Bicentennial Snapshot # 27: “The Cooper” Tom Toal

This week in our bicentennial snapshot for September 20th, 2022 we explore Thomas F Toal a cooperage owner, a barber, and a worker from Kodak who grew up on the Parma Greece border.

Topics Covered in this snapshot

Thomas F Toal Bio

Thomas F. Toal was born on August 26, 1866, and grew up in Parma, Monroe County, New York. He was a cooper before going to work at George Eastman’s Kodak where he worked for 12 years and then retired back to the North Greece/Parma area to be back in the country. He died in 1948 and was laid to rest in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Carrie L. Frisbee

Carrie L. Frisbee was born in 1864 in North Greece, Monroe County, New York she is a niece of Edward Frisbee the owner of the land that was leased to District School # 7 on the family land, the school was located on the north side of Frisbee Road, and east of North Greece Road. (Attach a Map of the location here). Carrie L. (Frisbee) Toal died on 1 January 1957 and she was laid to rest next to her husband Thomas F. Toal in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
This is a map of District 7 from the 1872 Map of Greece, New York you can see all the land that is owned by the Frisbee family

What is a Cooperage? What is it nowadays?

According to Wikipedia: A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs, and other similar containers from timber staves that were usually heated or steamed to make them pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process. The profession is the origin of the surname Cooper.  A Cooperage was responsible for making the barrels that were used to store foods, wines, whiskeys, and other drinks or other items that needed to be preserved compared to canning or vacuum sealing or bottling of fruits, vegetables, and drinks in glass jars.  A cooperage would make different size barrels depending on what was going in the barrel. Some of these barrels had gunpowder in the barrel, or maybe pickles, flour, crackers, dried beans, wheat, apples, corn, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables. Some were just used to hold umbrellas, tools, and other items to keep them organized.

Some of the barrels that Tom Toal made ended up in New York City to a buyer who either was for a big farm or a business in New York City that shipped products over to Europe and other places that wanted fresh goods from America in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.  Depending on what the barrel was going to be used for the cooper would choose the right type of wood the most common wood was oak it depends on where in the world it was made. Modern wooden barrels for wine-making are made of French common oak (Quercus robur), white oak (Quercus petraea), American white oak (Quercus alba), and more exotic Mizunara Oak. All typically have standard sizes. Recently Oregon Oak (Quercus Garryana) has been used. The links next to each type of oak will take you to the Wikipedia page on each of the different oaks.

Cooper Tools

Here is a picture of the tools that a Cooperage would use to make the barrels.

cooper's tools from Pinterest
cooper’s tools from Pinterest

Below is a picture of the different size barrels that a cooperage would make the smallest for dry goods would be a Rundlet which was 1/14 tun, the next size up would be a Barrel at 1/8 tun, and the next size up after a barrel is a Tierce at 1/6 tun, the next size after a Tierce is a Hogshead at 1/4 tun, followed by a Puncheon, Tertian at 1/3 tun, then a Pipe, Butt at 1/2 tun, finally the biggest barrel would be a Tun. But for liquids, there would be a gallon-size barrel that held one gallon of liquid.

Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com
Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com

Below are two charts from Wikipedia that explains the English Wine and Brews barrel storage and amounts:

Wine Cask Chart

gallonrundletbarreltiercehogsheadpuncheon, tertianpipe, butttun
1tun
12pipes, butts
11 1/23puncheon, tertian
11 1/324hogshead
11 1/2236tierce
11 1/222 2/348barrel
11 3/42 1/33 1/24 2/3714rundlet
11831 1/2426384126252gallons (wine)
3.78564.14119.24158.99238.48317.97476.96953.92litres
11526 1/43552 1/270105210gallons (imperial)
4.54668.19119.3159.1238.7318.2477.3954.7litres
English wine cask units

Brewery casks

English brewery cask units[4]
gallon firkin kilderkin barrel hogshead   Year designated
        1 hogsheads  
1 1+12 barrels
1 2 3 kilderkins
1 2 4 6 firkins
1 8 16 32 48 ale gallons (1454)
= 4.621 L = 36.97 L = 73.94 L = 147.9 L = 221.8 L
1 9 18 36 54 beer gallons
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 8+12 17 34 51 ale gallons 1688
= 4.621 L = 39.28 L = 78.56 L = 157.1 L = 235.7 L
1 9 18 36 54 ale gallons 1803
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 9 18 36 54 Imperial gallons 1824
= 4.546 L = 40.91 L = 81.83 L = 163.7 L = 245.5 L

H. C. Phelps Connection with Tom Toal

When Tom Toal was 21 years old, he went to work for H. C. Phelps making barrels; some were used in H.C. Phelps’s General store or sold from Phelps’s Store. This is where Tom learned the trade of making barrels to be used for different types of goods. Within a few years of working for H. C. Phelps, Tom started his own cooper business making barrels and selling them. While Tom ran his own cooperage he had customers from local farms, general stores, breweries, wineries, and other businesses that needed barrels to store items in. In 1972 Frank Toal was interviewed and explained his dad’s cooperage and shared some of the stories with us, below are a few quotes from Frank Toal.

Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS
Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS

” … my Dad began making barrels in early, August. He bought his staves in the rough and once a year an agent from New York City came up to take the order for staves, ‘hoops and headings.”

“They were shipped out to North Greece in box cars on the old Hojack Line. We’d go down to the station with racks up on the hay wagons and load the supplies.”

“Dad’s business was spread clear down to the lake and over to the Parma town line.  He even had a warehouse down at Braddock Bay…In those days the whole section was apple orchards and Dad would ride his bicycle all around the countryside and take orders from the farmers or collect his money—he never learned to drive a car!”

The most interesting thing that Frank said during the interview was that his dad never learned to drive a car.

Larkin Hotel William Aeberli Greece Post 1971 October 14
Larkin Hotel William Aeberli, Greece Post 1971 October 14

Tom Toal and His other Trade

One of Tom’s other trades was being a barber; Tom was one of those men who believed in hard work and hardly allowed himself to have an idle moment, so he took up being the village barber. He worked two nights a week in a second-floor room at the Larkin Hotel charging the proverbial two bits (25 cents) for a shave and a haircut.

Tom’s Connection with Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

After 18 years as a cooper, Tom bought the old Conway land and became a farmer. His farm was next door to Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter. Years before, when he was a lad in his teens, he would do odd jobs for the old doctor.  The Doctor’s beautiful house and estate made a lasting impression on Toal. But you won’t believe this but after twelve years of city living, he decided to move back to the country but not to any house but the estate of Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and lived there the rest of his life.

Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 26 – Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was born in Seneca, Ontario County, New York, on May 11, 1809. He was the son of Daniel and Lydia Smith Carpenter. He attended one of the small one or two-room schoolhouses in the town of Seneca in Ontario county, then went on to attend Geneva Academy which now is the home of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. At the age of 17, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was certified to teach in Benton, Yates County which is 15 minutes to the south and west of Hobart and William Smith Colleges by taking Pre Emption Road south. But Abdiel was more interested in becoming a doctor and practicing medicine; he wanted to care for people instead of teaching people. So, he began an apprenticeship with Doctor Anthony Gage in Ontario County before moving to North Greece. In 1827 he moved to North Greece / Jenkin’s Corners and continued his training with Doctor M.B. Gage who lived in North Greece.

In 1830 at the age of 21, Abdiel Carpenter married Jane Louesa Rowleyof North Greece. They settled down in a small house behind the brick church on the northwest corner of Latta and North Greece Road.

Jane Louesa Rowley grew up on the southwest side of North Greece Road not far from Jenkins’ Corners. Her family’s farm is now home to North Greece Fire Station and its North Greece Road entrance. The Rowley homestead was located directly across from the entrance to College Ave. This photo of the Rowley homestead was in a photo album recently donated to the Greece Historical Society and which we were thrilled to receive.

As you can see on this 1858 map of North Greece there are two Rowley properties one is the S.S. Rowley the other one is the H. Rowley property. The Rowley homestead in the picture to the right is that of H. Rowley.

The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858
Fairfield Medical College, Fairfield, NY
Fairfield Medical College, Herkimer, NY
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor

It was common practice at that time for someone who wanted to be a doctor to attend medical school after acquiring some medical training. The year after his marriage, the twenty-two-year-old Abdiel Carpenter went to the Fairfield Medical School in Herkimer, New York. Fairfield Medical College closed in 1840, due to competition from other medical colleges opening in New York and surrounding states. This is when many of the other colleges and universities like Syracuse University and the University of Rochester were founded.

He attended Fairfield Medical College college 10 years before the school closed for good. He graduated and earned his degree to practice Physic and Surgery on January 3, 1830.

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter returned to North Greece upon receiving his degree to practice Physic and Surgery and purchased Dr. M.B. Gage’s practice and started practicing in North Greece. His career as a doctor spanned 34 years. During that time, he would keep a record of all the children he assisted into this world just like Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley did in Hoosick.

Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat

Frank Milton Carpenter son of Abdiel Milton Carpenter, described his grandfather Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter as “a serious practitioner, a self-made man of no-nonsense personality.” Frank remembered that his grandfather always wore a Prince Albert Coat and top hat.

What is a Prince Albert Coat?

A Prince Albert coat: “a double-breasted frock coat usually with a flat velvet collar, becoming in vogue after a visit to the U.S. by Prince Albert in 1876.” The Prince Albert coat is a variant of a Frock Coat.

What is a Frock Coat?

According to Wikipedia, A frock coat is a formal men’s coat characterized by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (the 1830s–1910s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a center vent at the back and some features unusual in a post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body, and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat’s diameter around the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal. Learn more on Wikipedia.

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter served two one-year terms as town supervisor once in 1843, and then again in 1848.

Grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave
The grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and his first wife Jane Louesa Rowley Carpenter had seven children together but she passed away in 1859. Abdiel remarried Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter and had three more children.

These are 4 of the 9 children

Two of the seven children born to Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and Jane Louesa Rowley

  • Abdiel Milton Carpenter
  • Frank Irving Carpenter

These are two of the three children that Abdiel had with Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter

  • Charles A. Carpenter
  • Helen E. Carpenter
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter owned land on both sides of Latta at 3490 and 3491 Latta Road. As you can see in this 1887 map below, it now shows the land is owned by Doctor A.B. Carpenter and his son Doctor A.M. Carpenter who lived right across the street from each other. Their office was on the south side of Latta Road. Eventually, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter retired to devote his time to farming and turned his practice over to his son, Abdiel Milton Carpenter, or Dr. Mit as his patients called him.

1887 Map of North Greece
1887 Map of North Greece

Both houses still stand today. The original house at 3490 Latta Road was built around the 1840s as a story-and-a-half rectangular edifice; the small porch on the west is most likely a remnant of a porch running across the front. The house had 15 rooms after the second floor, front addition, and pillars were added in the early 1860s.

3491 Latta Rd
3491 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd

On the north side, on land that was once owned by Lewis Combs, he cleared a hundred acres and planted wheat; the first year of farming produced such a bumper crop, Dr. Carpenter was able to pay off all his debts.

agriculture arable barley blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter passed away on January 9, 1896, at the age of 86, and his remains are buried in the Falls Cemetery on West Ridge Road at Latona Road on the southwest corner.

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 25 Hotel De May

Bicentennial Snapshot No 25 - Hotel DeMay

This week we finish looking at the hotel of many names at 3561 Latta Road. It started out as the North Greece Hotel in 1908, then went by the name Moerlbach Hotel, back to the North Greece Hotel, followed by the Domino Inn and Cosmo Inn during Prohibition, the Corner House Hotel post-Prohibition, until it finally and lastly became the Hotel De May in 1946.

How many ate at Hotel De May, for Ray’s birthday, for the restaurant anniversary, or at the end of baseball season picnic in the parking lot? Some of you may have parked here when you had to respond to North Greece Station One to put out a fire or even just operate the desk and work overnight to handle the fire calls, car crashes, brush fires, or routine fire inspections. 

Raymond Archibald De May was born on 17 March 1919, in Rochester, New York. His father, Jacob Jannis de May, was born in Holland and immigrated to the USA at age 3. Both his father and his mother, Stella Lovisa Miller, were 35 when Ray was born. They lived in Rochester’s 21st ward. Ray graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in management and then went to work for Kodak for eight years before getting into the hotel business. He married Irene in 1941.

According to the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Irene Marie Reiser was born on 03 May 1916 in Rochester, New York to parents Frank J Reiser and Cecelia Bertzman. Her parents immigrated from Austria to the United States. Based on the United States Census, 1940, Irene Marie Reiser and Raymond Archibald De May met while working at Kodak. Irene Marie Reiser married Raymond Archibald De May in 1941.

In 1946 Ray and Irene De May purchased the hotel property and building. It took the De Mays nine months to remodel the entire property, starting with modernizing and redecorating the interior to make it livelier for patrons to enjoy live music and dancing on Fridays during the winter. The De Mays upgraded the kitchen to a 1946 state-of-the-art kitchen, completely fireproofing the kitchen separately from the rest of the hotel and dining area.

Raymond installed a new 49-foot bar, enabling more patrons to sit at the bar. He could better display the different kinds of whiskey, vodka, wine, sherry, port, brandy, rum, gin, tequila, hock, vermouth, absinthe, rye, beer, ale, champagne, cognac, and saké. These were laid out in a way that Raymond felt best encouraged customers to buy lots of drinks.

Most bars and restaurants that serve a wide assortment of alcohol-based products would have a selection of what the industry calls top-shelf items. These are your higher-end priced beverages or have better ingredients, compared to your mid-tier and low-tier drinks. They did serve some of the local brews from the Genesee Brewery and others that survived prohibition.

This rough, not-to-scale hand-drawn sketch by Bill Sauers, circa 2016, shows the layout of the first floor of the DeMay Hotel. As for a ladies’ room, it probably had none for Women before the De May’s purchased the property and upgraded the plumbing. They added a ladies’ room just at the end of the bar before heading to the Ballroom / Banquet space. The men’s room was your old school trench on the edge of one wall and ran the distance of the wall with partitions for privacy, they also had some Water Closets (aka toilets) if a gentleman needed to use one. On the door was a silhouette of what appeared to be that of Clark Gable at a publicity photoshoot at MGM in 1938.

DeMay ad Greece Press 1946 November 14
DeMay ad Greece Press 1946 November 14
DeMay floor Plan sketch drawn by Bill Sauers, circa 2016
DeMay floor Plan sketch drawn by Bill Sauers, circa 2016
Ray DeMay behind the bar
Ray DeMay behind the bar
Clark Gable's MGM Publicity Still 1938
Clark Gable’s MGM Publicity Still 1938
Hotel De May dance ad Greece Press 1947 January 2
Hotel De May dance ad Greece Press 1947 January 2
DeMay Hotel Greece Press 1948 September 23
DeMay Hotel Greece Press 1948 September 23
DeMay's Beer Night ad
DeMay’s Beer Night ad

Based on the text of an ad in the Greece Press on January 2, 1947, the was a men’s bar. The first line on the right is “Always a Lively crowd at DeMay’s,” in the middle of the ad, it says “Western New York’s Largest Dance Floor”, followed by “Our Cocktail Lounge and Bar” and then finally it says “Where Good Fellows Get Together.” seemly to indicate it was a Men’s only bar and cocktail lounge. The woman or spouse accompanied a gentleman to the hotel but on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 pm to 1:30 am would be served drinks in the dining area or dancing in the ballroom area.

In 1948 Raymond A De May and the Hotel were charged with being a public nuisance. Raymond De May was arrested on September 10; the warrant was for maintaining a public nuisance and creating an environment that negatively affected the neighbors that lived around the Hotel De May. He was arraigned before Justice W. Arthur Rickman. Raymond pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case was adjourned to September 13, and then adjourned a few more times until the case was settled out of court.

Here is a link to the current wording of the town of Greece, NY Nuisance Law on the Town of Greece’s ecode360

Chapter 144: Nuisances

In the following years after the charges were settled out of court Ray, Irene, and their hotel would be at the heart of the North Greece Community.

Fire at Hotel De May

DeMay Fire D&C 12-19-1953
DeMay Fire D&C 12-19-1953

Hotel De May was almost destroyed by a fire that started in the hotel’s coal bin, on December 18th, 1953, it took North Greece, Greece Ridge, and Barnard Fire departments to put out the blaze. There was damage to a kitchen and rooms overhead the southwest wing of the hotel. Luckily no one was injured in the fire. Even though there were 2 1950s Seagrave pumpers and a 1950s Mack Fire Truck from North Greece Fire Station. The manpower of the North Greece Fire Department was not enough to put it out. That is why Assistant Fire Chief Raymond asked the chief to call for mutual aid from Greece Ridge and Barnard to assist with the fire discovered during dinner time around 5:30 pm at the hotel. It appears that the Fireproof kitchen was not completely fireproof as Ray and Irene thought it was. The total damage and repairs cost the hotel suffered was $ 4,500. The $ 4,500 they had to rebuild the southwest wing and repair the kitchen and bring it up to the Town of Greece’s building and fire codes of 1954.

Annual Events Held by Hotel De May

These are the most common Events that the Hotel De May hosted:

In October it was the annual steak dinner to mark the hotel’s opening; the annual dinner was a six-course steak dinner that ran from 1 pm to 9 pm and cost $ 6 per person according to this ad to the right in the Greece Press printed in the September 19, 1968 paper.

Every March they would celebrate Ray’s birthday and they served corned beef and cabbage for free. The bash started at 7 pm and they had an orchestra for dancing from 9 pm to midnight. As seen in this ad in the Greece Press paper on March 13, 1969.

DeMay Hotel annual steak dinner, Greece Press 1968 September 19
DeMay Hotel annual steak dinner, Greece Press 1968 September 19
Raymond A DeMay Birthday ad Greece Press 1969 March 13
Raymond A DeMay Birthday ad in Greece Press 1969 March 13

Raymond A De May’s role as a civic leader

While operating the hotel, Ray got involved in the North Greece Fire Department and served five years as an assistant fire chief. Since he owned the hotel across the street, he let the firefighters park their cars in the hotel lot and also let them park the trucks in the lot sometimes as well. Ray was a life-long member of the New York State Fire Chiefs Association.

Ray was photographed conducting a bike safety program for kids in the North Greece Area in which members of the North Greece Fire Department took part. He fastened reflectors to spurs of kids’ bicycles to help make the bikes visible to drivers at night. The attached article shows Ray installing the reflectors on David McCarroll’s bike at North Greece Fire Department Station 1. The Bike safety program also took place at 5 other points in the town besides North Greece Fire department at 3552 Latta Road; one was probably at the town hall or at Greece Ridge at the Ridge, another one was held at Barnard Fire Department, and then 3 other locations where most of the population of Greece was located during the 1950s.

Ray was also a member of the Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (GVAC), which has since been disbanded in the last few years due to the four fire companies changing providers to Monroe Ambulance and the rising cost of Emergency services which the volunteer corp could not afford anymore.

50s 2 seagrave pumpers with Mack
In this picture, you see two 1950s Seagrave pumpers with Mack parked in the De May Hotel Parking Lot
Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps Equipment, 1970s, from the Office of the Town Historian
Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps Equipment from circa 1970s, from the Office of the Town Historian

Raymond’s Connection to Baseball and Softball

DeMay Hotel North Greece softball league 1970 July 9
DeMay Hotel North Greece softball league 1970 July 9
DeMay Picnic G Press 9-2-1971
DeMay Picnic G Press 9-2-1971

Each year Raymond would sponsor a very competitive men’s softball and baseball teams, as well as a junior league for boys aged 7-12 that lived in the North Greece area. At the end of the season, the De Mays would host an annual picnic for the members of the junior softball league and the little league baseball players. They also let the North Greece Playground youngsters join in as well as their parents and friends. The De Mays wound up serving 500 plus people each year with free hot dogs (more than likely the hot dogs were Zweigles brand hot dogs) and soft drinks could have been either Coke or Pepsi or a local soft drink vendor.

Hotel DeMay Softball Shirt
Hotel DeMay Softball Shirt

Raymond’s Battle With Pneumonia

In 1974 at the age of 55, Raymond passed away at Rochester General Hospital fighting a battle with pneumonia. According to his obituary in the Democrat and Chronicle, he was survived by his wife, Irene, and Raymond’s last living brother Robert J. de May (1922–1984), and his wife Ruth Marie Stillman (1918–2020).

Raymond A De May Obit DandC
Raymond A De May Obit DandC

Irene De May Takes over Operations

In the neighborhood around Hotel De May, Irene was known as Mother De May, that because she would take in boarders who had nowhere else to go, those who worked as migrant workers at the nearby farms, and in 1991 she opened the hotel for those who needed a place to stay warm while they did not have electricity, heating oil, wood or other heating sources to keep warm during the 1991 Ice Storm. More on the 1991 Ice Storm to come later in a future snapshot on Extreme Weather that affected the Town of Greece.

Irene De May kept the tavern and Hotel running until her death in 2000.

Irene De May, 1977, courtesy of Gina DiBella
Irene DeMay, 1977, courtesy of Gina DiBella

The Fall of Hotel De MAY

Hotel DeMay Latta Rd 2007 with sign
Hotel DeMay Latta Rd 2007 with sign
Come What DeMay tee shirt
Come What DeMay tee shirt

The hotel sat empty for many years; those who cherished this historic building hoped it would be restored to a functional community asset, but developers were more interested in tearing it down and replacing it with a (Crosby’s) gas station and convenience store.

Gina Dibella and Marie Poinan led a grassroots movement, to convince the town to preserve it and make it into a functional hotel, restaurant, and party house again. The group had a slogan printed on shirts that read “Come What DeMAY this Hotel Stays!”

But the grassroots movement could not sway the town board and supervisor that the De May Hotel could return to life and in early 2017 the Town approved the demolition in favor of a Crosby’s Gas station with a Dunkin’ Donuts attached. Still, to date, nothing has been built on the site, because of concerns about contaminated soil. As of this post, the current value has dropped from nearly $ 250,000 to $ 50,000. Below is the current information on the lot according to Monroe County Records for the parcel; the last table is from propertyshark.com which says it was sold to another property broker or developer, but no records are available to verify this information only the property details, lot size, and current tax and land value have been verified using the Monroe County Tax assessment page.

At Least one part of the Hotel DeMay lives on it is the 49-foot bar that Raymond DeMay installed at the hotel, which survived demolition, and has a new home at the My Apartment bar on West Outer Drive off of Mount Read Blvd.

Demolition of Hotel DeMay 11-17-17
Demolition of Hotel DeMay 11-17-17
DeMay Bar
DeMay Bar

Property Details

Property Address:3561 Latta Rd, Rochester, NY 14612
County:Monroe
Parcel ID:44.40-1-1
School district: 264001 – Hilton

Lot Size and Property Type

Acreage:0.75
Frontage:274
Depth:119
Property Class: Vacant Land Located in Commercial Areas (330)

Current Tax and Land Value

Tax year:2022
Property tax:$ 1,973
Land value:$50,000
Market value:$50,000

Reported Last Sale of Lot

Sale date:8/9/2019
Sale price:$595,000
This is not referenced from Monroe County records this record is from propertyshark.com
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 24 The Hotel of Many Names

This week we continue looking at the hotel/inn/speakeasy/tavern that occupied the southeast corner of Latta and North Greece Road. This establishment went thru at least the same amount or more owners as the Larkin Hotel. The spot where the Larkin stood became this hotel’s parking lot when the Larkin Hotel was demolished.

This hotel would be a bit bigger than the Larkin Hotel/Tavern the Larkin would have been the same size as the Rowe Tavern this one was feature in both Ada Ridge and the Ridge Part 1 and Streb Tavern on the ridge which would have been approximately 1,514.47 square feet compared to the Hotel Demay at the end of its life was approximately 8,046.63 square feet. The North Greece Hotel had less than 50 rooms that travelers would stay in to enjoy food and drinks, then rest and set off on their next leg of their travel to either Niagara Falls or heading east towards Syracuse or other points east along the lake shore. It appears that the North Greece Hotel opened its doors around 1900 1912 at the corner of Latta and North Greece Roads. Because by opening day, January 5, 1910, it was called the Moerlbach Hotel after the new Rochester Brewery that provided the hotel with the beer it served. The Moerlbach Brewing Company opened its doors in 1909 at the corner of Emerson and Norman Steet where T & L Automatics Inc stands today just a few buildings down from where a descendant of Giddon King grew up and that descendant would be Helen Slocum. To learn more about when breweries abounded in Rochester, in the article Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history check out this article from Brain Sharp and Will Cleveland on the Democrat and Chronicle website at 8:21 am on April 6, 2018, which features some more information on the Moerlbach Brewing Company.

Morelbach’s ad in the Democrat & Chronicle Tuesday, January 25, 1910

Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history

Recreational trail planned Rochester breweries once known as best in U.S. Breweries are part of Rochester’s business history Beer industry had to revive itself after Prohibition Touted as one of the most modern breweries in the state, Moerlbach’s sprawling campus was destined to be a jewel in a burgeoning industry.

Now back to more on the Hotel with many names as we noted it was named Morelbach and its first proprietor was Frank Pye but he passed away in 1910. The hotel was sold to William “Bill Carroll of Frisbee Hill Road a near neighbor to Edward Frisbee who we will get to in another snapshot or two. When William Carroll bought the hotel he moved his family to North Greece four corners. William Carroll was born in 1872 and his family was a pioneer family that settled in the Parma Braddock Bay area in the early 1800s. In this picture, you can see William Carroll and his son in front of the hotel.

The Odenbachs owned a hotel and an ice cream stand out at the end of Manitou Beach Road where William Carroll worked before he became the owner of the Moerlbach Hotel it was at the Manitou Beach Hotel where he introduced Sherrif Albert Skinner to the Ice Cream Cone no details of what flavor it would have been either Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t until 1915 that he decided it would be best to revert it to the North Greece Hotel. The Frist Manitou Beach hotel was lost in a suit between Skinner and the Odenbachs, so the Odenbachs had to rebuild the hotel over and some distance from the now Elmheart Hotel that the Skinners now owned more on the Manitou Beach and the Elmheart Hotels in a future snapshot.

The Carrolls served meals at the hotel but only to guests, they could only serve 18 to 20 people in the dining room due to the size it was. One of the most served items in the dining room was claimed to be “The Best New England Clam Chowder in the town of Greece.” It cost only 20 cents. But the neighbors around the hotel would bring kettles to the back door to the kitchen to get them some of Mary’s Clam Chowder.

William Carroll had some strict rules in his hotel. One of the rules was No Children in the Barroom and that included his own children this was probably due to the drinking, smoking, and language of the older gentlemen. One of his other strict rules was towards women, if he saw or caught a woman smoking anywhere in the hotel, he would ask her to leave the hotel.

The was Dancing every Friday night in the dance room otherwise known now as a banquet room these days, each week it could be square dancing, rounds, fox trots, or waltzes, or thru out the night, it could change depending on the music, or who was playing on the stage playing the music. It cost each couple 50 cents to dance the night away starting at 9 pm sharp and ending at 3 am but with drink service cut off at 11 pm in accordance with New York State Law for serving your wines, beers, spirits, and hard drinks, minus water though that they could keep serving after drink service was cut off to the patrons. At intermission during the dances, a table would be set up with refreshments and Hors D’oeuvres in the dance room.

In the Bar room area, there were two pool tables its uncertain if they were for the game of snooker style billiards table or if it is the common pool style billiards table that people would try the game of billiards whether it was a round of 8-ball, 9-ball, 7-ball or the game of snooker billiards at least the tables were not the bumper style table, and if you are interested one of the many types billiard games you can play by going to your local library and checking out a copy of Billiards: The Official Rules and Record Book 2021/2022 edition or any of the other Billiard books in the library.

In the barn behind the hotel, he would have livestock auctions featuring local cattle owners for locals to buy the livestock to have it slaughtered for meat, or those new owners could raise the cattle themselves and have a pasture of their own for their farms. There were a number of different livestock at these auctions. Some were cows, bison, deer, chickens, pigs, sheep, lamb, and even horses that were auctioned off at these cattle auctions the bidders did have to watch out for diseases. Once in a while, there might be regular auctions like household gear, and artwork as well.

That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo
That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo

More on the Elmheart Hotel where Carroll worked before coming here.

The Elmheart Hotel

Manitou Hotel, 1920s, from the Office of the Town Historian
The cover of a promotional booklet for the Manitou Hotel, the 1920s, or the cover of a menu from the 1940s
from the Office of the Town Historian
Barroom Postcard from eBay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from ebay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from eBay
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson HIlton Record 1921 July 28
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson
Hilton Record 1921 July 28
Opening of the Domino Inn
Opening of the Domino Inn

On January 17, 1920, Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. Led by pietistic Protestants, they aimed to heal what they saw as an ill society beset by alcohol-related problems such as alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption. Nowadays you can still see side effects of people that get drunk or have too much to drink, from Alcohol poisoning to DUI/DWI and other Alcohol related issues. It forced restaurants, bars, saloons, and other establishments to stop selling and serving alcohol products except for those that decide the Protestants did not have the best interest in their mind that Alcohol was like any other addiction, like smoking, chewing tobacco, gambling, and others. Some of the backers of prohibition were soda/pop, tea, and coffee makers, as well as the Protestants. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized “wet” supporters from the wealthy Roman Catholic and German Lutheran communities, as well as the local breweries like Moerlbach, and Genesee just to name a few as well as local restaurants, taverns, hotels, inns, saloons, and bars. But on July 28th, 1921 William Carroll decides to sell his hotel to Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof. Harry Wilson ran another hotel in the Brighton Twelve Corners neighborhood for several years. Harry received possession on August 1st, 1921 and on September 1st, 1921, Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof set to open the North Greece Hotel as the Domino Inn. Sometime during prohibition, it changed owners again and this time it became the Cosmo Inn. More on the Domino Inn and the Cosmo Inn will appear in a snapshot about prohibition.

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act, known as the Cullen–Harrison Act,  allowing the manufacture and sale of 3.2% beer (3.2% alcohol by weight, approximately 4% alcohol by volume) and light wines. The Volstead Act previously defined an intoxicating beverage as one with greater than 0.5% alcohol. The 18th amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933 as part of the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This was 6 years before the beginning of the second World War. At this time the hotel was remodeled again and opened as the Corner House Hotel and in this ad here look at the line after good food notice it says All Legal Beverages this meant any legal beverages that the State of New York allowed them to serve after prohibition was over. In 1939 World War would break out and it would cause companies to ration gas and other products that were needed for soldiers on the front lines both on the European and Asian fronts this caused the Corner House Hotel to close its doors in 1941. But just one year after the end of World War II in 1945 it would be sold again but this time to Ray and Irene DeMay, it would stay open until the early 2000s, and in November of 2017 it would be demolished for a proposed Crosby’s Convenience store and gas station but nothing has been built there as of this Bicentennial Snapshot published on August 30th, 2022. More On The DeMay Hotel and Banquet space in Snapshot # 25 – The DeMay Hotel.

Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 23 – The Larkin Hotel

This week and in the next two snapshots we look at the Tavern / Hotel / Inn / Speakeasy that occupied the southeast corner of Latta Road and North Greece Road. The first hotel we will look at will be named after its last owner Joseph Larkin, not its first owner or subsequent owners. Back in the early years of the country and in some really rural communities the hotel, tavern and post offices, and general stores were all in one building or sometimes in separate buildings depending on the size of the community it was located in. But for North Greece, it appears that on the map in 1858 the Post Office was located in the store that belonged to Mary Phelp, and across the street before H.C. Phelps had a store it was A. W. Dickerson General Store.

North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858

The Background of the Hotel and its similarities to the H. C. Phelps building

The Larkin hotel was build sometime before the civil war, based on research and architectural details that William Aeberli and Shirley Cox Husted found based on similarities between the design of the H.C. Phelps General Store and the Larkin hotel.

Larkin Hotel William Aeberli Greece Post 1971 October 14
Larkin Hotel William Aeberli, Greece Post 1971 October 14
Phelps general store latta and north Greece roads sketch William Aeberli 1970
Phelps general store Latta and north Greece roads sketch William Aeberli 1970

The owners of the location

North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858
Map of North Greece 1872
Map of North Greece 1872

From what we can tell there could have been as many as 4 or more owners of the hotel the list of people we have based on available data and records is Mary Phelps, then we have a record of Archaeus Johnson (A. Johnson) buying it from Henry and Melvina Hazen on April 1, 1869, after that its a mystery, and without any other information and the information that children of Joseph B Larkin had with them when they passed away, so we will never know its full past or what made it a thriving spot for stagecoaches to stop and rest for the evening.

Peter Larkin

Peter Larkin

Born: 1810 in Ireland no date or month available other than based on the year of death and the text on the grave which reads DIED 14 Mar 1884 of 75 years.

Rose Larkin

Born: 1816 in Ireland

Died: April 25, 1881, at 65 years of age

Peter Larkin was a successful farmer, entrepreneur, and three-term supervisor of the Town of Greece, as well as a member of Mother of Sorrows. In the 1870 census, it lists him as owning nearly $ 500,000.00 in real estate. We have a record of him owning a hotel near Latta Road and Long Pond Road, but he was not the proprietor of the hotel. Also in the 1870 census, we learn that his nephew Joseph was living with him and his wife Rose Larkin.

Peter Larkin 1870 census
Peter and Rose Larkin, and Nephew Joseph in the 1870 census
Larkin, Joseph 1880 census
Peter and Rose Larkin, and Nephew Joseph in the 1880 census the year after this entry Rose would pass away.

Joseph B. Larkin

Joseph B. Larkin

Born: September 1855 in New York

Death: 15 April 1907

Married: Elizabeth Anna Slater

In the 1870s we learn that Joseph moved in with his uncle in North Greece and started out attending what would have been District School Number 6 and then went on to Charlotte or John Marshall for high school or entered the workforce sometime between the 1870 and 1880 census

Children

  • Rose Mary Larkin
    • 1882–1955
  • Anna G. Larkin
    • 1884–1954
  • Elizabeth M. (Larkin) McKenna
    • 1886–1961
    • This was the only daughter that got married but had no heirs
    • Married Frank J. McKenna
  • Frances J. Larkin
    • 1889–1971
Joseph Larkin, and family entry in the 1900 Census

Based on the Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and the newspaper report below:

Larkin’s Hotel Burglarized

The hotel of Joseph Larkin at North Greece was entered by burglars last Tuesday Night and Mr. Larkin’s watch was stolen. Money was also taken from the clothing of both Mr. and Mrs. Larkin. No trace of the thieves has been discovered.

In 1891 we learn that Joseph was the proprietor of the hotel and he and Elizabeth were either out or asleep when the Larkin Hotel was burglarized by thieves, and from the records show an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the clothing of Joseph and Elizabeth Larkin, as well as Joseph’s watch which could have been from his Uncle or another family member or one that he saved up and bought we will never know.

We do know that both He and His Uncle were both Democrats and the hotel was used as a site for Democrat Political Caucuses.

The Larkin Hotel was demolished around 1912, that was probably because the four daughters did not want to take it over or could not take over the hotel.

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 22 – North Greece / Jenkin’s Corners

This week and in the following 6 six snapshots we will be exploring the North Greece area and the people, Hotel DeMay or the hotel with many names that it had over time, Jerome Combs a baseball player, Doctor Abdiel Carpenter, and so much more. North Greece Fire Department will be covered in a later snapshot along with the other fire districts in the town. But this week we will give you an overview of the area and give you a breakdown of what is in the North Greece Area.

North Greece Overview

The North Greece area is located at the intersection of North Greece Road and Latta Road the streets that are included in this area are the east side of Manitou Road, The North side of English Road from North Greece Road to the intersection of English and North Ave if Pickering and Flynn Road Connected that would be the edge of the east side of the district up to the HoJack Line on Flynn Road, it then follows the Hojack line but it drops south of G. W. Northrup’s Property on North Greece Road, then down the back sides of the properties that sit on the west side of North Greece Road as soon it comes up to Latta and head west back to Manitou Road.

North Greece Area Map
North Greece Area Map

Latta Road

Latta Road
Latta Road highlighted in red

Latta Road is one of the Oldest Routes in the county but Latta only runs from Manitou Road to Lake Ave. But as for State Route 18 otherwise known as NY 18 begins at a junction with NY 104 south of a complex grade-separated interchange that includes NY 18F, NY 104, and the Niagara Scenic Parkway on the eastern edge of the village of Lewiston. to NY 104 in Lewiston then it zig-zags thru Orleans County until it passed thru Hilton and Parma then it turns on Manitou Road then on to Latta road and passes right thru the Hamlet of North Greece it then intersects NY 390. After a small distance east of NY 390, NY 18 passes Greece Arcadia High School as well as the newly built Greece Central School District Transportation and Support Services facility, Paddy Hill School, Mother of Sorrows, and intersects Mount Read Boulevard at the Paddy Hill Hamlet before intersecting Dewey Avenue a half-mile to the east. NY 18 turns south onto Dewey Avenue; however, state maintenance continues to follow Latta Road east to where it crosses into the Rochester city limits at Charlotte. This section of Latta Road is designated as NY 941A, an unsigned reference route. NY 18, meanwhile, becomes maintained by Monroe County as part of CR 132, an unsigned designation that follows Dewey Avenue north to its end at the Lake Ontario shoreline. The route continues south on Dewey Avenue to the Rochester city line, where CR 132 ends, and maintenance of the route shifts to the city of Rochester. NY 18 ends about 1 mile (1.6 km) later at a junction with NY 104 in an industrialized area known as Eastman Business Park.

North Greece Road

Surveyed in 1807, North Greece Road started out as just a dirt road that connected these two travel arteries.  Initially, it ended at Latta Road but was eventually extended to the south shores of Braddock Bay at the point where North Greece Road turns left and becomes Hincher Road and Buttonwood creek discharges into Braddock bay. North Greece Road and Elmgrove were realigned to meet at one light between 1988 and 1993 when Elm Ridge Shopping plaza was constructed to help get commercial trucks into Sam’s Club and Walmart as well as the Hess Gas station now Speedway and Pep Boys.

1988 North Greece Road at Ridge Road1993 North Greece Road at Ridge Road
Left 1988 – Map of North Greece Road at Ridge Road – Right 1993

The Hamlet of North Greece

North Greece map 1858 from Rochester Public Library
North Greece map 1858 from Rochester Public Library

Not surprisingly a hamlet sprang up at the crossroads of Latta and North Greece Roads. Although not denoted on a map, the hamlet was often called Jenkins’ Corners. We don’t know for sure why it was called this; there was a local farmer, William Jenkins, who may have given his name to the community, or perhaps it was named after an itinerant preacher, the first Methodist circuit rider to the area, the Reverend Amos Jenks. The natives of North Greece would sometimes say that they lived “down at the Jenks.”

H.C. Phelps

We took a look at this general store as well as two other general stores in Snapshot # 14 – General Stores

North Greece Fire Department

William Schmitt, a Buick dealer, formed the North Greece Fire District. A Pierce-Arrow truck was purchased for $6,700, the first motorized fire truck in the Town of Greece. In June of 1922, the Blacksmith Shop once owned by Lewis Combs at the corner of North Greece and Latta Roads became the first firehouse, and William Schmitt, the first chief. During the ’20s the Department responded to many fires and traveled out of the District to assist surrounding Fire Departments.

In 1935, Chief William Schmitt declared 1922 Pierce-Arrow unsafe; two 1936 American-La France pumpers were purchased. The Fire Department had grown to 55 members.

On July 27, 1958, the new house at Latta Road and Mt. Read Blvd. was dedicated. In September of 1958, two new Seagrave pumpers were placed into service at the new firehouse.

On September 15, 1963, the construction of a new communication center and three-bay addition was dedicated at the station at North Greece and Latta Roads. This building replaced the Lewis Comb’s carriage and wagon manufactory with a more state-of-the-art building for fire departments in the 1960s.

More on the history of the North Greece Fire Department up to 1982 was can be found in the book Milestones Along The Way 1922 to 1982, written by Eugene Preston and John Stageman. Just this June the North Greece Fire Department Celebrated its Centennial years of service to the North Greece Community

We at the Greece Historical Society say thank you for your service to the folks that live within the North Greece Fire Department District and that the department can grow and evolve its firefighting efforts with new technology and equipment to battle fires better, as well as better building techniques that different engineering and building codes change because of fires, accidents, water rescues and some of the different natural disaster that is occurring now due to climate change.

N Greece Fire House 1926
N Greece Fire House 1926
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
Engine 5 at Station 1
Engine 5 at Station 1
September 15, 1963, Station 1
September 15, 1963, Station 1

Hiram Bice and Lewis Combs Butter Business

North Greece business notices 1872 Map from Rochester Public Library
North Greece business notices 1872 Map from Rochester Public Library

Lewis Combs and Hiram Bice went in together on a butter business together.

As their business notice said, they manufactured a butter-churn that was “acknowledged as the best churn in the United States.” 

The churn had a horizontal shaft that extended the length of a rectangular box on its legs.

A series of radial beaters was attached to the shaft. According to his patent filed in 1865, the inventor, J. F. Sanborn of Hardwick, Vermont, said that he wanted to “contrive a churn that would be efficient for producing butter from cream, and then serve as a butter worker for washing and mixing salt with the butter…” Individuals such as Lewis Combs and Hiram Bice used the design to make these churns which could produce butter in eight to fifteen minutes, half the time or less of a vertical hand churn, and much easier on the arms.

Drying House

North Greece had a fruit drying house. Drying was a major method for preserving fruit, especially apples, to export to Europe.  LeFrois’ was used into the first decades of the twentieth century until supplanted by cold storage and canning factories.

School District #6

School # 6 before 1927
School 6 1927 -1949
Present Day Private House

Perhaps reflecting the hopes of parents and students, the North Greece school was located on College Avenue. It was also called the “gooseneck” road by local residents because of the bend in the road. 

This is the old brick school.

In 1927 the school had swings, slides, and teeters outside. The pupils in the upper grades played baseball in the back of the school on the baseball field. The school had two rooms, with four grades in each room. The school was heated with a coal furnace. They had a bathroom for boys and girls. This year they had regular electric light.

In 1949, the North Greece school district joined the Hilton Central School system.

Aerial Photos of North Greece 1930-1999

You can explore some Historic Aerial photos of the North Greece area on the Monroe County Interactive Historic Data Map website it has from 1930 to 1999 aerial photos in black and white whereas Google Maps and other modern map sites now have color Satellite images on their platforms.

North Greece Post Office

The North Greece post office moved around from H. C. Phelps on the Southwest corner of Latta and North Greece Roads to the hotel on the Southeast Corner then it moved behind what was Lewis Combs’s carriage and wagon manufactory. Then at some point in the 1950s or 1960s, it moved to a brick building at 640 N Greece Rd, North Greece, NY 14515 which is south of where the DeMay Hotel stood at the corner of Latta and North Greece Road.

The Hotel of Many Names Hotel Larken, Hotel Domino, Hotel DeMay, and more names

The next 3 Weeks will be About the Southeast corner and the Hotel of Many Names. One Hotel in our Hotel of Many names is actually the Manitou Beach Hotel and which was located at the western end of the Manitou Beach Trolley Line in 1943 it closed and never reopened after that year.

If you have memories or pictures of the inside of the DeMay consider posting some to our Facebook page so you can share a piece of Greece History for the rest of us to read and see what it looked like before it left us as a staple in the North Greece area.

Till Next week… This has been your look into the hamlet of Jenkin’s Corners / North Greece.

Related Material to this snapshot:

Manitou Beach Hotel by Alan Mueller

DeMay Hotel 1909 by Alan Mueller

North Greece Post Office by Alan Mueller

Related Snapshots:

Bicentennial Snapshot # 14 – General Stores
Bicentennial Snapshot # 10 – Samuel and Lydia and George and Frances Latta
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 21 – Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley

This week we take a look at the life and accomplishments of Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley.

Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley

Date of Birth: August 14, 1796, Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York

Death: October 8, 1880 West Greece/Parma Townline

Year of First Marriage: 1817, with Cornelia

Second Marriage to Sarah “Sally” Bartlett Bradley

Children William Bradley (1838–1907), Sarah Bradley (Cromwell) (1840-1930 (aged 89–90)), and a twin sister.

Other Rolls:

1823 served a term in the New York State Assembly

Greece Supervisor (1836-38), postmaster (1828-1838), assessor (1841), and was superintendent of the schools for twenty-two years during this time it would be for District 6.

Samuel Beach Bradley was born on August 14, 1796, in Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York, to Reverend Joel Bradley and Mary Anne Beach Bradley. In 1814, Samuel, graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and after college, he went to study Medicine, with Dr. Seth Hastings of Clifton, Oneida County. In 1817, at the age of 21, Bradley married 18-year-old Cornelia Bradley, but she died just a few months later, “a sorrow that shadowed his life for many years” and although he later remarried, he wrote in his diary of his “dear Cornelia” until the day he died.

Samuel started practicing in Eaton, New York, and in 1820 moved to Parma, New York; in 1823 he settled in West Greece, Monroe County, which became his home for the rest of his life. Samuel expanded from just practicing medicine to being a botanist as well.

He is cited as an authority in Gray’s Botany (5th ed.); in Paine’s “Catalogue of Plants of Oneida County and Vicinity” (1865) he is given as the sole authority for twenty-one species of plants found in the neighborhood of Rochester; and in the “List of Plants of Monroe County, New York, and Adjacent Territory,” published by the Rochester Academy of Science (1896), he was credited with eleven species not hitherto reported. A close and accurate observer, his work along the lake shore, inlets, and ponds was particularly thorough.

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 20 – “Hoosick” / West Greece

This week we look into the area known as “Hoosick” West Greece which sits at the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road at the Greece Parma town border. In snapshot 18 we listed some of the myths about how this area’s nickname was “Hoosick” some believe it was named after Hoosick Falls near Albany or the town of Hoosick near the Vermont border, or it could have been Mrs. McNeely shouting “Who’s Sick?”

The hamlet, as you see on the map was settled in the very early 1800s, and was clustered around the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road. It had its own post office, two hotels, a school, a corner store, churches, a blacksmith’s shop, and a doctor’s office. The Post office in west Greece was located inside the General store of G.H. Losey we have no pictures directly looking at G.H. Losey’s General store except for this picture looking up from Dr. Samual Beach Bradley’s office close to the right foreground and in the distance, you can see the Congregation Church of Greece Parma. The end house in this picture is that of O. Wilepse and next to it is that of Mrs. McNeely who would shout to the good doctor every time he would leave. Don’t forget next week is all about Doctor Samuel Bradley.

Sherly Cox Husted wrote a column each week in the Hilton Record called Pioneer Days where she would share the history of the area and in there she shared some of Doctor Bradley’s Journal entries as well as other journal entries from other Pioneers.

In the journal, Doctor Bradley described the area “As you are aware, this is a rural hamlet of thirty or forty houses, situated on the Ridge Road, three- and one-half miles from Spencerport; it may be considered a dependency of that place, for there we go for lumber, stoves, and hardware, also medicines and medical advice and attendance. There we also sell our produce.”

Congregational Church

Congregational Church
School 13 Location before Moving to Dean Road
School 13 Current Location on Dean Road

Doctor Bradley along with some of the people living in West Greece attended Worship services of the Congregational Church, organized in 1819, which were first held in the school building at Parma Corners. The congregation numbered 21 members; seven men and 14 women. Construction on the church shown in this photo was begun in 1824 and completed in 1825. It was a wood structure, forty by fifty feet, and cost $2,950 (approximately $96,000 in today’s terms). It was consecrated on July 6, 1825. At the same time in Parma the Universalist Church was constructed and the two churches were in competition with each other to attract the most prominent residents to join their congregations.

The Congregational Church had followed the ideas of Jean-Frédéric Oberlin. By following the teachings of Oberlin some of the members of the congregation caused a group of Forty members of the Congregational Church, described as infected or inspired by Oberlinism depending on where one stood on the issue, and took possession of the church building by force and a legal battle ensued. By 1902 the church building had been long abandoned and it was torn down so that Manitou Road could be straightened. The only thing left at that spot today is a small cemetery still at top of the Hill where School # 13 stood until at some point when it was moved to Dean Road, in Parma off of West Ridge Road and became first an apartment and now it appears to be a private residence.

Free Methodist Church

In 1861 another church was formed just to the east of the Congregational Church on West Ridge Road later on the Free Methodist Church congregation either expanded or move to a larger place to worship or they too faced the issues in the congregation. In 1910 the Lutheran Church of Concord formed inside the old Free Methodist Church which is now the site of West Herr Ford of Rochester, The Lutheran Church of Concord moved to Holmes Road, and on September 14, 2018, the church held its last service at the Holmes Road Church and on September 16 Messiah and Concord began holding services together before the merger was official. On November 1, 2018, the merger of Concord and Messiah was officially approved by the state and the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Now MorningStar Christian Fellowship Church worships at 485 Holmes Road.

The Case of Captain William Morgan and his disappearance

Captain William Morgan Monument in Batavia, NY

The two hotels in Hoosick flourished for a while as they were on the stagecoach route to Lewiston; the Masonic Lodge had rooms on the upper floor of one of them. In 1826, a group of Masons abducted William Morgan thinking it would stop him from publishing a book revealing their secret ceremonies.  It is known that he was taken along Ridge Road to Lewiston and that stops were made at hotels, most likely including one in West Greece. The Route that the Free Masons took William was so strange that made it hard to figure out where and what routes and inns the Masons used as they took Captain William Morgan towards Lewiston and Fort Niagara. According to Court records out of CANANDAIGUA, ONTARIO COUNTY, Aug. 22, 1827. Here is an excerpt from the pamphlet which can be read on the Monroe County Public Library system https://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/Wheatland/Trial_of_James_Lackey.pdf

On Monday the 11th of Sept. 1826, about sunrise, Capt. Morgan was forcibly seized and carried away in a Stage Coach by Seymour, Holloway, Hayward, Howard, Chesebro, and Everton to Canandaigua, where he was examined before Justice Chipman on the charge of stealing a shirt from one Kingsly and acquitted; Chesebro then demanded a warrant against him for a sham tavern debt of $2, to Ackley, for which, judgment was im~ mediately rendered and an execution issued. Upon this paltry concern, he was committed to the County Jail where he laid until 9 o’clock in the evening of the next day when the debt was discharged by one Lawson ostensibly from friendly motives and he was released. But at the outside of the prison door, Morgan was violently seized by Lawson and another in the presence of Sawyer and Cheesboro who afforded him no aid. He struggled and raised a. cry of murder, but was overpowered, gagged, and thrust into a coach which drew up on a signal from Sawyer. In this coach, driven by Hubbard and filled with other conspirators he was conveyed in the darkness of the night to Handsford Landing three miles below Rochester, through which place they passed about daylight. This was the last trace to be discovered of him prior to the trial now reported. Hubbard subsequently stated that he left the whole party here and returned home. He moreover stated, that his coach was engaged by an unknown person and that all the parties were unknown to him, that he has. never received any pay for the service and he does not know whom to look to for it. It also comes out in this trial, that some unknown person hired a coach of Ezra Platt of Rochester at daylight about this time to go to Lewiston and that he doesn’t know who had it, how far it went, nor has anyone ever appeared to pay for it. But it is unnecessary to repeat the information elicited by this trial. It was for a conspiracy to kidnap Morgan from the jail of Canandaigua that the defendants in this trial were indited.

No one knows what happened to Morgan; it is thought that he was murdered. But his abductors got off lightly. However, it had a profound effect on how people regarded Masons. Dr. Bradley, himself a Freemason, wrote in his journal: “The Masonic lodge flourished for a few years, but in consequence of the excitement caused by the untoward abduction of Morgan, it ceased to exist, together with all the secret organizations in the state.” The outrage over the Morgan affair led to Thurlow Weed founding the Anti-Masonic party the first third party in American political history.

The Hotels/Inns/Taverns In West Greece

1902 Map of West Greece Showing the two Hotels on Ridge Road

The Manchester Inn

The Manchester Tavern or Inn depending on the time period you would refer to the place for historical reasons. The Manchester Inn sat on what today is the West Herr new vehicle storage lot. The Manchester Hotel was built in the 1850s and was known for its second-floor ballroom with a sprung floor which made it a popular place for dances in Hoosick. According to Wikipedia, A sprung floor is a floor that absorbs shocks, giving it a softer feel. Such floors are considered the best kind for dance and indoor sports and physical education and can enhance performance and greatly reduce injuries. Modern sprung floors are supported by foam backing or rubber feet, while traditional floors provide their spring through bending woven wooden battens. No wonder why the Manchester Hotel was a popular dance place back in the late 1850s and up and till the day it closed due to bankruptcy. The Manchester Hotel changed hands before the bankruptcy to Oscar Winslow and he changed the name to Winslow Hotel. The reason behind the bankruptcy was not the way you think it would happen because of a lack of guests, but because at around 7 or 8 pm on March 25, 1916, with the temperatures near the upper 30s or low 40s, the Hotel owner Oscar Winslow was doing his routine walk and checking the lights and making sure that they were working as soon as he went to light one of acetylene light fixtures in the hotel it exploded with a big bang and the explosion was felt at least in a 3-mile radius around the Hotel. Oscar suffered a broken leg even though the explosion could have killed him from lighting the match to check the acetylene plant. The levels of Carbon-Monoxide were at the right levels that the spark from one match could cause enough damage to the structure.

The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area
The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area

The force of the explosion was felt by people a mile away. The hotel was massively damaged. Walls were splintered and the hotel was partially shifted from its foundation. The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered. However, true tragedy was averted by the timing of the explosion; forty couples were due to arrive at the hotel for a dinner and dance party.  If the explosion had occurred an hour later, it most likely would have resulted in some loss of life. After the explosion, Winslow had to file for bankruptcy and he sued the manufacturer of the gas machinery. The hotel was rebuilt and was used as a rooming house until the mid-20th century.

The Arlington / The Streb Hotel

The Arlington was built in the 1850s as well but this hotel was down the road a little bit from where the Manchester hotel was located. The Arlington hotel or known as the Streb Hotel is now the site of the Bob Johnson Pre-Owned Certified Collection. In Circa 1906, Thomas Streb became the owner of the Arlington Hotel and changed the name to Streb’s.  His son Raymond took over in 1936 until his death in 1956.  Like the Manchester Hotel, Streb’s also was almost destroyed.  About 1:30 pm on Sunday afternoon August 21, 1938, with the temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s that day a nurse driving by the hotel on Ridge Road noticed “smoke curling from the corner of a three-story barn joined to the hotel by a long car shed.”  She ran into the hotel and alerted Ray Streb.  The barn “blazed up in a flash” endangering the hotel.  The nurse then helped Streb’s mother and aunt who were dining with Streb at the time, and who both were in ill health, to the safety of a neighboring home. After summoning a doctor for the two elderly women, the unidentified nurse quietly left the scene.  Volunteer firefighters from North Greece and Greece-Ridge battled the blaze.  “Passing motorists assisted Streb in removing furniture and other valuables from the hotel, but the fire was brought under control before it could damage the hotel.  Streb and two firefighters suffered burns.

The Centennials of Ridge Road and North Greece Fire Department

Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo

And in this Bicentennial year of the Town of Greece, two out of the four Fire Districts are celebrating their Centennials this year. We at the Greece Historical Society and Museum would like to Salute and say Thank you to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day whether it is putting out fires, rescuing you from a car accident, or even providing non-life threatening services like free blood pressures checks, smoke detector reminders, car seat checks or other basic services. The two fire companies we are celebrating today are the Members of The North Greece Fire Department and The Greece Ridge Fire Department on their 100 years of service to the Greece Community.

Luckily with the help of both fire departments, the Strebs Hotel would later become just a restaurant in 1960 and the restaurant would last until the early 2010s in 2013 it was torn down to make way for more places to buy your shiny new or used car.

Here is an ad from the Streb’s Restaurant Greece Post, September 7, 1983

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 19- Henpeck, Hoosick, and Hojack, What’s in a Name? Part 2

This week we explore some of the myths of some of the nicknames of the communities in the town. This week we look at street names, elevations, and finally the Hojack Line. Some have myths about the name, while some are named after a person or where one of the settlers came from and decided to call the Town of Greece their home.

Street Names of Greece

There are more than 1,050 streets and roads in the town. It should be no surprise that more than 80 of the street names in Greece are related to the farm families who lived along them. In 1935, town supervisor Gordon Howe proposed that some streets be renamed to honor early pioneers. The first change voted on by the town board was to rename what had been Sage or Ottaway Road to McGuire Road in honor of Felix McGuire who settled in Greece circa 1805. Here is a little bit from the Article written in the society’s newsletter by Bill Sauers you can read more by the link below the quote:

Map of Greece, 2022, from monroecounty.gov
Map of Greece, 2022, from monroecounty.gov

For the trivia aficionados, in the Town of Greece, there are only 25 Streets and 173 Roads but there are approximately 369 Drives, 160 Lanes, 94 Courts, 94 Circles, 40 Avenues, 25 Ways, 7 Boulevards, 21 Trails, and fewer of Commons, Coves, Estates, Landings, Boulevards, etc.*

There are over 80 streets named after the original farm families who lived there. We have some named for the seasons: Spring, Summer, and Autumn, but no Winter. There are animal streets: Fox, Deer, Hawk, Owl, Eagle. Several have female names: Judy Ann, Jackie, Laura, Roseanne, but very few have male names and there are 14 named after saints. There are “state streets”: Kentucky, California, and Florida, but no “State Street” (although one wing of the mall calls its self Main Street but that doesn’t count), and even some named after the pilgrims; (Miles) Standish and (John) Alden. Wood seems to be the most popular with 97 containing the word wood in them, but surprisingly, for a town once known for its orchards, only eight with Apple. Then there are 40 Creeks and 14 Brooks, but no Stream. We even
have one named after a card game, Canasta. Of course, some developers couldn’t resist sneaking in their own names: Willis, Britton, and Alfonso (DeNardo).

*The numbers are approximate and may vary somewhat from what is stated in this story.

June 1, 2018 – Streets and Roads by Bill Sauers | Greece Historical Society and Museum

Scott Road, Eddy Road, Mt. Read Blvd.

Scott Road

Scott Road was the section that ran from Stone road to Emerson St.

On Mount Read, a famous female pilot, and no it was not Amelia Mary Earhart, but Blanche Stuart Scott, she was a Pilot, Automobile Adventurer, Actress, a museum curator. Blanche Stuart Scott, America’s first female pilot, was born in 1885 on her grandparents’ farm in Greece located on the north side of Lexington Ave, the south side was in Gates. Reading from her unpublished autobiography during a recorded interview, she said.

“My name is Blanche Stuart Scott and I come from a pioneer family, a Rochester pioneer family, who came to Rochester in eighteen hundred and ten.  And settled out on what was then the old Scott Road and is now Mt Read Blvd.”

Blanche Stuart Scott

The land that was the Scott Brothers lot is now where Delphi Automotive a division of General Motors is located today and is now located in the city of Rochester.

1910 Map of Greece from the Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division.
1910 Map of Greece from the Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division.

Eddy Road

Eddy Road ran from Stone road to Latta. The road was named after Thomas Eddy who lived at 3205 Mount Read Blvd.

Thomas Eddy Homestead

Mount Read

At the corners of Latta and Mount Read on the Southeast corn where Our Mother of Sorrows Church was the land once owned by Nicholas Read a pioneer family of the town of Greece and the Paddy Hill area which we will cover more in a later snapshot either on Our Mother of Sorrows Church and or Paddy Hill. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1920s that the entire stretch from Buffalo road to Latta Road would become Mount Read Boulevard.

Elevations in the town

Below is the list of different elevations in the town listed from the lowest point to the highest point the town. If you want to explore the elevation where you live you can check out the site topographic-map.com which is a great digital representation of the data from the United States Geological Surveys topographical data with color-coded elevation lines blow is low elevation and very red is higher elevations.

  • The lowest Elevation in the town is 243 feet and that is along the ponds at the lake which covers all the beach hamlets along the lakefront.
  • Mt Read at Latta Road Elevation is 345 above sea level.
  • North Greece Elevation at the intersection of Latta Road and North Greece Road is 338 feet above sea level
  • The spot where the Native American fort and Hanford Tavern were at Maplewood drive at Bridgeview drive is only 386 feet above sea level.
  • Barnard / Dewey Stone Area is 400 feet above sea level
  • King’s Landing Elevation is 415 feet above sea level
  • Ridge Road at Apollo Drive Elevation is 441 ft above sea level.
  • West Greece Elevation is 455 feet at the Hoosick Cemetary.
  • Ridgeway ave right at the entrance to Ridge Road Fire District Station #3 is 525 feet above sea level.
  • South Greece Elevation at School 12 at Old Ridgeway and Elmgrove Road is 525 feet above sea level.
  • The highest point in the town is where the BJ’s Wholesale Club is located on Bellwood Drive which is 558 feet above sea level.

Hojack Line / Lake Ontario Shoreline Railroad /
Rome, Watertown, Ogdensburg Rail Road (R.W. & O.) line
and New York Central Railroad

If you are in your 30s or older at least once in your lifetime saw the swing bridge rotate for the trains to cross over the Genesee River at Port of Rochester. The Lake Ontario Shoreline Railroad began operating in 1871. Ownership and the name of the railroad changed hands over the years including the Rome, Watertown, Ogdensburg Rail Road (R.W. & O.) line and New York Central Railroad. But it was colloquially known as the Hojack line. There are to this day speculations of how the line became known as the HoJack Line.’

Hojack Line Myth # 1

“It seems that in the early days of the railroad, a farmer in his mule-drawn buckboard was crossing the tracks when the mule stopped and wouldn’t move.  When the farmer saw the fast-approaching train, he began shouting, “Ho-Jack, Ho-Jack.” Amused by the incident, the trainmen began calling their line the “Ho-Jack.”

Hojack Line Myth #2

According to a story published in the Greater Greece Post in 1965, “when it was necessary to hurriedly assemble a train crew in the wee small hours of the night, the call Ho Jack would boom through the halls of the rooming houses where railroad men stayed.”

Hojack Line Myth #3

A farmer, turned train engineer by the name of Jack Welch would yell Whoa, Jack when he stopped the train as if he were still stopping a horse. It was picked up and passed on as Hojack.

The More Plausible answer to the Hojack Line Myth

From a scientific standpoint if you listen to the sound of a train whistle as the sound travels thru the air it sounds more like hojack or Whoa Jack but even this could be seen as a myth to the nickname of the line.

Want to Explore More on Snapshot 19

Consider the following the following books for more information on the information in this snapshot:

The Hojack Line Remembered Oswego to Lewiston by Richard Chait is available in the gift shop at the museum and where ever books are sold just not available in our online store.

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Volume 1
Eight Miles along the Shore
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 18 Henpeck, Hoosick, Hojack, What’s in a Name? Part 1

This week we explore some of the myths of some of the nicknames of the communities in the town. This week we look at Henpeck, Hoosick, Braddock, and Barnard Crossing. Some have myths about the name, while some are named after a person or where one of the settlers came from and decided to call the Town of Greece their home.

Ada Ridge

In Snapshot # 16 we know the commercial hub of the town, Ada, was named after Ada, Michigan, the former home of the postmaster, William Anderson.

The Myths of how the area known as “Henpeck”
South Greece got its moniker

We are not sure how South Greece mostly the crossroads at Elmgrove Road, Ridgeway ave, and the Erie Canal got the moniker of Henpeck. We have three myths of that moniker henpeck but there may be more than three for the location but the three listed here are ones we at the Historical society discuss in the video above.

If you have not seen the following snapshots or have seen them and would like to a refresher then here they are before we get into these myths about henpeck.

1872 Map of South Greece

The first one is Snapshot 15 the Erie Canal and then Snapshot 17 Henpeck, South Greece

Henpeck Myth Number 1

Mr. and Mrs. Henpeck wash the dishes from the Library of Congress
Mr. and Mrs. Henpeck wash the dishes from the Library of Congress

The term, Henpeck, has been around since the 1600s and denotes a meek submissive husband constantly nagged by his wife like a hen constantly pecking at the ground. New York author Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle was a henpecked husband.

That’s the reason given most often for South Greece’s nickname: “Some say [it was called Henpeck] because its residents claimed to be ‘henpecked’ by their spouses.” Would the male inhabitants of a rough and tumble canal port really admit that?

For myth 1 we do not have sufficient evidence to prove that this was the reason for naming the area Henpeck.

Henpeck Myth Number 2

A canal enthusiast, who helped get Henpeck Park developed had another theory; he said in a news account that he knew of stories that the name was linked to a type of hen developed in the vicinity. There were a number of farms in the area some were chicken farms or turkey farms, as well as orchards that grew apples and other produce that was sold in the community. But without enough evidence that the type of hen that was raised in the area and journals or diary entries to prove that this was the reason for naming the area Henpeck.

Chicken by William Baptiste Baird from the Library of Congress
Chicken by William Baptiste Baird from the Library of Congress

Henpeck Myth Number 3

Henpeck is marked by using the star to pin point the little community of HenpeckHenpeck is marked by using the star to pin point the little community of Henpeck
Henpeck is marked by using the star to pinpoint the little community of Henpeck

This one may be a little more realistic considering there is a small hamlet called Henpeck in Cattaraugus County that could make the naming of the area to be a little bit more solid than the last two myths.

The town of Sandusky in Cattaraugus County was the hometown of longtime journalist and chronicler of local history Arch Merrill; he wrote in several of his columns that Sandusky used to be called Henpeck. Perhaps, like William Anderson and Ada, a former resident from the Southern tier brought the name with him.

But without sufficient evidence to prove that the journalist Arch Merrill was the source of naming the area Henpeck.

Henpeck Myth Conclusion

Overall on the three myths we looked at for Henpeck, we may never know how South Greece came to be called Henpeck, but that’s one of the joys of researching local history, one day you might uncover a document that answers the question.

The Myths of how the area known as “Hoosick”
West Greece got its moniker

Map of West Greece
Map of West Greece the Dotten Line is the town board the Pink tint is the Town of Parma the yellow tint is the Town of Greece and sitting in the middle of the line is the Church

West Greece is center at the crossroads of Manitou and Ridge Road on the Greece Parma border as you see on the map. West Greece will be featured in Snapshot number 20.

One of the Myths on Hoosick involves the local doctor Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley and will be featured in snapshot number 21.

Hoosick Myth Number 1

Our First myth about Hoosick comes from the neighbor of Doctor Bradley you can see where the Doctor and Mrs. McNeely’s property is right next door to one of the buildings owned by Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley.

A humorous accounting for that name has been handed down through the years. Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley practiced medicine for many years in West Greece. As the legend goes, he had a neighbor, Mrs. Rosa McNeely, who whenever the good Doctor drove by her house, would stand on her porch “flapping her calico apron wildly and crying out: “Dr. Bradley, who’s sick, who’s sick?”

For some people when you say “Hoosick” it could sound like “who’s sick” without the apostrophe s after who which is why it may sound the same but without some documentation to prove that this is the reason why West Greece is named Hoosick and the cemetery is labeled Hoosick Cemetery.

Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley
Dr. Samuel Beach Bradley

Hoosick Myth Number 2

Hoosick Falls from 1889 by L.R. Burleigh
Hoosick Falls from 1889 by L.R. Burleigh

This myth could be a little bit reasonable as to why the area is named Hoosick, according to historical research, however, it documents a more pedestrian explanation for the name.  The people who first settled in West Greece came from the Hoosick Falls area near Albany and the name was used before Doctor Bradley ever lived there. There is also a tiny town named Hoosick, New York, which could be source two but may depend on the records of where the West Greece settlers came from.

The Braddock Bay Myths

Braddock Bay Marina
HDR picture of Braddock Bay Marina by Doug Worboys

Over the course of time, many Greece residents at one point or another have visited this park because of its views and nature trails or visited the Braddock Bay Raptor Group when they do programs here, or have taken lots of wildlife photos at the park but did you know that Braddock Bay itself has myths of its own but none of them have any documented answers to why the bay is called Braddock near the end of this snapshot.

Braddock Bay Myth Number 1 –
The French and Indian War Connection

The First myth we look at is a General that was stationed at Fort Niagara a British General by the name of John Prideaux. Based on some records and accounts historians theorize that it was named after a British General. During the French and Indian War, most likely near the end of June 1759, General John Prideaux camped on the shores of the bay with two thousand of his troops, and with them were another thousand Haudenosaunee warriors under the command of Sir William Johnson. They were on their way to successfully lay siege to the French-occupied Fort Niagara in July. Alas, Johnson, a prolific journalist, was suffering from a cold when he camped at the bay so there is little detail about it in his journal.

Death of General John Prideaux
Death of General John Prideaux

General Prideaux was killed during the battle for Fort Niagara (unfortunately, he stepped in the way of his own army’s mortar and was decapitated). The Bay was subsequently named after him, Prideaux Bay.  But over the years in which his name was “barbarously mispronounced” his name disappeared; perhaps Yankees found the name too hard to say and it morphed from Bradloe to finally Braddock. Or maybe people confused him with another major general from the French and Indian War, killed in battle in Pennsylvania, Edward Braddock.

But without that journal entries, we will never know it being named after Edward Braddock is not known either but this is the myth of the French and Indian War Myth for naming the Bay.

Braddock Bay Myth Number 2 –
The Lost Treasure of The Pirate Braddock

Faulding Skinner, known as Doc, frequently recounted a story his father told him about Captain Braddock. According to the story, this Braddock was a notorious pirate chased into the bay by British ships. Depending on who was telling or retelling the story, rather than being caught with the goods, he either dropped his loot into the bay or buried it near the base of a tree on the shore.  Whenever Doc told this story, afterward there’d be holes around all the trees near the bay.

Aerial image of the Braddock Bay, NY located on Lake Ontario.
Aerial image of Braddock Bay, NY located on Lake Ontario. – SUNY School SOAR

Barnard Crossing is not a Myth but connected to a real family

We do know for whom Barnard’s Crossing was named. The railroad cut across the property of Mrs. Thomas Barnard and the train station was called Barnard’s Crossing.  The United States postal service streamlined the name and eliminated the ‘s and Crossing so the area for the most part is now known simply as Barnard.

When did the United States remove apostrophes
from most places?

The answer will surprise you it was done on September 4, 1890, President Harrison signed Executive Order 28 instructing Congress on the creation of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) later on during a public law session in 1947 the rules that set up a unified naming convention of geographic name usage throughout the Federal Government. It was the creation of the naming convention that help simplify the naming standards because depending on what map you are looking one could have Braddock’s Bay and then 5 years later it could show just Braddock Bay. There are only five locations that have been approved to use the apostrophes in their name for mailing purposes they are

— Martha’s Vineyard in 1933, after an extensive local campaign;

— Ike’s Point in New Jersey in 1944 because the name “would be unrecognizable otherwise”;

— John E’s Pond in Rhode Island in 1963 to prevent it from being mispronounced as John “Ess” Pond;

— Carlos Elmer’s Joshua View in Arizona in 1995 to keep the reference to a Joshua tree forest in Mohave County from sounding like three first names in a row;

— and Clark’s Mountain in Oregon in 2002 to accentuate the tribute to William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame.

To learn more on what the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) does you can check out the resources at the United States Geological Survey – Board on Geographic Names or Board on Geographic Names Resource page https://www.usgs.gov/us-board-on-geographic-names/resources

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 17 – Henpeck / South Greece Hamlet

Map with each hamlet listed click to view a larger image

In the early years of the town, there were little hamlets or unincorporated villages that people called different sections of Greece, for example, you have ADA Ridge which is the intersection of Mitchell Road Long Pond Road, and Ridge Road, Jekin’s Corner/North Greece is located at Latta Road and North Greece Road, South Greece is at the intersection of Ridgway Ave and Elmgrove Road at the Erie Canal, Dewey Stone Hamlet is right at where Dewey ave meets Stone Road, Paddy Hill/Read’s Corner is at Mount Read and Latta.

The towpath thru south Greece

In Snapshot 15 we explored the Erie canal and its role in the town’s history and in Bicentennial Snapshot No 13 – Asa Rowe, and James Vick with each of their Nursery Industry business used the canal as a part of their business some of them ship from out of South Greece. But now we dive deeper into the small settlement in the area known as Henpeck/South Greece it was set up around the Erie Canal at Elmgrove Road and Ridgeway Avenue. You can see the difference in how Ridgeway is from the 1872 map of South Greece and the map drawn by Jack Wenrich showing the changes in the route of the Erie Canal.

1872 original Canal route in South Greece
New Route of the Canal thru South Greece also shows the old Stores on the Canal

The old towpath ran a different route than the modern canal route as seen in the two maps above. With the old towpath, there were some interesting laws and rules while using the canal one of the rules of using the towpath came with fines,

Fines on the canal

  1. section one says if any person to lead, ride, or drive any mule, mules, horse or horses, at any other pace that is not a walk this was a fifteen-dollar fine if violated,
  2. section two basically says no person shall drive any cattle over any bridge or bridges at any speed except at a walking pace this was a fifteen-dollar fine if violated
  3. The fine for violating either section 1 or section 2 or both could be subject to a penalty for each offense at the cost of $15 and eligible to be sued and the court is able to recover the cost for the offense by the bridge operator, contractor, the state, county, town, village or other any other person or person in charge of repairing the bridge to make it usable again.
rpf03045, 9/2/08, 4:12 PM, 8C, 4386×3118 (995+2566), 100%, Repro 1.8 Dewe, 1/40 s, R82.4, G47.0, B71.8

The Historical Marker Henpeck

Henpeck Historical Marker at Henpeck Park on Ridgeway Ave

What is an Apple Dry House?

In the Historical Marker, it mentions an Apple Dry House, here is what the Heritage Square Museum says on the historical marker this is their Apple Dry House but it applies to any Apple Dry House.

Apple Dry House

The history of apple growing dates back to 1804 when white settlers first settled in Pultneyville and began propagating the apple tree found there. By 1850, commercial culture (production for sale or trade to others) was beginning. Apples were stored in cellars or hand-peeled and sliced, then dried in the sun or on racks over the kitchen stove. Alanson Warner was not the only inventor of his family. His son, John, was a master carpenter who built his own house on Furnace Road, right around the corner from his father’s farm. John was also a farmer who had many fruit trees. He needed a way to store fruit and keep it from rotting so he invented a dry house. The Warner Dry House was so successful that John was asked to build Warner Dry Houses all over upstate NY. He was said to be “slow and meticulous… his hands always busy working on something.” Besides building dry houses, he also built winding staircases.

Drying of apples occurred after the apples were shaken from the trees. They were then taken to a dry house. Many of these buildings are still evident about in Ontario although not used for their original purpose. The dried apple slices were bagged or packed in wooden boxes for shipment which might be by rail or on the Erie Canal or Lake Ontario.

Heritage Square Museum

You can check out this Apple Dry house marker at the following GPS coordinates 43° 15.424′ N, 77° 18.43′ W. Marker is in Ontario, New York, in Wayne County. Marker can be reached from Ontario Center Road, ¼ mile south of Brick Church Road. Marker is on the grounds of the Heritage Square Museum.

Basically what the apple dry house was used for was food preservation of apples in the form of apple sauces or other products that are made from apples. There are other Dry Food houses around town and the country for other types of fruits and vegetables that are either going to be canned, pickled, or preserved for uses when the items are not in growing seasons like carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries, peaches, oranges, etc. Without these dry houses, some crops would wither and die and not be able to have the veggies, or fruits in the winter seasons unless you were somehow able to have a working greenhouse which very few backs then did have some of these had heat in them by burning wood or coal or some other form of a heating element to keep the plants green and growing for year-round food.

The Doctors of South Greece

Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell House
Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell House at 355 Elmgrove Road (NY-386)
Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell House Today
Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell House Today

The two doctors that serviced the area were the Buell family, it was a father and son that took care of the people in South Greece. Doctor Adiel Sherwood Buell was born approximately in the year 1812 in Rochester Hills, Oakland County, Michigan, which is 30 minutes northwest of Detroit. Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell married Lucretia Griswold of Mount Upton, Chenango County, New York, in 1836 at the age of 24 and settled down in South Greece at 555 Elmgrove road at the intersection of Elmgrove Road, Ridgeway Ave and St Pierre Drive it is now a rental property under the ownership of Maison Properties.

Lucretia (Griswold) Buell gave birth to Dr. Emsley Sunderlin Buell on 17th April 1839 at their property at 355 Elmgrove road. It was when Emsley became of age that allowed him to practice internal medicine in the 1800s that he and his father Adiel became the communities doctors for the area in South Greece. In 1873 Emsley married Carolyn Louise “Carrie” Yeo of Canandaigua, Ontario County, New York, and in 1882 they had a daughter, whose name was Alice Buell.

Henpeck South Greece railroad station Greater Greece Press May 25 1972
Henpeck South Greece railroad station Greater Greece Press May 25, 1972

Alice would go on to write an article that would appear in a newspaper about her Grandfather Dr. Adiel Sherwood Buell role in getting the New York Central Railroad to stop at the south Greece station to drop off the mail instead of going all the way into the village of Spencerport to pick up the mail and then coming back to Henpeck area and delivering it the residents. The building that housed the south Greece station is now home to a few different commercial businesses they are Modified Custom Installations auto repair shop, Rochester Auto Detail, Dynamic Cycle & PowerSports, CME Associates, and Loewke Brill/ LB Bonds at 461 Elmgrove Road.

Related Articles and Clips to Bicentennial Snapshot # 17

William A. Payne House
Bicentennial Snapshot # 15 – Erie Canal
Bicentennial Snapshot # 13: Asa Rowe, James Vick and the Beginning of the Nursery Industry
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 16 – ‘ADA’ Ridge Hamlet

Map with each hamlet listed click to view a larger image

In the early years of the town, there were little hamlets or unincorporated villages that people called different sections of Greece, for example, you have ADA Ridge which is the intersection of Mitchell Road Long Pond Road, and Ridge Road, Jekin’s Corner/North Greece is located at Latta Road and North Greece Road, South Greece is at Elmgrove Road at the Erie Canal, Dewey Stone Hamlet is right at where Dewey ave meets Stone Road, Paddy Hill/Read’s Corner is at Mount Read and Latta.

This week we explore the Hamlet of Ada which is at the intersection of Mitchell Road, Long Pond Road, and Ridge Road, this is where the center of town offices was except for the Department of Public Works until 1997 when the complex moved to the Greece Center area just north of Latta on Long Pond. We first told you about how the ridge was a glacial ridge, then the stagecoach route in episode 11, and the toll plank road from Long Pond Road to Elmgrove Road in episode 12, we introduce you to William Anderson General store and that was the post office for Ada in episode 14. You might have learned about the early Rowe family with the settlement at King’s Landing in the 4th snapshot. and we look at Asa Rowes’ Nursery business in snapshot 13.

Anderson’s General Store

In Snapshot 14 we told you that there were many general stores that people would shop at to get items for everyday living and one of these stores was William Anderson general store. William H Anderson was born in October 1849 in a small community called Ada Michigan, and he came to Greece, New York later in life with his wife Lois E. (Hyatt) Anderson. It was in Greece that he became a postmaster and opened his general store on the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Mitchell Road.

William H Anderson General Store
William H Anderson General Store

Did you know that a portion of Ridge Road was a toll-based planked road?

1872 map by F. W. Beers
1872 map by F. W. Beers

Note on the map on the left the Y-shaped conjunction of Long Pond Road, then known as Greece Centre Road, on the left, and the road that borders the property of farmer Erastus Walker on the right. In the 1860s there was a section that was planked it was from Long Pond Road to Elmgrove Road (Henpeck Road). It was a 2.5-mile stretch that was plank which means the road was made of wooden planks it was thought to have been 9 1⁄2 miles (15.3 km) and chartered on October 23, 1848, and there was a court case involving Kenyon vs the Seeley over the tolls that were collected on this plank road. Locals didn’t think it was necessary to pay to use the road. Erastus Walker used to cut across his fields to bypass the toll gate. After being used by so many, so often it became a right of way. Just south of the Walker property was land owned by the Mitchells. Eventually, the Mitchells would own the Walker Land and the name of the road changed to Mitchell Road.

Greece Baptist Church

Greece Baptist Church was one of the first churches in the town. The first building for Greece Baptist Church was built in the 1830s at the corner of Ridge Road and Long Pond Road. Picture in the video was its home until 1962 when the new home for Greece Baptist church was built at the end of Walker St a street that runs east-west and parallels just north of the ridge it runs just behind Buckman’s Plaza and now it connects the newly formed Greece Baptist Church Parkway. The Cole and Kenyon families are founding members of the Greece Baptist Church, Cousins Deb Myers and Maureen Murphy are descendants of the families who attended this church and help found Greece Baptist Church. The reason for the Church to move 700 feet was the community was growing by leaps and bounds after world war 2 and Ridge road expanded from one lane in each direction to a four-lane with two lanes going eastbound and two lanes going westbound. It recently turned 190 years and in ten years it will be celebrating its own bicentennial.

The Rowe Tavern

The original Rowe tavern that Asa’s father started in the early 1800s no exact date of the day it opened but we believe it was somewhere around circa 1804 but with no exact records or proof other than on a map showing that shows where it was located. The Rowe Tavern burned down in 1845 while being operated by R.P. Edgarton at that time while Asa was running his Horticultural and Nursery farm. It was later rebuilt.

St. Johns Church, the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.

1875 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
1875 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
St Johns 1964 Church
2014 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church Now photo by Bill Sauers

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church was founded as a satellite parish of Our Mother of Sorrows Church. The original 20 congregants met in the Rowe tavern building from 1865 until 1876 when they were able to construct a church on the site. The tavern building became the priests’ rectory. Later on, the Church would expand to add a school and then a completely new structure set back further from the road to its new Church which is featured in two separate recordings about the Architect James H. Johnson (May 2012) and the Architecture of James H. Johnson (May 2019) but later on the church would sell the old rectory and school. The St Johns school lot became a Royal Car Wash.

We also had a Tuesday program with one of the families that were part of the original St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church her name is Carolyn Kerhaert a descendant of the VOLKMAR family who came to Greece about 1865 and help found St. John’s Church.

Up Close with Two Greece Pioneer Families – the Volkmar and Cole/Kenyon families May 10, 2022

The Falls Hotel

A little way down no more than 30 feet was the Falls Hotel. It opened under the ownership of William Fall, later it was operated by T. B. Hiett this would explain why the street Hiett Rd runs parallel to the Ridge and ends when you enter into the parking lot of St. Johns Church, the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.

Second Falls Tavern from GHS
Second Falls Tavern from GHS

The Falls hotel also had a fire this was not till 1883 when the hotel was under the management of Willam Gentle who was the proprietor at the time of the fire. The Falls Hotel would later be reborn but it took some skills and lots of logs to basically move the Old Rowe Tavern from where the old Rectory for St. Johns Church stands today and move it across the road to where the entrance to Red Robin at the Mall at Greece Ridge is at today. The deal made to move the Tavern involved the congregants, the Pastor of the church, and the proprietor of the building moving it across the way to build the church.

The Fetzner Family

Fetzner Blacksmith and Carriage shop

The Fetzner family ran a Blacksmith and Carriage shop also they were one of the first families that ran a fire company in the hamlet of Ada at the intersection of Ridge, Long Pond, and Mitchell Roads. In 1876, two brothers, Frank and John Fetzner, opened the Fetzner Brothers Blacksmith and Carriage shops on West Ridge Road across the street from the St. John the Evangelist Church and next door to the Falls Hotel. Peter Knipper who was married to the Fetzner’s cousin, Mary Mura, bought the Falls Hotel in 1889.

In this 1960s picture on the Left is Fetzner Garage | Richards on the Ridge to the right
In this 1960s picture on the Left is Fetzner Garage | Richards on the Ridge to the right

They were one of the groups of merchants who went in on a soda acid chemical to fight fires in the area of Ada in the museum we have a soda acid chemical hand-pulled truck.

Buckman’s

Stay tuned for a snapshot of Buckman’s Dairy and Bakery but in the meantime, we have a program on Buckman’s Dairy History recorded in July 2017, and here is an article from our newsletter titled Buckmans Dairy. Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!! – From the historian’s Files.

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