On a cloudy day this past July I found myself on a film shoot at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. As I made my way back to the car along a tree-lined street only a block from the Hall of Fame, I took a planned detour into a small inconspicuous cemetery. For most of the morning throngs of tourists and a cacophony of noise had surrounded me. However, within the peaceful grounds of Christ Church Episcopal Cemetery, my only companions were a few of Cooperstown’s more important historical figures. The quaint cemetery is the final resting place of both William Cooper and his son James Fenimore Cooper.
What happened to the British Loyalists after the Revolutionary War? That’s the question NPR’s Rachel Martin set out to answer when she spoke with Maya Jasanoff, a professor of history at Harvard University. The short answer: Nothing good. According to the story, somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of people in the American colonies during the Revolution remained loyal to England. During the war those loyalists were often subjected to harassment, beatings, and on some occasions tarring and feathering (If you’ve seen the HBO series John Adams you know how unpleasant this could be).
In 1792, Asa Bement, Jr., a 28-year old blacksmith and Revolutionary War veteran traveled from Massachusetts to claim his new homestead along Owego Creek in Newark Valley. As one of the area’s earliest settlers, Bement worked hard to clear the untamed land and build a log home for his family. Over the years the family expanded the farm by enlarging the house, and building a sawmill, gristmill, and blacksmith shop on the property. The farm would become one of the most prosperous in the area, and Asa Bement, his family and their farmstead would play a significant role in the history of Tioga County. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MKAjH9oMNU
One hundred years later William Billings gained possession of the property and in 1977 his granddaughter deeded the house and property to the Newark Valley Historical Society.
Located in Corning, the Benjamin Patterson Inn once gave weary travelers on New York’s frontier a comfortable place to rest and relax. Built in 1796 by Benjamin and Sarah Patterson, the inn sat along the old Williamson Road, now US Route 15, and the Chemung River. These two arteries of travel brought countless visitors to the Patterson’s Inn. However, during the 20th century the inn slowly fell into disrepair. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl9F5EVnFkE
In 1976, the Corning Painted Post Historical Society rescued the former inn and restored it to its former colonial glory, including full period furniture and belongings.
Between the months of July and August, in the town of Prattsburgh in Steuben County, travelers can visit this small but historically important home. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVtGc-TRfVs
In 1808, Judge Stephen Prentiss and his wife welcomed their new daughter Narcissa into this very house. As a young child growing up during the Second Great Awakening, Narcissa showed an early interest in missionary work. In 1836, she married Dr. Marcus Whitman, and along with a group of others, the couple set off for what would become the state of Washington. Narcissa was one of the first two European-American women to cross the Rockies.