Historian's Office :
The Martinsburg Town Historian's Office is open each Tuesday from 1:00-4:00 pm. The office is located in our Historic Town Hall which was built in 1811. Our historian, Sue Adsit, can be reached at 315-376-0156 or 315-376-7219. Please leave a message.
Dues to belong to the Martinsburg Historical Society are S5.00 per year, $10.00 family per year, or $50.00 for a lifetime membership. All who are interested are invited to join. Any donation to the MHS will be used towards ongoing projects or for projects as designated by the person making the donation.
Send membership or donations to:
c/o Martinsburg Historical Society
PO Box 17
Martinsburg NY 13404
MARTINSBURG, NY THE WAY WE WERE is a publication by the Martinsburg Historical Society. We sold out! Volume II is currently in the works! Stay tuned for a release date for volume II. If you have a Martinsburg story you would like to share please contact Sue Adsit.
The Martinsburg Historical Society was busy this last year- very busy! It's quite exciting to see all that we accomplished as well as all we have on our "bucket list" to work on during the 2018 season.
January 27, 2018- The MHS held its Annual Meeting and had election of officers. We had our winter program in the Town Hall with a program provided to us by Charlotte Beagle. Mrs. Beagle scripted a short play called "Justice for Alice Whitaker." Upon Miss Whitaker's father's death, she was the beneficiary of his estate. A provision had been included that left some land to the town for a park. However, the land donation was to be upon Alice's death. A few of the town fathers decided to challenge the legality of such a stipulation since women were not technically supposed to own land. These town fathers tried to take the property from Miss Whitaker. The case went to court. The audience and the participants had a laughable good time and Alice Whitaker was able to keep her property. She did turn property over to the town for a park. Attendees were also able to view the updates and work being done at the Town Hall. The auditorium space, upstairs, is shaping up nicely. The town is restoring the original benches and chairs that were used for programs and performances.
Restoration of the School House : The one room school house that the society purchased in 2012 was completed in 2016. The inside and outside were painted thanks to Eloise Davey. Fred and Janice Ramos continued their work on the grounds around the building. Sue Adsit spent countless hours researching and planning for our open house event which seems to be an annual event.
The Anna Gert Walk Event: June 2017 was our third "Anna Gert Arthur Walk" starting at the school site. The group walked from the school sight to Ms. Arthur's home in the village on the corner of Route 26 and Cemetery Road. The return walk from the house was to the town hall. Participants in the walk were former students and family members. Refreshments were served in the Bush Library and many of those in attendance shared their fond memories of Ms. Arthur as a teacher. The MHS is going to have the same walk this year (2018). The date is not yet determined.
Martinsburg Day and the Twin Wide Open Golf: Both events were a great success. The twins, daughter's of our own Martinsburg "star", Dawn Manzer, are full of energy and do a fantastic job organizing this yearly golfing event. There are never enough thanks for all that this family has done to support the Martinsburg Historical Society. A theme for the 2018 tournament has already been determined.
Martinsburg Day was well attended even though the weather was threatening. It grows each year. Again this year the Lewis County Historical Society teamed up with us and made this a great day for all. There were many exhibits in the town hall including our WWII male and female mannequins in costume, enlistment posters and items of that era. A booklet was available with biographical information on "Women of Town of Martinsburg." Of course, we had our Silent Auction items out for bids as well our raffles.
Again this year was our "back in the day" 1950s ice-cream parlor where we sold ice cream- lots of it- and it was staffed by two volunteers. In the kitchen, Sue had her son, Tony, and daughter-in-law Kelly, flipping burgers and making hotdogs. It was a family affair! Around the village the vendors were selling their crafts, there were flea markets and garage sales throughout the village. The fire hall had their annual chicken barbecue. They are always ready to pitch in and help on our day. A car and tractor show was in the north parking lot of the library. The brick building was open and the "fire cart" and fireman's uniform and auxiliary outfit were modeled by our mannequins.
LCHS had the Martin Mansion open and all sorts of vendors and demonstrations going on in the front and back yard of the mansion.
Martinsburg Day in 2018 will be August 11 and the Twins Wide Open will be at Cedars Gulf Course on August 4, 2018.
On Sunday, August 13, 2017 we had an event at the West Martinsburg Cemetery. This sacred ground was restored and military honors were given to the more 30 veterans who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The turnout was wonderful! The West Martinsburg Town Hall and the West Martinsburg Methodist Church were open.
The restoration of our cemeteries was in full force this past summer season thanks to many people. The LCHS, the Town of Martinsburg, the MHS, and volunteers have all been supporting the restoration efforts of the MapleRidge Cemetery. The goal is to have this restoration project completed by August 2018.
The Martinsburg Cemetery supports themselves financially and do not ask for any grant monies. They are always working to keep that cemetery in beautiful condition. Volunteers worked in 2017 on the "Martin Plot" to continue cleaning the stones of Brig. General Walter Martin, his family and his parents, Abigail Cheney Martin and Col. Adam Martin. Col Adam was in the French and Indian War as well as the Revolutionary War. Brig. General Walter Martin came to Martinsburg, founded our area and was just in time to serve in the War of 1812. It seems fitting that that whole Martin plot we worked on.
The Martin Family plot
Sue Adsit and Bette Lathan found an old cemetery marked on an 1820s old map of Martinsburg in 2016. They also saw a marking for "The Mill Road" which was a surprise to both. Sue and Bette decided to mozy on down to the area and see what they could find- which was nothing. Several of our oldest residents say they were always told there was a cemetery but never saw any old stones. It was very near the Roaring Creek bed and of course it could have been washed out over the years. They big surprise was that they found two old highway markers! Wondered what they were doing down by the creek. The map indicates that it was part of "The Mill Road". The cemetery was linked to the Presbyterian Church. It is likely that any stones were plowed under and it is now a cornfield but Bette and Sue will continue to explore when time and weather permits.
Our "Brick Building", the 1st official Lewis County Clerk's Office, was named to the state and national historic register after volumes of paperwork was submitted.
Work needs to be done on the building to stabilize if for further generations.
This building was an official Lewis County Clerk's Office before the county seat was moved to Lowville in the 1860s. The building was built in 1846 for the county clerk. If became a grocery store after the county seat moved. In the 1920s, the building became the volunteer fire department. The MHS leased the building in the 1980s and finally purchased it in 2011. The building exterior is original. The interior was altered as the building usage changed. The historical society has restored it to what it feels is original. They were able to locate the original clerk's desk. This building is open on Martinsburg Day and other days by appointment.
MHS NEWSLETTER- 2016