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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Amos King Bible Joins Sesquicentennial Events

February 21, 2011


NEWS from Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
P O Box 377
Manchester, Vermont 05254
The Shires of Vermont
Press Contact: Paula Maynard, 802.367.7961


On Friday, February 18, Hildene Executive Director, Seth Bongartz and Deputy Director, Laine Dunham represented the Vermont Lincoln site at the New York State Museum at the invitation of State Historian, Robert Weible. February 18, 2011 marked the 150th anniversary of the president’s stopover in Albany on his trip by rail from his Springfield home to his March 4 inauguration in Washington. As part of a national kick off for the multi-year sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War the National Park Service is retracing this famous journey.

Central to the celebration was an address delivered by Fritz Klein, widely considered to be the foremost Lincoln re-enactor in the country. Klein has been portraying the 16th president for more than three decades. At the request of Weible, Bongartz and Dunham brought the Amos King bible from the Hildene exhibit to be displayed at the event. The book was gifted to Lincoln by Amos King, a Port Byron, New York, boatman. King had been inspired to purchase the bible, which was bound with high quality leather and printed by Cambridge University Press in England, when he read the President’s farewell address at the train station in Springfield at the start of the inaugural trip. The inscription is dated March 4, 1861, the day of the inauguration. Bongartz commented, “What makes the bible so remarkable is that it still exists … by that I mean it was clearly important to Lincoln and then to his descendants. It was in the family’s home when we took over at Hildene. It may well have been important to them because it was given by a comparatively humble person. That says a lot about Lincoln.” Bongartz also referenced the work of a diligent and committed Port Byron town historian, Dawn Roe. It was Roe’s relentless research that uncovered the thank you note from President Lincoln’s Secretary, John Nicolay, proof positive that the bible did indeed reach the President’s hands. She even offered several scenarios for how this may have happened logistically. In short, this important artifact is connected to the inaugural journey that was being celebrated in Albany and Hildene was honored to be a part of the event.

On Friday, March 4, the bible will again travel, this time to Burlington, Vermont, for a Civil War Sesquicentennial event sponsored by the 18th Vermont Regiment Civil War Living History Organization. The event which focuses on relevant Civil War history surrounding this particular date begins at 2:00 pm at the Fletcher Free Library. It will include a presentation by Lincoln re-enactor, Bob Bushnell, a question and answer period, remarks from Seth Bongartz, executive director of Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home and by Bill McKone, the president of the 18th Vermont Regiment and the event’s organizer. Activities will then move to City Hall for re-enactments of Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address and of the President’s swearing in. March 4, 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of this momentous occasion. To learn more about this event, contact Bill McKone at 802.644.2433.

The bible that Amos King gave to President Lincoln is on permanent display at Hildene and is currently a part of the exhibit: The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural. Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30.

To learn more about Hildene, go to http://www.hildene.org/ or visit Hildene on Facebook.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Article Correction

This months article was about my trip to the County Seat at Washington County, NY in December.  In this article I commented on there being a separate department containing transcribed wills.  Unfortunately the article was altered by the Editors at the Auburn Citizen.  They do a wonderful job with minor edits in the layout process but they did not recognize the significance of the term LDS which is the universal initials used when referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints research center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I had commented that the transcribed wills is what is on file in Utah, so anyone that rents the reels from their collections would not receive the original wills, they would be viewing the transcribed documents.  That is relevant because there is additional information, likely on additional reels because Washington Co., NY does not store all components of an estate in the same location.

Therefore, when you read the article, the line that says:

We were instructed to report to the opposite end of the complex, only to discover that the bound books contained transcriptions (same as what is on file with Washington County). 

This should read :  {same as what is on file with LDS}.

Many years ago I had rented the films for Washington County Wills and the bound books are the same as what I viewed from Salt Lake City.  Many people will mistake the file as complete when more information is actually on file with the County Archivist.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mansions of The Past

The Syracuse Morning Standard, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday Morning, May 4, 1880

In the Weedsport Column appeared:

W. W. Mack, of Rochester, brother and partner of S. J. Mack, has purchased the Smith residence at Port Byron, and will make it his present summer residence and  probably a permanent home in the near future.  This mansion originally cost $80,000 but the price paid for it was less than one-fourth of this sum, if current report is  correct.

($80,000.00 in 1880 would have the purchase power of $1,730,000.00 as of 2009 based on CPI) 

Auburn, NY Argus 1895-1897

Coroner A. D. Stewart has purchased the Chas. Smith mansion in Pine street, and will establish a hospital therein; Consideration $2,200.

($2,200.00 in 1886 would have the purchase power of $51,800.00 as of 2009 based on CPI)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The New Year

Our website has had a slight change but our mission remains steadfast in promoting and preserving the rich history of the Port Byron, NY area.  In reviewing the stats over the past year, our website has had regular visits from the following locations:

United Kingdom
United States

Therefore, it seemed appropriate to change our website from Port Byron Historian to Port Byron History, to better reflect our content.  The change went very smoothly.  Our new website is http://www.portbyronhistory.com/ with no loss in content, all of your favorite features and articles are here for your enjoyment.

With this change, we also updated our Facebook group to Port Byron History.  Many of the original posts can still be found in the note section.  Thank you for your participation on Facebook, where posts averaged about 1,000 viewings each.  That is amazing!

It's the start of a bright New Year with a fresh start for Port Byron History.  We look forward to seeing you in our fan club on Facebook.  Thank you for your loyal support and we shall enjoy the upcoming year as we celebrate a wonderful place called Port Byron, NY.