Old News – Penfield


Fairport, NY

Thursday, April 30, 1914


This week Saturday evening, May the 2nd, will occur the regular meeting of the Penfield Grange. The evening will be in charge of Mrs. C. B. Rogers, Rev. James Moss will give an address on “Our Obligations.”

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On Friday evening of this week, the annual meeting of the Monroe County Teachers’ Association will be held at the State Normal school at Brockport. The teachers of Orleans county are to be guests of the Monroe Association on that day. There will be no session in the local schools.

The Mothers’ Circle of the grove district, will hold its meeting next week Tuesday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Henry Kubitz.

At the last meeting of the W. C. T. U., Miss Reba Nichols and Mrs. Leutweiler were chosen as delegates to the county spring institute to be held at Spencerport, May 27th and 28th.

Mrs George Vogt is in charge of sending of a barrel of literature for seamen to which anyone wishing to do so, may contribute. The organization of a Bad of Mercy was also discussed.

George Payne and children are ill of the measles.

The Pirates of Penzance, a comic opera in two sets, will be given by the Webster Musical and Dramatic Club, Friday evening, May the 8th, at 8:15, in the town hall, for the benefit of the Vincent class of the M. E. church. The following is the cast of characters: Richard, a pirate chief, C. R. Averill; Samuel, his lieutenant, P. J. Smith; Frederick, a pirate apprentice, E. J. Weeks; Major General Stanley of the British Army, J. R. Hawley; Edward, a sergeant of police, Robert Connal; General Stanley’s daughters, Miss Hilfilker, Miss Stilwell, Miss Dressen, Miss Hoffman, Miss Newell; Ruth, a piratical “Maid of all Work”, Miss Olive Gaston. These are assisted by a chorus of pirates and policeman of twenty voices. This opera was given two nights in Webster and was given two nights in Webster and was greatly appreciated.

At the social of the Baptist Juniors, the following officers were elected: President, Duncan Grant; treasurer. Hervey Park; secretary, Arthur Dumras; chairman of the membership committee, Irene Vanderzell; chairman of the lookout committee, Russell Rapp; flower committee, Miriam Park.

New York State Online Newspapers

One of the items I have had on my list of things to write about on this blog was a list of online newspapers for New York State. Probably because there are so many websites with newspapers, I just kept putting it off. Now, I found that someone else has recently done the task of compiling all those old online New York State newspapers. The Ancestor Hunt has no only compiled this New York newspaper page but also has web pages for every other state (see this web page).

There are over 1,000 historic newspapers in New York State that are now online for free. About half of those are on everybody’s favorite newspaper website, Fulton History. I never realized that Fulton History has 555 newspaper titles available. Then there are some other regional newspaper collection that have newspapers not available anywhere else. Add to that the historic newspapers that Google digitized a few years ago and it adds up well over 100 million pages.

Each of the websites that has newspapers has there own method for searching the papers so it may take a while to get used to each new method. Online historic newspapers are a great source to find not just major family vital records but in many cases small family items. Set aside a lot of time to search for your family in the old newspapers.

The Post Express of Rochester published in the 1910s and 1920s

The Post Express of Rochester published from the 1890s to the 1920s

Monroe High School Yearbooks Online

monroe-hs-1927The Rochester Public Library recently added yearbooks for the first years of Monroe High School in Rochester. The June 1927 class was the first to graduate from the school. Then there would be a January class and a June class to graduate each year after that. RPL does not have a complete run of yearbooks. These are the yearbooks available from RPL in PDF format for the first years:

These yearbooks join other Rochester High School yearbooks already online from East, West, Charlotte and Kodak High Schools that are linked to on this page from RPL.

Old News – Items for the Ladies


Rochester, NY

Friday, April 24, 1914


tilting-teapotPivoted Teapot That Swings For Brewing.

A practical novelty is a pivoting teapot with an upper compartment to hold the tea leaves and an alcohol lamp beneath the pot, with which the water is boiled. At the instant of boiling the flame is extinguished and the teapot tilted backward until the water covers the tea leaves. The teapot is left in this position as long as may be necessary, and when returned to its normal position the tea is ready for drinking and is not further affected to contact with the tea leaves.

To Clean Aluminum Ware.

Aluminum ware may be cleaned by washing in hot water with plenty of soapsuds. It may be polished with a paste of jeweler’s whiting which has been sifted to remove hard particles. Paste may be made with soapy water or water and alcohol or water and ammonia added to the whiting. Spread paste smoothly on surface and polish with soft cloth or chamois skin. Nickel and silver are polished in the same way. Any good metal polish may be used. If this fails, discolorations may be removed with very dilute solution of nitric acid. Never use alkalies such as washing soda or potash in cleaning aluminum.

Bean or Pea Soup.

An excellent soup which costs little or nothing is prepared thus. Soak one cupful of beans or split peas overnight and in morning put to boil in two quarts of water. When well parboiled pour off the water and add fresh. Cook slowly and add water from time to time to keep the required amount. Simmer until the beans or peas are tender enough to pass through a sleeve. Add a pint of milk, a lump of butter, salt and pepper and let boil up once, to be eaten with crackers of toast made from stale bread that happens to be on hand.

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.