Photos by Tom Rivers: There are two Medina sandstone signs at each end of Holley’s canal trail that proclaim the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.” Cuomo visited Holley, arriving by boat on the canal with his family, for the dedication on Aug. 9, 2000.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 September 2021 at 8:57 am
HOLLEY – A village resident wants the Holley Village Board to no longer have the canalway trail named in honor of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The trail was dedicated for Cuomo on Aug. 9, 2000. At the time Cuomo was secretary of the federal Housing and Urban Development. In that role, he pushed through a $300 million “Canal Corridor Initiative” for canal communities to upgrade public spaces and also assist some businesses.
He arrived in person by boat at Holley just over 20 years ago with his then wife and his daughters for the ceremony.
Holley used nearly $1 million to develop the canal trail and a canal park that also includes a gazebo, docks, a paved path, public bathrooms with showers, a playground, pond and other amenities. There are two large Medina sandstone signs at each end of the trail, declaring the path as the “Andrew Cuomo Canalway Trail.”
Kerri Neale said Cuomo has disgraced himself with the sexual harassment allegations, which led to his resignation on Aug. 24. Neale will address the Village Board during its meeting at 6 p.m. today at the Holley Gardens, the former Holley High School where the village now has its offices.
He said the village’s “beautiful park” shouldn’t be name Cuomo, who also faces investigation about the accounting of nursing home deaths from Covid and whether he used taxpayer resources to help write a book about his response to Covid.
A cyclist enjoys the canal path last week, passing by the pond.
Neale also said many Cuomo policies have negatively impacted the area, including the SAFE Act, bail reform and the Raise the Age law for dealing with juvenile offenders in the criminal justice system.
Photo courtesy of Kerri Neale: One suggestion from resident Kerri Neale would be putting a cover on the stone sign. That would be an inexpensive remedy without chiseling off the top of the sign.
“Now that he has been disgraced and forced to resign this monument is an abomination and should be corrected,” Neale said. “We will ask the Village Board to join those who want change and find a way to make that change with little or no expense to the tax payer. It’s a beautiful piece of Medina sandstone so let’s fix it not destroy it.”
Neale said a simple fix is putting a cover on the top of the monument that excludes Cuomo’s name. He doesn’t want to see the stone be chiseled, to remove Cuomo’s name.
Kevin Lynch, the Holley mayor, said yesterday he had only received a couple messages about removing Cuomo’s name from the sign. Neale did put a post on Facebook that had 20 comments, with nearly all wanting the trail to be renamed.
Lynch is retired from the State Canal Corp. He remembers when Cuomo came to Holley for the dedication. And Lynch remembers how the canal improvements made Holley the talk of this section of the canal.
Many canal park continues to be a draw and a source of pride for the community, Lynch said.
“Before there wasn’t anywhere for boats to stop in Holley,” Lynch said.
Holley has had docks with electricity for 20 years and doesn’t charge the boaters. The gazebo is a popular place for people to relax and also hosts many concerts. The canal path is well traveled by people on walks, jogs or on bikes. Lynch said.
The mayor wants to hold off on an opinion about the issue, whether the trail should remain named for Cuomo, until hearing from the other Village Board members.
Provided photo: Demonstrating the use of a Halligan tool that helps firefighters forcibly enter buildings safely if needed is Middleport Fire Chief Ryan Czaja (second from left). Viewing his demonstration is Brent Sensenich (far left), FMC Middleport plant manager; Chief John Swick (second from right) of the Middleport Police Department; and Dr. Hank Stopinski (far right), superintendent of the Royalton-Hartland School District.
Press Release, FMC
MIDDLEPORT – FMC Corporation’s Agricultural Sciences Plant in Middleport recently hosted its annual Safety Day for plant employees featuring area first responders with various demonstrations emphasizing work, home and community safety.
Participating in the Safety Day event were the Middleport Fire Department, Middleport Police Department, Village of Middleport, Royalton-Hartland School District and WellNow Occupational Health Clinic.
Also participating were the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, which conducted an interactive simulation for employees of drug and alcohol impaired physical exercises, 3M which discussed falls protection and prevention, and OSEA which demonstrated the proper use of common dust masks.
“Safety Day is another example of how FMC is committed to ongoing safety training to help keep our employees safe at home and on the job and to benefit the local community,” said Brent Sensenich, FMC Middleport plant manager. “That commitment has enabled our plant to go more than two years as an accident and injury-free workplace without an OSHA recordable incident.”
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2021 at 8:51 pm
157 new cases reported since Thursday in Genesee, Orleans
Six residents in Genesee County have suffered Covid-related deaths in the past two weeks, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments reported today.
Those deaths were all among people 65 and older.
“The local health departments are not always notified in real time of Covid-related deaths and can only report when shared by family members and other reporting sources,” the G=O Health Departments said in an update on their website. “Our deepest condolences are extended to the families and friends of these individuals during this very difficult time.”
The New York State Department of Health updates the fatality data as the state DOH receives it. The state currently shows 127 deaths in Genesee County due to Covid during the pandemic since March 2020, and 84 deaths in Orleans.
“There may be discrepancies with the count as the State compiles the data from death certificates and coroners’ reports,” G-O Health officials said.
The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments updated the new Covid cases since Thursday and that includes 157 in the two counties.
Genesee has 86 new cases and those individuals are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Genesee currently has 12 residents hospitalized.
Genesee is reporting 19 more of the previous positive individuals have completed their 10-day isolation and been removed from mandatory isolation.
The number of active cases in the county is at 144 today, up from 85 on Sept. 16 and 86 on Sept. 13.
Orleans County is reporting 71 new cases since Thursday, and 75 recoveries of people who have completed their 10-day isolation and have been removed from mandatory isolation.
The new cases include individuals who are in the age groups of 0-19, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
There is currently one Orleans County resident hospitalized due to Covid.
The number of active cases in Orleans is at 113 today, compared to 119 on Sept. 16 and 97 on Sept. 13.
Photos courtesy of Make-A-Wish of Western New York: Jim Manning-Utter holds one of two sheep his son Odin received from the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 September 2021 at 3:41 pm
LYNDONVILLE – A young Lyndonville boy who has battled cancer since birth has just had his wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western New York.
Odin greets one of the two sheep provided by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western New York. Fire companies from Shelby, East Shelby, Medina, Lyndonville, Ridgeway and Murray will conduct a boot drive throughout Orleans County on Saturday to benefit Make-A-Wish.
Odin, 5, was diagnosed as a baby with a rare and critical form of brain cancer, according to Kate Glaser, senior manager of Marketing, Communications and Community Engagement for Make-A-Wish in Buffalo.
He has been through many rounds of chemotherapy and was declared cancer free, although he still has routine scans to make sure he is still in remission.
Odin’s wish for a sheep farm was granted, and included two sheep (twin sisters) and fencing to go around the perimeter of the property. The family has many more animals, so the fencing will keep Odin’s sheep and the other farm animals protected, Glaser said.
Make-A-Wish also provided vetting for the sheep and other essentials, including a sign that read “Odin’s Acre.”
On Sept. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon, several Orleans County fire companies will do a boot drive to support Make-a-Wish, according to Tim Petry from Shelby Fire Company.
Firefighters from Shelby, East Shelby, Lyndonville, Medina, Ridgeway and Murray will be at key locations to collect contributions from drivers.
East Shelby, Shelby and Murray will be at Routes 63 and 31A in Medina; Medina Fire Company will be at Main and Center streets; and Lyndonville and Ridgeway will be at Routes 63 and 104 in Ridgeway.
The firefighters will present their donation during the Make-A-Wish Radiothon on 97 Rock Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
Odin, 5-year-old son of Jim and Jodi Manning-Utter of Lyndonville, proudly displays a sign for his acre of land where Make-A-Wish built a fence and granted Odin his wish of two sheep.
$627,000 project includes new boat ramp and abutment, sloping of roadway to the new boat ramp, and regrading remaining portion of roadway
Rendering courtesy of Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative: The rebuilt boat launch will have floating walkways that tie into the concrete ramp.
Press Release, New York Department of State
CARLTON – The New York Department of State announced the start of construction of a $627,000 resiliency project awarded to Orleans County, through the State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).
The Point Breeze Boat Launch is located near the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, within Oak Orchard Harbor, in the Town of Carlton. During the historic flooding of 2019, the boat ramp became submerged, preventing access to the floating docks, and forcing the boat launch to be closed.
This project seeks to mitigate future flooding of the Point Breeze Boat Launch, ensuring recreational boaters have continued access to the dock system, the boat launch ramps, and to local businesses and popular tourist attractions. The boat launch, which was open to the public this season, is now closed in preparation for construction and will reopen in the Spring of 2022.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Through the REDI initiative, we are helping Lake Ontario communities revitalize their waterfronts and strengthen resiliency against future flooding and low water events as well as climate change. The improvements underway at Carlton’s Point Breeze Boat Launch will help enhance accessibility to the docks and create safer and more flood resilient conditions for residents and visitors. The Department of State is proud to work with Orleans County and its elected officials to help protect this important recreational asset and bolster the local economy.”
Resiliency measures to be implemented in this project include:
Installation of new boat ramp and abutment above high water level;
Sloping of roadway to the new boat ramp; and
Regrading remaining portion of roadway.
State Senator Robert Ortt said, “I thank New York State and the Lake Ontario REDI Commission for addressing the need for this new boat launch at Breeze Point. By installing this improved launch, we are resolving a water access issue that exists for local boaters during flooding events. With this update, boaters will now spend less time on the road searching for different launch sites during times of high water, and more time on the water with family and friends enjoying our state’s valuable resources.”
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “When it comes to projects like the Point Breeze Boat Launch site, time is of the essence. We saw how urgent the need for this work was in 2019 when the boat ramp became submerged, so I am glad this project will be breaking ground shortly so that the launch can reopen as planned in the spring of 2022.”
Orleans County Legislature Chairman Lynn Johnson said, “The Point Breeze Boat Launch provides a gateway to Oak Orchard Creek and Lake Ontario for economic, recreational and tourist activities. During the Lake Ontario high water events of 2017 and 2019 the Point Breeze Boat Launch became partially submerged resulting in limited access to safely launch boats. Thanks to the efforts of the REDI Commission, we can fortify a very important piece of County infrastructure and sustain long-term use. These improvements will make our infrastructure more resilient to future high-water events while improving our ability to support economic and recreational activities.”
Town of Carlton Supervisor Gayle Ashbery said, “When the Point Breeze Boat Launch is forced to be closed during high water events, the businesses that call Oak Orchard Harbor home pay the price. The work that is being undertaken will support our local businesses by ensuring that the launch remain open and accessible to both residents and visitors of Carlton. REDI continues to show the positive path that can be taken when state and local governments work in tandem.”
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, REDI was created to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.
The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
Photos courtesy of ACS: The Homecoming Court consisted of from left: King Jahmeek Riley and Queen Leah Pritchard, Prince Pom Siebert (missing from photo) and Princess Hannah Moyer, Duchess Sophia Albanese and Duke Finn McCue, and Lady Mackenzie Snook and Lord Seth Krenning.
Press Release, Albion Central School
ALBION – Homecoming week was back in full force last week at Albion Central School District. Students in the high school participated in dress up days, hall decorating and pep rally games all week while the Purple Eagle athletes were busy in action on the court and the field.
Monday’s character day winner was Emily Graham. Throwback Trends on Tuesday was done best by Adrian Kingdollar while Camryn London won best dressed for Wednesday’s Holiday Day. On Thursday, each class was assigned a color to wear. Freshman Julia Knight, Sophomore Autumn Flugel, Junior Alexis Hess and Senior Leah Kania donned their colors the best. Friday’s Spirit Day winner was Kira Zambito while the all-around winner of the week was Ethan Ferchen.
The Hall Decorating competition went strictly by class: Seniors in first, juniors in second, sophomores in third and freshmen in fourth. Seniors also won the musical spots competition while juniors provided the upset in hungry hippos. Faculty prevailed over the seniors in both male and female tug of war.
The Purple Eagles battled in volleyball Friday night while football capped off an exciting spirit day with a 42-16 victory. Super Soccer Saturday featured a raucous crowd to cap off a successful 2021 homecoming week.
By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 20 September 2021 at 10:39 am
Photos courtesy of Katrina Chaffee
MEDINA – Santa Claus traded his sleigh for a motorcycle for a ride in Orleans County on Sunday to benefit the toy drive this holiday season for to Community Action of Orleans & Genesee.
The Orleans County Chapter of American Bikers Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) started the ride at the Ridgeway fire hall and proceeded throughout the county, ending at the Medina VFW. The effort raised $529 and also many toys.
Matt Tracey of ABATE holds some of the gifts that are headed to Community Action to be given away for its annual toy drive in December.
For more than 30 years, ABATE has collected toys and cash donations to support holiday programs in the area.
By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2021 at 8:58 am
Photo from Lakeside Beach State Park: This photo shows someone throwing a frisbee at one of the baskets on the disc golf course at Lakeside in Carlton.
MEDINA – The YMCA in Orleans County is looking for a partner in developing an 18-hole disc golf course.
The Y received a grant for $20,000 to $24,000 for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to develop a course with tee boxes, signs and baskets that are mounted in small concrete foundations – 8 inches wide by 20 inches deep.
Each hole is about an acre so 18 acres would be ideal for the course, said Greg Reed, YMCA director.
He would like the course to be in either the Albion area or Medina and has reached to local officials and hasn’t been able to finalize an agreement.
Reed thought Bullard Park in Albion would ideal for the course, but village officials declined, saying it wasn’t part of the plan for the space. A Bullard Park committee already developed a long-range plan for the park with other uses, Reed said village officials told him.
Reed also is talking with Barre town officials about using part of that park on Route 98. He has approached Medina village officials about Gulf Street Park but that space has neighbors close by and doesn’t have enough room for an 18-hole course. It would be big enough for a 9-hole course, Reed said.
He also said the park area by Glenwood Lake in Ridgeway could be utilized for disc golf. Another possibility for Medina would be to use vacant land in the Medina Business Park with the understanding if a business was ready to build on the acres the disc golf course would have to be removed.
Reed said the courses are “transient” and could easily be taken out and put somewhere else.
The grant from the Wilson Foundation includes utilizing the WNY Disc Golf Association as a design consultant on the course.
The courses tend to be on a mix of open land and paths in wooded areas.
“You want obstacles,” Reed said. “That’s what makes it more fun.”
Reed applied for the Wilson Foundation grant during a time of indoor Covid restrictions on gyms and fitness centers. He was looking for a way to get people outside and active.
He would like to form leagues to have regular players on the course, which would also be open to others who just want to give it a try.
“It’s an inexpensive, anyone-can-do-it-type thing,” Reed said.
He envisions utilized the course for YMCA summer youth programming and day camps.
Reed said there are disc golf courses at Lakeside Beach State Park in Carlton, Golden Hill State Park just across the county line in Barker, and in the Town Sweden, near the Holley community in eastern Orleans. He considers the Medina and Albion areas to be “disc golf deserts.”
A stipulation of the grant says the project needs to be in place by June 2022.
100,000 plus Native children were voluntarily or forcibly removed form homes and sent to schools far away
Press Release, Community Coalition for Justice
ALBION – Kae Wilbert of Albion, a Cherokee descendant and retired Churchville-Chili School music teacher, will make a presentation about Native American boarding schools on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoag Library with discussion to follow.
From 1869 to the 1960’s, more than 100,000 “U.S. Native children that were voluntarily or forcibly removed from their homes, families, and communities during this time, were taken to schools far away…”
The quote above from the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition continues, “… they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native culture.”
Wilbert, who also is on the Friends of Ganondagan Board of Directors, is a member of the local Community Coalition for Justice, a group of local church and civic organizations, which is sponsoring this event. This will be part of a series of talks on racial justice.
Quoting Michelle Obama during her visit to a current Native school: “As we all know, this school was founded as part of a deliberate, systematic effort to extinguish your culture; to literally annihilate who you were and what you believed in.”
The government operated and often church-run boarding schools numbered nearly 400. There were also numerous boarding schools for Indigenous children in Canada with similar circumstances. Neither government has revealed records indicating what happened to all these children and whether they survived or were ever reunited with their families.
The Healing Coalitions (NABS), among many other entities, are working to heal the multi-generational trauma of the boarding school legacy. They urge us to: “Break the silence, begin the healing.”
This evening talk will introduce you to this history and the decades of work done since to heal the ongoing effects of this trauma.
This is part of a series of programs on racial justice. Next, Herb Smith, Eastman grad and only Black member of the Rochester Philharmonic, will address “Race in Music,” Oct. 20 at the Hoag.
Photos courtesy and info courtesy of Medina Marching Band
HILTON – The Medina Mustang Marching Band traveled to the Hilton on Saturday for their first competition this season.
Medina competed against East Irondequoit in the SS1 classification. Medina won first place with a score of 79.90 and East Irondequoit in second with 77.79.
In the LS3 class Greece won 1st place with 73.20 followed by Hilton in 2nd with 71.45. Victor was the only band in the National category and they scored 79.30.
The day started off with The Pride of Rochester Marching Band performing in exhibition their show “Respect: Celebrating Amazing Women in Music.” This is a newly formed band of players from the Rochester City School Districts.
Previously, Medina last competed on October 27, 2019 at the Carrier Dome where they won the State Championship in their SS1 class for the 14th time. All of the schools in the Field Band Conference endured the same setbacks due to the coronavirus, which include reduced numbers of participants and opportunities to perform.
This coming Saturday on Sept. 25 is Medina’s Home Show, The Fall Festival of Bands. The show will be held at the Veterans Memorial Park and gates open at 4:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m.
This is a great opportunity to see these students perform without traveling too far.
File photo by Tom Rivers: Jeff Gifaldi takes the oath of office on Jan. 6, 2020 as chief deputy of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office. Gifaldi has been promoted to undersheriff. He is shown in this photo with his wife Kelly and daughter Anna. Scott Wilson, the jail superintendent, is at back left.
ALBION – Orleans County Sheriff Chris Bourke announces the appointment of Jeffrey Gifaldi to the position of Undersheriff and Robin Riemer to the position of Chief Deputy of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office, effective September 20.
Undersheriff Gifaldi has over 21 years of experience including serving the Holley and Albion Police Departments as well as many years at the O.C. Sheriff’s Office as a Deputy Sheriff, Criminal Investigator, Accident Reconstruction Specialist, Major Felony Crime Task Force member, Fire Investigator and most recently, serving as the Chief Deputy of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Deputy Riemer has 34 years experience in law enforcement including serving as a Correction Officer in the Orleans County Jail, Medina Police Department, Brighton Police Department, MCC Public Safety, O.C. Sheriff’s Marine Division, and most recently as a Sergeant in the Criminal Division. Chief Riemer is a N.Y.S. Certified Police instructor in many disciplines.
Undersheriff Michael Mele retired in August of 2021 following a career of over 22 years of service to the citizens of Orleans County. We wish him well in his future endeavors.
NY will reach out to 550,000 Commercial Driver’s License holders
Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a multi-agency plan to address the school bus driver shortage affecting schools across the state. The plan includes short-term steps to remove barriers and recruit traditional and non-traditional Commercial Driver’s License holders, expand CDL testing opportunities, and enhance processes all designed to get more drivers into school buses. Additionally, New York State is launching outreach to more than 550,000 CDL license holders in New York State.
The longer term steps include changes to address the training and licensing of drivers, as well as broader recruitment into the bus driver profession.
“Our schools and public health officials have moved mountains to ensure our children receive an in-person education this year, and we are leaving no stone unturned to make sure schools have adequate bus service to bring students to school and back,” Governor Hochul said. “While the shortage of school bus drivers is not unique to New York State, I have directed state agencies to utilize creative approaches and use every tool at their disposal to help districts affected by the bus driver shortage, so we can bring in as many qualified bus drivers as possible as quickly as possible.”
Governor Hochul directed state agencies to utilize a multi-organizational recruitment effort to persuade CDL drivers to become school bus drivers. Interested drivers will be surveyed and their information then shared with local school districts who are seeking drivers. The schools can work through these lists to recruit interested drivers in their area. In addition, the state will target currently unemployed drivers through the Department of Labor. The state will also work with partners in law enforcement, firefighters, military and other organizations that have trained drivers in order to find more individuals interested in becoming school bus drivers.
Those who are interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License can find information by clicking here.
Additionally, DMV is enhancing and expediting the process for CDL completion by removing the 14-day waiting period between the permit test and the road tests. Through enhanced cooperation with county-run DMVs the state will also help to increase capacity to administer written exams and road tests.
The State is opening up new CDL Driver Testing sites by partnering with SUNY, the Thruway Authority, New York Racing Association, and the Office of General Services to use large lots on their various sites for the road test. For school staff who currently hold a CDL, the State will set up expedited testing to obtain a permit to drive vans and buses temporarily.
The State is continuing conversations with stakeholders to identify longer term strategies that will help to recruit and retain school bus drivers. This includes looking at alternative licensing entities and expanded partnerships with other state agencies to help train and recruit drivers.
The State encourages schools to pursue creative and innovative ways to offer a wide array of benefits for school bus drivers that were previously not considered. This includes signing and retention bonuses, expansion of benefits to the drivers, and other options to recruit drivers in a nationally competitive market. Schools can use federal funds to provide these benefits. Many school districts receive a significant percentage of these funds in reimbursement from the state and are in a position to offer more competitive pay without absorbing the full cost at the local level.
NYSUT statement on Gov. Hochul’s actions to address the school bus driver shortage
Editor’s Note: New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta issued this statement about the plan to address the school bus driver shortage:
“Like all school staff, bus drivers play an essential role in keeping our schools running and serving families across New York. Any steps the state can take to expedite the process for obtaining a commercial driver’s license are welcome — as are steps on the local level to provide hardworking, deserving drivers with the fair pay and benefits that reflect the critical importance of their work safely transporting students. Gov. Hochul is taking important steps to address the driver shortage crisis in the short term, and we will continue to advocate with her and the Legislature for long term solutions that improve working conditions for drivers, including legislation to require districts to staff every bus with a monitor.”
By Doug Farley, Cobblestone Museum Director – Vol. 2 No. 37
Special thanks to local historian, Delia Robinson for her research and writing about the history of Five Corners, with input from Watt Farm Country Market, still operating at Five Corners.
Just south of the Hamlet of Childs, The Hamlet of Five Corners derives its name from the intersection of three roads: Route 98, Route 279 and Bacon Road.
Route 98 is the original Second Meridian Survey Line of the Holland Land Company. Route 279 essentially follows the original route of the Oak Orchard Road leading from Batavia to Lake Ontario. Bacon Road, running east and west, was named for the family who most influenced the history of that intersection.
Three brothers, all in their early 20’s came from Burlington, Connecticut to the new frontier of the Holland Land Purchase in the early 1800s. They were the sons of Moses and Rosanna (Rust) Bacon. Moses, the first to come, selected 200 acres and worked for the Holland Land Company to help open the Oak Orchard Road. His earnings were applied towards paying for his land. That road today follows Route 98 from Batavia north and continues on Route 279 to Lake Ontario.
In December 1813, the War of 1812 touched the settlers in the area. Moses Bacon was called out with the militia to defend the frontier at Molyneaux Corners Tavern in the Town of Cambria. A historical recounting of the battle follows:
“Many of those who fled the Lewiston area reached the Town of Gaines, roughly thirty miles west of the (Forsyth) tavern, on the same day. Residents of the Town of Gaines recount that the villagers from Lewiston passed through their homes with warnings of an invading army killing and burning everything along the Ridge Road. The residents at Gaines decided not to flee but to muster a militia. It is said that all of the males over 18 living along the Ridge Road were gathered and under the direction of Captain McCarthy they proceeded single file west on the road by early daylight on Friday, December 20, 1813.
“They paused at the home and tavern of the widow Forsyth just before nightfall where the soldiers argued about whether to make camp or continue to the arms stockpile further up the Ridge Road. They came upon the tavern of William Molyneaux (originally that of David Klink) where some British soldiers and their Native allies had burned the barn and taken residence in the log tavern. In the dark, the militia stormed the tavern. Two British soldiers and one Native American were killed in the skirmish and the remainder were taken as prisoners. The militia later turned their prisoners over to the American army as it advanced from the south to scout the charred remains of the settlement at Lewiston. Twenty-one farms were destroyed on the Ridge Road between Lewiston and the Forsyth Tavern. The British continued to dispatch raids of approximately 15 men each throughout the Niagara Frontier to pillage and burn farms. Meanwhile an army of over 1,000 burned the village of Buffalo.”
Moses Bacon served again in September 1814 at the Battle of Fort Erie. During that battle he was shot in the neck and taken prisoner by the British and transported to Halifax, Canada. According to family records, Moses Bacon, while captive, carved a figure out of horse bone, after eating the meat from the bone for survival. He was released at the end of the war in 1815 and returned to his home where he lived out his life.
Moses built the brick house, still extant, at The Corners in 1835, which suffered a destructive fire in more recent years. Moses drew a pension from the government for his service and injuries during the War of 1812.
Moses’ brothers, Elias and Hosea, followed him to Five Corners between 1819 and 1823. Moses sold part of his land to each brother. In those first years, the brothers built a sawmill where they produced timber from the trees felled to clear the land. Elias built a log cabin and barn by the side of the spring just north of the corner. He brought his wife, Sarah, from Connecticut to live in the wilderness. The barn was constructed of logs with a thatched roof in which he kept a cow and a horse. After clearing his land and planting crops, Elias was financially able to build his cobblestone home, still present at Five Corners.
Bacon Home, “Graystone,” Brown Road
Hosea was the youngest brother and first visited the Holland Purchase when he was 19 years old. For four years after he spent summers here with his brothers cutting and sawing timber at the mill and clearing land for planting. He worked at the saw mill until 1828 when he received the deed to his property, located east of Five Corners, on Brown Road. He built a frame house there, which was later replaced with a cobblestone home (shown above) and the farm acquired the name Graystone. It’s quite possible that the wrought iron frieze window works came from the Bacon foundry, about one mile away. Today this beautiful cobblestone home is owned by Susan and Peter Heard.
Education at Five Corners in the early years was conducted in a variety of buildings. Around 1820, school was held just south of The Corners in a log barn that “leaked when it rained.” The next summer, school was held in a log house northwest of The Corners, which was the first house built south of the Ridge Road. The next summer, school was held in a corn crib just south of Five Corners, and from there it went to a horse barn just north of the corner.
By 1824, Moses and Sarah Bacon decided to help in the schooling of the children and deeded a piece of land to be used to build a schoolhouse. A cobblestone schoolhouse was built and serves today as a private residence (shown above) on Route 279, just north of the intersection.
In 1834 Moses Bacon deeded another parcel of land to create a burying ground, which will be the subject of Part 2 of this article. In addition to his community service of providing a cemetery, Moses Bacon was a trustee of the Congregational Church in Gaines in 1824 and contributed financially to the establishment of Phipps Union Seminary on Courthouse Square in Albion. He died in 1848 and was buried in the Union Cemetery that his philanthropy made possible.
Descendants of the Bacon brothers carried on business at Five Corners into the 20th century. Elias Scott Bacon lived in a brick house on the point of the triangle. Elias also built a foundry and manufactured farm implements. His son, Scott E. Bacon, carried on after his father with a foundry and furniture manufacturing business just north of the house. Photo shows structure prior to demolition in 1977.
In the 20th century, nieces of the Bacons inherited the Elias Bacon cobblestone home, where Dr. Ruth (Mary) Neilans, a descendant, now lives.
Earl Harding, Cornell University photo, 1920
Earl Harding, also a descendent, grew up in Five Corners in the Moses Bacon home. He attended the Cobblestone School at Five Corners and the Albion High School. Earl went to Cornell University and graduated in 1920.
Over the next 60 years his accomplishments were many for both Gaines and New York State. After serving in the armed forces in WWI and graduating from Cornell, Earl married Marguerite (Hazard) and they had one daughter, Joan (Farnsworth.)
Before his death in 1980 he was president of the NYS Horticultural Society, one of the original Directors and President of the National Cherry Institute, first President of Orleans County Farm Bureau, served 20 years on the Advisory Board of Marine Trust Bank, Chairman of the National Cherry Growers Meeting, Director for six years of the NYS Agricultural Society, appointed by Governor Rockefeller in 1959 to the New York Marketing Order Advisory Board and the Marketing Development Board for Apples. He also served on the Gaines Town Board for 21 years in addition to his service as a Mason, member of the Town Club, Lions Club and Methodist Church.
Earl Harding in his cherry Orchard at Five Corners, 1956
“In the Wilderness is the preservation of the World” – Henry David Thoreau.
Our idea of camping growing up was a nice lake cottage in the Adirondacks. It was furnished with amenities, a dock for our family boat, and an ice cream stand over the bridge. That was camping Burgoon style. And I liked it. I married a man whose idea of camping was quite different growing up out West. His parents drove to Lake Cleveland, Idaho for the entire summer. Out in the middle of nowhere on a lake, with no power, bathrooms, boat and no ice cream.
On our honeymoon my husband took me tent camping in Maine. We left early and came home. Maybe I was a brat, I can’t remember. After that, vacations and getaways included proper lodging, a nearby watering hole and eating establishments. Not until my sister moved to Montana nearly 17 years ago did I truly internalize what a beautiful thing nature is out in the vastness of the wilderness. One of our trips out West found us appreciating many National Parks. Thanks to my fellow New Yorker Theodore Roosevelt, a great conservationist, he had a vision for the National Parks and established the United States Forest Service. Under his guidance he protected 230 million acres of public land, of which we should all be grateful.
If you have never seen the Grand Tetons, Craters of The Moon, or Zion, a road trip should be in your future. On our adventure, Brian shared Lake Cleveland with me. It was one of the most beautiful places. Like mini Tetons around a tiny lake, up in the middle of a very high mountain. It can be an eye opener when you perceive things a certain way without the value of experiencing it. Like my fellow New Yorker T.R., once I ventured outside of my comfort zone, it was enchanting to see what was waiting out in the vastness of an untouched landscape. This picture I took of my husband standing on our rocky bluff overlooking the mountain ranges is the fulfillment of a dream. His dream is now our dream. This brat can admit that when she bent a little, rolled up her sleeves and breathed. She found that the wilderness can be just as bewitching as the Rat-Race.
There is something very peaceful about realizing that the only people allowed to be in control of your destiny are you and God. The way the mountains weave together in this range makes one feel protected. I don’t even kill bugs anymore! I appreciate that all creatures in this ecosystem have a purpose. Out here in the wilderness life is preserved as nature has meant it to be. That preservation extends to us. It keeps us young at heart with great adventures mixed with the perfect amount of solitude.
When life is all too noisy in the world of screens and socials and other foolishness, travel to a place of beauty and stillness. And just breathe. It could be a road trip or could be as simple as a local park bench. Where is your wilderness retreat?
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