Posted tagged ‘Perinton NY’

Mount Pleasant Cemetery Tour – Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m.

June 13, 2011

Civil War Monument in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Fairport, New York

Join me for a Twilight Tour of Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the village of Fairport, New York on Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m.

We will meet at the Civil War monument within Mount Pleasant, which is located on Summit Street.  You’ll learn about some of the 30 Fairport and Perinton men who lost their lives fighting for their country during the Civil War.  Then we’ll visit others within the cemetery who returned home when the fighting was done.  Each of them has a unique story to share.

Please wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for cool weather and rain.  I look forward to sharing the stories of these hometown heroes with you!

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Henry L. Miller, Lost at Belleau Wood

October 29, 2010

He was supposed to be a farmer, like his father.  But when the United States entered the Great War, Henry L. Miller felt a patriotic duty to join the fight.  Henry enlisted in Co. M, 49th Infantry of the regular Army, on July 26, 1917.  Soon thereafter, he transferred into Co. M, 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division and began training in Syracuse.  Little more than one month later, young Miller shipped overseas.

Henry L. Miller was born in Perinton, New York, on April 23, 1895, but moved to Pittsford, New York, at an early age.  The third child of Charles and Reka Miller, he was their first son.  Three more daughters and another son, Norman, later joined the Miller family.  Dorothy, Henry’s youngest sibling, was just 9 years old when he went overseas.  She must have been so proud of her big brother.  Henry no doubt smiled as he received the packages of letters from his sisters and brother which sporadically reached him somewhere in France.

The letters Henry wrote home most likely inspired both pride and fear in his parents.  Henry wrote of life at the front.  He mentioned the six weeks he had spent in the trenches before being allowed a short period of rest.  He talked of going “over the top” of the trenches to pitch headlong into the thick, German artillery fire.  Somehow, Henry managed to survive.  Then came Belleau Wood.

On June 6, 1918, the Marines stationed with the 23rd Infantry sustained casualties of 31 officers and nearly 1,100 men.  The 23rd Infantry also lost many good men, including Henry L. Miller.  Four weeks after the Battle of Belleau Wood, the Miller family received official notification that Henry was missing in action.  It took another three weeks before Charles and Reka Miller were formally notified that their son, Private Henry L. Miller, had died at Belleau Wood on June 6.  Henry was buried in France and would remain there for three long years until his parents could bring him back to Pittsford.

Henry L. Miller

“Hero’s Body Arrives” touted the local papers.  Henry L. Miller was home.  On September 11, 1921, the remains of Henry Miller were interred at Pittsford Cemetery.  He was laid to rest beside his grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Lussow Mueller.  The military honor guard that oversaw the burial were members of a one-year old American Legion Post known as Rayson-Miller Post 899, so named after Homer Rayson, who was killed in action in October, 1918, and Henry L. Miller.  This year, the Rayson-Miller Post celebrated their 90th anniversary. 

The Miller family of Pittsford has a proud history of military service.  Beginning back in the Civil War when Henry’s grandfather, Henry L. Mueller, fought for the Union with the 8th NY Cavalry, the Millers have had over 15 family members serve in the armed forces.  These Miller men have served in the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and in the Persian Gulf.  Something tells me Henry L. Miller would be extremely proud of such a legacy.

Family Ties

August 15, 2010

As a historian, my passion revolves around the past.  However, this year I had the most incredible opportunity to tie the past into the present when I met with descendants of the Jewett and Telford families.  Their ancestors, Mary Jewett, a Civil War nurse and Jacob Telford, a veteran of the 15th Indiana Infantry, had married in July of 1864. 

Martha Jewett & Vicki Profitt at Mary Jewett Telford's grave

January 19, 2010 was an exciting day for me.  Not only was I giving a Civil War presentation for the Perinton Historical Society, but I was also meeting Martha Jewett, a descendant of Mary Jewett’s youngest brother, Nathan.  Martha and her husband, Evan Marshall, had traveled from New Jersey to hear my presentation in which her ancestor, Mary Jewett Telford, featured prominently.  We met at my house and spent some time looking at photographs and the Jewett family bible before heading to South Perinton Cemetery to pay our respects to Mary at her grave.  Amazingly, Martha and Evan had come to Pittsford many times to visit their friends, but had never realized that Mary was resting only a few miles away.  Although Martha and Evan returned to New Jersey the following day, we were in touch many times during the following weeks as Martha and I worked feverishly on Mary Jewett Telford’s nomination for the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Telford descendants Lynda Skaddan & Jane Andersen at Mary's grave

In April, a story about my Civil War project ran in the Brighton-Pittsford Post.  Several days later, I received an email from Lynda Skaddan.  A friend had seen the article and contacted Lynda.  As it turns out, Lynda is a descendant of Jacob Telford’s older brother, Robert.  On July 15, 2010 I had the opportunity to meet with Lynda, her sister, Jane Andersen, and Lynda’s husband Ray.  We met at the gate to South Perinton Cemetery and then proceeded to Mary’s grave.  It was such a warm day that we chose to sit in the shade of a large tree just a few yards from Mary.  With us was my friend, Floris Lent, who has been the keeper of the Jewett family memorabilia for many years.  Our time together was spent discussing Mary and Jacob, and Mary’s numerous contributions to society. 

This is a story about family ties.  For the first time in over 140 years, the Jewett and Telford families are once again linked and, I’m proud to say, I am now part of that history.

Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian, Part 2

March 31, 2010

Mary Jewett Telford, courtesy Floris A. Lent

We pick up Mary’s story in 1870, six years after her marriage to sweetheart Jacob Telford.  The Telfords are listed in the 1870 census as living in Grinnell, Iowa.  Living with them were two girls, Mattie Stokes and Olive Montgomery.  Mary and Jacob adopted several girls who were orphaned during the Civil War.  Mattie and Olive seem to be two such girls.  This is the first, and only, census in which we see the names of these girls and they seem to have faded into history after that. 

A move from Iowa to Denver, Colorado, was made in 1873 in hopes of improving Mary’s asthmatic condition.  In Denver, Mary’s abilities took wing.  A writer since her teenage years, Mary’s short children’s story, “Tom”, was published in St. Nicholas magazine in 1880.  However, Mary’s watershed year seems to have been 1883.  In July of that year, Mary became a charter member of the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC), an organization dedicated to assisting veterans, their wives and their children.  Amazingly, this organization is still in existence and is entering their 127th year of service.  Later the same year, Mary was appointed to the Child-Saving Work committee on the Board of Charities and Corrections.  Mary followed that stellar year with another worthwhile cause in 1884 when she founded, edited and published the Challenge, a temperance journal which espoused the ideas of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.).  In the late 1880s, Mary became the editor of the Colorado Farmer journal, while contributing articles in newspapers from cities around the country. 

The Committee on Invalid Pensions of the House of Representatives passed a bill on May 24, 1892 granting a pension to Mary Jewett Telford based on her service as a nurse during the Civil War.  Less than two weeks later, Mary applied for her pension.  The money was surely welcomed, considering that the Telfords’ income consisted of Jacob’s $8 a month government pension from his service in the 15th Indiana Infantry, and from any money Mary brought in with her writing and editing ventures.

Mary did not seem to lose any energy or enthusiasm for her humanitarian efforts as she entered the autumn of her life.  In fact, she continued writing and editing and began to tour the country as a lecturer on the temperance circuit.  She counted W.C.T.U. founder Frances Willard as a friend.  Sometime in late 1900 or 1901, Mary and Jacob moved once again, to McMinnville, Tennessee.  It was there, in 1905, that Mary’s beloved husband Jacob passed away.  In keeping with his wishes, Mary had his body brought to Stones River National Cemetery, the former battlefield on which he had been wounded years before, for burial.

Headstone of Mary Jewett Telford at South Perinton Cemetery

Less than twelve months after the loss of her husband of 41 years, Mary discovered she had a health issue which required surgery.  Sent to the Hinsdale Sanitarium in Hinsdale, Illinois for care, Mary Jewett Telford passed quietly away on August 5, 1906 following a critical operation.  She was buried in Illinois.  Nine months later Mary’s older sister, Catherine Jewett Wilkinson, brought Mary’s remains back East and interred her beside their mother Hannah Southwick Jewett at South Perinton Cemetery in Perinton, New York.

Information about Mary’s early life can be found on my March 18, 2010 blog post, “Mary Jewett Telford, Humanitarian, Part 1”.

Mary Jewett Telford, A Woman of the Century

March 10, 2010

Mary Jewett Telford (1839-1906), courtesy Evan Marshall

March is Women’s History Month.  In honor of that, I’d like to share with you an amazing woman with a Civil War connection.  Her name was Mary Jewett Telford.  I’ll soon post a Hero Highlight of Mary that gives you more information about her fascinating life.  In the meantime, check out the electronic postcard made by Evan Marshall, second great grandnephew-in-law of Mary Jewett Telford.

Hero Highlight – Nathan Mulford Cook, 6th Co., 1st Battalion Sharpshooters

October 28, 2009
Charles, Hannah, Mary Augusta, Ella, Nathan & William Cook

Charles, Hannah, Mary Augusta, Ella, Nathan & William Cook

As evening fell, the last light of the day illuminated the yellow leaves covering the ground like a shroud.  It was particularly fitting, as I had stopped by Pittsford Cemetery to pay my respects to Nathan Mulford Cook on the 147th anniversary of his death.

Nathan was born in April of 1842.  He was the fourth child, and third boy, in the Cook family.  It seems his parents, Wiliam Henry and Phebe Rose Terbell Cook, came to Pittsford, New York from Suffolk County, New York sometime before 1840.  The 1840 census shows William working as a carpenter in Pittsford, but by 1850 he was a nurseryman. 

 The Cooks had lost four children between the years of 1845 and 1859.  How concerned William and Phebe must have been when two of their three surviving sons, William Jr. and Nathan, came to them with the news that they wished to join the Union forces.  William Jr. decided to enlist in the 4th New York Heavy Artillery.  Nathan would have been happy with that, until the Sharpshooter scouts came to call.  Nathan was one of only a handful of men who qualified for the Sharpshooters.  He had the skill to shoot ten consecutive shots into a ten inch circle from 200 hundred yards away.  Only two Pittsford men had that ability.  The other, George P. Walters, was mustered into the Sharpshooters on the same day as Nathan.  William and Nathan enlisted within days of each other in August, 1862.  Sadly, they would die within weeks of each other in October of the same year.

I always picture Nathan as a good-natured, gangly boy who loved animals and the outdoors.  His military service record states that he stood 5′ 9″ tall, with a light complexion, dark hair and black eyes.  Unfortunately, the record gives little more information than that.  We know that Nathan died in Pittsford.  Did he even leave home before becoming ill?  Did William, who had shipped out with the 4th NY Heavy Artillery, know that Nathan was sick before he himself became ill with and died from typhoid fever on October 3, 1862?

Upon Nathan’s death on October 28, 1862, he was laid to rest in Pittsford Cemetery at his brother William’s side.  Their four young siblings – Mary Augusta (1844-1845), Charles Terbell (1849-1858), Hannah Terbell (1851-1852) and Ella Frances (1859-1859) – lie beside them.  An older sister, named Phebe Elizabeth but known to the family as “Libby”, married Julian Way Geare and bore him two children, William and Minnie.  Phebe died in 1872 at age 35, followed several months later by her infant daughter Minnie.  Her son, William, passed away just four years later.  Mary Star Cook, younger sister to Nathan and William, lived a long life.  She went on to marry Don Quincy Alvord of Perinton, NY.  They moved to Camden, NY where they raised four sons.  Mary passed away at age 85, living well into the 20th century.  She and her husband are buried at Pittsford Cemetery, as are Phebe and her children.

Brother Edward P. Cook is a mystery to me.  Born in 1840, he was two years older than Nathan, and two years younger than William.  The 1860 census lists Edward’s occupation as a teacher.  Subsequent census records do not give me enough information to undeniably confirm Edward’s identity.  I will continue to gather clues in the hopes that someday I will be able to track Edward.

The fates of Nathan and William Cook haunt me.  Two young men, who should have been enjoying the beginnings of their adult lives, were instead lying in the ground.  Illness took them before they could prove themselves on the battlefield.  The Cook family suffered more than their fair share of early deaths.

Drummer Boy Charles E. Moore of the 108th New York Infantry

September 10, 2009

Just a quick update on the status of Charles E. Moore’s fallen headstone.  The Town of Perinton forwarded my email regarding the possible headstone vandalism to the Village of Fairport.  As of this morning, I had not heard anything from them.  A drive by Greenvale Cemetery today showed that Charles’ headstone is still down.


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