News of Otsego County

Helen Rees

To Barn or Not to Barn …

To Barn or Not to Barn …

By Helen K. B. Rees
Photo of original Swart-Wilcox barn. (Provided by Fanny Southard)

The Swart-Wilcox Barn Committee met on Monday, October 3 to discuss the possibility of a barn for the Swart-Wilcox House Museum complex. There had been a barn on the property from the 1790s until 1968. At that time it was burned down by the City as a fire-fighting exercise.

It is now felt that a barn would help tell the story of the early settlers, who were mainly farmers. Several factors have contributed to thoughts of a barn for the Swart-Wilcox farm property.

Finding an appropriate old barn, or building a new barn with the old floor plan, is the first decision.

Display On Jim Konstanty At GOHS During October

He Pitched For Phillies In World Series

Display On Jim Konstanty

At GOHS During October

Oneonta’s Konstanty is considered the MLB’s first relief pitcher

ONEONTA – “Jim Konstanty & the World Series,” featuring Oneonta’s most accomplished Major Leaguer, is on display at the Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., through October.

Helen Rees, Konstanty’s daughter, is sharing her collection of memorabilia from her father’s professional baseball career.

Konstanty (1917-1976) played for five teams during his 11 years in the Majors. Although also a starting pitcher, he is considered baseball’s first specialist as a relief pitcher.

He was the Most Valuable Player in the National League in 1950 and pitched in that year’s World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Oneonta DAR Builds Constitution Display At Southside Mall

DAR Display At Mall

Honors Constitution

In honor of National Constitution Week, the Oneonta chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has put together a display on the document at the Southside Mall, commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.  From left are DAR members Jeanne Westcott, Helen Rees and Linda Riddell. The display is near Bath and Body Works and will remain up through Sept. 23.

City Father’s Diaries Being Transcribed By Swart-Wilcox Friends


City Father’s Diaries

Being Transcribed By

Swart-Wilcox Friends

Some Of It Humdrum, Some Endearing

Helen Rees, left, and Debbie Clough of the Friends of the Swart-Wilcox House show off Henry Wilcox’s diaries in the parlor of Oneonta’s oldest surviving home. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – The Huntington Library didn’t know what it had.

Transcription is making Oneonta pioneer Henry Wilcox’s diaries available to the public.

When the Upper Susquehanna Historical Society – now the GOHS – was cleaning the Swart-Wilcox House for the 1976 Bicentennial, someone found all of Henry Wilcox’s diaries, said Helen Rees.

“They gave them to the Huntington Library and two were transcribed, but they didn’t think they were very important,” Rees said, founder of the Friends of the Swart-Wilcox House, Oneonta’s oldest home.

The diaries – seven in all – were later returned to the Friends. “We have very different views on what was important!” said Rees. “He wrote every day, so there are a very valuable insight into Oneonta’s life. He wrote about the weather, who died, what was going on.”

He wrote about his mother’s passing, his wife Phoebe and their sons Fred and Merton. A daughter, Myrtle, died at age 5 of “moreness” in 1875. The brothers were the last residents of the house.

Swart-Wilcox House Opens Season With 1870s Diary Reading

Swart-Wilcox House Opens Season

With Reading Of 1870s Journals

Helen Rees, standing, reads from Henry Wilcox’s 1870s diaries during the first event of the Swart-Wilcox House’s annual summer series of lectures. The diaries, discovered around the bicentennial, had been given to the Huntington Library, but later returned to the Friends of Swart-Wilcox, who are currently in the process of transcribing them. (Ian Austin/

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