Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Trip To Hydesville

This building surrounds the foundation of the Fox sister's home

     You may recall my blog about my 4th great-grandmother Armina Galloway and the haunted house.  If not you can check here if you are so inclined.  To recap, in 1825 Armina was given a home to live in for the sum of, "one kernel of grain", per annum.  All she had to do in return was to care for the widower Henry Hyde and his children at their residence in Lyons.  

     I did lots of searching on the net for information about Hydesville, since that's where it's founder Henry Hyde really lived.  Early records placing Armina Galloway and Henry Hyde in Lyons are deceiving since back then the whole area I'm interested in was called Lyons, borders shifted over the years, and small hamlets like Hydesville were formed.  I also looked at maps and found that Hydesville isn't far from East Palmyra where another family of the name Galloway lived in the early 1800's.  Like Armina's sons Milo and Russell, this Galloway family owned mills.  I've long wondered if the group in E. Palmyra were somehow related to my Galloway family and I believe they probably were, though I'm not yet sure how.  It's so important in early research to check maps and histories of the area being studied.  I initially had no idea just how very close the two Galloway families actually lived to each other, equating "Lyons" with the village of that name which is quite a bit further away.

     Of course the best way of all to get the lay of the land is to go there oneself.  There are many histories of Hydesville online, and most of them mention Hydesville's most famous residents, the Fox sisters, who I mention in more detail in the above referenced blog. It was easy to find directions to the site of their former home, which they rented from the Hyde family.  I live about sixteen miles from that place, so one day last week we set out, taking the route through East Palmyra naturally.

     This is still a very rural area...VERY rural.  We followed North Creek Road for a few miles and it was easy to imagine what it must have looked like to those early residents, minus the nice road of course.  There are still very few houses, and a lovely creek does run along it... you feel far from modern civilization on that road I can tell you.  I know some people like that feeling, but as a woman who grew up in a village with things like sidewalks, neighbors and police service, I find it slightly unsettling; but then I admit I've never looked at the wilderness in quite the same way after viewing the movie Deliverance.

     Finally we came to Hydesville Road and after a short distance, the monument to the Fox sisters and spiritualism, the movement they spawned.  We got out at the small gravel parking lot and peered into the windows of the building that now surrounds the remains of the Hyde/Fox home.  There wasn't much to see except the old stone foundation but it was interesting.  There was a photo of the house and you could compare the still clearly visible interior layout of rooms with it.  There were several old buildings nearby whose histories I haven't been able to find as yet, but I imagine Hydesville looks pretty much the same today as it did back when.  So was this Grandma's house?  I don't know, but if not hers was close by,  and in my opinion that makes it worth the trip to see.

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