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Wayne Post
  • Historically speaking — A Peek at Palmyra’s past

  • This article will include the balance of December and will be the last article of Historically Speaking for the year 2012. I think I took this world ending a little too seriously and now decided I’d better start shopping for the holiday. We here at the museums and Historic Palmyra are excited about the prospects of 2013 and are getting things ready for the new year.

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  • This article will include the balance of December and will be the last article of Historically Speaking for the year 2012. I think I took this world ending a little too seriously and now decided I’d better start shopping for the holiday. We here at the museums and Historic Palmyra are excited about the prospects of 2013 and are getting things ready for the new year.
    Admiral William T. Sampson graduated first in his class and was a hero to all in Palmyra. On Dec. 18, 1862 this young graduate of Annapolis named Lt. Wm. T. Sampson married his hometown sweetheart Margaret Aldrich. The next few years of their marriage would be spent apart for much of the time. The Civil War had begun the year before and the Lt. was on an iron clad boat. Their marriage only lasted until 1876 when Margaret died. Margaret and child are buried in the Village of Palmyra Cemetery. On Dec. 19, 1896 the Little Front Street German Butcher Shop opened on Market Street. The Palmyra Social Circle “the Old Maids” reception was held on Dec. 20, 1878. You would assume a good time was had by all? On Dec. 21, 1830, Jackson Street was surveyed.  
    In 1889 on Dec. 22, a terrible storm blew through the Main Street of the Village and the Grant Colfax Republican Flag Pole fell victim to its winds and damage. This flag pole was not built again for a few years. On Dec. 23, 1805 in a small town named Sharon, Vt., Joseph Smith Jr. was born. He would go on to become the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    According to our calendar, Christmas Eve day, as well as Christmas Day and New Year ’s Eve, were uneventful in every year at least up to 1978. We know better though because on Dec. 31, 1986 the Hotel Sellen succumbs to fire. And, on Dec. 20, 1964 the worst house fire in Wayne County took the lives of seven people. This tragedy will go down in the annals of Palmyra history as one of its greatest tragedies. And, as another Christmas season comes around we remember them with reverence and deep sorrow.       
    This makes me think of a young man who came to Palmyra fresh from World War I in 1918 to get a job as the top cop in the village of Palmyra. On Christmas Eve he would dress up like Santa and visit children throughout the community giving presents. This fellow worked 24/7 but always made time for the kids. His name was Chief Henry Hilborn who died September 1923 at the hand of bootleggers. Dec. 26, 1889 an after Christmas play called, ”Shakespeare Water Cure” was presented at the Village Opera House. On Dec. 27, 1830 Canal Street was surveyed. In 1928 on Dec. 28, Governor Smith of New York state appointed Judge S. Nelson Sawyer to the N.Y.S. Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. Finally one year later on Dec. 30, 1929 the Wayne County Trust Company was chartered. That does it for this year. Happy holidays to you all and a very healthy New Year.   
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