I want to tell you about some great books I discovered at the Davenport
Historical Society: THE FERGUSON-JAYNE PAPERS. What a pleasant surprise
I had when I realized the "papers" are not a bunch of stuffy old
documents but a fascinating collection of letters and diaries picturing
daily life in Delaware County, New York City and Orange, NJ, spanning
112 years! The Society published this 2-volume set in 1981 so I'm sure
many of you are as unaware of them as I was and might want to purchase
them. They are case bound in attractive library binding.
The inspiration for publishing The Ferguson-Jayne Papers came when the
Society was given over 750 family letters and two diaries dating from
1826 to 1938 by Clarence G. Breckenridge, a great-grandson of Walter P.
& Eleanor (Ferguson) Jayne. A grant from the O'Connor Foundation funded
the work of transcription, typing, indexing and printing (by Heart of
the Lakes Publishing, Interlaken, NY) which took members four years to
Much of the correspondence concerns life at the Fergusonville Academy
and includes tales about classes, religious life and the inevitable (and
humorous) troubles the students got into and out of. While these depict
rural life, the letters from Orange, NJ, give a vivid description of
urban life. Intermingled with accounts of local events are first hand
stories about national events, such as Abraham Lincoln's election and
assassination, the laying of the trans-Atlantic cable and the San
Francisco Earthquake of 1906. A diary of Samuel F. Jayne tells of his
work with the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. There are
1,332 pages! Talk about summer reading!
If you would like a set of these books, the cost is $35.00 + $3.50
shipping. You may mail your order to my attention at the Davenport
Historical Society, PO Box 88, Davenport Center, NY 13751.
Thanks for reading this rather long letter. Rose Beers