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Historian to Speak on Somers Confederates

SOMERS, N.Y. – If you think of Somers as a hotbed of Yankee independence, you may be surprised to learn that two of its young citizens fought in the American Civil War on the side of the Confederacy. 

Somers resident George L. Mahoney, a retired history professor at Manhattan College, will talk about it as guest speaker at Sunday’s annual meeting of the Somers Historical Society.

Curiosity about Somers’ role in the Civil War led Mahoney to dig into the records. In the end, he put together a book titled “Somers Confederates: James Wright and His Nephews.” The story begins when a member of the Wright family leaves his home town of Somers, migrates to the South and eventually becomes a well-to-do cotton planter.

Some years later, two of Wright’s nephews followed his lead and went to work for him at his plantation on the Alabama-Georgia border. When the Civil War broke out, the nephews joined the Confederate Army. One was killed in the war. The other returned to Somers and was eventually buried in Ivandell Cemetery.

Professor Mahoney, an expert in European and American history, uncovered the story by sifting through correspondence and other documents that had been bequeathed to the town by Carolyn Wright Reis. 

Among the papers were numerous letters written by the nephews, the uncle and other family members.

Mahoney’s book is available through the Somers Historical Society and Amazon.

The event will take place at Somers’ historic Mt. Zion Church on Primrose Street (Reis Park). Built in 1794, Mt. Zion is the second-oldest surviving Methodist chapel in Westchester County. 

The meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 20. The public is invited. Refreshments will be served afterwards. For more information, go to the Somers Historical Society website or call 914-277-4977.

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