Centennial Book of Liberty, NY

The Centennial Book of Liberty, NY is one of the less frequently seen documents of the history of that township.  We’re indebted to Denny Birmingham for lending us her copy of this now-scarce document for copying and re-publication.

Centennial book
The cover of the Centennial Book of Liberty, New York

What’s in it?

First, and most obviously, there are pictures – lots of them.  Most of the important building are shown, both commercial establishments and residences as well.  There are photos that illustrate the original settlement on Revonah in a way that makes it comprehensible to people living today.  (An interesting note here:  the name of the mountain had already changed from Hanover to Revonah when this book was published – often the date of the change is assumed to coincide with anti-German sentiment during World War I.)  The photos of the residences are fascinating as one tries to recognize the houses of today’s Liberty among them.  Most of the photos have been seen elsewhere, but the collection is a good one.

The text is very useful since it amplifies on the early history found in Quinlan’s History, and also fills in details of the years following Quinlan’s publication in 1872.  While the photos are a bit hard to relate to people today, there are also photographs of some of the leading citizens.

As mentioned, it is a modest book for a centennial volume, at least compared with some of this genre we have seen.  However, we think it will be useful to anyone with an interest in Liberty today and in its past.  We have compiled and included an index of the book including all names mentioned which should be helpful to those using the book for research only and not reading it through.

How to get the Centennial Book of Liberty, NY

Well, we happen to sell it as a download!

Want more information?  CLICK HERE to go to the Liberty, NY page on our main website, where you can read a bit more about it and download it.

 

The Fulton-Fraser Cemetery in Ferndale, NY

Gertrude Barber’s compilation of the Fulton-Fraser Cemetery in Ferndale, a hamlet in the Town of Liberty, New York was an achievement of hers in the 1929-1930 timeframe.

Her typescripts, done at a time when few perceived much value in collecting such information, have become a genealogical mainstay for those researching in Sullivan County, New York, and this cemetery, another in the Town of Liberty, is another example of her work.

Fulton-Fraser Cemetery
The first page of Mrs. Barber’s compilation of the Fulton-Fraser Cemetery in Ferndale, Town of Liberty, New York

We do not know the current status of this cemetery, or even where in Ferndale it is (or was?) located. We can hope that today it is known by another name and is being cared for.  However, her description of the run-down state of the cemetery nearly a century ago suggests that this may not be the case, and, assuming that it continued to decline, it is worth considering that a compilation like this might not even be possible today.  This compilation includes our own index. 

CLICK HERE to access the main Liberty, NY page on our website for additional information and to download.

  

Landmarks and Memories of Paxton, MA

We’re happy to republish a remarkable history of Paxton, Massachusetts, written by a person who without question knew more about the history of Paxton, MA than anyone else living at the time she prepared it. Roxa Howard Bush was a careful and very complete local historian of Paxton, and despite the brevity of her book (62 pages of text, plus pictures), it is a remarkably complete study of the history of the Town of Paxton.  The book was privately printed in 1923.  We do not know the number of copies printed, but we do know that few copies are still extant and even fewer available in the rare book market.

Paxton, MA
The old Paxton Inn, Paxton, MA
Unlike many local histories that are long on flowery language and short on names, places, and dates, Landmarks and Memories of Paxton is densely packed with names, and for that reason will be of particular interest to family historians and genealogists. 

If you live now in the Paxton area, or if your ancestors lived there at one time, we suspect you will find this summary of the local history of Paxton and its people essential.

CLICK HERE to go to the page on our main website about Landmarks and Memories of Paxton, MA and how to purchase the download of it.

 

Maine State Prison Report for 1907

Why republish the Maine State Prison Report for 1907?

Because we think a surprising number of people will find it useful!  We count students of public administration, penology, criminal justice, sociology, political science and history among them, not to mention people interested in state and local history in Maine, and, of course, genealogists and family historians.

First, a little about the Maine State Prison Report. 

Maine State Prison
Cover of the Maine State Prison Report for 1907

Only 60 pages long (67 pages including the index we prepared for this document), this report provides astonishing detail about the state prison population.  It lists the names of the inmates of the state prison, then located at Thomaston, Maine, in 1907.  It also lists those who left the prison (via clemency, via completion of sentence, or via death) during that year.  For the current prison population, it provides birthplaces, the crimes for which imprisoned, the counties in which they were convicted of their crimes, the length of their sentences, their ages in 1907, and the dates the prisoners were sentenced. 

The report deals as well with those who were determined to be criminally insane — or, as happened even then, those who were insane and being warehoused in the state prison (interestingly, this practice is quite common today).  Interestingly, the one death reported among the insane population that year shows “dementia” as the cause of death.

If black sheep great-uncle John (or great-aunt Nina) seemed to drop off the face of the earth in your family research back in those days, and the reason happened to involve conviction for a felony in Maine — or even loss of their mental faculties, they just might be here, along with enough supporting information to confirm their identity, as well as the kind of information you can use to locate newspaper articles or court records that might provide more information.

Click here to go to our main page about this document to see a PDF file of the index we have compiled of the Maine State Prison Report for 1907, and to purchase the report as a downloaded PDF file.

Being in the state slammer is nothing to be proud of, as the crimes for which these unfortunates were doing time will demonstrate.  However, we think that this publication will solve some family riddles that have only become more puzzling as the intervening century has passed and those with first hand knowledge of the circumstances have passed away.

The publication also names the individuals responsible for operating the penal system in Maine in 1907, both at the County Jail level and at the “big house” as well. 

The report evaluates each of the facilities that made up Maine’s penal system at that point in time in considerable detail, and does not hesitate to criticize the county jails — and the people responsible for them — that do not measure up to current standards both in terms of efficiency and in terms of prisoner care and rehabilitation. 

The publication is also an excellent document of state of the criminal justice system in 1907, when nationally the Progressive movement was at its peak.  There is descriptive material not only about the programs in the state prison, but also in the county jails.  There is abundant statistical data at all levels. 

In short, we think this is a document of local history, genealogy, and social history that is well worth preserving.

Where does the Maine State Prison in 1907 fit into the history of the prison system in Maine?

The Maine State Government provides some excellent historical background on their website.

The prison about which this report was written was built following a fire in 1854.  In 1923 fire again claimed the Maine State Prison.  The prison was rebuilt, several additional prison units dealing with special populations were built over the years, and in 2002 the last of the prisoners were moved from the prison in Thomaston to the new Maine State Prison in Warren.  The structure at Thomaston was subsequently demolished with the exception of the Maine State Prison Showroom, which remains open.

There seem to be many more persons in State custody in Maine now than there were nearly 100 years ago in 1907.

It appears that there are, both in absolute numbers and relative to the growth in the state’s population.  The population of Maine grew from around 730,000 in 1907 to roughly 1,275,000 in 2000, an increase of roughly 75%.

According to the Maine State Prison Report for 1907, a total of 521 individuals were “in jail” on December 1, 1907.  This number included a total of 68 in the “big house” — the Maine State Prison at Thomaston. 

The Maine State Prison website indicates (2005) that the population capacity of the new Maine State Prison at Warren is 916.  Not given on that website is the population of the county jails and other, less secure and more specialized facilities in the penal system within the state.  We will make the assumption that the prison is currently at capacity — as most prisons today are. 

On that basis, the population of the “big house” has increased from 68 to 916 — a  whopping 1250% increase — while the State’s total population grew only 75%.  From the criteria for admission to the Maine State Prison today (on the state’s website), it appears that the criteria for sentencing to the “big house” are considerably more stringent today than they were a century ago as well. 

CLICK HERE to go to our main page about the Maine State Prison Report for 1907.

History of the Town of Litchfield, CT

Alain White wrote this book around 1920 for the Litchfield Historical Society, and it’s the definitive history of the Litchfield Township from the point where the early town histories leave off until the point when White’s book went to press.

Litchfield map
Litchfield Map from White’s History of the Town of Litchfield

Several years ago, we scanned, indexed, and published the book as a CD-ROM — and it was a moderately good seller.

Then, two things happened:

  1.  Technology advanced.  CDs fell out of favor, replaced by downloads
  2.  Several not for profit organizations scanned lots of historical works and made them available for free.

Retiring the CD was not a difficult decision at that point.

But there were two downsides:

  1.  The free downloads did not have the index we painstakingly created of this book, and
  2.   While the free downloads are certainly legible, the quality of the reproduction of the images leaves a bit to be desired (compared with our high-resolution scans).

If you’ll go to the page on our main website about this book, you’ll see where you can get a free download of this book (minus the index, and at decent but not great resolution).

You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase and download our version, which DOES include the index and the high resolution scans.  (We also provide a free list of everything that showed up in the index so you can decide before purchasing whether our index is worth the money.)

 

Three Court Calendars – Sullivan County, NY

Three Court Calendars of the Sullivan County Court.

July 1893 term, June 1899 term, and January 1904 term.

To us these are quite novel.  Although they were obviously very familiar to practicing attorneys a century and more ago, we have not encountered other specimens of similar material.

Sullivan County Court Calendar
Title page of a court calendar for Sullivan County, NY

Information includes the attorneys in the county were at that time (they’re listed),  the county officers  (likewise listed), and, interestingly, the grand jurors and the trial jurors for the term are listed too.  It specifies which cases would be heard, and approximately upon what date.

Among the litigants, we say some familiar names, including a railroad that was never completed – the Liberty and Jeffersonville Electric Railway – suggesting that without even operating it succeeded in running afoul of some people (the investors, perhaps?).  Regardless of its historical value, it’s fascinating to look at these relics of a judicial system that is now transformed into a far different animal.

More about this, as well as the opportunity to purchase a download of it, can be found on the Sullivan County page of our main website.

The Graduates of Emory College (1910)

Our second publication of Southern History in the last month is this important volume listing the occupations and addresses of more than 1000 graduates of Emory College (now Emory University) in Georgia.

The volume includes some history of the college and other supporting documents, but most important is the information provided about the graduates themselves.  Here’s the table of contents:

Emory Alumni Register
Table of Contents

More information is available at our main website, where you can also download this document.

EMORY ALUMNI REGISTER

Early Sullivan County Timeline

 

Quinlan’s History of Sullivan County is considered the definitive history of Sullivan County, New York up until 1873.

James H. Quinlan, historian
James H. Quinlan, historian

While we were working through those early years in Quinlan’s History, we discovered that it was sometimes hard to tie all those events together in a sequential way.  To help us understand Sullivan County history better, we decided to use Quinlan to help develop a timeline of those years.  Suddenly much was made clear.

We’re glad to be able to offer this timeline free for your use.  Just click below to download it with our compliments.

Sullivan County Timeline to 1873

If you find that this timeline raises your curiosity and makes you want to read the whole book, there’s no reason not to do so.  There are several free scanned versions of Quinlan you can download, but our favorite is one scanned by Penn State University.  A link to a free version we like is on our main website on our Quinlan page, HERE.

After you download it, you might discover what we did:  that a 700 page book really needs an index.  No one can fault Quinlan for not providing one, given all that he did provide us with.  But we did decide to do something to make up for his omission.  We indexed Quinlan ourselves.  While you are on our Quinlan page, you will probably notice that we sell our index.  Frankly, it was a lot of work, and we think you will find that it is worth the price.

 

History of Garland, Maine

We are happy to announce the re-publication of this comprehensive 1912 History of Garland, Maine, by Lyndon Oak, as a download.

Lyndon Oak
Lyndon Oak, author of History of Garland, Maine

This volume, which includes a 12 page index, includes just about anything you might ever want to know about Garland from its founding until just after the Civil War.  If you are interested in Penobscot County, ME, the History of Garland, Maine should be of interest to you.

To help you more easily determine whether this is of interest to you, we also have provided the index to this volume on our website (where you can also order the download).

Visit our page about this book by clicking HERE.

 

Abbreviations for Organizations

“What does that stand for?”

Is this a question you’ve ever asked when you see a string of letters that pretty clearly refers to an organization of some kind?   When you can’t tell from the context what KIND of organization?  A lodge?  A religious group?  A self-insurance plan? A political party?   A company?  A governmental department? Even a railroad?

If you’ve asked that question, you’ve got company.  Acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations for organizations have been around ever since the Roman legions walked around with “SPQR” on poles (that was an initialism for Senatus Populesque Romanus, by the way).  We’ve asked that question over and over for a long time, and we decided to do something about it.

This is what we did:

Amazon_screen
This is what our new book looks like on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wrote a book — 318 pages, mostly an alphabetical listing of abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms for organizations of all kinds.  Now we’ve published it, and you can see it on Amazon.com.  (Of course, if you’re so inclined — and we hope that you are — you can also buy it there!).

So, CLICK HERE to see it on Amazon.  You might just decide that it really fills a need.