We are coming into Black History Month in February, and Palmyra has many people, stories, freedom seekers, business owners and amazing events that were centered on this movement.
Names such as Congo Grason, George Ballard, Olivette Ballard, the Bristers, Lee family, Stewarts, Rays, Johnsons and Baxters were residents who called Palmyra their home. Those names belong to freedom seekers who made Palmyra their home between 1800 and 1880. Those that assisted in this fight for freedom included the Rev. Horace Eaton, DD, Pliny Sexton and so many others.
In May we are having our UGRR walk and program. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 18 starting at the Alling Coverlet Museum. All of these folks will be spoken of, and UGRR locations will be shown and shared.
Our program on Martin Luther King’s birthday brought information on three others involved in the Civil Rights movement. The lives and deaths of these great men and their efforts were similar and amazing. Unfortunately, all ended in death as young men — Martin Luther King at age 39, John F. Kennedy at age 46, Robert Kennedy at age 43 and Abraham Lincoln at age 56. Although in different centuries, the rights of all men were paramount.
January is and was an interesting, eventful month in history. Jennie Jerome, the mother of Sir Winston Churchill, was born Jan. 9, 1854, in Brooklyn, New York. Two churches in East Palmyra were dedicated almost 60 years apart, the First East Palmyra Presbyterian Church on Jan. 11, 1810, and on Jan. 12, 1870, the present day East Palmyra Presbyterian Church was dedicated. On Jan. 14, 1868, the new Village Hall was officially opened. It took two years from planning to completion. On Jan. 15, 1961, the new chapel of the Mormon Church was formally dedicated and today is the Town Hall for the town of Palmyra.
So many times we ask, “How did people come to Palmyra in the early days?” Good question.
On Jan. 16, 1799, Ganargua Creek was officially declared a navigable waterway. The boats fashioned after the Dunham boats in Europe could travel this water way with heavy loads and maneuver the narrow and sometimes shallow water.
On Jan. 24, 1771, Gain Robinson, the first doctor of Palmyra, was born and on Jan. 23, 1793, Durfee Chase, the second doctor of Palmyra, was born. One of the greatest changes came Jan. 4, 1796, when at the first town board meeting Palmyra received its name as suggested by Daniel Sawyer, brother-in-law of Gen. John Swift. Then, on Jan. 29, 1823, Macedon officially split from Palmyra. We have found references to Macedon as far back as 1818. Finally, in 1823 Wayne County was formed and we separated from Ontario County.
So many major changes and happenings to make us who we are today dot the January calendar. Historic Palmyra’s five museums are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays out of the Palmyra Historical Museum. For information, call 315-597-6981.
Come and get your National Erie Canalway Heritage Corridor Calendar for 2017 and make your group tour reservations.