Oak Orchard Lighthouse, hand tinted photo c.1910

In the late 1860s, a grant of $87,000 was appropriated by the federal government for making drastic improvements to Oak Orchard Harbor. Two long wooden piers were built out into the lake in the approximate location of the present jetties. A lighthouse was erected at the end of the west pier and completed in 1871. In 1905, maintenance was abandoned due to the River and Harbor Act. After several years neglect, and waves tore apart the piers and the lighthouse was blown over into the lake during a bad storm in 1916.


View from the Lighthouse 1888

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Text: Home of Katherine Belle Rowley 1870-1936.
Teacher, farmer, author of The Historic Ridge, erected DAR Markers, first Orleans County Historian, May 14, 1934.
Town of Gaines 2009

Location: Ridge Rd at Crandall Rd, Gaines.
More informaiton on Katherine Rowley’s accomplishments.

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O’Donnell Brothers Lumber Trucks, c. 1922-c.1963
Francis and Bertram O’Donnell became partners in the lumber business in Medina around 1920. Shortly thereafter Francis got the idea of making trucks look like little houses. After all, they were selling lumber to build houses, so why not promote building materials through the means by which lumber was delivered. Each cab looked like a little house with all the architectural element including shingled hip roofs, , windows, doors and siding. There were three trucks in total.

The lumber yard was later owned by Erling Maine, who gifted the Cobblestone Museum a building which was moved to its campus and became the Print Shop. O’Donnell Brothers is now operated as Medina Lumber and Hardware.

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Text: 1815 – Josias LaMont
Purchased 140 acres from Holland Land Company.
Cleared land and road from Ridge Road
Struggled until 1824 opening of Erie Canal.
Six generation farm
Dedicated August 15, 2015

Location: Lattin Rd at W Transit Church Rd

More info in The Hub


Roger and Ingrid LaMont at homestead farm.

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In 1929 the Visscher Brothers Lyndonville Canning Company of Lyndonville NY erected this replica of an apple sauce can for a roadside stand, It was located on Route 104 at the head of Route 63 in Ridgeway. Here the passersby could stop and taste a free sample of applesauce. The Visscher Brothers products (“VB” also stood for “Very Best”) could be purchased here and in regional supermarkets. Around 1950 when the road was widened, the can was removed. For many years, the round foundation could still be seen near the highway.

Read Full Story in the Hub

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Text: Childhood home of Grace Bedell 1848-1936.
In 1860 she wrote Abraham Lincoln suggesting he would look better with a beard.
He responded and took her advice.
Orleans County Historical Association & Orleans County History Department

Location: 350 W State St, Albion

Bedell is the girl who wrote to Abraham Lincoln, suggesting he grow a beard. Lincoln, then a presidential candidate, took her advice and was elected.

Read about this marker in The Hub.

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Text: Lemuel Cook
10 September 1759 – 20 May 1866
2nd Regiment Connecticut Light Dragoons
Last living pensioner of the American Revolution and oldest patriot buried here.
Orleans County Department of History & Orleans County Historical Association (OCHA)

Location: Cook Cemetery, Clarendon

Lemuel Cook, a young man from Connecticut, enlisted with the 2nd Connecticut (Continental) Light Dragoons to serve for the duration of the American Revolution. During his service, he met Gen. George Washington on at least two occasions and saw action at the Battle of Brandywine and Yorktown. Cook migrated to North Bergen in 1821 and later to Clarendon around 1832, eventually settling on the South Holley Road near Munger Road, just a short distance from his final resting place.

Upon his death in 1866, Lemuel Cook was regarded as one of the oldest pensioners of the American Revolution, a title that genealogists and historians have challenged over the years. What is known for certain is that Cook was the last official pensioner of the war, the last surviving veteran of the war whose service was proven with discharge papers signed by Gen. Washington himself.

More info from The Hub

More info from the Batavia Daily News

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Text: Hillside Cemetery has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 by the United States Department of the Interior.
William Pomeroy Foundation 2014

Location: Hillside Cemetery, Holley (Clarendon)

More Hillside Info on the Hub

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Text: Masonic Lodge Gaines Chapter 82
Royal Arch Masons
Chartered February 5, 1824
Dedicated May 1984
Renovation No. 7 F.& A.M. & Orleans Chapter No. 175 R.A.M.

Location: Ridge Rd W at Gaines Basin Road, Town of Gaines

More Info

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Orleans County Deputy Sheriff David H. Whittier died on Sept. 8, 1989 from injuries sustained eight months earlier on Jan. 19, 1989. On that January night, Whittier was on patrol when he came upon an un-occupied vehicle on Gaines Basin Road in the Town of Gaines.

While Whittier was out checking the abandoned pick-up truck, the truck was struck by another vehicle operated by a drunk driver. The impact pinned Whittier between his patrol car and the truck he was checking. Whittier never recovered from the injuries he sustained as a result, and eventually succumbed to those injuries.

Whittier was a two-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office and was fulfilling a life-long dream of a career in law enforcement. At the time of his death, Deputy Whittier was 41. He was survived by his wife and two children.

We salute these brave men who gave their lives in the performance of duty. They are not forgotten.
Story in the HUB

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Read about the Santa School in The Hub

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Location: Ridge Road (Between Gaines Rd & Gaines Basin Road) Town of Gaines

Text: First Academy
Between the Niagara and the Genesee.
Built in 1825.
Incorporated in 1827.
Admitted to the Regents of the State of NY in 1830.
State Education Department 1932.

Read the full story in The Hub.

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Location: Cobblestone Schoolhouse, Ridge Rd W, Gaines NY

Text: Gaines District #5 1849
Schoolhouse was used until 1952.
Built of lake-washed stone.
It is one of over 900 cobblestone masonry buildings built in N.Y. from 1825-1860.
Marker in memoriam Elwood Lawrence, teacher 1951-52.

More info from The Hub

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Text: The LaFayette Trail-Mapping the Farewell Tour
LaFayette’s Tour
LaFayette passed through this site as he traveled the canal overnight June 6-7, 1825 from Lockport to Rochester on his way back to Boston.
New York Daughters of the American Revolution
William C. Pomeroy Foundation 2021
29

Location: Erie Canal Park (Albion) – Behind Fire Station
More info on LaFayette Trail

Location: Erie Canal Park, Albion (Behind Fire Station)

More on Erie Canal Growth

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Text: Burial Ground
First in Orleans County in which Revolutionary War Soldiers John Anderson, David Bullard, and many pioneers are burried
First Burial in 1812
NYS Education Department 1932

Location: Gaines Congregational UCC Church, 14023 Ridge Rd W, Albion

Biography of David Bullard
Orleans County, NY Biographies

Bullard, David, grandfather of the Bullards now living in Gaines, married Elizabeth Hadley, and their children were: William, Polly, Judith. Olive, Betsey, Nancy, Sally, David, Brigadier and Ransom; of these children William, father of our subject was born in Cheshire county, N. H., April 10, 1789. and died in Gaines September 26, 1861. He married Nellie Loveland, born in Windbam county, Vt., June 9, 1794, and died in Gaines December 9, 1864. Their children were: Albert, born in 1816; Anson, our subject, February 10, 1820; Olive, born in 1822; Chauncey, born in 1824; William, born in 1828; John, born in 1830; David, born in 1836. Anson Bullard passed a large amount of his time in reading and corresponding for several sporting papers, the English beagle being a great favorite of his, of which he has bred and sold a large number. He married Caroline Chubb, born November 19, 1818, a daughter of Arba Chubb. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Bullard are: Frank, born May 4, 1844, who married Mary F. Ruggles, born August 31, 1848; and Fred, born June 11, 1849, died September 20, 1852; Arba Chubb, father of Mrs. Bullard and one of the first pioneers was born in Poultney, Vt., in 1791, and died in Michigan in 1875. Mr. Chubb has served in all the town offices, being the first justice of the peace in the town of Gaines, which office he held fifty six years. He was assemblyman in 1848, and has held every office in the militia, from that of corporal to major. The grandfather of our subject enlisted in the war of the Revolution at the age of fourteen and served throughout the war, his father served in the war of 1812, and his grandfather Lovewell was also in the Revolutionary war.

From:
Landmarks of Orleans County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Isaac C. Signor
Assisted by: H. P. Smith and others
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894

THE ANDERSON FAMILY.

The ancestors of this family originally emigrated from Scotland to Ireland, thence to Londonderry, New Hampshire, at an early day.

John Anderson, the ancestor of most of the families of his name in Gaines, was born in Londonderry, Aug. 31, 1757. He was a soldier in the Revolution, fought at Bunker Hill, and was at the taking of Ticonderoga under Ethan Allen. He married Jane Archibald in Londonderry, Feb. 7th., 1782, and settled in Ira, Rutland County,. Vermont, in the same year. He represented this town in the State Legislature eight or ten years in succession. His children were: Ann, Jane, John, Robert, Matthew, Betsey, Thomas A., Margaret, Nancy, Eli B. and Samuel F., all of whom were early settlers in Gaines, except Betsey, who died in Malone, N. Y., January 11, 1813.

John Anderson, senior, moved with his family to Gaines in 1821, and located on lot twenty-nine, township fifteen, range two, on the north side of the Ridge road, where he died October 22, 1827. He was a man of very great physical strength, of good intellect, energetic and persistent in his character. One of his rules of action was: Do what duty requires and conscience approves as right, with fear. Indeed he never showed fear of anything. Many instances are recollected of his cool and determined courage in cases of danger. In several conflicts he has with bears, he performed exploits as hazardous and full of daring, as Gen. Putnam’s battle with the wolf.

One evening while he lived in Ira, dogs treed a bear not far from his residence. A number of men were present, but they had no gun. Mr. Anderson told them to build a fire around the tree and keep the bear up it until morning, and then he would go up and drive him down. The fire was made. Next morning Anderson armed with a club, climbed the tree to the bear thirty feet from the ground, and crept out on the limb on which he had retreated.

Disregarding the growls and bristling of the ferocious creature, Mr. Anderson went within reach and aimed a blow at its head with his club which the bear warded off and knocked the club to the ground. Nothing daunted, Mr. Anderson descended, got two clubs, and again went up the tree to the bear. Taking a club in each hand, he made motions to strike with his left hand, and when the bears’ attention was attracted to these, he struck him a terrible blow on the hear with the other club, which knocked the body of the beast off the limb, leaving him hanging by his fore paws. A blow or two on his claws loosened their hold, and the bear was killed by the men below when he struck the ground.

Another tine while he lived in Vermont, being in the woods, he saw a bear coming towards him. Concealing himself in bushes on a steep place, he lay in ambush, and the bear passed him so near that with a spring he rushed upon him, and armed only with a stone, pounded his head until he killed him.

The Pioneer History of
Orleans County, NY
Gaines
Biographies, Part II
By Arad Thomas

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Text: Northernmost point on the Erie Canal

Location: Erie Canal Towpath, just west of Gaines Basin Bridge, Town of Gaines.

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Text: Tribute to the Fallen Heroes of 9/11
We will never forget September 11, 2001
Dedicated September 11, 2011

Location: Court House Square, Albion

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Text: Erie Canal 1825
Main passage to the west.
Became NYS Barge Canal 1903.
Newport (Now Albion) grew at planned Canal and Oak Orchard Road after 1821.
Orleans County Community Pride

Location: Canalside Park at Albion

More Info Erie Canal Bicentennial

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Text: Home of Sanford E. Church 1815-1880
Lt. Gov. 1850-52
Comptroller of State 1857
Chief Judge Court of Appeals 1867-1880

Location: East State at Ingersoll, Albion
Historic Marker Gets Facelift

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Located on the front lawn of Holy Family Parish in Albion (W. Park and Main Streets), a bronze plaque reads “For God and Country 1941-1945” “In sacred memory of our soldiers and sailors who made the supreme sacrifice Orleans County State of New York.” “Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 May they rest in peace. Dedicated May 25, 1947.”

The plaque is mounted on a base of Medina Sandstone.

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Location: Presbyterian Church, Albion

Articles on Hitching Posts

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Location: Court House Square, NW Corner

Text: Liberty Tree
This Liberty Tree was planted October 25, 1975 by the Orleans County Board of Supervisors in commemoration of the United States Bicentennial Celebration.
1776-1976

More info on Liberty Trees
More on Liberty Poles

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Historic Monument to Honor Cobblestone Mason Cyrus Witheral

Location: Otter Creek Cemetery, Town of Gaines, North east corner of cemetery by Route 104.

Text: During the 1840’s and 1850’s Cyrus Witheral built some of the most outstanding cobblestone homes found here in the town of Gaines. These lake stone landmarks including several along the historic Ridge Rd. in the herring bone pattern express his extraordinary skills as a builder.

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Location: Gaines Basin Road just north of canal bridge.

Text: 1832 Schoolhouse
Distrit #2 used until 1944.
Made of field cobblestones.
Replaced a log cabin here.
Caroline Phippa taught.
Orleans County Historical Association 2015

Schoolhouse restoration explained in the Hub.

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Location: Presbyterian Church, Albion NY

Text: Irish, English, Italian and Polish immigrants quarried sandstone, a major industry 1870-1930. Presbyterian Church and 175′ spire show use in architecture.
Orleans County Department of History

Several Articles on this Subject in the Hub

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Test: July 1813
British Captain and troops vanquished at Oak Orchard – Marsh Creek due to settlers led by widow Bathshua Brown 1755-1826

Location: Route 18, Waterport, at The Bridges

Read About Bathshua Brown

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Location: Courthouse Square, Albion

Inscription:
Log Cabin Site
Albion’s first settlers, Mr. & Mrs. William McAllister came here in 1811. He moved away after his wife’s death in 1812.
Erected by the Capurso Famiy 2013.

Marker Dedication Story

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Location: North side of Pullman Memorial Church, Albion NY

Inscription:
George M Pullman, 1831-1937
Once a resident of Albion and later manufacturer of Pullman R.R. cars, built this church in 1894 to the memory of his parents.
Orleans County Community Pride

Pullman Memorial Universalist Church History:

The church began with the Pullman Family who moved to Albion, N.Y. from Chautauqua Country, N.Y. in 1845. James Lewis Pullman and Emily Caroline Pullman had ten children of which George M. Pullman (1831-1897) was the third. James Lewis Pullman was a ‘cabinetmaker’ or builder of fine furniture. George worked some in his father’s business, but decided to go to Chicago where he gained a reputation for moving buildings. After saving his money, he bought the patent for a railroad sleeper car design and produced his first car in 1858. From this small beginning he became an industrial magnate and his name became synonymous with first class railroad travel.

Throughout the years he always maintained early friendships with people of the Albion area where he grew up. It was in 1890 that a friend of long-standing, Mr. Charles A. Danolds, suggested to George M. Pullman that a need existed for a Universalist Church in Albion. George Pullman immediately agreed and said he would build such an edifice in memory of his parents if the local Universalists could raise $5,000 to show their interest. As a result, at a meeting held in the Orleans County Court House on August 18, 1891, the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church of Albion, NY was legally incorporated. By December 25, 1892 it was reported that the $5,000 guarantee fund had been raised. During the year 1893 George Pullman visited Albion and selected the site and had his own personal architect, S S Beman of Chicago, draw up plans for the church building. On May 19, 1894 the cornerstone of the PMUC was laid by the Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge of New York State. The building of the church progressed rapidly during 1894. The famed Louis C. Tiffany was present for the installation of the windows made by his Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. There are forty-one windows in the audience room. One of particular note is the figure of the prophet Jesus. On January 31, 1895 the church was formally dedicated with George M. Pullman present. He delivered the deed of the property to the congregation.

Little change has taken place in the building as designed by Beman, although at one time it had a red Spanish tile roof which leaked, making it necessary to repaint the interior.

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The WWII Veteran’s Monument in Fancher was dedicated in 1949 and honors those who lost their lives during the war. The monument includes a plaque noting the ultimate sacrifice by John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, John Kettle, Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Richard Merritt, Camille Nenni, Floyd Valentine and Richard Vendetta.

Lynne Menz, Orleans County Tourism, notes the following contributors to the sign: The monument was designed by Pat DiLaura and the stone was provided by Arthur Nenni. Gene Nenni, Oresto Nenni, Americo Belli, and Richard DePalma of Holley and Philip Ranieri, Tony Passarell, and Angelo Manella of Albion were the quarrymen who pulled the stone from the quarry. Lee Colavito and Dan Fiorito performed the masonry work. Thomas Friedo of Fancher performed the electrical work to hook up the clocks.

The monument originally had four guns. From accounts of the monument, they were likely real guns and were damaged from exposure to the elements. A light sits atop the monument to illuminate the flag pole.

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Carl Ethan Akeley, known around the world as the “Father of Taxidermy,” started his craft as a boy in Clarendon, NY, and gained international acclaim for his talent in many scientific fields. He has been honored with countless accolades and pieces of his work can be found in leading natural history museums around the world.

Click for a montage of articles concerning Charles Akeley


The Orleans Hub/Tom Rivers

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Location: Town of Gaines Town Hall

Word of dedication offered by C.W. Bill Lattin in 1993 when the monument was dedicated:
“We are reminded of the sovereign contribution of many individuals. Naturally we think of service men and women from the Town of Gaines, especially those heroes who have made the supreme sacrifice in defense of our Republic. But, the inclusiveness of the wording goes beyond the front line of battle. Therefore we are reminded of all who unceremoniously served and made sacrifices on the sidelines or in their homes. The women who made bandages. The children who collected scrap metal, the civilians who went without, and those who diligently worked over time, all shared in contributing to the greater purpose and preservation of our nation.

But beyond the recognition of war times, there is still the more subtle message to be gleaned through this municipal monument. Let us be reminded of the progressive pioneers who hewed out of a total wilderness, this place we call home. Their deprivations were no less important in establishing, building and maintaining this country. Consequently, throughout the generations we find, outstanding citizens, both deceased and living, who have carried the tradition of high ideals of service to our community. With unmitigated dedication to the human family, the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence carried out through our Constitution, has become a rock of solidarity.

We note the inclusion of a life-size bronze rose attached to the monument. Traditionally the rose is a symbol of victory, pride and triumphant love. It is the emblem of every age and all of our sentiments. With this as our testament, we humbly say thank you and have erected this monument IN RECOGNITION OF ALL WHO HAVE SERVED.” C.W. Lattin

Town of Gaines Veterans Memorial

The memorial at the Town of Gaines Office Building on Ridge Road features an and American flag pole and large sandstone block inscribed with “In Recognition of All Who Have Served”. The idea for a Veterans’ Memorial in Gaines was first brought to the Town Board in 1991 by Gaines Town Historian Dee Robinson as part of a county wide effort to recognize the veterans of WWII. Since Gaines had no other military monuments, it was suggested the proposed monument could recognize the veterans of all wars. The memorial stone was designed by Ann Bakeman of Brigden Memorials, which they engraved free of charge. Originally, there was a brass rose underneath the lettering, which was stolen some years ago. It was dedicated on Sept. 13, 1993. Incidentally, the 82″ x 62″ slab of sandstone, donated by then Councilman Bill Lattin has been in Gaines for a long time. It was once part of a set of two that bridged the Beardsley Creek culvert across Gaines Basin Rd. before being replaced by concrete about a hundred years ago. When the sandstone was removed, Nahum Lattin suggested to the Highway Dept. that instead of hauling them elsewhere, they could leave the slabs in his barnyard just south of the culvert, never guessing the town would return to pick either of them up again.

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Location: South side of Route 104 west of Ridgeway, east of Jeddo.

This marker shows a Conestoga Wagon used to transport homesteaders in to Orleans County in the 1800s. Marker erected by the Ridge Road Improvement Association in 1941. The barn described in the marker, built in 1814, is located to the left (east) of the marker.

Full text of marker:
GENESEE TO NIAGRA
HISTORIC RIDGE ROAD
Trail of the Iroquois traced by Eli Granger in 1798.

TREK DEWITT CLINTON – 1810
Seymour Murdock first permanent settler of the Town of Ridgeway located on the property in 1810. One hundred feet southeast stands the barn, the frame work of which was raised by Seymour Murdock assisted by General Izard’s Troops in 1813. In the same year Betsey Murdock, his daughter, taught the first school in Ridgeway in this barn.

Erected by the Ridge Road Improvement Association
Orleans County DAR
Sate of New York
1941

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This memorial in front of the Albion Middle School is a memorial to Orleans County residents who were killed in action during the Vietnam War. The memorial was dedicated on May 24, 1996.

Albion: Richard E. Engle, John J. Hornyak. Clarendon: Hownard L. Bowen. Holley: Gary E. Bullock, David D. Chase, John P. Davis, George W. Fisher, Jr., Paul S. Mandracchia, Gary Stymus. Hulberton: Ronald P. Sisson. Knowlesville: Charles L. Seefeldt, Jr. Medina: John E. Albanese, Jr., Roger J. Cook, Leroy H. Keller, Nicholas A. Natale, Rolland B. Shubbuck, George M. Underdown.

Rocco Sidari is pictured with his grandson Dominick Sidari when a Vietnam War memorial was dedicated in the mid-1990s outside the Albion Middle School.

More Orleans County Veterans Monuments

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“Santa Claus”
Charles W. Howard 1896-1966
In 1937 he established here a world famous Santa Claus School, the first of its kind & 1953 a Christmas Park.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Santa Claus

Location: In front of the former Howard residence at 13849 Phipps Road, Albion

Resolution by Orleans County Legislature, July 2019
The resolution states:

“WHEREAS, Mr. Charles W. Howard was a resident of the Town of Albion for his entire life; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Howard was proud of his home town, county and country; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Howard brought national acclaim to himself and his home town by establishing the world’s first Santa Claus School; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Howard portrayed Santa Claus in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for 18 years;

WHEREAS, Mr. Howard passed away in 1966 without receiving from his local neighbors the proper recognition he deserved; and

WHEREAS, the Albion Betterment Committee (a not-for-profit charitable organization which was formed in 2003 with the intent to promote the area’s natural assets and to set the area apart from every other community in the country) is asking support to dedicate a portion of the NYS Route 31 in Memory of Charles W. Howard; now be it

RESOLVED, that the Orleans County Legislature supports the Albion Betterment Committee in their request from the State of New York to have a portion of State Route 31 – when entering the Town of Albion (Northwest corner of Transit Road from the east to Southeast corner of Wood Road from the west) to be dedicated in Charles W. Howard’s name; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Legislature supports signage to be placed along that portion of Route 31 to read: THIS SECTION OF NEW YORK STATE ROUTE 31 IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF CHARLES W. HOWARD, A LOCAL FARMER WHO FOUNDED THE WORLD’S FIRST SANTA CLAUS SCHOOL.”

READ MORE ABOUT SANTA SCHOOL IN THE HUB

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Journalist, Terry Anderson, grew up in this neighborhood in the 1950s. He was taken hostage in 1985 by Middle East terrorists and held prisoner for 2,545 days.
Orleans County Department of History

Anyone who was old enough to watch TV in the 1980s probably recalls the nightly news reports that gave the number of days Terry Anderson, Chief Middle East Correspondent for the Associated Press, was held captive by extremists in Lebanon. The incremental counter almost reached seven years until his sister was successful in convincing American officials to secure his release.

CNN Story 2016

Historic Marker/The Hub

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Calamity – September 28, 1859
250 People and 5 horses gathered here on a wooden bridge to watch a tightrope walker cross the canal. It collapsed killing 15 people.
Orleans County Historical Association – 2002

Headstones Restored

Modern portrayal of 1859 Tightrope Walker

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HISTORIC RIDGE ROAD
GENESEE TO NIAGARA
HOME OF JOHN PROCTOR
Who on horse during a December night in 1813 warned the settlers along the Ridge Road from here to Clarkson of the approach of the British and Indians after the burning of Lewiston. In the morning he joined the regiment of Captain Eleazer McCarty which proceeded toward Lewiston. The next night they surprised and captured the enemy forces quartered at Molyneaux Tavern.
TREK – DEWITT CLINTON – 1810
Nearby at the primitive log cabin of Elijah Downer, Dewitt Clinton and his companions stopped for breakfast on theri eventful trip over the Ridge Road in 1810.
Erected by the Ridge Road Improvement Association
Orleans Chapter DAR State of New York 1935

GAINES – John 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. A historical marker on a large stone shares the story of Proctor. The stone is on the south side of Ridge Road, a few houses west of the Route 98 intersection.

The marker was put up in 1935 by the State Education Department and the Daughters of the American Revolution. It is one of a series of historical markers along Ridge Road that were erected in the 1920s and ’30s.

The Proctor marker also notes that the site was once a primitive log cabin owned by Elijah Downer. When Gov. DeWitt Clinton passed through in 1810, looking at land for a possible Erie Canal, he stopped at the cabin for breakfast.

Today, Justin and Adrienne Kirby and their three children make their home on the property.

The Orleans Hub, May 25, 2014

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HISTORIC NEW YORK – THE LAKE PLAINS
The neutral nation of Indians, an Iroquoian group affiliated with the Erie, were early inhabitants of this area. About 1650 they were conquered by the Senecas of the Five Nations Confederacy. French explorers and raiders crossed this area and English expeditions along the lake shore entered the small streams but extensive swamps deterred settlement.

After the Revolution a few settlers came from Canada but development awaited the formation of speculative land companies. The Pulteney Purchase and that of the Holland Land Company divided the land area into tracts for settlement. Inhabitants fled the area for a time after the fall of Fort Niagara in the War of 1812. Then came the building of highways some of which ran along old Indian trails. The Ridge Road opened in 1809 became a principal east-west route. Completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 spurred the building of towns along its route and the growth of commerce. There early settlers built unique cobblestone houses, many of which are still standing.

Geography and climate have favored fruit culture and made packing and canning a principal industry.
Education Department – State of New York 1961. Department of Public Works

This massive historical marker is located on the south side of Route 104, about 1/4 mile west of Route 98 in the Hamlet of Childs, Town of Gaines, Orleans County, NY, in a roadside park in front of Lake Ontario Fruit.

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Orleans County’s own Washington Monument

NIAGARA TO GENESEE
HISTORIC RIDGE ROAD
“I sing of the great Ridge Road, of the highway our children shall see that lies like a belt on Ontario’s shore. Carved out in wisdom of ages before for the racesthat are yet to be.”
TREK – DEWITT CLINTON – 1810
“In the great work of internal improvement he persevered through good report and through evil report, with a steadiness of purpose that no obstacle could divert.”

Erected by the Ridge Road Improvement Ass’nm State of New York, Orleans Chapter D.A.R.
Orleans County Pioneer and Historical Ass’n
This marker is a typical specimen of Medina Sandstone
From the noted quarries of Orleans County
Operated for more than a century
Supply practically inexhaustible
1930

On August 28, 1930 Governor Franklin D; Roosevelt dedicated this bronze marker mounted on a large piece of sandstone from Pasquale DiLaura quarry. Here we see a large crowd of people gathered around it with FDR standing next to the flag on the platform.

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1732-1799
To honor and commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Birth of George Washington
And the men who fought in the American Revolution and sleep in the Town of Murray.
Robinson Smith, Life Guard of Washington
Asa Clark, The Courier who carried the news to Washington of the attack on Throgs Neck.
Captain Timothy Ruggles
William Jennings
Amos Frink
Captain Aaron Warren, who built the first grist mill in Town of Murray
Niagara to Genesse Historic Ridge Road
Trek – Dewitt Clinton – 1810
Near this spot stood the primitive log tavern kept by Epaphras Mattison where Dewitt Clinton and his companions spent a night on their eventful horseback trip through Western New York in 1810.
Erected by the Ridge Road Improvement Association
Orleans Chapter DAR
State of New York 1932

Location: Northeaset corner of Ridge Road (Route 104) and Route 237

This historic marker was dedicated on October 12, 1932. Pictured with it for that occasion are” Eben Copp, Roy Downey, Mildred Downey, Katherine Rowley and two members of the Jewell Buckman American Legion Post in Holley

Who did sleep here?

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THE TRANSIT LINE
This boulder marks the boundary line
The Holland Purchase
And The Connecticut Tract
As established in 1798
Erected by
Orleans Chapter DAR
1927

Location: Southeast corner of Ridge Road (Route 104) and Transit Rd, just inside Town of Murray.

THE TRANSIT LINE
This line which forms the eastern boundary of the Holland Purchase, and the western boundary of Morris Reserve, begins on the north bounds of Pennsylvania, 12 miles west of the west bounds of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase; thence runs due north, to near the center of the town of Stafford, in Genesee County; thence, west a fraction over two miles; thence due north, to Lake Ontario. It forms the eastern boundary of the towns of Carlton, Gaines, and Barre. It is called the Transit Line, because it was run out first by the aid of a Transit instrument. The offset of two miles is said to have been made to prevent overlapping the Connecticut Tract by the lands of the Holland Purchase. The trees were cut through on the Transit Line, to the width of four rods, at an early day, by the Land Company; thus affording a convenient land mark to the early settlers in locating their lands, and serving as a guide in finding their way through the woods. The Transit Line was run by Joseph Ellicott, in 1798.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas

MORE IN THE HUB

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PIONEER SETTLER
March 3, 1807 This land was chosen by the first settler in the Town of Gaines,
And on Ridge Road in Orleans County, Mrs. Elizabeth Gilbert.
ORLEANS COUNTY COMMUNITY PRIDE

Location: In front of Gaines-Carlton Community Church, 14585 Ridge Road, north side of highway, about one-half mile east of Hamlet of Childs.

On March 3, 1807, Elizabeth Gilbert purchased 123.5 acres of land approximately one mile east of Fairhaven in Gaines. It is Signor who references this land transaction, completely overlooked by Thomas over twenty years earlier which demonstrates the significance of Gilbert’s purchase of land at a time when men were more likely to conduct such business. As the story is told, Mr. Gilbert was known to suffer from fits of epilepsy and was discovered dead in “the road” in the middle of winter (the road presumed to be Ridge Road). With her niece, Amy Scott, Elizabeth cared for a yoke of oxen, cows, and young cattle over the winter before relocating to Canandaigua around 1811 or 1812.

Arad Thomas refers to Gilbert almost exclusively as “Widow Gilbert,” a woman defined by her marriage to her unnamed husband. In his description, she was a “hardy pioneer” who “cut down trees to furnish browse for a yoke of oxen and some other cattle…” When Noah Burgess and his family arrived at Stillwater in Carlton, he was unable to complete the trip across land to Gaines due to illness. It was “Widow Gilbert” who used her oxen to bring the family and their personal property to their new land along the Ridge Road. Mary “Polly” Crippen Burgess, Noah’s wife, who was described as a “strong, athletic woman,” proceeded to “chop down trees and cut logs for a log house” while “Mrs. Gilbert drew them to the spot with her oxen.” Men passing through assisted the women in raising the cabin walls.

Orleans Hub – March 10, 2018

More on Pioneer Elizabeth Gilbert

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FIVE MILE HOUSE
Later known as Ball’s Tavern
Built in 1816 by John Huff.
Here the mail carriers between
Canandaigua and Lewiston used to stop over night.
State Ed. Department – 1932

Location: Town of Gaines (Near Town of Murray), Ridge Route about one quarter mile west of Transit Road, north side of Ridge.

FIVE MILE HOUSE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF RIDGE ROAD, EAST GAINES IN 1930
In 1810, John Proctor was able to easily locate the article of land he purchased from the Holland Land Company since it was located on the north and south sides of an ancient Indian footpath through the forest then called, “The Ontario Trail”; our Ridge Road of today; and a north/south running Transit Line, today’s Transit Road.

Proctor’s article contained over 200 acres. In his own words, “I arrived in Batavia, since changed to Gaines, on the Holland Purchase, near the Transit Line. I chopped over five acres of land and built a log cabin in what was then called the ‘Nine Mile Woods’. My cabin was situated seven miles from any cabin going east, and two miles west. There were no inhabitants going south nearer than Batavia village. Here I kept bachelor’s hall, sleeping in the open air on hemlock boughs until I had completed the roof of my cabin, which I covered with bark. I had to travel seven miles to get bread baked” (Thomas, p. 220. Seven miles to the east was Abigail Sager. Two miles to the west was widow Elizabeth Gilbert, the pioneer settler of Gaines and Orleans County on the Ridge Road. Apparently, Abigail was more agreeable to baking Proctor’s bread than Elizabeth was.

Around 1812, John Proctor transferred a portion of his article, the north side of the Ontario Trail to John Huff. Mr. Huff noted with interest the improvements NYS was making on what was, in 1815 now called “The Ridge Road”; the south shore of the ancient glacial Lake Iroquois, running from the Genesee River to the Niagara River, about 78 miles. So, in 1816, with lumber milled at Henry Drakes’ saw mill on Otter Creek, West Gaines, John Huff built what came to be known as “Huff’s Tavern” and ‘The Five Mile House”. Again quoting Arad Thomas 1874 Pioneer History of Orleans County, (in 1816) ‘The mail was now carried in two horse carriages, three times a week each way (between Canandaigua and Lewiston); stopping over night at Huff’s tavern in East Gaines”.

FIVE MILE HOUSE, AS IT APPEARED IN 1909
The tavern business was brisk along the Ridge Road with several stage coaches per day; travelers heading to Lewiston and Niagara Falls and, of course, incoming settlers. Gaines was booming thanks to the Ridge. Huff was able to pay off his article in full and received the deed to his 100 acres of land in 1820; two years ahead of the ten year schedule the Holland Land Company GontraGt spelled out. By 1824, the year Fairhaven House (Tillmans’ Historic Village Inn) was built, eight to ten stage coaches per day, carrying twelve persons per coach, passed through Gaines daily. Gaines of that day was considered the most important village on the Ridge (p. 23, Gaines Centennial, 1909).
According to the above named source, Wm. Huff ran the tavern for a time, then Jerry Dunn and Horatio N. Ball; and for some time it was referred to as Ball’s Tavern. He died in 1873 and the hotel closed in 1873 when Mr. Ball died, and never re-opened.
In 1932, an historical marker made of cast iron, was erected on the site with funds available through the New York State Department of Education. However, after decades signing this historic site, it fell into disrepair and was taken down in pieces and went into storage. Local citizens had inquired about the missing marker and with the help of former county historian Bill Lattin, it was located. Melissa lerlan, the Clarendon Town Historian accepted the challenge of having it welded back together. She also removed the old paint and meticulously repainted it in the traditional blue background with yellow letters. She discovered the word “Canandaigua” was misspelled on both sides; so she made the proper correction when painting the lettering. The cost of a new marker now is around $1100, not including the post. The new post was purchased and provided for by the Orleans County Historical Association. Also, many thanks to town highway superintendent, Ron Manella for installing the post, and to Shannon and Tracy Narburgh, the current owners of the property for allowing us to replace this historical marker.
Al Capurso,Town of Gaines Historian May 10, 2016

Five Mile House Sign Gets Makeover

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