copies of which we have in our exhibit. Thanks to Bill Powers, we now have the complete story.


Recent News from Eaton Hall


  We have been given first refusal to purchase a collection of 19th century documents including letters and a business ledger that appear to have belonged to Dr. A.M. Caverly, together with a number of rare postcard views of Pittsford.  Curator Anne Pelkey estimates that the items of greatest historical value would cost about $250.  Because time is of the essence, the Trustees voted to authorize Anne to spend no more than that amount, while soliciting one-time donations from our members for that purpose alone.  Please make your tax-deductible contribution payable to Pittsford Historical Society and send it to Doris Hoare PO Box 187, Pittsford, VT 05763, and thank you. 


  Since 2003, Museum all accessions from 2003 to the present have been recorded in a Past Perfect computer program designed specifically for museums.  Stephen Belcher is now transferring to the Past Perfect format all of our hand-written records from 2003 back to our founding in 1960.  When completed, the location and description of objects and documents in our collections will all be more accessible to researchers, and we will be able to answer e-mailed inquiries in much greater detail.


  Vice President Melanie Clerihew is continuing Junior History Club activities for Lothrop School 3rd and 4th graders through the remaining school year.  With a few memberships still available, Melanie urges interested third and 4th graders or their parents to call her at 483-6871 for details.  Club members will conduct tours of the Museum and the Lothrop School on the August 28th centennial anniversary of laying the school’s cornerstone.


  Membership chairwoman Doris Hoare is pleased to announce the names of three visitors who became new members this year: Deborah Plimmer, great-granddaughter of Standage Gordon Johndroe, principal of Pittsford High School in 1911, the year the cornerstone for the Lothrop School was laid by storekeeper William B. Shaw.  Johndroe and his new bride boarded at Shaw’s home (next to his brick store at Pittsford Mills).  David and Faith Beckley also found a great deal of information about her ancestors, Colonel Benjamin Cooley and Peter Sutherland.


   Soon after January 1 of 2011 Doris Hoare mailed letters to all members reminding them that membership in the Society extends over a calendar year. Your dues support the annual operating expenses of Eaton Hall. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to renew your dues for this year, and thank you.



Remembering a Faithful Citizen


 We note with sorrow the passing of Ruth Wimett on March 18, 2011. For many long years both Ruth and her late sister Alice were two of our most generous and steadfast supporters. Our sincere sympathy goes out to their family.


The Society welcomes new members: David and Judith Petrie, Greg Sharrow, Bob Hooker, Charles and Micha McCuin, David Blittersdorf, and Margaret Boothby.
Membership in the Society extends over a calendar year. Your dues support the annual operating expenses of Eaton Hall. Please send your check, payable to Pittsford Historical Society to: Doris Hoare, PO Box 187, Pittsford, VT 05763. We thank you for your continued support.


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A 501(c)(3) organization since 1960