A Sheriff of Astronomical Proportions

Volume 2, Issue 7

This picture, taken sometime around 1920, shows Weston Wetherbee standing with his homemade telescope behind his home on Ingersoll Street in Albion. Also pictured is Wilbur Phillips (left) and John Gilmore (center).

Weston Wetherbee was born January 24, 1857 at Barre, NY to Weston and Mary Ann Wetherbee. In his earliest years, Weston was employed as a carpenter and became proficient in the construction of windmills. During the later portion of the 19th century, Wetherbee continued his work as a windmill salesman and mechanic.

It was during this period of time that he served as a Justice of the Peace and Barre Town Supervisor. During his time in Barre politics he served as Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. He was elected to the position of Orleans County Sheriff in 1904, a position which he held for three terms. It was around this time that Weston and his wife, Julia Goff, moved to the Village of Albion to their home on Ingersoll Street.… More

Albion Attorney Left Legacy of Service to Community

Volume 2, Issue 6

I received a few calls and inquiries about Thomas A. Kirby following the recent news article highlighting newly established scholarships through the Albion Central School District – who was he and why a scholarship in his name? Albion Council #1330 Knights of Columbus developed an annual memorial award for a deserving graduating senior who showed commitment and service to the community. This image shows Thomas A. Kirby as a young man, a freshly minted lawyer eager to establish a local partnership in Albion. The photograph is paired in the collection with that of Thomas L. Hughes.

Thomas Kirby was born on March 22, 1869 in Albion to John and Catherine Hayes Kirby. As a young man, he was no stranger to patriotic duty and service to the community. Undoubtedly a young Thomas would have heard the stories told by his father, who served with the 8th New York Cavalry during the Civil War, was taken prisoner at Gettysburg, and sent to Andersonville Prison Camp.… More

Prominent Village President was Center of Marital Scandal

Volume 2, Issue 5

George W. Ough, pronounced “Uff”, was born on February 12, 1827 at Cherry Valley, New York. As a child, he worked on the family farm in Otsego County until he reached the age of fourteen, when he moved north to Fort Plain, New York to work as a store clerk. Following a short stay in Lockport, Ough later moved to Albion where he operated a crockery store, which he later sold to purchase the furniture business formerly owned by George M. Pullman. His eldest daughter, Jennie, later married Cassius M. C. Reynolds who would eventually take over the business located in the Ough Block on North Main Street.

By the late 1890s, Ough had the distinction of being one of the longest tenured members of the Albion Board of Education, of which he was a founding member. After he was elected to his first term as President of the Village of Albion, he resigned his position on the Board of Education.… More

Noted Civil War Surgeon was Cousin of Georgia Governor

Image courtesy of The Fort Dalles Museum in Oregon

Volume 2, Issue 4

Born July 26, 1822 at Albany, New York to Rufus and Margaret Bullock Brown, Joseph Lee Bullock Brown received his early education in the Albany area. He later attended the Albany Medical College where he graduated from that institution, likely in the early 1840s and shortly after the establishment of the school in 1839.

Appointed physician at Clinton Prison in 1845, the year after the institution was established, Dr. Brown remained in that position for nearly three years before he removed to Detroit, Michigan to practice surgery.

In 1849, he received an appointment as a surgeon with the U.S. Regular Army and received a commission as Assistant Surgeon from Zachary Taylor the following year. Stationed at Ft. Dalles in the Oregon Territory, Dr. Brown also served in Texas and the Washington Territory up until the start of the Civil War.… More

Carlyon Railroad Accident Possible Result of Malicious Activity

Volume 2, Issue 3

This image, taken the morning after the accident occurred, shows the crowds gathered at the wreckage of the Steamboat Express. Nearby residents assisted in pulling corpses and wounded passengers from the wreckage into the early morning.

At 9:48p.m. July 27, 1883, Orleans County experienced one of the most devastating disasters in local history. The excursion train “Steamboat Express” was traveling eastbound on the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad with a load of passengers bound for the Thousand Islands. On this particular evening a terrible storm had developed in the region bringing rain, lightening, and terrible gusts of wind.

The train departed the Lewiston station approximately 20 minutes behind schedule, departed Lyndonville’s station nearly 30 minutes behind schedule, and then proceeded on the four mile journey to Carlyon’s station. The train reached speeds of 25 miles per hour, normal pace for fair weather travels, and progress was on schedule despite the delay in departures from the previous two stops.… More

Albion Entrepreneur Partnered with George Pullman

Volume 2, Issue 2

Last week’s article on Noah Davis sparked a few questions from the community regarding some of the other men in the photograph. Joseph Cornell, Julius Royce, Charles H. Moore, and Norman Field were all active members of the Albion community, involved in local politics, and respected businessmen in their professions.

This image is of Charles Henry Moore, a native of Manlius, New York who moved to Albion in 1843 at the age of 25. Initially he engaged in the mercantile business for approximately two years before he decided to pursue a career in engineering related endeavors. Moore was responsible for building the central road through Orleans County and was responsible for widening the Erie Canal in the Albion area.

Moore’s activities with the Erie Canal involved a partnership with George Pullman that allowed the men to profit from the relocation of roughly 20 buildings, all moved to make way for a wider canal prism.… More

Noted Albion Attorney Presided Over “Boss” Tweed Trial

Standing (l-r): Charles Henry Moore, Julius Heath Royce. Seated (l-r): Joseph Mason Cornell, Judge Noah Davis, Norman Spafford Field.

Volume 2, Issue 1

Taken sometime in the early 1880s, this image shows five of Albion’s most prominent and well respected citizens. Heavily engaged in commercial interests and local politics, we would consider these men as the “movers and shakers” of their time.

Seated center is the Hon. Noah Davis, one of the most notable attorneys and politicians from Orleans County. Born September 10, 1818 to Noah and Freelove Davis in New Hampshire, Noah was brought to Orleans County at a very young age and received his early education in the public schools of this area. After studying at the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, NY, Davis studied law for a brief time in Lewiston before his admittance to the bar in 1841. Several years of practicing law at Gainesville and Buffalo concluded his endeavors in that region and he soon returned to Albion.… More

Thankful for Our Municipal Historians

Volume 1, Issue 39

Photograph courtesy of Holly Canham, taken November 19, 2015 following the meeting of municipal historians. Standing (l-r): Adrienne Daniels, Matthew Ballard, Dawn Metty, Ian Mowatt, Neil Johnson. Seated (l-r): Melissa Ierlan, Al Capurso. Missing: Todd Bensley.

Issue 39 marks the end of the first volume of this column. Although February marks the conclusion of my first full year as County Historian, I am amazed at the progress I have witnessed over the last ten months. Orleans County is fortunate to have the backing of a core group of very active historians and enthusiasts who continue to devote all of their extra time to the promotion of our heritage.

On November 19th we held a meeting of the local municipal historians at the Hoag Library’s Local History Room. The last gathering of this group was nearly ten years prior and with a great deal of transitioning over the several years prior, our hope was to provide a venue for becoming familiar with one another and establishing an opportunity to develop collaborative projects.… More

Knowlesville Family Produced Lineage of Physicians

Volume 1, Issue 38

The eldest son of Benoni Grover, Lysander was born January 22, 1802 at Deerfield, Massachusetts. Lysander’s father was a farmer in his early life, forced to adopt a new profession after a horrible milling accident cost him his leg. It was after this accident that he married his wife, Thankful Smith, and raised several children including Lysander.

When Lysander was all but five years of age, his father moved the family to Phelps, New York, where he attended schools and worked on area farms. Despite his rugged family genes, young Lysander’s body could no longer take the physical strain of manual labor and he was forced to establish himself in a profession that was more manageable.

Attending an academy at Geneva, Lysander attained a teacher’s certificate and proceeded to teach in the local school districts for several years. Finding the profession of a teacher quite bothersome, he sought out a new vocation.… More

Publishing History Engages Communities

Volume 1, Issue 37 suppl.

This week’s column for Old-Time Orleans is a supplemental issue connected to last week’s piece on the St. Mary’s Athletic Club baseball team.

On occasion, my weekly column flushes out a piece of related local history. New photographs, documents, records, and even artifacts have surfaced thanks to the willingness of the Orleans Hub and Batavia Daily News to publish the syndicated column every week. I greatly appreciate the feedback, both positive and negative, regarding the content of each piece and hope that the community continues to provide these responses.

Following the publication of my most recent article, I received several photographs from the Clarendon Town Historian of several baseball uniforms. The pieces, passed down through their family, were loaned to her by Larry and Brenda Swanger who graciously allowed her to clean and display them in Clarendon. Without a doubt, the uniforms are the exact style worn by the players from last week’s photograph so I thought it would be fitting to not only share images of these amazing artifacts, but provide some additional insight into the formation of the St.… More