It’s All About History: Book Detailing Wyoming County’s Early Years Returns in Print | Featured story


WARSAW – As resources grow, “The History of Wyoming County, NY” has long been valued by historians and genealogists.

The book was written in 1880 and gives a detailed account of the founding of the county – the families, businesses and public figures who reigned in its early days. But it had been out of print for decades and good copies can be hard to come by.

A new edition of the book has been published by the State University of New York Press. It features an introduction by county historian Cynthia Amrhein and has been updated to remove typos and similar errors.

“Getting it in print was nearly impossible because the last printing when our office did it in 1990 was by Heart of the Lake Publishing, which is now out of business,” Amrhein said. “An original is usually worth a few hundred dollars in online auctions. I thought a reprint was a great idea.

Amrhein was approached by the State University of New York about a year ago regarding the book.

The Wyoming County Historian’s Office last published “History of Wyoming County, NY” in 1990 as a private press, she said. Although copies could be found for sale or as electronic files on the Internet, they were often missing pages, maps, and other important details.

The illustrations in the electronic copies were also not as crisp or detailed as what people would see in the originals.

The subject matter of the book includes chapters on the Iroquois Nations, Mary Jemison, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and similar details of Wyoming County history. Other chapters detail the people, businesses, and churches of the time.

Amrhein’s introductions include a description of how and why the county was formed: In 1841, traveling even short distances was time consuming, and a trip to Batavia for government or legal matters was exceptionally difficult for a farming community . A new county with its seat in a place like Warsaw was a practical solution. The release process took about a year, Amrhein said. Beyond writing the introduction, she assisted in editing and fact-checking the original material, usually basing it on the original sources.

“Furthermore, there was an error on page 80 of the original that has carried over the decades and was caused by misplaced punctuation,” she said. “What he did was create two different Civil War soldiers that didn’t exist and basically eliminate the one that did. I insisted on correcting this not to be overlooked.

Thus, by correcting the error, Armhein restored Alton P. Beardsley and Oscar Ayres, both of Sheldon, to the record.

The art has also been restored to its original sharpness.

“The book is not just for genealogists,” Amrhein said. “This can be a valuable tool for anyone researching its early days in the county. The book contains the history of churches, schools, cemeteries, town businesses, their prominent founders, and the names of many of the soldiers of civil war.

A cheaper softcover edition will be available in about six months.

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