Due to the pandemic, our work as a society had to switch gears. Sue Adsit, Our Town Historian, Sue Adsit, has had to reprint Volume I of Martinsburg The Way We Were. The price is $35 per book. There are copies of Volume II still available. Volume III is in the works. It is anticipated that this will be our last volume so, if you have a story, please contact Sue Adsit. Your story can be anything related to Martinsburg.
In August 2020 the town completed a beautiful road giving us easy access to the Staring Cemetery on Pansey Hill. The cemetery, once a part of a thriving little settlement, was deep in the woods and badly overgrown. Once the road was completed Laurie Widrick , Doug Rook and other volunteers cleared the overgrowth and brush from the cemetery. Sue Adsit, town historian, and Jim Lathan "red-flagged" all visible gravestones and gravesites. In September, Artisan Engraving, a restoration firm from Mannsville, went to the site to determine what needed to be done to complete the restoration project. The Martinsburg Historical Society and the Town of Martinsburg will share equally in the cost of restoration. Any private donations made to help fund the project will be matched by the historical society. Work is scheduled to begin here in the summer of 2022.
Although the West Martinsburg Town Hall is owned by the Town of Martinsburg, the historical society has an interest in the upkeep of this historic building. In the 1850s and 1860s, the building was an Advent Chruch. It was purchased in the late 1880s by the town and was then designated the West Martinsburg Town Hall. The building was painted in 2019 and this year the foundation will be re-pointed. The Preservation Society for the West Martinsburg Church annually hosts an ice cream social in this building. If you have never been in this building, you must go to the social and see the nearly original interior.
After the completion of the Ramos Road one-room school restoration, the society held an open house. The Doney family has been generous in their support of this project. The building has new lights thanks to one of the school's former students. A former substitute teacher came to the open house in 2019 and names of past teachers have been compiled thanks to old newspapers. We are pleased that there is so much interest in our little school. The society is now working on having the building placed on the New York State and National Registry of Historic Sites. We call this the Ramos Road School, however, when the school was in use it was known as Common School District #4 and also, the Loucks District School. Documents for the school have been saved back to 1839! This past year a book of school board minutes was given to the Martinsburg Historical Society that rangs from the 1840s to the 1890s. It has provided a wealth of infomration to us about the building. Our preliminary application to have the school placed on the National Historic Register has been sent to a reviewer in Albany. We are anxiously waiting to see if our application will move to the next step.
William Peebles was the oldest son of John and Deborah Safford Peebles. The family came to Martinsburg from Salem, NY upon the request of Walter Martin. Martin promised land in exchange for John Peebles opening a sawmill. John and Deborah had 10 living children raised in Martinsburg. William's wife, Betsey Conkey Peebles, died in 1844. In 1847 William remarried and moved to the south shore of Oneida Lake. The book is a compilation of 24 letters from his brothers, sisters, and children. The book provides a lot of insight into the family and events of the time. The book is avaialble for $12 in the town historian's office or at the West Martinsburg Mercantile.