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Ghost Walk brings Cobblestone Museum to life

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 October 2017 at 8:28 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – These girls portray students at the District No. 5 Schoolhouse at the Cobblestone Museum. They were among the stops at a Ghost Walk at the museum on Sunday that attracted 165 people. The girls include, from left: Meganne Moore, Kelsey Froman, Ella Trupo, Autumn Flugel and Liana Flugel.

There were about 25 volunteers who were actors in the Ghost Walk.

Gerard Morrissey portrays the school teacher, John Cuneen, at the cobblestone school. The school was built in 1849. It served District No. 5 for 103 years before it was closed in 1952 after the centralization of Albion’s school district. In 1961, it was sold to the Cobblestone Society Museum for $129.

Erica Wanecski of Medina plays a suffragette who pushed for women’s right to vote. This year is the 100th anniversary of New York granting the right to vote for women.

These Albion sisters, Alanna Holman (left) and Kaylyn Holman, are suffragettes who also opposed slavery. They are making signs for the abolitionist cause.

The two teenage suffragettes are by the Voting Booth at the museum. They are excited about meeting Susan B. Anthony, who will speak at the Albion Hotel in 1861. Anthony had a tough time finding a place to speak in Albion because “neither hall, church, nor schoolhouse could be obtained.”  The girls make signs that say “No Compromise with Slaveholders! Immediate Emancipation!”

Al Capurso, the Gaines town historian, portrayed John Proctor, a prominent settler in Gaines. Proctor is often referred to by historians as the Paul Revere of Ridge Road. On a December night in 1813, he rode by horseback on the Ridge from Gaines to Clarkson to warn of the approach of British and the Indians after the burning of Lewiston.

The following morning he joined a regiment that was headed to Lewiston. The regiment would capture the enemy quartered at Molyneaux Tavern.

Sam Williams portrays a farmer who is keeping an eye on a bear trap.

John and Cindy Curtin of Medina worked in the blacksmith shop as Joe and Nellie Vagg, who once owned the shop.

Sadie Igoe portrays Grace Bedell, the Albion girl who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, encouraging him to grow a beard. Marty Tabor, in balcony, was Lincoln for the Ghost Walk. Tabor and Sue Starkweather Miller wrote most of the scripts for Sunday’s Ghost Walk.

Bedell wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln when she was 11. (She was living in Westfield at the time.) She encouraged him to grow a beard, believing it would increase his chances of winning the presidency. Lincoln took her advice.

Enoch Martin portrays Rufus Brown Bullock, the former Georgia governor who grew up in Albion and moved back to his hometown after his career. Martin is shown by the five-seat outhouse. The museum has Bullock’s outhouse, which is located behind the Ward House.

Courteney Bovenzi is Miss Chester, the daughter of Star Chester, a shoemaker. She discussed the trade while working out of the Harness Shop at the museum.

Photo courtesy of Susan Steier: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers portrays Philetus Bumpus, who was much despised by leaders in Gaines. (Rivers is pictured by the Liberty Pole at the museum grounds on Route 98.)

Bumpus led the push for Albion to become the county seat in the 1820s. Gaines at the time had more people and businesses, thanks to the well travelled Ridge Road.

But Albion, then derisively known as “Mudport” by many in Gaines, was picked the county seat partly through a ploy. Bumpus had Sandy Creek dammed just before the state commissioners were in town. The water was then released to make it appear Sandy Creek was a much stronger stream.

Gaines leaders, especially John Proctor, were upset over that trickery. The Bumpus Ghost Walk character tried to imagine how the community would look today if Gaines had been the county seat with the school campus, Wal-Mart and much of the development in Central Orleans a few miles north of Albion. Maybe students would be rooting for the Gaines Golden Geese instead of the Albion Purple Eagles?

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