When newly elected Riverside Village Trustee Wendell Jisa took his seat in the Council Room of the township hall, he looked at the pictures of the past village presidents on the wall and saw the picture of Clarence Cross — one of his ancestors — and remarked what a feeling it was carrying on a tradition of the Cross family in Riverside.

There are still 20 members of the Cross family in Riverside, 14 children and 6 adults, and the children mark the eighth generation. 

Wendell’s mother, Judy Jisa, is a descendant of the Cross family and another early village family, the Shermans. The Cross family and the Sherman family united when A.J. Cross married Ezra Sherman’s daughter, Grace. 

Coincidentally, Ezra Sherman’s house was on the site where Wendell Jisa and his family currently reside. The original house was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the current house. Several of the homes in what is referred to as the First Division once belonged to members of the Sherman or Cross families.

The history of the two families is chronicled well through Judy Cross West Jisa, and she says the name Cross is part of the name of many of the current descendants. She has resided in Riverside all of her life, and her four children reside in the village as well. 

Wendell is on the village board; her daughter, Wendy, is active at Central School; her daughter, Sara, works with her mother’s real estate business, Burlington Realty; and Danny is one of the original members of Friends of the Fourth.

Danny is carrying on a tradition, it seems, as a program from an early July 4 celebration in Riverside lists a “Cross” as an organizer.

While the plan of Riverside famously was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and many of its buildings were designed by renowned architects, the names Cross and Sherman influenced the village’s history.

There is much more to the story of the families, and it is the intent of Judy Jisa and me to write it down as an important part of Riverside history. Stay tuned.