The Mormon Connection
Sheldon Fisher is generally credited with excavating the artifacts from what was once the location of the Brigham Young family mill and home in up state New York. While growing up, Mr. Fisher was interested in the history of Brigham Young and the LDS church beginnings. Throughout Mr. Fisher's adult life, he researched and studied Mormon traditions in the Fishers-Mendon area where Brigham Young and other early Latter-Day Saint leaders once resided.
He was a self-trained historian and archeologist, whose ancestors settled the area in the early 19th century. According to Mr. Fisher, his mother and father had actually met at a play in the 3rd floor ballroom of Valentown Hall in 1905. In 1940 Sheldon Fisher and his wife Lilian purchased the Valentown building (1879) and in 1944 they moved their own Fisher's family collection there that was related to the settlement of Fishers New York.
In the early 1960s, Mr. Fisher began searching for the exact location of Brigham's mill and home. Skeptical of any local folklore concerning the site, he researched county records and learned that Brigham's home and mill were built on a creek in the field of the property of his father, John Young. Every summer for six years Mr. Fisher excavated the site.
His Mormon collection contained what he said were Brigham Young's turning lathe (now on display at the Museum of Church History and Art, Salt Lake City), some chairs that had been made on it, relics dug from John Youngs combined house and mill site, and other related acquired artifacts.
In the late 1990's Mr. Fisher privately sold most of the items retrieved from the site and some personally collected companion items. An article in a section called "The Church News" of the March 1, 2001 Deseret News (Salt Lake City) quotes Mr. Fisher: "A few years ago, after an illness and fearing for the future care of the artifacts, I sold a large van full of Brigham's possessions to the Museum of Church History and Art." Mr. Fisher passed away one year and ten months after that article (Dec. 21, 2002).
The Victor Historical Society (a 501-C3 NFP Organization) that owns the rural Historic Valentown site near Fishers N.Y. has in recent years been re-evaluating their collection to focus solely on the Historic Valentown story and its relationship to the agricultural history of the area.
The remaining Mormon artifacts are currently in storage and are not available for public viewing at this time.
Excavating Brigham Young's Mill Site - https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2001-03-03/excavating-brigham-youngs-mill-site-115528
NYSED - J. Sheldon Fisher Obituary - https://listserv.nysed.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0301&L=NYHIST-L&P=681
New Society of the Genesee - Visit August 23, 1997 - https://crookedlakereview.com/newsocietygenesee/visits/0897valentown.html
Democrat and Chronicle Jul 1, 1979 - https://img.newspapers.com/img/img?institutionId=0&user=0&id=137031730&clippingId
Last Updated Tuesday, August 31 2021 @ 07:35 pm