Local author and historian Rich MacAlpine recently published his fifth book on Yates County History. Inspired by the extensive exhibit in the Yates County History Center’s Oliver House Museum on Yates County’s involvement in the First World War a century ago, Rich has chronicled that involvement in “Over There” and Over Here: Yates County In the Great War (1916-1919). 

The back cover reads: “Over 600 Yates County men served in the military during World War I. Thirty-four of them made the ultimate sacrifice. While the war raged in Europe, the folks back home experienced Liberty Bond drives, coal shortages, wheatless and meatless days, spy scares, and influenza. When it was over ‘Over There,’ the people over here, after supporting the war effort for 19 months, showed their appreciation to those who served.”

Starting in November of 1916 when the United States was trying to maintain neutrality toward the European war, each chapter is a bimonthly look at the progress of the war and how the local community reacted to it. The final chapter describes the enthusiastic Welcome Home celebration for local servicemen on the 4th of July 1919. Research for the book was based on hours of reading through local newspapers from the time, the Yates County Chronicle and the Penn Yan Democrat. The book contains 80 photos and other graphics, and has special chapters on Yates County’s Home Guard unit and the influenza epidemic in the fall of 1918. 

The book sells for $17.99 and can be found at the Yates County History Center’s Heritage Book & Gift Shop, Longs’ Cards and Books in Penn Yan, and the Crooked Lake Mercantile in Branchport. It is also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

MacAlpine is a retired American History teacher who enjoys researching how the events he taught about for 34 years impacted the local community. He has been active in the Yates County History Center for over 15 years, and currently serves as editor and chief writer for their bimonthly publication Yates Past. He has written for The Chronicle-Express, the Finger Lakes Times, and Life In the Finger Lakes magazine.

He has authored Yates County Chronicles, Stories from Yates Past, Admiral Frank H. Schofield: A Portrait in Letters of an American Navy Family (1886-1942), and co-authored with Charles R. Mitchell Steamboats on Keuka Lake.