Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 28
A recent article in the Orleans Hub centered on Assemblyman Hawley’s 8th annual Patriot Trip to Washington D.C. and other important national landmarks, including the Gettysburg Battlefield. I had the pleasure of visiting Gettysburg for the first time in nearly 10 years, a trip I last made as a senior in high school. Naturally, a new perspective and better understanding of the historical events of July 1st through the 3rd left me with a different impression of the site.
The monument to Col. Patrick Henry O’Rorke features a bas-relief set in granite. Standing over eight feet tall, the marker rests atop the spot where O’Rorke was killed. His nose is polished as a result of visitors rubbing it for good luck, although he had little luck himself that day.
Upon Little Round Top rests a large monument dedicated to Col. Patrick O’Rorke, the site where New York’s 140th Volunteer Infantry made a valiant and daring charge down upon Hood’s Texans.… More
Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 27
This image shows John D. Brush, Sr. taken in 1916 as a senior at Albion High School.
The son of Dwight M. Brush and Eva Gill, John was born at Albion, NY on November 5, 1897. His father and grandfather, John E. Brush, engaged in the Pop Manufacturing and Bottling business on Moore Street in the 1880s and early 1890s. His father took control of the lease for the Exchange Hotel at 123-125 North Main Street around the time of John’s birth, operating that business until his untimely death in December of 1906. It was for this reason that John was forced to provide for himself starting at the age of nine.
John Brush graduated from Albion High School with the Class of 1916 and eventually completed studies at St. Lawrence University in 1922. He attended the Theological Seminary at St. Lawrence University, graduating in 1923.… More
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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