Old News – Erie Canal

More news from the past.


Thursday, April 16, 1914

fairport-candy-kitchen-1914Canal Opening May Be Delayed

May 15th is the date officially set for the opening of navigation on the Erie canal, but there is doubt whether through traffic from Buffalo to Albany can open at that time, as there may be delays in the construction of a concrete aqueduct at Medina.

It is said that more than 7,000 yards of concrete must be poured before the canal can be opened at Medina. For the next month day and night shifts will work on the job, but the concrete must all be in place by May 1st, in order to give it time to set before the water is let in.

At Bushnell’s Basin, where the big breaks occurred in 1911 and 1912, sheet piling is being driven to strengthen the banks at several points where weakness has been shown.

Swann VR Collection

Two kinds of cards

Two kinds of cards

I was looking for a Rochester family on FamilySearch and came up with a relatively new source of area vital records.

The Swann Collection is from the Yates County Genealogical  & Historical Society. Their collection contains all kinds of vital records from family records, newspapers and 21 family Bibles. The earliest record in the collection is dated 1723 and the records continue up to 2009. Most of the collection is on 4×6 inch cards (see pictures) of which some are handwritten.

The collection is names for Frank L. Swann (1894 – 1987) who was Historian for Yates County from 1956 until 1980. Mr. Swann was a 40-year newspaper man and had access to many early Yates County newspapers.

Although the collection is centered on Yates County, it contains records for families from Rochester to Syracuse and also the southern tier counties. Check out the Swann Collection and see what family members you can find.

Old Cemetery in Penfield

The old Penfield Presbyterian Church

The old Penfield Presbyterian Church

I recently found out about an old cemetery in Penfield that I hadn’t known existed. I am transcribing an old newspaper column from 1911 and found this reference to the cemetery.:

“The first school house and pioneer burying ground was situated on the southwest corner of the village, and in 1809 when the then “new cemetery” was opened; on land given by General John Fellows many of the dead were removed, but about sixty were unclaimed, and remained until 1824 when the Presbyterian church was commenced. At the solicitation of Mrs. Penfield the sixty unknown or unclaimed dead were removed and placed beneath the church.”

Next I checked Penfield’s Past (1960) by Katherine Thompson and found some similar information but with varying dates. Then I corresponded with the current Penfield Historian, Kathy Kanauer, who added some more information .

Putting all the information together, here is what I found. On the southwest corner of Penfield Road and Five Mile Line Road was a small school house and to the west of that was the old cemetery.It dates back to  1800 or possibly a few years earlier. The church was organized as a Congregational Church in 1806 and then changed to Presbyterian in 1814. Oakwood Cemetery (referred to the “new” cemetery in quote) was begun about 1812 or thereafter. Probably about 1825 the old cemetery was dug up and those graves that could be claimed were removed to Oakwood. There remained the bones of 60 individuals that would have been placed in bone boxes and buried under the red brick Presbyterian Church that was dedicated in April 1826. In 1878 because of dwindling membership the church was sold to the Evangelical society to use as their church. That organization in turn sold the old brick church building in 1914 to Frank Hill who converted it into a three family apartment house. It remained as apartments until at least 1960.

Ms. Kanaur says that an old resident remembered that at one time some bones had been dug up near the cemetery site. More than likely most of the 60 individuals are still under the ground where the church was. Today that would probably be under the garage or parking lot of the auto repair shop that is now on the corner. The only way to be 100% positive that the graves are still there would be to do an archaeological dig. I can’t see that happening anytime soon.

Old News – Small Items

More old news. This time just some small news items.


Thursday, April 9, 1914


Items of General Interest Gathered from our Newsy Exchanges

kodak-brockport-adRochester has acquired a motion picture studio which was incorporated last week with a capitalization of $50,000 and which is the only one between New York an Chicago. The company is in the Newell Building where no doubt residents will now be prepared to see actors hanging from the windows or sliding down roads to the accompaniment of violins issuing from the windows when fire thrillers are being filmed.

It is estimated that in the year just passed the people of this country spent $275,000,000 at the moving picture shows, bring an average of about $3 per capital. Incidentally also, this explains in part the high cost of living.

LeRoy Odd Fellows have settled for the loss of their building which was damaged by the big fire of Feb. 16th for the sum of $3,804.

Miss Meta Reddish, the young LeRoy prima donna who has made such a name for herself in the Grand Opera world in the past year, made her debut a few weeks ago at the Constanzi Theater in Rome where she made a decided impression in Rigoletto.

Cornell is enjoying a record run of German measles.

The Senior Class of Spencerport High School are to present a play entitled “The Colonel’s Maid” to be given at Masonic Hall, Spencerport on April 3rd and 4th.

John S. Gunsaul, a pioneer resident of Fairport died at his home there last week. Having worked his way up from a team driver on the superintendent’s boat on the canal he became superintendent of the section for Fairport and retained the position for 18 years.

The heavy snow storm of March is reported to have cost the city of Rochester $14000, 17000 loads of snow having been drawn away from the downtown streets.

The way of the transgressor was made hard in County Court at Albion last week when no less than six offenders paid heavy penalties for allowing gambling or selling liquor without a license.

Early Rochester Family Records; #5

Early-Rochester-family-recordsI added the fifth page of records from the old newspaper column “Early Rochester Family Records” that were published between 1910 and 1912. The records are on Page 45 of Biographies. Highlights of families on this page are:

  • Goss family of Pittsford
  • William Welch family of Wheatland
  • Horace Bush family of Penfield
  • Lusk family of Penfield (and some additions)
  • Gideon King family of King’s Landing (Rochester)
  • Daniel Penfield family of (where else) Penfield
  • Brainerd family of Rush
  • Hiel Brockway family of Brockport
  • Squire Goff family of Mendon
  • Donald McKenzie family of Caledonia
  • Thomas Faulkner family of Wheatland
  • Peter Sheffer family of Wheatland
  • An early history of Penfield by Henry Ward of Penfield and records of his family
  • Letters relating to the Spear family from 1787 – 1790
  • Revolutionary War pension applications of Josiah Barce, Jacob Anthony, Thomas Averill, Thomas Adams and Joel Baldwin

Plus other short family records.

I still have more of these genealogies to transcribe.

Talk on Woman Adventurer

Babette Huber

Babette Huber

Babette Huber will give a talk on The Adventures of Sarah Bonesteel. Sarah Hall Bonesteel was a woman of intelligence, adventure and courage. She was in the first class that accepted women at MIT, traveled the high seas, taught Helen Keller and traveled 5000 miles in a Buick Six touring car on a cross-country tour. All this was done between 1873 and 1922. This program will inspire and amaze you.

Babette Huber has been the Victor Town Historian since 1990. She was an elementary teacher in Victor of 30 years, as well an author of articles, booklets and plays on local history.

The talk is Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the Greece Town Hall (1 Vince Tofany Blvd, Greece, NY). Reservations are not necessary. Greece Historical Society members free. A $2.00 donation is appreciated from others.

TV Show with Kids from the Early 50s

schools-on-paradeI uploaded a photo album with just 6 picture in it. The album is of a TV show called Schools on Parade that was broadcast once a week in 1953 and 1954.The show was on Rochester station WHAM-TV which is now WROC-TV. Three of the pictures are of 15 children that appeared on the show and the album was probably a souvenir of being on the TV show. I suspect that the older lady shown on a TV monitor was the show host and a young lady seen in a few photos was the teacher. Go see the whole album or click on the picture on right to enlarge it..

See if you can identify any of the children and send me an email with theor name (dick@rochistory.com). I suspect that the kids would have been born between1941 and 1944. One of the kids is probably Joyce “K” (I have full surname) whose name is written in the back of the album.



Old News – Lady’s Motoring Coats

More old news. This time from the “Woman’s Page” when most all automobiles were open.


Friday, April 3, 1914
Rochester, NY


The Correct Wrap For the Woman Who is Devoted to Motoring

motoring-coat-1914With the return of spring and its many possibilities in the way of out-door sports, the woman who is fond of these recreations casts about for new and suitable clothes.

One of the most useful garments is a long coat which can be used for driving or motoring. Dress and sports coats have extended sleeves.

The modish coats for motoring in cold weather are of heavy mannish mixtures, English and Scotch tweeds, serges, cheviots, gabardine and fancy coatings. It is such materials as these that the Englishwoman who loves to be about in all kinds of weather chooses her coat. When milder weather comes eponge, linen pongee and the like are heavy enough. Reversible materials have been much used for the heavier coats, but just at present smart ones are lined with silk in Roman strips.

White corduroy is one of the fabrics that will undoubtedly be vet smart all through the spring and summer.

The motor coat pictured here was carried out in imported novelty cheviot and lined with Roman striped silk.

Sibley’s April 1908 Ad

sibleys-1918-aprilHere is an ad for the Sibley, Lindsay & Curr store from April 1918 that I “colorized.”

Rufus Sibley, Alexander Lindsay, and John Curr  opened their first store in Rochester in 1868. They later moved to the much larger Granite building. That building was gutted by fire in 1904 along with the rest of the block. The new Sibley, Landsay & Curr store opened in the huge Sibley Building in 1905.The company was bought out in 1957 by the Associated Dry Goods Corporation. They were bought out by the May Company in 1986 but still remained as Sibley’s. Then in 1990 the downtown store was closed and the name of the suburban stores were changed to Kaufmann’s. The name on the remaining stores were changed to Macy’s (also owned by the May Co.) in 2006.