Old News – Wolves

A hundred years ago they were seeing wolves around this area. Within the last few months coyotes have been in the area. We think that both have left the region for good but occasionally they wander through.

The ad at the bottom is a strange one. Why does someone that sells shoes also sell farm implements? At least they are ones that were made right in Honeoye Falls


Thursday, Jan. 25, 1917

Wolves Seen In This Vicinity

If one were judge of current rumors these days this thickly settled region seems to be lapsing into a state of wilderness again. Only two or three weeks ago one of a pack of wolves roaming in Ontario county, was shot near Naples, and three others were seen on the Bristol Hills. The Ontario county board of supervisors have evidently taken the matter seriously, a proposition having been offered by one member that the county pay a bounty for scalps. Evidently the beasts are headed into Monroe county

two large timber wolves were seen in Mulheron’s woods. located east of this village, by Frank Malone and a farm hand employed by him, on Monday of this week.

Both men took up the hunt and continued throughout the day out without any luck.

It has been reported from a reliable source that eight of these big fellows were seen near Wm. Ryan’s farm which is in the town of Victor.

A number of farmers living in that vicinity, including experienced men formerly in the employ of the United States government, have taken up the chase and it is expected that something exciting will turn up in a few days.

Tuesday’s Rochester papers report the attack of a man in Victor, James Cooke, an employee of the Locke Insulator plant, who while on his way home at 10 o’clock at night from overtime work, was set upon by two ferocious wolves, as he drove across the overhead bridge near the village. He managed to beat them off and turned his horse back to Victor at top speed and nervous and excited related his experience.

A daughter of William Ryan living two miles east of the village of Mertensis (Town of Farmington) on Sunday morning saw from her windows a pack of seven hungry looking wolves cross the flats and disappear in the woods.

Monday morning a posse of 20 men armed to the teeth set out on a hunt and were joined by thirty others from Mertensia. It was a fruitless search for the falling snow driven by the wind made it possible to track the creatures.

1930 Webster HS Yearbook

I uploaded the 1930 Reveille yearbook for Webster High School. This class had 48 seniors graduating. The yearbook also has pictures of every classes from kindergarten to 11th. There is a complete name list of the sophomore class but they are not identified in the the picture of the class. Standard sports pictures, school activities and a bunch of ads in the back. The picture is the school’s small orchestra.

There are also pages that tell what has happened to alumni from the classes of 1924 to 1929.

In the back of the yearbook is a page with printed autographs of all the faculty.

I still have two more yearbooks from Webster to scan and then a few from Rochester high schools.

Wilkinson Scrapbook Article #14

In this article from William Wilkinson’s scrapbook “One Hundred Great and Near-Great Events, Person and Places in Rochester History” (1947) he writes about Ebenezer Allan. He was a Tory during the Revolutionary war. It is said that he had a white wife and an Indian wife. The mill didn’t have enough customers so Ebenezer moved to richer lands in Canada.

Genesee water splashing down a crude mill wheel was the first sound of industry in what is now Rochester. It was on November 13, 1789 that the grist mill erected by Ebenezer (“Indian”) Allan began to grind wheat for the early white settlers of the vicinity, who had wearied of course meal prepared Indian fashion. The site of the mill was on the west side of the Genesee River between what is now Aqueduct and Graves streets. Autos are now parked there. The falls of this mill cascaded from a height of about 14 feet. The rocks were blasted away in 1833 when the first aqueduct was built. The land on which the structure stood was a part of what became the 100-acre tract which was later purchased by Nathaniel Rochester, Fitzhugh and Carroll and became the nucleus about which our present city made its start. The old mill burned but the millstones had been removed. You can see them today ob the wall of the second floor west corridor of the present Court House..

Old News – 1917 Auto Show

With news that an auto show was coming, I wanted to see what brand of autos were sold in Rochester in 1917. I checked the 1917 Rochester City directory and found dealers for these cars: Cadillac, Cole, Ford, Hudson, Maxwell, Moline-Knight, Nash, Oldsmobile, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Reo, Saxon and Studebaker. Out of all of those brands only Cadillac and Ford are still being sold. Cunningham autos were also being mnufactured in Rochester in 1917 as well as Selden and Sullivan trucks.

I found only two motorcycle dealers in the 1917 directory. Towners, the well known bicycle dealer, was also selling Dayton Motorcycles and George Miner was selling Indian Motorcycles.


Thursday, Jan. 19, 1917

Automobile Show New Week.

An evidence of the fact that the Rochester Automobile Show is close at hand was shown yesterday when the office of the management was removed to Exposition Park. From now on, until the opening on Monday at 7:30 P.M. all details of preparations will be handled from Exposition Park. The transfer was made quickly, for many details are constantly arising and the work is going on uninterruptedly day and night.

Latest creations in motor cars, groomed and put in readiness, have been arriving in the city during the past few days by freight, express and highway.

Word was received last night, from Hon. Edwin Duffey, State Highway Commissioner, that he would arrive in the city late Monday afternoon, and pleased to be the guest of the reception committee named by President C. E. Sager of the Rochester Auto Trades Association at a dinner. Arrangements are being made by H. G. Strong for the affair. It will be held at the Rochester Club.

After dinner, Commissioner Duffey and the official receiving party will proceed to the Park, wher short exercises will be held. Members of the Rochester Auto Trades Association will meet Commissioner Duffey and Mayor Edgerton when they arrive at the hall, and will march them to the band stand of building 4, where Mr. Sager will introduce Mr. Duffey.

Music concerts are to be given at 2 and 8 p. m. daily. The Park Band will render a special concert on the opening night. The opening concert will be in building 4 on Monday night, and a concert will feature the official closing on Saturday night of next week.

Asa Dunbar – Pioneer; Part 2

This continues the story of Asa Dunbar, a pioneer settler of Irondequoit and Brighton, NY.

The 1800 census record of Asa and his family shows him and his wife having four boys, and three girls. By the 1810 census there are only 2 children living with Asa and Elizabeth. Some of the older children probably have married by that time or maybe one or two have died.

In 1801 a municipal court was established in the City of Tryon and Asa was appointed as city attorney. In the Town of Northfield records dated March 2, 1802 Asa is one of 16 of Overseers of Highways for the town.

Tax records for the Town of Northfield between 1800 and 1804 are on Ancestry.com. Asa is listed as being taxed for a house and farm but not as owning the real estate. The value of his farm is listed as $624 in 1800 and 1801 and as $425 in 1803. The tax lists also have listings of personal property. His personal property was valued at $48 in 1801 and jumped up to $511 in 1803. His taxes paid were $1.55 in 1800 and $2.60 in 1804.

Henry Ward was a clerk at the Tryon store after 1800. In his reminisces he described Asa as 6 feet and 7 inches in height, and of great muscular power. In laying the logs of a building, he often raised one end to the height of five feet, when it required three men of ordinary power to elevate the opposite end.

On April 1, 1807 Asa finally bought land in the area from John Tryon on a mortgage. For $800 he got the north half of lot 26 (105 acres) approximately 85 acres in lot 32 and ½ acre in lot 33 at Tryon. That would prove to be a sale at the wrong time. John Tryon would die in September 1807. His estate said Asa was in default on the mortgage and the lands were sold at a sheriff’s sale on Aug. 3, 1808 for $150.

The last record Asa in New York State is in an Ontario County Court record. On January 24, 1812 Asa was in Lima, NY, probably delivering goods to the store associated with Tryon and Adams, when he was attacked by Peter Moon and Rufus Webber. They grabbed and pulled his nose and pulled out a large quantity of hair. They then proceeded to beat him with sticks and their fists on his face, chest, back, shoulders, etc. Then they threw him to the ground and kicked him. From this beating they also tore his clothing described as a coat, waistcoat, pair of breeches, cravat, shirt, pair of stockings and a hat which he said were worth $50. Asa took them to Court in June 1812 and was awarded $150 in damages.

Asa then moves his family to Canada. Some researchers say that he died in 1815 in Burleigh Falls, Peterborough Co., Ontario. That is about 50 miles north of Lake Ontario. Other people say that Asa died after 1818 because he is taxed in the Town of Brighton, NY in 1818. I believe that he wasn’t in Brighton in 1818 but it was probably another Asa who would be the next generation.

The family tree for Asa and Elizabeth on FamilySearch Family Tree says they have a son, Asa Jr., born about 1792. He could be their son but he may also be a nephew. He is probably the Asa Dunbar that was taxed in Brighton in 1818. Records show that he was married to Nancy Elliott. She was born in England about 1823 and I suspect that she is his second wife because of the great difference in age. In the 1840 census they are living in Irondequoit. That census record is very interesting because of the way the family is listed. There is one white male aged 30 to 40, 1 white male aged 50 to 60 (this would be Asa Jr.), one black male under 10, 1 black male aged 10 to 24, 2 black males aged 30 to 40 and 1 black female aged 24 to 35 (Nancy). On June 8, 1846 Asa and Nancy sell 50 acres in Irondequoit. I looked for when they bought that property but couldn’t find the deed. That property was just north of the corner of Titus Ave and Culver Road. In the sale deed they are described as living in Smithtown, Colborne District, Ontario. The 1851 Canadian census has the family living in Harvey and Smith Towns, Peterborough County, Ontario where Asa Jr. is an inn keeper. Asa died in 1883 and Nancy in 1886 in Bridgenorth, Peterborough Co., Ontario. They are both buried in the Bridgenorth Cemetery.

Asa Jr. supposedly had a son, George, who seeing as he was born about 1820 (in Canada), would indicate that Asa Jr. had a wife before he married Nancy Elliott. George was living in Irondequoit in the 1850 census but seeing as his young children were born in Canada, he just had returned between 1848 and 1850. He, his wife Susanna (born in England), and their family of about 10 children appear in census records of Irondequoit up to the 1892 NY State. After that the family moved to the southern end of Portland Avenue in Rochester. George and Susanna are found buried in Range one of Mt. Hope Cemetery. The dates on his tombstone say Sept. 3, 1820 – Dec. 7, 1898 and Susanna’s dates are Dec. 9, 1828 – May 20, 1901.

There are many facts found on Asa Dunbar but missing are the important vital records connecting his and Elizabeth’s descendants. It does seem very likely that may be descendants still living in Monroe County as well as in Canada.

Asa Dunbar – Pioneer; Part 1

This is the story of Asa Dunbar who was a pioneer settler of what is now Irondequoit and Brighton. The best previous collection of records on Asa are in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register in volume 166 (2012) where there is a genealogy of his parents.

When white settlers came to what is now Monroe County in the mid 1790s they found living here a “mulatto squatter” named Asa Dunbar and his family. Mulatto is an old term, now consider in bad taste, that means the person is of mixed races. Some histories suggested that he was a runaway slave from down south but research finds that is not true.

Asa Dunbar was born in Braintree, Mass, March 16, 1754. His birth is recorded in the records of that town. His parents were Sampson Dunbar (1721 – 1804) and Patience Crouch (1732 – before 1765). Sampson is sometimes also referred to as “mulatto.” Sampson had served with the American forces at Lexington and Dorchester Heights in the Revolutionary War.

Asa and Elizabeth Odell had their intentions to marry recorded twice in March 1784 before they were married on June 9, 1784 by the Pastor of the Second Church of Sutton, Mass. (now First Congregational Church of Millbury). Elizabeth was born April 29, 1759 in Sutton to Ichabod and Elizabeth Odell.

At the time of his marriage, Asa was living with his brothers Joshua (who married Elizabeth Odell’s sister, Lydia)  and Samuel in the house of Ebenezer Snell. All three were also employed by Mr. Snell. Then Asa bought land from Mr. Snell and built a house.

Within a few years Asa started moving to the west. His first move was to around Plainfield, Mass where he is recorded as a charcoal maker in 1789. The 1790 federal census for Plainfield says his family consisted of 5 people.

Then in 1791 Asa and his younger brother, Joshua, are living in the “Canandaigua District” of Ontario County, NY. That district would later be subdivided and it appears that they are living in the current Town of Seneca, Ontario County. Joshua would live out the rest of his life in that Town. Joshua was taxed in 1791 for real estate worth £3, 16 shillings and personal property valued at £5, 10 shillings. Asa didn’t own any property but was taxed on personal property valued at £20.

Dates vary when earlier researchers think that Asa moved his family to present day Monroe County. Some say that he moved here as early as 1792 while others place it closer to 1795. Asa and his family lived along Thomas Creek on the west shore of Irondequoit Bay. Their place of residence was near a salt spring at what was later called Palmer’s Glen. That is now in Monroe County’s Tyron Park at the east end of the road also called Tyron Park.

There are descriptions that say Asa boiled down salt from the spring near where he lived and sold it. He supposedly picked fruit off area trees and sold that to merchant shippers who sent it to Kingston, Ontario. I’m not sure how he would have made connection with those ships. He definitely would have hunted, fished and grown enough crops to maintain his family.

An often repeated story is from a recollection by William Hincher Jr. (of Greece, NY) that was first printed in History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham’s Purchase and Morris’ Reserve (1851) by Orasmus Turner. Mr. Hincher reported that John “Parks and mulatto Dunbar, who lived at Irondequoit, were out after coons near the lake shore. Their dogs treed one. As they supposed. It was dark; Dunbar climbed the tree, until he discovered a pair of eyes larger than coons usually have, and backed down. They built up fires, remained until morning, when they found their game a large panther, which they shot.”

On April 28, 1795 Asa was one of 30 area residents to petition to create the Town of Northfield. That primitive Town was what now is most of the eastern part of Monroe County.

In 1796 lots were set up in what was called the “City of Tryon” in present day Ellison Park, Brighton. That was at the southern end of where Irondequoit Creek is navigable. The owners John Tryon and Amasa Adams never lived in the area but were hoping to set up a prosperous settlement. They built a store there in 1798 and they also had a store in Lima, NY which could be reached by primitive trails. They hired Augustus Griswold to run the store and he persuaded Asa to move his family to Tryon.

Records of the Tryon store still exist and Asa shows up in there a lot. He wasn’t a full time employee of the store but would deliver goods to area residents. He also was paid for milling grain. On one day he milled 13 bushels of rye and received 12 shillings for his work. The store also had a still and the rye was used for making whiskey. Asa would buy many small quantities of whiskey. Some days it would only be ½ pint then the next day it would be a pint (for 8 pence). On another occasion he would buy ½ gallon. By looking at those records, you would think that he was drinking a lot. The store records show that other settlers in the area would buy much larger quantities. Also, at that time, drinking whiskey was safer than drinking water which could contain many germs. Asa would also buy bushels of oats which would have been fed to farm animals. Asa’s wife sold the store a muskrat pelt and received 2 shillings, 1 pence. One day the store must have received bolts of cloth because many local residents were buying cloth on the same day. Asa would buy his wife 9.75 yards of cloth (for 7 shillings, 3 pence). Another time he bought her 3 large buttons for 11 pence.

Continued tomorrow when we get a personal description of Asa and other facts.

Rochester Transit History

I uploaded an annual report for Rochester Transit (1982 – 1983). Most of this booklet is a short history of the transit systems that were in Rochester over the years. First there were many trolleys. Those all ended up merging into one system. At one time you could connect with the subway, too. Eventually all the trolleys disappeared and they were replaced by the bus system.