Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lambert Eckerson: party animal?

     Over the years, I've come to think of my distant ancestors as not having much dimension.  While I admire them tremendously for facing the hard work, financial setbacks, and personal loss many of them experienced, none of what I learned about them suggested much time devoted to "fun."  As genealogists, we access things like census, land, court, and vital records, most of which make for matter-of-fact reading.  The pictures available to us are usually formal poses, with the subjects frozen into rather stern expressions.
     So, imagine the jolt I got, when I read the following article published in the Hornellsville (NY) Weekly Tribune of 20 October 1899.  It reprints an advertisement for a dance to be held in January of 1847, with tickets available "at the bar" for $1.50.  My ancestor, Lambert Eckerson, is listed among the managers of the committee hosting the event, which started at 1:00 p.m. and continued into the following morning.  The 1899 comment is that the venue was "the hottest old place in that section of the county." 
     Lambert Eckerson, 1821-1903, was almost two years away from his wedding to Harriet Graves at the time of the dance.  Would she have been allowed to attend such an event?  She would have been 21 at the time, but perhaps being in the vicinity of "the hottest old place" wasn't encouraged!
     Another smile when taking a peek into the lives of my ancestors.