LeRoy Historical Society - page 3

Page 3
Julia Ingham
As reported in the recent
Pennysav-
er
article, the portrait of Julia Ingham
has finally arrived and now hangs in
the back parlor of LeRoy House. For
those of our members who don’t
have an opportunity to read the
Pen-
nysaver
, here is additional informa-
tion about the miraculous journey
this portrait has undergone.
Julia Ingham was Emily Ingham’s
twin sister. They were born in 1811 in
Saybrook, Connecticut. After Julia’s
husband, Benjamin Hayes died in 1850,
Julia moved to LeRoy to live with her
sisters, Emily and Marietta. It’s believed
that at this time, Emily’s husband,
Phineas Staunton painted the portrait.
Julia had a son Julius. His wife died and
his mother raised his daughter Emma.
At the end of their lives, Emily and Julia
lived with other Ingham family mem-
bers in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Julia died
in 1906, having spent the last fifteen
years of her life in a wheel chair as a re-
sult of a stroke.
The portrait was passed along to
family members and eventually be-
longed to Julia Ingham Jones. (her
relationship to her namesake, is still
unclear). In 1960, because of financial
reasons, the portrait was sold to Elva
Morgan, a good friend of Julia Jones.
Elva’s daughter inherited her moth-
er’s art collection, including the por-
trait of Julia Ingham, and upon her
death, Elva’s granddaughter wanted
to sell the portrait. She contacted
Victoria Golden, an art dealer in Flor-
ida, who in turn contacted the LeRoy
Historical Society. Victoria told us
that she believes that it was impor-
tant to find a “good home” for Julia,
and she worked with us to make sure
that happened.
The Historical Society was fortu-
nate to have extensive files compiled
by Annette Peck, who had married a
descendent of Phineas Staunton, the
artist. The files contained critical in-
formation about the portrait and it’s
circuitous route. In the meantime, it
was necessary to find donors who
believed in the project and several
people stepped forward to make it
possible to bring Julia home, includ-
ing another Ingham descendent in
Ohio. So a year later, Julia’s portrait
hangs in the back parlor, facing her
two sisters, Emily and Marietta.
If you stopped by the office dur-
ing the last year, you know that the
“stuff” has been closing in on us.
The joke is that once I clear off a
table, someone brings in a box of
stuff that needs to go into the col-
lection or archive. The problem is, it
takes time to process the stuff into
the collection, and somehow, I nev-
er get enough time to accession
everything. It goes into a box and
put under the table, except there
are more boxes than space. It’s a
real problem. In the meantime, it’s
been necessary to rearrange and
expand our genealogy files. And
the history files need more space.
So right now it looks like a bomb
went off in the library, but hopeful-
ly, things will be back in order and
much easier to find.
Rummaging through the boxes
of stuff under the library table, I
discovered 10 old notebooks filled
with what we call, “Saul’s Notes.”
Lynne Saulbury had taken geneal-
ogy notes from a variety of places
and put them in alphabetical order.
These notes are our first line of ref-
erence when someone is looking
for genealogical information.
There are several copies of Saul’s
notes. One is at the Genesee County
Historian’s Office. Another is at the
library in Batavia. The most impres-
sive thing about these “new” notes,
is that Marion Russell had added
copious handwritten information
on the back of the pages. The paper
is in fragile condition and is very
brittle. Volunteers are putting each
page into a plastic sleeve and collat-
ing them into new notebooks. This
will preserve this valuable informa-
tion for researchers – and it’s only
available at the Historical Society.
In February, I became the Town
of LeRoy Historian, replacing Irene
Walters who had served in that
position for thirty five years. Her
dedication and work was recog-
nized by a special proclamation of
the Town Board. For several years
I have served as Village Historian,
so I guess LeRoy has consolidated
this service.
The job of municipal historian
was created by the New York State
Legislature in 1919. It was mandat-
ed that every city, town or village
must have an official historian. Like
many other state mandates, there
are no guide lines or financial sup-
port from the state. Municipal his-
torians are advised not to collect or
create collections that would have
to be cared for by the municipality.
However, the historians are to uti-
lize local repositories – such as the
historical society or local library.
The first thing on the agenda is to
gather the things for the Time Cap-
sule for the 2012 Bicentennial and
get that sealed up.The next thing is
to see if the Town can get a histori-
cal marker from the Pomeroy Foun-
dation for the Marion Steam Shovel
on the Gulf Road that is on the Na-
tional Register of Historic Places.
In the meantime, I am still work-
ing with the Chamber of Com-
merce to produce an audio tour
for the Barn Quilt Trail and the Un-
derground Railroad.
This winter has been a challenge
to all of us. The Historical Society
relies on the generosity of a strong-
armed group of volunteers to keep
our walks and steps shoveled and
clear of ice. A few folks like Tom
Frew, Bob Collette and the Bare-
foots, signed up for the “wrong”
week and had more than their
share of snow.
In the meantime, Cedar Street
Sales & Rental were kind enough
to fix our little snow blower. When
the snow was really deep, Tom
Frew drove his tractor down from
his house and cleaned up the drifts,
but the ride back home on that re-
ally cold day, was a ride to remem-
ber - - or maybe to forget.
Thanks for everyone’s help. As I
write this, we just received a late
winter storm that dumped anoth-
er foot of snow on LeRoy. Thank
you again Tom Frew and Cedar
Street Rental.
Director’s Notes
1,2 4,5,6
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