Friday 8/29/14: Establishing Connections & Resources

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First off, I want to share a picture of the Mesier Homestead. Reading over my first post I realized a major blunder of mine – I didn’t include a picture of the house itself! I want you all to see it: mesierThe picture does not do the house justice – come visit the park sometime! The homestead, and the park surrounding it, is so charming. I also wanted to include a post card drawing that’s a little more dated: 4174445367_c387845c57_oI’m not sure when this this was drawn; definitely after 1891 when the house was sold. I’m tempted to say that this may closely resemble what the home looked like when the Mesiers actually occupied it. I’ll have to ask about this.

Now that you know what the home looks like, I can rest assured!

Today I was at the homestead for about three hours and spend about half that time further looking for things for the Fall Festival. One man, I forget his name, complied from the 1920s a whole lot of newspaper clippings from the town’s local paper. The stories he clipped where so cool – they consisted of civil disturbances, robberies, murders, runaways, etc. But I have to say my favorite clipping was a short two sentence blurb about the over night frost killing any flowers left outside and “making ill” the local farmer’s strawberry crops. Apparently a very note-worthy story! 

Jackie, a volunteer archivist with the society, and I talked about the style of journalism in the past and we both agree it is interesting the way they wrote. They wrote in a very colorfully, very opinionated, and the way in which the articles are written feels intimate, and almost reads as if the author were sharing with you a juicy bit of gossip. It’s extremely fun to read, and sometimes it’s shocking! I want to share some here, and Monday when I go back to the homestead I’ll make a note to take some pictures. 

I spent the rest of my time there today making a few calls. I wanted to get in contact with the Archives & Special Collections at Marist because Beth had already found some old letters and documents referring to the Mesiers there and supposedly there’s a lot there on the Mesier and Reese Family (descendants of the Mesiers). So I called John Ansley, the archive’s specialist there, and made an appointment to go there on the 10th of September, which I am so, so, so excited for. 

I also called Judy Capruso, archivist at the local history room at SUNY Ulster. I asked if maybe, by chance, there is something (anything!) regarding the Mesier’s in their collections. She agreed to take a look and will let me know if she finds anything. I’ve worked with Judy before on a few other local history projects (Ulster County history) and she is awesome and amazingly helpful; I’m happy to have contacted her again for some history sleuth work!

Lastly, I called Vassar’s College, which I was told had a historical archive in their library. The specialist there, Dean Rogers, informed me that they mostly only collect histories regarding students and staff of the college, and it’s unlikely they have anything relative to the project if none of the Mesiers (or Reeses) attended the college. Nonetheless, he agreed to take a look for me. 

My goal is to get in contact with anyone/organization who might have information for me about the Mesiers. I want to find out about NYC Historical Societies and see if I can find some more clues about the first Mesiers of the Dutch Settlement in Manhattan. That would be awesome. 

Until Monday! (I don’t even want to wait!)

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