Jack Ericson Speaks on Abner Dingley Diary

The Chautauqua County Genealogical Society met recently in the Barker Library in Fredonia for a meeting and an informative talk. Guest speaker was Jack T. Ericson who spoke about the detailed diary kept by Abner Dingley from 1816 through 1822. Ericson said that Dingley was from Massachusetts, and came to Gerry, NY to settle in 1816. The 21-day journey brought Dingley through New York up the Hudson River to Albany on the steamboat Paragon, and then a stagecoach ride across New York State to Gerry. At first, Dingley lived with Major Sinclear, and then purchased 1/3 of lot #48 near the border of the Charlotte and Gerry townships. The lot was located on what is now known as Jamestown Road. Ericson said that in Dingley’s diary, he kept detailed accounts of chopping trees, medical work, barn raising, weddings, deaths, jury duty in Mayville and Church work. He always rested on Sundays, and listed in his diary the circuit riders Rev. Smith and Rev. John Spencer. He collected maple syrup tapping 90 trees, made black salts, and butter. When he constructed his house, the bricks for his fireplace were made in Gerry said Ericson. Dingley listed the spring of 1818 as having heavy snowstorms from April through the beginning of May, and then on May 21st, was planting. The detailed diary went as far as January 1822, and then there were no more entries said Ericson.

A fine speech was enjoyed by all at the meeting.

The Genealogical Society meets once a month on the third Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. from March through November. Ruth Nichols is the president, Walter Sedlmayer is the vice president, Gail Dash is the secretary and Debbie Kotar is the treasurer. Wayne Leamer is the newsletter editor. The genealogical society maintains a historical family book room, known as the Garland Room, which contains many family histories and accounts. The room is open for research during the library hours.

The next meeting of the group will be on Tuesday October 21st in the Barker Library at 6:30 p.m. During the meeting, research methods and materials will be discussed. New members are always welcome.

Shown in the photograph is Jack T. Ericson at the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society meeting discussing the diary of Abner Dingley, a Gerry resident in the early 1800’s.


Leave a Comment