Vintage Look at Kendall Furniture Outfit

Volume 3, Issue 5

This image shows the interior of Stevens’ Furniture Store located in Kendall, taken sometime in the early 1900s. The man standing in this photograph is likely Marhlon Stevens, the owner of the business. Marhlon was the son of Nelson Stevens, a Herkimer County native who worked as a farmer, bookkeeper, and schoolmaster before testing out the furniture and undertaking business in Kendall.

Nelson Stevens brought his family to Orleans County in 1901 and operated this business for several years before he unexpectedly died of pneumonia in 1908. At that point in time, his son took over the operations of the outfit, which advertised itself as the “House of Quality.” In the days prior to embalming and before funeral parlors were established, furniture dealers often doubled as undertakers who assisted families in preparing the home for wakes.

In this image we see a number of mattresses and rocking chairs in the center of the room.… More

The Origins of Platt Street

Volume 3, Issue 4

We often wonder how streets received their names throughout Orleans County, so it is important to recall those stories that we know to be true concerning those origins. Platt Street in Albion was named for Elizur Platt, a native of New Haven, Connecticut. Born to John and Abiah Foote Platt around 1803, Elizur came to Clarendon in the late 1820s. Having married his wife, Lydia Merriman of Bristol, Connecticut in 1825, the couple ventured west to start a new life in the wilderness that was Western New York.

Following Elizur were his sisters, Henrietta, Eunice (who married Asahel Merriman), and Melissa (who married William Bates) who all settled in the Clarendon area, all succumbing to the rigors of pioneer life shortly after their arrival. Henrietta was the first to pass in 1838, then Melissa in 1846, and Eunice in 1849. While living in Clarendon, Elizur engaged in the mercantile business, operating a store for several years before David Sturges bought out his inventory.… More

Yates Man Employed With Panama Canal Project

Volume 3, Issue 3

On occasion I stumble across rather interesting photographs that grab my attention; either the image itself is intriguing or the inscription contains a fascinating tidbit of information. While uncovering a box of photographs and albums, I discovered an image with the inscription “F. J. Wickham Lyndonville, N.Y. this man went to Panama and helped build the Panama Canal.” So who was Mr. F. J. Wickham and how did he end up in Panama?

Born to Samuel Kenyon Wickham in Yates, Jeremiah Fernando Wickham grew up in Orleans County with his brothers George and Dewitt working the family farm and attending the district schools of the area. When the Civil War broke out in 1861 both Dewitt and Jeremiah enlisted with the 8th New York Heavy Artillery, but Jeremiah despised his first name (his grandfather’s name) and elected to enlist under his middle name. He served the duration of the war while earning the rank of corporal, his brother Dewitt rising to the rank of lieutenant.… More

Medina’s Empire Couch Company

Volume 3, Issue 2

One of Medina’s most prosperous businesses during the early portion of the 20th century was the Empire Couch Company established by Earl Card and Walter Marvin in 1901. Prior to establishing a factory in Medina, the small outfit operated out of Middleport with mild success. After the company purchased the Bignall Works facility and constructed a new building in its place, the business was sold to J. D. Smith.

With financial support from Alonzo Phillips, the company witnessed considerable growth during the following years. The original factory was a 40 foot by 140 foot building equipped with electric lighting, heat, and hot water but demand for merchandise forced the company to expand relatively soon after. This image shows the facility after that expansion, the photograph taken on March 20, 1913 as part of New York State’s assessment of land and property leading up to the 1913-14 expansion of the Erie Canal.… More