The History Maker Award is given to a person who has had a significant and positive influence on the life of Sullivan County or, more broadly, on the life of the nation or the world.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 2003
Alice and Russell (Rusty) Hodge
Let us think back to our youthful days when our bodies had reached their peaks of strength and endurance. If we had tried our hand at Track and Field events, how closely would we have measured up to the following?
40 Yard Dash: 4.2 seconds
100-meter Dash: 10.2 seconds (world decathlon record)
100 Yard Dash: 9.3 seconds
Long Jump: 25' 4 ½"
Shot Put: 61' (American Decathlon Record)
High Jump: 6' 5"
400-meter Run: 47.8 seconds
110-meter High Hurdles: 14.5 seconds
Pole Vault: 15'
1500-meter Run: 4 minutes 12 seconds
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 2001
Emma Cooke Chase (1869 – 1944)
Educator & Child Advocate
An Oneonta, New York native, Emma C. Chase would become a household name in Sullivan County, New York a world away from her hometown.
A woman of vision, tremendous focus and tenacity, she became the first female Superintendent of Schools in New York State and the first Superintendent in the Third District in Sullivan County. Having graduated from high school in 1884 at the young age of fifteen, Miss Cooke was refused admittance to Albany Normal School (to become Albany State College), due to her age. Although profoundly disappointed, she applied for and was awarded a Third Grade Teaching Certificate (see notes) and began teaching school. She would continue to teach, subsequently renewing this 6-month certification several times and then receiving an annual Second Grade Certification, until gaining admittance to Albany Normal in 1888.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 2000
Francis S. Currey
Congressional Medal of Honor - WWII
Currey was born in Loch Sheldrake, New York, on June 29, 1925. After being orphaned at age 12, he was raised by foster parents on a farm in nearby Hurleyville. He joined the Army in 1943, one week after graduating from high school. Although he completed Officer Candidate School, at only 18 years old his superiors felt that he was "too immature" to be an officer and denied him a commission.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 1999
Walter A. Rhulen (1931~1998)
Early in this century, Max Rhulen found himself at age four in the strange world of New York City. He had been born in Russia, but his father Harry decided to move the family to America to escape the poverty and prejudice of Russia and the threat of having his sons drafted into the Czarist army.
His mother wanted her family to assimilate as quickly as possible and Max and his three brothers responded to her encouragement and worked hard to find their niche in this new world.
The family did not like New York City and about 1911 decided to move to Woodridge where they lived on the farm of Harry’s sister-in-law, a Mrs. Golub. While attending Monticello High School, Max met Eve Margolin, the daughter of Lewis and Anna Margolin, who owned the Kiamesha Lodge and Country Club which had evolved from a small farm and was located at the present site of the Hebrew Day School. After graduating, they both continued their education: Max attended New York Law and Eve was one of two women graduates of St. John Law School’s first graduation in 1928.
Sullivan County Historical Society History Maker Award 1998
The Hon. Lawrence H. Cooke
When future historians look back on Sullivan County in the twentieth century, they will probably agree that the First Citizen of the county was a Monticello man, Lawrence H. Cooke, who became Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. These historians will be impressed with the Judge’s legal accomplishments, but they will be even more impressed with his character. They will note that the Judge was a man who achieved a position of great responsibility, who changed the judicial landscape in the State, who could have gone on to achieve even higher honors in Washington, but was one who never lost his sense of roots: that Sullivan County was home and that all its citizens were his friends and neighbors.
A man’s character is first shaped by his parents and Judge Cooke is conscious not only of his love for his parents, but of his debt to them. “My father was the essence of rectitude and my mother the essence of refinement,” he recalls. His father’s advice continues to guide him. When he faces difficult decisions, he remembers his father’s words, “If in doubt, always take the high road.” When he was offered favors which would later become political obligations, he heard the advice, “I hope you never have to say it, but you ought to be able to tell anybody to go to hell if you have to.” In addition to advice, his father set an example of hard work. The son of a cobbler, George Cooke became a school teacher, then eventually a lawyer and finally the Sullivan County Court Judge and Surrogate. Lawrence’s mother, Mary Pond, was equally influential. She came from a Connecticut family of academic accomplishment. She herself attended Mt. Holyoke and taught Latin and mathematics. The Judge remembers her as an accomplished linguist who could also have taught Greek, but there was no call for that language.