Candor Historical Society News and Notes; new president welcomed!

Candor Historical Society News and NotesNancy Ward Riggs, pictured, was voted in as president in June 2021. Her ancestors were among the first settlers in Candor, and she has written a book on her family’s history. Besides working at the Candor History Center on Monday mornings, she helps individuals with their family genealogical research. Provided photo.

As of this past June, the Candor Historical Society has a new President. Nancy Ward Riggs, who previously served as vice president, was voted in as president, replacing Milton Dougherty who stepped down. 

Riggs’ father moved the family to Candor where her ancestors had been among the first settlers in Candor. She graduated from Candor Central School, SUNY Geneseo, and Syracuse University. 

In 1973, Riggs went to Germany to teach dependent children of soldiers, and where she met her husband, Bob. After returning to the States she continued teaching, first at Lansing Central School, then Newfield Central, and finally Candor Central.  

Riggs taught for 42 years, retiring in 2011. She has always been interested in local and family history and in 2008 she wrote a book about her family, complete with an assortment of pictures. In 2020 she updated the book. She spends every Monday morning at the Candor History Center, filing papers and pictures. She also does genealogical research for many people.

A list of the new and continuing of officers and Board of Directors include Melvin Foster, vice president; Rita Quinlan, secretary; Patti Reichert, treasurer; Eleanor Hurd, Georgia Westgate and Richard Zavatto, board members; and Carol Henry, historian. Riggs met with the new board on July 12 and they began to layout their agenda for the 2021-2022 year.

Programs on their list include the Candor Fall Festival. On Saturday, Oct. 9, the Candor History Center, located at 25 Main St., will hold an Open House. Doors will be open between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. All are invited to stop by, do some research, or just take a peek at what the Society has been up to over the past three years. 

A few of the files to explore are Candor’s history highlighted in the various displays in the main hall. You can do research on Candor’s many annual events, businesses, churches, schools, various genealogies, cemetery records, newspapers from 1899 forward, railroads of Candor, Revolutionary War Pension records, military, parades, Tree Talks, old factories and dams, agriculture, organizations, and photographs through the years, including old postcards. 

Also during the Fall Festival they will host the ever popular cemetery walk on Sunday, Oct. 10 when Phil Jordan will lead everyone in another of his interesting Maple Grove Cemetery Walks at 1 p.m. Meet at the flag pole. The walk is free and open to the public

Other programs being planned for this fall include a talk with guest speaker Phil Jordan on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Candor Fire Hall.

The current Board also voted to look into selling the Historical Society’s building in Catatonk, the old Catatonk Community Center, which will not only help with the renovation expenses of the History Center on Main Street, but also decrease the current annual expenses for upkeep. The asking price has been set at $50,000.

One of the on-going major items garnering attention was the continuation of the renovation of the History Center on Main Street. They have been actively applying for grants for the history center renovation project, and have been successful in obtaining a grant from the Mildred Faulkner Truman Foundation to renovate the front entrance and make it handicap accessible; a grant from Tioga State Bank to repair the deteriorating chimney; a grant from the William C. Pomeroy Foundation for New York State History, which helped to purchase technical equipment to aid in research as well as filing and storage cabinets, and tables for researchers’ use; and a grant from the Tioga County Senior Citizens Foundation, which will help with the handicap accessible bathroom. 

Additional grants are still being pursued. Besides bringing the electric up to code, replacing the entrance to make it handicap accessible and replacing the chimney, they are in the process of obtaining additional funds to complete moving the restrooms inside and making them handicap accessible, and for insulation, windows, doors, siding, and an interior makeover.

Fundraisers include a recent yard sale and an on-going Can and Bottle Drive. An account has been set up with The Neighborhood Redemption Center (Midstate Recycling) on 5th Avenue in Owego, with proceeds going to the Renovation Project and with a drop off location at Candor Home Central. 

Another project introduced this year is a special raffle – A Frosty Morning Cardinal – a hand-carved Cardinal by World Renowned Woodcarver Roger Westgate. There will be a limited number of raffle tickets, so don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity.  

Tickets are $10 a ticket or three for $25, and are available at the Candor History Center on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon, at all of the Historical Society’s events, or from one of the Board Members. The winning ticket will be drawn on Monday, Dec. 6 at the History Center, and the winner contacted; so be sure to include your contact information on your tickets. Income from this raffle benefits the Candor History Center Renovation Project.

You may donate through their PayPal Giving Fund using the button on the Candor History Website, The Giving Fund does not charge them fees. It is like regular PayPal, in that you can have the money taken directly from your bank account or use a credit or debit card. You can also use the Amazon Smile link on the right when shopping at Amazon, and the Historical Society will get a donation from Amazon.

The History Center is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon or by appointment. Check out the new displays including the new one on “Houses of Candor,” and another on “Candor 4th of July Through the Years.” For additional times to visit, contact Georgia Westgate at (607) 659-7769 or Nancy Riggs at (607) 759-4001. Please note that masks are required for unvaccinated individuals. 

For a more comprehensive list of what is available, and what the Historical Society has to offer and how you can donate, check out the Candor Historical Society website,

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