Armistice Day Centennial, Return of Annual Picnic Highlight 2018 CCHS Program Schedule

The McClurg Museum in Moore Park, Westfield is the home of the Chautauqua County Historical Society.

WESTFIELD – The Chautauqua County Historical Society’s (CCHS) programming committee has finalized its 2018 Program Schedule with several unique lectures and events planned.

Highlighting this year’s program schedule is a collaboration with local historians from across the county in November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.  Other programs will focus on a pair of nationally recognized Chautauqua County artists, the return o the annual picnic with a focus on early pioneering efforts of honey, and separating fact from fiction regarding to the biography of one of the county’s earliest settlers.

CCHS will also once again present several long-standing events, including the Annual Gala and 9th NY Cavalry Encampment, the Antique Show, the Vintage Book and Paper Show, the Holiday Tea, and the annual McClurg Museum Holiday Open House.

APRIL 21: Presentation on Chautauqua County Artists Richard Sigafoos and Russell Welch

Chautauqua County has had a number of prominent artists make their mark on the world. In an effort to highlight two of those arts, CCHS has invited Writer and researcher Lori Humphreys to present “Chautauqua County Artists Richard Sigafoos and Russell Welch” during the annual meeting and luncheon on April 21.

“They Sycamores” by Richard Sigafoos

Richard Sigafoos (1908-1985) was a noted impressionist artist, muralist, illustrator and teacher primarily known for his landscapes and marine paintings. His paintings have been exhibited widely and he has received many awards including the gold, silver and bronze medals at Buffalo Society of Artists’ exhibitions. His works can be found in many public locations, as well as in many private collections in the United States and Canada.

Russell Welch (1909-1994) was a Jamestown native who started his art career painting furniture at one of the local factories. In 1971, he retired and moved to Warren, Pennsylvania, where he began painting full-time. During his career, Welch painted murals in public buildings in New York and Pennsylvania.

Humphreys is a freelance writer from Stow, New York, where she’s lived since 2011. She’s a member of the Harmony Historical Society, the Chautauqua County Historical Society, and the North Harmony 100th Anniversary Committee. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Historical Society of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Humphreys’ freelance writing includes articles for Western New York Illustrated Heritage Magazine, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mt. Lebanon Magazine, and the Almanac Newspaper. In addition she has worked as a writer for both the Lakeside Ledger and Chautauquan Daily.

In addition to the 1p.m. lecture by Humphreys, the day will also feature CCHS’s annual meeting (11:30 a.m.), open to all members, and a luncheon will follow at noon, open to the general public.

This year the annual meeting will take place at a new location. The Lakeshore Assembly of God (252 E Main St, Westfield NY) will host the meeting and luncheon, with food provided by Parkview Café catering.

A fee of $15 will be charged to anyone wishing to eat lunch, otherwise the annual meeting and lecture are free of charge. RSVP for the luncheon is required before April 12 by emailing or call (716) 326-2977.

August 15 – Return of the CCHS Annual Picnic

After taking a year off in 2017 to accommodate the very successful Wine & Cheese pairing event at Liberty Vineyards in Sheridan, CCHS’s annual picnic will return in 2018 with a special event planned at Panama Rocks, Panama, NY.

On Wednesday Aug. 15 at 6 p.m., local beekeepers Dennis and Laura LaMonica will present “Pioneering Efforts of Honey Production in Chautauqua County” at Panama Rocks.  The LaMonica’s bring decades of beekeeping experience and will lead a presentation focusing on the early history of beekeeping and honey production in Chautauqua County.

CCHS is partnering with Panama Rocks to help promote the presentation, which will also serve as the society’s annual picnic.

The event is free and open to the public and attendees are also encouraged to bring a dish to pass. If possible, please RSVP with CCHS before Aug. 10 by calling (716) 326-2977 or emailing

September 19 – The Eccentric Life of Dr. Alexander McIntyre

A historical marker notes the spot on South Erie St., Mayville where Alexander McIntyre built his stockade. (Source: New York State Museum Website)

Chautauqua County has had its fair share of eccentric and colorful characters throughout its long history. The first of these notable individuals was arguably Dr. Alexander McIntyre, who became Mayville’s first settler in the spring of 1804.

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 19, CCHS trustee and historian Jack Ericson will present “”The Eccentric Life of Early Pioneer Alexander McIntyre: Fact and Fiction” and will outline the details of McIntyre’s colorful biography.

It is said that McIntyre built a log cabin on what is today South Erie St. in Mayville and around it erected a stockade. It’s also said he named the place “Fort Debbie” and built it to protect his so-called wife from her husband, who lived in the Meadville, Pennsylvania area. McIntyre claimed that he had been captured by and resided with Indians many years, acquiring their habits, and said he learned the healing art from them. He spent his final years in Westfield where it is said he erected several cabins and bathhouses for people to take advantage of the healing powers of the local water.

Ericson’s presentation will take place inside the Community Building at Lakeside Park in Mayville. It will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

November 11 – The 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day

American “doughboys” serving in Europe during World War I

2018 will serve as the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I.

In an effort to focus on the impact the “War to End all Wars” had on the home front, Chautauqua County Historian and CCHS trustee Michelle Henry, along with Pomfret Historian Todd Langworthy, will coordinate a Special Centennial Celebration of Armistice Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House.

The event will feature local municipal historians sharing stories about World War I from the county’s various communities.

“Whether it is a story of home front activities, a local soldier or nurse, or wartime production, I’ll bet each of our communities has an interesting story about that time period,” Henry explain.

More details will be made available in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, the tentative time for the event is 1 to 3 p.m.

Annual Events also on Schedule

Several other CCHS-sponsored events will also take place throughout the year:

On May 5, CCHS will host the annual Westfield Vintage Book & Paper Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Eason Hall. Cost is $5 for the general public and $3 for students.

CCHS will also host its Annual Summer Gala at the historic McClurg Museum in Moore Park, Westfield on Saturday, June 9. The event is CCHS’s major annual fundraiser, with tickets costing $50 per person. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the museum or from any CCHS trustee. A Civil War encampment, presented by the 9th NY Cavalry, will also take place in the park on both Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10.

The annual Westfield Antique Show, which is coordinated by the Historical Society, will take place July 21 and July 22, also at Eason Hall.

A Holiday Victorian Tea will return to the McClurg Museum on Saturday, Nov. 17. And on Sunday, Dec. 9, the historical society will present its annual Holiday Open House at the McClurg Museum.

There’s also the possibility of an additional program or special event being added to the CCHS program schedule. To stay up to date on all programs and any possible changes that may take place to the current schedule, visit

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