2013, Sahalie Publishing

2013, Sahalie Publishing
256 pages, over 100 pictures

Limited edition...

The Brass Bell can be purchased online at Sahalie Publishing and Amazon.com.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What's Coming on this Blog

Dear Friends~

We've had lots of vistors, some alumni, some family, and some interested historians. In the coming weeks and months, I will be inviting "Guest Authors" to contribute to the Cherry Road School History blog........They will share memories about their time at Cherry Road, Miss Parsons, Westvale, or maybe even about what their lives have been like since they left Cherry Road and Westvale.

Our first Guest Author will be my cousin, Jay Cole. He is going to share a memory from his childhood about our Great Aunt Marion. All our cousins have many wonderful stories about our Aunt Marion, who was in many ways, though she never had children of her own, the matriarch of our family. In the same way, she was more than just the long-time principal of Cherry Road School. She was a guiding force in many lives.
So if you are a cousin, historian, or an alumni, and you would like to be a Guest Author, please let us know and we'll be in touch to get you signed on to the blog.
Thank you everyone for following the site, contributing archives, and sharing your stories about Cherry Road school and the olden days in Westvale.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Parsons/Jerome Cousins

When Marion Parsons and her sisters, Grace and Martha, were growing up on their father's fruit farm on the Genesee Turnpike, their closest friends were their cousins. The Parsons family was large, as many were in those days, and so there were plenty of cousins to play with in the orchards and go to school with at the little Terry Road Schoolhouse.

To give you a little bit of background on this extended family who populated much of what is called Westvale today, let's take another quick look at Edwin and Julia Parsons. (You can see a picture of their house and learn more about them in an earlier post on this blog.) Edwin and Julia came to the Syracuse area from Northampton, Mass. in the early to mid 1800s. They had six children. One of those children was Willis Parsons, and he was Marion Parsons' father. Another of Edwin and Julia's children was Francis, and another, Mary Amelia.

The Parsons girls, Marion, Grace, and Martha, were particularly close with their cousins Laura, Bess, and Charles F., (yes, they all called him Charles F.) and remained close to all of them until the end of their lives. In their later years, they played bridge, enjoyed summer picnics, and visited each other regularly. Laura, Bess, and Charles F.'s parents were Francis Parsons and Sarah Jerome Parsons.

They were also close, all of their lives, with Ned, Harry, and Julia Jerome, whose parents were Mary Amelia Parsons and James Schuyler Jerome. As the Parsons/Jerome cousins grew up, most of them stayed close to home. Marion founded Cherry Road School. Laura and Bess were both respected professionals in the Syracuse area. Ned and Harry Jerome founded the Jerome Dairy, the only farm to last across many generations of this family.

Though many of the Parsons farms are long gone and where there were once orchards, fields, and farm roads, now there are houses and streets. But Cherry Road School thrives and so does the Jerome Dairy.

The Parsons and Jerome cousins' friendship and love for one another endured their entire lives. I believe it was that same loyalty to family and community that helped lay a strong foundation for the school and the dairy, two of the flagship organizations of the Westvale community.

Pictures above are:
Left: Harry Jerome (One of the founders of the Jerome Diary)
Right: Laura and Bess Parsons

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From the Moderator

Maybe some of you are wondering why I got started with this project in the first place. Well, one day, several years ago, I visited the Cherry Road School website to see what they had to say about my Aunt Marion. I was surprised to discover that the answer was, not much at all. Then I Googled Marion Parsons and nothing came up. Then it dawned on me that there were no public records of Marion to speak of and certainly nothing contemporary in cyberspace. I began to realize that the story of Marion Parsons and the little one room schoolhouse in the chicken-coop in my great grandfather's cherry orchard would soon be lost unless I did something about it.
I've been sort of the unofficial family historian for the last 30 years and a number of documents, pictures, and letters have been put into my care. I've saved them and even started working on a project like this a long time ago. But life happens and I was busy raising my daughter and working.
Now that I'm back on the project, I've discovered something. You see, I've always thought that my Great Aunt Marion was, well, just my Aunt Marion. Also, she was Aunt Marion to my siblings, cousins, and my father and his siblings. Marion never had any children of her own. But what I've discovered is that she is not just my Aunt Marion, she is everyone's Miss Parsons.
I got a call the other day from a Cherry Road School Alumni who had graduated 8th grade there sometime around 1945. She said to me, "She inspired everyone to be their best, because you never wanted to disappoint Miss Parsons." That brought tears to my eyes because I know only too well how true that is. I've remembered vividly my whole life the time I let her down. I'll never get over it, but each time I think about it, I learn something new.
If anyone following this blog would like to be a Guest Blogger, if you have a story to tell, please contact me at: schoolhouse2@comcast.net and we'll make arrangements. Put "Cherry Road" in the subject line of the email.
Thank you one and all for participating. I look forward to any "comments" anyone would like to leave.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Marion Parsons' Family

Marion Parsons was the middle child of three girls born to Willis and Mary Anna Parsons during the 1880s. Born in 1888, in this picture Marion stands next to her mother, Mary Anna. To her left, standing in the middle at the back, is eldest sister, Grace Parsons. The little girl sitting in the front of the family photo is Martha, the youngest of the Parsons sisters.

All three of the Parsons girls had successful professional careers as adults. All three were educators, Grace taught art, Martha taught Home Economics, and of course, Marion founded and directed Cherry Road School.

Father Willis was a successful fruit farmer. (Many of the Parsons' clan--children of Edwin and Julia--farmed the Westvale area. Willis's nephews, Harry and Ned Jerome, were the founding owners of Jerome Dairy). Willis served as the president of the Fruit Growers Association for many years.

Mother Mary Anna died when Marion was about thirteen years old. Her death was very hard on all three of the girls who adored their mother. It was probably at that time that the Parsons girls learned to be self-reliant. Marion took on a leadership role with the sisters, looking after Martha, and filling in as the eldest sister when Grace went off to college at Alfred University, not long after their mother's death.

Mary Anna died shortly after this family portrait was taken in 1900.