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

Medina Big Leaguer Strikes Out The Bambino

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 16

Sports enthusiasts from Medina will recognize the name Carl Fischer from his time as a major league pitcher in the 1930s. Albion residents are familiar with his newsstand, which retains his name to this day. Yet all of Orleans County can appreciate the contributions that Fischer made to this community after his years in the big leagues.

A native of Medina, Charles W. Fischer was born on November 5, 1905 and graduated from Medina High School in 1924. Following graduation he started his professional career with various minor league teams throughout the east coast before he transitioned into the limelight. Selected by the Washington Senators, Fischer debuted on July 19, 1930 in a 5-2 loss against the Cleveland Indians.

In 1932 the “Medina Mauler” was sent to the Detroit Tigers where he would experience his best days as a hurler. It was in that year that Fischer was said to have struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Sam Byrd consecutively in a game against the New York Yankees.… More

Nation’s Oldest Patriot Rests in Clarendon


Lemuel Cook – Age 105

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 15

The history of Orleans County is sprinkled with the stories of our ancestors who served this great nation over the last 239 years. As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, it is only proper to recall the service of those men before us who risked everything they had as young men. They took up arms against what they believe to be an oppressive government focused on unfair taxation and inconsistent representation.

One such hero of the American Revolution was Lemuel Cook. A native of Northbury, Connecticut, Cook enlisted near Watertown, Connecticut at the young age of sixteen. He was present for the Battle of Brandywine and at Yorktown for General Cornwallis’ Surrender in 1781. An eventual settler of Clarendon, “Lem” as he was known would earn the distinction of the oldest pensioner of the Revolution at the time of his death on May 20, 1866 at the age of 107.… More