Jabez William Abell Jr. was
the great-grandson of Jabez Abell who was one of those that purchased lots
from John Lincklaen on the first day of land sales, June 1, 1793.
Jabez W. Abell was born November 19, 1870 on the family farm about two
miles south of the village of Cazenovia at what has long been known as
Abell Corners. He lived on the farm until 1929 when he sold it to
the Johnson family and moved to the village of Cazenovia where he built
a new bungalow-style house at 50 Nelson Street. Here he lived with
his wife, Sarah (Footnote 1),
until his death on May 8, 1954. He and his family are buried in Cazenovia's
Abell had a lifelong interest in the history of Cazenovia and had available many old family papers and talked with many of the older inhabitants about the past. He also drew heavily on the writings and research of Henry Severance and John Service (Footnote 2) both of whom had lived in his home school district, "No. 9." He is known to have photographed many places of historic and personal interest in Cazenovia between 1890 and 1910 but few of his photographs have survived. He succeeded Dwight Williams as the Town Historian at the end of 1926 (Footnote 3) and continued until some time in the mid-1940s. His historical papers were published in the Cazenovia Republican and total over 3,540 inches of text. It was due to Abell's work that the Republican was given the New York State Historical Association's Award for Best Publication of Local History Among Weekly Newspapers in New York for 1939 and 1940.
The following list are primarily made from the collection of clippings that Abell put into a scrapbook (Footnote 4). Harry Brown acquired the scrapbook, presumably from Abell's estate, and donated it to the Cazenovia Public Library in 1959 (Footnote 5). A few items regarding the Abell family and other unrelated historical articles and clippings of general interest are also found in the scrapbook but these items, not written by Abell, are not included in this bibliography.
All of Abell's known articles originally appeared in the Cazenovia Republican. Several of those that are known are not found in his scrapbook, and it is possible that others also exist. Most of the clippings in the scrapbook are dated, but many have incorrect dates. The Cazenovia Republicans of the late 1930s and early 1940s (and a few earlier issues) were systematically checked and the correct dates were found for all of the articles in the scrapbook. Although the probability of finding other articles is high, no systematic attempt was made to find any earlier or later articles (Footnote 6).
This bibliography is intended primarily as a listing of the articles that Abell wrote, but also as a finding guide to those articles. Notation is made of the dates that they appeared and also where they can (or cannot) be found in the scrapbook. As microfilm of the Cazenovia Republicans can be had at almost any library or historical society (by inter-library loan with the NY State Library) the date reference is the most emphasised. The articles are first presented in an alphabetical arrangement by title, and second by date. Reference to the scrapbook page and the length (by column-inch) is made for each article, and several notations or corrections to the titles or text are also made where necessary. The printed length does not include the title blocks and are rounded to the nearest whole inch. Print size and density of the texts vary greatly.
Sarah Dix Wheeler Abell died May 13, 1944.
Severance's notes are found in the Cazenovia Public Library and was published in 1984 as Owahgena: Being a History of the Town and Village of Cazenovia (Robertal Loyster Hendrix, editon). John Service wrote a history of School District No. 9, which is also at the Library, but is not yet published.
Dwight Williams was appointed Town Historian by the Town Board sometime after 1/16/1919. The Cazenovia Republican of that date suggested that "Cazenovia Should Have Historian" so that the military records of soldiers then in Europe would be preserved. The Cazenovia Republican of 12/23/1926 carried the following notice: Town Historian. The town board has accepted the resignation of Dwight Williams as town historian, and appointed in his place J.W.Abell of Webster Station.
The handwritten dates at the top of many clippings are in the same hand as several genealogical entries in the Abell family bible. I added many of the dates that were missing after a thorough check of the complete newspapers.
I (Daniel H. Weiskotten, Town Historian from 1982 to 1989) am presently in possession of the Abell family bible and several family letters, copies of which are on file at the Cazenovia Public Library. My parents purchased these items at the auction of Jabez Abell's estate in about 1954. Jabez Abell is shown in the Cazenovia Republican of April 3, 1947, and again on May 13, 1954, holding the same family bible. A large collection of Abell family and business papers is at Cornell University, microfilm of which is available at the library at SUNY Morrisville.
Many of Abell's articles of the late 1930s and early 1940s were part of a "Local Historical Sketches" column. Abell did not write all of the items that appeared under this heading, and many other historical papers of interest, equal to that of the Abell articles, can also be found there.