While looking through “Grip’s Historical Souvenir” recently, I noticed a woman named Marion L. Weatherwax who was a clerk for the Cortland Standard. It made me remember that I had seen Weatherwax Street on the 1888 map of Cortland in the entryway at CCHS. Today the street is called Bement Place, so what’s the scoop? This one is not exactly solved, but I wanted to share the avenues (pun intended) I took to try to find some answers.
Our starting point was the 1888 map where the street is labeled and the property in that vicinity was owned by B.F. Weatherwax. The first place I tried to find out more about (presumably) Mr. Weatherwax was our family file folder; however, we do not have one for that name. There was an obituary card for Benjamin F. Weatherwax in our card catalog, and there I found the names of his wife and children as well as his date of death. He was a Methodist clergyman for several years and about a year before his death, “he became the leader of a new sect called ‘The Little Flock,’ according to his obituary. His wife was named Amanda and they lived at 12 Argyle Place. He had gone out to feed his chickens after church but did not return as he should have, so Amanda went and found him lying face down in the chicken yard. He was brought inside where he died not long afterward. He and Amanda are buried at Cortland Rural Cemetery.
I tried using some of the books that we usually can glean tidbits out of, but they were not helpful in this case. In an obituary for his son Harry, I discovered that the family moved here in about 1882. I was unable to find Weatherwax Street listed in city directories at all, and it did not become Bement Place until September of 1961. I did not find Bement Place listed in a directory until 1964. At that time Albert J. Bement was listed as living there. I was unable to find any information about Mr. Bement.
Many of the streets that I begin to research end up dead ends (again, pun intended). The newspaper article I’ve been using from about 1910-1915 was put together using the help of Theodore Stevenson (whom we have covered for Stevenson Street) and H.J. Harrington (Harrington Street not covered yet). These gentlemen were going from their own memories and local lore. Sometimes I’m unable to find anything about the namesake(s) which has been credited by Stevenson and Harrington. Our “Streets” folder has some information in it where others at CCHS have tried gathering memories of folks to preserve other street-related stories. There are many resources I look to at CCHS to write the “Streets of Cortland” posts, but some street names are going to remain a mystery, I think. ~Tabitha