Pioneer Pierce Farm Remains on Route 31 in Murray

Volume 2, Issue 50

This photograph is part of my personal family collection, what I believe to be an image of the Joseph B. Pierce homestead on Route 31 in the town of Murray, immediately west of Hulberton Road. Taken in the late 1870s we see a man, presumably Joseph Pierce, standing along the roadside with a team of horses. Standing in the front yard is Emma Brown Pierce and her four daughters Edith, Fanny, Florence, and Nettie – the latter clinging to the fence.

Joseph was the grandson of Aretas Pierce, Sr. who brought his family from Vermont to Murray in 1815. Upon their arrival to the virgin wilderness of Western New York, the family lived in a log schoolhouse for two weeks while they constructed a log cabin in April of that year. The family lived on provisions brought with them from New England for their first year on the land, but the poor harvest of the following year forced them to live on purchased food including salted pork.… More

Growth of Sandstone Industry Was a Contribution of Rev. Edward Fancher

Volume 2, Issue 47

Over a century ago, Orleans County was dominated by the Medina Sandstone industry which was directed by Edward Fancher of Albion for a number of years. Born January 6, 1854 to John and Effie Bogardus Fancher, Edward engaged early on in the quarry business gathering much of his knowledge from Charles Gwynne. After the untimely death of his wife Lucy in 1892, Edward remarried to Ida Baldwin the following year and raised his young family in the Hulberton area.

On February 20, 1902 a new quarry syndicate was established in the area, uniting nearly 50 quarries sprawled throughout Orleans County. The Orleans County Quarry Company was incorporated with $2,000,000 in capital and employed over 1,200 men. Initial startup funds were directed towards operating the quarries, paying salaries, and most importantly, developing the infrastructure to support the refinement of stone, sale, and transportation across both railroad and the Erie Canal.… More

About 100 Brockville students were educated in 4-room schoolhouse

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 6

MURRAY – This image taken in the late 1920s shows the interior of a classroom at the Murray District No. 6 School located on the corner of West Brockville and Fancher roads. Unlike other rural schoolhouses in the area, this building had four classrooms used to teach over 100 students enrolled in the district.

This particular school was constructed in 1911 and was likely built to accommodate the Italian families living in the area. Guy D’Amico served as the first teacher and instructed all eight grades in three of the classrooms. Mabel Brockway and Ella Clark were the last two teachers to serve the district.

The school was closed in 1947 and in 1955 the district allowed the Fancher Legion Post to use the building following a devastating fire that burned their former post building the previous year. When the Fancher Post disbanded in 1971, a heated debate over ownership ensued.… More