The undated newspaper clipping I have been using as a guide to uncover more information about the names of our streets in Cortland was published around 1910 or later. It was based on the knowledge of H.J. Harrington and Theodore Stevenson (yes, more street names!). Today I discovered that there was an error for Rickard Street. The clipping states that Rickard Street was named by Elziver O. Rickard for his father, Israel Rickard. However, Israel was his uncle, and his father was George Washington Rickard. (Now I am wondering if Washington Street was named after George and not President George Washington, as it states in the article!) The house that first George, and then Elziver owned, was located at 90 Clinton Avenue. It is right before the turn onto Rickard Street.
Israel Rickard was born on December 31, 1800, in Colerlaine, Massachusetts. His parents moved to Cortland County in March of 1802. They settled in Truxton, and this is where Israel spent most of his life. The family would eventually have twelve children, six boys and six girls. They began life in Cortland County in a two-room house which had been built by a man named Miner. There were a kitchen and a bedroom. They built other outbuildings and increased the homestead over the years.
Israel was married twice and widowed twice. His first wife was Ann Taggett, and they had two children who died in infancy. She died just three years after they married. He remarried, this time to a widow named Liddie (Graves) Clark. They married in 1831 and she died in 1883. At that time, he moved in with his brother, George Washington. Elziver also lived at the home, and when his father died in 1886, his uncle Israel continued to live there.
Israel was not interested in holding any public office, but he never failed to vote. He was first a Whig, then a Republican. The first vote he cast for a Presidential candidate was for James Monroe. Although Israel was not interested in holding a public office, he was deeply invested in our country, even going so far as to enlist as a soldier in the Civil War at 61 years old! On September 30, 1861, he enlisted in the Union Army. He was in the 76th New York State Volunteers, and he served for about one year before he was discharged for a disability—he had lost his teeth. He got a set of “artificial teeth” and tried to reenlist and was turned down because of his age. When in the army, Rickard was always ready for any task. He never shirked duty or danger.
At the time of his death in 1898, it was thought that Israel Rickard was the oldest Civil War veteran in New York State due to his age when he enlisted. It sounds as if there are a lot of untold and fascinating stories about Israel Rickard!
I hope you are enjoying learning about the people the Streets of Cortland were named for! There are so many interesting stories! ~Tabitha