I was honored when I was asked to author essays on the Ilion Richardson sisters for "Women Belong in History Books - Volume II". By donating the books to the High School Library, I hope the lives of these outstanding women will inspire another generation of young Ilion female students. The two volumes feature the following Ilion alumni and staff:
- Loretta O. Douglas - Ilion High School Principal - 1906-1920 - Volume I
- Harriet E. Russell - Member of the first graduating class in 1873 - Volume I
- Carrie Richardson - Ilion Academy Valedictorian 1878 - Volume II
- Jennie Richardson MD. - Ilion Academy 1878 - Volume II
- Lilian Richardson Shepherd - Ilion Academy 1885 - Volume II
- Pearle Singer Nathan - Ilion High School 1930 - Volume II
The new book is now available for purchase of $25.00 at the following locations: Herkimer County Historical Society, Ace of Diamonds Mine, Adirondack Art and Framing, Adirondack Reader, Dolgeville-Manheim Historical Society, Gansevoort House Books, Gems Along the Mohawk, Munson Williams Proctor Institute, Newport History Center, North Country Books, Old Forge Hardware, Oneida County Historical Society, Town of Paris Historical Society, Rome Historical Society, Town of Webb Historical Association, and West Winfield Library. For more information, call 866-6413. Jane Spellman www.facebook.com/jane.spellman.52
For those of us who grew up in Ilion, the Richardson family home has been a landmark at the corner of Barringer Road and West Main Street. The home has been the subject of ghost stories for many, many years. The house is listed on the National Historic Registry and was a Bed and Breakfast Inn known as Chesham Place in the 1980,1990s and 2000s. At that time, it was owned and operated by Robert and Ann Dreizler (now both deceased). Legend has it that Dr. Jennie Richardson is the friendly ghost who roams the house. The house is privately owned today. Former Whitesboro Asst. School Superintendent, Colin Shepherd, grew up in the house and is also a 1965 Ilion Alumnus. Colin provided the beautiful photograph of the house that appears in the book.
Mrs. Harriet Richardson, mother of Carrie, Jennie and Lilian donated the Armory Hill Cemetery, Richardson Memorial Chapel, in memory of her husband, Remington Attorney, Thomas Richardson. She was the first citizen placed in the vault after it had been presented to the village. She died in January 1906. The Ilion Citzen reported the following:
Mrs. Richardson has been in failing health for some time but not more so than many women of her age; and her death following an asthmatic attack which induced heart trouble was a shock to all. She had a premonition that she would be the first to be carried into the new chapel and she urged its early completion; as a matter of fact she was the first to be taken there after its formal presentation to the village. She was not able to be present to hear the appreciative words with which her princely gift was received or to meet the many who would have been glad to express to her in words their appreciation of her gift; but her gift will endure forever; to the end of time "this, which she hath done will be spoken of her and during all the years rich and poor, high and low, good and bad, entering this chapel through the door of grief which knows no difference in conditions of life, will bless her for the gift of her love and the beautiful place where they may leave their dead.