Sue Starkweather Miller appointed new Albion village historian

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2023 at 11:45 am

ALBION – The Village of Albion has a new historian who has been deeply involved in the community in many roles.

Sue Starkweather Miller

Sue Starkweather Miller retired about three years ago after a career at Albion Central School as the public information officer, school-to-career coordinator and grants manager. While at the school she was part of many heritage and service projects, including helping to organize the annual ghost walk at Mount Albion Cemetery where students portrayed residents from Albion’s past.

Starkweather Miller will succeed Dr. Neil Johnson who served with distinction for about 40 years. Johnson started as village historian in 1980. He wrote a weekly column, “Albion, Oh Albion,” in the Albion Advertiser for 26 years, compiling 1,313 columns about village history, often highlighting regular folks in the community. He has written books about the history of Swan Library and the Orleans County 4-H Fair.

Johnson was honored with a lifetime achievement award and as a “Heritage Hero” by Genesee Community College and the Orleans Hub for his efforts to document and promote local history.

He teamed with historian Bill Lattin to do an inventory of all the historical markers in the county. They are included in a book in 2001. Johnson was a key force in the effort in 2000 for the establishment of a monument at Mount Albion Cemetery for at least 50 pioneer black residents in the county.

Starkweather Miller said she doesn’t plan on being such a prolific writer about Albion history, but she will put together articles about local history. Those articles are expected to be included on the village website.

Starkweather Miller would like to highlight prominent early Albion residents. Village streets bear the names of those early movers and shakers, such as Nehemiah Ingersoll. She wants people to have a deeper awareness of how the community grew in its early days, and the people who pushed that growth. She also would like to write features about key figures in Albion school history.

Starkweather Miller also is active as a master gardener with the Orleans County Cooperative Extension, as a member at Holy Family Parish in Albion, and also as a volunteer with the Brockport welcome committee along the canal.

At Brockport she has seen how heritage tourism can enliven a community, bringing economic vitality to a small canal town.

Starkweather Miller remains proud of the many service learning projects that connected students to Albion history, including many unappreciated residents.

The service learning initiative at Albion started in 1995 with a project by the late Jeff Evoy. He was a social studies teacher at Albion at the time. He later would serve as Medina district

Evoy and his students were studying the Vietnam War. He wanted students to talk with local Vietnam veterans, and get their stories. The students learned that many of those veterans felt forgotten. Evoy and the students decided there should be a memorial for the Vietnam veterans, and it would be dedicated in front of the Middle School.

Some other district-led projects included a monument to pioneer Black residents of the community that is placed prominently at Mount Albion Cemetery, and a monument at the Alms House for people in a cemetery at former “poor house” on County House Road. This was a precursor to the Orleans County Nursing Home. When residents from the Alms House died, they were often buried in a cemetery on the property with numbered tombstones, but no names.

Starkweather Miller worked in the background for many of the district’s service learning projects, connecting students to historians, and other resources in the community.