NSG Meeting March 11, 2006
March 11 was a beautiful sunny, warm day when 26 members of the New Society
of the Genesee gathered at the Yard of Ale restaurant in the old Canal
House that had been a stop along the Genesee Valley Canal. After a luncheon
at 12:30, everyone discussed the meeting place choices that Don Shilling,
Alan Oberst, Emerson Klees, Richard Reisem, Gerry Muhl, David Minor and
Gary Bogue had selected for consideration at a planning meeting earlier.
We tried to select dates that would be convenient for most members. The
schedule of dates and places to visit for this season follows:
April 22, 2006
Oliver House and L. Caroline Underwood Museums and Seneca Mills in Penn
Meet at Oliver House, corner of Main and Chapel at 10:30
May 27, 2006
Morgan-Manning House at Brockport
June 24, 2006
Creamery Museum at Skaneateles, 10:30 - 11:30
Lunch on lakeboat ride, 12:00 - 2:00, $25 reservation.
Buffalo Waterfront and Boat Tour
September 9, 2006
Glenn Curtiss Museum, 10:30; Pleasant Valley Winery, 2:30
October 7, 2006
Rochester Historical Society (Gun and War Exhibit), 10:30; Lunch at the
Walking tour of East Avenue with Don Shilling and Richard Reisem.
Lily Dale community close to Canastota had been proposed for August,
but it is quite far away and not many people expressed much interest,
so it was dropped. Another site may be chosen later for August.
George Shaw suggested that members reply to meeting notices with their
intentions of attendance so that arrangements can be made at eating places
for enough space. In future email announcements, there will be a reminder
to reply if you plan to attend, and a telephone number to call will be
placed on the postal card notices.
Richard Reisem told us his new book, Historic
New York — Architectural Journeys in the Empire State
will be published in June. It has eleven chapters covering outstanding
architectural examples located in eleven regions of the state: Long Island,
New York City, Hudson Valley, Capital District, Adirondacks, Mohawk Valley,
Thousand Islands, Finger Lakes, Western Erie Canal, Southern Tier, and
the Niagara Frontier. There are more than 300 photographs, all in full
color, with many double-page spreads and full-page illustrations. Andy
Olenick was the photographer for this book as well as Richard's other
books: Erie Canal Legacy, Classic Buffalo, and 200
Years of Rochester Architecture and Gardens. The book is 9 ¼"
by 12 ¼" with 208 pages, plus hard covers and a colored dust
jacket. The price will be $49.95. There is a pre-publication offer of
$35 for a single book or $30 each for four or more books on orders and
payments made between now and June 15, 2006. Delivery will be late June
or early July. Go to http://landmarksociety.org to order online. Or phone
orders to Landmark Society, 585-546-7029, extension 10, and charge to
a credit card or mail in a check.
Donovan Shilling passed out descriptive pages introducing a new book
he is preparing which is a fictionalized account of the long-ago adventures
of a relative who lived on a canal boat and was responsible for leading
the horses and mules that towed the barge. Don then read us a chapter
from his A Towpath Trail— Adventures on the old Erie Canal.
We all enjoyed the story and are looking forward to reading it as soon
as it is available. Here is the scene and the principal characters in
Donovan Shilling's new book, A Towpath Trail:
The Erie Canal season of 1884 with many canal-side hamlets, villages
and cities from Black Rock on Lake Erie to Albany's Canal Basin and
to Pier Nine on the East River.
The Rough & Ready, a two mule-powered
Captain Ely Perkins, skipper and owner of the Rough
& Ready. Aging, approximately 50, taciturn, frequently smokes
a pipe, wears side burns and a beard and exhibits a stern outward appearance,
but is quite paternalistic toward his crew while aboard his vessel.
Rufus Spencer (Rufe), steersman, tall and muscular,
also taciturn, enjoys some "medication," occasionally imbibing
assorted spirits, slow to anger but is the freight boat's champion holding
his own in a canal or dock-side donnybrook.
Cletus Starbuck (Clete), second steersman, most educated
of his crewmates, having attended what amounts almost to high school,
can read, write and do figures. Cletus is very loquacious, spins long
yarns and often brags about all he's discovered while working on the
Erie Canal. He is always seeking an audience to share what he's learned
about the canal's construction, its colorful characters, lore and history.
James McClain (Jamie), the vessel's cook, portly Irish,
loves to eat and fish. Can often be heard singing or whistling an Irish
chantey. He's a large part of the reason for the Rough & Ready's
Jacob O'Rourke (Jake), one of the vessel's two hoggees,
age 15, comes from a lower New York City tenement, enjoys singing, playing
his tin whistle and is often seen whittling on any piece of wood that's
handy. Speaks with a broad Irish brogue and is a great pal to his fellow
Joshua Ford (Josh), the second hoggee, main character
in the story, age 13, has run away from a farm outside of Homer, New
York, intending to join the circus, but found a new home on the Rough
& Ready. His adventures during the summer and fall of 1884
create the tale.
Wellington, Jamie McClain's cat.
Buck and Bright; Bad News
and Ole Sunshine, mule teams.
Story length: 186 pages, 28 chapters, numerous illustrations.
Following our meal, members were reluctant to leave and stood around
visiting for some time, exchanging stories and observations. We all appreciate
that the Yard of Ale willingly provides us with separate checks so we
can avoid the calculation of the amount each diner owes toward a single