Photograph Showcases Orleans County’s Earliest Settlers

Volume 3, Issue 25

On June 25, 1859, the pioneer inhabitants of Orleans County converged upon Court House Square in Albion with the purpose of establishing an historic association. The Pioneer Association, as it was known, was formulated upon a motion made by the Almanzor Hutchinson of Gaines, which set forth the permanent appointment of officers for the organization. Robert Anderson of Gaines was selected as president, vice presidents representing the nine townships were elected including Lansing Bailey of Barre, Alexander Coon of Shelby, Jeremiah Brown of Ridgeway, Gardner Gould of Carlton, Samuel Tappan of Yates, Shubael Lewis of Clarendon, Robert Clark of Kendall, Walter Fairfield of Gaines, and Aretus Pierce of Murray, as well as Asa Sanford as secretary, and Dr. Orson Nichoson as treasurer.

Residency was a requirement for membership within the Pioneer Association; only those who resided in Western New York prior to January 1, 1826, were eligible for admittance.… More

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

Seymour Murdock was Portrait of Pioneer Spirit

Seymour B. Murdock

Volume 2, Issue 31

“It has been playfully said that you may place a Yankee in the woods with an ax, an auger and a knife, his only tools, and with the trees his only material for use, and he will build a palace…” – Arad Thomas, 1859

We are fortunate to retain the images of our pioneer ancestors, showing the faces of hardship and tribulation. This studio portrait taken in Rochester shows Seymour B. Murdock of Ridgeway in his advanced age, likely in his late 70’s. Over 200 years ago, Murdock was brought to the frontier of Western New York by his father and namesake, Seymour Murdock, arriving on June 1, 1810.

The Murdock clan, consisting of twelve family members, packed into wagons drawn by a team of oxen for the nearly 300-mile journey. Upon reaching the Genesee River, the family was met by dense forests and difficult travel the entire distance to their next stop at Clarkson.… More

“Burrows Concert Hall” Once Home to Baptist Church

Volume 2, Issue 26

Over two hundred years ago as the pioneer settlers first established themselves in the wilderness that was once Genesee County, education and religion became fundamental pieces in daily life. It’s no surprise that the first church constructed in this region was situated along the heavily traveled Ridge Road in the town of Gaines. A partnership between Baptists and Congregationalists led to the erection of a church edifice to the west of the old Gaines Road.

Upon the opening of the Erie Canal, traffic, industry, and eventually wealth transitioned southward into the Village of Albion and of course so did the demand for schools and churches. The Baptists, once practicing their faith in their shared sanctuary at Gaines, pushed to split the congregation in order to establish themselves within the village. With pressure from many prominent citizens, the First Baptist Church of Albion was organized on April 17, 1830 at the Court House; Phineas Briggs and Barnuel Farr were selected as deacons.… More

Pioneer Physician was Respected Educator and Politician

Volume 2, Issue 21

This photograph shows the gravesite of Dr. Lemuel Covell Paine as it appears today. A pioneer physician and Albion businessman, Paine was born November 8, 1787 in Vermont, the son of Dr. Ichabod Sparrow and Mary Dixon Paine. After the death of his father in 1807, arrangements were made for Lemuel to live with his uncle Eli Pierson and study medicine under the direction of Dr. Asa Stower at Queensbury, NY.

As he progressed in his studies, Paine found himself teaching in various one-room schoolhouses to raise the funds to support his education under Stower. Upon the completion of his term under the tutelage of the physician, Lemuel was subjected to the examination put forth by the Censors of the Medical Society of Washington County, which he passed with relative ease. Over the next two decades Paine travelled westward across New York, establishing himself in Clyde, New York for a period of time where he served as a mentor and instructor for several prospective physicians.… More