Friday, November 8, 2013

A Memorial in Cooperstown

My grandfather, Bill Coleman, served in France during the first World War.  His sister, my great aunt Bess, wrote to him often during the war and later served on the committee to establish a memorial to the war dead. The list includes their cousin, Joe Coleman. She saved the program, which I have transcribed here.

Program of the Unveiling and Dedication of the Cooperstown World War Memorial
Armstice Day, November 11, 1931

The Memorial

Thirteen years have passed since that memorable Armistice Day of November 11, 1918. Since that time there have been several attempts to secure a World War Memorial all of which have proven unsuccessful.  Finally the ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit No. 579, pledged themselves to the task of properly commemorating to posterity the deeds of those who served and the names of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War and to that end asked the Cooperstown Exchange Club and the Cooperstown Rotary Club to name a joint Committee to select a site and a suitable form of Memorial.

Under the able leadership of Hon. Walter Watson Stokes, who became the Chairman of this joint committee, the site was secured, the form of Memorial agreed upon by the committee, adopted by the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit No. 579, and the campaign for the necessary funds instituted, all of which culminated in the splendid Memorial we are now here to dedicate.

The Committee here wishes to extend its appreciation to those whose services made this Memorial an actuality.

The designer and sculptor of the bronze figure is John Horrigan, Sr., of Boston, Mass.  The Studio in which the statue and markers were modeled and cast is T. F. McGann & Sons Co., Boston, Mass.  The beautiful granite boulder upon which the bronze figure stands is the gift of Mr. William Lighthall of Starkville, New York.  The moving and transporting of the huge boulder from its location near Starkville, Herkimer County, N.Y. , to Cooperstown presented a very difficult engineering  problem which was successfully completed by Hans H. Frey, as principal contractor and the sub-contractors Bart J. Ruddy, Inc., and Utica Trucking and Cartage Co., All of Utica, N.Y. The markers were placed by Everett A. Potter and Peter Jones of Cooperstown.  Miss Elizabeth Patterson of Cooperstown, suggested the inscription on the tablet on the front of the Memorial.  Alfred R. Cobbett and Ernest F. Tyler of Cooperstown, supervised the architectural details regarding the general design and the placing of the Memorial.

And last but not least the Committee is deeply grateful to those loyal and patriotic citizens of Cooperstown and vicinity whose suggestions, advice, and generous contributions have made the Memorial possible.

In Memoriam
Gold Star Mothers
Harry J. Andrews
Mrs. Viania O’Dell (deceased)
F. Clifford Bliss
Mrs. Frank Bliss
Robert G. Cobbett
Mrs. William Cobbett (deceased)
Joseph A. Coleman
Mrs Charles Coleman
James Fenimore Cooper, Jr.
Mrs.  James Fenimore Cooper
Vinton A. Dearing
Mrs. Mary H. Dearing
Foster Eggleston
Mrs. George Eggleston (deceased)
James Franklin Hayne
Mrs. James Hayne
Charles E. Hecox
Mrs. Kendrick Hecox
Walter Herrick
Mrs. James J. Shartz
Charles N. Hopkins
Mrs. Charles L. Hopkins
Leo A. Leach
Mrs. L. Leach (deceased)
Stephen J. Johnson
Mrs. Stephen Johnson
Charles Mc Graw
Mrs. Cora McGraw
Lewis N Mallory
Mrs. William Mallory
H. Lynn Marble
Mrs. James L. Marble (deceased)
Albert S. Peet
Mrs. Fenimore C. Peet (deceased)
George T. Record
Mrs. Chauncey A. Record
Henry Reed
Mrs. Hiram Reed (deceased)
Ralph R. Rexford
Mrs. L. Rexford (deceased)
Lewis W. Ross
Mrs. Fred Armstrong
Albert L. Seeber
Mrs.  George Seeber (deceased)
Walter A. Seeger
Mrs. Lester C. Seeger (deceased)
Clark F. Simmons
Mrs. Frank Simmons
John W. Stiles
Mrs. James Stiles
Fred L. Stilson
Mrs. M.D. Stilson
Harry A. Winn
Mrs. Abram Winn

                        Walter Watson Stokes, Chairman                
Berton G. Johnson, Vice Chairman                             
Alfred Rcobbett, Treasurer                              
Mrs. Fletcher A Blanchard, Secretary             
Mrs. Floyd J. Atwell                                    Miss ElizabethG. Patterson
Fletcher A. Blanchard                                  Mrs. Alfred J. Peevers
Harold D. Carpenter                                     Adrian A. Pierson
Mrs. Alfred R. Cobbett                                 Dr. Leroy Pitcher
Miss Elizabeth Coleman                               Benjamin Reisman
Newton E.D. Gilmore                                   Mrs. Frank Simmons
Berton G. Johnson                 `                       William C. Smalley
Mrs. Berton G. Johnson                                 Mrs. James Stiles
Joseph P. Leary                                               Clermonte G. Tennant
Moses E. Lippitt                                             Orange L. Van Horne
Mrs. A. John Wedderspoon


Invocation                                           The Rev. Gordon L. Kidd
Huggick-Purcell-Shepherd Post, American Legion, Richfield Springs Singing “America”
Presentation of Monument               Rowan D. Spraker, 
                                                              President of the Village   
Acceptance of Monument                Alfred R. Cobbett
                                                              Clark F. Simmons Post No. 579, 
                                                              American Legion, Cooperstown
Unveiling under direction of A. Leo Stevens, formerly chief instructor in Aeronautics, U.S. Army.
Dedication                                             The Hon. Clermonte G. Tennant, Cooperstown
Singing National Anthem 
Salute to the Dead
Program by courtesy of the Freeman’s Journal Co.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If Walls Could Talk

The village of Farley grew along the Millers River in the Town of Erving, MA when the Farley brothers established their paper mill  across the river in Wendell, about 1888 (MHC Reconnaissance Report - Wendell, 1982).

I moved into my new/old house in Farley last December.  I was taken by the high ceilings, crystal chandeliers, dental moldings, dual fireplaces (not operational) around the massive central chimney, and by a feeling of history in the walls.  Since then, I've been wondering what those walls have seen.

My predecessors lived here for 53 years.  It must have been a great spot for a family, with the river in the back yard and remains of the mill buildings nearby. The lady of the house was quite a gardener, and the catalogs continue to arrive by mail.  The husband was a carpenter, and identical custom cabinets in the kitchen, pantry, and two bathrooms show his handiwork.  A neighbor said the arched opening in the entry was his making as well.  Do the knots emerging from under the paint of the crown molding show them to be newer than they look? There is evidence of hinges on the remaining doorways, where doors would have kept the heat contained in the living areas. What other renovations happened during their tenure?  The gold sparkles on the kitchen counter say early 1960s to me.

Evidence of history can be found in the stone-walled basement. The floor is partially dirt, and begs for more exploration. There are no partitions, no coal room that is found in many old cellars. It has adequate headroom for its use as a workshop for the past owner.  A bulkhead door in the back was  blocked when a deck was added. Part of the kitchen has no basement under it, although the bowed front window does.  Was a side porch enclosed to expand the kitchen? 

The gambrel roof makes room for a full attic on the third floor.  Partition walls clad with bead-board establish four distinct rooms, two with closets.  Servant's quarters? The kitchen rehab eliminated the back staircase, which would have allowed the kitchen help to get up to their attic quarters without disturbing the family in the main part of the house.  The remaining doorway molding at the landing was the first clue, as well as the bottom step visible in the basement. I would like to make measurements of the current walls to understand their relationships. I'm having a hard time imagining the original kitchen layout.

Reading the deeds and the 1900 census reveals that this was not the home of one of the Farleys, but their company accountant, George Monroe.  Sophia Bergstrom was the family's 25 year old servant from Sweden.  The records of the Town of Erving include three Monroe children born to George and his wife Minnie Blodget: Alice in 1892, Harris in 1895, and Barbara in 1902. That places them here at least during those years.  In 1910, they were in Orange, where the family continued to live until at least 1940.

More questions come to mind in the four bedrooms upstairs. The second floor bathroom is an obvious add-on, and the full length window in the northern bedroom might have been a door to the small porch.  The only means of access now is through one of the window. The smallest bedroom is connected through the sunny southern bedroom.  Was it a dressing room or nursery?

I may never answer these questions definitively, but the fun is in the puzzling.