Colchester History Connections Newsletter

December 1, 2011                 Colchester Historical Society, Box 112, Downsville, New York 13755
Volume 1, Issue
1                   Preserving the history of Downsville, Corbett, Shinhopple, Horton and Cooks Falls

CHS Makes Strides
We have had a busy year!  Our Historical Society Room in the basement level of Colchester Town Hall has been re-organized; cleaned and new displays have been created to showcase the wonderful information and artifacts from our collections.  Members have volunteered their time to give CHS a whole new look.  This has been accomplished through their commitments to monthly work bees.  We hope that you will visit us and we know you will be pleased with our progress.  The Historical Society Room is open the third Saturday of each month from 11 to 3 PM and also by appointment.  Please call our Town Historian, Kay Parisi-Hampel at 607-363-7303 for more information.

Open House
We had a very successful Open House in May with displays that featured the 36 One Room School Houses in Colchester and a special display to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  Over three hundred and sixty men from Colchester served in the Civil War.  A catalog of information about our Civil War veterans has been created using Muster Rolls, Draft, and Pension and GAR records.  This will be a helpful resource for researchers and for our community members who would like to research their ancestors who served in this conflict.  The Civil War display will be on exhibit on the main floor of the Town Hall until the end of January 2012; please stop by and take a look.

Maple Leaf Festival
The October Maple Leaf Festival drew crowds around our table at the Downsville Fire Hall.  This Festival gave us an opportunity to bring part of our photograph and postcard collection to share with the community.  People gathered around our screen which featured vintage photographs from all our villages plus albums of photographs showing the various floods from 1897 to 2011 and a large collection of photographs that documented the construction of the Pepacton Reservoir.

Family History Detectives
Family genealogy continues to be very popular.  Town Historian, Kay Parisi-Hampel and our members have helped over fifty people play “History Detectives”, using our collections to track down information to answer questions on their family and our town history.  Questions come to us from our website ( and from direct contact with the Town Historian.  These requests come from all over the United States and this year we have also had visitors from Florida, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, New Jersey, California and Puerto Rico.  These visitors have stayed in local motels and B & B’s and has supported our local economy while enjoying their historical exploration vacations.  We have enjoyed meeting these visitors and appreciated their enthusiasm for our collections and their generous sharing of their research which we can add to our files.

       Florida visitor Ginger Downs researching the Downs  Family                             The Dooley’s from California research the Liddle family history.

We appreciate the generous donations this year of the papers from the estate of Tom and Jane Flannery; a Downs House Hotel Register from 1863-64 a gift from Jody Elmore and the sharing of photographs from the Klindts Garage, Airport and the 1940 flood, as well as D&E Railroad items from Gary Klindt’s collection.  Do you have family papers, photographs, deeds or other items from Colchester that you would be willing to share?  We have purchased a hand-held scanner that can scan items that you want to keep in your family archives.  Please consider donating items to our Society and we will preserve them for future generations.

Members Work
This year we have cataloged our large photograph and postcard collections of over 500 images into subject albums and this provides a visual history of our villages and events of our town.  We continue to add to our genealogy files and our obituary files are being expanded and updated.  Our visitors have found these files to be a very valuable resource for their research.  Our scrapbook collection of Town history articles has been separated and preserved and arranged by subjects. 
Our on-going projects for the next year will be the revision of our By-Laws, creation of historical signs to be placed throughout our villages, updating our website, the creation of an Emergency Management Plan; researching specific topics about Colchester and collecting, cataloging and preservation of Colchester’s histor

Join Us
January 18 and February 15, 2012 Work Bees starting at 10 AM--CHS Room basement of Town Hall.

            March 27, 2012 at 10 A.M.                     April 24, 2012 at 7 P.M.                         May 29, 2012 at 10 A.M.
            June 26, 2012 at 7 P.M.                        July 31, 2012 at 10 A.M.                         August 28, 2012 at 7 P.M.
           September 25, 2012 at 10 A.M.              October 30, 2012 at 7 P.M.                    November 27, 2012 at 10 A.M.
                                                                        December 18, 2012 at 10 A.M.           


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