local history

Minnie Goodnow, famed nurse from Albion, provided medical assistance in WWI

Posted 5 December 2022 at 8:27 am

Goodnow wrote several textbooks to advance nursing profession

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 39

Chad Fabry recently found this poster in the attic of the Swan Library building.

ALBION – Miss Minnie Goodnow was no stranger to the audience assembled at the Court House in Albion on Monday, September 10, 1917, to hear her speak about her experiences as a nurse in France.

Minnie was born in Albion on July 10, 1871, the daughter of Franklin and Elizabeth (Arnold) Goodnow. The 1887 Directory lists Frank as a builder, the family home was at 28 Clinton St.

(According to the Goodenow Family Association, five Goodenows immigrated from the south of England in 1638 on the ship Confidence and settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts. The name is spelled various ways including Goodenough, Goodnough, Goodno, and Goodnow among others.)

Minnie attended Albion schools. The family moved to Denver, Colorado, where she trained as a nurse. At the age of 44, she was a member of the second contingent of the Harvard Surgical Unit who volunteered to provide medical assistance during World War I. Under the leadership of Dr. David Cheever, the group of 30 physicians and 36 nurses sailed on the Noordam in November 1915 and arrived at the General Hospital winter quarters at Wimeraux in France on Dec. 2. The first intake of wounded soldiers from the front lines arrived on Dec. 15. The unit treated 1,400 patients over the next three months.

In a letter to friends in Decatur, Ill., Minnie wrote:

“It is utterly impossible to tell you or make you realize what it is like over here. War is the business of the country, and it is organized on a remarkably permanent basis. Everything is affected by it. France is drained of her able-bodied men, and the work of the country is being done by boys, old men, and women.”

The Orleans Republican of March 22, 1916, published a request from Minnie for writing paper and envelopes for the soldiers in hospital who wanted to write to their families. She also requested drawstring bags, about 9” by 12”, made of plain material, in which soldiers could store personal items.

Reporting on the Unit’s service in the April 1916 Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Dr. Cheever wrote:

As would naturally be expected in the winter season, probably one-half the cases were sick rather than wounded…. The wounds were almost entirely due to high explosive shell fire, machine-gun and rifle fire, and bombs, the proportion of injuries by shrapnel being comparatively low, owing to the fact that there is a great preponderance in the use of high explosive shells over shrapnel.

During her distinguished career, Minnie held executive posts at several hospitals: Directress of Nurses, Milwaukee County Hospital, Superintendent of the Women’s Hospital, Denver, of the Bronson Hospital, Kalamazoo, and of the Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., the Newport Hospital (R.I.) and the Pratt Diagnostic Hospital in Boston.

She was considered a pioneer in the fields of nursing education and nursing history and was the author of several textbooks which were published by W.B. Saunders of Philadelphia:

• The Nursing of Children, 1914

• Outlines of Nursing History, 1916

• War Nursing: a Textbook for the Auxiliary Nurse, 1918

• Practical Physics for Nurses, 1919

• Ten Lesson in Chemistry for Nurses Saunders, 1919

• First Year Nursing, 1920

• Nursing History in Brief, 1943.

Minnie maintained her Albion connections and visited the area frequently. The Holley-Standard of May 24, 1894, listed her as among those who had attended the laying of the cornerstone of the Pullman Church. When visiting, she stayed with her sister, Mrs. Adeline Porter, or with her friend Lillian Achilles, Director of the Swan Library.

Minnie travelled extensively. Returning from a two-year round-the-world trip in 1937, she lectured frequently on her observations. Locally, she addressed the Union Evening of the Protestant Churches in Albion in November 1937 on the topic of “Zionism in Palestine and Christianity in Asia”. Having acquired first-hand information on international affairs during her travels through forty countries, she outlined the facts of the Jewish-Arab-English situation in Palestine and the underlying issues of the Sino-Japanese conflicts “in an interesting and charming manner” (Orleans Republican, 11/10/1937)

She died in Boston at the age of 80 and is buried at Blossom Cemetery in Hamlin, along with her family.

Village of Albion opened new water plant 60 years ago by Lake Ontario

Posted 20 November 2022 at 9:04 am

Albion built plant after years of complaints of foul-smelling water from reservoir, Erie Canal

This photograph shows the Village of Albion Water Treatment Plant as it appeared at the dedication ceremony in 1963.

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 38

ALBION – It was announced recently that the Village of Albion had approved the construction of a Fluoridation Building at the Albion Water Treatment Plant in Carlton, at a cost of $388,000.

The Water Treatment Plant has now been in operation for 60 years. The Medina Daily Journal announced that Arthur Leavitt, State Comptroller, would tour the “new water treatment plant at Lake Ontario and the booster station at Five Corners” on July 30, 1962 “accompanied by village officials and other interested civic leaders.” The plant, which is located on Wilson Road, was formally dedicated on September 24, 1963.

Albion voters had approved the $1,760,000 bond for the construction of the plant by a 4-1 majority on March 15, 1960. At issue was the source of water supply: the bond proposal favored the establishment of a new water system for the village, and of sourcing water from Lake Ontario.

Those who opposed the 1960 bond proposition claimed that the proposed plan was too expensive, an unfair burden on future generations and that all of the possible alternatives had not been investigated thoroughly.

The sourcing of Albion’s water supply had been a contentious issue for many years. At first, water was supplied from wells dug by the Albion Water Works Company in 1897. The village bought this private company in 1914 and drilled additional wells. This was supplemented by water from the Otter Creek reservoir, southeast of the village.

However, these sources proved inadequate, and the village frequently relied on water drawn from Erie Canal. This was occasional at first, but by 1959, the village was using three intakes from the Canal on a regular basis, even though this has been deemed “an unsuitable source” as early as 1914 by the New York State Conservation Commission. The State Department of Health disapproved the use of canal water as an auxiliary source and set a succession of deadlines – 1946, 1949, 1953, 1955 and 1958 – for the discontinuation of its use. Concerned by continuing use of potentially dangerous water and frustrated by the Village Board’s delays in producing a plan to find another source of water, it was reported that the State would resort to a court injunction to stop the use of Canal water.

The Buffalo engineering firm of Nussbaumer, Clarke and Valzy was responsible for the project. A report noted in the Buffalo News of February 16, 1961, highlighted the urgent necessity for completion of the new plant. Albion Mayor John D. Robinson had received hundreds of complaints about the taste and odor of the drinking water.

People complained that it tasted like iodine, gasoline, or paint and that when boiled, an oily scum rose to the top. Apparently, the Eagle Harbor Reservoir, which had been used for Albion’s winter water supply, was dry for the first time in years. A protracted cold spell caused the formation of ice on the canal, and only three feet of water was available. Assemblyman Alonzo L. Waters assured the Mayor that the state would raise the level of water in the canal to alleviate the problem. A representative of the Health Department stated that the water was safe to drink but unpalatable.

Mayor Robinson acted as master of ceremonies at the dedication of the new  plant on September 24, 1963.The raising of the flag was performed by the Color Guard, Sheret Post, American Legion, under Commander Sam Navarra. The Albion Central School Band, Moses Sherman conducting, played the National Anthem and God Bless America. The invocation was given by Msgr. Felix F. McCabe, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, and the benediction by Rev. Herbert W. H. Corey, pastor of the First Methodist Church, both of Albion.

In his address, Lieutenant Governor Malcolm Wilson praised the village for its vision and foresight in building the new water system. It now supplies the village and the towns of Albion, Barre, Carlton, Gaines and Murray.

Holley’s American Legion Post named for local soldier killed in WWI

Pvt. Jewell Buckman’s abstract of World War I military service, 1917-1919. Ancestry.com

Posted 14 November 2022 at 10:31 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 37

HOLLEY – The telegram that the parents of every serviceman dreaded was delivered to the Buckman home at 18 Ray St. in Holley on Friday, June 28, 1918.


“Deeply regret to inform you, cable from abroad states that Private Jewell Buckman, Marine Corps, was killed in action, June 7th. Remains will be interred abroad until end of the war. Accept my heartfelt sympathy in your great loss. Your son nobly gave his life in service of his country.” – George Barnett, Major General Commander


Wayne Jewell Buckman was born in town of Stockbridge in Madison County, NY on December 20, 1891. He was the only child of Albert S. Buckman and Almira (Jewell) Buckman. The family moved to the Holley area when he was young.

His father, who was born in England, is listed as a farmer in the 1900 Census for the Town of Murray, and as a mail carrier in the 1915 Census. His mother, known as Myra, was from Murray.

Jewell graduated from Holley High School, Class of 1910. He served as organist for the Baptist Church for three years. He attended the University of Louisiana at Baton Rouge for two years and went to train as a landscape architect at Flint, Michigan with the renowned William Pitkin, Jr. of Boston who was engaged in designing the grounds of estates owned by General Motors executives at that time.

Jewell enlisted at the age of 25 and was sworn into the Marine Corps in Rochester on 26 June 1917. He trained at Parris Island, SC. He and his comrades in the 17th Company, 5th Regiment, Second Division, sailed for France on Dec. 8, 1917.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Allen Smeltzer, a Genesee Community College student, portrayed Jewell Buckman in a Ghost Walk at Hillside Cemetery in September 2016. Buckman was the first soldier from Holley to be killed in World War I about a century ago. The American Legion Post in Holley is named in Buckman’s honor. Several GCC students volunteered to serve as ghosts and guides during the Ghost Walk.

A letter to his parents dated May 5, 1918, one month before his death, conveys Buckman’s passion for horticulture and the projects he was planning to complete upon his return home:

“Tell me how the three cut leaf sumacs are doing. Also, take the honeysuckle vine up by the seat and put it on the south side of the front porch….The bricks around the edge of the pool is something I had rather do when I get home….

“I saw red flowering horse chestnuts here for the first time a couple of weeks ago and they were really beautiful, also the laburnum or golden chain tree is in blossom now and believe me there are going to be three planted among the shrubs when I get back.”

But his life was cut short on June 7th, 1918, fifty miles northeast of Paris, at the Battle of Belleau Wood. A comrade, Corporal H.E. McCurdy recounted later:

“After a long, hard day of fighting in the Belleau Wood on June 6th, we took a position on the brow of a large hill, and each man dug a hole to keep out of shell fire. Jewell’s was next to mine. That night, the Germans in some way managed to get around our left flank under cover of total darkness and were right on us before they were discovered.

“It was between two and three o’clock in the morning, a fierce hand-to-hand fight took place, and it was in that fight that Jewell fell. You may know that Jewell died the death of a true man in the field of honor, fighting for his country and flag.”

Pvt. Buckman is buried at Hillside Cemetery in Holley, as are his parents. His mother died in 1932 and his father in 1935.

Pvt. Buckman was the first serviceman from Holley killed in action in World War I. Holley’s American Legion Post 529 was named in his honor. Fifteen World War 1 veterans from the Holley area signed the Post’s Charter application on 17 October 1919, their stated purpose was to assist former comrades in need.

American Legion Jewell Buckman Post 529, located at 5 Wright St. in Holley, continues to observe its stated philosophy of being of service to the community, state and nation. Scott Galliford is the current Post Commander. He encourages those who are eligible to join (email: alholley529@gmail.com)

(Source information: Articles from Holley Standard newspaper on file at the Orleans County Dept. of History.)

Kendall natives sold 1.5 million mouse traps with invention patented in 1877

Posted 6 November 2022 at 10:03 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 35

This photo shows the front view of the Delusion Mouse Trap built in 1877. This device is on display at The Medina Historical Society.

KENDALL – At this time of year, it is not uncommon for mice to invite themselves into our homes in anticipation of winter.

Many inventive minds have attempted to design effective mousetraps. In 1894, Illinois native William C. Hooker patented a spring-loaded trap. Shortly thereafter, in 1898, British inventor, James Henry Atkinson invented the “Little Nipper”, which featured a wooden base, a spring trap and wire fastenings, this is still the standard version in use.

The Delusion Mousetrap, photographed in this article, has some interesting links to Orleans County as Kendall natives Claudius and David L. Jones were instrumental in its production and promotion.

They were the sons of David Jones, who was the second person to settle in Kendall. The Jones family chose to leave their home in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1801, “having keenly felt the humiliation of their race, when Wales, through treachery and oppression was permanently united with the British Crown.” (Landmarks of Orleans County/Signor).

Jones recounted that he was poor when he settled in Kendall in 1815. He bought 400 acres of land on credit and worked for 15 years to pay off the debt. His oldest son, Claudius, was born in Kendall, on June 30, 1826. He farmed for some years, “but owing to a feeble constitution, he was compelled to leave the farm.”

He moved to Chicago in 1859 and “engaged in business.” He moved to Monmouth, Illinois in 1870 and assisted in the organization of the First National Bank. He then moved to the agricultural county of Seward in southeastern Nebraska in 1873, and established the State Bank of Nebraska, which he sold in 1879.

This photo shows an interior view of Delusion Mouse Trap.

During this time, Claudius made the acquaintance of John Morris who in 1877 had received a patent (No. 195,632) for his improved version of a unique mousetrap. As the name implies, the idea was to delude the mouse into entering the trap.

Once inside, the mouse could not exit, and the entry platform would reset for additional rodent guests. Recognizing the trap’s lucrative potential, the astute Jones bought the patent. His younger brother, David L. assisted with the business venture.

The Delusion was the first American animal trap registered as a trademark (No. 5116).

It was manufactured by the Lovell Manufacturing Company, in Erie, Pa. and claimed to have sold over 1,500,000 units. A creative employee composed a sixteen-verse poem in which the mice discuss the various traps:

“But David L. and Claudius Jones

Have got a trap that breaks no bones;

The mouse goes in to get the bait

And shuts the door by his own weight.


“And then he jumps right through a hole

And thinks he’s out; but bless his soul

He’s in a cage, somehow or other

And sets the trap to catch another.


“Then all the mice in the convention

Began to talk of this invention

And David L. and Claudius Jones

And the wonderful trap that breaks no bones”


Following the mousetrap venture, David L. returned to Kendall. He expanded the family farm to 710 acres and served as Town Supervisor in 1889 and 1890. He died in 1898. The Jones family is buried at Mt. Albion Cemetery.

Claudius remained in Seward, Nebraska. In 1883, he established the Jones National Bank which is still in operation. He was president of the bank until 1895. At the time of his death in 1896, he was one of the wealthiest men in the area. In addition to being an astute financier, he had also purchased farms in Seward and neighboring counties. He was buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Nebraska.

A Delusion Mouse Trap is on view at the Medina Historical Society Museum.

(Incidentally, “musophobia” is the term for a fear of rats and mice, from the Greek “mus” for mouse.)

S.A. Cook site in Medina once employed 600 as major furniture manufacturer

Posted 31 October 2022 at 7:38 am

S.A. Cook & Co. in Medina is shown after the fire a week ago.

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 36

MEDINA – The red-brick structure on East Avenue in Medina now stands roofless and forlorn.

A recent fire has prompted calls for demolition of the 70,000-square-foot complex.

Built in 1911 to house the expanding S.A. Cook & Co. factory, the building once housed the largest industrial maker of rockers and chairs in the northeast.

Employing as many as 600 workers at one time, the company could rightly claim in a 1913 advertisement that “it was responsible in no small degree for the growth and advancement of Medina.”

(Editor’s Note: The 70,600-square-foot manufacturing site has been sold multiple times through the property tax auction, including in 2016 when it only fetched $100. The current owner – Open the Windows of Heaven, Apostolic Ministry – doesn’t have insurance on the building. The church group also doesn’t have the resources to make extensive repairs or to demo the site, village officials said. Medina is seeking state and federal funding to assist with the demolition of the three-story site.)

The plant’s location, adjacent to the railroad, facilitated the delivery of lumber and other raw materials as well as the shipping of finished products. The plant had its own boiler and drying kilns.

S.A. Cook & Co. furniture factory building plans

Over 5,000,000 feet of lumber were cut and used in the manufacturing process in 1912 and seventy-five carloads of coal were burned. It was estimated that one finished product was produced every 45 seconds and that the entire annual production would fill 564 freight cars. (Atlas of Niagara and Orleans Counties, 1913)

S.A. Cook & Co., 525 East Ave., Medina, 1920s view

S.A. Cook & Co., 525 East Ave., Medina, late 1930s view

Furniture sales declined drastically during the Depression. S.A. Cook survived this period but production and empoyment declined. The impact of World War II further affected sales.

In 1965 J. Michaels Inc. of New York city purchased  S.A. Cook & Co. to manufacture furniture for its stores. Production increased and employment rose to about 100. But the business model for the industry changed. North Carolina became the new center of furniture production and the cost of shipping lumber and raw materials to the northeast became prohibitive.

The company employed skilled upholsterers and craftsmen.

The Dunlap Tire & Rubber Co. of Buffalo introduced latex foam for use in seats and cushions in the 1930s.

The company had its own delivery trucks boasting S.A. Cook’s products as “hygienic upholstered furniture cushioned with Dunlopillo – life’s lasting luxury.”

Later delivery truck

Furniture manufactured at the plant is still in use in homes across the country as it was of high quality.

The Medina Historical Society continues to receive requests each year for information about the company’s distinctive version of the Morris Chair. Patented for the company in 1901 by George A. Bowen, it had an adjustable back rest and featured carved griffin’s heads on the arms, turned spindles and claw feet.

Twenty-five employees were laid off when the S.A. Cook & Co. closed in August 1984, having been in operation for almost 90 years.

Local leaders, residents needed persistence in bringing rural electrification to outlying areas

Posted 24 October 2022 at 9:07 am

A series of colorful posters created by graphic artist Lester Beall was used to promote the Rural Electrification Administration. The images featured in this article are from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs collection, www.loc.gov. The poster at left shows farmers organizing to arrange for power.

‘Electric power proved to be our greatest assistance to modern living. It gave us light, pumped our water supply into our homes enabling us to enjoy a bathroom, it preserved our food from spoiling, heated water and cooked our food.’


By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 34

As previously mentioned, a 160-mile-long electrical power transmission line, which stretched from the Niagara River to Syracuse and traversed through Orleans County, went into service on July 7, 1906.

However, it was quite some time before area farmers had access to electricity, since running wires to far-flung farms was an expensive proposition. By the 1930s only 10% of rural America had electric power. Those who did have power had arranged for it themselves by forming local co-operatives, an involved and costly process.

The Medina Daily Journal of May 10, 1924, noted that:

“The people of Millville are to have electric lights and power. Since they were unable to secure sufficient subscribers on Maple Ridge, they will connect with the electric line which comes within a mile of the village on the east.”

Homer L. Waldo of the Town of Barre remarked in a 1983 Oral History interview that:

“At that time, you had to provide the right of way for the electric company to put their poles down. You had to get signers for the right of way for them. You had to guarantee them $70 a month for every mile they extended the line.”

Some farmers were reluctant to join, Waldo mentioned that they had to convince a reluctant farmer on Pine Hill Road to join.

J. Howard Pratt also recalled the difficulty of getting the required number of signers to co-operate. Acquiring the right of way to pass wires overhead was also an issue. His own family’s access to power was delayed two years on account of recalcitrant neighbors who would not co-operate. His home was finally supplied when the power company set up their poles along another farm to bring the desired current to the Pratt household.

(Left) A farmer uses an electric power sharpener. (Right) A woman is content while sitting her home.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration in 1935. A year later, the Rural Electrification Act made provisions for a lending program to fund the formation and operation of not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. The loans were to be re-paid within 30 years.

In 1935, the Niagara, Lockport and Orleans Power Company announced plans to bring service to over 1,400 rural customers in Orleans County and parts of Niagara and Monroe counties. The minimum monthly charge to customers was to be reduced from $7 to $2.

Power company officials noted that the success and speed of the program would depend on how soon rural customers would wire their homes and equip them with fixtures. To this end, they collaborated with agencies such as the Farm Bureau.

On January 13, 1936, over one hundred people braved icy roads and bitter winds to attend a program about electrifying their farms. The session which was held in Albion, was arranged by the Farm Bureau and the Rural Electrification Committee of Orleans County. Committee members included Harry DeLano of Barre Center, H.G. Butler of Kenyonville, Miles Luttenton of Albion, J. Stanley Pratt of Gaines, Mrs. William Blackburn of County Line and George Snaith of Medina.

C.N. Turner of the Cornell Agriculture Engineering Dept. advised farmers on wiring plans for the home, yard, barn, poultry house and other buildings, the correct type of wire to use, how to figure the load of current and determine the size of wire and fixtures.

Miss Orilla Wright of the Home Economics College advised on home lighting, outlet locations, convenience outlets and direct service wires. Farmers were advised to request service plans from Power Company agents and to stick to those plans regardless of what contractors might suggest.

By the 1950s, over 90% of rural homes had access to electricity.  Finally, rural Americans could enjoy the benefits of electric power.

J. Howard Pratt remarked in Memories of Life on the Ridge:

“Electric power proved to be our greatest assistance to modern living. It gave us light, pumped our water supply into our homes enabling us to enjoy a bathroom, it preserved our food from spoiling, heated water and cooked our food.”

More than a century ago, putting in transmission lines for electricity altered landscape

These photographs are from the Scott B. Dunlap Collection and are reproduced courtesy of the Medina Historical Society. This photo shows team of power linemen in Shelby, 1905.

Posted 16 October 2022 at 9:35 pm

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 33

The transmission towers that run through the countryside are such a familiar aspect of the landscape that we take them for granted. But at the time, they dramatically altered the visual landscape, just as solar and wind installations do nowadays.

A 160-mile long power transmission line, which stretched from the Niagara River to Syracuse, went into service on July 7, 1906. It was operated by the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company and transmitted power generated by the Ontario Power Company from water taken from the Niagara River.

Blast on the powerline, Shelby, 1905

The Medina Tribune reported on Dec. 22, 1904, that a corps of engineers and workmen were surveying and laying the line from Lockport to Rochester and that the transmission lines were to be carried on steel towers instead of poles.

The men who erected these structures became known as linemen. Many were itinerant workers called “boomers” who travelled from city to city as new projects began. The work was difficult and dangerous. Often inadequately trained, the power linemen faced the hazards of falling and electrocution. It was estimated that one out of three-line workers died on the job.

Armed with a new Kodak camera, Scott Dunlap, then a young Shelby teen, photographed the power linemen who worked on the project installation just south of his family home on Dunlap Road in 1904-05. No doubt the project caused interest and commotion with its attendant blasting, digging, heavy equipment and teams of workers. We are fortunate that Mr. Dunlap recorded it, particularly since his photographs are remarkable for their clarity and composition. He captured the human element of the project, the faces of the men who did the work.

This group of power linemen are photographed with an M-3890 insulator which was developed to prevent flashover during lightning strikes. The middle and bottom shells had upward curving skirts referred to as a “lily-shell” design.

Power lineman poses with transmission towers in the background.

Group of power linemen, Shelby, 1905

Group of power linemen with cigarettes, Shelby.

Waterport Methodist Church served 3 congregations for nearly 150 years

Construction started on the Waterport Methodist Church in 1927 after a fire destroyed the original building in 1924.

Posted 24 September 2022 at 8:33 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 32

WATERPORT – Members of The Lord’s House in Waterport are currently repainting their building, which was formerly the Waterport Methodist Church.

In 1849, the small Methodist congregations of Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport combined to form the West Carlton Charge and share a minister. The Waterport Methodist congregation met at a schoolhouse for several years.

Methodist congregations from Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport combined and built a church in 1866.

William Hutchinson deeded half an acre of land on the south edge of the village to the First Union Society of the Methodist Episcopal and Congregational Church of Waterport in 1864.

The church was built in 1866, during the pastorate of Rev. A.L. Backus.

A fire on September 3, 1924, destroyed this building despite the valiant efforts of residents who formed a bucket brigade. Apparently, the fire sparked the formation of a local fire department and the purchase of firefighting equipment.

Construction of the present building was begun in 1927. Rev. Arthur Hart was pastor. The building was only partially completed when the Depression hit. Many of those who had made pledges were unable to make payments. Construction was halted and services were held in the basement for several years.

Work resumed in 1935. The pulpit and bell, the only items saved from the old church, were put in place and the building was dedicated on June 12, 1938.

All debts were paid and the mortgage was burned in 1944.

In the course of her research on the history of Orleans County churches, Helen Allen noted that the Waterport Methodist Church had 68 members in 1966. Lay officers at that time included:

Lay Leader: Marlin Shawver,

Financial Secretary: Franklin Thomas

Treasurer, Current Expenses: Mrs. Walter Hazel

Treasurer, World Service: Mrs. Mary VanWycke

Dist. Steward: Mrs. Mary Plummer

Pres. Mem’s Club: Herbert Gibson

Pres. Women’s Club: Mrs. Mary VanWycke

Trustees: Herbert Gibson, Marlin Shawver, La Verne Rush, Forrest Barstow, Mrs. Dorothy Merrill, Mr. Franklin Thomas

Church School Supt.: Mrs. Dorothy Merrill

The churches at Kenyonville, Kuckville and Waterport fell into disrepair as their membership declined. In 1985, after nearly 150 years as distinct congregations with a shared minister, members of the three churches merged and built a new church on Archbald Road and Route 18. The first service of the Carlton United Methodist Church was held on December 4, 1988, with Rev. Greg Crispell as minister.

Sharon Kerridge, a pioneer in online genealogy research, helped build Orleans County GenWeb site

Posted 5 September 2022 at 8:22 am

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 31

Sharon Kerridge

Sharon Kerridge, who was recognized as a Legendary Local of Orleans County in 2011, passed away at her home in Ocala, Florida on July 14, 2022. The listing of Legendary Locals was compiled by Hollis Canham and Andrew Canham.

Though her name may be unfamiliar, Sharon was a true unsung heroine, a pioneer in the field of online genealogy research. She devoted countless hours behind the scenes to input, verify and organize cemetery listings for the Orleans County GenWeb site.

Sharon’s interest in cemetery records began in the early 1990s, when she was assisting her sister, Donna, on a family research project which involved diligently deciphering headstones in the Town of Gaines and Town of Carlton cemeteries. Her interest coincided with the advent of online technology.

The USGenWeb project was established in 1996 by a group of genealogists who wished to provide free online resources for research. Online access to cemetery records and census information fueled a huge interest in family research.

The Orleans County GenWeb site went online in June 1997 and soon was the envy of many researchers from other areas who did not have access to such a resource. It was maintained by unheralded volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to input content and update information. Sharon was involved from the beginning and continued in her role as coordinator even after her move to Florida.

“In the early days, Sharon spent many hours photographing headstones,” said her sister, Donna Miller Gordon. “She devoted countless hours to working on the website, it was her passion. She did not look for accolades or acknowledgement. She had a good heart and felt empathy for the families of those whose information she was entering, particularly for the families of those who died at a young age.”

The homepage at www.orleans.nygenweb.net is familiar to any person who has searched for information on deceased Orleans County residents. It is a portal to an absolute treasure trove of information: census records from 1830 – 1930, military records, family histories.

It also provides access to cemetery listings for Orleans County cemeteries – pure gold for any family researcher. As an added bonus, the site does not require registration, login or passwords.

Using information supplied by cemetery staff and local funeral homes, Sharon continued to update the cemetery listings until shortly before her death. Colleague, Jim Friday, has indicated that the site will be continued. We very much hope so.

Historian’s Column: Pioneer resident in Albion nursed a bear cub after mama bear was killed

Posted 28 August 2022 at 9:06 am

‘Inter-species nursing’ is well documented

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 30

“WOMAN NURSES CAT ON PLANE”

This headline caused a minor media sensation recently and elicited reactions of incredulity and derision. But perhaps we should not condemn quite so quickly.

Lansing Bailey was one of Orleans County’s early settlers. In 1811, he bought land “lying one mile west of where Albion now stands” from the Holland Land Company. He moved to the area in 1812. The following incident occurred shortly thereafter. It is included in the Arad Thomas book Pioneer History of Orleans County which was published in 1871.

“When we went to the Five Corners to fetch our kettle, while the snow crust was hard on our return, our dog barked earnestly at a large hollow tree that had fallen down. On looking into the hollow, we saw two eyes, but could not tell what animal it was within. My brother went after an ax and gun, while I watched the hole.

“After filling the hollow with sticks, we cut several holes in the log, to ascertain the character of the animal. Soon, however, she passed one of the holes and we knew it was a bear. We then removed the sticks and put in the dog. The bear seized the dog, and my brother reached in and pulled the dog out. The bear presented her head at the hole, and I killed her with the ax.

“On searching the log, we found a cub, which we took home with us. It could not bite but would try.

“A Mrs. Adams, who had recently lost a babe, took it and nursed it, until it got to be quite a bear, and rather harsh in its manners.”

The concept of “inter-species nursing” has indeed been documented. This photograph is from the Library of Congress collection. It appeared in the 1921 book Wild Brother: Strangest of True Stories from the North Woods by William Lyman Underwood which describes how the wife of a logging camp cook in Northern Maine nursed an orphaned newborn bear cub along with her own daughter in the early 1900’s.

“Mr. Underwood took this picture of Ursula and Bruno and me with my consent and I am glad to have him use it in his book. Bruno’s Foster Mother”

Bruno, as the bear was named, thrived and lived for many years. We hope the cat that was nursed on the plane does too.

Lyndonville man who earned medical degree at young age was renowned for fungi expertise

Posted 15 August 2022 at 9:51 am

Dr. Charles E. Fairman will be featured at tours of Lynhaven Cemetery on Aug. 19, Aug. 21

Illustration from the Historical Album of Orleans County, 1879.

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 29

LYNDONVILLE – Several fine Italianate houses grace Main Street in Lyndonville. Our illustration, which is contained in the Historical Album of Orleans County, 1879, depicts one, the home at 55 South Main Street. The house was owned by Dr. J.D. Warren in the 1870s and subsequently by his daughter Louise and her husband, Dr. Charles E. Fairman, until his death in 1934.

Charles E. Fairman gained renown as a young man as the youngest graduate of the Yates Academy, where both of his parents were teachers. Subsequently, he was the youngest person to receive a degree from the University of Rochester. Having earned his medical degree at Shurtleff College, Illinois, in 1887, he returned to Lyndonville where he practiced medicine for many years, using as his office the distinctive small building to the north of the main house.

Active in village affairs, he was elected first President of the Village in 1903. The first meeting of the newly incorporated Village of Lyndonville was held in his office in 1903.

His true passion was mycology, the study of fungi. He specialized in the study of Pyrenomycetes and was recognized as an expert on the topic. He amassed a collection of over 23,000 fungi and published articles in many journals. He collected specimens for the New York Botanical Garden and for the Herbarium at Cornell University.

Dr. Fairman is buried at Lynhaven Cemetery. He is one of the many cemetery “residents” who will be mentioned on the upcoming tour of Lynhaven Cemetery, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 19 and Sunday, August 21.

Oak Orchard Country Club hosted big golf tournament in 1965

Posted 8 August 2022 at 10:12 am

Golf course in Carlton has since closed and is now used for farming

The program, at right, advertised a gala event which took place 57 years ago. Both the venue and the sponsoring company have since closed.

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 28

The program from 1965 includes photos, diagrams and information about each of the 18 holes as well as brief entries about several of the competitors.

CARLTON – The Oak Orchard Country Club was located on Route 98 north in the Town of Carlton. Charles Skutt was President of the Club. Dorothy Ross was President of the Club’s Ladies Association. The 136-acre facility which opened in 1963, was owned by Harold and Merle Myers. It offered an 18-hole par 70 golf course and a clubhouse restaurant.

The Landauers 100th anniversary $5,000 Open was sponsored by Skip and Don Landauer, fourth generation descendants of Simon Landauer who established the popular dry goods store in Albion in 1865. The event was organized to celebrate Landauer’s 100th year of one-family ownership and management.

Simon Landauer was born in Bavaria (now Germany) in 1833. He and his brother immigrated in 1852 and settled in Macon, Ga. where they opened a dry goods store under the name M. Landauer & Brother.

However, the business failed during the Civil War. Simon moved to Albion as several of his relatives and friends had settled there. He opened a dry goods store on the east side of Main Street. Seventeen years later (1882), the store was moved to larger quarters on the west side of Main Street, where it flourished.

Over one hundred IGA pros entered to compete for the generous prizes offered: $1,000 ($9,000 approx. in 2022) for first prize and twenty-seven cash prizes, plus $350 in merchandize prizes. Competitors hailed from Olean, Rochester, Leroy, Florida, and Concord, Canada. It was the largest tournament of its kind held at that time.

It was also billed as an “electronic tournament.” The Tri-County Radio Club set up a two-way radio contact between each of the eighteen holes and the master scoreboard.

Steve J. Piech, Shelridge Country Club, Medina and William “Jug” Meredith, Albion.

As it transpired, the weather disrupted the carefully planned event. Saturday, Aug. 7, 1965, was scorching hot and humid. Nevertheless, about 700 spectators attended. Sam Urzetta of the Rochester Country Club and Frank Boynton led the first round with 66’s.

Heavy rain on Sunday, August 8, rendered the course unplayable. The event resumed on Monday, August 9 and ended with a duel between Boynton and Urzetta. Boynton won on a sudden death playoff.

The Oak Orchard Country Club filed for bankruptcy in 1980. It rallied briefly and was renamed Harbour Pointe Country Club. Golfing events were held there through the early 2000’s. The most recent sale transaction was in 2014, the site of the former golf course has since reverted to farmland.

Citing the area’s “depressed economic situation” and the closing of the Thomas J. Lipton plant with the loss of 500 jobs, Landauer’s Department Store announced its decision to close in July 1981.

Some 57 years later, this 25-cent program, randomly saved, is now a unique local history record.

Former store in Millville served as hub of rural hamlet

Posted 1 August 2022 at 3:10 pm

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 27

MILLVILLE – Can you identify the building shown in this 1915 postcard?

It is in Western Orleans, on a main route. We tend to pass it by (at the legal speed limit of 40 mph, of course), intent on getting to somewhere else.

At one time it was the hub of this rural hamlet, strategically located at a crossroads. Sturdily built of local limestone, it still stands at the intersection, basically unchanged, apart from the front porch which is now concrete.

The T.O. Castle & Son Mercantile operated in the Town of Shelby hamlet of Millville from 1849 to 1933. Located at the intersection of Maple Ridge Road and the East Shelby Road, it served the surrounding rural community as well as the staff and students of the nearby Millville Academy.

Though fortunate in its location, it seems that the character and personality of its owner, T.O. Castle, played a part in its success. We do not have a photograph of this enterprising gentleman, but we can glean a good deal of information about him from various sources.

T.O. (Thomas Oliver) Castle was born in Parma, Monroe County on April 2, 1826, the son of Jehiel and Nancy (Willey) Castle. He taught school for two years. In 1846 he moved to Shelby Center in Orleans County. He worked at the store owned by his uncle, Reuben S. Castle. He then worked in Buffalo for two years as a supervisor of salesmen at the George M. Sweeney store.

According to the U.S. Army Mexican War Enlistments Records 1847-49, he had hazel eyes, sandy hair and was 5’6” tall. He married Mary Timmerman, daughter of Catherine Timmerman, in December of 1850.

The store’s signs and advertising refer to 1849 as the year of establishment, though the deed recording the purchase of the property is dated March 20, 1851. It is interesting to note that the property transfer was made to Mary Ann Castle.

T.O. Castle was Postmaster from 1853 to 1857 and later from 1878 to 1897. He was a Justice of the Peace and served as a Justice of Sessions. He was secretary of the Board of the Millville Cemetery Association. He was on the fundraising committee for rebuilding the Congregational Church.

According to the 1862 IRS Tax Assessment List, he is listed as a Retail Dealer. He owned one horse and carriage. In 1866, his carriage was valued at $80. He also owned a melodeon valued at $125 and a gold watch valued at $100.

At that time, the Medina newspapers published local news items from the surrounding towns. T.O. Castle’s business, community and personal activities were frequently mentioned in the reports from Millville:

  • “T.O. Castle visited his daughter, Kittie, living in Syracuse.” – Medina Tribune, Feb. 26, 1874
  • “T.O. Castle has threshed forty-one bushels and a half of wheat to the acre, being ahead of his neighbor Homer Sherwood one- and one-half bushels.” – Medina Tribune, Aug. 6, 1877
  • “T.O. Castle nominated as Justice of Sessions at the Democratic Convention held at Albion.” –Medina Tribune, Oct. 18, 1877
  • “T.O. Castle served on the Refreshments Committee of the Arrangements for the Re-Union of the 28th Regiment.” – Medina Tribune, May 13, 1880
  • “T.O. Castle has been remodeling his store on the inside, having repapered it, ceiling, and all, put in new shelves, and is now painting all of it which is a great improvement. He has also given notice to those who have been hanging around that it must be stopped.” – Medina Register, Feb. 18, 1892
  • “Pneumonia is prevalent in the county. The family of T.O. Castle has been especially stricken. Two members, Mrs. Castle and her mother, succumbed within twenty-four hours.” – Buffalo Morning Express, Feb. 6, 1897
  • “T.O. Castle suffering from severe attack of arthritis.” – Medina Tribune, July 30, 1903.

His obituary in the Medina Daily Journal of March 30, 1910, noted that “he was widely known and esteemed.” Following his death, the store was taken over by his son, George D., who operated the store until his death at the age of 81 in 1933.

Daniel Hurley, the present owner, has a genuine enthusiasm for this building and its past. He hopes to restore it to the point where people will want to stop and enter rather than just speed on by.

OC Historical Association plans cemetery tours, programs this summer

Photo by Tom Rivers: The schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, which includes an outhouse and a log cabin built by Boy Scouts, will host a discussion on July 27 about Victorian hair art. The Orleans County Historical Association in recent years saved the schoolhouse in an ambitious preservation effort.

Posted 23 July 2022 at 9:21 pm

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 26

This example of Victorian hair art is on display at the Medina Historical Society Museum, 406 West Ave. in Medina. This and many other treasures may be seen at the Museum’s Open House on the first Saturday of each month, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ALBION – The Orleans County Historical Association has planned an ambitious summer schedule featuring programs and cemetery tours.

Bill Lattin, retired Orleans County historian, will speak on the topic of Victorian hair art on Wednesday, July 27, at 7 p.m. at the schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, north of the canal in Albion.

Victorian hair art generally elicits reactions of distaste today, though it was popular at one time when attitudes towards death and mourning differed greatly. Mr. Lattin will elaborate on these cultural changes.

Several cemetery tours have also been scheduled. These will begin at 6 p.m.

  • Aug. 7 – Hillside Chapel and Hillside Cemetery Tour, Holley. Presenter: Melissa Ierlan (Meet at Chapel)
  • Aug. 14 – Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion. Presenter: Bill Lattin (Enter Main Gate, Meet at Chapel)
  • Aug. 19 – Lynhaven Cemetery Tour, Lyndonville. Presenter: Catherine Cooper
  • Aug. 21 – Mt. Albion Cemetery (with a focus on the residents of Gaines buried there). Presenter: Adrienne Kirby (Enter East Gate)

On a lighter note, Bill Lattin will close out the month on Aug. 31 with an audio presentation at 7 p.m. at the Schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, Albion: “Edison Phonographs: the comedy of Cal Stewart, 1856 – 1919.” Stewart’s comic monologues centered around “Uncle Josh” and life in “Pumpkin Center.”

These programs are presented free of charge by members of the Orleans County Historical Association. However, free-will donations to fund the maintenance of the schoolhouse would be appreciated.

Household guide from 1891 shared tips for a successful picnic

Posted 19 July 2022 at 11:04 am

‘For desserts, there are many things, but beware of articles that will not bear traveling without looking dejected and sullen. Candied fruits with macaroons, sponge or pound cakes are about the most agreeable of all the sweets which are adapted to journeys.’


By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 25

This menu is from “Queen of the Household” – a popular household guide published in 1891.

A Summer Picnic! It sounds so carefree and restful. However, arranging a summer picnic in the 1890s was far from carefree or restful by our standards.

A copy of “Queen of the Household”, a popular household guidebook by Mrs. E.M. Ellsworth published in 1891, was recently donated to the Orleans County Dept. of History.  It includes the following directives on picnics:

On location:

There should be a stream or spring of pure water, materials for a fire, shade intermingled with sunshine, and a reasonable freedom from tormenting insect life.

On clothing:

A woolen dress that is not too heavy nor yet too new, or a cotton one that is not too thin, with short trim skirts, solid easy shoes that have a friendliness with the feet because of prolonged intimacy with them, pretty, but not too fine or thin stockings, a hat with a broad brim, a large sun-shade, at least two fresh handkerchiefs, some pins and needle and thread, easy gloves with ample wrists, a jacket to wear when returning home.

On equipment:

Two or three hammocks, a few folding camp chairs, a rug to spread on the ground, two or three books that have brief, bright poems in them. Forget not the napkins, forks, spoons, and the luncheon cloth. Also carry tumblers, plates, salt, pepper, sugar and a bottle of cream or can of condensed milk. Cups with handles, but no saucers, are desirable for tea or coffee.

On food:

Supply at least double the quantity which would be served at home for the same number of people and then be sure to add a little more.

When the appetite is appeased at mid-day, it frequently renews its strength and comes back again around 4’o’clock in the afternoon and is as exacting as if it had not been appeased for a whole week.

The best and most convenient of all out of door edibles is the sandwich. The best of all sandwiches are made ready when they are wanted. To make sandwiches that leave none but pleasant memories, always grind the meat or chop it up to very near a pulp when cold. Make a thick mayonnaise and mix it with the meat until it is about the consistency of marmalade. Store or carry in a covered dish or closed jar.

For desserts, there are many things, but beware of articles that will not bear traveling without looking dejected and sullen. Candied fruits with macaroons, sponge or pound cakes are about the most agreeable of all the sweets which are adapted to journeys.

For drinking, tea that has been made, seasoned while hot and then bottled directly is delicious, as is coffee.

If ice must be carried, select a clear, solid piece, and wrap it in a heavy flannel. Carry an ice pick with it, so that it may be broken up when needed, with as little waste as possible.

Despite the effort involved in organizing this picnic, Mrs. Ellsworth advised the housekeeper or housemother to arrange a picnic once a week during the summer, to escape the burdens of the formalities and paraphernalia that consumed their energy every day of their lives.

Enjoying the advantages of portable coolers, ice that does not require an icepick, paper plates, store-bought mayonnaise, not to mention less restrictive clothing, we should certainly take her advice. Pass the bottled tea please!