Australians visit great great-grandfather’s homestead
About three and a half years ago, I received an email from Terry Patterson of Australia asking me if I had any information on a Hiram Sharp who was born in Clay, fought in the Patriot’s War in 1838, was captured by the British, eventually sent to the penal colony in Australia and never came back to America Hiram was his wife, Margaret’s, great great-grandfather. As historians are instructed not to spend their time doing genealogies, I sent him a list of the many places to contact to do his research and, of course, I always ask them to send me what they find for my archives. That was the beginning of correspondence back and forth. One day I asked him if he found a Ron Sharp in his research. Ron owned the property next to mine. The answer was yes. I had to get involved, so I started doing research from here. On October 7, they arrived at Hancock Airport for a 25 day stay. I made an agenda of places to visit.
The first day they had to see where I work so we came to the Town Hall and Terry said that now when he gets an email he will picture my office and where I am sending it from! While there I gave him a book on the Patriot’s War that he could not find in Australia that mentions Hiram and had to be ordered from Barnes and Noble. An old 1874 map in my office, shows the location of Hiram’s brother, Milo’s original homestead near Three Rivers Point. A photo had to be taken of that! Milo was 95 year old Ron’s great-grandfather. Naturally , they wanted to visit Ron. So we went to dinner at Pirate’s Cove because Ron’s wife, Jean, has a sister whose grandson runs the grill there and I knew she ate there and would give me their phone number and new address. Ron and Jean had sold their cape cod home, which Ron and his father, Athel, had built many years ago, to move to a patio house that is all on one floor. It was a wonderful reunion with stories from both countries. Jean presented a scrapbook for us to take photos of Milo and all his descendants (See photo of Sharps and Pattersons. L-R: Terry Sharp, Margaret Patterson, Terry Patterson and Jean Sharp).
We had to visit Pine Plains Cemetery to show the Pattersons where all the Sharp family are buried. Besides Ron’s father, Athel, grandfather, Milo and Great-grandfather, Milo and their wives, was Hiram’s mother Rebecca, who is Ron’s great great-grandmother and an 18-month old child, who would have been a sister Hiram never knew about. Another visit was to the location of Milo’s son Milo’s original homestead. Ron had grown up there before he married and built his own home. The original house had burnt down, so the new owners rebuilt on the original foundation. The present owners welcomed us in and Margaret even took photos of the old stone basement. They were happy to hear from Terry and me the history of their home and the original owners
ince we didn’t get to Gettysburg, it was wonderful that the speaker at the Clay Historical Association meeting, Sue Greenhagen, gave a presentation on the diary of a young Union soldier from the day he enlisted to the day he was killed. It gave the Australians a picture of the War and the soldiers who fought in it from a human standpoint. At the church Saturday morning breakfast, I introduced them to a genealogist who has also been researching Hiram and his family and especially Hiram’s father, Pilario, who disappeared from the Census after his wife, Rebecca, was buried in Pine Plains Cemetery in 1855. He sent me his latest research which I was able to copy for the Pattersons while they were still here.
(To be continued)
Dorothy Heller, Historian