Pearsall, Ransom
Families Remembered
by Emma M. Sedore,
Town of Owego Historian

Apalachin. There's something about that name. Just ask anyone who's grown up here. When they speak of its past, you can read their body language. It's "Home Sweet Home" at its finest.

Because some of the old-timers love to do more than reminisce, a group of them formed the Apalachin History Club in 1992 and have been meeting once a month ever since. About a dozen members show up and share stories about people, places, and events that have any connection with their hometown.

At the December 1996 meeting, one of the members and a native of Apalachin, Lillian Ryan Angel, shared a letter she received from her childhood friend and neighbor, Yvonne Pearsall Walker, now of Miami, Florida.

Yvonne Pearsall Walker is the granddaughter of William S. Pearsall, who, together with Ransom Steele, built the Apalachin bridge in 1849 (See October 1996 Apalachin Community Press). Yvonne's father was William C. Pearsall, son of Ransom S. Pearsall. Ransom S. married Adeline Valeria Billings Pearsall on February 22, 1865, when he was 27 and she was 19. They traveled by train to New York City for a week-long honeymoon and lived to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary.

Adeline and Ransom lived on the corner of William Street and Route 434 in a large white house. They had four children: Grace L., William C., Anna L., and Emily G. and were a devoted family. Even though Emily and Grace worked at the state capitol in Albany, they came home every chance they got.

A 1915 newspaper noted that "Miss Emily G. Pearsall, daughter of Ransom S. Pearsall of this village, and who is employed in the state capitol in Albany, is a composer of a pretty waltz, "Ripples on the Susquehanna," on sale at most music stores." She also taught piano, and wrote poetry. One of her poems was entitled, Ode to Apalachin (see below).

Yvonne also wrote about her grandmother's sister, Susan Billings Corbin, wife of Isaac Newell Corbin (referred to as Comrade). They lived in South Apalachin. He was a veteran of the Civil War and had been captured and held at Libby Prison. In 1885/86, he was a path master, a person who oversees the repairs of roads. The Corbins had two children, Bonnie and Grace. Bonnie became a school teacher and never married. Grace married and had three children: Elfrieda, Fred, and Don Lane. The Lane farm (known as Turkey Run) was located where the Magnetic Labs property is today.

Elfrieda Lane Corino (now of California) is one of Lillian Angel's friends who also corresponds. She referred to Apalachin as a "Shangri-La in the old days," and remembers that her grandmother told her that Ransom S. Pearsall planted a whole row of maple trees on Main Street in 1854 when he was 16. Some of the trees are still there. Lillian pointed to a row of maples near William Street, east up the hill, on the south side of Main.

Yvonne loves to recall the good old days here, remembering them as the best years of her life. She moved to Miami, Florida, 46 years ago because she couldn't take the cold weather here. In part, she wrote, "Remember, we used to play croquet by the hour by your house? I wonder if that lot is still there. I can imagine your dad (Robert Ryan) being the pitcher. He was a great guy. We used to sit in your folks' porchswing and wait for him to come home from the creamery. The minute his car turned into the driveway, we would start yelling, "Take us swimming." He always did, bless his heart and he must have been tired, too. I can see him and your mom now. They never grow old in my memory. This must be what is meant by immortality. As long as someone remembers you, you still live."

That theory is the same for Apalachin, if you remember it the way it used to be, you will at least have warm memories, and maybe even a little history.

The Apalachin History Committee meets at 1:30 pm on the last Friday of the month at the library on Main Street (across from the row of trees Ransom Pearsall planted in 1854). Everybody's welcome.

Ode to Apalachin
by Emily G. Pearsall

There's a glamour o'er this town
that sends a thrill thru me;
The homes of friends and kinsmen
the brave, the noble, free.

Tho now some have departed
to a brighter, happier shore;
Their imprint they have left us
to guide us ever more.

Especially at Christmas
with the lights so red and bright,
They gleam from neighbors' windows
and cast a spell at night.

There's a glamour o'er this town
that gives me ecstasy;
The homes of friends and kinsmen
the brave, the noble, free.