When the Kuyahoora Valley Historical Society decided to take on a new project looking at the history of the area, members decided to focus on Kuyahoora Valley women.
“Nobody ever writes about women, especially in the Kuyahoora Valley,” said society President Barbara Voelkle.
A committee of volunteers went to work coming up with names and conducting research. Other area residents made suggestions as well.
The result of their efforts is a new book titled “Women of the Kuyahoora Valley.” Sale of the book will serve as a fundraiser for the nonprofit historical society.
Voelkle said the book would give readers an idea of the impact of women on valley’s history.
“I don’t think enough is said about that around here,” she said.
The book recognizes the contributions of women who, from the late 18th century through the early 21st century, filled numerous roles and helped to build communities.
Women from various backgrounds, occupations and time periods from the towns of Newport, Norway, Russia and Fairfield are included. They range from pioneers, such as Anna Bowen Percy (1761-1849), a homemaker and the earliest settler, to residents such as Edna Murphy (1913-1984), a nurse who served as regional director of Public Health Nursing for 18 counties in northeastern New York, and Helen Gilbert McConville (1917-1997), a physical education teacher who implemented summer youth and physical fitness programs.
The finished book is the result of a year’s work, Voelkle said, adding its preparation was a learning experience for the writers.
“Women of the Kuyahoora Valley” is available at the Newport Historical Center and the Main Street Ristorante. To order by mail send a check or money order made payable to KVHS to KVHS, P.O. Box 445, Newport, NY 13416. For each book enclose $21 - $18 for the book and $ 3 for postage.
The Kuyahoora Valley Historical Society is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
The society was organized on Oct. 25, 1983, at a meeting of interested citizens called by Jane Dieffenbacher, town of Fairfield historian. On April 26, 1985, the Board of Regents granted a provisional charter to the KVHS. An absolute charter was granted on March 10, 1998.
The mission of the KVHS is to disseminate and encourage a greater knowledge of the history of the Kuyahoora Valley and its environs; to gather, preserve, display and make available for study artifacts, relics, books, manuscripts, papers, photographs and other records relating to the history of the State of New York and particularly the Kuyahoora Valley and the surrounding area.