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Introduction:In 1928 a young teacher named Doris Begor came to Whitehall to teach students of the local school. She settled in, and in the ensuing years she taught Elementary Subjects, Business Math, Earth Science, Ancient History, English, and for twelve years was the High School Librarian. She never taught the subject for which her MA degree from St. Lawrence prepared her; that was Home Economics. Later she took summer school courses and earned her MS degree in Library Science from SUNY, Albany. She retired in 1970 after 42 years in the Whitehall Schools.In 1943 Miss Begor married John Morton, breaking a school rule that female teachers could not marry. When the School Board let her stay on, several other female teachers followed suit. That was the beginning of many innovative actions of a forward thinking and acting woman.She was President of the Whitehall Teacher’s Association and President of the Tri-County Teachers Association. She was a delegate to the House of Delegates of the New York State Teacher’s Association, and was a Life Member of the National Education Association. She was active in the formation of the New York State Classroom Teacher’s Association (the forerunner of New York State United Teachers) and was Editor of its publication, Brief Case. She is listed in the 1966 Who’s Who in American Education.Through acquaintances in her new community, Mrs. Morton became interested in the history of Whitehall and its beginnings. In 1951, at the rejuvenation of the Whitehall Historical Society, she was appointed Town and Village Historian. She had begun several years earlier to research Philip Skene, founder of the original settlement. Her research took her west to Michigan as well as several northern states, England and Scotland. Since she used summers for that research, it took twelve years to bring the biography Philip Skene of Skenesborough to print. Historian Jane Lape, writer of the foreword in the book, identifies it as a “labor of love for her adopted town”.When the two hundredth anniversary of the founding of Skenesborough was near, historian Morton influenced the community to work on a giant celebration and found an unused canal building to become the display place of historic artifacts donated by the residents of Whitehall. It was so popular that the town was able to convince New York State to deed the use of the building as long as it remained a museum. It continues today following the goals of a dedicated woman to share, with others, our local history and evidence of the lifestyle of people in Whitehall through more than two centuries.She served as President of the Historical Society for fourteen years, and after that, worked with the Society to create the Historic Research Center on the second floor of the library, contributing many of her own records and documents. With volunteers she met at the Center each week to document thousands of births, deaths, and marriages alphabetically, as well as to categorize hundreds of photographs donated to the Society. Her devotion to local history was recognized with the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor, given only to non-members. She was past President of the Washington County Historical Society, and served eleven years on the Washington County Historic Preservation Committee.Always community minded Mrs. Morton served nine years as a Director of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce. She was designated Whitehall “Woman of the Year” in 1973. She also served on the Town Planning Board for several terms as well as on the Urban Cultural Park Commission.Writings by Mrs. Morton include numerous pamphlets and research papers, the booklet Whitehall, Birthplace of the United States Navy, Philip Skene of Skenesborough, and a weekly column for two newspapers written over twenty-five years.She decided that a pictorial history was the way to bring Whitehall history to as many people as possible. This reprint volume was the brainchild of a woman who continued to try to provide information about Whitehall and the people who have lived there that would be of eternal interest. It has been augmented in a manner that would be acceptable to her. She was always looking to improve her work.Doris Morton’s interest in people and history is evident; there are many who remember her fondly and with admiration, in particular one who will always be grateful for a close friendship. (Carol Greenough)The above was first printed on the back cover of “DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY, Second Edition”
This compilation of Doris B. Morton’s writings converted to digital format has been five years in the making. The original newspaper articles were fragile and deteriorating to the point of requiring extreme care when attempting to read them. Also, there was no way to search information by subject or date. It required reading through all the articles each time information was requested. Ms. Carol Greenough and Kenneth Bartholomew worked together on a volunteer basis to preserve this valuable resource of Whitehall History for future researchers. It was completed in August of 2009.