Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lieut. Peter Elsworth

Here's another ground breaking law suit involving Port Byron. This case involved a Revolutionary War soldier who was awarded bounty land for his service. The soldier never occupied the land but willed the land to his father. The father in turn willed the land to his son Theophilus Elsworth who was the first to settle on part of the soldiers lot. The law suit was over the rights of deceased soldiers:

Law Suit over land grant at Port Byron

Peter Elsworth had a lengthy period of service during the war. He served in the 4th NY Regiment commanded by Lt. Col. Frederick Weissenfels, Lt. Mayor's Company. He was stationed at West Point, Fort Schuyler as well as Camp Steenrapie. His muster cards are plentiful being 65 cards in all. He also was assigned to Henry B Livingston, Esq. and spent some time at the Manor of Livingston in the Nine Month Levies. He held the rank of Captain with Livingston's assignment. He was also a Regimental Adjutant.

Friday, September 25, 2009

American Sculptor Byron M Pickett

Newspaper articles reflect that sculptor Byron M Pickett was born at Port Byron, NY the son of John Welcher and Lucy Pickett. Other articles suggest he was a native of Jordan. We can confirm that the Pickett family did live at Port Byron as early as 1840 per the Federal census.

John served as Mentz Town Clerk and is buried with his son David Pickett at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Port Byron.

Byron M Pickett completed several important sculptures:

"Patriotism" located at the Old Dutch Church in Kingston, NY. According to their website, they are the 6th oldest Reformed Church in America. This sculpture is also known as the "Daughter of the 120th Regiment".

History of the Old Dutch Church at Kingston

"Samuel Finley Breese Morse" at Central Park.
Morse Statue at Central Park

"62nd NY Infantry" Gettysburg. This regiment was also known as Anderson's Zouaves.

Photo of 62nd NY Inf Statue

"Anderson Zouaves" - Living History & Research Group

1879 Bio of Byron M Pickett

If anyone knows of the burial location for Byron M Pickett, please contact me. He has relatives trying to find his grave, somewhere in the Manhatten area.

Lincoln's Inaugural Bible vs Amos King Bible

Most people when they hear the phrase "Lincoln Bible" they think of the inaugural bible. The President had several bibles. To my knowledge, there was his family bible, the inaugural bible and also the bible gifted by Amos S King from Port Byron, NY. The King Bible is not the same bible as the inaugural bible. While they do share some similarities, you may enjoy knowing more about each bible:

The Lincoln Inaugural Bible

President Lincoln took his oath as President on an Oxford Bible. Lincoln intended to use his family bible but it was not delivered in time for the ceremony. The clerk of the Supreme Court, William Thomas Carroll, provided the bible since the family bible was delayed. This was an 1853 Oxford Bible with velvet covering. The bible remained in the Lincoln family but was later donated to the Library of Congress after the death of Robert Todd Lincoln by his widow.

Photos of the 1861 Lincoln Inaugural Bible

USA Today report on Obama's use of Lincoln's Inaugural Bible

The Amos S King Bible

After reading the Farewell Address that President Elect Abraham Lincoln gave at Springfield, IL, Amos King of Port Byron was so moved that he sent the President a bible as a gift.

Lincoln's Farewell Address

Image of the Farewell Address

The Amos King bible is a Cambridge bible and has a genuine leather cover. The bible would also pass to Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the President, where it was placed in the library at his summer home called Hildene, located at Manchester, VT.

Amos sent the bible at or near inauguration day, as his letter that accompanied the bible was dated on inauguration day.

The King bible does show evidence of wear, an indication that the bible was enjoyed as a personal bible, having been used by the Lincoln family on a private basis.

What is similar about these two bibles?

1) Both bibles were printed in England.

2) Both bibles are associated with Lincoln's inauguration of 1861.

3) Both bibles were passed down to the family of Robert Todd Lincoln.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The Amos S King Bible from Port Byron, NY is now a featured item in a new Lincoln Exhibit.

Paula Maynard Press Release:
"Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home announces the opening of its new Abraham Lincoln exhibit, “The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural” on Saturday, September 5.

Set within the context of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, which harkens back to the then radical beliefs first enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, visitors will learn how the Civil War and President Lincoln helped bring life and meaning to the promise of the American Ideal of equality, justice and opportunity for all.

The exhibit thoughtfully uses text from the speech, considered to be the president’s greatest, and artifacts from the collections of Hildene and Brown University’s John Hay Library, one of the five great Lincoln collections. The two institutions recently formalized their partnership with a Memorandum of Understanding and the formation of the Hildene-Brown Collaborative.

Among the artifacts included in the exhibit are; one of only three of Lincoln’s iconic stovepipe hats in existence, one of his bibles, a cast of the president’s hands, a life mask and a scrapbook that belonged to a supporting actress who appeared in the production of “Our American Cousin,” the play the President was watching on the evening of the assassination. The scrapbook contains a swatch of wallpaper from his Fords Theater box. Also in the exhibit is a playbill from this final performance. A bust of Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, is on loan from the Jefferson Legacy Foundation.

The Lincoln Family Home at Hildene is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30. Admission, which includes the exhibit, is $12.50 for adults, $5 for youth 6-14, children under 6, Hildene members and volunteers are free. For more information on Hildene, visit www.hildene.org, call 802.362.1788 or email info@hildene.org."