During the monthly meetings of 2015, the Sterling Historical Society presented an assortment of programs about the history of our general area. Dressed in Rosie the Riveter type clothing, Hellen Davis, presented a program on the role of women in World War II, discussing military women, women who took the places in the workforce of men who were fighting the war, and women at home, facing the problems of scarcity, deprivation and sometimes grief.
Jim Farfaglia, area poet and writer, discussed stories of muck farming in the area, which necessarily involved immigrant workers. Jim had interviewed 30 farmers who lived the history of the muck and he wove their stories into a book.
At the June banquet, Rev. George DeMass, Oswego Town Historian, spoke about his family’s history. His Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Pierre Dumas was the first settler in the Town of Sterling, settling on Lot 19 in 1820.
On July 5, the classroom in the Little Red Schoolhouse was dedicated to Don Richardson. Many of Don’s contributions to the Society, such as his foresight and tireless work were acknowledged by members and guests.
Paul Lear, Director of Fort Ontario, presented the history of that Fort at the July meeting. The post had become a fort by 1727. It was used in all major wars including the French and Indian, Revolutionary, War of 1812 and the Civil War. It was used as a hospital during World War I and a shelter for Holocaust victims during World War II.
The annual historical picnic was held by the Whispering Pines Inn, owned by Colleen Ayres. The home was built on the site of the Old Dutch Reformed Church which had been destroyed by fire in 1881. John Dietel, who had already built the Hardware Store, now known as the Hardware Café, had the house built soon after the fire. Colleen opened up the historic home to all picnic attendees.
In September, Cheryl Longyear, Montezuma Town Historian made a presentation on a crazy quilt created soon after the Civil War. Displayed on a quilt rack, the quilt demonstrated concern about Women’s Rights, social injustice, the Civil War and Temperance. Woven into the quilt were G.A.R. ribbons. The G.A.R. was a post-Civil War veterans’ group.
Sandi and Del Primmer brought two of her spinning wheels and many examples of fibers, including dog fur and camel hair that can be spun into yarn, to the October meeting. Guests learned about types of spinning wheels and carding. They had the opportunity to make yarn by feeding fibers into the wheels.
The Sterling Historical Society thanks all presenters and attendees for the successfully entertaining and educational programs presented in 2015.