Amelia Jenks Bloomer was born to a family of modest means on May 27, 1818 in Homer, Cortland County. She received only about two years of formal grammar school education, but at age 17 began a brief stint as a schoolteacher. She decided to relocate and moved in with her newly married sister …

Schools closing, churches canceling Sunday services, public events canceled, panic buying, concern about the capacity of the health system to handle the number of sick people — we have been here before, but it’s been 102 years.

Women cartoonists have always been an industry minority. Mary Flanigan Gauerke was a successful freelance cartoonist from the 1950s to the 1980s and may have been the only woman to sell cartoons to Hugh Hefner and William F. Buckley Jr. at the same time.

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Of all the signers of the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments, only Rhoda Palmer lived to vote. Her story seems an appropriate way to launch Women’s History Month in 2020 — the centennial year of ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing U.S. women the legal right to vote.

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First reports of a “circus” coming to Geneva appear in the Geneva Palladium in 1827 when a group of equestrian riders made the journey to the small village. Trick equestrian riding was typically the main attraction for early circuses, whose modern origins were less than 60 years old at this …

HURON — A William G. Pomeroy Foundation Historic Marker Grant was awarded in 2019 to the Town of Huron. Pomeroy Foundation grants fully fund the acquisition of historic markers for municipalities, historical societies and other organizations seeking meaningful ways to commemorate sites of hi…

During the 1790s New York moved to seize the vast lands belonging to the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The situation was only slightly complicated by the fact that at most only four of them fought during the war on the British side; just as it was by the new federal law stating th…

Locally, at least, Palmyra has been known as the only place in the world with four churches on four corners; that is, four churches on each of four adjacent corners at one intersection.

If you want to get to the Waterloo Premium Outlets, you access the stores from Route 318. Known by locals for many years as the Old State Road, it used to be a poorly maintained road that drivers avoided if they could. Route 318 has been transformed in recent years to become — especially at …

The Walworth Historical Society owns the two historically significant paintings created by Clara Billings Yeomans (1850-1926) that served as inspiration for the mural now found at the Walworth Post Office.

The Universal Friend, the first American woman to found a religious movement, was by the standards of her own time a blasphemer and a charlatan. I haven’t space here for a comprehensive defense, but trust me there is one. Yet the historical society in her hometown in Rhode Island, where her …

In a display case in the Oliver House Museum at the Yates County History Center in Penn Yan is a small wooden box with a bottle of Glenora champagne in it. Visitors often ask about it. They are told that the small box is actually a casket and there is quite a story behind it going back to Wo…

On June 4, 1957 the Federal Communications Commission granted an initial decision to allow WACK 1420 AM to broadcast out of Newark, N.Y. and 40 days later approved a construction permit for the brand-new radio station. The station was first located on East Union Street.

The Geneva Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is part of an international non-profit organization that reaches 64 million people in 120 countries. YMCAs in the United States have a presence in 10,000 neighborhoods, serving innumerable people.

Early this summer, two events took up much of my time: watching the women’s World Cup soccer matches and researching the history of William Smith College athletics. By whatever name you choose – games, sports, athletics – physical education has been at the center of women’s colleges like Wil…

The steamboat companies on Lake Keuka (as it was called in the late 19th century) loved moonlit nights in the summer months. They ran special excursions and lined up bands to play on the boats. Often they would stop at one of the lake resorts for people to have dinner and sometimes they woul…

Many of the early settlers of the town of Fayette were Pennsylvania Germans who settled here early in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, there soon emerged several church congregations worshiping in their faith, and in many instances actually in the German language.

I have written so many articles for this column, but searching through my computer, it looks like I’ve not written one on the beginnings of the county and each of its towns. I’m here to rectify that, since Gene Bavis of Walworth and I are heading up the Wayne County Bicentennial for 2023!

The initial settlement of the town of Italy was the result of a comedy of errors, followed by a not-unnatural appropriation of fertile farmland outside what they thought they were buying; abetted by absentee owners who didn’t know what they owned. Not to mention unresolvable distance from le…

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The flooding on Lake Ontario and the losses suffered by residents in both New York state and Canada made me think about various stories I have heard about flooding on Seneca Lake. After the flash flood in Lodi last year, I think most of us realize that water is an extremely powerful force an…

Gary V. Sackett is probably the most important person regarding the development of Seneca Falls on the south side of the Seneca River. He was a judge in the Court of Common Pleas and instrumental in the settling of much of the village of Seneca Falls south of the Seneca River and canal. He o…

Since Memorial Day (Decoration Day) had its beginnings with the loss of so many in the Civil War, it seems fitting that the local history article for this Memorial Day weekend should be about a family in which six served the Union forces in the Civil War.

In a recent Looking Back article, Karen Osburn wrote of Elizabeth Stryker Ricord and the boarding school she opened for women in the early 19th century. At the time, I was also thinking of writing an article for the Geneva Historical Society’s blog on the same subject but decided to shift my…

“THE PEACE TREATY — The new peace treaty has been presented to the German delegates in Paris and, as was to be expected, it has not been received with the best of grace. It is difficult for the German mind to assume a subdued and conquered attitude. But the work of the German Imperial Counci…

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At the intersection of Routes 414 and 318 is the little hamlet of Magee’s Corners (or Magee). It received that name because Dr. Thomas C. Magee was an early doctor there and built the first brick house in northern Seneca County as his residence.