Letters

Just a note to thank you for including a review of our new book The Settlement of Western New York in the Winter 2010 issue. All of us who worked on the book volunteered our time and all proceeds will go to the Gates Historical Society for the Hinchey Homestead renovation fund.

I’ve been a subscriber for several years and the magazine is great. The grand prize-winning picture in the photo contest is fantastic. What a great photo.
— John Robortella, Canandaigua
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A lesson in geology

The caprock the author refers to (Fall 2010 issue, “Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenter’s Falls,” pages 50-57) is actually the harder resistant limestone formation. The softer weathered rock below forming the amphitheater is the shale. Specifically, the Tully Limestone formation is on top of the softer Moscow Shale below. Most waterfalls in Central New York have the same geological history, being formed first as hanging stream valleys perched above the main valley floor of north/south-orientated glaciated U-shaped trough valleys left as legacies of the last ice age.

It is always the harder limestone that forms the caprock above the softer shale that allowed the streams to form waterfalls in so many of the beautiful gorges and ravines that typify the Finger Lake Region. This is evident at Bellona Falls near Geneva, Tinker’s Falls near Apulia Station, Bucktail Falls at the end of Otisco Lake, Montville Falls near Moravia, and many others throughout this region.

In other locations it is the very resistant Lockport Dolomite that forms the caprock, as at Niagara Falls and the High Falls region of the Genesee River in Rochester, but never does soft shale form a caprock.
— Ray F. Leszczynski, Cayuga Community College, Auburn
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About Verne Morton’s photograph of that wonderful desk

Dear Mark:
We enjoyed the article “A Labor of Love” in the Winter 2010 issue of Life in the Finger Lakes magazine. Page 35 features a picture of Dennis Kelley who is my great grandfather, and we have the desk that is pictured. Dennis made the desk for my father, Herbert Kelley, in 1913, and had the picture taken November 18, 1913, to put in the center of the top back board. We have the original picture in the desk with a letter to my father from Dennis, conveying the desk as a gift.

Enclosed you will find pictures of the Kelley desk as it is today, copies of the original pictures sent with the desk and a copy of the letter Dennis sent. We “translated” the [handwritten] letter for your use.

The desk was shipped from Groton to Brookstone, Indiana, where my father and grandfather (Donald Morouan Kelley, M.D.) lived and worked. Dennis Kelley was in his 83rd year at the time.

Thank you for sharing the wonderful works of the Mortons.
— Merona Kelly Christopher, Noblesville, Indiana
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Letter written by Dennis Kelly to his grandson Herbert

My Dear Grandson Herbert,
Received your letter in due time and will answer. All is well as usual. I am getting to be almost a cripple. My Rheumatism is getting the best of me very fast. Can’t get across the house anymore without my cane.

We received the Christmas presents all right and were very nice and useful. Christmas night we had a snowstorm and there fell 8 inches of snow and since that we have had fine sleighing with no drifts at all and no bare ground. I have a Borrowed Horse now for a while. Got it yesterday to use for its keep a few weeks. It is small and white as snow and is 24 years old and quite a colt yet.

I hope you will like the desk as a souvenir to remember your grandpa as that will be the last of my work of that kind. I am making a heavy walnut chair now when the weather is suitable to work in the barn. I am making that for Alma [daughter Alma Tarbell] as she has none of my work. Clarence [son] has a walnut sideboard and last summer a year ago I made a desk similar to the one I sent you that I am going to give to Millard [Clarence’s son]. When I get the chair done, think I will graduate as I have to stand on one foot most of the time or set on the side of the bench. I am so very lame in my knees. Let me hear from you again. — From Grandpa D. Kelly
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A Message to Marouan Kelley at the end of the letter

Merouan, would like to have you come out and see what the Groton folks are doing. They have the new Power House nearly done. Will finish the smoke stack tomorrow. They have one section of five feet yet to put on and that will make it 110 feet high. They put it up in sections of five feet and scaffold from the ground. Pull the iron and lumber up with tackle and ropes. The scaffold is a nice sight up in the air 110 feet. The Power House will cost $15,000 when done, have 125 horse power run by electric. — DK