Barrington group earns Potter Award

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Rich MacAlpine of the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society reads the certificate for the 2010 Arnold James Brown Potter Award which went to the Barrington History Group for their considerable accomplishments. BHG Chairman Sue Lange accepted the award on behalf of her organization.

The Barrington History Group  received the Arnold James Brown Potter Award Nov. 18 at the 150th Anniversary Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society.  

The award was presented in recognition of the group’s exemplary work in advancing the understanding of Yates County history and fostering pride in the Yates County community.  Sue Lange, Chairman of BHG, accepted the award from Rich McAlpine.

In March 2008 Sue Lange and Steve Knapp, former town of Barrington historian, met with Pam Miller, executive director of the Dundee Area Historical Society and Barrington’s town historian, to explore the possibility of forming a local history group for Barrington as a part of the Dundee Area Historical Society.

A group of 11 people met in April and the group was begun. At their first meeting they talked about projects to accomplish and began work.  Sue Lange was added to the Dundee Area Historical Society (DAHS) board as a representative of the group and became the group’s chairman.

Their first project was to research the history of the Old Barrington Baptist Cemetery.  With permission from the owners, the group was able to clean up the cemetery enough for the Dundee Area Historical Society to do a fall  cemetery tour.  At the same time members began photographically documenting Barrington buildings that can be viewed from public roads, thus recording today’s history for the future.

In 2009 the group began taking oral histories from Barrington’s senior citizens.  All recorded histories are saved digitally with copies made for the citizen, BHG and the DAHS’s archives.  Members attended a training on cleaning and restoring old graves.  While doing more work at the Old Cemetery they found additional hidden graves.  

Steve Knapp created a map of Barrington’s historic sites.  The map, along with several old photos and images from the 1857 atlas were framed and hung on the wall at the Barrington Town Hall.  In October the group conducted a narrated bus tour of Barrington’s historic sites for the period of 1785 to 1815. It included a booklet covering the history of that time period.  The verification process of the photographic log began.  BHG continued to learn about archival storage.  Pictures of the construction of Barrington’s town hall and the barn fire were obtained and scanned for the archives.  

2010 began with the formation of committees to research Barrington’s history from 1815 to 1865 based on the topic areas: Settlers, Religion, Education, Transportation, Economy and Government as well as Barrington during the Civil War.  

“Got Photos Day” was held in early June at the Olney Place.  Over 800 scans were made and duplicate scans given to  DAHS, the Yates County historian, and the Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society for their archives.   

In the spring of 2011 an album of some of the interesting scans will be available to view at the Olney Place on Route 54 in downtown Barrington.  

Oral histories continue to be taken and historic documents and photographs scanned.  Jerry Lange recently scanned an over 900 page unpublished manuscript of Arnold James Potter’s book on the Public Universal Friend for the Yates County historian.

The group is planning excursions to nearby historic sites and is working with  DAHS and the Dundee Library on plans for a program they call “Civil War Cinema.” They will show movies about the Civil War free of charge at the Dundee Library.  The first showing is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Group members have a true love of history and a drive to capture and preserve it for future generations.  Many are involved in other history groups.  Some have given history presentations as a part of DAHS’s dinner programs. 

Others are working with Fran Dumas creating books and tours on the history of Yates County.  

BHG holds monthly meetings at the Barrington Town Hall on the third Monday of the month at 7 p.m.   Anyone who shares the group’s mission of learning about and preserving the history of Barrington is welcome.   For more information contact Sue Lange at 315-536-2493.

Remembering those overseas