In the News


Pictured: Chris Ahlstrom and Dave Marsh, Hall House Research Center Volunteers

Pictured: Chris Ahlstrom and Dave Marsh, Hall House Research Center Volunteers

JHS WWII Information Available At Fenton Research Center: The Fenton History Center’s Research Center recently celebrated the culmination of months of work by two of the center’s dedicated volunteers. During WWII, the National Honor Society at Jamestown High School made a 6X8 card for each man and woman who had once gone to school at JHS, and had left Jamestown to serve their country. Each card lists the person’s name, address, parents, years of attendance at JHS, and on the back of the card, news clippings about each soldier were glued to the back of the card.

Chris Ahlstrom indexed and alphabetized the many cards. Dave Marsh copied each card, and created notebooks for easy access as well as an index of the cards. There are 2,822 pages and they are housed in 15 notebooks. The fragile cards and the attached clippings will be stored in acid free boxes for safe long-term storage.
At the end of this project, the volunteers were grateful for the many hours they worked on the project. Ms. Ahlstrom remarked, “It was fun. I learned a lot, and was surprised at how many Veterans I knew. I was amazed at the patriotism in Jamestown during that time. It was a joy to see my own father among them, and it was wonderful to be reminded of his service.”
Mr. Marsh added, “As a Veteran myself, with a father and two uncles who served in WWII, I was very proud to help do this.”
Researchers and genealogists are encouraged to use this resource at the Fenton History Center’s Research Center located at the former Hall Home building at 73 Forest Ave. For more information call the center at 664-6256.
Eldred World War II Museum, Eldred, Pennsylvania

Eldred World War II Museum, Eldred, Pennsylvania

Vets Finding Vets Bus Trip to Eldred WWII Museum: Members of  the Vets Finding Vets eagerly awaited the bus that would lead them to the Eldred World War II Museum on October 29, 2016. There were 26 Veterans and 6 guests in attendance.

Eight of the 26 were World War II Veterans : Paul Arnone, Bill Graves, Winston Frankson, Nick Ingrao, Dave Riotto, Ralph Robinson, Fletcher Schulz, and Robert Swift.
Most of the Veterans who belong to Vets Finding Vets are pictured below.  The museum was spectacular, members of the Vets Finding Vets group and their guests highly recommend a trip to Eldred, PA! Morale was high and a good time was had by all!

The Fenton History Center and the Vets Finding Vets would like to formally thank the following donors who covered the cost of transportation and lunch for the day:

Henry Mosher Post # 638
Herman Kent Post # 777  Ladies Auxiliary
Sons of American Legion Herman Kent Post
Lakewood Rod and Gun
Bernard Anderson Fundraising
Patricia Windsor
Tom Jones


Community Foundation Assists Veterans Program at Fenton History Center 2016: The Fenton History Center received a Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Community Service grant to expand the Vets Finding Vets program.   The program, which was started Veterans Day 2014 allows free access to the Fenton Research Center for Veterans, active military, and Reservists. It allows them to use the research facility, resources, and assistance to begin or further their family history search, locate old service comrades, or to help the volunteer research staff to collect information regarding the soldiers buried in Chautauqua County cemeteries. The veterans in the program are encouraged to contribute their military record, photographs, and memories of their service so they will be preserved and shared.


See listing below

This grant is providing funding for the project manager, Barbara Cessna, to expand her work hours to build the veteran participation.  Mrs. Cessna and the program’s oversight committee are networking with local Veterans to locate other Veterans.  They then encourage the Veterans to share their wartime experiences and family stories.   They will also be trained to continue to invite more Veterans into the program.  Vets Finding Vets is based on a National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) program called Operation Ancestor Search (OAS).  OAS operates in military hospitals and medical centers across the country.   It is based on the premise that genealogy expertise within the SAR is a resource that can be used to give back to U.S. service members and veterans who are in need of respite from the constant reminders of their injuries and memories.

The Fenton Hall House Research Center is providing resources and assistance at no cost to local Veterans from any time period.  The Fenton Research Center benefits from the Veterans’ work to build the cache of local Veteran stories and genealogy which in turn are shared in the community.

The group is planning speaking events to further share their stories and research with the community.  Paul Arnone, Navy veteran, will speak September 15 at the Fenton Mansion about his part as an LST signalman during the Normandy invasion.

The group is planning a bus trip to the Eldred, Pennsylvania WWII museum in the fall.  The public is invited, preference will be given to WWII Veterans and their families.   The Vets Finding Vets program helps the Fenton History Center, helps local Veterans and helps the Jamestown community.

Pictured in corresponding photo:

(From left) Randy Sweeney, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation,   Joni Blackman, Director of Fenton History Center,

Marty Hagstrom, US Army, VFV Board Member,  Roland Swanson, US Navy Seabees, VFV Board Member,  Barb Cessna, VFV Project Coordinator,      

Dave Marsh, US Air Force, VFV Board Member,     Steve Johnson, US Marine Corp, VFV Board Member,   Tom Jones, US Army, VFV Board Member

Maple Grove Jr. Sr. High School Students

Maple Grove Jr. Sr. High School Students

Students Thank Veterans 2016:  A locally funded art project at Maple Grove Jr./Sr. High School has grown into a much larger outreach for local students, teachers, and veterans.  The Teacher Empowering Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program through the Cattaraugus County Council on the Arts was awarded last year to artist Renee Pye and Maple Grove Jr. Sr. High School.  This was the fifth arts partnership grant awarded to Maple Grove Jr. Sr. High School. Artist Renee Pye was the supervisor of the grant

Three Maple Grove Jr. Sr. High School teachers partnered with Ms. Pye to create a student based project that involved history, English and art.  History teacher Scott Cummings assisted his students with choosing a person, place or thing between 1776 and 1876 to be the theme of a postage stamp. English teacher Elizabeth Abbey then instructed the students to compose a paragraph describing why their design should be chosen for a stamp. Local artist Renee Pye with art teacher Kevin Johnson worked with the 7th-grade students to design a commemorative stamp of their chosen subject. The students created posters of their stamp design with acrylic paint.

Artist Renee Pye and Tom Jones, US Army, VFV Board Member

Artist Renee Pye and Tom Jones, US Army, VFV Board Member

The outreach component of the grant was to turn the posters into postcards.  The students planned on sending the postcards to area Veterans.  However, Ms. Pye had to locate at least sixty Veterans in the county to send the completed postcards.  She asked local Veteran and American Legion Member Tom Jones.  Mr. Jones is a member of the Fenton History Center’s Vets Finding Vets program whose purpose is to assist the Fenton Research Center with Veteran focused research as well as assisting the living Veteran with researching their own family.  Mr. Jones asked Barbara Cessna, Veterans Finding Veterans Coordinator, to help gather the necessary Veterans’ names and addresses.  The goal of sixty names quickly multiplied to one-hundred-ninety-five names.   Ms. Pye graciously accepted the additional names but needed to find more student artists.  She partnered with teacher Jody Conley’s fifth-grade class at Bemus Point Elementary and Mike Chitester’s fourth-grade class at Fenner Elementary in Falconer.  They created the additional postcards needed to reach all one-hundred-ninety-five Veterans.

The grant has been a great success.  The Veterans were very touched to receive a thank you from the students and the students learned about the Veterans and their local stories.  The posters from the project will be displayed in Floral Hall during the Chautauqua County Fair. “All the participants would like to thank the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program, and The Cattaraugus County Council on the Arts, and a special thank you to Maple Grove School for supporting this project which combined art, history and English into a single endeavor for the benefit of many,” said artist and grant administrator Renee Pye. The expression of the Veterans’ service to our country through the student’s writings and artwork have made a powerful connection between the past and the present.