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The George and Rebecca Barnes Foundation, Inc. 930 James Street | Syracuse, NY 13203 | www.GRBarnes.


The Mansion Matters

The Barnes-Hiscock Mansion - Irreplaceable History since 1853

News Letter Spring edition 2012

Fifth Annual Dancing With

Our Stars

The evening was elegant, fun and full of energy as our Stars and professional dancers shined once more. The couples have practiced since last November and boy did it show. Each dance was more amazing then the one before. Our winners of the evenings event were Julie Taboulie Sageer and her professional partner, Tristan Reimann, but they had stiff competition from the others. Second place winners were Farah Jadran and her professional partner, Bill Bliss and our third winners were Dave Moynihan and his professional partner, Donna Natale ONeil. The other competitors were close behind with their moves and music. Bob Crowe and Erain Wilcox did a Cha-Cha that left everyone clapping and Joe Nicoletti and Linda Faccipointes Waltz was as elegant and smooth as glass. Lisa Chelenza and Geno Aureli did a Tango that made you feel you were right in the heart of a Spanish nightclub. Patti Muller and Ron Hanley knocked their swing dance right out of the ballpark. Mary Meyer and her partner, Stephfond Brunson were a hit as she entered the dance floor in her full length white fur coat to then transcend into a glittering gold costume. What a night. Two of our raffle winners were friends of the Foundation, Peggy Page, winning the $250 gift card from Skaneateles Jewelers and Vickie Crescenzi won the Year of fine dining. Our Grand Prize winner, winning the trip to The Horned Dorset, in Rincon, Puerto Rico was Mona Sageer. Congratulations one and all.
All of our Stars and Pros at intermission during the event. Left to right are: Mary Meyer & Stephfond Brunson, Farah Jadran & Bill Bliss, Erain Wilcox and Bob Crowe, Patti Muller & Ron Hanley, Donna Natale ONeil & dave Moynihan, Lisa Chelenza & Geno Aureli, Julie Taboulie & Tristan Reimann and Linda Facciponte & Joe Nicoletti. Our Grand Prize winners of our Fifth Annual Dancing With Our Stars, Julie Taboulie Sageer and Tristan Reimann.

Upcoming Events
Seventh Annual Save the Mansion Tour
Friday June 8 and Saturday June 9, 2012 On Friday evening (6:30 - 8:30 P.M.) there will be a lecture by Architect Christopher Payne and wine and a hors doeuvres reception following. Mr. Payne will speak about the Architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee, specifically regarding his work on the Mansions diningroom and his impact in Syracuse. The tour of homes in the Sedgwick Farms area and a tour of The Mansion will take place on Saturday from 10:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. A light lunch will be served from 11:30 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. The cost of the lunch will be $15 per person. (Reservations are a must) Reception: $20 pp - GR Barnes members/$25 - non-members. Saturdays Tour: $15 members/$20 non-members. Patron tickets are available and includes evening reception, tour and lunch. Purchase tickets online at or call Arlene Stewart at 682-0556. Tickets for tour may be purchased at the door.

The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation Inc.

Karen Howe - President Michele Jones Galvin - Vice President Cheryl Ward - Secretary Robert Brown - Treasurer Board of Directors
Edwin Clarke, Rocci DeCaro, Michael Discenza, Dr. David Heisig, Charles Roeschlaub, Marge Teillon, Shannon Galster

Pillar Society Members

Corinthian: ($1000+)
Marilyn & Richard Alberding David Heisig & Donna Mahar Frederick & Karen Howe Robert & Christine Pierce

Fourth Annual Garden Tour

Friday July 13, 2012 We will be touring gardens on Friday Evening as a progressive affair. Munchies and spritzers at each garden and then food & wine back at the mansion. This progressive evening will be fun and entertaining. Look for more details on the website: Tickets: $40 per person or $75 per couple.

Doric ($500 - $749)

Aminy Audi Dr. William & Katherine Billingham

Tuscan ($250 - $499)

Trappers Fundraiser Wednesday July 18, 2012 Members Picnic Sunday August 26, 2012 Tour de Champagne II Saturday September 22, 2012
Please check out for details on all our events.

Cynthia Arigo Donna Flook Murray & Ellen Gould Nancy & Guenther Schmidt Margaret & Lawrence Snowman Arlene & Bill Stewart The Mansion Matters is published by The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation, Inc. 930 James Street - Syracuse, NY 13203 Tel. 422-2445

Seventh Annual Membership Meeting

The Seventh Annual Membership Meeting was held on Thursday, May 3, 2012 from 5:30 7:00 pm at the Barnes Hiscock Mansion. Karen Howe presented the accomplishments of the previous year and shared insights into the future plans of the organization. Many thanks to Kay Billingham, rotating off the board after six years. Welcome to Robert Brown, new board member and officer. Bob will be the new Treasurer. The foundation is making progress toward its goals of restoration and sustainability.

Party at the Mansion Perk for Pillar Members

In order to remain in compliance with our charter, but still raise additional funds, the Foundation has changed its policy on renting the mansion for private parties. Pillar members at specific levels will now have the privilege of a one-time use of the house for a private party (Other fees may apply). We have amended our facilities contract to show member responsibilities. So if someone asks you if the mansion is available for a shower or wedding, tell them to join and they can hold their event. Membership dues are tax deductible. More information can be had by calling 422-2445 or sending an e-mail to

Letter from the President

Forgive us if we are a little behind schedule in publishing our newsletter. Weve partnered with a new editor/designer who is bringing a professional look to our formerly in-house published newsletter (many thanks to Arlene Stewart). Please welcome Sandra Jackson of SbN Studios/Visual Design. Sandra brings a wealth of experience and talent to the Barnes Foundation. She has graciously agreed to do this work for free. Sandra took photos at the Tour de Champagne last September, made a video of the Meet the Authors Tea presentations, and now is designing our newsletter. I hope you like our new look and I hope you will tell others about Sandras talents. You can find her information in the newsletter block and in our sponsor section. Its important to patronize our generous sponsors. Its been a very busy few months. The board has been very active working on several projects. The biggest project has been setting up offices on the third floor to house the Foundations files, collections and supplies. We now have two fully furnished offices, complete with computers, printers, software and phones. The Foundation received a generous anonymous donation to provide the technology needed to carry out our business. Thanks to our generous benefactor and very careful buying (Black Friday was a big help), we were able to purchase everything we needed. The foundation can now do its bookkeeping on premises. We anticipate an annual savings on bookkeeping expenses. The infamous wireless doorbell is workingagain. Its supposed to be suitable for outdoor use, but the contacts corrode over a short period of time. About every three months we have to take it down, clean it, put new batteries in and re-mount it. It works great when its working. (Look for the bright pink arrows pointing to it) Our grant committee has been hard at work to secure funds to start work on the serious needs of the building. At the end of March, we completed and submitted an application to The John Ben Snow Foundation for monies to help refurbish and restore several original doors in the mansion and to replace the back kitchen door with a more secure steel door. The main purpose of the grant is to complete Phase I of our ADA compliance by replacing the main entrance door with a wooden door more in keeping with the historic architecture of the building, but meeting the requirements of ADA. This project will improve the energy efficiency of all the doors. It will also increase safety because we will be adding security contacts to all exterior doors. We hope to begin this work in July. As everyone knows the roof of the mansion is in a poor state. The Grant Committee has spent many hours talking to architects, contractors and consultants to formulate the best plan moving forward. It is absolutely critical to have a complete set of architectural drawings done before any work is started on the building. These drawings will be the blueprints for all the work to be done even though the roof will be the first project. We cant get reliable

quotes for work until the contractors have bid documents which are taken from the drawings. The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation has applied for a grant from the CNY Community Foundation to help cover the cost of these drawings. Once we have these drawings, we can solicit bids. And, if we have our timing right, we should be in good condition to put in an application this summer for the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation EPF grant. That would provide the major monies to fix the roof next year. So, we have a plan. It is taking time to execute it. But stay with us as we continue to inch forward. By the time you read this, Dancing with the Stars will have happened: April 14. I hope you were there and enjoyed our Fifth Annual Dancing. The Barnes Foundation extends its appreciation and thanks to Arlene Stewart, who again has chaired this fundraiser for the foundation. This event has raised approximately $100,000 in the past four years. Check out the article in the newsletter. Again, I extend the sincere appreciation of the Foundation to the Syracuse Corinthian Club members for their help in decorating the mansion for every holiday and occasion. The house would look so cold and empty without these lovely touches. And, a great number of the Club members have volunteered to help with our fundraisers. The Holidays at the Mansion took hundreds of volunteers to make that a success and we couldnt do it without the support of the Club members along with our own dedicated volunteers. The annual George and Rebecca Barnes Foundation Membership meeting was May 3rd. Interested members attended and socialized before and after the meeting. For those of you who are internet savvy, stay tuned. We are working on a new website. It should be out in May. Well, you can see we are busy. We could use more help. If you, or someone you know, is/are interested in helping out on some of our committees, dont be shy. We are also looking for a few qualified people to fill in board positions. There are openings for an accountant, a marketing person, a volunteer coordinator and a corresponding secretary, as well as, those with general business skills and a passion for historic preservation. You can contact me at: for more information. See you at the mansion, Karen Howe

The Mansion Matters Spring edition 2012

New Flag
Last year, due to a generous donation from Chuck and Marcy Grundner, the flag pole on the front lawn was repaired and a new flag was put up. The weather has been tough on the flag and it is now showing signs of shredding. Thanks to NYS Senator John DeFrancisco, we are receiving a new, 4 X 6 flag that actually flew over the capital building.

Relatively Speaking

Murder in Albany:

The death of Judge Frank H. Hiscocks father

On June 7, 1867, General George W. Cole walked into the Stanwix Hotel in Albany, NY; put a gun to the head of Luther Harris Hiscock; and shot him dead. The facts of the case are straightforward. Cole had recently learned that Hiscock had an affair with his wife while Cole was off fighting in the Civil War. He then sought revenge to protect his and his wifes honor. However, the story behind the case is more complicated and is part of a recent dissertation by Michael DeGruccio titled Unmade: American Manhood in the Civil War Era, completed at Notre Dame University in 2007. This column summarizes information contained in his dissertation. No other sources were consulted.
Bob Pierce

First, Cole received little notoriety or fame from the newspapers for his war efforts. Second, by the time of his delayed homecoming, attitudes toward returning soldiers had begun to shift from respect and admiration to disdain because of the prevalence of behaviors such as drunkenness, rioting, and homelessness. Third, although Cole had sustained some severe internal injuries during the war, he strived to keep them out of his official record because he did not want the injuries to interfere with his chances for promotion. Perhaps more importantly, his injuries were not visible. Therefore, at a time when returning soldiers wore their visible injuries (e.g., amputations) as badges of honor, Cole suffered the pain without any gain. Initially, Cole tried to find a pharmacy to run. However, none were available. He eventually obtained a job as Assistant Superintendent of the Empire Windmill Manufactory Co. He sold a number of windmills to individuals in the South. However, the customers failed to pay. Accordingly, he was fired and $2,000 of his pay was withheld. It is interesting to note that Luther Hiscock was on the board of directors of this windmill company. Cole then applied for a position as Assessor of Internal Revenue but was rejected. He eventually obtained a position as a customs special agent in New York City. This required more separation from his wife. One day while walking on the streets of Syracuse, Cole ran into his good friend Luther Hiscock. Apparently, Hiscocks behavior raised suspicions in Coles mind. Cole already suspected that Hiscock had helped his wife, Mary, use the new property laws to protect her reasonably-sized estate from her husbands grasp. While it is assumed that her money came from an inheritance, there is some thought that Cole himself sent Mary a large sum of money that he had obtained during the war in a questionable manner. Following his new suspicions, Cole learned from his younger cousin, Mary Cuyler, of a possible affair between Hiscock and Mary Cole. The affair was subsequently confirmed by Montgomery Pelton, Mary Coles half-sisters husband. Thoroughly enraged and seeking revenge, George Cole went to Albany and killed Hiscock. Cole underwent two trials over the next 18 months. The first ended in a hung jury because one juror insisted that Cole was guilty. In 1868, the second jury acquitted Cole, presumably because they thought that protecting ones honor was more important than the niceties of law. Upon his release from custody, Cole did not return to his wife and two daughters. Instead, he went to Washington, D.C. in a fruitless attempt to find work, despite help from his brother Cornelius. He then moved to New Mexico where he tried and failed to make a living in the wool trade. His other big dream was to build a railroad from New Mexico to Nevada. He approached Cornelius, who had paid for Coles defense, promising to repay all his debts with profits from the railroad. Cornelius turned him down. General George W. Cole died an un-made man in December of 1875. In 1879, with all her money gone and her two daughters still living with her, Mary Cole applied for a widows pension, also seeking assistance from Cornelius. However, since widow pensions were tied to war injuries, and Cole had successfully kept the extent of his injuries out of his official record, her request was denied.

The Mansion Matters Spring edition 2012

On the surface, Cole and Hiscock were quite similar. They were both born on farms in Central New York. Both wanted to break away from the farm and saw education as the path. Hiscock became a successful lawyer. He was also a rising star in politics, becoming an Assemblyman representing the 3rd district of Onondaga County. He was elected as a representative to the New York Constitutional Convention, which is why he was in Albany when he was killed. Cole became a physician, earning his degree from the Medical College in Geneva, NY. They both had brothers who became Senators in Washington. Frank Hiscock represented New York and Cornelius Cole represented California. Indeed, George Cole and Luther Hiscock were close friends. However, the similarities ended there. Hiscock became a successful, self-made man. Cole, as we shall see, did not. Cole did not maintain a practice as a physician for reasons unknown. Rather, he tried his hand at several businesses, none successfully. He was trading in lumber when the Civil War started and saw the war as a path to his future success. He felt that battle victories and a high officer rank would translate into respect, success, and wealth upon his return. Therefore, he enlisted with the primary ambition of obtaining the rank of General. Cole started as a Captain in the 12th NY Infantry. He then transferred to the 3rd NY Calvary where he thought he would see more action and, thus, more attention. While he did see more fighting, it was in relatively small, unimportant battles that garnered little press. Obsessed with promotion, Cole sought a commission as a Colonel in a regiment of black soldiers, even soliciting help from his brother, Cornelius. He remained in this position for the remainder of the war. At that time, rather than returning home, he led his regiment to Texas to help build railroads. Towards the end of this nine-month period, Cole achieved his goal and was promoted to General, although it is unclear whether it was as a Brigadier or Major General. Cole returned to Syracuse, hoping his rank and decorations would ensure success as it had for many. However, three issues worked against him.

Relatively Speaking (continued)

Because Luther Hiscocks wife (Lucy Bridgeman Hiscock, whose portrait is hanging in the mansion) had died in 1861, Luthers murder orphaned their two children. They were raised by Luthers brother, Senator Frank Hiscock. Luthers son, Frank H. Hiscock, married Bessie Barnes and became a prominent New York judge. One final twist: just before Coles discharge from the service in 1865, Hiscock wrote to his congressman requesting that Cole be promoted to Major General. Thus, it is conceivable that Mary Cole had an additional ulterior motive behind her relationship with Hiscock that was to Coles benefit. So, why did Cole kill Hiscock? Was it strictly because of the adulterous affair? Was it Coles desperate attempt to finally become a man in the eyes of the public? Or, was it because Hiscock represented everything that Cole tried, but failed, to become?

Black History Month

The Mansion Matters Spring edition 2012

Introducing our House Chair: David Heisig

David is a board member and has assumed responsibilities for keeping the interior of the house running smoothly. He has single handedly reduced our carbon footprint and energy bill by replacing incandescent light bulbs (which burned out all too often) with new CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. David has cleaned and cleared out most of the closets on the second and third floors. He is organizing the various holiday decorations and storing them in a safer place than the attic. We have new safe, small step ladders to reach things on top shelves or to turn on the air conditioners. And, David manages the general layout of the house and helps with the relocation of furniture for events. All changes to rooms should be checked with David first. There are several openings on Davids committee. If we have enough volunteers, one would only have to work once or twice a month for a couple of hours. Contact David at if you are interested in seeing what goes on behind closed doors.

Our Meet the Authors Tea was held at the Mansion on Sunday afternoon, February 26. It was a resounding success. Fifty attendees came to hear Joyce E. Jones read a chapter of her soon-to-be published book: Beyond the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, a Heroine. It is a fascinating account of her great, great, grand aunt Harriets life in Auburn, New York and her service during the Civil War. Also, Thomas Augustine Guiler, IV, gave a short presentation linking the importance of George Barnes and his abolitionist activities to the mansion itself and the mansions connection to Syracuse history. Tom recently completed research on a biography of George Barnes for the Barnes Foundation. His work is being edited for publication later this year.

SU Student Films Mansion

In March, Kyle Robert Kuchta, SU College of Visual and Performing Arts, Class of 2013, visited the mansion to film background for a music video he was producing. We are excited about the final product. The mansion was featured as the entire backdrop for the song John Stuart Mill. The song was written by I Low (aka Colin Reynolds, who also plays guitar and does the vocal). Mr. Reynolds explains his inspiration for the song: John Stuart Mill was written for moments spent on the verge of affirming a belief with action, when youve realized that your conviction must move you to change. It

takes its name from a nineteenth century English philosopher who, with the support of his longtime friend and wife, wrote at length about social and civil liberty (among other things) and fought to express a new idea - to create the potential for change. This song was made for those times of fear and veracity. How appropriate, given the history of the mansion and the work of the Barnes family. You can view the video on You Tube at: Thank you Kyle for sharing the mansion with the public.

Tour de Champagne II
The George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation is pleased to announce the date for our second annual Tour de Champagne is Saturday, September 22, 2012. If you attended last year, you know this is a first class event. The wines are fine French champagne with a few sparkling wines added, supplied by the major distributors. The food is donated by area restaurants and is superbly matched with the wines. In keeping with the fine wine and great food, the entertainment is exceptional and the dress is Black Tie Preferred. Save the date, we expect a sellout crowd this year. Information will be available on our website and by mail as we make progress on the program.

Judge Hiscocks Bedroom (Red Room)

The Mansion Matters Spring edition 2012

Thanks to a generous donation last year from John Gottschalk and his mother, Henrietta, we have the original bed that Judge Frank Hiscock slept in. John is the great grandson of Judge Frank Hiscock and the great, great grandson of George Barnes. Along with the bed, we received a stunning mahogany drop leaf table that will also be on display in the room. Marge & Cliff Mellor have donated her grandmothers rocking chair. This pristine example of upholstered rocker is from the same era and is placed in the bedroom as historically similar to what might have been available to the judge to sit and relax. Judge Hiscocks bedroom was unveiled at the May 3rd Annual membership meeting and will be a new aspect of the June Save the Mansion Tour. If you are familiar with the story of the judge, you know he went to bed every evening at 9:00regardless of who might be visiting. We hope you enjoy this authentic addition to the historic Barnes Hiscock mansion.

More historic furniture

We are pleased to display an ornate inlaid cabinet and table on loan from the Frank H. Hiscock II family. The furniture was originally from the mansion and was in the front formal parlor. Frank Harris Hiscock II and Henrietta Gottschalk were the children of George Barnes Hiscock and Genevieve Saxon. And, George Barnes Hiscock was the son of Bessie and Judge Frank Hiscock. We have a copy of the letter Bessie wrote to her children in 1935, disbursing some of the furniture and personal possessions after her death. In addition to the furniture listed above, the estate is loaning us several ornate candelabra (or girandoles) some photographs and a hand crocheted coverlet that is on the judges bed. We are trying to get these new items in and set up for the annual meeting and the Save the Mansion Tour in June.
Remember, you can help the GR Barnes Foundation when buying items you need online at: Like us on facebook! Look for: George & Rebecca Barnes Foundation Lay-out of this Issue of The Mansion Matters by Sandra Jackson at SbN Studios/Visual Design. offers you services in Band Management, Graphic Design & Photography

Vase or Vahz?
During one of our closet cleanings, we found a broken vase (vahz?). It was the match for one sitting alone on the mantle in the Pink room on the second floor. One of our board members took it to a restorer to have it fixed. Well, the restorer did a fantastic job.for a fantastic price. We are mentioning it because we thought that there may be those that appreciate the eco-friendly approach to repair (instead of throwing it out), or would just welcome an old friend back, who might toss a buck or two in an envelope to help offset the cost of the repair. We want to thank our Corinthian Club sisters for a sizeable donation. The Club paid for half the cost of the repair. Any donations of $10 or greater can be acknowledged for tax purposes. (Just add that to the envelope). You can mail it to 930 James St., Syracuse, NY 13203 or drop it off at the mansion on Mondays or Wednesdays.

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The harp muse

A photo of the harp muse from the dining room mural was used on the cover of the Winter 2011 edition of American Harp Journal.
(Detail of mural by Tommasso Juglaris, 1884) A scene from a board frieze in the dining room of Barnes Hiscock mansion designed by architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee for George and Rebecca Barnes in Syracuse NY. Now owned by the Barnes Foundation, the mansion is on the National Historic Register and the National Parks Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.




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