Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The Franklin County Historical Society recently acquired some good 'ol heavy iron.  Nelson Fadden, of Malone, donated equipment used by his grandfathers in their respective professions. 

Part of the collection contains these shoe lasts and standard, which were used by Ezra Barkley of St. Regis Falls (the donor's maternal grandfather) who was at least a part-time cordwainer

Canadian Museum of Civilization's shoemaker's house exhibit
Colonial Williamsburg's shoemaker

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Using a Watch as a Compass

From an old, yellowed newspaper clipping discovered recently:

"Vacationists in the Finger Lake region of Central New York, once the home of the famous Six Nations of Iroquois Indians, have devised a scheme by which a person lost in the woods or along some unfamiliar stream, may get the right direction, if they have a watch, as certainly as if they carried a compass.  The plan is now being followed by many fishermen and hunters in the Adirondacks.  The method of watch direction is described as follows:
     'By pointing the hour hand of your watch to the sun, the south may be found exactly halfway between the hour and the numeral 12 on the dial.  For example suppose that it is 4 o'clock.  Point the hand indicating 4 to the sun and 2 on the dial is directly south.  If it is 8 o'clock point the hand indicating 8 to the sun and the numeral 10 on the watch points to the south.'"

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Arsenal Green in Malone

Arsenal Green, the swath of park between Main and Elm Streets in the center of the village of Malone, dates from the earliest years of Malone's settled history.  Set aside for the construction of an arsenal to help protect the area from a  British invasion during the War of 1812, it is now a public park with a Lions' Club gazebo and not currently dedicated to any military use. 

According to Seaver, the land for the arsenal and parade ground were deeded to New York State by Cone Andrus, one of Malone's first settlers. 
"An arsenal was built upon the arsenal lot as early as 1812.  It was a two story stone structure, and cost $5,000.  In February 1814, when General Wilkinson's evacuation of Malone occurred, after the retreat here in October 1813 from French Mills, (Fort Covington), following the American defeat at Chrystler's Field or Farm, Colonel Scott occupied the town for a part of two days with a British force of about a thousand men additional to a smaller number of militia and a body of Indian allies. These latter, with some of the more turbulent of the militia and regulars, were bent upon destroying the arsenal and actually set fire to it.  Representations to Colonel Scott by a number of the more prominent residents of Malone to the effect that destruction of the arsenal would he wanton and not within the practices sanctioned in civilized warfare, induced the British commandant to interfere, and the building was saved. When it was finally razed more than forty years later, a part of its timbers and stone were purchased by S.W. Gillett and were used in the erection of the dwelling house afterward owned and occupied by Mrs S.A. Beman. While the arsenal stood, it was used for housing cannon (mainly howitzers) and the accoutrements and equipment of the local State militia."  (Seaver: Historical Sketches of Franklin County, NY (1918)
In 1917, Arsenal Green was given by the state to the Village of Malone.