People of Oswego County

From farmers to doctors, merchants to sailors, everyone had a part in the development of Oswego County.

Historical documents such as birth, death, and military records offer important information like dates and personal connections. Newspaper articles contain information about events in which a person may have participated. Diaries are often the most powerful historical resource for information because they are first hand accounts of the person’s daily activities.

Journals and diaries of the 19th century were typically very concise. Daily, weekly, or monthly entries reveal experiences of work, family life, and community. Through the careful examination of diaries we better understand the diary keeper’s family life and community and also indirectly helps us understand life in Oswego County in years past.

To learn more about the lives of some residents from Oswego County, click on the links to the right. 


Moses A. DuMass was a soldier during the Civil War who experienced a life-threatening wound.

“Moses A. DuMass”

Oswego's Carrie Deitz

Carrie Deitz lived in Oswego and worked as a domestic servant. Explore her conversation with Judith Wellman.

“The Life of Carrie Deitz”

Oswego's Naomi Richardson

Naomi Bennett (1817-1890) along with her son, Maxwell Bennett Richardson (1838-1903), built a large home in the city of Oswego. Their home is now a museum: The Richardson-Bates House Museum and contains most of the original furniture and art.

“Naomi Richardson: Background”

“Naomi Richardson: Her Home”

Hannibal's Gertrude Tallman

Oswego's James G. Tyler

James G. Tyler was born in Oswego. As a teen, he moved to New York City to study painting. He became one of the most famous maritime painters of his time.

“James G. Tyler”

City of Oswego's Maxwell B. Richardson

Maxwell B. Richardson was one of the most community minded members of the city of Oswego. Read his obituary to learn more about him.

“Max B. Richardson”

Francis Squires from New Haven and Volney

Mr. Squires came to New Haven as a teenager and kept a diary for about 50 years. He lived in New Haven and Volney and was a Justice of the Peace and post master in both towns.  The original diary is at Cornell University, but Volney has a microfilm version. The diary contains information on weddings, funerals, and even mentioned that the North Volney Church had been moved. (Note: until the discovery of the diary, historians in Volney wondered why the North Volney Church was in the wrong place on the maps!) The links below contain excerpts from Francis Squires Diary 1840-1897 along with an index for the diary. In addition, we have included an article written by Professor Yasuo Okada published in Keio Economic Studies in No.1, Vol. 7, 1970 that focuses on the agricultural changes mentioned in Mr. Squires’ diary.

“Francis Squires Diary – Index – Genealogy Focus”

“Francis Squires Diary – Excerpts – Genealogy Focus”

“Francis Squires – A Few Diary Pages and Transcriptions”

“Prof. Yasuo Okada’s article “Squires’ Diary: New York Agriculture in Transition 1840-1860” 

Oswego County's Pioneer: Orrin Stone

Orrin Stone was an Oswego County pioneer. A son of Jehiel and Ruth Norton Stone of Guildford, Connecticut, he accompanied his parents and nine brothers and sisters to a site near Ovid, Seneca County, New York, then a part of the Military Tract. The Stones, along with their neighbors, the Burts, resettled in Scriba in 1803, when Orrin was 14 years old.

“Orrin Stone Early Diary”

Curtis Shoup - Oswego's World War II Hero

Oswego’s Curtis Shoup was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in World War II. He was the only soldier in the 87th Division to be awarded this very special medal.

“The Life of a Man Who Hated War – Curtis Shoup”

Elmina Spencer - Oswego County's Civil War Nurse

Elmina Spencer was born in Mexico, NY and raised in the city of Oswego and Minetto, NY. She became a teacher in Fulton. In 1862, her husband Elmina Spencer followed her husband into the Civil War and became a battlefield nurse. She impacted the lives of thousands of soldiers.

“Elmina Spencer – Civil War Nurse”

“Elmina Spencer’s Medals”