Yates Man Employed With Panama Canal Project

Volume 3, Issue 3

On occasion I stumble across rather interesting photographs that grab my attention; either the image itself is intriguing or the inscription contains a fascinating tidbit of information. While uncovering a box of photographs and albums, I discovered an image with the inscription “F. J. Wickham Lyndonville, N.Y. this man went to Panama and helped build the Panama Canal.” So who was Mr. F. J. Wickham and how did he end up in Panama?

Born to Samuel Kenyon Wickham in Yates, Jeremiah Fernando Wickham grew up in Orleans County with his brothers George and Dewitt working the family farm and attending the district schools of the area. When the Civil War broke out in 1861 both Dewitt and Jeremiah enlisted with the 8th New York Heavy Artillery, but Jeremiah despised his first name (his grandfather’s name) and elected to enlist under his middle name. He served the duration of the war while earning the rank of corporal, his brother Dewitt rising to the rank of lieutenant.… More

The Birth of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School

Volume 2, Issue 52

There is no better way to reflect upon the holiday season than to recall the story behind the foundation of the world’s first Santa Claus school established in Albion. Thankfully, the history of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School was recorded in 1966 in Charlie Howard’s own words before his passing on May 1st of that year.

As a young child, Howard enjoyed crafting toy furniture and wagons from wood, which friends and neighbors adored so much that they often gifted them to loved ones. His mother sewed a suit for him as a boy to play the role of Santa Claus as he was “a short fat boy.” Wearing a “false face,” his blue eyes were filled with joy but he felt the mask was “more frightening to children than his own.”

He always admired the store Santa, but was never able to work up the courage to do it himself.… More

Two Western New Yorkers Responsible for Advent of Labor Day

Volume 2, Issue 36

As many of us prepare to enjoy a few moments of vacation time this Labor Day, it is important to reflect upon the origins of the holiday. Today, we see the first Monday in September as an official end to the summer season; a day for picnics, trips, and rest. Yet over 100 years ago, the federal holiday was established as a day to honor the American labor movement and the continued commitment of the U.S. labor force to the development of the country.

In the 1840s, a young George Pullman arrived in Albion with his father’s family and settled down in the village. Pullman’s father, James, was a prominent member of the Universalist Church in Brocton, NY and often filled the pulpit in that vicinity in the absence of a minister. Upon their arrival in Orleans County, the Pullmans attended the nearest Universalist society, which was located in the town of Gaines.… More

Larger-Than-Life Personality Set Carlton Native Aside from All Others

 

Volume 2, Issue 27

Orleans County boasts a long an impressive lineage of entrepreneurs, inventors, and local celebrities so it should be no surprise that this week’s column features yet another area native who developed an illustrious career for himself. The child of John Babbage and Fanny Wescott, Edward Frederick Babbage was born along the Oak Orchard River in Carlton, New York around 1841. His mother was an English immigrant arriving in the United States in 1837 and marrying her husband the following year.

After spending their earliest years in Orleans County, the Babbage family relocated to Rochester where the father worked as a fruit peddler. It is said that Edward was always on the “large” side, being exceptionally big at the age of six and weighing in at 200 pounds at the age of fourteen. His interests were varied, so much of his early working career was spent experimenting in various vocations; first as a hotel porter, then as a hotel manager, a traveling salesman, museum manager, and eventually a glassblower.… 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

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

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

Albion Native, Founder of SentrySafe Company

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

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