English couple walks in steps of local ancestor

Jocelyn Pannett, the great-granddaughter of village patriarch Col. William H. Husted, and her husban

Jocelyn Pannett, the great-granddaughter of village patriarch Col. William H. Husted, and her husband Mervyn, who live in England, spent the day in Broadalbin Tuesday.

They took a tour with Broadalbin Historian Gordon Cornell, taking in all the local history associated with Col. Husted, and capped the evening as the featured speakers at the Broadalbin Kenyetto Historical Society’s meeting.

Pannett has done extensive research on the family tree and said she thought she had a lot of information. Until she met Cornell.

“Gordy has got so much in terms of information about the village and it was wonderful of him to share it with us,” she said. “It was nice to come and meet all these wonderful people from Broadalbin.”

The Pannetts shared the microphone and interspersed their talk with light-hearted quips.

One relative died July 4, 1776, Mervyn said. “That is a date of some significance in this country?”

Before the talk he said the 3,000-mile trip was well worth it.

“We had a wonderful day. We’ve been regally looked after. We’ve got to sing for our supper now,” he said.

“We did have a nice day,” Cornell added. “We went to lunch at Java Junction and I gave them the five cent tour of the village to show them some of the things their ancestors would have seen.”

They spent the afternoon at Cornell’s house, poring over his materials, before a complimentary dinner at Vandeline’s.

Pannett said she became interested in her genealogy about 10 years ago when she discovered that her grandfather dropped Husted and went with his middle name, Seymour.

She said it’s unclear why, but that opened the door to the couple’s research, which has taken them from England to Brooklyn, New York City, Connecticut and now, Broadalbin.

They used cross-reference books, newspaper archives, U.S. Census data and other reference works to compile their information. They’ve been welcomed into homes that used to be occupied by their ancestors.

And over the course of the past 10 years they’ve stumbled on some fun facts.

For example, Col. Husted was a member of a militia from 1852-57, when he resigned, and that’s where he got his title.

Col. Husted’s sister, Miss Kitty Husted, who summered in Broadalbin until her death in 1922, pounded the last ceremonial spike in the railroad in Broadalbin and caught the very first train to Gloversville.

Col. Husted was an entrepreneur, a world traveler, and an art aficionado.

After he started summering in Broadalbin in 1883 he started civic work for the village, including establishing a triangular park in the center of the village, building and opening to the public an elaborate Italian garden.

His sister followed, and they were instrumental in establishing the railroad, building the station, erecting a suspension bridge, building churches and study rooms, among other works.

All that information is on file and available, and that makes Pannett happy.

“The village has the resources, which is wonderful,” she said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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