Mike Ainslie of Fly Creek starts unboxing the North Tin Shop, one of five new historical markers that will be on display tomorrow (Sunday, July 14) from mid-morning to mid-afternoon at the Fly Creek Historical Society’s annual BBQ at the old Grange Hall on Cemetery Road. At noon, the society will also unveil a portrait of Diantha Cushman, being examine in photo at right by society stalwarts Deecee Haviland, Judy Thorne and Freida Snyder. The portrait was painted by J.W. Jarvis, which Society President Sherilee Rathbone says may be a son of John Wesley Jarvis, who painted the James Fenimore Cooper portrait on display at The Fenimore Art Museum. In 1846, Mrs. Cushman, daughter of mill owners in the Town of Exeter, married Charles Cushman, who operates the Oaksville Calico Mill. In addition to the tin shop, the other four historical markers will mark sites of the one-room Sprague School house in the Fly Creek Valley; the nearby home of Hezekah Sprague, a Revolutionary soldier who donated the school house, and the pitch fork factory on Fork Shop Road. Another marker, commemorating David Shipman, partial inspiration for Cooper’s Leatherstocking, is on order and will be placed by Shipman’s grave in a Toddsville Cemetery. The markers were underwritten by the Pomeroy Foundation of Syracuse. Tomorrow’s celebration include a pulled-pork luncheon (suggested donation, $10), which includes salad, dessert and a drink, as well as hotdogs and hamburgers. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
COOPERSTOWN – Just in time for Martin Luther King Day, two state Historical Markers commemorating the United States’ march toward freedom – and Otsego County’s – have arrived at First Presbyterian Church here.
One marks Susan B. Anthony’s Feb. 9, 1855, appearance in a building where the church’s chapel is now. During her visit, she formed a local committee to advocate for the women’s right to vote.
The second commemorates July 4, 1827, when about 60 blacks gathered in the church, “with music and banners flying,” to celebrate the end of slavery in New York State.
The markers will be unveiled to the public at the church’s MLK Day celebration at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at 25 Church St. and erected on the front lawn in the spring.
These were little-known events until
Deb Mackenzie had turned off Route 20 east of Richfield Springs and was driving slowly, slowly along Allen Lake Road. She stared into forested obscurity. And then, eureka!
Set back in the woods near that big house associated with the Butternut Barn gift shop was a state historical marker, rusty yellow lettering on faded blue: “Butternut Road. Indian Trail from Fort Plain to Unadilla, on Map by British officer, 1757, during French and Indian War.”
“It took me quite a while,” she said the other day, while recounting how she’s spent the past two years solving the mystery of Otsego County’s historical markers. “And I found it by mistake.”
Mackenzie, an Otsego County Historical Association director-at-large, has gone farther than anyone in figuring out the list of historical markers that appears on the State Museum website. “Many are not correct,” she said. “Many are not on the list.”
The results of her research may be found on the just-published “Historical Markers of Otsego County and Their Locations,” available from any OCHA board member.