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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Gloria Johnson slated to retire as Morristown Town Historian


MORRISTOWN — Gloria Scott Johnson, who recently celebrated her 90th birthday at a ceremony at the Gateway Museum, is retiring from her role as town historian at the end of the year.

Born and raised in the village, Mrs. Johnson has served as historian for the past seven years and has enjoyed the post.

“I get calls for genealogy research,” she said. “I do a lot of research for the museum, too.”

Although Mrs. Johnson spent time in the suburbs of New York City and in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s while her husband, Richard, worked in the newspaper industry, she said she never really lost touch with Morristown. “I visited every summer,” she said.

Mrs. Johnson said the town changed drastically over the years, with the railroad that used to cut through the village ending service in the late 1950s and the ferry that ran to Brockville across the St. Lawrence River halting service at about the same time.

Once those services ended, Mrs. Johnson said, just getting basic amenities became much more difficult for the residents of Morristown.

“It still is a terrible inconvenience,” she said.

Whoever takes over the role of town historian will have his work cut out for him or her, Mrs. Johnson said.

Most people are interested in town history only as it relates directly to them and their family, she said, and the next historian will spend a lot of time doing genealogy searches.

But she sees room for growth, particularly online.

The town is looking for someone to take over the historian position, which is appointed by the Town Council. Anyone interested should submit a letter to the town clerk at P.O. Box 240, Morristown, N.Y. 13664. People can also call the town clerk’s office at 375-6510.

The collection of newspaper clippings kept by the town historian, for instance, should be digitized and put on the Internet, Mrs. Johnson said.

“The Internet has changed everyone’s lives drastically,” she said. “The older people just don’t do it.”

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