Free History Day at the TCHS Museum!

History Day- Final Version

The Tioga County Historical Society Musuem will be hosting History Day on Saturday, May 2nd from 11am-3pm. We will have a variety of activities and crafts.

Activities will include:

  • Scavenger Hunt in the Museum
  • Building with Architecture Blocks
  • Journaling
  • Coloring

Kid’s of all ages are welcome to this free family event! Join us for an afternoon of creativity, learning, and fun!


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Rick Marsi

This Sunday, April 19, TCHS will be hosting its Annual Meeting. This will give our community the opportunity to meet Museum Board and Staff, explore the museum, and learn more about our organization. We will also be presenting a wonderful guest speaker, Rick Marsi. In celebration of the Annual Meeting with this wonderful guest speaker, TCHS is proud to present:

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Rick Marsi 

1. Rick Marsi has won 12 Associated Press Writing Contest Awards

Between 1980 and 1999, Rick wrote a nationally syndicated nature column for Gannett News Service and contributed hundreds of outdoor and environment stories to the Binghamton, N.Y. Press & Sun-Bulletin. Hi 12 awards include 1st place awards for both column and feature writing. He resumed his column in 2002, which appears in the the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, the Elmira Star-Gazette and the Ithaca Journal. Rick also writes for the Waterman Outdoor Education Center in Apalachin, NY.

2. Rick Marsi has 40 years experience in nature photography

 Rick marsi

As a photographer, Rick is a former 1st Place winner in the Outdoor Writer’s of America Photo Contest. His photographs have appeared in Sports Afield, Men’s Health, Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birder’s World, Reader’s Digest Books and other publications.

3. Rick is the author of 4 published books

Rick is the author of four books – Wheel of Seasons, Once Around the Sun, A Doctor’s Life, and Bridge to Borovichi – as well as numerous magazine articles. Rick has written regularly on the outdoors and travel for the book division of Reader’s Digest. He served as a consultant and contributing author for the popular Reader’s Digest Book of North American Birds. He has written a number of stories for the Reader’s Digest series, Explore America. Other Reader’s Digest books containing Rick’s work include See the USA The Easy Way and America’s Most Beautiful Highways.

4. Rick is an outdoor travel consultant

Since the mid-1990s, he has planned and escorted more than 20 photography, birding and fishing tours to Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and Maritimes, America’s Western National Parks, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Finland and Norway.

5. Rick is the winner of numerous awards for his work with the Environment 

Recent awards Rick has received include an Environmental Achievement Citation from the Federation of New York State Garden Clubs; communications awards from the Upper Susquehanna Coalition and the Susquehanna County, Pa. Conservation District; and a special commendation from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission for a series of stories on the Susquehanna River. Rick also is the recipient of Earth Day Southern Tier’s Earthstar Award, for “excellence in promoting public understanding of the natural world.” He also has received the Arts and Literature Award from New York State’s Outdoor Education Association.


TCHS is proud to present Rick Marsi as the guest speaker at our Annual Meeting. The meeting will take place Sunday, April 19, at 1 pm at the Tioga County Historical Society (110 Front St., Owego, NY). All are welcome to this free event! We look forward to seeing you there!

Annual Meeting Poster

-Staci Becker, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

*All Information Received from

Civil War Remembered: The Story of Two Tioga County Generals

TCHS Brady 087 (2)

Today marks the 150 anniversary of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, a definitive milestone of the end of the Civil War. After 4 years of fighting, it is estimated that at least 620,000 American soldiers died during the conflict (though the true number will never be known). That is 2.5% of the population. If the Civil War was fought today, nearly 7 million Americans would be killed. This is a staggering figure that suggests that the Civil War generation made almost inconceivable sacrifices.

To Arms! To Arms!!

In honor of this anniversary, TCHS is proud to share the story of Owego native Isaac S. Catlin. Catlin was born on July 8, 1835, in Owego, NY, and attended Owego Academy. He studied law in New York City, and soon passed the bar. He returned to Owego in 1859, where he joined the law firm Tracy, Warner, and Walker. In 1860, Isaac Catlin was elected Mayor of Owego.

In 1861, with the breakout of Civil War, Catlin raised a company of volunteers, and was named its captain. It was said that his was “the first full company which enlisted in the North”. Catlin rose quickly in the ranks. Between 1862 and 1864, he was promoted from First Lieutenant to Colonel. Catlin commanded the 109th Regiment of New York Volunteers in many battles, perhaps the most significant being the Battle of Crater at Petersburg, Virginia.

Head and torso portrait of a white man with a full beard, wearing a military jacket.

   – Isaac Catlin

During the battle at Petersburg, Catlin was seriously wounded. According to Catlin’s obituary, printed in the New York Times on  January 20, 1916,

“Colonel Catlin was to push on over the mines, and, if possible, capture the men in charge of them. When day dawned he led his men in the face of heavy fire and was wounded. He insisted on being carried to the front, and while there, an explosion of a shell shattered his right leg. Notwithstanding his two wounds he was carried at the head of his troops over the un-exploded mines, which he captured.”

Catlin’s wounds were severe, and his right leg was amputated. Being cited for his bravery, Catlin was promoted to Brevet Major General. He was also awarded with the Medal of Honor in 1899, this country’s highest military honor. Catlin’s official Medal of Honor Citation reads:

“In heroic effort to rally the disorganized troops was disabled by a severe wound. While being carried from the field he recovered somewhat and bravely started to return to his command, when he received a second wound, which necessitated amputation of his right leg.”

  – Isaac Catlin

After the war, Catlin was elected the district attorney of Tioga County, and six years later, in 1871, formed a law partnership in Brooklyn with his brother-in-law, Benjamin F. Tracy. He died on January 19, 1916 in Brooklyn at the age of 80.

Benjamin Tracy, Catlin’s brother-in-law, was also from Tioga County, and like Catlin, was awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. According to the official citation, Tracy “seized the colors and led the regiment when other regiments had retired and then reformed his line and held it.” Later that year, he became commandant of the Elmira prisoner of war camp, before being appointed Colonel of the 127th Infantry, U.S. Colored Troops, on August 23, 1864. After the war, Tracy practiced law together with Catlin and became active in politics. He served as Secretary of the Navy from 1889-1893 under President Benjamin Harrison.


– Benjamin Tracy

The Tioga County Historical Society is dedicated to honoring those who served in the Civil War, for their bravery and sacrifice. The Civil War exhibit in our Museum is titled “The Cost of Freedom” and will be showcased throughout the rest of the year. Part of that exhibit includes Isaac Catlin’s sword, and his commission as Major General by brevet, signed by President Andrew Johnson. Also on exhibit is Benjamin Tracy’s Medal of honor. We hope you will join us in honoring all of the extraordinary men from Tioga County who volunteered during this historic conflict.

-Staci Becker, Marketing and Communications Coordinator