Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Finding Those Newspapers


 I am still being stymied in my attempts to find an obituary and/or cause of death for my 4th great uncle Milo Galloway.  You may recall Milo became a very wealthy man during the period the Erie Canal was being built across New York, only to lose his fortune in a lawsuit.  Milo died just eight days after the judgement came down, which of course piqued my curiosity.  Actually it's driving me to distraction that I can't figure out what happened!

     There are some great websites full of newspapers out there, but not for the years I need, they seem to dance all around the year 1857.  I found one at the Old Fulton site called, "The Wayne Democratic Press", but there was no mention of Milo's death, and I didn't just do a search, I pulled up the files for June of 1857, and I read every page of that paper with a fine toothed comb.  Nothing!  Zip!  It's crazy that a wealthy, well known man passes away and there is not a word in the paper, how could that be?  Did the shock of losing his fortune cause a stroke?  Apoplexy? A psychotic break and suicide?  Then I found this in the Rochester, NY newspaper, that I also searched for Milo's death:

The citizens of Newark, Wayne Co., were thrown into great excitement this morning in consequence of the announcement of the suicide of Hon. Esbon Blackmar, not only a prominent citizen of Wayne Co., but well known throughout Western New York. On Monday last Mr. B. was compelled to yield to the pressure of the times, and make an assignment. It is supposed that his financial embarrassments so depressed his spirits as to cause him to commit self-destruction. The lifeless body of Mr. B. was found in a spring or shallow well in the cellar of his house. His head was downward, and the feet projecting just above the surface of the water. Mr. Blackman represented his district in congress some ten years since, and was widely known and esteemed as a man of ability, and integrity. He was largely engaged in banking, and in produce dealing.

     Esbon Blackmar just happened to have been a business associate of Milo!  They had several land deals together... now I was really curious.  If Esbon could do away with himself why not Milo?  I needed to find that obituary, but I didn't know where to look next. Then I thought of the New York Newspaper Project. With the proliferation of newspaper sites, the project has been discontinued, but the index is still online here. Click on the county you're interested in and a list of newspapers and the years they were published, arranged by town, will appear. The papers themselves are not online, but the index at least tells you what is available for the time period and location you need, and which repositories have the microfilm.  If none of the repositories are near you,  you can borrow the film through inter-library loan from the New York State Library, the compilers of the index.

     Using the index this morning, I have located two likely newspapers.  Now I just have to get my hands on those films.


  1. It's hard when you know there will be something but you just can't find it. More and more newspapers are coming online and they help an awful lot, but they're often not the newspapers we need for particular searches. I hope you find Milo's obituary or some other news article about him. I hope he didn't commit suicide. Even with a distant relative, it can be a painful revelation for a family historian.

    I just searched google for Milo Galloway (something I'm sure you've done in the past) and a book about Palmyra came up. The link didn't specifically name him but he must be in the book. I wonder if there would be more information in it. The link is

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Nancy, and the link--it was kind of you to help in the search!

  2. Here's hoping the newspapers have Milo's obituary!