Albion Wastewater Disposal System, 1933

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 26

Taken in May of 1933 by Frank S. Nayman, this image shows the Village of Albion’s sewage disposal facility located on Densmore Street near Butts Road. The plant used a “trickling filter” system where sewage was continuously sprayed over crushed stone.

Residents of Albion were forced to suffer from the pungent odors and pressured the village on numerous occasions to pursue other waste treatment options. Prior to this, sewage flowed directly into the West Branch of Sandy Creek that runs through the village. Residents clamored for improvements to the sewage disposal system as early as the 1880s, knowing that their current means of waste removal was unsanitary.

In the left half of this panoramic image, we see the houses that line Knapp and Joseph Streets with Sandy Creek running between them and the treatment plant. In the right half are a number of village laborers standing around a Ford Model T truck and a team of horses.… More

Carlton Native Sacrifices Life at Fredericksburg, 1862

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 25

This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Fredericksburg Battlefield Park in Virginia and Gettysburg Battlefield Park in Pennsylvania, both with connections to local soldiers from Orleans County. Each visit was a moving experience and I thought perhaps I would share several stories of local men from our area over the coming weeks.

This image shows the gravesite of Pvt. Charles McOmber (misidentified as McCumber), burial number 2296.

Charles McOmber was born in 1844 at Carlton – his uncle Col. Calvin Otis was in command of the 100th New York Infantry and a noted architect in Buffalo. His father Van Rensselaer later enlisted with the 8th New York Cavalry at the advanced age of 54 and his brother Otis would serve with the 76th New York Infantry, spending 9 months at Andersonville Prison. Another brother Lorenzo would enlist with Orleans County’s 17th Light Independent Artillery, dying from typhoid fever in the summer of 1864.… More

Oldest Civil War Veterans Pictured at Mt. Albion

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 24

Taken around 1935, this image shows Orleans County’s last surviving Civil War veterans; now notice I did not write “last surviving Union veterans.”

Standing left is Robert Canham proudly wearing his Grand Army of the Republic ribbon. A native of England, Canham came to the U.S. at age 14 with his family and enlisted with the 3rd U.S. Artillery for three years before reenlisting with the 90th New York Infantry. At the time of his death in 1838, he was the last surviving Union veteran in this county at the age of 100.

In the middle is Henry Stockton. Also a native of England, Stockton enlisted with Orleans County’s 17th New York Independent Light Artillery for the final year of the war. He often told newspaper reporters that he was present at Gettysburg even though the regiment was formed nearly eight months after the battle.… More

Albion Native Regarded as “Bravest Man” in Great Sioux War

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 23

The son Shelby Harrington and Nancy Moore, Henry Moore Harrington was born at Albion on April 30, 1849. His maternal uncle, Charles Henry Moore, was a well respected entrepreneur and land speculator in Albion.

An astute and brilliant young man, Henry attended the Cleveland Institute at University Heights, Ohio where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. It was with these high honors that Harrington was awarded with an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, an honor that he turned down in favor of a spot at the U.S. Military Academy in 1868.

Harrington’s time at West Point was completed in 1872, capped off by his marriage to Grace Berard, the daughter of a professor at the military academy. Shortly thereafter, Harrington was assigned as a lieutenant with the 7th U.S. Cavalry and stationed in the Carolinas for training during the winter and spring of 1872/1873.… More

Hoag Library Occupies Hart Mansion Site

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 22

This once beautiful mansion was erected on South Main Street by local entrepreneur Elizur Kirke Hart. President of the Orleans County National Bank and director of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company, Hart was well respected throughout Orleans County as a precise and decisive businessman who exuded confidence and common sense.

On July 31, 1871 Hart purchased Hemlock Island from Charles and John Walton for $100 and commenced the construction of a large and beautiful “cottage” near Alexandria Bay. The expansive structure was completed at a cost of $12,000 (over $300,000 today), measuring 84 feet long by 76 feet wide, and containing 80 rooms; hardly a “cottage” by today’s standards.

The large summer home constructed on “Hart Island” was one of the most highly desired properties in the Thousand Islands region, even more desirable than George Pullman’s nearby cottage, “Castle Rest.” Hart received numerous purchase offers on the astounding estate but consistently refused to sell.… More

St. Mary’s Parish Celebrates 150th Anniversary

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 21

As the parishioners of St. Mary’s Church in Holley prepare to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of their parish, it is also worth noting that the physical building will celebrate its 110th birthday this December. Taken prior to 1939, this image shows the interior of St. Mary’s Church as it would have appeared shortly after the dedication of the building in 1905.

The Catholic population of Holley first celebrated Mass around 1850 when Revs. Donnelly and O’Laughlin of Brockport ministered to the inhabitants of the region. Services were held at the old stone school located on the corner of Main and Albion Streets and then at the home of Fenton Whalen until a site on Canal Street was purchased from John Connery. It was under the direction of Rev. John Castaldi that the old frame church was erected on this site and the Holy Cross Cemetery purchased.… More

Henry C. Lawrence – Pharmaceutical Mentor

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 20

A native of Bainbridge, New York, Henry C. Lawrence was born on August 5, 1820 to Richard Lawrence and Sarah DeZeng. Richard moved his family to Lafayette, Indiana prior to 1845 where he established The Good Samaritan drug store in 1844 on the north side of Lafayette’s public square. It was in 1853 that Henry would enter into a partnership with his father and younger brother, George DeZeng Lawrence.

In 1854, Henry Lawrence married Martha Stevens of Knowlesville, but their life together was short and she died on October 10, 1855 at her father’s home in Orleans County. Henry remarried to Martha’s older sister Maria Stevens Flintham, the mother of Albion undertaker William S. Flintham.

Shortly after his arrival in Indiana, Lawrence became an active member of the Free and Accepted Masons, an organization emerging from the persecution of the Anti-Masonic movement of the 1830s and 1840s.… More

Holley Resident becomes Distinguished WWI Pilot

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 19

On the morning of September 7, 1918, Mrs. Effie Stevens received an envelope from Lt. James A. Meissner of the 147th Aero Squadron. Her eyes gazed upon the words, “My deepest sympathy goes out to you who have sacrificed your all to the country…” and with that single note her son, a respected pilot and Distinguished Service Cross recipient, was yet another casualty from Orleans County.

On July 2, 1918 near Chateau-Thierry, Lt. Stevens would earn himself a reputation as one of the most daring members of the 147th Aero Squadron when he and four other U.S. pilots engaged twelve Pfalz type enemy aircraft flying in two groups well beyond enemy lines. After sighting the planes, Stevens quickly maneuvered into position between the aircraft and the sun, gaining the advantage with some difficulty. While three of the pilots engaged the lower formation, Stevens and 2nd Lt.… More

Church in 1932 carried banner, later donated to Cobblestone Museum

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 18

Taken in 1932, this image shows a procession at St. Mary’s Assumption Parish in the Village of Albion.

Located at the intersection of Brown and Moore Streets, we see a number of men lining up in the street with a number of parishioners exiting the front of the church. Considering the clothing worn by those exiting the church, this is likely an image of a First Holy Eucharist celebration.

At the time, the parish had several societies for men and women. The banner, front and center, depicts the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus and reads, “Queen Confessors, Pray for Us.” On the obverse side is an image of St. Joseph, which reads, “Society of St. Joseph, February 1, 1903, Albion, New York.”

The beautiful handmade banner was constructed of green cloth with gold braiding and accents. The banner carried behind represented the Sacred Heart Society.… More

Albion’s Dye Hose prepares for parade in 1889

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 17

Formed amidst the vast wilderness that was Upstate New York, Albion was built within dense old-growth forests that covered the region. The untouched and uncultivated land proved to be both dangerous and threatening for early settlers.

Wooded regions were filled with deadly animals that have gone unseen in this area for decades, but the most deadly threat to early settlement was fire.

Dating back to 1829, Albion’s earliest protection against the threat of fire was prevention. Fire wardens sought to eliminate dangerous scenarios that often led to devastating disasters, yet for those occasions where the inevitable fire broke out, the bucket brigade became the last defense against these deadly occurrences.

Between 1831 and 1880, Albion witnessed the development and transformation of the area’s fire fighting force from the establishment of a rudimentary group of young men to the creation of a well-developed and complex system of multiple fire companies.… More