Natalie Brown                         Dr. Brian Gaffney                          Jane Spelllman                       Eve Van de Wall
2020 Dr. David and Carolyn Ellis Historical Hall of Fame Inductees

Mary Donlon Alger (1893-1977)

Utica native and Utica Free Academy graduate Mary Donlon Alger attended Cornell University and went on to make many firsts as a female lawyer. She was the first female editor of any law school review in the country as the editor of the Cornell Law Quarterly. After graduating in 1920 and passing the New York State Bar in 1921, she joined the firm Burke and Burke and was the first woman to make partner at a Wall Street firm. Mary returned to Cornell as the first female trustee of the school, where she served alongside 39 men from 1937 to 1966. She returned again in 1944 to help establish the School of Industrial and Labor Relations with New York State Assemblyman Irving Ives. She was very involved with state and national politics throughout her later life. Mary was appointed Chairwoman of the New York State Industrial Board in 1944 and the Chairwoman of the New York State Workman’s Compensation Board in 1945. She also served as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1944 and 1948, and was appointed as Judge of the United States Customs Court by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955.

Clara Barton (1821-1912)

Clara Barton was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts. She became a certified teacher at age 17 and furthered her education at the Clinton Liberal Institute, where she studied writing and language. Clara served her country as a nurse during the Civil War coordinating medical supplies and provision storage, and eventually became the coordinator of the front-line hospitals. Afterwards, Clara headed the effort for an initiative known as “The Search for the Missing Men,” which responded to over forty thousand families of missing soldiers. Clara is most famous for the founding of the American Red Cross, which she began after working in Switzerland. Under her leadership, the Red Cross aided refugees of the Spanish-American War, as well as the victims of several natural disasters. Her connection to the local area was small, but meaningful; she stated that “Among the cherished memories of a life that holds some recollections very dear, none are more tenderly reverted to than quiet classic Clinton. I see faces that always greeted me with quiet smiles and hear the voices full of gentle, scholarly wisdom.”

Robert McBride (1785-1879)

Utica pioneer, community leader, and mason Robert McBride was born in Armagh, Ireland on October, 3, 1785. He moved to Utica in 1807 and was among the first nonindigenous settlers.  McBride was responsible for constructing many early buildings in the area including the first brick house in Utica and the Whitesboro courthouse. He also helped erect the original Bagg’s Hotel in Utica and assisted with the construction of the barracks at Sackett’s Harbor. He was employed as a mason on the Erie Canal when construction began in 1817 and was later appointed superintendent of the canal, serving in this position for 10 years. He worked in the railroad business after the canal days. McBride was also a Utica village trustee, served on the city’s common council for 13 years, and was a member of the Old Methodist Church and the Masonic Order.
 
Hanyery Tewahangarahken and Tyonajanegen (1724-1794)

Hanyery Tewahangarahken “He Who Takes Up the Snow Shoe” was born in 1724. He became chief warrior of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Indian Nation. He married Tyonajanegen “Two Kettles Together,” around 1750. The two were part of the founding of the Oriska village, where they owned a farm and raised their four children. Hanyery and Tyonajanegen sold their produce at the Oneida Carrying place and to the inhabitants of Fort Stanwix. They were extremely successful, and Hanyery became one of the wealthiest of the Oneidas. In 1768, the British stole land from the Oneidas, including the village of Oriska, thus, the Oriska Oneidas decided to fight against them in the Revolutionary War. The United States recognized Hanyery’s leadership and commissioned him as captain to the Oneidas. At Valley Forge, he was invited to dine with George Washington. His wife, Tyonajanegen, was his steadfast battle companion; when Hanyery was wounded at the Battle of Oriskany, he continued to fight as Tyonajanegen loaded his gun. After the war, Hanyery continued to be a leader in an Oneida village, until his death in 1794.

Hall of Fame & Living Legends Class of 2020

Mary Donlon Alger                           Clara Barton                          Robert McBride             Hanyery Tewahangarahken and Tyonajanegen 
The Oneida County Historical Hall of Fame, begun in 1946, has named four individuals to its 2020 inductee class: Lawyer and Justice Mary Donlon Alger, Red Cross Founder & Clinton resident Clara Barton, Utica pioneer Robert McBride, and Oneida leaders and Revolutionary War veterans Hanyery Tewahangarahken “He Who Takes Up the Snow Shoe” and Tyonajanegen “Two Kettles Together.” The Hall of Famers will be inducted alongside the 2020 Richard W. Couper ‘Living Legends’ class: nonprofit champion Natalie Brown, cardiologist Dr. Brian Gaffney, historian Jane Spellman, and healthcare and community advocate Eve Van de Wal. More information about the inductees is below.


This year’s inductees are being recognized for their service as civic leaders and community advocates, and for their efforts in furthering the region's industries, culture, and educational opportunities. They will be honored at the History Center's annual Historical Hall of Fame and Living Legends Awards Ceremony. The celebration will be virtual this year and hosted via Zoom on Thursday, November 12, 2020 starting at 6:00 pm.  Tickets are $25.00 and should be purchased in advance. Purchase before November 2 to receive a #localhistory package in time for the event. All proceeds support History Center mission initiatives in collections, education, and facilities.

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2020 Richard W. Couper Living Legends Inductees

Natalie Brown (Deansboro)

Natalie Brown began her career at General Electric with the Financial Management Program and spent 15 years with The Savings Bank of Utica (currently M&T Bank) before pivoting her career to the nonprofit sector.  In 2002, she became the Executive Director/CEO at the Girl Scouts – Foothills Council, Inc. where she managed the design and implementation of high-quality programs for almost 4,700 girls and over 1,500 adults. In 2010, she became the Executive Director/CEO of the YWCA Mohawk Valley, Inc., and developed and managed many programs and services for survivors and victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. She retired in 2015, but has remained involved with the community. Natalie has served in several leadership positions and on numerous boards including Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Oneida County Industrial Development Agency, and United Way. Recently, she launched Natalie L. Brown, LLC, which offers consulting services around board development, strategic planning, and organization development. Until the pandemic her favorite activity was reading to a kindergarten class. On a personal note her hobbies include classic cars, golf, travel, and social dancing. 

Dr. Brian Gaffney (New Hartford)

Dr. Brian J. Gaffney grew up in Clinton, NY. The son of a physician, he always wanted to “follow in his footsteps,” and today, is one of the leading cardiologists in the region. Dr. Gaffney attended Georgetown University as an undergraduate and earned his medical degree from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He worked in the capitol region until he was recruited by St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to start a cardiac care program in Utica in 1981. Dr. Gaffney spent countless hours expanding this initiative to provide much needed coronary care in the region. Today, Dr. Gaffney is on staff at St Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, Rome Memorial Hospital, Oneida Healthcare Center, and Lewis County General Hospital.  He serves on several boards including the Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield Regional Board and the Upstate Medical University Alumni Board.  He has received several awards from the community including the Genesis Group Healthcare Hall of Distinction, the Scroll Award of the Central New York Academy of Medicine, and the Clinton Central School District Hall of Distinction. He is the proud father of 6 children and resides with his longtime partner Susan Keller in New Hartford.

Jane Spellman (Utica)

Jane Ann Sullivan Spellman, a native of Albany, grew up in Fulton, New York. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1952, with a degree in English and government.  She served as part time-director of the Herkimer County Historical Society for 22 years, where she managed a staff of four full-time employees and oversaw the production of more than 20 publications. In 1992, Jane oversaw the publication of Herkimer County at 200, the first history of the county in more than 100 years. She was the editor of groundbreaking two volumes of Women Belong in History Books: Herkimer and Oneida Counties New York 1700-1950. In 2016, Jane received the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship from the New York Academy of History. Jane has given countless presentations, lectures, and advice to novice and professional historians, and has inspired burgeoning historians of all ages throughout her life.

Eve Van de Wal (New Hartford)

Eve Van de Wal began her career as a Registered Nurse working for the Critical Care unit of Utica’s Faxton Hospital and today is the Regional President of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in the Utica region. In her twenty-two years with Excellus, she also served as director of community and regional affairs, director of medical affairs for Excellus Health Plan, director of health services for the Utica and Central New York regions, and manager for the medical claims audit unit. Eve earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from SUNY Brockport, and a masters in Health Services Management and Business Administration from SUNYIT (today SUNY POLY). Eve has received multiple awards for her community involvement including the Catholic Charities of Oneida and Madison Counties Starfish Award, The Genesis Group Joseph R. Carucci Legacy Awards, Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, American Red Cross Great Hero Award, YWCA Salute to Outstanding Women Award for Healthcare, and the Mohawk Valley Successful Women in Business Award.

​Oneida County History Center