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Valley Historical Society Presents Historic Singer Research

SINCLAIRVILLE — Norman Carlson of Busti, who is in charge of collections at the Fenton Museum in Jamestown, presented to member and guests of the Valley Historical Society research on a historic singer, and famed person Phillip Phillips.

The Valley Historical Society, which has a museum building in Sinclairville at the corner of Main and Lester Streets, is the official historical society for the Cassadaga Valley area. Formed in 1977, the historical society offers free tours of the museum on Sundays from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. except for Mother’s Day Sunday and Memorial Day weekend. Tour guides are always present.

Carlson said that Phillip Phillips was the most famous person from Cassadaga, and that his family was very instrumental in the development of Cassadaga. Phillips born in the year 1834 was in a family of 15 children. Phillips traveled the western states introducing “more modern music.” Phillips published a book “The American Songster” in 1868 which sold over a million copies.

During his lifetime, Phillips gave 4,500 song performances and donated much money to charity. In Cassadaga, his brother ran the hotel called the Temperance House, which was located where the present village park is now at the corner of route 60 and Maple Avenue. Phillips was given the name the “Singing Pilgrim” which was with him all through his life. This name was given to him for composing religious songs and singing tours. During the Civil War, Phillips worked to provide cheering and ministering to the injured in the camp hospitals. He developed the candle powered stereoscope, and in his singing tours, played the melodeon. Miss Jennie Carpenter of Cassadaga once owned the musical instrument used by Phillips. A very interesting talk was enjoyed by all.

President of the historical society, Larry Barmore, welcomed all to the meeting, and led the group in the Lord’s Prayer and the pledge of allegiance. Treasurer John Sipos read the minutes of the previous meeting and presented the financial report of the society. Member Victor Richardson presented a special open sign for use during open house days. Susan Sipos created a program of events and programs for the year, which is available to all.

Barmore said that the 21st annual history fair will be all day Saturday, Sept. 14, beginning at 7 a.m. and concluding with fireworks at 9 p.m. Member Charles Sylvester showed a sample of a historical society coffee mug which will be available for sale soon. Following the meeting, refreshments were served by Victor and Kay Richardson. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 4, in the museum at 7 p.m. with guest speaker Traci Langworthy on the subject “Women’s Sufferage in the Valley.”

Refreshments will be served by vice president Betty Jean Ridout. New members and guests are always welcome. For more information on the Valley Historical Society, write to P.O. Box 1045, Sinclairville, NY 14782.

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