Monday, November 14, 2011
DIARY OF A PHOENIX SCHOOL GIRL
By Barbara Dix, Town of Schroeppel Historian
Edited by Alethea Connolly
Excerpts from the Phoenix Register May 20, 2011
A long time ago I acquired a small diary written in 1884. There was not a name to identify the author, nor a place where it was written. I later identified the author as Cora Patrick and located the family in official Phoenix village records.
As a teacher, I found it very interesting to see that she was studying such diverse courses as philosophy, astronomy, rhetoric (speaking) and English literature, as well as practicing singing and piano. She was almost always with her friends at school, at her house and at their houses for overnight visits. They visited social events at each of the churches in the village. Her work at home was ironing, cleaning and sewing. She made her first muffins for tea that summer!
The diary had been first acquired at the “Pomeroy auction in Baldwinsville”. For years this was all I knew about what I referred to as the “Pomeroy Connection”. This didn’t mean much to me until March 2009 when I started to work as a research assistant on the A. A. Pomeroy Book Project. Lo and behold I realized that Cora’s husband H. D. Pomeroy was the well-known local mechanical engineer and inventor, Harry Dwight Pomeroy. Much later, I found that his older brother had married a relative of my husband.
We do know that Harry D. was born in Cortland and brought up in Syracuse so Cora might have met him through a mutual friend. He apparently was a clever and very inventive young man, as he was awarded a patent for improving a chain-making machine along with his employer, Ralph G. Barnes and his fellow worker, Earnest W. Keyes.
A SWEET CONNECTION
Published in the Phoenix Register July 1, 2011
Two of the earliest entries in the Cora Patrick diary (1884), that I wrote about two weeks ago, mention the name of Leah Sweet.
“. . . . It has stormed nearly all day and looks like winter now. I was going to Leah go Sweet’s party but it storms dredfuly (sic) and the roads are so bad.” January 3, 1884 “Leah Sweet called here this morning, her party is postponed until tonight all the boys were there last night but no girls. I intend to tonight. Kirk said if it stormed, he would come after me.” January 4, 1884.
I had an opportunity to see a lovely Empire style book or china cabinet that probably belonged to Leah’s family. It has come down in the Merriam/Burton family and now is to belong to a member of the DenBlyker family and it will be moving to Boston. I was thrilled to be able to see it before it leaves this area. Pat Henjes’ son will become the new owner and I was able to see it in the home of Cindy and Dick Burton who are the present owners. What a joy to see families value the local heritage.
. . . AND SPEAKING OF THE DIARY
Tuesday, a colleague and I visited, for the first time, Mrs. Audrey Ketcham, widow of Cora Patrick Pomeroy’s grandson, Richard Ketcham. Cora wrote the diary and went to school in Phoenix. Mrs. Ketcham’s daughter, Holly, owns Cora’s high school ring, which is the first such ring that I have ever seen. It is a gold ring, made of flat rather than round gold, with a black stone. A graceful script “85” is engraved in the stone, highlighted in gold and it fits Holly perfectly.
The Ketchams were very interested in the Pomeroy family history and visited Cooperstown where there is a locked Pomeroy Room. The room was opened to them and Mrs. Ketcham was able to copy two of the family recipes she found there. Later she made them and proudly served them to the family. She laughed as she told us the story and said, “ I was embarrassed because they were so bland they were tasteless!”
I was interested in a picture of Harry with a French horn because I used to play the French horn. Mrs. Ketcham said the family story was that Harry had once played with John Phillip Sousa. We are researching that story, but I have seen various statements that confirm that he was a respected musician in Syracuse and Cortland. A newspaper article states he was director of a chorus in the Cortland area around the turn of the 20th century.
One of our goals, at the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association, is to update and republish the A.A. Pomeroy genealogy book published in 1912. In the course of this work we are finding and will find more answers to many of the questions that remain concerning the Pomeroy family.
For information or to discuss your connection with Cora Patrick or Harry D. Pomeroy, please contact me at 695-6641 or click here to e-mail me.
Published by permission of The Phoenix Register.