At the last program I attended at the Herkimer County Historical Society, I made a note of a cemetery walk in Oak View Cemetery in Frankfort, NY.
The walk had been postponed from Monday to Thursday last week. This was good news for Steven and me, because we could not make it on Monday. We drove to the cemetery and after some slight confusion as to where to pull in and park, we joined the crowd that was gathering for the walk.
I’m always pleased to see the people that gather for these historical society things, both the number and the variety. I like to see that people are interested and that they get away from their televisions and computers to participate. I know it is good for me to do so.
I was a little sorry I had forgotten to use bug spray, but this was a minor point. Sue Perkins, head of the historical society gave the presentation, assisted by Caryl Hopson. Caryl carried the speaker for Sue’s cordless microphone. It worked pretty well except for the occasional feedback. I think everybody was able to hear.
Sue and Caryl had visited the cemetery, picked the graves they liked, then researched the stories of the people buried there. They also had a binder with pictures of some of the people and places talked about. A little girl walked around showing us the pictures. after a while she must have gotten tired or bored, because her mother took over the task.
We heard a wide variety of stories. The one that particularly struck me was about a black baseball pioneer, John W. Jackson, also known as Bud Fowler, who was buried in the Potters Field. A Potters Field is where they used to bury indigent people, whose families could not afford a proper burial. A marker has since been placed for Jackson.
The final grave — they saved the best for last, Sue said — was Dieffenbacher. In face, there were Dieffenbachers in the crowd, one of whom was wearing a Dieffenbacher’s Potato Chip t-shirt. I think everybody though that was pretty cool.
I really enjoyed the walk-around aspect of the talk. My only problem was that i could not take proper notes for my blog post. I did pull a small pad out of my purse and jot down John Jackson, Dieffenbacher, and Whipple-Winkel Co. I took no further notes, so I don’t know what kind of company Whipple-Winkel was. Perhaps I could look it up at the Historical Society and make it the subject of a future blog post.
For more information on the Herkimer County Historical Society, you can visit their website at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nyhchs. You can also like them on Facebook, where they have been known to post some really cool pictures.