Burly Albionite Fools U.S. Customs Agents at Canadian Border

Volume 3, Issue 1

The history of Orleans County is filled with stories surrounding the smuggling of illegal liquor and contraband into the United States from Canada during the Prohibition era. Yet prior to the enactment of the 18th Amendment there was ongoing concern about travelers bringing untaxed goods into the United States, just as there is today. One local saloonkeeper had a similar run in with customs agents at the Canadian border in the late 1870s.

Frank Loveland was respected businessman, working as a clerk in the Albion House located on Clinton Street in Albion. He served with Company D of the 151st New York Infantry during the Civil War and was respected in that right throughout the community as well. Loveland was considered to be a bit of a prankster and enjoyed a good laugh, sometimes at his own expense; it is no surprise that he would have a laugh at the expense of a couple customs agents.… More

Out of the Past – January 2017

75 Years Ago – 1942


January 1st – Medina Tribune
Judge William Munson takes office as State Supreme Court Justice from the 8th Judicial District, having defeated Democrat David Diamond of Buffalo.

January 1st – Medina Tribune
Frank Ritz is found dead in the Kendall Methodist Church. He was installing wiring for a new oil burner, which he largely helped finance, when he died.

January 15th – Medina Tribune
Ensign John Munson of Medina, stationed aboard the U.S.S. Kearney when it was struck by a German torpedo in October of 1941 (before the U.S. entered WWII), was cited for bravery during that attack and promoted to lieutenant junior grade.

January 29th – Medina Tribune
Police raid the Mayflower restaurant at Medina and confiscate a slot machine from the basement containing $26.50. Thomas Calafates, the co-owner of the business, was arrested in connection with the machine, stating that it was being “stored” in the basement and was never used.… More

The Birth of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School

Volume 2, Issue 52

There is no better way to reflect upon the holiday season than to recall the story behind the foundation of the world’s first Santa Claus school established in Albion. Thankfully, the history of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School was recorded in 1966 in Charlie Howard’s own words before his passing on May 1st of that year.

As a young child, Howard enjoyed crafting toy furniture and wagons from wood, which friends and neighbors adored so much that they often gifted them to loved ones. His mother sewed a suit for him as a boy to play the role of Santa Claus as he was “a short fat boy.” Wearing a “false face,” his blue eyes were filled with joy but he felt the mask was “more frightening to children than his own.”

He always admired the store Santa, but was never able to work up the courage to do it himself.… More

Turn of the Century Apple Packing was a Fine Art

Volume 2, Issue 51

Taken sometime in the 1890s, this image shows a group of men preparing apples for shipment at Watson’s Farm on Route 31 outside of Medina (likely the farm of Dudley Watson). The man standing on the rights is identified as Milton Johnson, a day laborer from Albion. Barely visible are the hindquarters of a camera-shy dog that is occupied with something behind the crates and barrels of apples. Johnson holds a hatchet in his right hand as he stands adjacent to a barrel header.

Coopers would manufacture wood barrels for shipping apples by way of the Erie Canal or by train. Each barrel was required to have six hoops (the rings which held the staves together); two bilge hoops, two quarter hoops, and two head hoops; the quarter and head hoops are placed closely together. The presence of quarter hoops allows barrels to be stacked more efficiently and prevented them from splitting during shipment.… More

Pioneer Pierce Farm Remains on Route 31 in Murray

Volume 2, Issue 50

This photograph is part of my personal family collection, what I believe to be an image of the Joseph B. Pierce homestead on Route 31 in the town of Murray, immediately west of Hulberton Road. Taken in the late 1870s we see a man, presumably Joseph Pierce, standing along the roadside with a team of horses. Standing in the front yard is Emma Brown Pierce and her four daughters Edith, Fanny, Florence, and Nettie – the latter clinging to the fence.

Joseph was the grandson of Aretas Pierce, Sr. who brought his family from Vermont to Murray in 1815. Upon their arrival to the virgin wilderness of Western New York, the family lived in a log schoolhouse for two weeks while they constructed a log cabin in April of that year. The family lived on provisions brought with them from New England for their first year on the land, but the poor harvest of the following year forced them to live on purchased food including salted pork.… More

Enterprising man ran general store in Carlton, at site that later became Narby’s

Volume 2, Issue 49

At a time when trips into town took hours instead of minutes, the rural grocery and dry goods stores provided an essential an efficient service to those living in the country. This image shows the wagon belonging to Gifford D. Fowler, the owner of a general store at Two Bridges in Carlton. A native of Parma, Fowler was brought to Carlton as a young man by his father Benjamin who purchased the store in 1877 from Lemuel Palmer.

For nearly ten years, Benjamin operated the store and it is extremely likely that Gifford worked for his father in various capacities during the late 1870s and into the early 1880s. After his marriage to Belle Simpson of Carlton, Gifford purchased his father’s interest in the store in 1886 and took sole ownership of the business. This photograph was taken in September of 1888, just a short while after buying out his father.… More