Thursday, September 29, 2016

JOURNAL OF THE CHENANGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SEEKS AUTHORS

JOURNAL OF THE CHENANGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SEEKS AUTHORS

Hot off the press! The 2016 issue of the Journal of the Chenango County Historical Society was published on September 14 and can be purchased at the Museum gift shop. This is our fifth annual issue and the readers should enjoy it.

But now we are recruiting authors for our 2017 issue. If you know something about local history that other folks might also like to know, consider being an author. We are seeking original material that has never before been published. If you are knowledgeable but are hesitant about writing, not to worry. We can pair you with a writer, or turn you into one. We are trying to preserve history before it gets lost forever. Knowledge must flow from those who know to those who do not know. If you have any questions, contact me through the Museum.

Donald A. Windsor 

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JOURNAL OF THE CHENANGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SEEKS AUTHORS


JOURNAL OF THE CHENANGO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY SEEKS AUTHORS

Hot off the press! The 2016 issue of the Journal of the Chenango County Historical Society was published on September 14 and can be purchased at the Museum gift shop. This is our fifth annual issue and the readers should enjoy it.

But now we are recruiting authors for our 2017 issue. If you know something about local history that other folks might also like to know, consider being an author. We are seeking original material that has never before been published. If you are knowledgeable but are hesitant about writing, not to worry. We can pair you with a writer, or turn you into one. We are trying to preserve history before it gets lost forever. Knowledge must flow from those who know to those who do not know. If you have any questions, contact me through the Museum.

Donald A. Windsor 

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

ABANDONED ROADS IN OTSELIC


ABANDONED ROADS IN OTSELIC

Donald A. Windsor

Most of the roads that appear on early maps are still being used today, greatly improved of course. There were more roads in the past than there are now, because many were abandoned and only a few have been added.

Abandoned roads make good hiking trails, especially those that are regularly used by all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. Some of these abandoned roads have old stone foundations alongside them. The photo shows one in the Town of Otselic. The dotted lines in the 1885 topographic map below indicate a poor road. The black squares depict residences.




On our Bullthistle Hikers trek on Sunday morning 18 September 2016, we looked for additional foundations, but could not find any. The understory foliage was too thick. We will try again during the upcoming winter, when the leaves are down.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

HUNTS MOUNTAIN, SHERBURNE NY


HUNTS MOUNTAIN, SHERBURNE

Donald A. Windsor

Hunts Mountain is that big hill southeast of the Village of Sherburne, the one with the tall tower topped with a flashing light. Its pinnacle is 1880 feet elevation. The Village elevation is 1055 feet. (1). Hunts Mountain was the highest point in the Town of Sherburne, until 1853, when Sherburne annexed the area around Skinner Hill from the Town of New Berlin (2). Skinner Hill has an elevation of 1960 feet (1). So, now Hunts is second to Skinner.




The pinnacle was marked by the United State Geological Survey in 1942 and is quite visible. It has three ancillary markers with arrows in their medallions pointing to the pinnacle marker. Two are quite visible but the third is overgrown by vegetation. Photo below is by Maryann Weiss.




This hill is all privately owned, but we Bullthistle Hikers were fortunate that one of the landowners, Allen “Al” Marsters, led us on a vigorous hike on Sunday morning 11 September 2016. He took us up, down, and all around, showing us some interesting sights and explaining their backstories. We covered about 5 miles.



Hunts Mountain was named after an early settler, Milo Hunt. He was probably not the first settler because he was born in 1793 (3). Baker (4, page 1) claims that he settled here between 1795 and 1800, but he would have been a child then. Baker does say that the Swan family settled here around 1795 (4, page 2). Anecdotal information has Andrew Freeman as the first settler, but documentation remains elusive. Baker wrote a useful comprehensive history of the ensuing settlements and real estate changes. Milo Hunt was the Town of Sherburne Supervisor during 1829-1830 (6, page 454).

As a chronological benchmark, the first Euro-Americans known to enter the area that is now the Town of Sherburne were the surveyors for the 1789 survey of the Twenty Towns. Sherburne is Town 9. The first settlers arrived in either 1791 (5, page 8) or 1792 (5, page 46). The Town of Sherburne was first organized in 1795 as the Town of Paris in Oneida County (6, page 449) and established as Sherburne in 1798 when Chenango County was formed (6, page 71).


References cited:

1. United States Geological Survey topographic map Sherburne, N.Y. 1943 Revised 1994.

2. Windsor, Donald A. Skinner Hill. In: Souvenirs of Yesteryear. Exploring Chenango County, New York. Norwich, NY: SciAesthetics. 2010. Pages 16-18.

3. Anon. Christ Church Cemetery, Sherburne, NY. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nychenan/chrstch.htm

4. Baker, Pete. History of Hunts Mountain. Handwritten unpublished manuscript November 10, 1992. 14 pages. Transcribed by Sandy Gutosky in June 2014. 9 pages.

5. Hatch, Joel, Jr. Reminiscences, Anecdotes and Statistics of the Early Settlers and the 'Olden Time' in the Town of Sherburne, Chenango County, N.Y. Utica, NY: Curtiss & White. 1862. 104 pages.

6. Smith, James H. History of Chenango County … Syracuse, NY: D. Mason. 1880. 500 pages.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

OLD FOUNDATION IN LINCKLAEN

OLD FOUNDATION IN LINCKLAEN

Donald A. Windsor

Here is a photo of a stone foundation in the Lincklaen State Forest in its eponymous town. It is located on the east side of Hyer Road, just south of Springer Road. I took this photo on our Bullthistle hike Sunday 4 September 2016.



Notice that all four of its walls are caved in. This cellar hole is becoming a dimple in the forest floor. The usual process of disintegration is that the northern wall caves in first. The winter sun melts the ice in and behind it and then the water refreezes at night. This repetitive freezing and thawing ultimately collapses the wall. Next to come down are the east and west walls. Finally, the south wall caves in. The process is similar to folding up a donut box. The cellar hole becomes overgrown with vegetation and becomes camouflaged.

The 1855 map labels this foundation as belonging to H.C. Burdick. The 1863 map shows it as H.D. Burdick. Burdick is a common name in this area. Burdick Settlement, now Lincklaen Center, is up the road northerly about 2 miles. The Burdicks moved here in 1804 (Smith). The 1875 map has it as H.P. Marble. This foundation was probably built in the 1840s so it has been there for over a century and a half.

As a caveat, these maps were not drawn to an exact scale, so jumping from one to another is not an exact action, especially when there are name changes. House sites could remain constant but the houses could have been totally rebuilt.

Chenango County has many old foundations and the one featured here is just an example. Each foundation represents its own story. Unfortunately, most of these stories have vanished.

Reference cited:

Smith, James H. History of Chenango County. 1880. Page 483.

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Friday, September 2, 2016

STAR-NOSED MOLE IN SMITHVILLE


STAR-NOSED MOLE IN SMITHVILLE

Donald A. Windsor

We have two species of moles in Chenango County, the Hairy-tailed Mole (Parascalops breweri) and the Star-nosed Mole (Condylura cristata). Both have hairy tails, but the Star-nosed has a long one. It also has a unique nose – 22 tentacle-like appendages surround its snout.

On Sunday 28 August 2016, we Bullthistle Hikers saw a dead Star-nosed Mole on Waldon Road in the Town of Smithville. It did not show any signs of trauma; it was just dead.



My notepad is 2 7/8 inches across. John Carhart measured the beast. It was 4 inches snout to tail and the tail was2 ¾ inches. John's close ups of the snout appear below.





This is our second Star-nosed in Smithville. The previous was on 2 October 2011 on State Route 41 through the Long Pond State Forest. It was smashed roadkill. On 15 March 2009 we encountered a live one running around on the grassy dam at Balsam Pond in Pharsalia. We enjoyed great views.

Star-nosed Moles live in moist soil, often near water. They eat earthworms and other invertebrates. They are good swimmers and can catch and eat small fish in muddy waters. The tentacles are sensitive tactile receptors and can sense electrical fields underwater.

Reference consulted:

Reid, Fiona A. Star-nosed Mole. In: A Field Guide to Mammals of North America North of Mexico. 4Th Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 2006. Pages 389-390, Plate 34.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING -- AUGUST 2016


EXPLORING CHENANGO COUNTY BY HIKING – AUGUST 2016

Donald A. Windsor

The best way to explore Chenango County is to walk it. I lead hikes every Sunday morning, year around, for the Bullthistle Hiking Club and report them on our Yahoo group, BullthistleHikers, where the many photos posted by our hikers can be viewed. Here are my reports for August 2016.


7 August 2016 – Charels E. Baker State Forest, Columbus and Brookfield

Baker State Forest covers 9414 acres of woods punctuated by ponds, laced by streams, and knit together by several miles of horse/hiking trails. On Sunday morning 7 August 2016 we had 9 hikers in the southeastern chunk: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Warren Johnsen, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, Carol Smith, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered about 5 miles in 3.5 hours for a speed of 1.4 miles per hour.

We parked in the lot on County Road 24 (=Shawler Brook Road) and hiked northerly to TT-1. We then trekked on T-17 to T-16 to Morrow Road, where we enjoyed our well-deserved break. Refreshed, we embarked easterly up a hill on what appeared to be an unmarked logging trail, but turned into a bushwhack through a horrific stand of vigorous blackberry canes growing up through the very coarse woody debris of cut off tree tops. In here I suffered a painful fall when a log I was clambering over suddenly snapped and I landed on more large branches. Score was now bush = 1, bushwhacker = 0.

We continued stumbling through until we reached T-15 and took it south and west to Morrow Road. We then went south to T-14 (=Pope Hill Road) back to our cars, posing for some group photos at the new kiosk and sign.



14 August 2016 – Beaver Meadow State Forest, Smyrna

The Beaver Meadow State Forest in Smyrna on Sunday morning 14 August 2016 was soaked from the storm the previous evening. Nevertheless, we had 4 hikers: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, and Don Windsor. We covered 6.8 miles in 3.6 hours for a speed of 1.9 miles per hour. Our elevation gain was 1071 feet.

We parked in the quarry on Bliven-Coye Hill Road, east of Boos-Law Road, and hiked westerly to the state land. We then took the abandoned road, now snowmobile trail, south to George Crumb Road. We hike that west, but saw a lot of activity at the Y camp, so we took our well-deserved break on George Crumb and then took it northeasterly to our cars.

Rain held off until after our hike and the woods seemed almost bug free. Mud puddles were ample but not too daunting. Actually, it was a rather pleasant hike.


21 August 2016 – Pitcher Springs State Forest

A nice, bright Sunday morning 21 August 2016 progressively deteriorated into a gloomy, rainy one as 8 hikers ambled through the Pitcher Springs State Forest: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Peg Fuller, Tess O'Brien, Joyce Post, Art Sandberg, Sharron Sandberg, and Don Windsor. We covered 5.9 miles in 2.9 hours for a speed of 2.0 miles per hour.

We parked on Calhoun-Davis Road, just east of Kinney Road, and hiked west, pausing to pay our respects at the Soper Cemetery. Upon spotting an inviting snowmobile trail on the south side of C-D road, we yielded to the urge and took it. Good choice, because it was a dandy hiking trail. It veered southerly and then easterly and then formed a loop with the trail we had been on. We then returned to C-D and took it east to our cars.

The easterly snowmobile trek was on an old abandoned town road that once stretched between Mott Cook Road and Kostenko-Sutton Road. It appears as a dotted line on the 1944 topo map. We will investigate this stretch the next time we hike here, because it might afford a splendid loop.


28 August 2016 – Genegantslet State Forest, Smithville

A cool morning became hot as the sun beat down on 6 hikers in the Genegantslet State Forest in Smithville on Sunday 28 August 2016: Anne Altshuler, John Carhart, Joyce Post, Carol Smith, Maryann Weiss, and Don Windsor. We covered 7.2 miles in 3.8 hours for a speed of 1.9 miles per hour.

We parked on Stone Quarry Hill Road near the snowmobile trail and hiked east to Waldon Road. Whereupon, we ambled up Waldon north to the second creek, pausing for our well-deserved break. We then backtracked on Waldon south to Art Lake Road and took that to the snowmobile trail. We then trekked back southerly to our cars, gingerly sidestepping the numerous pesky mud holes.

We paid our respects at two cemeteries, the Eddy west of Waldon and the Perkins south along Art Lake. A dead Star-nosed Mole on Waldon provided a splendid photo op and John Carhart's close ups of the star tentacles are thought provoking.


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