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Program on barns will kick off Clarendon Historical Society’s season of events

Posted 2 April 2019 at 7:46 pm

Press Release, Clarendon Historical Society

CLARENDON – The Clarendon Historical Society invites you to join them for the start of their 2019 season of talks on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. when Chad Fabry of Holley will present “Putting Things Together with a Purpose: English Barns.”

Local residents pass by barns every day without realizing that they are engineering marvels with a long history. Here’s a chance to appreciate what makes our local barns so special. One of these is the so-called “English Barn.”

Fabry will show us how these unique structures were designed, constructed and used. He will also go into the history of the techniques used by the carpenters, their tools, and their materials.

Fabry is an old-house enthusiast and historic building expert. He describes himself as a pragmatic preservationist. In addition to restoring his own beautiful Victorian home, he serves as a code enforcement officer and does home inspections.

The Clarendon Historical Society is excited about the rest of 2019.  Here is what is planned:

• May 15: Barbara Chapman, Katie Andres and Dick Thomas – The Building Legacy of J.T. Wells and Sons

• June 19: Carol Bailey – The History of the Grange Movement

• July 17: Dee Robinson – Topic to be announced

• Aug. 21: Gina Schelemanow – The Cook Families of Bergen and Clarendon

• Sept. 18: Peter Jablonski – Historical Research and Recovery

• Oct. 18: Bruce Schwendy – The Three Erie Canals: History and Folklore

All programs take place at the Clarendon Historical Society, 16426 Fourth Section Rd., which is the intersection of Route 31A and Church Street in Clarendon.  The presentations are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The museum will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. on the days when there is programming (the 3rd Wednesday of the month beginning in April and going through October.)

For more information call 585-638-6371 ext. 104.

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New signs going up for historic Clarendon cemeteries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 March 2019 at 11:33 am

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON — The first of four new signs for Clarendon pioneer cemeteries was installed this morning by Melissa Ierlan and her husband, Fred Seeman. Ierlan, the town historian and code enforcement officer, secured funding for the signs through the Elizabeth Dye Curtis Foundation in Orleans County. The cast-aluminum signs are made by Sewah Studios in Ohio.

The signs are replacing wooden ones that have become rotted and difficult to read.

Robinson Cemetery is on Route 237 at the intersection of Glidden Road.

The signs include an image of the Clarendon water falls, and they include quotes from David Sturges Copeland, who wrote the History of Clarendon in 1889. “Buried here are those whose labor, energy, spirit and love once lived in Clarendon,” the Robinson sign states. “May they not be forgotten.”

Each of the signs highlight some Clarendon residents buried in the cemeteries. The Robinson Cemetery includes Chauncey Robinson, a veteran of the War of 1812 who was a prominent abolitionist in the community.

Here are images of the other signs that should be installed soon.

Pettengill Cemetery on Hibbard Road is also known as the Christian Graveyard and Manning Cemetery. Clarendon’s founder, Eldredge Farwell, is buried here.

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo shows the wooden sign for Pettengill Cemetery, which is also known as “Christian Graveyard.”

Maplewood Cemetery is on Route 237, south of the Clarendon hamlet and north of Hinds Road.

Root Cemetery, also known as Cook Cemetery, is on Munger Road in Clarendon.

Lemuel Cook is buried at this cemetery. He fought in the American Revolution and died on May 20, 1866, at the age of 107. He was the last living pensioner of the American Revolution. Cook saw action at the Battle of Brandywine and Yorktown and met General George Washington.

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New signs headed to 4 Clarendon pioneer cemeteries

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 March 2019 at 8:00 am

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON — The first of four new signs for Clarendon pioneer cemeteries arrived last week and will soon be installed at Robinson Cemetery on Route 237, near Glidden Road.

The town is replacing four wooden signs, which are rotted. Those signs went up in 1982, said Melissa Ierlan, the Clarendon town historian.

The town received a grant from the Elizabeth Dye Curtis Foundation in Orleans County for the new signs. The cast-aluminum signs are made by Sewah Studios in Ohio.

The signs include an image of the Clarendon water falls. They also have a quote from David Sturges Copeland, who wrote the History of Clarendon in 1889. “Buried here are those whose labor, energy, spirit and love once lived in Clarendon. May they not be forgotten.”

The sign for Robinson Cemetery highlights some Clarendon residents buried in the cemetery, including Chauncey Robinson, a veteran of the War of 1812 who was a prominent abolitionist in the community.

Thomas McManners was an escaped slave who served in the American Revolution.

William Lewis was the first sheriff in Orleans County.

Ierlan said there is a chance the sign could be installed this week. She is waiting for the other three signs to arrive from Sewah Studios.

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Chimney collapse causes Clarendon fire this morning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 March 2019 at 2:52 pm

CLARENDON – Several local fire departments responded this morning to a fire in Clarendon on Mansfield Road.

Clarendon, Holley and Albion were first to the scene, and received additional help from Fancher-Hulberton-Murray, Barre, Brockport and Byron, with Elba filling in at Barre.

Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 6:36 a.m. They were able to knock down the fire from the outside, Clarendon Fire Chief Jon DeYoung posted on the fire department’s Facebook page.

He said the fire was under control at 6:58 a.m. He said the collapse of an exterior chimney caused the fire.

“Thank you to all of our mutual aid departments for your assistance this morning,” DeYoung said. “All responders did a great job.”

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USDA approves funding for 2 water projects in Clarendon

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2018 at 11:55 am

CLARENDON – The Town of Clarendon has been approved for federal funding for two water projects.

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the funding today. Clarendon will receive $790,000 for Water District No. 13 and $790,000 for a water improvement benefit area, No. 12.

The senators also announced funding for water projects in Alabama and Bethany in Genesee County. The Town of Torrey in Yates County also will receive federal money for its first-ever water district.

The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants Program.

“These federal investments in job-creating and economy-boosting water infrastructure projects are great news for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region,” Schumer said. “This federal funding will allow five towns across the region to construct and make critical improvements to municipal water systems needed to provide clean, safe drinking water to their communities. I am proud to announce these federal investments and will continue fighting to ensure rural communities across Upstate New York have the resources they need to build, protect and maintain their water infrastructure.”

“All New Yorkers should have access to a reliable source of clean water, and with these grants, communities throughout the Rochester-Finger Lakes region will be able to expand and improve their water systems,” Gillibrand said. “These investments will help provide safe and clean water for residents in the Towns of Alabama, Bethany, Clarendon, and Torrey, and I will always fight in the Senate for the resources to protect the health and quality of life for residents.”

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Clarendon buys old stone store for historian’s office, records storage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2018 at 1:28 pm

File photo: The Town of Clarendon is buying the former stone store building, at the corner of routes 237 and 31A.

CLARENDON – The Town of Clarendon is buying a historic building at the corner of routes 31A and 237 to use for the historian’s office and also for records storage, Town Supervisor Richard Moy said this morning.

The town has submitted an offer for $47,000 and that has been accepted by Joe and Sue Fertitta of Hilton.

The town is cramped at the current town hall and was considering an addition at $80,000 to $100,000, Moy said.

That addition would have been smaller than the 3,200-square-foot stone store building, Moy said.

He praised the Fertittas for their work the past five years in renovating the site, putting in new electric, plumbing, a furnace and many other upgrades.

“They did a fantastic job rehabbing it,” Moy said. “It made sense for us to keep it. We were short on space. We know it will be kept up.”

The building only a few years ago seemed headed for the wrecking ball when it was in disrepair and neighbors complained to the town about rodents at the site.

Other residents insisted the building was important and needed to be saved. The building goes back to the 1840s. The 3,200-square-foot building was used as a store up to 1975. It is a rare surviving example of a 19th century general store. The Landmark Society of Western New York and the town were successful about five years ago in getting the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fertittas acquired the property and rented out the top floor as an apartment and the first floor for commercial space.

Moy said the first floor will be used by Town Historian Melissa Ierlan and the top floor will be used for records that need to be kept by the town.

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Clarendon town clerk continues Halloween tradition at town hall

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2018 at 11:14 am

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON – Susan Colby, the Clarendon town clerk, has once again dressed up for Halloween at work, an annual tradition she has done for at least 20 years.

Colby, left, dressed up as the Mad Hatter. She is joined by Geary Shenck as a Keystone Cop and Linda Barrett as the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Shenck is retired as the county’s animal control officer. He continues to write a monthly column – “Tid Bits” – for the town newsletter, The Clarendon Gazette. Barrett is the deputy town clerk.

“We like to have fun here,” Colby said about the town hall atmosphere.

Many residents have stopped by the building today to see what Colby and her coworkers would come up with for Halloween today.

“I love Halloween,” she said. “It’s one of my favorite holidays.”

If anyone else has workplace photos to share of people dressed up for Halloween, feel free to send to

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Clarendon water tower gets a new coat of paint

Staff Reports Posted 19 October 2018 at 5:49 pm

Provided photos

CLARENDON – A Georgia company has been painting the Clarendon water tower on Route 31A, next to the fire hall. The Clarendon Town Board in August approved paying $184,131 to Utility Service Co., Inc.

The water tower was built about 20 years ago and is 175 feet high.

It has been temporarily out of service so it could be repainted.

A state grant for up to $200,000 was secured by State Sen. Robert Ortt to help with the project. The money comes through the State and Municipal Facilities Capital Funding Program or SAM.

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Heritage Festival kicks off with 10-day focus on local historic, cultural assets

Photos by Tom Rivers: Sonny Mayo, a recently retired GCC professor, performed a concert on Friday evening at the Clarendon Historical Society to kick off the Orleans County Heritage Festival.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 September 2018 at 11:36 am

3rd annual event begins and will include many impressionists, lectures, Civil War Encampment and timeline festival

Everyone who attends the festival will receive a free commemorative button.

CLARENDON – The third annual Orleans County Heritage Festival started on Friday with a kick-off celebration at the Clarendon Historical Society. The 10-day festival has events around the county and this year includes a focus on women’s history.

Organizers chose to focus on four themes this year: the Erie Canal, historic women, barns/barn quilts, and nature/wildlife.

“I think this is our best programming year,” said Derek Maxfield, a GCC history professor and one of the organizers of the festival. “We have stellar women’s programming.”

The festival will include impressionists of Abigail Adams and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Dr. Melinda Grube, who portrays Stanton, has three appearances during the festival, including a presentation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, at the Hoag Library. She will lead a women’s history program entitled “Justifying Suffrage: From Mothers of the Republic to Angels of the Home.” Even before the patriots of 1776 first proclaimed that “all men are created equal,” Americans struggled to define women’s proper role. Are women included among the equal “men” of this nation? Are women citizens? Are they persons? Dr. Grube will examine the issues.

Several leaders of local historical associations have worked with Maxfield, GCC and the Orleans County Tourism Department for the event. The first year the kick off was in Albion. Last year it was at Forrestel Farms in Medina. This year the Clarendon Historical Society hosted the kick off.

“We want to have it at all corners of the county,” Maxfield said about the festival.

Maxfield said the county is very fortunate to have many historic sites and resources. The festival highlights some of those assets.

“This year is a tipping point,” Maxfield said about the event’s future. “We need more community support. The key to sustaining this is to see more bodies. We need more people to attend the events.”

Derek Maxfield gives welcome address on Friday evening. A GCC history professor, Maxfield said the festival and the many events during the 10-day celebration offer a chance to educate outside of a traditional classroom.

“I love this,” he said about the Heritage Festival. “You got to keep looking for new ways to teach history.”

The kick off included a wine tasting by the Clarendon Historical Society.

The Clarendon Lions Club served refreshments at the kick off on Friday.

The former schoolhouse at Manning Corners in Clarendon was relocated to Route 31A by the Town Hall. A limestone hitching post is in front of the schoolhouse.

The inside of the school includes many artifacts from the community.

Roy Bubb of Holley gave tours of the schoolhouse that he attended as a kid in the Clarendon hamlet of Manning Corners on Route 31A. Bubb attended the school from first grade through sixth grade. The 1949 Holley graduate has written a book, “Memories of Manninng Corners,”  about growing up on a farm in the community. Bubb has published nearly a half dozen books. When he was 18, he attended an auction at the school after it was closed. He bought many of the contents for $1. Some of those, the teacher’s desk and chairs, were donated to the Cobblestone Museum. Bubb saved other registers and documents that are on display at the schoolhouse.

“I’m glad they saved it,” he said about the school building.

Some highlights for today’s schedule include:

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Clarendon Historical Society will host Civil War Encampment featuring Union and Confederate soldiers.

•  2 to 3 p.m. – World premiere of Rudely Stamp’d presentation “Now We Stand Together Always: A conversation between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.” The outdoor performance will be at the Clarendon Historical Society. The play features a conversation between Civil War commanders Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Major Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Based on a March 1865 discussion between the men at City Point, Virginia, where Grant made his headquarters, the play will be performed by GCC professors Tracy Ford (as Sherman) and Derek Maxfield (as Grant).  This free event is outdoors, weather-permitting; lawn chairs are suggested.

• 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Orleans Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners’ “Orleans Pollinators” display/presentation and plant sale at the 4-H Fairgrounds.

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Medina Historical Society will feature the marriage of former Medina resident Frances Folsom to President Grover Cleveland.

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Cobblestone Museum Art Show Opening: Cobblestone Sunday Painters presents, “An Eye for History,” an exhibit of paintings of historic artifacts from the Cobblestone Collection painted by Pat Greene and her students.

• 11a.m. to 5 p.m. – Cobblestone Museum will be open for tours and programming including the famous “Akeley Fox”

• 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge presents Native American Walks-Uses of Wild Plants led by Marvin Jacobs at Kanyoo Trail (Route 77). Bring bug spray.

To see the entire schedule for the Heritage Festival, click here.

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Clarendon resident presents wood carving to town of the founder’s mill

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 September 2018 at 5:44 pm

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

CLARENDON – Bob Barrett, a Clarendon resident who lives in the town founder’s house, surprised town officials today by presenting a wood carving that Barrett made to show the mill run by Eldredge Farwell, founder of Clarendon.

Farwell discovered Clarendon in 1810 while looking for his brother Isaac’s lost horse. He traced Isaac’s footprints along the border of Sandy Creek and was impressed with the town waterfalls.

Farwell saw the waterfalls as a potential source of power for business. He moved his family to Clarendon in 1811 and built saw and grist mills. The town was originally named Farwell’s Mills but was renamed to Clarendon. Farwell was from Clarendon, Vermont. He died in 1843.

Barrett based his carving on this historical image from Melissa Ierlan, the town’s historian. Barrett worked about 50 hours on the carving.

Barrett has also made frames to display artifacts in the town hall, including a poster for the Clarendon sesiquencentennial in 1960 and an old map of the town. He also used his woodworking skills to restore a desk and chair in a historic cobblestone schoolhouse in Gaines on Gaines basin Road.

“He is a wonderful person and I can’t ever thank him enough for the things he does for us,” Ierlan said.

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