Sunday, September 28, 2008

It Only Takes an Article

Heartwarming to know we can make a difference. Sometimes the smallest things can make a total difference in the lives of our residents and past residents. Such is true for a sister of a deceased military man killed when his plane crashed in Korea. Floyd Gunner Nelson was honored as the military person of the day on Memorial Day 2008. His children, spouses and sister were also honored at a reception for all veterans, in wartime and peace time. Floyd was a graduate of Guilford School and is still remembered by many. Here is an excerpt of the speech I made to honor him on Memorial Day.

In 1941, Gunnar Nelson bought a home on Mechanic Street. It was here where Floyd lived when he graduated in 1947 from Guilford High School. Shortly after graduating he became an apprentice draftsman at General Electric in Schenectady, NY. Then in 1948 he enlisted in the United States Navy. In 1950 Floyd received a congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He graduated in 1954 as Ensign Floyd Gunnard Nelson. This same year he married Patricia Porter from Altoona, Pennsylvania in a full military wedding. After their honeymoon he reported for duty in Pensacola, Florida. Here he began flight training school. Later he was stationed in Texas and then on to San Diego, California. While stationed in Seattle, Washington, August 15, 1955 Floyd became the proud father of a bouncing baby boy, James Gunnard Nelson and on November 25, 1956 Floyd’s precious daughter Susan Patricia was born.

During his service, Floyd experienced deployments to Europe, South America and even had a trip across the United States. There were two deployments to Iwa Kuni Naval Base in Japan. On this final deployment he was due to come home in a few months, but had to complete a final endurance training flight of 14 hours. On April 9th, 1959, the Navy Patrol Squadron 50 with a crew of ten, 3 officers and 7 enlisted men, in a US Naval seaplane piloted by Floyd crashed into the side of Mount Seju on Chejudi Island. The island lay midway between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Many newspapers reported on the Navy’s seemingly unending search for the crash site.
Finally on April 11th, the site was discovered and arrangements were made for Floyd’s body to return home. It was an agonizing month for his wife, father and sister Millie until Floyd’s body arrived at the Erie Railroad Station in Binghamton from San Francisco on Mother’s Day May 8th. The funeral was held in Guilford with burial in Sunset Hill Cemetery.

Those who remember are still saddened and have not forgotten the farm boy from Guilford, the son of a carpenter, who started out as an enlisted Naval man, and proudly became a Lieutenant. Floyd accomplished all these things by the age of 29. Herein today, lies a village, the village, that was saddened and numbed by the death of this great young man.

I wrote articles for the local newspapers and also placed a piece on "You News" a section of WBNG. Com. As a result, a man contacted the television station to find out a phone number of who posted the article. He was in Nelson's squadron and was going to Korea and planned on placing a memorial on the mountain where Nelson's plane crashed. He wanted to contact the sister of Floyd. You can read Arturo's comments on the comments section of the following page. Just double click on this. So you never know what can come of an article that produces the best Memorial Day that Guilford has seen in a few years.

Friday, September 26, 2008

GHS Celebrates 10th year Anniversary

Wow, what a great night!! The dinner was great, which always is, at the Old Mill Restaurant. The new/old, I mean returning officers were sworn in by president of the Bainbridge Historical Society (also GHS member) Mary Drachler. They are Scott Parsons president, Wilma Felton-Gray VP, Sharon Donahe secretary and Karen Todd treasurer. Awards were given out to the Grays, and Todds, Carneys, and Alton Doyle for outstanding performance, and a life time membership was presented to out going president Gertie Pierce-Boyd. 67 people attended which includes members and guests.

The evening also consisted of a power point presentation by Tom Gray on the 10 years of the Guilford Historical Society and the accomplishments of the society. It was also announced that we now have a new book published by author/member Helen Donahe. The book "One Room School" was donated to the GHS with the proceeds to go to the school house restoration project. The book is available to members at $8.00 and non-members at $10.00. It's a wonderful little book for a great cause.

Each guest received day books and the officers received yearly planners which were donated by the Mead Corporation of Sidney.

Thanks to everyone that attended and to the committee that planned the evening. A special thank you to Donna Ford, owner and chef of the Old Mill (also a GHS member) and all the staff of the restaurant for making our dinner celebration the best.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

GHS Goes Back to School..for a picnic

The Guilford Historical Society members got together for a picnic at the Roots Corners Schoolhouse on the 21st of September. It was a beautiful day for a picnic and the food was fantastic. Ken and Kathy did a great job of arranging the event and I am sure there were some others that helped. Many had not seen the improvements made and were delighted at the progress. We even had fellow members Jim and Linda visiting us all the way from Michigan! They were in the area researching ancestors of the Hutchinson family just in time for meeting with local members. We have a school house fund that if anyone wishes to contribute to can mail to the GHS address of Box 201, Guilford, NY 13785. Of course any hands available in the area are also appreciated. We still would love to hear from those that may have attended the school or have family that attended. The school operated until 1929. Any photos would also be appreciated of the children and teachers which we can scan and return to you. We know there were some Oxford children that went there as well as Guilford children as the school district was on the border of both townships.

It was a great day and many thanks to all for coming and celebrating the return of Root's Corners School.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Histories Mysteries

1863 1875
Shelton Farm

Thomas McLagan Home-Look on map to the very top. One map lists McLane, not McLagan.

Any one who has done ancestry research has at least one mystery. Try doing a whole township with 8 hamlets. One of the GHS projects is called the "Housing Project, Then and Now". It is an ongoing project and may never be completed but we do have a great start. Genealogy is a help in some cases. Deeds definitely add the the pool. Wills sometimes contribute and maps help the most. Word of mouth and written documents including those small items in the newspaper can also help.

However, even with these resources it is easy to get stuck. Do we really have proof that a house was built when the land was purchased and/or was there an existing house on the property at the time the deed was signed? Also, if there was a structure, is it the same one. Fires destroyed many homes and then they were rebuilt. Another resource, as part of the project helps greatly, and that is an early photograph. At least this gives us an idea especially if we know what year the photo was taken and/or who is in it. We also know that many homes were not rebuilt after a disastrous fire and now the land lies vacant. Putting in a new road, like Rt. 35, also took homes and structures which one house was moved up to Gospel Hill Road. Anyway we need those photos to help in our research. Please let us know if you have any we can scan.

Now back to the maps. 1855, 1863, and 1875 maps show names of people who owned the land. There are also schools, cemeteries, churches and some businesses on these maps. We have found that not all the names of folks appear at that particular time the map was finally published, but it still is a great resource.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Day at the Chenango County Historical Society Antique Show

On the 31st the GHS had a display at the CHS annual antique show. Many referred to some of us as the antiques!! Thanks to all the volunteers and a beautiful day we had a good time and earned a little money, to boot. This was the first time historical societies were invited to attend and Guilford and Sherburne were the only two to take them up on it.
Don't forget the GHS annual dinner on Wednesday night the 24th of September at the Old Mill Restaurant.
The cost per dinner is $16 and includes salad, eight- selection salad and relish tray, home made bread and rolls, potato and two vegetables, dessert, and beverage, as well as tax and gratuity. We will have 4 dinner choices including Chicken Old Mill, broiled ham steak, shrimp in beer batter, and beef burgundy. Reservations are needed by September 20th. Call Tina Pabst at 895-6131 or email at or call Gertie Pierce Boyd at 895-6475. Please pay at the door with cash or check made out to the Guilford Historical Society. At the same time, it is a good opportunity to renew your membership or join GHS. Dues are $10 single, $15 family.

This is a special occasion as it marks our 10 years as a society. Please try and attend. Our presentation will reflect highlights of the past decade with a Power Point slide show.