The Soldiers & Sailors Monument: A County-wide Civil War Memorial

Volume 4, Issue 21

Passing through the sandstone arch of Mount Albion Cemetery, one may catch a glimpse of the towering monument atop the highest point in the area. The Soldiers & Sailors Monument is perhaps the most impressive and beautiful war memorials in our area, but the true significance of the shrine is often overshadowed by the novelty and “thrill of the climb” up the winding steel staircase. There is a commonality between the circumstances surrounding the efforts to erect this monument to the memory of over 450 men who lost their lives during the Civil War and the war itself. In the face of grave sacrifice, a community struggled to memorialize the hundreds of young men, sons, brothers, and fathers, who left the security of home for ideals far greater than themselves.

Efforts to construct a county-wide memorial were initiated in 1864, but the association struggled to raise the necessary funds to complete the project.… More

ALBION BOY PRESENT AT EXECUTION OF LINCOLN ASSASSINATION CONSPIRATORS

Vol. 4, No. 19

Last week’s article featured the story of William Collins of Albion who claimed that he was present with the detachment of cavalrymen from the 16th New York Cavalry responsible for the capture of John Wilkes Booth. Occasionally I receive feedback from readers that pushes me in a particular direction and this week just happens to be one of those occasions. Steven Miller of Illinois, an expert on Boston Corbett, contacted me about John Chamberlain Collins and encouraged me to explore his story. So I thought it would be of interest to share more about the life of John C. Collins.

John Collins was born September 19, 1850, at Albion to Michael and Susan Collins; one of nine children born to the couple. He was raised Roman Catholic, presumably attending St. Joseph’s Church after its establishment, and attended the local schools in the village. At the outbreak of the Civil War, his brother William enlisted with the 28th New York Infantry raised under the command of David Hardie.… More

ALBION NATIVE WAS PRESENT AT CAPTURE FOR JOHN WILKES BOOTH

Vol. 4, No. 18

As I prepared last week’s article about Asa Hill of the 28th New York Infantry and his beautiful monument situated at Millville Cemetery on East Shelby Road, I stumbled upon an image of another soldier from the same unit. Several years ago I encountered the story of William Collins but was unable to locate an image of him. As the 153rd anniversary of the capture and death of John Wilkes Booth passed on April 26th, I thought perhaps it would be worthwhile to recall this particular story.

William Collins was born September 28, 1843 to Michael and Susan Collins of Albion. His father was an Irish immigrant who worked as a day laborer in the village, raising a rather large family in the vicinity. Little is known about William’s early life, but shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War in April of 1861, the 17 year old enlisted and as was mustered into service on May 22, 1861 with Company G of the 28th New York Infantry, one of the first units raised in Orleans County.… More

Millville Cemetery Monument Stands as a Remarkable Local Landmark

Vol. 4, No. 17

Our rural communities are filled with strikingly beautiful landscapes and recognizable landscapes scattered throughout the region. As I passed through Millville this week, I thought about one of my favorite “little” landmarks in Shelby, a cemetery marker that has always grabbed my attention since I first visited Millville Cemetery.

The stone is rather remarkable, aside from its overwhelming appearance, towering over the seemingly smaller stones placed around it. Rarely does an attractive statue such as this adorn the burial site of an individual and perhaps its location in a rural cemetery makes it all the more unique. Yet the story of Asa Hill, the man memorialized by the granite obelisk and stoic soldier standing guard, adds a degree of mystery to the stone itself.

A native of Shelby, Asa Cummings Hill was born August 19, 1837 to William and Clarissa Miller Hill. When the South seceded from the Union in April of 1861, Asa found himself drawn to military service like so many other local men as indicated by his enlistment on November 14, 1861.… More

Historic Marker to Designate Only Orleans County Soldier Killed at Gettysburg

Looking down towards Devil’s Den from the summit of Little Round Top. Pvt. Herbert Taylor and the men of the 140th would have experienced this view as they reached the peak of Little Round Top. Without hesitation they advanced upon the Confederates with great fury and bravery.

Volume 2, Issue 40

It was nearly one year ago that this piece was first published. Although I do not fancy reproducing work in such a rapid fashion, I thought it was fitting that this short story of the 140th New York Infantry at Gettysburg should yet again be featured as part of my weekly column. Saturday, October 8th at 11:00am, students from the Albion Middle School will dedicate an historic marker to the memory of Pvt. Herbert Charles Taylor of Clarendon who was killed on July 2, 1863 at Gettysburg. It is rare to experience such a profound and symbolic gesture that will bring attention to the sacrifice of not only Taylor but of other men who gave their lives during the Civil War.… More

Reflecting on the Sacrifices of Our Veterans

The Soldiers & Sailors Monument, dedicated 140 years ago in the spring of 1876 contains the names of 466 soldiers and sailors etched on marble tablets; those men who gave their lives for the preservation of the Union buried both at home and on the battlefield. The monument stands as a testament to the beauty of our native Medina Sandstone and the pride and community commitment to honoring our veterans.

Volume 2, Issue 22

On May 26, 2016 the 7th grade class of students from Albion Middle School dedicated a beautiful granite urn, sugar maple tree, and bronze plaque affixed to a slab of pink Medina Sandstone. The task undertaken by Tim Archer should be applauded and imitated by teachers throughout the region as a heartfelt effort to educate students about the importance of becoming noble citizens.

Over 140 students stood on the very ground once selected by David Hardie and other area municipal supervisors for use as a lot for veteran burials.… More

Col. Achilles Contributed to Success of Phipps Union Seminary

Volume 2, Issue 20

This image of Lt. Col. Henry Ludwig Achilles shows him garbed in his Union officer’s uniform taken sometime around 1862 at the studio of George Hopkins in Albion. A New Hampshire native, Achilles established himself in Rochester as a young entrepreneur and man of religious conviction. As an established tinsmith, he was responsible for starting one of the first foundries in Rochester where he engaged in the manufacturing and sale of sheet metal and tin. His early successes in business allowed him to contribute to the purchase of property for the construction of the First Baptist Church of Rochester of which he was a superintendent in the early 1830s.

When the First Baptist Church split into two congregations due to the overwhelming growth of the group, he assisted in establishing the Second Baptist Church in Rochester and was selected as one of its first trustees. As a respected gentleman in the city, he served a short term as town clerk of Brighton and local fire inspector.… 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

Herbert Taylor and the 140th New York Infantry

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

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