MHS NEWSLETTER- 2016
As the Martinsburg Historical Society moves into 2017, we must take a few moments to reflect on some of the accomplishments of 2016, the society’s fortieth year. The Strader Cemetery restoration project was completed, and culminated with a dedication ceremony on Saturday, September 24, 2016 organized by Bette Lathan.
All of the major restoration work on the District #4 one-room schoolhouse on the Ramos Road has been completed and a dedication was held there on Saturday, September 10, 2016. The society received an historic marker, curtesy of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, which was also dedicated on that day. Cheryl Steckly, superintendent of Lowville Academy and Central School, provided an overview of the history of one-room school houses in the district and the impact they had on their communities.
The society will begin restoration of the Maple Ridge Cemetery in 2017, a project that will take several years. This cemetery is the final resting place of many of the early settlers of the Town of Martinsburg, many of Irish descent. The project will require the services of professionals to repair and reset markers. The remainder of the work will be done with volunteers from the society and hopefully from descendants who have ancestors buried there.
Other activities of the season will include an open house at the District #4 school house in May, the Anna Gert Arthur Memorial Walk and ice cream social in June and the Twins Wide Open Golf Tournament and Martinsburg Day, both scheduled for August.
The Martinsburg Historical Society welcomes new members. Membership information can be found on this website. Members do not have to be from the Town of Martinsburg. Anyone with an interest in preserving local history is welcome to join.
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 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 2017 season.
January 14, 2017- 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 gave a talk about Dr. Anstice Harris who was instrumental in the establishment of our wonderful library. The audience and the participants had a laughable good time and were also able to view the updates and work being done at the Town Hall. The upstairs auditorium had stoves added that, although not in use, are like the stoves would have been "back in the day" to heat the auditorium area! The auditorium space is shaping up nicely. The town is restoring the original benches and chairs that were used for programs and performances.
One Room School House Update: 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 held on September 10, 2016. Fred Ramos set the historic site sign. We were able to unveil the "historic designation road sign" that we acquired thanks to the Pomeroy Foundation in Syracuse, NY on the day of our event, September 10, 2016 (see EVENTS page). The school house was included on the 2016 Fall Drive Around Tour.
The Anna Gert Walk Event: June 18, 2016 was our second "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 library. Participants in the walk were former student 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 (2017) with the intention of making this an annual ice cream social event. 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 2017 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 listing all known WWII veterans buried in the Town of Martinsburg. Of course, we had our Silent Auction items out for bids as well our raffles. The load of logs for raffle are a hit each year and we must thank our donors, Mr. Pomenville and Mr. Overton for their generosity.
Something very special 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 shop 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 2017 will be August 12 and the Twins Wide Open will be at Cedars Gulf Course on August 5, 2017. On Sunday, August 13, 2017 we will have an event at the West Martinsburg Cemetery. This sacred ground has been restored and military honors will be given to the more 30 veterans who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Hope to see you all there.
Cemetery Updates: 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, a local Boy Scout Troop and volunteers have all been supporting the restoration efforts.
The completion of the Strader Cemetery restoration culminated with a program at the site on September 24, 2016. There were many Archer descendants in attendance. Doug Rook and his assembled volunteers did an enormous amount of work at the site. They took down trees, cleared brush and laid steps and a railing into the cemetery. Tony Adsit and Jim Lathan worked on mowing and clearing a walkway for safety in the cemetery. The transformation was amazing. Doug's daughter, Nicole, made an awesome sign for the cemetery telling a bit about our 1812 soldier buried there. John Archer, that 1812 vet, is called "Cornfield John" because of family lore that has been passed down for generations. Doug Rook is a direct descendant. Doug laid a wreath to honor his ancestor and his daughter, Morgan, placed a flag in the veteran flag holder.
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. They had replacement stones set in 2016 and plan on more in 2017. Volunteers started work in 2016 on the "Martin Plot" to clean 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.
Restoration work in the West Martinsburg Cemetery showed tremendous progress in 2016. After several years of work, some tree removal and cemetery surveys to obtain an accurate listing of burials, the last leg of restoration was complete. A memorial stone was set to commemorate those who are known to be buried in this cemetery but no longer have a grave stone. Other stones were reset, new bases poured and many stones leveled. Replacement stones were placed in 2015.
At the end of the 2016 season, Artisan Engraving gave us an estimate to restore the Maple Ridge Cemetery. Plans are in the works to begin the restoration at this cemetery next season. It will be a 2 year restoration project with the assistance of the Town of Martinsburg and the Martinsburg Historical Society. This cemetery is located high up "on the hill" on the Maple Ridge Road. This was once the site of a thriving Irish community and the home of St. Patricks Catholic Church. There are over 200 burials in this cemetery and a lot of Irish names engraved on stones. We will need lots of volunteer help to clean stones. Artisan Engraving will do the heavy stone work. The church is long gone and the community and the families from this area have left but the history remains.
Sue Adsit and Bette Lathan found an old cemetery marked on and 1820s old map of Martinsburg. 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.
The Martinsburg Historical Society has been wanting to get "the brick building" (owned by MHS) listed on the state and national historic registers. The paper work has been initiated and Bette Lathan is working with Albany to work out the final steps. This building was an official Lewis County Clerk's Office before the county seat was moved to Lowville in the 1860s.They building was built in 1847 for the county clerk. If became a succession of grocery stores 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.