Historical Society
Officers of the Oswego Town Historical Society
President: George DeMass
Office: 343-4414
Cell: 420-0000
Vice President: Tom Czerow
Treasurer: Vacant
Trustee: Douglas Malone
Trustee: Justin White
Secretary: Margaret Mahaney
Publicity: Carol Haynes
Historian's Report
May 12, 2014 Report

The Town Historian attended the one day seminar sponsored by the Northern Region of the NYS Historical Assoc. on May 2 in Hogansburg, NY. The seminar dealt with pests that get into archives and making archives to local teachers for classroom activities.

The Pomeroy foundation has awarded a grant of $1050 to the Town Historical Society for an historical marker to be placed at Oswego Town Rural Cemetery stating that it is the resting place for two Medal of Honor recipients, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker and James Lee.

The Arcadia book TOWN OF OSWEGO will be ready for proof reading by the first week of June and will be published Aug. 11.

The May meeting of OTHS will be Wed. May 21, 6:30 pm. The program will be on the Perry Inn on top of Perry Hill and will be presented by present residents, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Nupuf.
The house is two hundred years old this year, 2014.

The annual Memorial Day service will be held at Oswego Town Rural Monday MAY 26th 10 AM the national day of memorial.
Special honor and attention will be given to Medal of Honor recipient James Lee of the Kearsage and Alabama battle occurring 150 years ago this June
April 14, 2014 Report

Accessions: two hymn books of Frank L. Simmons of S W. Oswego a contemporary book on AVON, INC. a postcard picture of Cobblestone Schoolhouse, southside view Old Home Day costume by Carolyn Leach Dennis and her grandmother, Mrs. Sheldon's coat.

A grant has been requested from the Pomeroy Foundation for an historical marker for Rural Cemetery, informing the public of the resting place of two Medal of Honor recipients.
March 10, 2014 Report

Accessions: Diary of Silas E. Parsons of the 147th. NYV He was a ressient of Oswego City and died in the war. A gift of John Tubbs of Seattle, WA

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN NEW YORK 1926 from Dr. Isabel K. Hart's library.

Two hats---a derby belonging to Myron Stanley of S W Oswego.

a top hat belonging to Charles Simmons of S W Oswego

a John Zagame for Assemblyman campaign button

March 19 wed. 6:30 pm the first Oswego Town Historical Society meeting will be held. The topic will be AN EVENING WITH MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER JAMES LEE. The Society calendar of the year will be ready for distribution March 1.

There is a new display in the Town Hall entrance commemorating the 215th .anniversary of the death of President Washington and the 205th. birthday of President Lincoln.

The Arcadia book on the Town of Oswego will be ready for proofreading in May andwill be released in the summer.

Friday, Feb. 21, marks the 95th. anniversary of Dr. Mary's death.
September 9, 2013 Report

The town historian just returned from the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge TN where he officiated at the annual Titanic Remembrance Service- a service of remembrance for all aboard Titanic, staff, crew and passengers' all of who are gone now.

From the Leighton's various articles on Dr. Mary and two letters of Charles Gray of Oswego Town who went in the Civil War and never returned home. Also the letter from the chaplain to Mr. Gray telling of his son's death.

The annual cemetery walk is this Sat. at 6"30 pm.
Three of the graves visited will be of three Oswego Town boys in the Civil War who never returned alive. Brief excerpts of their letter home will be read at the grave sites. The walk will conclude in candle
July 8, 2013 Report

The Town Historian visited Gettysburg on the 150th anniversary of the battle and laid wreaths at the 147th NYV Oswego monument on behalf of the County and the Walker-Spencer Tent Daughters of Union Veterans July 1.

The annual Town Ice Cream Social sponsored by the Town Historical Society will be held this Wed. July 10 at 6:30. Ice Cream is given by Rudy's.
The Shortslef brothers of Sterling will provide the entertainment.
June 10, 2013 Report

Memorial Day service was held on the national Memorial Day The Rev. Richard Sivers was the main speaker. He spoke of a local town resident serving in the Civil War, a great uncle George Bradway. George was killed in a battle in Hartsville, Mo in 1863 and his body returned to Oswego Town where he rests. Sivers's remarks were based on letters that George wrote home.

A long overdue thanks to the Highway Dept. esp. Jeremy Wilcox for the painting of the historical marker at the site of Dr. Mary's house on Bunker Hill.

Bible from dr. Mary's estate ( a gift from Tom and Shirley Worden of Wash. state) that the Dr. obtained from the Lacy mansion after the battle of Fredericksburg in 1862. The mansion was converted into a hospital for Union soldiers where she worked. Mary wrote in the Bible how she obtained it.

An item from the Place estate--Minutes of the California Lyceum a debate club consisting of residents of the California Rd. now Co. Rt. 20. James Lee, a Medal of Honor recipient, was the secretary of this group 1866.

The June meeting of the Historical Society will be at the home of George DeMass, 199 DeMass Rd. 6 pm. It will be a picnic meeting and the discussion will center on the past residents of the road.

Monday, July 1 at Gettysburg, Pa. in connection with the 150th. anniversary of the battle, the Town Historian will conduct a wreath laying ceremony at the Oswego County monument of the 147th. NYV. the ceremony will be at 11 am and the public is invited.

The Historical Society. has purchased a digital frame in which the pictures of the town's living veterans will be placed and on display in the entrance of the Town Hall.
May 13, 2013 Report

The Town Historian spoke at the Sunrise Rotary on Dr. Mary Walker.

ARCADIA Publishing accepted the Town Historian's proposal for a book on the town of Oswego and Dr. Mary. It will include 180-220 pictures and descriptive texts. The book should be ready by Christmas 2013.

The next Hist. Society meeting will be Wed. May 15th 6:30 pm. The topic will be the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

The annual Memorial Day serivce at Oswego town Rural will be Monday May 27th. 10 am with the Rev. Rick Siviers as guest speaker.

Plans are being formed for a ceremony Mon. July 1 at the Oswego Co. monument at Gettysburg to comemmorate the 150th anniversary of the battle.

The plans are being done by our Town Historian one of the few surviving members of the centennial committee fifty years ago.
March 11, 2013 Report

As Town Historian I will represent the Town at the ceremony for Dr. Mary Walker sponsored by the Medal of Honor Grove this Thurs. March 14, 2013 near Valley Forge, PA.

I will speak at the N. Y . State Library in April for a book review A MEDAL FOR MARY by Polly Craig

Justin White, Co. Historian and I will do a presentation on Dr. Mary at the N Y State Conference for Historians in Syracuse in April

The first meeting 2013 of the Oswego Town Hist. Soc. will be Wed. March 20 6:30 pm It will be an Open House to view the newly compiled volumes on local history and to discover what the Society offers. The 2013 program brochure will be available.
February 11, 2013 Report

Seven inquiries have come to the Town Historian's desk in the last month---inquires that include Dr. Mary, the amusement park across from Rudy's, burials at Rural Cemetery and info. on Mentro and Russell Streets near the college--roads no longer in existence.

One large acquisition: a chair from Dr. Mary's Bunker Hill home from the auction in the 1920's purchased by Harger Woodworth Sr. and given to the Hist. Society by Harger Woodworth Jr.

A Historical Society program brochure is being produced with topics for the 2013 season.

The first meeting will be Wed. March 20 6:30 pm. It will be an open house to"show off" the compiled archival material for research. Some items of Dr. Jerome Coe a prominent Syracuse physician and Oswego Town Civil War vet will also be on display
August 13, 2012 Report

Two new books featuring Dr. Mary Walker are now added to our library of books.

A Medal For Dr. Mary donated and written by Polly Craig of Georgia.

Medal of Honor 150 Years of the Courage and Sacrifice; an article on Dr. Mary Walker is featured in this magazine.

Our next historical society event will be a candlelight cemetery walk at Rural Cemetery on Saturday September 8, 2012 at 6 PM, this will be honoring War of 1812 Veterans.
June 11, 2012 Report

The Memorial Day was very rainy, but 35 attended including 2 World War II Veterans. We had positive comments regarding how nice the cemetery and garage were.

Some personal items of Dr. Mary Walker are on display at Richardson-Bates House.

Tim DeSacia has designed a safety protection guard for in front of the Walker Statue.

I am taking our boxed archived records and putting them in 3 ring binders for ease if anyone is doing research.

Our next historical meeting is June 20th at 6pm, town hall and the topic will be dairy, much and fruit farming in the town.
March 12, 2012 Report

The Walker statue in front of town hall is geo-cached as well as her grave at Rural Cemetery.

Plans for the dedication are proceeding.

Posters are being made for publicity.

A reception for dignitaries will be held at the Richardson-Bates House Friday evening 7 pm. Some of Dr. Walker's personal effects including the Medal of Honor will be on display.

342 A Bus Shuttle service courtesy of Allen Chase of Chase Enterprises has been acquired gratis for the event.

The March meeting of the Historical . Society is this Sat. March 17, 10 am. The topic is TITANIC--100 YEARS LATER.

A new display 'Houses of Rt. 104 West' is being prepared for the bulletin board. Some of the pictures show 104 when it was dirt.
February 13, 2012 Report

Plans for the statue dedication are proceeding on schedule.

Sharon BuMann, the sculptor, has informed us of "patina" problems. She will remedy that. It is a foundry issue.

The first meeting of the Historical Society will be Sat. February 18th , 10 am at the Town Hall. Topic of discussion is Nathaniel Laird, the oldest person to have lived in Oswego Town. He died in 1894 at age 111. His great-grandson is Norman Simmons of Fruit Valley.

A brochure listing the 2012 events for the Society will be distributed.

Dr. Walker's second book, UNMASKED, is very rare. Just recently, three copies have appeared on a book site. I did secure one for my collection and eventually give that to our Archives here.

I have been invited by the 150th. Anniversary committee of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Oswego to share at the three Masses sometime in May about Dr. Walker and the Civil War.
January 9, 2012 Report

I will be working with the Town of Minetto Historian Cathy Mulcahey to help us with plans for the 200th anniversary of West Fifth St. Rd in 2013.

The Oswego City Public Library is looking for evidence that Gerritt Smith visited Oswego City. Dr. Mary Walker wrote an article to the Palladium Times in 1907 saying that Mr. Smith visited her father's farm on Bunker Hill in the Town of Oswego when she was a small girl.
September 12, 2011 Report

The 3rd Annual Cemetery Walk in Oswego Town Rural Cemetery was held Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 at 10AM. The walk was contained to Old Acre, the oldest part of the cemetery founded in 1820.

19 people and 15 geese joined the tour. This was sponsored by the Oswego Town Historical Society. Four of our oldest members were in attendance Nancy Thompson Ravas, Thelma Campbell Smith, Norman Simmons and Chuck Sabin.

I will be attending a workshop at the Manlius Town Hall Thursday, Sept 15th on digitalizing pictures and records.

The regular September meeting of the Oswego Town Historical Society will be Wed Sept. 21st, 6pm at the Town Hall.

Mr. Tim Nekritz from SUNY Oswego will talk about the early years of the college and its founder, Dr. Edwin Austin Sheldon.
July 11, 2011 Report

Airplane watch tower guide WWII for tower on Heald Hill from Harger Woodworth

Photos and memorabilia of Dr. Mary Walker from Byron Worden estate given by Ted Sivers

Ice Cream Social in the park Tues. July 12, 2011 6 pm Mexico Brass performing.
June 13, 2011 Report

The Memorial Day ceremony was well attended with over 88 people in attendance. We had Captain Spears from Fort Drum as our guest speaker. I would like to thank cemetery superintendent John Knopp and his crew for having the cemetery in good shape, it has not been easy with all the rain we have had. We will be putting up the Oswego Town race car driver's pictures again because people have been asking about it. Our next meeting is June 15th at 6:00 PM and we are asking people to bring in historical items to show and tell.
April Dedication of Dr. Mary Walker Monument Postponed

OSWEGO – The Oswego Town Historical Society has publicly planned to have an April dedication of the statue Dr. Mary Walker, to be placed in front of the Oswego Town Hall at 2320 County Route 7. The society's board of trustees was recently notified by sculptor Sharon BuMann that she will be unable to present a completed monument by the deadline as a result of unforeseen delays in the project.

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, I regret to say that the planned dedication for April 30th has been postponed," said George Demass, Oswego Town Historian and society trustee. "We are still very excited about the near completion of this project and it promises to be a memorable day for the town."

After the statue is complete and the site is prepared, a new dedication date will be set and notices will be sent and the public invited.

"We appreciate the patience and dedication of all of those who have supported this project," added Demass. "We look forward to presenting this lasting memorial in honor of Dr. Walker’s and recognizing her amazing achievements. It will be worth the wait."

For more information, contact the Oswego Town Hall at 343-2586.

Media Contact: Theresa Cooper, 343-2586.
Oswego Town Historical Society 2012 Dates And Events
February 18, Saturday 10 AM The Oldest Man In Oswego Town Nathaniel Laird – His Story
March 17, Saturday 10 AM More On 'Titanic' 100Th Anniversary
April 18, Wednesday 6 PM Some Things You Didn't Know About Dr. Mary
Preparing For The Dedication
May 12, Saturday 10 AM Dedication Of The Dr. Mary Walker Statue
Dr. Sharon Harris, Keynote Speaker
May 28, Monday 10 AM Memorial Day Service
Oswego Town Rural Cemetery
June 20, Wednesday 6 PM Dairy, Fruit & Muck Farming In Oswego Town
July 10, Tuesday 6 PM Ice Cream Social
September 8, Saturday Candlelight Rural Cemetery Walk At Dusk
Graves Of War Of 1812 Veterans
September 19, Wednesday 6 PM  
October 20, Saturday 10 AM  
November 10, Saturday 10 AM Veterans' Day Program
December 7, Friday 5:30 PM Christmas Party

The first Town Hall was built on March 30, 1892, next to the Oswego Center United Methodist Church.
The Town of Oswego, situated in the northwest comer of the county and lying wholly within the old Military Tract, was erected from the Hannibal Township in April 1818. Since its inception several changes have signifcantly altered its size and shape. This geographic surgery began in 1836 when a small triangular tract of land near the present area of Minetto was annexed to the Town of Oswego from the Town of Granby. The next case occurred when the village of Oswego was incorporated as a city in 1848, thus removing it from the jurisdiction of Oswego Town. Up to this time the Township of Oswego extended all the way to the Oswego River.

The Township again lost territory when Minetto was formed in the early twentieth century. The Town of Oswego was originally covered with dense forests with much heavy timber. In fact, this situation provided the first form of employment for many sturdy pioneers as there was a growing demand for lumber in the tiny village at the mouth of the river. Early settlers told of the heavy forest cover that existed between the village and what is now known as Fruit Valley.

Soon after the first settlers had settled in, roads were cut leading to the village but several more years elapsed before passable thoroughfares were surveyed and opened. The first highway in the town was the road leading from Oswego up the river through Minetto to Oswego Falls (Fulton), which was opened in 1811. The Fifth Street Road was laid out by William Moore, the first surveyor, in 1813. The first bridges were made of logs. Thus, from these humble beginnings, the thriving Town of Oswego emerged.

Charles V. Groat, Ph.D.
Past Oswego Town Historian
Mary Edwards Walker
Above And Beyond
Historical Society is embarking on a campaign to create a lasting memorial in recognition of native citizen Dr. Mary E. Walker. More than 170 years ago, Dr. Walker was born on the Walker family farm on Bunker Hill Road in the Town of Oswego. Today she is nationally recognized as the first and only woman ever awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for her heroic services during the American Civil War. Dr. Walker lived her life in the moment and never stopped her tireless efforts to create equality and civil rights for women. Although she was a pioneer female physician, she was mostly known for her crusade in the suffrage movement, dress reform and social equality for all people.

Dr. Walker was born, raised, lived, died and is buried in the Rural Cemetery in the Town of Oswego. She was a world traveler, and spent much of her time in Washington, D.C., fighting for the causes she believed in. However, Oswego Town was always her home and she never lived away for long from her beloved farm on Bunker Hill Road. Sadly, the historic family farm burned more than half a century ago. A New York State historical marker marks the spot. The Oswego Town Historical Society has conceptualized a plan to create a memorial in honor of Dr. Walker in front of the new Oswego Town Hall in the near future.

The Oswego Town Historical Society is asking for your support to create this lasting commemoration in honor of Dr. Walker. If you have any questions, ideas or concerns, please contact committee chairperson Theresa Cooper.
If interested please contact George DeMass.
Office Phone: 343-4414, Cell: 420-0000, or Email: GDemass@twcny.rr.com
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