Great Members-Great Projects

We have great individuals in our historical society that take on projects that sometimes could only be dreamed of. For instance a school house that was pretty much a disaster that is now almost completely restored…mostly by Ken and Doug…thanks guys  :-). There were other members who offered their services as well, because this has been an on going project..and thanks to those members too!!
Others have also volunteered for local cemetery clean up and we had covered Victor Sibley previously…Thank you Victor. Speaking of cemeteries, here’s a story that ya’all might find of interest. Way back a lady posted her family tree on Ancestry. She was unaware of the death of one of our Guilford men and how he died. Long story short..I replied to her and as a result the story of the disaster of the Jenny Lind steamboat boiler explosion has been researched including the people of the times and how they were connected to Guilford. John Bradbury and Caleb Winsor went to San Francisco back in 1853 to seek their fortune. They may not have been “gold diggers” as there were expanding businesses and money to be made when employed by them. The two men were on that ship and killed. Their bodies were buried there but, a widow lady of Guilford wanted her husbands body returned to Guilford…Ben Twitchell was shot in a land dispute..(that’s another story). She paid to have all 3 bodies returned to Guilford, according to a newspaper clipping. So there you have the background in a very short version.
This is where they were removed from in California:

 John Bradbury
 John’s monument in Sunset Hill Cemetery
Where the stone for Caleb Winsor could be placed.
So much is happening with this now: Kurt has offered a stone that may be made into a marker for Caleb as none exists and we believe he should have a marker next to his parents in Gospel Hill..thanks to Kurt for taking on this project. 
A very large project has been taken on by Claire to see a memorial being placed to all those who perished in the explosion in California. This a a photo of the site where the memorial may be placed by April of 2013 and is close to the site of the explosion..Claire has gone to many organizations to obtain funding to make this come true. This also a big project undertaken by one lady. Thank you Claire.
We have the best members. Many volunteers which includes our officers and those who volunteer on our committees. There are members that do not live nearby, such as Claire and Bruce. Bruce thank you too! Thanks to everyone who contributes to GHS and helps us grow and preserve Guilford history!!

Had a wonderful 3 day vacation attending the Association of Public Historians of NY State conference in Elmira. Tom was recognized by the many historians of different counties and townships of the state for his work on projects and publications. So the Guilford Township Historian was surprised with the award and thanks to APHNYS and the hosts in Elmira for a great 3 days.

Sibley Family Mysteries

David Ebenezer Sibley
Possibly Reverend Charles Sibley

Sometimes there are mysteries that one is doing everything, including a blog, to solve. I could also do Facebook but, this is better and we’re linked anyway. The Sibley family in Guilford begins with David Ebenezer Sibley who lived in Rockdale, Town of Guilford. He was born in Jamaica, W.I. His father was Charles Sibley born in England. He went to Jamaica and became a preacher. Reverend Charles Sibley was married three times and had 2 children by the first wife and had 9 by the second and 7 by the third. He outlived the first two wives. The older children were David E., Robert and Agnes. Charles also had a son William Peto Sibley. Also his children were Mrs.Barron (Emma Isabel), and Mrs Hannah Elizabeth Turner. He had a sister that was the first wife of Rev. George Richard Henderson (Emma Elizabeth Sibley). Charles went with them to Jamaica. His son William Peto was also a minister and died in Jamaica. Is there anyone out there that may have more information on the Sibley families? We now have some of the answers to some questions written above. Who were the parents of Charles has been answered (Robert and Elizabeth Sibley)but what was Elizabeth’s maiden name?. They were still in England. Maybe this blog will reach Jamaica and England and someone there has the answers. By the way, they were Baptists and I know from “The Annual Report of the Jamaican Baptist Union for 1901” that the Reverend Charles Sibley died in Jamaica April 11th, 1901 leaving a wife and 6 little children.

The Civil War

For 2011 GHS would like to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. One of our members, Bruce (last name with held) has spent hours researching the Albany Library for men who were born in Guilford, NY, or lived here, or enlisted her, or died here or buried here. These men with those connections will be honored in some way within the four years commemoration. It does not matter what regiment they served in. In fact we had one man who went to Georgia on business and was conscripted by the Confederates. he bought his way out and the Confederates conscripted him again. With no money left, he served. In fact a piece in the local paper years later talked about a clothes line where two uniforms were airing out hanging side by side, one blue and one gray. His Uncle wore the Blue. If anyone has information of the families of these men or pictures we would love to scan the pictures and include some family information on the sheets we are making for each one. I should say our member Bruce is doing. 

Comments please!!

Everyone has a story, so they say. We know you have one too! I have the GHS stories here for you to read and it is linked to Facebook so you get a shot one way or another. What I am wondering is, don’t any of you have a comment to add? It would be nice to know if you are enjoying what you read and maybe you have some suggestions of what you would like to see on the blog. You may even have something to share that I can put on here. “This blog’s for you”. Just click on the comment box at the bottom of each article and a box will open for you to type in. It’s free and easy.

Going the Extra Mile

Family history has it rewards, not only the research one does that brings to light an ancestor of your own, but helping someone else find theirs is just as rewarding. I recently had the experience of helping a family find a fellow who had been killed in an explosion of a steam boat, Jenny Lind,  in California in 1853. His body had been returned to Guilford a few years later. John Bradbury, Caleb Winsor and Benjamin Twitchell were all out there and had been buried out there. Ben’s wife Sophia decided she wanted her husband returned home for burial and paid to have all three brought back. Newspaper articles were a great source of this information. The researcher, I’ll call her Claire, of the Bradbury family had no idea that John had died in that explosion. I just had to let her know and tell her where he ended up. Since then so much more has happened as a result. Claire finds more information everyday as to where they were interred in San Francisco and more articles that describe the explosion. Now one good turn…well Claire was in touch with a Becky. Becky had purchased a musketball 10 years ago on ebay. The musketball had the following attached inscription:
“This iron ball within must be very old – Charlton and a carpenter found it embeded into timber when they were working on the Mickle farm house (upon the hill) from Mt. Upton. They found it years ago.”
Claire gave Becky our email and Becky donated it to the historical society. If this ball could only talk!!

Here’s a photo of the farm from whence it came.

Facebook-We are there too!

Be sure to check us out on facebook.
We are anxious to gain friends and members. Help us to gain 250 members by the end of the year.
Just print and fill out the attached membership form and mail to Guilford Historical Society
Box 201

Guilford, NY

Hamlet of Rockwell Mills on the National Historic Register

Guilford Historical Society and the Town of Guilford are proud to announce that the hamlet of Rockwell Mills is now the first historic deemed district for the Town of Guilford.  The entire project took over three years to complete with researching deeds and the history of the mill and the area in general. Tom Gray, Guilford Town Historian, took on a great deal of the research and with the help of a $2000 grant from the Preserve New York Grant Program part of the Preservation League of New York State, Jessie Ravage was hired as a consultant to complete the nomination documentation. On the 13th of September a letter was received by GHS from the New York State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation that as of August 30th Rockwell Mills was declared an historic district on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation.
Such a designation recognizes the importance of these properties to the history of our country and provides them with a measure of protection.  In addition, owners of income producing property may qualify for federal income tax benefits. Properties owned by municipalities and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for state historic matching grants.
With this announcement, GHS is celebrating the above at our annual dinner and you are cordially invited to attend on Oct. 7, 2010, 6 PM at the Old Mill Restaurant on Route 8.
Dinner Menu: Cheese and Crackers, Salad Tray and Assorted Rolls. You also have the choice of the following entrees: Chicken Old Mill, Coconut Shrimp, Honey Mustard Pecan Chicken, Broiled Haddock, Ham with Pineapple. Your waitress will ask for you choice of entrée. No need to indicate your choice before the dinner. Dinner includes dessert, coffee and tea. Other drinks separate.
Following the dinner there will be short presentations highlighting this great designation for a hamlet of the Town of Guilford.
Please reserve your place by calling (607) 895-6532, email: or call (607) 334-4155. We request your response by October 4th, 2010.

Rockwell Mills-today looking East on Rt. 8
An older view of the hamlet when rt. 8 was a dirt road
The State and National District Map

The Old Mill Restaurant