In Memory of
James E. Hope
August 28, 1919 — August 4, 2007
Bill and Martha Treichler
Jim Hope lived nearly 88 years. He was born in Killingly, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Hope and May Taylor Hope. He is survived by daughter Connie Bly and her husband William and their two daughters Lindsey and Christene in Fairport, New York, and by son Joseph and his wife Malissa and their son James (Will) Hope in North Attaleboro, Mass.
Marion McConnel Hope, his wife, died several years ago. They were married December 10, 1942. Jim was a navigator and ranked as a major in the Air Transport Command, ferrying planes to India, Africa and Europe. After the war he was a rural mail carrier for many years. He drove Model T Fords and kept one always.
His interest in history began while searching for Marion's ancestors. He belonged to the Steuben, Schuyler, Hammondsport, Hornby, and Prattsburgh historical societies. He was a member of the Steuben County Agricultural Society that has sponsored the 170-year-old Bath Fair. On the fair grounds he helped Richard and Alice Sherer refurbish the Pioneer Log Cabin and establish the displays in the Pioneer Museum. He was on the board of the Elm Cottage Museum in Bath and the Bath Veterans Museum. Jim was Steuben County Historian, Bath Town Historian and Bath Village Historian all at one time.
He was a trustee of Grove Cemetery in Bath, the old Episcopal cemetery on East Morris Street. He helped restore the Bath Cemetery along West Steuben Street near the center of the village — re-erecting the stones which had been dragged off to the side. And he was a trustee of the County Home Cemetery which had 500 numbered graves. He was a member of the Jo-Ho's genealogy group which "read" many cemeteries in the area. He was often at the Historian's booth at the Bath Fair helping visitors search for family names in computer printouts of census records and recorded deeds.
Jim was a 20-year trustee of the Bath Memorial Library and a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was very familiar with Bath history and knew the stories of so many of the old homes in Bath and the many that had been moved to different locations.
There is a wonderful true story about Jim's grandfather who was a Confederate prisoner in the infamous Elmira Camp. Some local people became concerned with the plight of the soldiers held at the Elmira camp and contributed blankets and other provisions to ease their condition. Among the prisoners' benefactors was Miss Frances Hamilton who lived and taught a Sunday School class in Caton. She took items to the camp and met Thomas Hope. A correspondence began between them and when the war was over and Thomas was free, he didn't go back to North Carolina but went immediately to Caton. Frances and Thomas were married.
Jim proudly referred to him as "my rebel grandfather" and marked his grave with a confederate emblem in the same manner that he placed union emblems on graves of many other Civil War veterans. He just remembered his grandfather, Thomas Hope, who had come from Lincoln County, North Carolina. Grandfather Thomas Hope never went back to North Carolina and until his descendants went in search of their southern relatives, the family remaining in North Carolina didn't know that Thomas had survived the war.
Jim Hope absorbed so much history of this area and was always interested in other people's stories and helpful to them in their searches. Like many other people, we often went to him for help with research on local and regional history. He was a true historian.