F-M student takes first place in national historical research competition

F-M High School senior Eddie Elliott recently won first place in the 2021 New York State Archives Student Research Awards for a paper he researched and wrote about the Syracuse Salt Company.

The awards program is designed to encourage students to explore the wealth of historical records held in in New York state’s historical records repositories and to increase cooperation between schools and organizations that administer historical records useful for education, according to the website for The New York State Archives Partnership Trust, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sponsors the contest.

Eddie’s paper, “The Tyrants of Syracuse: The Rise and Fall of the Onondaga Salt Company, 1860-1900,” documented the battle for control of the salt industry in the United States during the latter half of the 19th century, according to the research awards website. 

He said he chose that topic after visiting the Onondaga County Historical Association and seeing the amount of information it had on the salt industry and the Onondaga Salt Company. He also wanted to focus on a topic with local ties.

In addition to information from the Onondaga County Historical Association, Eddie’s research included materials from the Library of Congress and Syracuse University Archives.

“The author provided excellent historical context by placing the events in the broader context of the Civil War and the heavy reliance on salt to preserve food in the 19th and early 20th centuries,” the research awards website notes.

F-M High School Social Studies Teacher Ardyth Watson, who served as a judge in last year’s competition, shared information about the competition with Eddie and advised him on his work. 

Eddie’s advice to his peers: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and see where you can go because you never know what happens.”