About the Author

I grew up with my mother’s stories about our heritage…told in a caddywampus fashion usually while we were surrounded by boxes of photos and memorabilia…and always ending with the affirming statement that we came from “good pioneer stock”.    A few years ago I hauled out the old family bible that belonged to my great grandparents along with the old clippings and photos that had been tucked away in odd boxes and began the business of building the family history.   Little did I know with that simple gesture that I would begin a journey that would reveal centuries of unforgettable characters and their times.

Over the course of research…trudging through old pioneer cemeteries and pouring over archival records and networking with other genealogists and historians…I have not only built the family tree, but found a group of kindred spirits whom I call STCDNALFR (BFF is for Paris Hilton)…my text shorthand for shirt tail cousin- DNA lovin’- family researcher.  We have had some interesting exchanges and while we spend our time  in the dust of yesteryear, it’s good to hang out with living persons.

I have spent the last few years in email mode…sending research and stories to my family and fellow researchers…and receiving wonderful research and a story or two in return…and promising to establish this blog.  And so it is time.  Time to share the stories that come about from endless hours of reading old newspapers, reading archival documents,  delving in family lore and local history and  Sunday afternoons with my mother and her treasures.  Time to share the notable characters that are not profiled in text books or whose statue stands in a city park.  Time to share the characters who shaped their times and our future.  These are their stories.


Deborah Martin-PlughDeborah Martin-Plugh

Author, Historian and Genealogical Researcher



38 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Read the feature about the Wookeys and Woodchucks, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Reminded me of the trials and tribulations of my own Sevier clan fresh from Somerset in England in the 1880’s set to plow the fields around Marcellus and nearby townships, and like the Bobbetts, raise families and prosper. Keep up the good work Deb. Don Sevier,

  2. Thats Dave on the right and me on the left, and Mom in the middle Deborah Jane Purdy-Martin. On the right is dad Albert Ernest, his uncle George Martin, and dads aunt …..Jennings.

  3. I couldn’t remember her first name, but I barely remember her. She was at Grandma’s Palmer’s cottage went ever we went there. Gram had a row boat, and someone always took us out for a spin. I think the time period was the late 1930s and they were on Cayuga lake. Gram moved a lot in those days I think her next house was on Ross St on the east side of Auburn. BTW, I have mom’s key to the city of Auburn. When you come up I’ll give it to you.

  4. Deborah: I have come to your story as I am chasing my direct ancestor James Otto. 1770 – 1855 Lyons New York. ( formerly Wilkes-Barre PA Wyoming Valley). The trail of my direct family line comes to an end at his life. I found that James had a brother-in-law. One Mr. Adam Learn ( Galen, NY ) from Tannersville, PA. So I began looking for clues to see if Adam’s wife was James Otto’s sister.

    I have found that even the dead ends lead me to new discoveries about life in the new frontier. Johannes Learned was on the cutting edge of our countries expansion. I have learned about surveyors, land companies, presidents, generals and farmers.

    The area around Wilkes-Barre seems to yield no Otto families….but the area around Tannersville has many. I have found many common links between people who passed thru Learn’s Tavern. But I have not found a solid link to my known Otto family members. I did find interesting stories and facts. And I found your wonderful writing style. Thanks for sharing your stories. People matter, family ties matter. Chasing family ties, teaches history in a way that can not be compared to what we learned in school.

  5. I would love to chat with you about Masonic information. Please email me when you get a chance. I love your work! Thank you for sharing.
    Lisa Johnson

  6. Hi, I was doing some family history research and came across your article on the Davenport Home for Girls. I believe that my great great grandma Gertrude Buckley was sent here for a while in her childhood along with her older sister. Do you know if there is any way to get records from the Davenport Home for Girls? Thanks for sharing your story

  7. Dear Deborah, I just came across your blog while doing a search for information on Levi Greene. I grew up in Michigan where you know part of the family moved in the 1830s, but after living in Rochester, NY for several years I got a hold of Mary Shaw Green’s book and was shocked to realize my 3 times great grandfather had been born no more than a 20 minute drive from where I am now. I look forward to exploring other entries!

    Andrew Barnhart

    • Have great information on Levi. I grew up along Cayuga Lake and his brother, Henry Eugene, is my maternal great great grandfather. Happy to share what I have with you! Their father and mother David Curtis and Sophia Greene are buried in Livonia and their monuments are remarkably in pristine condition.


    • I just realized our Captain Levi Greene who migrated to Michigan had one child and his daughter had one daughter who never married. I know their is another Levi Curtis that was in the Rochester area…but I don’t have anything on him. I do have MSG’s book also.

  8. Deborah, I wanted to introduce myself. I am Helen Acey Meyer. My father was Robert John Acey, and my grandparents were John and Laura Acey. I loved reading about my grandmother, Laura Martin Acey and her relatives. My husband has also been working on our ancestry. We would like to share what we have with you as well.

  9. Just found your blog and wanted to add to the James Stuart Eldridge story. My father Converse Eldridge Gaspard donated the writing of Dr. James Stuart Eldridge from his first voyage to Japan to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. It is noted for it’s preservation of old documents. He received them from his Father Irving Gaspard who received them from his mother Lillie Eldridge Gaspard who received them from her mother Martha Stuart Mitchell Eldridge. There were botanical drawings and illustrations. C.J.T.Gaspard

    • Thank you so much for the information! I work with my ‘cousins’ who are the direct descendants of Dr. Eldridge and his wife Frank (Frances) Heath and they have many of his lovely Asian artifacts and family papers. I will definitely let them know abut the library. I am related to Dr. Eldridge’s wife. Frank is my great grandmother’s first cousin.

      Thanks again!


  10. Just out of interest I can find no records of Levi Eldridge’s first wife Mary Crowley. Do your relatives have any anectdotal information about her, if she was born in Cape May or from Ireland?. There is one Mary Crowley who was from Ireland and died at age 69 in the New Jersey Insane Asylum at age 64 after being there 24 years. Thanks. C

  11. Thanks glad not to be related to anyone documented as “Insane” 😉 from the death records of New Jersey. One fellow on ancestry.com put in his tree for Mary Crowley with Levi Eldridge that she dies in “Insam”, that old copperplate handwriting writing is hard to decipher, but it was a death Certificate with the city where the current New Jersey State Mental Health Hospital is. CG

    • I cringe at the bad data on ancestry.com! People just click away like they are buying doughnuts. Good to do your OWN research and take some with a grain of salt. Trouble is…it is ‘out there’ for others to perpetuate…ah well.

  12. Hey cousin Deborah,

    It’s nice always to come across a Johnson. (Captain) Edward Johnson my namesake great(9)-grandfather.

    Thanks for that dear write up.

  13. This may be of interest:

    “Our Voices, Our Town/A History of New London, New Hampshire/1950-2000” by Ann Page Stecker, 2000:

    990. ENSOR, JOHN S. contract manager b Baltimore, MD 2 Nov 1901; d NL 5 Sep 1990. Ch of John Stokes & Irma (Risley) Ensor. Res NL 1972-90. Came to NL from Waterbury, CT. E.E. Cornell U. ’24. Conservation Comm. (Chair. 1974-76). Member: So. Congregational Church; Country Squires; Appalachian Mtn. Club. m 2 times: (1) Cortland, NY 1927 Onnalee Hoaglund of Cortland (d 1956); (2) Hartford, CT 28 Jun 1958 Margaret Louise (Lorenz) Clark (991). John & Onnalee Had 1 ch: Joan Hoaglund b Baltimore 15 Feb 1929; housewife; U. of Connecticut ’52; m Charles J. Katan; now res W. Granby, CT.

  14. I hope I meet you! My ancestors were David Sands Titus and Julia Ann Coapland. Their
    daughter, Josephine Victoria Titus Shank was my great great grandmother. I have been tracing my Quaker lines…and have greatly enjoyed reading some of your work. I live in
    Aurora, NY, obviously not far from where many of our “old family” came in the early 1800s.

    Claire Morehouse

    • I come back to the central NY area each year to research. I have some nice work done on the Titus line through Quaker history and the Quaker records archived at Swarthmore University…just a short drive from me. I also have some interesting background work in Dutchess County. Would be fun to meet you!

  15. Hello Deborah. I enjoy your story on the Burtis Opera House more each time I read it. What a time, so different than today, but not really. Do you have anything on the Burtis Auditorium you would like to post? Thanks for sharing.

  16. BTW I came across a bit of information about the Palace Theater on Market St in Auburn, N.Y. run by a Jack Boone in 1900. Never heard of it before. Not too far away from the Opera House, it may have been a competitor.

  17. Hello Deborah! You wrote about John Cary, the Plymouth Pilgrim, whom I am also a descendent of through Joseph “Deacon” Cary. Joseph is also my 7th Great Grandfather. Thank you for your writings…Timothy Cary

  18. I am Belle Eigabrodt’s granddaughter. My name is Kathryn Ryder Hakes. I’m 84, wll, and living in Fayetteville, NY. Very interested in Ryder-Eigabrodt history.

    • Hello, Kathryn! You would be my 4th cousin 1x removed, if Belle and Henry Deloss Ryder are your grandparents. Belle’s parents- David P. Eigabrodt and Sarah Elizabeth Thresher. Sarah is my 1st cousin 4x removed. Sarah’s parents -James Thresher and Almena Smith. Almena is the sister of my 3x great grandmother, Dorothy “Dolly” Smith, wife of John Martin of Cazenovia. Through John Martin we are descendants of the Billingtons-Mayflower passengers.

  19. Hi Deborah! In the 1900 Directory for the Order of the Sons of St. George, does it mention a lodge at Orange, New Jersey? If so, I would be so grateful if you could share any information that it provides about that lodge, in particular any names or the address of the lodge. Thank you for your time!

    • I don’t have any information on Orange, New Jersey, but I do know that the Trenton Historical Society has some records. Perhaps they can help you.


      The American Order, Sons of St. George, has three lodges and two auxiliaries in Trenton.

      The lodges are Sir Charles Napier No. 33, organized March 5, 1878; Royal Oak No. 36, organized September 5, 1878; and Chatham No. 136, formed November 28, 1883.

      The Auxiliary of Royal Oak Lodge was formed February 8, 1917, and that of Chatham was formed in 1927.

      Trenton Lodge No. 270, Order of Daughters of St. George, was instituted April 8, 1926. There were sixty-nine charter members.

  20. Your mention of the accident at Beacon Milling brought back memories of when I worked there when I, too, was 17. It was a dangerous place. The other intern, Don Horn, was killed doing something I had just done a few days before. My dad worked there from the late 40s thru its closing in 1965. If you would like to hear more about BMCo, please drop me an email.

  21. Deborah Martin-Plugh my name is Keith Smalley. My mother was Elinor Learn Smalley which makes me a descendent of John Learn. I really enjoyed reading the information you wrote about the Learn Massacre.

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