Thursday, April 21, 2016

new Museum of disABILITY History invitation

Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 2:00pm
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main St.
Buffalo NY 14226

The Museum of disABILITY History invites you to attend the grand opening of our new exhibit, “In Celebration of Down Syndrome,” on Saturday May 6 at 2 pm.  Joining us for the event will be David Wright, professor of history and clinical studies at McGill University, author of “Downs: The History of a Disability.”

RSVP to Doug Farley at or 716.629.3626

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hello, my name is Nancy Hall and I am 45 years old and the mother of five amazing children. On May 21, 2000 My husband and I were in a tragic motorcycle accident resulting in me becoming a full quadriplegic

Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 2:00pm
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main St.
Buffalo NY 14226

Dialogues on disABILITY Speaker Series presents “All Things are Possible,” featuring Nancy Hall, Mouth Painting Artist.  During her presentation, Nancy will share how a positive attitude and your perspective can shape your life.

Admission: Museum Members-Free, Adults $6; Students, Seniors and Human Service Employees-$3.50

RSVP to Doug Farley at or 716.629.3626

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Please note that pre-registration is required for this program. You may register online at the Greece Public Library website go to calendar and click on event. Or call the library at 585-225-8951. "Please register each person attending the program."

Local Author to Talk about Her Book, Puff the Sea Lion

  On Sunday February 28, 2 p.m. Greece Museum, 595 Long Pond Rd.

  Mary Ellen Ostrander, author of Puff the Sea Lion, a Love Story, will be at the museum to talk about her book and sign copies of it.

During her more than 25 years working at the Seneca Park Zoo, Ostrander has cared for and trained Amur tigers, Bornean orangutans, polar bears, spotted hyenas, arctic wolves, Amur leopards, cougars, and California sea lions. However, she had never met any animal quite like the young bull sea lion, Puff.

From the time he arrived at the zoo when he was less than a year old to his unexpected death at the age of six, Ostrander developed a strong bond with him that she can only call love.

Rocked by the sudden loss of this endearing animal with an engaging personality that made him a favorite of zoo visitors, Ostrander felt compelled to write his story.

She describes forging a relationship with Puff using positive reinforcement to train him.

Museum of disABILITY History & Danceability program

Saturday, March 12, 2016—Movie Screening at 3:30 and 6:30 pm.  Reception at 5 pm.
Museum of disABILITY History & Danceability
3826 Main St.
Buffalo NY 14226

Join us for the screening of “Capturing Grace,” a film about dancers with Parkinson’s disease joining forces with a dance company to stage a unique performance.

Admission is free, but tickets are required.  Donations are accepted.

RSVP to Doug Farley at or 716.629.3626, Don’t wait, tickets will go quickly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

J O H N F O W L E R ? Sounds Vaguely Familiar

It's time (about time) for an apology.

I've left many of you dangling for several (+ + + + + +) years now. But, at least most of you have had internet streaming services, Facebook, binge-watching devices, iPads and other 21st Century perks to keep you occupied.

Not so lucky was John Fowler. We joined him back in 2009 (our time) as he traveled through New York State in 1830. He just finished touring The prison in Auburn, NY, and was preparing to move on, heading west through the state. His final report after touring the prison concluded., "a decided majority, upon leaving the prison, have become reformed and useful members of society."

So, better later (much later) than never, we'll join him in 1830 and all move on.

After an early morning visit made to the prison where he observed the inmates gathered for breakfast (but not to to be allowed to interact with each other - prison rules) Fowler returns to the American Hotel, which had only been in business since January first of this year - and his own fast breaking. He dined along with ". . . a pretty large company . . . of which, after the ordinary fashion we all partook at one common table." By ordinary fashion" he obviously meant not prison "fashion".

He goes on to say, "This ceremony over I sallied forth to take a hasty view of he town {village I should say) ere the stage arrived which was to convey me onward."

The particular comment he makes regards the canal being about seven miles to the south with improvements being planned to make it more accessible to Auburn's citizens.

So, it was off to the north. Two years earlier, when another British traveler, James Stuart, crossed the state, his coach had left Auburn and headed over west to the northern end of Cayuga Lake he reported seeing the wooden bridge crossing the lake's outlet that led to Seneca Falls. The 32 arch span had been completed in 1800 by area pioneer Charles Williamson and others. Instead of using the structure his coach had headed south along the lake's eastern shore.

Even before that, in 1818, another English traveler, John Duncan had written, "The wheels of our chariot rolled along the level platform, with a smoothness to which we had long been strangers; and so luxuriant seemed the contrast, that on getting to the farther end, some of the passengers proposed that we should turn the horses and enjoy it a second time!"

By 1830 John Fowler was not so lucky. His coach took the bridge. ". . . a most barbarous structure, built on piles, and conveying the idea, if not the reality,  of great insecurity; as the planks, or logs upon which you pass, uncovered with gravel, soil, or other material, are of all shapes and sizes, heedlessly laid across from side to side without nails or any kind of fastening whatever. In many instances I observed them scarcely resting upon the supports on each side, and the waters of the lake everywhere visible below: of course, as they were acted upon by the weight and motion of the coach and horses, they were perpetually jolting up and down, so that it was a mater of astonishment to me how the animals could pass over at the rate they did, a good brisk trot, without getting their feet between them; the accompanying noise and clatter, too, was anything but agreeable".

But those Brits, they usually think of something gracious to say about most experiences. One must, . . . "leave all his fears and prejudices at home, and be here content to dash on, over, under, or through whatever it may please the driver and his steed to convey him."

Remember that in our time, the next pothole you encounter. Remember also that very little lasts forever. Use of the bridge would stop in 1857 and the following year the state legislature would authorize the Cayuga Bridge Company to replace the span.


It never happened. In 1860 the obvious finally did. A new ferry services was "launched" (against the wishes of the Cayuga Bridge Company) and acted until 1890, or (thereabouts). And since the bridge's main purpose had been to avoid the Montezuma Swamp to the north, alternate routes though that boggy stretch would later serve the same purpose - connecting the village of Cayuga to the west side of lake.

Next time, arriving  at the northwest end of Cayuga Lake, Fowler's coach will set off for the village of Seneca Falls. Over a smoother passageway.


Sunday, November 15, 2015


Laugh the Evening Away with:
“Kevin Kling Live”
In Collaboration with Canisius College and 
National Endowment for the Arts
Wednesday, November 18th from 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main Street, Buffalo

Laugh the evening away and get inspired through innovative storytelling! Meet Kevin Kling – part

funny guy, part poet and playwright, part wise man. Born with a left arm that was disabled, he

lost the use of his right one after a motorcycle accident nearly killed him. He shares his angle

on life’s humor and heartaches — and why we turn loss into story. The presentation is ideal

for theatre enthusiasts and writers, self-advocates, college students

and human service employees.

Museum Members – FREE
People Inc. Employees – FREE
Adults – $6.00
Students, Seniors, and Human Service Employees – $3.50

Registration encouraged.
RSVP to 716.629.3626

Saturday, November 14, 2015



by Mary Jo Lanphear

Sunday, Nov. 15,  2015

Greece Museum 2:00 pm. 

During WW II a number of children from Eastman Kodak England were brought here to live with host families in Rochester to keep them safe from the bombings of London.

Hear the stories of these KodaKids, some of whom preferred to remain in America after the war.

Mary Jo is the Brighton Town Historian.

You may register online at the Greece Public Library website go to calendar and click on event. Or call the library at 585-225-8951. "Please register each person attending the program."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Orphan Irish Immigrants During 1849 Cholera Epidemic

Book Premiere Featuring Anthropologist Rosanne Higgins, PhD
“The Seer and the Scholar”
Friday, November 6, 2015 from 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Museum of disABILITY History
3826 Main Street, Buffalo

Author Rosanne Higgins is introducing her latest book in the “Orphans and Inmates” series, entitled, “The Seer and the Scholar,” which tells the tale of three sisters who were orphaned on their way from Ireland to Buffalo and sought refuge at the Erie County Poorhouse.  “The Seer and the Scholar” takes place during the cholera epidemic of 1849.

Museum Members – FREE
People Inc. Employees – FREE
Adults – $6.00
Students, Seniors, and Human Service Employees – $3.50
Registration encouraged.
RSVP to 716.629.3626 or RSVP,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015



A public visioning meeting for the Town's Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 will take place Thursday, November 5 at 6PM at the Pittsford Community Library (24 State Street). Pittsford community members are encouraged to attend and provide input on the various components of the plan.

The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan update is to help define goals for Pittsford's future and the values that will inform our judgment in accommodating changes in the years ahead. In pursuit of this, the Comprehensive Plan citizens committee began meeting this past summer. It has considered such issues as factors creating a healthy business climate, aesthetic character of the community, improving walkability and visual quality of major corridors in and through the central portion of the Town, access to parks and trails and maintaining the rural character of the southern portion of the Town notwithstanding development to come. Among other things, the Committee is considering risks and opportunities with respect to each of these topics.

Your views on these and related subjects are necessary to make this plan a success. Please join us. You may also share your comments online HERE or go to our Comprehensive Plan Update 2015 and click the "Share your ideas" block.


Wright Inside:
Three Decades of Wright’s Interiors

On Wednesday, November 4, 2015 at 7:00 pm, the Graycliff Conservancy, Inc. will present three experts on interiors of homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, from the 1920s through the 1950s.  The Graycliff Roundtable will be held in the auditorium of the Burchfield-Penney Art Center in Buffalo.
The speakers, and their discussion, will focus on approaches to entryways, floors, ceilings, walls, built-ins, and approaches Wright took to accommodate specific client needs, during the mid to later years of Wright’s career.
Speakers will include: Daniel Chrzanowski, who with his wife Dianne are owners of the John and Syd Dobkins House (1953) in Canton Ohio; Jerry Heinzeroth, President of the Board of the Laurent House Foundation (1949); and Dirk Schneider and Scott Selin, restoration architects of Graycliff (1926-31).  Each of the speakers has extensive first-hand experience in the restoration of the interiors of these respective Wright designs.
The Dobkins House features a distinctive geometric design module based upon the equilateral triangle. This home is privately owned and not open to the public; thus this talk, which will include a powerpoint presentation, will offer a rare look inside the residence.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lau rent House in Rockford, Illinois is the only building ever designed by the famed architect for a person with a disability.
Graycliff (1926-1931), the earliest home to be discussed this evening, was a precursor in some respects to the two later works. 
Admission is $10 for the general public, and free for members and volunteers of Graycliff and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center.
This roundtable is made possible with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the County of Erie, County Executive M ark Polancarz and the Erie County Legislature, particularly Legislator John Mills; and the Baird Foundation.  We are grateful to Embassy Suites Buffalo for their support as well.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hello everyone!

The Colby-Pulver House will be open on Wednesday, November 11 from 1-3 pm for a card making party! Students in grades 2 and up are welcome to come to make Thanksgiving and Christmas cards for residents of the Monroe Community Hospital. This program is free. The number of participants is limited to 20. Pre-registration is required….please call Elaine Berner to sign up. If no one answers, you may leave a message with your name, grade, and phone number. 293-1672  Or, you may pre-register by emailing your name, grade, and phone number to

Please encourage any children that you may know to participate!

Ogden Historical Society

Monday, October 26, 2015


The Town of Dewitt and the City of Syracuse will be making an exciting announcement about a joint initiative to solicit ideas for the future of the Erie Boulevard East corridor in Central New York. Considering the upcoming bicentennial of the Erie Canal in 2017, the City of Syracuse and Town of DeWitt are launching Elevating Erie, a competition to identify innovative ideas that will stimulate and guide the future development of the Canalway corridor within both the Town and the City. This jointly-sponsored ideas competition–made possible with funding from the New York State Department of State–invites proposals for connecting one of the most urbanized areas of the Erie Canalway Trail. While the former route of the Erie Canal through DeWitt and Syracuse (e.g., Erie Boulevard East) has been mostly paved over for 100 years, the corridor has remained significant to the region by transporting people and goods, and has the potential to become part of the longest continuous bicycle and pedestrian trail in North America.

                                                            ERIE IDEAS COMPETITION

WHERE:                      ERIE CANAL MUSEUM 318 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, NY 13202

WHEN:                       WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 28, 2015 12:00pm

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ogden Historical Society Annual Meeting

are cordially invited to the
Ogden Historical Society’s
Annual Meeting
Monday October 26th, 2015
Ogden Town Hall - 7pm

Short business meeting
Barn presentation by Scott Galliford 
Election of officers for 2016 thru 2017 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

1871 George C. Latta Diary

Buffalo Courier
December 8, 1871

Pioneer Life in the Genesee Country
      [From the Rochester Union]

    The late George C. Latta - who resided at the mouth of the Genesee river  for more than sixty years, and died there recently - left a diary in which he had noted some events of his life as a pioneer. From this we have been permitted to make extracts, which will be read with interest, by not only the older citizens, but by many of the younger, who wish to know something of this region at the beginning of the century:

                    Removal to Western New York.
  "My father, James Latta, and Sarah Jackson were married in the city of New York, Feb. 23, 1773. They removed to Walkill, on the Hudson, where they remained until 1778, removed to New Windsor, on the Hudson, and in 1789 removed to Geneva, Ontario county, taking  his family, including six children. The family came up the Hudson to Albany in a sloop, crossed to Schenectady in wagons, ascended the Mohawk river as far as Fort Stanwix (now Rome) in small boats, which they hauled over the portage into Wood creek, and down that they passed into Oneida lake. They reached the lake on the evening of a clear moonlit night.
    My father being anxious to cross the lake, paid his men extra wages to pass over the lake to Fort Brewerton, during the night, fearing a storm would arise in the morning and detain them several days, as was frequently the case. The roue was then down the Oneida river to Three River Point, then up the Seneca river to the outlet of Seneca lake, then up that channel to Geneva. The voyage from Schenectady to Geneva occupied seventeen days, and during the greater part of the time it rained.

                         Geneva, Elmira and Thereabouts.
    At that time there were but three or four houses at Geneva, and about the same number at Canandaigua, and those built of logs. My brother Samuel came by way of Newtown and drove the cattle. On his arrival at the farm he found that the men employed to chop had planted some pumpkins, which were partly ripe, and as they had been without milk for  a long time, they picked some of the pumpkins and had a supper of milk and pumpkins. There was no mill in the country nearer than Newtown (now Elmira), forty miles distant, and as the mill had no bolt, the flour ground there had to be sifted before using. I have heard my father tell of going to Newtown to mill with a grist on horseback, and at night he would turn his horse loose to graze, while he took lodgings himself in a tree to keep out of the way of the wolves, which were very numerous at the time.

                                   The Milling Business.
    Provisions at that time were brought into the country by water up the Mohawk river in batteaux, and from the Susquehanna river on pack horses. It was some time before mills were erected in this part of the country. Most of the families kept one or two mortars or pounding blocks for pounding corn in. These blocks were frequently made by the people in the stump of a tree near the house. They would cut a clump off square, and then burn or dig a cavity in the top, deep enough to receive corn; and to save the labor of pounding a springpole was frequently used.
    I can recollect seeing mortars of this description used in this town (Greece) on or near the farm of John Peterson, (now owned by Patrick Rigney) eight miles from Rochester. I came into the town, then called Gates, in 1810. I can also recollect when my father lived in the town of Seneca, four miles west of Geneva, of his going to mill on horseback in company with my brothers, two years old than myself, as early as 1804 or 1805. We first went to Bear's mill, seven miles wast of Geneva, on the Seneca outlet (now Waterloo.).
     Arriving at the mill and finding that we could not not get grinding that we could not get grinding done immediately,  we concluded to go to Lyons mill on the Canandaigua outlet  or near the place where Lyons now stands. After an absence of four days we returned home, with our grist.  This was good news to the family, both on account of our safe return and the receipt of the flour, which was undoubtedly much needed as it was about harvest time.

                               Going To Lewiston.
    My mother died on the 3d of July, 1807, and my father moved to Lewiston in the spring of 1809 and purchased a farm three miles east of Lewiston village, on the Ridge road. The land to make the farm was covered with timber. I remained with my father on the farm one summer. During the summer I attended school at the school house in the Indian village of Tuscarora six weeks, and in the winter of 1810 I attended school in the village of Lewiston. In the spring of 1810 I commenced and drove oxen two months on the farm spoken of by James L. Barton in his address delivered before the Young Men's Association of Buffalo on the 16th of February, 1848, as being the place where his father slept the first night of his arrival at the place where the village of Lewiston  now stands.
    For this labor I received from my brother-in-law, Benjamin Barton, his order on Joshua Fairbanks for ten dollars' worth of dry goods.

                               The Mouth of the Genesee.
    In the month of June, 1810, I left Lewiston on horseback, for the mouth of the Genesee river, where I arrived on the 17th of that month. At that time the Ridge road was not cut out on the ridge where it is now traveled, but was run on the ridge and north and south of it, where it could be made with the least labor.
    At that time there was no causeway over the Tonawanda swamp, a distance of about four miles. I recollect when crossing that swamp the water was from fetlock to knee-deep to my horse. I think there were then but two frame buildings between Lewiston and the Genesee river. One was at what is now the village of Gaines, the other was erected by Abel Rowe (father of Asa Rowe) and was occupied for a tavern until the spring of 1845, when it was owned by R. P. Edgarton. A public house was afterward erected on the same site, and at the date of this narrative was kept by George Wimble.  It was near Rowe's green house in the town of Greece. 
    I recollect attending the house warming of Mr. Rowe's tavern in the winter of 1811. It took two days to attend the ball and get home to the mouth of the river. We started with a sleigh and returned with a wagon. We were overtaken by a rain storm, which continued all the night of the ball and until 10 the next morning.

                Deer Hunting - A Lake Voyage
   In the month of August I went out in company with Benjamin Gardner, of the firm of Child & Gardner, merchants at Charlotte, and several others to hunt deer, which at that time were very plenty. We caught two or three deer and I caught the fever and ague, which shook me every day for fifty-six days, and then every other day for some time longer and so rendered me quite low. 
    In November, Porter, Barton & Co. had a vessel (the Ontario)  lying in the Genesee taking in a cargo for Kingston, Upper Canada and Ogdensburgh. My brother Samuel, and Capt. Charles Sweet, master of the schooner, thought it would be of service to me to take a trip across the lake. Accordingly I was fitted out with the necessary sea stores by my brother, and put on on board under the care of the captain.
    We sailed about 11 at night for Kingston, where we landed a part of our cargo and then went down the St. Lawrence to Ogdensburgh, where we landed the remainder. We lay several days at Ogdensburgh, and then got under way for Kingston. On the passage up the St. Lawrence we ran upon a flat rock near Chippewa Bay and lay several hours, and then got off and went to Kingston. 
    We took on some freight at Kingston, and then left at 12 at night. The next day we came within ten or fifteen miles of Genesee River, where met a heavy wind and had to run across the lake and put in at Presque Isle Harbor. We were at this time rather short of provisions and the next morning the captain, Oliver Culver; Frederick Bushnell , Samuel Sheldon, other passengers and myself went on shore in pursuit of provisions and called at the house of the widow Sellick to get some bread, but could not get any, as she was out of flour. 
    She said she had sent a grist to mill, and if would wait until it returned she would let us have some. Some of the party discovered she had a loaf at the fire baking. They purchased of Mrs. Sellick, or she gave us half the loaf and we purchased some turnips and went on board.
     At night the wind was fair, and we got under way for Genesee River. The next morning we made the land off the Devil's Nose and got into the Genesee that afternoon. Cutters had crossed the toe of the river for several days. We had no provisions on board the vessel except peas and pork; no butter, bread or vegetables. The vessel was about three weeks performing this voyage. I recovered my health and have never had but one fit of the ague since.

                           Oliver Culver, Fred Bushnell, &c     
     On this trip I first became acquainted with Fred. Bushnell, Oliver Culver and Samuel Sheldon. Soon after we returned Mr. Bushnell came to the mouth of the river with a small stock of goods and commenced mercantile business in connection with James K. Guernsey. In the month of January, 1812 he made a bargain with my brother and took me into his service. I continued with him as clerk until the spring of 1821, for which I received a salary of $50 per year and board until April, 1816, and from that time till March, 1821, I received $200 aper year and my board. 

                                    Going to the Front
    War broke out in June, 1812. We removed the goods to Victor, Ontario county, in the spring of 1813, where we remained until the fall of 1814. I was then sent to Lima and remained in J.K. Guernsey's store until the winter of 1815. I was then sent to Alexander, Genesee county, where I remained with Henry Hawkins, a partner of Mr. Guernsey's, till piece was declared.
    Soon after I went back to the mouth of the river, where Guernsey & Bushnell commenced mercantile business again. I continued with them as a clerk till 1821. During my clerkship from 1812 to 1821 I was never absent without leave except once. That was in December 1814. I was engaged in the warehouse when the news came that the British had cross the Niagara river and taken Fort Niagara, and advanced into the country as far a Eighteen Mile Creek.  I concluded that if my  country ever needed my services it was then. I was nineteen years of age.
     I immediately went about purchasing, and the same evening at about ten o'clock I left Genesee river with about one week's provision in my knapsack and rifle on my shoulder, steered my course for the Ridge road on foot and alone, and arrived at Parma's Corners next morning. There I met a great number of militiamen going on to meet the enemy. 
     Frederick Hanford, then public store keeper, hired a team and took in eleven of us and started for Lewiston. The second day we arrived at Hardscrabble, six miles east of Lewiston, on the Ridge, and about eight miles from Fort Niagara, then in possession of British troops. Here we remained about three weeks and numbered about 300 men under arms. We were under the command of Col. John Atchison. We had no fighting to do during my stay. I got rather tired of staying with the army, and I got a pass and returned to Genesee river. 

                             Incidents in Camp  
    Many amusing incidents occurred while we were in camp at Hardscrabble. One night after we had retired three guns wee fired, the signal for all hands to go to headquarters. We all started quick time for the colonel's quarters, about three-fourths of a mile distant. On getting there we found that the alarm was false.
     Soon after getting to rest we were again alarmed and turned out. We were drawn up in line of battle on the Ridge road and expected to do something for our country. Again the alarm proved to be false. By this time it was easy to get up an alarm, and the men were somewhat tired and frightened. 
     After midnight the camp was again alarmed by the cry that the Indians were upon us. It turned out that our captain gave this alarm in a dream. The room where he slept was dark, and a man lying next to him in getting up had put his hand upon him. The captain sprang up; catching a straw bed on which he was sleeping, he began to shout "The Indians are upon us," and slung his bed right and left before him. We were much relieved to find this came from a dream. This caused much fun, and ours was afterwards known as the "Straw Bed Company."

                      Commencing Business - The Lake Trade.
     In 1821 I began business at Charlotte in connection with J.K. Guernsey, F. Bushnell  and T.R. Hawkins. We bought a stock of goods and vessels of Guernsey and Bushnell, and rented warehouses for $400 per year. We established an ashery one mile west of the river. Subsequently we took a store and ashery, at Gaines and did a large business. In 1825, we dissolved the partnership. I sold out my interest at Gaines, and with Messrs. Guernsey, Bushnell and Hawkins established the form of G.C. Latta & Co. at Charlotte.  In 1831 I purchased the interest of my parters and continued business. Among the property were the well known schooners General Brown, Julia, Mary Jane, Swallow, and one of about fifty tons, called the Charlotte, built at the mouth of the river in 1828 to run as a packet between the Genesee and Cobourg and Port Hope, in Canada. This was the first packet which ran on that route.
     We continued to run the packet across the lake, twice each week, till 1834, when the steamer Transit commenced her trips between Toronto and Genesee river, calling at Port Hope and Cobourg, and since that time till these notes are made, a steamboat has been kept on that route by Mr. Bethune. In 1834 I engaged in business with Henry Benton, late cashier of the Farmers and Mechanics' Bank of Rochester, and continued with him till the fall of 1832, when he retired and Mr. Bushnell took his place.
    In 1835 I retired from trade. It was in the winter of 1832 and 1833 that I built the well known schooners Guernsey and Cleveland, which I afterwards sold to Horace Hooker of Rochester. In 1828 I purchased a farm in Greece in a state of nature; having cleared it  In 1840 went there to reside. In 1857 I purchased the Lake House of Charlotte and have since resided there."
     Mr. Latta was born at Mt. Pleasant near Geneva, April 10, 1795 and died at Charlotte on November 26, 1871.  He says in a foot note, "I have always been of the opinion that Charlotte would some day be a place of business, but have now made up my mind that it will not grow during my time, still I think when we get a change of times and a new set of inhabitants that it will grow up and become  place of considerable importance." 
    Speaking of the trade on of Genesee, Mr. Latta says: "As early as 1809 Messrs. Rozell, Lewis & Co..  of  Ogdensburgh, built a schooner called the Experiment, to trade between that place and Genesee River. He subsequently built two more schooners, one of which was called the Genesee Packet, and continued to trade between these points till 1812, when war was declared. The vessels were then sold to the government and went into service on the lake."

                    Shipbuilding on Irondequoit Bay.
     "In the winter of 1814 and 1815, Guernsey & Bushnell built, in connection with Oliver Culver, Wm. Davis and F. Hanford, a small vessel in the town of Brighton, near Orange Stone's. two miles from Irondequoit landing, and drew her on wheels with oxen to the landing and launched her at the head of navigation in the bay. In the summer of 1816-17 the vessel was laden with flour and went down the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal, and returned loaded with merchandise.
     This vessel, in company with the Swanton, owned by Francis Charton, was the first decked vessel that descended the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal. Some time after that steamers began to run down to Dickinson's  landing, and in 1840 they ran through to Montreal and Quebec."

     Mr. Latta's diary contains other memoranda for which we have no room. What we have copied is given to be read by those who would know something of this country at an early day. There are still a few of the pioneers living who recollect witnessing some of the events to which Mr. Latta refers.

Friday, October 9, 2015

MENDON Hamlet Querry

Subject: Mendon Hamlet
Date: Fri, October 9, 2015 6:13 am

My name is James E. Hodock, former patron of the Cottage Hotel from approx. 1975 to 1995.
I married into the McCarthy family from Pittsford, who were the originators and operators of
the Hicks and McCarthy restaurant on main st. Pittsford, from 1913 to the early 70's when they
sold to the Burdetts.

My wife's (Katy) father and grandmother were of the Finucane descendants. May Bridges Finucane,
daughter of Thomas Finucane (owner of the cottage hotel) accompanied Katy and I through the township
of Mendon and Victor showing us the families homesteads, ranging from the cobblestone in the hamlet,
to Strong road and way down route 64. This was approx. in 1982-3. She left us some photos showing
the dirt roads at the intersection. Her father Thomas was also known as Yankee Tom Finucane. Although
people called her May, her headstone reads Mary. Im not sure but I believe her mother's name was also
Mary. (could be wrong on that) She also left us a hard cover book called "Paddy" Finucane who was one
of the most famous flying aces in WWII. He flew a spitfire for England but was from Ireland.
I am assuming he is related to May and Tom but I can not find the connection. Is there any
information you may know of, that might make that link?

Feel free to email me anytime.

James Hodock

Friday, September 18, 2015


Oswego Palladium
Dec. 4, 1886

Salad For Saturday

"I delight in telling what I think - I shall go on just as before, seeing whatever I can, and telling what I see." - Emerson

I never tire of talking of sailors and I am sure Oswego people never tire reading about them, especially at this time of the year when they are exposed to so much danger and hardship. If we could follow a lake vessel on one trip during the Fall, when heavy gales are blowing almost continually, we would see many graphic and thrilling pictures. When a vessel leaves port after the middle of November to go any distance worth speaking of, every man on board knows that he takes his life in his hands and that the vessel is certain to be storm lashed. Gales follow one another in quick succession and their violence at times is almost beyond comprehension.

The next time you come near a schooner just take a good look at the strong, heavy masts - hewn from the best of timber. Look at the strong rope and wire rigging that stays them on either side, fastened with heavy bars and bolts of iron. Both your arms would not reach more than half way around those masts at the bottom, while as for the heavy wire shrouds, it would be difficult to conceive of any human agency that could pull them asunder.

Try and imagine then the mighty forces of nature that took three huge spars out of the schooner Comanche the night before Thanksgiving, stripped her of everything in the shape of canvas and rigging and left her drifting a complete and hopeless wreck.

And by the way, there are some peculiar features about that storm or whirlwind, that are quite interesting. The schooners Blazing Star, F.D. Barker and the unfortunate Comanche were within two or three miles of each other before the squall struck them. The night was fearfully dark, a brisk wind was blowing that drove all three vessels along towards home at a speed that assured the sailors would eat their Thanksgiving dinner with their families. But how rudely were they disappointed.

Sailors, as is well known, are superstitious mortals and many of them believe that they are always forewarned when threatened with disaster. They were certainly warned of impending danger on this occasion and the warning saved two of the vessels from disaster and probably death to their crews. The warning came in the form of a quick, sharp flash of lightning - a very unusual occurrence at this season of the year. It was not more than three or four minutes after the flash that the storm burst upon them with all the fury of a whirlwind, but in that shore space of time the vessels had prepared to meet the attack.

Captain Griffin of the Blazing Star had gone into the cabin, it being his watch below. He had taken off his coat preparatory to "turning in" when he started to go on deck for something. Just as he poked his head through the cabin doors he saw the electric flash in the storm cloud. he knew that something was wrong, and hastily donning his coat again he dashed on deck and shouted his orders to let the vessel "come up in the wind," and take in all sail. The vessel came up quickly, the jibs were hauled down and the mainsail and mizzen were "let go by the run." The foresail was part way down when the squall came.

The force of the wind was terrific and with a little piece of sail up the vessel was forced over so far on her side that several loose planks were washed off the deck. Had the vessel met the storm with all her canvas up, the chances are that she would not be resting quietly on the bottom of the lake. so much for the experiences of the "Blazer."

Captain Scott of the schooner F.D. Barker, ever alert for danger, also saw the warning flash and at once set about shortening sail. While the crew were still at work the squall struck the vessel with awful force. Captain Scott says it was one of the hottest squalls he ever saw. The vessel was forced on her beam ends and for a time a part of her cabin was completely underwater. The water rushed down the stove pipe hole and was soon knee deep in the cabin.

Imagine a big staunch vessel drawing ten or more feet of water, forced over in that condition by a wind that could only use its force on a small portion of her ordinary allotment of canvas, and it will readily be seen with what terrible fury these lake squalls rush along. Nothing but prompt action and the best of management kept the Barker afloat. Sailors have calculated that that storm traveled 80 miles in thirty minutes that night or at the rate of 160 miles an hour.

They do it in this way: The tug Navagh, Captain William Scott, was standing guard at the mouth of the harbor to assist any vessels into port that might come along. The captain happened to be looking up the lake with his glass at the moment the heavens spit forth that warning electric flash. Now, the vessels spoken of in the foregoing, were at least 80 miles from Oswego at the time and the storm cloud was in their immediate vicinity. In just thirty minutes from the time the tug captain saw the flash the storm struck the harbor, showing that it had traveled eighty miles in thirty minutes.

There is also a peculiar coincidence associated with the storm. At the time of the dreadful Carlyon disaster a few years ago it was the same kind of storm that blew the box cars from the siding of the main track. It also dismasted a black three-masted vessel directly opposite the place where the accident occurred. The storm of a week ago Wednesday night blew some empty cars from a siding into the main track of the same railroad, a collision occurred in the same manner as at Carlyon, though not with fatal effect, and the same storm distasted a black three-masted vessel off in the lake - the Comanche.

I was going to say something else about sailors but have concluded instead to talk a moment about reporters. Some people have an idea that the life of the news gatherer is full of adventure and frolic - that they always go everywhere, see everything and have plenty of money to spend. Thursday night a Palladium reporter was detailed to go to the wreck of the schooner Ariadne, four miles this side of Stony Point.

A fierce storm was raging and the assignment was by no means a pleasant one. On the way to the train a friend remarked to him: "I wish I was going down with you, You newspaper men have fine times, don't you?" Now we wish very much that our friend could have accompanied us on that trip. It would have speedily shaken an erroneous impression out of his mind and for his benefit and others who may think as he does, I want him to take that trip on paper with me, just as it was.

We left here at 6:30 P.M., and after several narrow escapes from being stalled in big snow drifts between Mexico and Sand Hill, arrived in Richland at 8 o'clock. The train for Pierrepont Manor was an hour or more late. We finally arrived at the station designated at 9:30 o'clock. There we found the mercury away down in the thermometer, a nipping cold wind blowing and the snow drifting badly.

A rig and driver were secured and the twelve mile drive to the scene of the wreck, in the face of the storm, was begun. The first four miles to Ellisburg was accomplished without incident except the freezing of one eye shut. Here both reporter and driver were willing to stop to get warm and to exchange our light overshoes for heavy ones. After a fifteen minute stop we were off again. The wind blew through our heavy overcoat as though they were made of cheese cloth and our hands became numb with the cold in our endeavor to keep the ice off our noses. We concluded to make a stop at Woodville, halfway to the wreck, but we found the little town fast asleep. We finally roused up a sleepy landlord and he loaned us the side of his bar-room stove for fifteen minutes.

Then we began the last six miles of the ride. After leaving Woodville we began to find occasional snow drifts and they grew larger as we progressed. The horse was allowed to pick his own way. Suddenly he plunged into a snow drift six feet deep and comes to a dead stop. We get out, boost him along, and fill our trousers legs with snow. Now the horse sees another drift. He turns to avoid it, one side of the cutter goes down and the driver goes out headfirst into the top of a clump of bushes.

We gather ourselves up, dig out, and start again. It is impossible to see the way, the horse becomes confused and we find him astride a stone wall. We take new bearings and a fresh start. Are we cold? Oh not! It was not a bit cold in that country that night! How the reporter longed for his friend! While he is trying to ascertain whether his cheek is frozen as stiff as sole-leather or only coated with ice, he takes a side somersault into a bank of the beautiful and the heaviest part of the bulky driver lands on top of him. He wiggles out minus a mitten.

The poor horse, coated with white frost and puffing like a Pougkeepsie ferry boat, looks over his shoulder and says "suppose we take a rest." But a rest means a freeze. We break a path for the horse, pull him to his feet, brush the snow out of the cutter and on we go. We turn into a meadow to avoid a trip ground and the horse actually trots! But there is a big stone. Do we hit it? Well, gently. What's the result? The scribe is on top of the driver and the driver is in close communion with the ground.

Another start. The horse trots again. A sudden stop, a snort from the horse, and the occupants of the cutter are thrown violently against the front end. What's up now? Don't know. The horse is afraid to move forward, but the driver is sure he is in the road and uses his whip. Jump, jump goes the horse. Craunch, craunch, crack, crack, goes something under his feet. It's ice and there is water under it! The horse is stopped and an investigation made.
We discover that a creek which crosses the road has overflowed its banks and flooded the highway. We make a guess where the road ought to be and fortunately escape getting into the stream. We are too numb to mind the cold now and the last mile is begun.

One o'clock finds us at our destination. The horse put out, we enter the farmer's house. There is a pound and a half of ice on our eyelids, and the chunks of frozen snow and ice on our moustache refused to be pulled off peaceably. A dish of warm water is brought into use and the ice disappears. A good fire is burning, but holy Moses! How we begin to ache. We are not frozen, but chilled to the marrow. We help take care of the shipwrecked sailors but cannot get ride of the "shivers." By five o'clock we are pretty thoroughly warmed and set out on foot to visit the scene of the wreck a mile away.

Returning to the house, the sailors are interviewed, their awful story is put on paper, we take a cup of coffee and a "bite" and begin the last half of our 24 hour drive. We can see the road now, but daylight doesn't drive the cold away. The cold wind pierces to the bone, but we make only one stop. Half past ten sees us at Pierrepont Manor again and ten minutes later we are on the train.

We try to write our report on the cars but get too near the stove and fall asleep. Shortly after noon the reporter is at the office and for the first time since leaving home the night previous removes his overcoat and rakes his jumbled ideas together. The Palladium readers got the story at 4 P.M. Is there any fun or glory in that? Well I should say not.

En Paisant.

Submitted by Richard Palmer