Canton- An unexpected treasure trove of historic documents found in a trunk in the attic of a Waddington house has been donated to the St. Lawrence County Historical Association. When Christopher Fay of Waddington passed away September 26, 2010 his family, friends and community mourned the death of a well known antique collector, historian and restaurant owner. But at that time nobody knew what was awaiting the local history community in that trunk in his attic.
As Blanchard’s Auction Service worked in the house to prepare items from the Fay Estate for three auctions, the first of which takes place on Saturday, January 29th at 10am in Potsdam, workers discovered a trunk in the attic that had not been looked at in years. Inside the trunk were various historic documents from the 1850’s-70’s regarding St. Lawrence County and other North Country history. Auctioneer Kip Blanchard and Chris Fay’s family decided that some of these documents should be donated to local area museums and historical associations. Carlton Stickney, President of the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, Sue Longshore, Collections Manager and Blanchard spent several days going through thousands of items to determine which documents should be donated to the SLCHA or other museums.
Sue Longshore, SLCHA Collection Manager, states that some of the materials donated to SLCHA include “documents relating to the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad, the St. Lawrence Mining Company and the Clifton Iron Company.“ According to Longshore the SLCHA, like most local museums and historical associations, “does not have a large budget and cannot afford to purchase local history items. The SLCHA relies on donations of items to its collection, such as this generous donation from the Fay Estate.”
The St. Lawrence County Historical Association at the Silas Wright House is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to 4 p.m., Friday noon to 8 p.m. Admission to the museum is free; admission to the archives is free for members and children, $2.50 for college students, and $5 for the general public. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association is located at 3 E. Main St., Canton. Parking is available in the back of the SLCHA, next to the museum’s main entrance.
The SLCHA Gift Shop is a great way to start your own collection of local history. Some of the items in the gift shop include: Manslaughter in Massena: July 1902, the Untold George D. LaFluer Story; the digitized book A History of the City of Ogdensburg, available on CD; and wooden miniatures of buildings from throughout St. Lawrence county, including Ft. La Presentation.
The St. Lawrence County Historical Association is a membership organization open to anyone interested in St. Lawrence County history. For more information, or to become a member, call the SLCHA at 315-386-8133 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Exhibits and programs are made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency. Visit the SLCHA’s website, www.slcha.org, for more information on St. Lawrence County history.