MacAlpine to present ‘Stories from Yates Past’ July 31

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Rich MacAlpine, a member of the Dundee Area Historical Society, will present a program for the Society titled, “Stories From Yates Past.”

The program highlights many of the topics included in his two books — Yates County Chronicles and Stories from Yates Past. The program will be held on July 31 at the Dundee American Legion, 10 Spring St. Dundee. Social hour will be at 5:30, dinner at 6 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m. The cost is $12 for members and $16 for non-members. A cash bar is available. Please call the Dundee Area Historical Society to make reservation by Friday, July 27 . Signed copies of his books will be available for sale after the program.

MacAlpine, of Penn Yan, retired after a 34-year career of teaching high school American History in Oneida. However, his roots run deep in Yates County. His great-great-great grandfather bought a farm in the town of Starkey in 1838 after bringing his family from eastern New York on the Erie Canal. Three more generations of the MacAlpine family were raised on that farm until it was sold out of the family in 1917.

In retirement, Rich has become involved in the Yates County History Center, serving in several capacities. Since 2008, he has been the editor of Yates Past, the bimonthly publication of the Yates County History Center. He is also its chief writer, having researched and written over 150 articles. Sixty-two of those articles have been published in two companion books - Yates County Chronicles and Stories from Yates Past. For inclusion in those books, Rich picked the stories that were the most fun to research and on which he received the most feedback. They include stories of men who helped make Yates County what it is today, scoundrels, events that shaped the community, and how major national events impacted Yates County. There are also high-interest stories on Indian Pines, the KKK of the 1920s, steamboats, the Penn Yan to Branchport trolley, jail breaks, and many more.

Rich has written other books on local history. Admiral Frank H. Schofield: A Portrait In Letters of An American Navy Family (1886–1942) is about Yates County’s Admiral who came off the tenant farms of Jerusalem and Benton and went on to become Commander-in-Chief of the entire American fleet. The book also chronicles his loving and supportive Penn Yan family. In 2015, Rich co-authored a book with Chuck Mitchell titled “Steamboats On Keuka Lake” using information that they had gathered after years of narrating historic tours on Keuka Lake. It includes many great photos of the era from the History Center’s collection. His latest book is coming out later this summer - “Over There” and Over Here: Yates County in the Great War (1916–1919) - inspired by the major World War I exhibit now in the Oliver House Museum.