Being historian was enjoyable experience
I wish to thank attorney Michael Albanese of Gloversville, as well as other common-sense members of the legal and judicial professions of both counties, plus many fellow Fulton County citizens who voiced appreciation for the public service-related duties I discharged during my 6 years as Fulton County Historian: those who wrote letters to newspapers expressing positive opinions of my work, plus many people I never met until they stopped me on the street to express support and appreciation. I believe I’ve gained more friends in the last few months than lost any, and if true, others have lost more friends than they’ve gained.
Had the “tempest in a coffeepot” not percolated, I already decided early this year to inform supervisors by their June meeting I wished to resign by September: having begun another decade of life, I simply wished to pursue other activities. During spring, I informally asked qualified area local historians if they had interest in the position. None I spoke with did. One hopes our supervisors can nevertheless find someone capable of discharging this mandated office’s public obligations. Meanwhile, The Leader-Herald will continue to receive bi-weekly articles from me for the remainder of the year, if management wishes to use them.
The county historian gathers and preserves a county’s history and also serves to disseminate that history through researching and publishing articles. Public-speaking skills, plus knowledge of genealogical and history-related databases, are recommended. Diplomacy in working with clients from near and far is an asset.
During my tenure as historian, building on expert work of my predecessor, William Loveday, I received two grants of more than $4,000 to purchase historical books to establish a permanent Historian’s Office Library, gave many talks, visited school classes, prepared six annual budgets, oversaw publishing two editions of our Historic Marker book, hosted visitors from Canada and various states, assisted our local historical societies as needed, (including facilitating the erection of new historical markers), provided The Leader-Herald with some 170 historical articles and submitted annual reports to the state historian. Whoever follows should continue most, if not all, of these duties.
I have greatly enjoyed serving the people of Fulton County as your historian. Let us hope the supervisors find an acceptable candidate, one who perhaps, like the rebellious people of Revolutionary War era Boston, prefers tea.
PETER C. BETZ