Posted tagged ‘Pittsford Cemetery Civil War tour’

Pittsford Cemetery Civil War Tour

May 16, 2009
Sergeant John Buckley Bacon, 4th Wisconsin Cavalry

Sergeant John Buckley Bacon, 4th Wisconsin Cavalry

Thank you to everyone who attended our first Civil War Soldiers of Pittsford tour at Pittsford Cemetery this morning! It was an indescribable feeling for me to be able to illuminate the stories of these soldiers, many of which have never been told before.

We began the tour with LaFayette Congdon, then discussed Major Harvey E. Light and his brother-in-law  Theodore Shepard.  After moving down the hill, the Ambrose boys – Robert, Richard, Frederick and Edward – were next, the highlight being Richard’s stint in the Dry Tortugas.  Heading back up the incline, we stopped by the grave of Matthew P. Ewing, founder of the Vacuum Oil Company which many years later morphed into Exxon-Mobil.  James R. Chamberlin, owner of Chamberlin Rubber Company, was our next soldier, followed by John B. Bacon of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.  From JB Bacon, we headed east to Nathan and William Cook to discuss their heartbreaking stories.  George B. Wiltsie was mentioned after the Cook boys.  Charles Tillotson and his death at Antietam came next.  From there, we continued heading east, past the grave of Matthias L. Lord, assistant surgeon of the 140th NY, and on to Kingsley Brownell.  Our tour concluded with John H. Thurmon, the Confederate soldier from Missouri.  Sadly, we were not able to visit the graves of Frank D. Tibbitts or Jeffrey N. Birdsall, as planned, due to the rain.

I really appreciate the fact that so many of you stayed out in the rain to hear the stories of these men’s lives.  Your questions and comments made the experience fun for the entire group.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated!  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at vprofitt@rochester.rr.com.

Check back here in the future for information about upcoming cemetery tours and presentations highlighting more of Pittsford’s hometown heroes!

During the tour we briefly discussed Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was sentenced to imprisonment at Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas for his alleged part in the Lincoln conspiracy.  The name of the movie starring Dennis Weaver is The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, which was a TV movie from 1980.  The DVD is not available through Blockbuster or through the Monroe County library system, but it is listed for sale on Amazon.com.

Historical Societies – A Researcher’s Paradise

March 30, 2009

Today I visited the Perinton Historical Society and Fairport Museum for the first time.  I was astounded by the amount of research materials available there.  One frequently refers to public libraries for research, but the local historical society is an untapped reservoir of information.

Several months ago, I had come across the online edition of the Perinton Historical Society Historigram.  George B. Wiltsie, one of my Civil War boys, was mentioned in the newsletter.  Apparently, a man named Karl Jost had donated a box full of Wiltsie and Potter documents to the Perinton Historical Society.  Included in these treasures was a transcript of George B. Wiltsie’s Civil War diary!  During my visit today, I had the good fortune to meet Fairport Museum curator William Keeler.  After explaining my Civil War project to Bill, he headed off to parts unknown and returned with the very treasure box mentioned in the Historigram.  Unfortunately, Bill is in the process of transcribing the diary so I was unable to view that yet, but the rest of the items were also of interest.  There were several photos of homes belonging to various members of the Wiltsie and Potter families.  The photo that caught my attention was a black and white 8×10 of the Wiltsie family home in Duanesburg, New York.  Pasted to the back of the photo was a long letter written by Charles H. Wiltsie, nephew of George B. Wiltsie.  The letter described in detail the house where George’s parents and older siblings lived until their move to Perinton in the 1830s.  What a find!

While discussing my project with Bill, I offhandedly asked if he had any information about the local chapter of the G.A.R., which stands for Grand Army of the Republic.  This was a national organization that was formed after the Civil War.  It is comparable to today’s American Legion or VFW.  Bill strode off and returned with more treasures for me.  The folders he handed me contained meeting notes and many other interesting tidbits of information about the E.A. Slocum Post 211.  For me, the most exciting part was seeing the applications completed and signed in the late 1890s by some of my Civil War boys.  The applications listed birth places, service dates, occupations, and even reasons for discharge. 

I would invite anyone with an interest in history to visit their local historical society.  Their holdings are more precious than gold.  Special thanks to Bill Keeler for his assistance with and interest in my Civil War soldiers project.

The life and death of George B. Wiltsie will be discussed in greater depth during my Pittsford Cemetery tour on May 16th.  Please visit the following link for more information about my tour, which is featured on page 17.  http://townofpittsford.org/files/images/publications/2009_spring_rec_brochure.pdf


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