Mother’s Pension

Jane Ann (Purdy) Lason

Jane Ann (Purdy) Lason

Back on June 30th, I wrote about my grandmother’s cousin, Henry P. Lason. He had been in the Army in the Philippines from 1901 to 1903. He stayed for a while in the Philippines after his service was over and was a policeman (see photo on that post). I was looking for more information on him and although he didn’t get a military pension, his mother did. I got her pension file and it gave a lot of information. Jane A. (Purdy) Lason filed for a mother’s pension on 8 May 1905. Documents stated that Henry was in Willard State Hospital, Willard, NY. That was a hospital for patients that had mental problems. The documents stated that Henry had dementia that was caused by his having typhoid fever in the Philippines from 9 Oct. 1901 to 16 Jan. 1902. Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease and it doesn’t usually caused long term effects. So I don’t know what really caused Henry’s death. He wasn’t sick when he was on his way home from the Philippines in May 1904 and he sent a letter to my grandmother. Henry died a week after his mother applied for her pension (15 April 1905) at Willard State Hospital and not in Tompkins County where I thought he died.

Jane Ann (Purdy) Lason was born in 1840 and her marriage record is in her pension file. She married George Washington Lason on 3 Sept. 1860 in Hornellsville, Steuben Co., NY. The birth dates of 6 of their children are in her pension file. The other two children had died young. When she filed for a pension in 1905 she also noted that her husband was residing at the Soldiers and Sailors (Veteran’s) Hospital in Bath, NY. After her husband, George died in 1914 she also applied for a widow’s pension as George had been in the Civil War and was wounded and had been at Andersonville Prison for a while. The last document in Jane’s pension file was one stating that she died 17 Aug. 1919 in Owego, NY and it even said that she died at 31 Lake Street.

The pension file for Jane was the kind you hope for. It gave lots of family information that helped to connect this part of the Lason family. I just I hadn’t waited years to research this part of the family.

Special thanks go to Larry Wehrle for sharing the photo of Jane.

WDYTYA – Joanne Rowling

Photo credit: TLC

Photo credit: TLC

Don’t recognize the name in the title? Maybe you know by her pen-name of J.K. Rowling, especially for the Harry Potter series.  She will be profiled on the next Who Do You Think You Are? which airs tonight (8/2) on TLC. This episode aired in the UK in 2011.  It may be edited differently than the original UK version and has new narration with an American voice.

In the episode Rowling researches her mother’s paternal great-grandfather, Louis Volant, a French head waiter who worked at the Savoy Hotel in London in the 1920s. Volant had won the Croix de Guerre for his bravery during World War I. She also learns about Volant’s mother, Salome Schuch, an unmarried pregnant servant working in Paris, who had left her hometown of Alsace during the Franco-Prussian War as a teenager, to become a naturalized French citizen.

WDYTYA airs at 9 p.m. eastern and western times.


Kodak on a High

KP-southeastNew York State released the names and locations of five medical marijuana dispensaries to be located in the state. The one Rochester dispensary will be operated by Columbia Care NY LLC. They will lease space in Eastman Business Park (formerly Kodak Park). Kodak building 12, which is three stories and has approx. 200,000 square feet will be used for growing and processing the marijuana. Then the company will also have a dispensary in Kodak building 28. That is the building that also houses the “Theater on the Ridge” and was known to former Kodak employees for many recreational activities. The 4,000 square feet space that will be used as the dispensary  was formerly the ESL Federal Credit Union office. That space also has an old bank vault that could be used for overnight storage.

Parking for Kodak building 28 is across Ridge Road West in either lot 11 or 17 which are big enough for all the people coming to get their legal marijuana. In the past when Kodak was bigger, the crosswalk across Ridge Road West was always busy. (Click map for a larger view.)

The whole medical marijuana operation is to be up and running on January 1, 2016. The lease for this space from Kodak is set at a minimum of seven years with options for more years.

Old News – Summer Church Outings

Here are some summer outings for Catholic Churches in Rochester in 1915. I had to look up the definition of the word “Sodality.” It is an association, especially of a Roman Catholic religious guild or brotherhood.


Friday, July 30, 1915

City Parish News

St. Boniface

ad-1915-07-30The Young Ladies’ Sodality of this parish held their annual picnic at Newport last week Wednesday, almost a hundred of the members attending the big outing. After dinner, the young women of this organization took part in a program of novel and interesting sports that was run off on the green at Newport House. The committee in charge gave a good account of the energy used towards the gala success of the day. This Sodality is now in a most flourishing condition and every young woman of the parish should feel honored, as a member of this society. Miss Francs Wanamaker is president and Rev. George Schmitt, moderator.

Th Knights of St. John with their families and friends enjoyed themselves with an old-fashioned “Blow-Out” at Corbetts’ Glen on last Sunday. Captain Golbach with his reliable committee who have a reputation to keep things a hummin’ till the cows come back, had more irons in the Furnace of Fun than a Stoker would ordinarily bargin for. It was a day for laughing and eating and many families of this parish were given a rare treat by the generous Knights. The big novelty in the line of sports was the base-ball game between the married and single men, the latter winning, but only with the aid of allied umpires, the swatting ended with a score of 8 to 6. A long list of races were run off. Refreshments and lunch was served throughout the day and “Our Own Band” furnished the music.

St. Mary’s

Saturday afternoon the Young Men’s Association of this church will journey to Nine Mile Point in auto ‘buses for their first annual outing. They will leave the church hall prompt;y at 1:15 o’clock. Upon arrival at the point a baseball game will be staged between teams captained by John Kavanaugh and Michael Cullinan. The picnic Committee has arranged several athletic events which will include a tug-of-war between Jim Farrell’s “Pull Hands” and George Perrin’s “Hard Pulls,” and a relay race between two teams chosen by George Spillane and Charles T. McCracken. There will be the usual dishes, etc.

Prizes will be offered for the tallest, shortest, slimmest and fattest man. Norman J. Dixon, John C. Sullivan and Thomas F. Vogt will act as judges, with Fred Graigone, Frank J. Beachel and Thomas W. Newcomb as starters.

St. Andrew’s Church

A week ago Thursday, the St. Rita’s Young Ladies’ Sodality held their first picnic at Newport. A fine list of sports were run off. The following won prizes: Ball and hoop game, Rev. Geo. W. Eckl; Ball throwing contest, Josephine Bartel; Needle Contest, Barbara Meisenzahl and Rose Limpert; 50 yd. dash, Isabelle Meisenzahl; Shoe contest, Grace Englert; Time Race, Ruth Hauck and Hop Contest, Cecilia Streb. An enthusiastic ball game was included in the sports. A course dinner was served to forty-seven in the Dinner hall of the Newport Hotel. The guests of honor were: Rev. George W. Eckl, Rev. Fathers Kunz and Doran and Mr. Frank Lane. An enjoyable time was had by all.

Computer Backups

computerWhen was the last time you backed-up your computer’s data? Just think of how you would feel if you lost years worth of research on your family. There are probably also family documents and photos on your computer. If you also have a smartphone or hand-held computer then you may have documents and photos that only are that device.

I had my computer stolen in 2010 and because I had an up to date “cloud” back-up, I didn’t lose any data. There have been people that have lost everything because of fire or a lightening strike. All hard drives will eventually fail. Be prepared.

Thomas MacEntee of High-Definition Genealogy has of published a free online outline titled “Backing Up Your Genealogy Data” that tells you what you should be doing to back-up your computer data. He tells what methods are available and how often you should be doing a back-up.

Stolen Bust

Goethe Bust - May 2013

Goethe Bust – May 2013

The Monroe County Parks Department announced Thursday that a bronze bust of German author Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe was stolen from Highland Park. An empty pedestal  is all that remains of where Goethe’s (pronounced GUR-tuh) head used to be. The bust was commissioned by the Federation of German-American Societies of Rochester and unveiled in 1950.

Goethe, an icon of Western literature, was known for his poetry, novels, plays and philosophy. He’s best known for writing the story of “Faust,” who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for all knowledge and power.

Police are looking for the vandals that took the bust. It is thought that the bust was stolen to be melted down for the metal content.

WDYTYA – Ginnifer Goodwin

(Photo: Graham Steele/TLC)

(Photo: Graham Steele/TLC)

Who Do You Think You Are? is back again on TLC starting this Sunday (July 26th). The first person to dig into their family is Ginnifer Goodwin who has been starring on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Ginnifer knew about three grandparents’ families but one grandfather wouldn’t even speak his parents’ names. She had heard he lived on his own since he was 11. During the investigation Ginnifer finds out that her paternal great-grandmother, Nellie, went to jail for dealing drugs. It was just one of several criminal activities the family were involved in. Also Ginnifer sees a photo of her great-grandfather (Al Goodwin) for the first time but even that is not a pleasant experience.

Who Do You Think You Are? returns Sunday at 9 p.m (eastern & western time) on TLC.

Old News – Trolley Accident

This is a long and detailed article about a local trolley accident.


Thursday, July 22, 1915



Motorman Claims to Have Been in Stupor. Those Injured.

ad-1915-07-22Quite a number of Brockport people were on the ill-fated 1:17 B. L. & R. car out of Brockport which ran into the work car about two miles west of the Rochester City Line about 1:40 o’clock last Thursday afternoon. Motorman Roy Clark and Conductor John Clark, two brothers from Lockport were in charge of the car. Of the Brockport people who were unfortunate enough to be on the car Mrs. Charles Smead, Mrs. W. S. Steele of Clarkson, and P. J. Willson, editor of the Brockport Democrat were the most seriously injured. All are able to give vivid accounts of the wreck.

It seems that Motorman Roy Clark had stopped the car and reported for orders at South Greece. After that time the car gained in speed until it reached a rate of from thirty-five to forty miles an our. Nothing was thought of such speed until passengers observed that the motorman paid no attention to a flagman who had been sent out from the work train to stop the limited. The flagman was Conductor L. R. Demond of the repair train and he had proceeded 1,000 feet west from it to signal and was standing in the middle of the track. When the limited failed to slack its speed as it approached, the flagman jumped from the track just in time to avoid being struck. At the same time to attract the attention of the motorman he frantically threw the flag which was attached to a heavy stick against the car hoping ti throw it through the window. It fell short of the mark striking against the lower part of the car.

In the meantime within the car, passengers realized that the motorman had disregarded the signal and they frantically pounded on the window of the locked vestibule at the same time calling loudly to attract his attention. He paid no attention, however, and sat with his head bowed as if reading or asleep. According to reports of general manager, Joseph P. Barnes at the coroner’s inquest held this week, Motorman Clark in St. Mary’s Hospital had given him the impression that he had fallen into a stupor and had no recollection of anything that occurred after reporting at South Greece until a second before the crash came. Witnesses state that he was seen to straighten up quickly after which he threw off the power with his left hand, stooped hurriedly and looked back through the car and then jumped. Passengers had by this time seen that the collision was inevitable and those in the smoking compartment had hastily made their way through toward the back of the car.

The work train was made up of two flat bottom trailer cars with the motor car which was equipped with a tower between them. Members of the work crew saw the approaching car and knowing the collision could not be avoided, called to each other to jump. When the limited struck the trailer the body fairly left the tracks and climbed on top of the trailer leaving the front trucks on the track. James Gray of Albion, the lineman in charge of the repair who was working on the trolley bracket, had not heeded the warning of the others about jumping and when the collision came, he was thrown to the ground and suffered internal injuries and a fractured skull which caused his death after he had been removed to the Hahnemann hospital.

On the passenger car the shock threw men, women and children from their seats and tor away the front of the car besides piling the seats from the smoker nearly into the center of the main compartment. Some were pinned underneath the wreckage and the situation was made more serious by the fact that broken wires quickly caused a blaze which made considerable headway and threatened the lives of those who were unable to escape. When most of the eighteen passengers had been accounted for outside the burning car, it was discovered that Mrs. Charles Smead was missing and Rev. S. T. Hooper of Jersey City, who has been supplying the pulpit of Christ Episcopal Church in Albion, with Edward Henrietta, a Rochester man, returned to the car and found her pinned under some seats which had already begun to burn. They hastily removed the debris and assisted her from the car where she regained consciousness. Her jaw was dislocated, several teeth were knocked out and the force of the blow had driven her lower teeth through her lip. Besides this her body was a mass of bruises and it was feared she had suffered internal injuries. Outside she found herself beside Mrs. W. S. Steele of Clarkson. Mrs. Steele’s nose had been badly broken and she also had severe bruises which were thought to be indicative of internal injuries. While they were sitting on the grass beside the tracks, someone called to the crowd telling them to get out of the way of falling wires and Mrs. Steele and Mrs. Smead arose hastily and started to run out of the path of the flashing-wire above their heads. Mrs. Steele tripped and fell and Mrs. Smead also lost her footings and fell over her, both striking hard against the crushed stone. It was not long before the limited car was a mass of flames, no facilities being obtainable to put the fire out and the blaze spread to the motorman’s cab of the adjoining car. Within a few minutes an eastbound New York Central passenger car came along and Conductor John Clark, (who had been sitting at the rear when the crash came, it is stated) had the steam train flagged the injured passengers transferred and taken to the New York Central station in Rochester where they were met by St. Mary’s Hospital and Hahnemann Hospital ambulances.

Mrs. Smead, Mrs. Steele and Miss Russell, Mrs. Steele’s sister, were taken to the Hahnemann hospital. P. J. Willson who was in the rear of the car when the collision occurred was thrown to the floor of the car and made unconscious. He was assisted from the car with other passengers but by the time he reached Rochester, he had recovered somewhat and objected to being taken to the hospital and he was soon able to come to his home where he has been suffering considerable from the effects of his injuries and the shock. Mrs. Smead and Mrs. Steele were brought to their homes in Brockport and Clarkson on Monday, but are still suffering from their injuries.

An investigation of the accident has been commenced but it is probable that the hearing will not be continued until the recovery of Motorman Clark. A preliminary brought out the fact that Motorman Clark’s record had always been a clean one; that he was not a drinking man and that he had not been spending the night previous in any manner that should have unfitted him for his day’s work. He had taken a short auto trip accompanied by his father and brother returning home early and had apparently had a good night’s rest. Whether the stupor into which he claimed he had fallen was caused by the heat or from a shock, will probably be determined when he is well enough to submit to an examination by physicians.

The most severely injured persons besides those mentioned from Brockport were Rev. S. P. Hooper, Mrs. Hooper and little daughter Muriel, George Banker and James Ray of Albion, Miss Helen Garner of Knowlesville and Bessie Russell of Gainesville.

Free NY Sources Webinar

AA-final-logos-colorsThis Thursday (July 23rd) there is a free online webinar on “New York Resources at NEHGS” (New England Historic Genealogical Society). The description of this event says that “finding information about your New York ancestors can be tricky. Learn what resources are available at NEHGS and on and gain valuable research tips from genealogist and New York expert, Chris Child.” The organization mostly has sources for New England but they also have some cemetery and probate records of New York State. I’ve already signed up to find out what else they have.

The webinar is at 3 p.m. eastern (noon pacific, etc.). It is open to everyone. Register today on American Ancestors.

Kodak News – Boom!

kodak-bldg-53Kodak is imploding another building early tomorrow (July 18th). Building 53 in Eastman Business Park was former the home of roll coating. At 8 a.m. it and the smokestacks on top will be dropped. Preparations have been under way for months. The picture is one I took in late April. (Click on it for a larger version.)

Kodak has an area set aside for the press and the destruction will be live on the local Time-Warner news channel. There isn’t an official area for public viewing but it appears that lot on the corner of Dewey Ave. and Eastman Ave. MAY be out of the blast zone. Get there early if you are going to watch.

To see implosions of other Kodak buildings from years ago, go to YouTube and search “Kodak implosion.”