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Letters give glimpse into Moriah’s past

Moriah Reflections

The following are letters written by Ellen D. Witherbee Atwell in 1899 and 1900 to her nephew Tyler Reed Woodbridge of Victor, Colo. She was age 64 at that time. She tells of her family life, traditions, and some facts of history relating to the Witherbee family, handed down by her parents and grandparents, written at Port Henry.

These letters were sent to me from Bill Knowlton of Liverpool in 2002. Ellen Atwell was his great aunt.

Epilogue to Aunt Ell’s Letters by Milley Adams Witherbee Milliken-Oct. 1953, Granddaughter of Thomas & Milley Adams Weatherby”

Thomas Francis Witherbee) He enlisted in the Civil War at a very young age and was a member of the Band of the 30 PA Inf. Regiment under the leadership of one Dave Morgan of Vergennes, Vermont. Upon his return home in 1864, he organized a Village Band and Dave Morgan came over to train it. Since that time, until a few years ago, there has always been a band in Port Henry and at least in the early days, a very good one. I know that it was considered the best band in Northern New York. Father played the cornet. My brother George was a member of the band later on and an accomplished cornetist - he was leader of the University Band when he was a student at Cornell.

Uncle John sent Father to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he gained the technical knowledge required in his chosen profession. He and Mother (Caroline Amaryllis Pease) were married in 1867 and went to Fletcherville, a short distance from Mineville, where Father, at the age of twenty-four, was in charge of the operation of a charcoal blast furnace. The following quotation is from an article contributed by Frank Spencer Witherbee (his nephew but only nine years his junior) to the History of the Village of Port Henry by Dr. Charles B. Warner, published in 1931:

Joan Daby is the retired town of Moriah historian.

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