Monday, April 23, 2012


Gail Merian

On Thursday April 19,2012 there was a presentation showing various types and styles of Native American dolls at the Chenango County Historical Society meeting.  We explored a bit of American history and we found that dolls were more than playthings and more than objects that collected dust.

Did you ever think about getting into a time capsule and going back through time?  Doll collecting can do this for you.  Whether you collect dolls from the Victorian age or action figures of the 20th and 21st century, one can glean information from a bygone era.   Investigate dolls and become involved not only in history but in geography, ethnology, anthropology, crafts, and interacting with other collectors.

People collect dolls for various reasons.  Reasons include souvenirs from vacation, dolls for investment, or because a particular doll struck their fancy.

Native American lore and culture have fascinated people for years, so collecting Native American dolls evolved from this.   Media has portrayed Native Americans as savages, a dying and noble race, romantic and in tune with the environment.  As such, when Disney promoted the film Pocahontas, Pocahontas dolls became popular.  Native American dolls also became popular after the movies Dances with Wolves, Windtalker, and The Last of the Mohicans.

Native American dolls can also be subdivided into categories such as souvenir dolls, handmade dolls, native crafted dolls, action figures and dolls by a particular company.

Each category has a story.  Some Native American dolls speak of religion and teaching, such as the Kachina dolls, some tell of tribal tradition and some tell of historical progression of a company.

All this and more were covered during the presentation.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Samaras under the large black ash on the south east corner of Johnson Street and Elmer Jackson Road were found on Sunday 15 April 2012, during a Bullthistle Hike in the Pharsalia Wildlife Management Area.  For many years I have been looking for them and finally found some, confirming the identification of this tree.  I measured it with my arms at about 5.5 feet circumference (1.75 feet diameter).  It is the largest found so far but is dying on its north side.

Photo by Jonathan Bogardus.

The dugout canoe in the Chenango County Museum in Norwich was made of black ash and is about 2 feet in diameter and was dated at 1720-25 AD.  This canoe was found by Dave Walker in 1946 in Deer Pond, about 3 miles southwest. 

For more information, check posts on this blog for 11 July 2011 and 16 August 2011.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Donald A. Windsor

The famous White Site (1) is on Johnson Creek, about 3.7 miles (as the creek flows) from the Chenango River (2).  Surely the residents of that site had traversed the entire stretch of the Johnson Creek.  In fact, the "Iroquois Trail" (now County Road 33 + White Store Road) ran between the Chenango River and the Unadilla (= Tianaderha) River.  Its western terminus was near this confluence (3). 

I have been trying to explore the confluence for several years.  However, it was always too wet.  Fortunately, this spring has been dry and so, on 3 April 2012, I ventured over and was able to walk around in it.

The confluence is not a single stream emptying into the river.  Johnson Creek forms a fan of small streams covering about a quarter mile of riverfront.  The entire riverside area is a wetland.  Some of the larger washouts indicate that several feet of mud covers whatever is under it.  It does not look like any place that I would pitch a tent. 

But lo, looking southeasterly a veritable peninsula stretches out perhaps a furlong from the higher spot the barn and house are on.  This would be the site for a dig.  It is very close to what I think is The Castle (4).

The Johnson Creek has been controlled in the historic past to try to confine it within artificial berms.  The futility of this approach is seen in the field adjacent to the creek.  Stones have repeatedly been sprawled over the field by the rushing waters.  One of these washouts stretches for about 300 feet.

References cited:

1.  Whitney, Theodore ; Gibson, Stanford.  The White Site, Nbn 2-3 [Bulletin]   Chenango Chapter NYSAA 1987 Aug; 22(2): x-21+plates 1-10.
2.  USGS Topographic 7.5 minute maps Norwich and Holmesville, 1943.
3.  Survey map of the Twenty Townships. 1789.
4.  Clark, Hiram C.  History of Chenango County ... Norwich, NY: Thompson & Pratt. 1850. Page 8