Category Archives: History

Boonville, New York History

A Changing of the Guard


Hello, and welcome to the Boonville Historical Club blog. It’s been much too long since this site has been updated, and for that we do apologize. Hard to believe – at least for me – it’s just been sitting here doing nothing for more than a year! But, thanks to a willing and able volunteer, it appears that won’t happen again. More about that later.  In the meantime . . .

Our last post concerned the club’s participation in the 5th Annual Oneida County History Day on October 1, 2011. Originated in 2007 by the Oneida County Historians Association to call attention to the county’s rich history, the 2011 History Day observance coincided with Boonville’s Annual Fall Arts Festival. Several Oneida County historical societies joined the Boonville club, displaying exhibits of interesting information about their areas.  There were lots of things going on, not just at the History Day focal point in the historic Masonic Temple, but all around Boonville. Attendance was great, despite the dismal weather, and lots of folks ventured in to look around.

masonic temple

There have been many photos hiding out on my camera sinHISTORY DAY 017ce that 2011 event. But, as the saying goes, “Better late than never.” So here are some of the photos we took of activities on that History Day.deb seelman and quilt HISTORY DAY 001


As you’ll note, there were many things to see and do.

Here are more photos for your enjoyment!

HISTORY DAY 016daryl marcy and patty with scavenger huntHISTORY DAY 029

And so, what about someone else taking over the updates for the Boonville Historical Club?

JoAnn Ballard, director at the historic Dodge-Pratt-Northam Art and Community Center – the beautiful building pictured above – ( along with officers of the Historical Club, will add the latest news, so you won’t be wondering what’s going on! If you have any questions, you can contact JoAnn at

Just in case you weren’t aware, yours truly has moved from the Boonville area, back home to York County, Pennsylvania. Although I miss all my friends in the Boonville area, and especially all the Historical Club ladies, it’s great being close to family.

My personal blogsite – previously called boonvillebeat – has long been neglected, too. But my goal is to update that site (now renamed)  more often, mainly to fulfill my urge to write! If you care to follow me, visit me often at

Thanks for visiting the Boonville Historical Club’s blogsite. Please come back again soon – and tell your friends!





Filed under Boonville, Boonville Historical Club, Dodge-Pratt-Northam Arts and Community, History, Oneida County

History Day A Success!

We’re a bit late posting the news, but we wanted everyone to know that our ONEIDA COUNTY HISTORY DAY was very successful!
More news coming shortly. Please check back again soon. And thanks for visiting our blogsite!


Filed under History


History will come alive in Boonville during the 5th Annual Oneida County History Day on October 1. The Boonville Historical Club is planning activities for the whole family. Originated in 2007 by the Oneida County Historians Association to call attention to the county’s rich history, this year’s History Day observance will coincide with Boonville’s Annual Fall Arts Festival, so there will be plenty of fun for everyone! And don’t forget your walking shoes!


The historic Masonic Temple, next to the Dodge-Pratt-Northam Art and Community Center, 106 Schuyler Street, will be the focal point for the History Day events. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. the Boonville Historical Club, as well as several Oneida County historical societies, will be on hand with exhibits of interesting information about their areas.

 Tammy DePaola  will be demonstrating carding, spinning, and weaving with a table loom – which shows the process from beginning to end! The Boonville Historical Club will also display the wall covering that members recently completed.

From 11 a.m.-1 p.m., there is a Kids Corner coloring contest for two age groups; up to 7 years, and from 8-12 years old. Kids can win a prize for coloring either a canal scene or a Civil War figure.

Boonville Town and Village Historian, James Pitcher, will be available from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. to answer any questions about local history.

An exciting feature for everyone is the Civil War reenactment unit, which will be camping nearby. Members of the 76thNew York State Volunteer Infantry look forward to visitors, and the soldiers will be happy to answer questions and explain their activities.

The 76th NYSVI Re-enactors Unit as they appeared at the June 3, 2006 dedication of the historical marker in Erwin Park honoring Boonville's 97th NYSVI.

Included in the History Day events are walking tours to view the historic architecture in the village. Maps are available for self-guided tours throughout the day. If you’re not brave enough to venture out on your own, a guided tour will depart from the Masonic Temple at 11:30 a.m.  Another fun family activity is the Historical Marker Scavenger Hunt.

Maps will be available beginning at 11 a.m., and at 2 p.m. a winning name will be drawn from the correct entries. The lucky winner will receive a gift certificate for the Historic Hulbert House.

Local author Irene Uttendorfsky will be promoting her newest book, “I Will Stand With My Father,” a novel for middle school readers about the Revolutionary War in the Mohawk Valley as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old Oneida warrior. Irene’s book signing will take place from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Masonic Temple. For more information about Irene visit

The Boonville Black River Canal Museum, Main Street and Route 12, will also be a part of History Day. The museum will be open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and will host a variety of activities, including an open house, tours, and demonstrations of old-time skills.  The film, “Little Ditch,” an excellent documentary about the building of the Black River Canal, will be shown continuously throughout the day. As always, admission to the museum is free.

Stephanie Dietz, author of “Under the Blinking Light,”will host a book signing at 1 p.m. Her children’s book is based on her two daughters going to camp in the Woodgate area, and it debuted this summer. From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., there will be a shingle-making demonstration by Bob Coscomb. The cedar shingles can be purchased for a $2 donation. Charlie Hammond will be on hand with his forge to brand the shingles. Mark Kehl from Woody’s Mountain Folk Art will be demonstrating his wood-working talent outside on the lawn.  Peg Sawyer will be inside the Mercantile Building with her loom, and Sharon Woodcock will have a display of antique canal era toys in the Archive Room in the Conference Center. Books, canal items, shirts, and jackets will also be available for sale in the Mercantile Building.

 For more details about the Canal Museum, visit their website:

In addition to the free History Day activities, the Fall Arts Festival will provide ample opportunity to enjoy food, crafts, cooking contests, music, sidewalk sales, and more fun for the kids. So plan to visit beautiful, historic Boonville on Saturday, October 1.

For more information about the Boonville Fall Arts Festival, call the Chamber office at 942-5112 or visit

The Hemlock Mercantile General Store at the Boonville Black River Canal Museum complex, Main Street and Route 12.


Filed under Boonville, History, Military, Oneida County

NEW OFFICERS TAKE OVER; Adopt a Platoon Continues

Sorry,  it’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to update this blog! There have been several changes over the summer, so to keep you up to date, I’ll post the information here.

At the club’s dinner-meeting this past June, an election of officers was held. Taking over as president is Barbara Traxel; the new vice-president is Joan Ferguson; Melanie Fitzgerald will serve as recording secretary;  Elaine Tompkins remains as corresponding secretary, while Vivian Brucker will serve another term as treasurer. Joanne Sattler continues as  club historian.  These new  officers will serve a two-year term.

The first meeting of the 2010-2011 season was held Monday, October 4, in the Presbyterian Church fellowship hall, and featured a program by member Patty Bellinger. It detailed the life of a young girl in the Adirondacks from birth to graduation in the early 1900s.  The club’s them this season is The Adirondacks

In keeping with this theme, the group’s next meeting will feature well-known local author, activist,  and historian Dr. John Slade, of Woodgate. He will present a program entitled Acid Rain, Acid Snow, also  the title of a  book he published in 2000. Not only does Slade lament the declining Adirondack environment resulting from acid rain and snow, the book also contains many original poetry pieces. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 1, in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church, beginning at 6:45 p.m.  

The club continues to sponsor a platoon from Fort Drum, and has recently sent several cartons to the soldiers of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Reconnaissance Platoon (CBRN Recce – pronounced “see-burn rec-key” – or Chem Recce for short). The  platoon is part of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion (HHC1st BSTB), 10th Mountain Division, (Light Infantry). 

Plans call for more boxes to go out shortly. If you’d like to donate some goodies or toiletries or other personal items, including books and magazines, please see our list posted on November 9, 2009, entitled,

“What We’re Collecting.” You can also



No, they're not aliens! These are members of our adopted platoon, in protective garb, ready for duty!

 leave a comment below with any questions you may have. 








For more information on the next meeting or about becoming a club member, contact President Barb Traxel at 942-4010, or Treasurer Vivian Brucker at 942-4251.

Thanks for visiting our blog! Stop by again soon. We’ll continue to update these pages, and we welcome your comments.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Boonville, History, Military

Technology for Historians 101


Some of the attendees enjoying refreshments after the Oneida County Historians Association meeting. Left to right, Elmer Niles, Carl Saporito, Judy Routson, Earl Allen, Bonny Niles, Lou Parrotta, OCHA President Dick Williams, and Jean Williams. Thanks, Dick and Jean, for the delicious goodies!


I was honored to be asked to give a brief presentation to the Oneida County Historians Association (OCHA) on Tuesday evening, June 22,  about this blog. Not just the blog, but also  why we went with WordPress. The meeting was hosted by The Clinton Historical Society ( OCHA President Dick Williams is also a member of this group.    

The Oneida County Historians Association is an organization of  county municipal historians, local historical societies, and other such groups.  Although the Boonville Historical Club is not a society, we like to support local and county history.    

Hubby and I  dodged the raindrops on our way to the former Clinton Baptist Church, home of the Clinton Historical Society. Nevertheless, it was worth the trip: the topic was interesting and timely, and I enjoyed meeting like-minded people, all devoted to conserving our area’s rich history.     

On the agenda with me  were two excellent and very knowledgeable speakers, Phillipa Brown and Carl Saporito. Phillipa, or “Flip,” is the Waterville town historian, and Carl is webmaster and paginator for the Oneida County Historical Society (OCHS)  website (    

Flip maintains a colorful and interesting daily blog (, and has garnered many followers. She enjoys history and her blog, and she’s definitely a busy lady!  

Carl, too, proved his dedication to history. He  does a wonderful job keeping the OCHS website up and running. He’s well versed on the how-tos of being a webmaster and gave a thoroughly interesting talk about his duties.   

We all emphasized that modern technology is definitely a boost for all historians and historical groups. Easy to use and access, it  helps publicize any group and its activities.    

President Dick Williams  added to the program. He reinforced the benefits  of using free websites, blogs, e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to attract more people to historical organizations and events. There are many sites available to help spread the word about preserving our heritage, and we should all take advantage of them!

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Uncategorized

Club Presents Annual Awards

The Boonville Historical Club presented its annual Fourth Grade History Awards to students in the Adirondack elementary schools during the year-end awards assemblies. The club presents these awards to a girl in each fourth grade section who shows an exceptional interest in local history. This year each recipient received a certificate and a Native American one-dollar coin. (See for more information about the coin.)  



Those receiving the awards at Boonville Elementary were Raigen McGahey, a student in Ms. Tina Weiler’s class; Madeline Maher, in Mr. Richard Chrisman’s class, Sadie Buckingham, from Ms. Jackie Layton’s class, and Hannah Hutchinson from Ms. Christina Kornatowski’s class.  

At Forestport Elementary, the award went to Elizabeth Seelman, whose teacher was Ms. Erin Burns.  

The West Leyden award recipient was Ashley Britton, a student of Ms. Christina Jokajtys.  

Adirondack Central High School graduating seniors Amanda Marsh and Dalton Hyde tied for the club’s annual cash award, which they received during commencement exercises Saturday, June 26. Since 1979, the club has given this award at graduation to the senior receiving the highest mark in a grade 12 Social Studies elective, taught by the Social Studies Department. Both Amanda and Dalton had a 99 average. (Sorry we have no photos of the students!)  

Adirondack Central High School, Boonville, New York

Leave a comment

Filed under Boonville, History

Remember WWII Vets This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died in our nation’s service. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Civil War soldiers; hence the original designation “Decoration Day.” Within 20 years, the holiday was renamed Memorial Day. Instead of a day to honor those who died during the War Between the States, it became a day to recognize all Americans who died fighting in any war.       

Diana Trainor, owner/operator of Apple Blossom Floral Shoppe, Boonville, demonstrated how to make Memorial Day wreaths at the Boonville Historical Club's May 3 meeting.

 A Congressional declaration in 1971 moved the traditional observance from May 30 to the last Monday of the month, a move that has diminished the true meaning of Memorial Day. Many people, especially veterans, would like the original date restored. They feel that when Congress created a three-day weekend, it distracted citizens from the spirit and meaning of the intended observance.        

This month (May 2010) marks the 65th anniversary of Allied victory in Europe during World War II. V-E Day was celebrated on May 8, 1945, when a treaty was ratified after Germany’s unconditional surrender. Fifty years later, during the war’s end  anniversary observance, William Detweiler, National Commander of the American Legion at the time, wrote,        

On this Memorial Day, it’s fitting that we Americans pay special tribute to the men and women who gave their lives while serving in America’s armed forces during that war…”        

 It’s an appeal that 15 years later is especially appropriate, as veterans from that era – those of the Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw called them – are rapidly passing away.          

Boonville's Monument to its many WWII veterans and all those of the Greatest Generation. A project of the local Charles J. Love, DSC, American Legion Post #406, it was dedicated on Memorial Day 2004.

     Fourteen men from Boonville made the supreme sacrifice in WWII. They were:       

  • Robert Brach
  • Grant Galarneau
  •  Harland Hennessey
  • Joseph Hamlin
  • Francis Lahah
  • Douglas Lambert
  • Walter Leaf
  •  Donald Miller
  •  Norwood Oper
  •  Clifford Phillips
  •  Stanley Sargent
  • Victor Strobel
  • William Wardale
  • Edwin Wisnieski

Many others from the area were among the 16 million men and women who served in the United States  armed forces  during the war.  Americans need to remember the sacrifices of  these and all the men and women who served.     

 And this Memorial Day is a perfect time to do just that. As you enjoy the day with family and friends, remember these words of  Commander Detweiler, written in 1995:         

 “I hope that Americans across this nation will pause to pay tribute not only to those who died in service, but to their friends and relatives – their personal heroes – who served in World War II…They are the men and women who saved America and the free world from absolute, certain destruction.”        

Boonville's 2009 Memorial Day Parade

Leave a comment

Filed under Boonville, History, Military