Former county seat returns to Elizabethtown

MINERVA Sitting in the corner of the Essex County board of supervisors chamber, a battered chair looks out of place but in fact, its come back to where it started.

A recently discovered chair dating back to the early twentieth century serves as a link to the boards past. The chair was used as the board chairmans seat for many years. If county officials have their way, the chair may once again hold a central place.

County Clerk Joseph Provoncha, a local history aficionado, helped locate the chair. The chair was found in a barn belonging to David McNally, grandson of former Minerva Supervisor Francis Donnelly. Donnelly, who died in 1980, still holds the county record for longest-serving member of the board of supervisors. He started in 1934, and held the position as Minervas representative until his death.

Provoncha was unsure of how the chair came to Minerva, but guessed the seat had been given to Donnelly for his service. He pointed out pictures of former boards, where the elegant black seat was easily recognizable.

Along with the chair, Provoncha has collected other memorabilia and photos relating to Donnellys time on the board.

What I hope to do is create a display, and hopefully dedicate the chair to Francis (Donnelly), said Provoncha.

Board Chairman Noel Merrihew made a motion to reupholster the chair at Julys regular meeting, so it could one day be used again. The motioned was approved unanimously.

Provoncha planned to start researching prices to see if the project was feasible.

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