Coan and Sawyer were driving forces behind Citizens National Bank

Volume 2, Issue 35

On October 11, 1870, Ezra Titus Coan started his career as a private banker when he established “Coan’s Bank” in Albion. The establishment was fairly successful and in 1884 relocated to the Burrows Block to occupy the space previously inhabited by the First National Bank. That institution collapsed earlier that year when Albert S. Warner absconded with the bank’s assets. Of course, that is a different story for another time.

This picture shows the interior of Citizens National Bank, the name given to the organization after it was reorganized on July 8, 1895. Seated right is Robert Titus Coan, son of Heman Coan of Lyndonville. At the time this photograph was taken, Coan was the president of the bank, having succeeded his uncle following his death in 1900. Robert is handling bank documents while seated at his desk; a copy of the Orleans Republican newspaper also sits on the desk.… More

Landmark Presbyterian Church Stands as Testament to 19th Century Prosperity

Volume 2, Issue 34

Few churches in Orleans County can boast such an extensive and prosperous history at the First Presbyterian Society. The earliest roots of the Church date to 1816 when the First Congregational Society of Barre was formed at the home of Joseph Hart. Nearly twenty years later members from that church showed preference towards the Presbyterian style of church government and opted to relocate to the fledgling village that would later become Albion.

The founding members of that congregation included prominent residents such as Joseph Hart, Jedediah Phelps, and Harvey Goodrich who were subsequently selected as elders of the church; Hart was also selected as deacon. Following the organization of this new congregation, the church welcomed their first new member by baptism, the infant Flora Ann Hopkins, daughter of Milton Hopkins. Services were held in several locations including a schoolhouse on Main Street, a local barn, and for a period of time, the court house.… More

Alms House Hospital Wing Dedicated in 1905

Volume 2, Issue 33

This image taken in 1905 shows a gathering of local officials and community members at the opening of the hospital wing at the Orleans County Alms House. The estimated $20,000 extension of the Poor House was designed by architect Fred Harvey Loverin of Buffalo and completed with much anticipation from local officials.

The main building, pictured right, consisted of an administration building, a men’s ward, and a women’s ward all constructed in 1878 by Frank Downing. The building replaced the badly deteriorated County House, which was deemed obsolete by a committee consisting of John Hull White, Burton Keys, and Julius Harris. The committee reported that “…the roof leaks badly…” and that “…the walls appear to be infested with vermin, and there is no way to exterminate them except by building the walls anew.” It is shown in the papers of Frederick Law Olmstead that he was consulted in the planning of the new Alms House building.… More

C. Royce Sawyer

Volume 2, Issue 32

This image taken by Francis Burnette of Albion shows a young Charles Royce Sawyer, probably around 1890. The son of George Sawyer and Elizabeth Royce, Charles was one of two children born to the prominent Albion couple; unfortunately, his younger sister Lucilla died just over a month after birth. Sawyer received his early education at Albion and eventually entered employment with the Citizen’s National Bank as an assistant cashier.

Charles was prominent in local political, social, and business affairs and was said to have a “genial hearty manner that made him friends with everyone.” After joining the fire department in Albion he progressed through the organization, first as treasurer for the Dye Hose Company and then serving as Chief Engineer. It was the goal of his tenure as Chief to mechanize the entire department and it was his work that secured the first mechanized fire truck in New York outside of New York City.… More