May Memorialís Historical Tree of Life


Roger Hiemstra

Syracuse, NY: May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society

© 2015



The Book

In addition to my scholarship related to self-directed learning, I am passionate about genealogy, history, and music. Having published my genealogical research on the Hiemstra name, this book represents an historical examination of my church in Syracuse, New York. Currently, I am carrying out an historical examination of the Fayetteville, New York fire department of which I am a member. After completing that writing effort I will author my personal memoirs. I also sing in two barbershop-style musical groups. Life in retirement is busy but very rewarding.


The May Memorial UU church in Syracuse has existed for 177 years and has a glorious history. After my retirement from Syracuse University I served as Historian for and chair of the churchís History Committee for ten years. During eight of those years I wrote a monthly column for our church newsletter based on that glorious history. This book includes 128 of those articles.


Members and clergy of May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society have for the past 177 years made substantial contributions to the rich history of Syracuse, New York. Much of that history was recorded and has been preserved in the churchís archives. During this time period clergy and church members served the causes of abolition, reconstruction, womanís suffrage, and peace through the civil war, two world wars, and subsequent peace actions.


In this book you read about various historical events, including the heroic acts of Reverend Samuel J. May, for whom the church is named, a leading United States abolitionist. These stories also are replete with names such as Louisa May Alcott (a niece of Samuel May), Susan B. Anthony, and William Ellery Channing, among other champions of justice. In many ways the history of May Memorial is the history of womenís suffrage, civil rights and the causes of justice in the United States.



Table of Contents, Foreword, Preface, 128 articles organized by year, and an Index. The articles are on such topics as abolition, Susan B. Anthony, John Brown, the Cold Water Army, Prudence Crandall, the Fugitive Slave Act, slavery, womenís suffrage, pioneering female ministers, the Sanctuary Movement, and the infamous School of The Americas. Yes, in many ways this is a book primarily about one church in one community; however, it provides a wonderful glimpse into much of America and its many ups and downs from 1838-2015. [160 pages plus illustrations and photos]


Purchasing Information

$20 per copy includes shipping & handling if being mailed. All proceeds go to May Memorialís History Committee as its members continue the churchís ongoing historical work. To obtain a copy contact the church office at 3800 East Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13214. 315-446-8920;