Charter membership of the Palmyra Historical Society began with 110 members. It became incorporated in 1915 and submitted a proposal to the state Deparment of Regents for a Regent’s charter.

In the last article, the minute book explained the layout of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. It was made clearer for me, and I hope the description helped you to understand the boundaries a bit better. 

Charter membership of the Palmyra Historical Society began with 110 members. It became incorporated in 1915 and submitted a proposal to the state Deparment of Regents for a Regent’s charter. Since the Jan. 18 meeting, a number of amazing collection items started coming in to the historical society as recorded by the secretary. The items were reviewed or presented at the meetings for the entertainment. I don’t know about you, but for me, that is my kind of entertainment.  

The Foster family, Aldrich family, Robinson family, Fred Converse, and Townsend family donated items from 1788 through to 1915. They received original newspaper articles and historic writings from one of the first teachers at the new village school on Canandaigua Street in 1848. This young teacher, named Sarah E. West Grassie, then went to Turkey as a missionary. The Society felt it was important to make her an honorary member.

One of the main items was a newspaper article from 1840 on the account of the Indian Key Massacre of August that same year in which Dr. Henry Perrine lost his life. Dr. Perrine was planning to start a tea tree plantation and was given land by Congress in 1838. He was waiting for the war to end before he began his enterprise. Indian Key was an island and Dr. Perrine felt that it would be a safe place to wait. He misjudged the safety of the island and was killed. His wife and three children survived and came back to Palmyra. She is buried in our village cemetery along with only a leg of Dr. Perrine retrieved by his son on a return trip.

These are some of the thoughts of J. R. whom I presume is James Reeves considered to be the first historian here. Three major members of the Historical Society that saved history were Reeves, S. VanAlystine and Thomas Cook. All were charter members of the society.

“Few among this generation little cared who lived or died; Those who fled from Revolution spirits true and spirits tried; Or of loves and lives all ended orbs of hope forever set; These the poet and historian cannot let the world forget.

“In the old burying ground over the hill; Our fathers are sleeping calmly and still; The moss-covered tombstones guarding their rest; The soft earth pressed gently on each quiet breast; Loud have the winter storms round their graves swept; Long years have silently over them crept; Pet all unheeding have they slept on; Sweet, silent sentinels guarding our town.”