Varied programs were offered by the Sterling Historical Society in 2016. In April, Dawn Rowe, former Port Byron historian, spoke about her ancestry, including her great, great grandfather, Solomon Culver, who arrived in the Town of Sterling in 1837. By 1845 he was a constable in the Town. He had 19 children and died about 1860
At the May meeting, Alex Seymour, owner of 450 phones, spoke about the history of the telephone and displayed memorabilia, including phones, posters, glass insulators, pictures, a compact shaped like a dial, all related to telephone history.He noted that the telephone dial was invented by an undertaker in order to save his business when a competitor moved in.
John Lamphere spoke at our annual June banquet on “Our Little Corner in the American Civil War.” He noted that 10,500 battles were fought in that War and that certain common terms, such as “bite the bullet” and “4F” were created during the War. Gettysburg has 1300 monuments of which the 111th Monument honors those who fought that battle from Cayuga and Wayne Counties.
The annual historic site picnic was held at Hayward’s Store, Fair Haven in July. Two descendants of the original family presented a history of the property, including artifacts such as copies of deeds, playbooks and photos. In 1920 it was a general store. Later it had an ice cream parlor on the east porch. By 1954 Miriam Hayward had a sewing shop in the building. The store has been in the family for more than 100 years.
In August, Sterling residents, Neil Shortslef, Phil Kyle and John Simmons spoke about growing up in Sterling Valley. They discussed their experiences with being educated in the rural school, working for area farmers by the time they were teenagers, seeing lightning hit the Sterling Valley Church, Halloween antics, the Hunter Farm, Hoppy’s store, Rita Kyle’s fish fry stand, fishing, trapping and moonshine.
David Conners, and Sandi and Del Primmer were featured at the September meeting. They spoke about Native American Indians, of which David is a Mohawk Indian. David said that Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were impressed by the form of government created by the Five Nations (later six) of the Iroquois Confederation and ideas from that Confederate system were eventually used in the creation of the United States Government. The speakers brought several artifacts such as a ribbon shirt, ribbon dress, Navajo rugs, baskets and beadwork. They talked about various headdresses and feather arrangements, wampum, Indian words and the Reservation System.