Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Gale's of Galesville

My personal & professional experience with other public historians has been one of generosity. If one of us comes across a document or artifact that does not fit with our collections, we do a little research & find out where it might belong, then we send a letter of inquiry to see if anyone wants the item. If it is wanted, we ship it out for free with the idea we will pay it forward to the next public historian.

AB Sherman's account book for John Gale's estate

The Town of Skaneateles Historian, Elizabeth Battle & I had just such an exchange in 2009-10. Elizabeth had in her office a letter & account book that did not belong in Skaneateles. The letter is dated March 9, 1839 & is addressed to "Mr A.B Sherman P.M. Galesville Washington Co N.Y." It is from  F.R. & C.M. Townsend of Troy. The account book belonged to AB Sherman regarding the late John Gale's estate.

When I received the letter I thought, "Galesville? Of course if belongs here." With just a bit of searching I was able to find a file on the Gale's in the family name files here in my office. What I did not expect to find were photographs. The images are photos of paintings of the Gale family including Amander Bryant Sherman & Caroline Matilda Gale. The photos came from a Gale ancestor in California who was in contact with former Town of Greenwich Historian, Jane Haverly from 1975-78.

Caroline Matilda b. September 17, 1818, was a daughter of John Gale, founder of Galesville (now Middle Falls). Caroline married Francis R. Townsend of Troy, NY. Caroline's sister Mary Elizabeth married Dr. John E. Newcomb of Whitehall, NY. The mother of the two girls was Remember Mary Brown Sherman. A.B. Sherman was her son from a previous marriage (Brown being her maiden name). So, A.B. was John Gale's step-son &, more than likely, executor to his estate.

detail of letter to Sherman from his half-sister Caroline & her husband
 So, I must thank Elizabeth Battle for taking the extra time to find out where two random items in her office belonged. Thanks to her generosity, I now have a better idea of the Gale-Sherman family here in Greenwich.

Oh, you may be wondering what the P.M. stood for after AB Sherman's name. He was the first post master of Galesville/ Middle Falls.

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