Ralph Francis: Black Activist and Abolitionist

In November, 2023, Marie Poinan did a program at the Charlotte Library on the history of the Charlotte ferries and their operators. She caught my attention when she mentioned that one of the first ferry operators was Ralph Francis, a black man about whom little has been documented. I was intrigued – a person of color operating a boat at the port of Charlotte during the turbulent decade between the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the Civil War? Could he have been involved in the Underground Railroad? Since I was preparing a program on the UGRR(Underground Railroad), I started researching Ralph Francis.

For every well-known conductor and stationmaster such as Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, there were dozens more men and women who remain unknown or about whom there is little information. Out of necessity, secrecy was the very essence of the UGRR. Those who helped enslaved people on the run faced serious consequences if they were caught; they could be fined thousands of dollars and/or imprisoned for many years. Therefore, very few kept written records or any kind of documentation, making it difficult for historians to verify with any certainty the people involved in the network.

Between 1850 and the beginning of the Civil War, almost 150 enslaved people passed through the Rochester area each year on their way to Canada. Two of the “Railroad” lines led to Greece, either at Kelsey’s Landing near the lower falls or the port at the mouth of the Genesee River in Charlotte; at that time both were located in the Town of Greece. Ralph Francis had a hotel at Kelsey’s Landing and then a tavern at Charlotte during that time. Coincidence? Perhaps. However, Francis had a history of activism.

Kelsey’s Landing historical marker in Maplewood Park
https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=58198
Reynolds Arcade in 1840

Born in New Jersey circa 1811, Francis was living in Rochester by 1840 and according to the 1850 census he lived on Greig Street (or Greig Ally) in the Third Ward, where the majority of free people of color resided. He was a barber and with Benjamin Cleggett operated Francis & Cleggett Barber Shop, one of several shops owned by abolitionists, both black and white, in the Reynolds Arcade. Frederick Douglass’ North Star office was across the street to the south and the Eagle Hotel, where people could get the stagecoach to Charlotte, across the street on the west.

In 1843 Francis helped Douglass organize a four-day conference on black suffrage in New York State and in 1846 he was a main speaker at a second conference. There were two letters to the editor published in the Daily Democrat in which he advocated for the right to vote for all black men. At that time free black men who owned $250 worth of property could vote in New York State; Ralph Francis easily qualified with holdings worth $2,000. In the early 1850s he worked to get Rochester’s city schools desegregated.

To my mind it makes sense that he was engaged in getting enslaved people to Canada. Canadian vessels had a major commercial presence at both Kelsey’s Landing and the Port of Charlotte. When his former business partner Cleggett died in 1917, his obituary in the Democrat & Chronicle stated that he was likely involved in the UGRR.

Port of Charlotte 1856
Notice in the Daily Democrat, June 14, 1854
Notice in the Daily Democrat, June 14, 1854

Francis disappeared from the Rochester landscape circa 1855. He was gone from Charlotte less than a year after opening his saloon there. Both of his parents and his nine-year-old nephew, all who resided with him, died in 1854. A bathhouse that he erected at the beach in July of 1854 was burned down by an arsonist in August. Marie Poinan used her genealogy expertise and found him living in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Was that arson a warning? Was someone about to turn him into the authorities for violating the Fugitive Slave Act, causing him to flee to Canada? We may never know, but I’ll keep looking, hoping to find out more about him.

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Bicentennial Snapshot No. 51: Some Notable Women of Greece

This week as the country marks the beginning of National Women’s History Month, we will introduce you to some notable Greece women.

Throughout the year we’ve told you stories about places, events, and people of the town of Greece. Some of the most elusive to pursue are the stories of Greece women who lived and contributed to the town, state, or country. Before the 20th century, most women usually were written off only when they married or died.

First let us salute all the pioneer women, such as Mehitable Hincher, who helped settle the town and raised their children, and helped their spouses. Imagine what it was like for Mehitable to be the first European woman to live in the town with no others for miles around. On the banks of the Genesee river, she raised her eight children and prospered with her husband. As did many other women whose names and stories are lost to history.

Descendants of William and Mehitable Hincher, circa 1890s
Descendants of William and Mehitable Hincher, circa 1890s

Elizabeth Baker

Painting attributed to Robert Peckam, circa 1843
Painting attributed to Robert Peckam, circa 1843

There’s little documentation for Elizabeth Baker. She was born in 1813 in East Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, the daughter of Josiah Jewett Baker and Alice Fox Baker. She was living in Greece circa 1840, but where or with whom is uncertain. Up until this time, there were only custom tailors in Rochester but, she opened a shop on Front Street in Rochester selling ready-to-wear children’s clothes. The boys’ trousers cost 25 cents. She was the very first clothing manufacturer in the city, a city that was on the brink of becoming a center of clothing manufacturing in the country.

Circa 1843, Meyer Greentree came to Rochester. He was one of only five Jewish people residing in Rochester at the time and he has been designated by some as the father of the Rochester Jewish community. He first worked for lace dealer Sigmund Rosenberg also on Front Street. Meyer became acquainted with Elizabeth Baker and they married in 1844. It was quite unusual for the time for a Jewish man and a Gentile woman to marry. After their marriage and the birth of their first child, Meyer took over the Front street business and “converted the place to a pants shop, and thereby began Rochester’s famed men’s clothing industry.”

Artist’s imaging of Mire Greentree, 1984, by Dick Lubey from 4 Score & 4 Rochester Portrait
Artist’s imaging of Mire Greentree, 1984, by Dick Lubey from 4 Score & 4 Rochester Portraits
Ad for Greentree & Wile, in the 1861 Rochester City Directory
Ad for Greentree & Wile, in the 1861 Rochester City Directory

Meyer Greentree is rightly called the Father of Rochester’s clothing industry, and though she is seldom mentioned, one would also have to say that Elizabeth Baker is the mother of Rochester’s clothing industry.

Sarah Cole Truesdale

On November 5, 1872, hoping to generate a legal case to take to the Supreme Court, Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women including her sister Mary voted in the presidential election. However, to stave off the possibility that this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, the women were charged with misdemeanors, not felonies.

Susan B. Anthony from Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
Susan B. Anthony from Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
2022 Pioneer Families Program, May 10, 2022 Slide 37
Sarah Cole Truesdale’s home on Madison Street, from our Program UP CLOSE WITH TWO GREECE PIONEER FAMILIES recorded May 10, 2022

One of the other women who went with her was Sarah Cole Truesdale. She lived next door to the Anthonys on Madison Street. Sarah Cole was from a pioneer Greece family, growing up in Hoosick, that is South Greece. Her husband George Truesdale was from another long-time Greece family. In the snapshot, you can hear Deborah Cole Meyers, a volunteer at the Greece Historical Society describes when she discover an ancestor was friends with Susan B Anothy.

On May 22, 1873, Order of Indictment was issued for Sarah Cole Truesdale.
On May 22, 1873, Order of Indictment was issued for Sarah Cole Truesdale.

On May 22, 1873, Sarah appeared before Millard P. Fillmore, son of the thirteenth President of the United States who you may recall was from Buffalo. This is a copy of her indictment for the crime of voting for a representative of the United States Congress 29th congressional district “without having a legal right to vote in the said election district, the said Sarah Truesdale being then and there a person of the female sex.”

The court form only accounted for men voting illegally. Notice here that the clerk had to insert an “s” before “he” in this sentence.

Sarah Cole Truesdale's Bail release conditions
Sarah Cole Truesdale’s Bail release conditions

Sarah was released on four hundred dollars bail. This is a copy of her recognizance contract. However, the government decided to try only Susan B. Anthony. The case was widely followed in the press all over the country and helped to focus the women’s rights movement specifically on suffrage. Let’s now consider Greece’s most famous suffragist.

Jean Brooks Greenleaf

Jean Brooks Greenleaf was born on October 1, 1831, in Bernardston, Massachusetts. She married Halbert S. Greenleaf, a lock manufacturer (Yale and Greenleaf and later Sargent and Greenleaf here in Rochester) in 1852. In 1867 they moved to Rochester.”

Halbert S. Greenleaf, from William Farley Peck, Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester, 1884.
Halbert S. Greenleaf, from William Farley Peck, Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester, 1884.

Halbert S. Greenleaf, a Democrat, also served two terms in the House of Representatives, 1883 to 1885 and 1891 to 1893.

The Greenleafs lived at 64 North Goodman Street but also spent the summer months at their home and farm in Greece—what is today all the land around Lakeshore Country Club. At that time the street was called Fleming Road; today it is Greenleaf Road.

Close up of the1902 Plat Map zoomed in on Halbert S Greenleaf Property in Greece, N.Y., by J. M. Lathrop and Roger H. Pidgeom
Close up of the 1902 Plat Map zoomed in on Halbert S Greenleaf Property in Greece, N.Y., by J. M. Lathrop and Roger H. Pidgeom
Picture of Jean Brooks Greenleaf in A Woman of the Century by Frances Willard and ‎Mary Ashton Livermore
Picture of Jean Brooks Greenleaf in A Woman of the Century by Frances Willard and ‎Mary Ashton Livermore published in 1893

From 1887-1890 Jean Brooks Greenleaf was president of the Rochester Political Equality Club. From 1890-1896 she was president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association. During her administration, New York became the best-organized state in the Union.” For the women of Greece, on September 15, 1892, the Charlotte Political Equality Club was organized at her summer farm and home.

Jean’s talents were dedicated to the cause in the years immediately before and after the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1894. Woman Suffrage was the burning question of that Convention. She chaired The Constitutional Amendment Campaign as President of the New York Woman Suffrage Association. She worked very closely with Susan B. Anthony.

Jean Brooks Greenleaf, Constitutional Amendment Com., calling card, from the Rochester Regional Library Council
Jean Brooks Greenleaf, Constitutional Amendment Com., calling card, from the Rochester Regional Library Council
Jean Brooks Greenleaf with Susan B. Anthony at her summer home in Greece, from the Rochester Regional Library Council
Jean Brooks Greenleaf with Susan B. Anthony at her summer home in Greece, from the Rochester Regional Library Council

Although their campaign to change the New York State constitution was not successful, Jean Brooks Greenleaf did live long enough to see women win the vote in New York State in November 1917, but not long enough to actually exercise that right. She died on March 2, 1918, at the age of 86.

In 2018, the Greece Historical Society secured a grant from the William C. Pomeroy foundation and with the permission of the Lakeshore Country Club erected a historical marker on the site of her former Greece home and farm.

Greenleaf Home Historical Marker Sign (2018), photo by Bill Sauers
Greenleaf Home Historical Marker Sign (2018), photo by Bill Sauers

Emma Pollard Greer

Emma Pollard Greer from H. Dwight Bliss
Emma Pollard Greer from H. Dwight Bliss

Emma Pollard Greer was a charter member of the Charlotte Political Equality Club. Emma lived all of her life in the little white house at the corner of Lake and Pollard Avenues where she was born on December 12, 1855, the seventh and last child, and only daughter, of Henry Pollard and Martha Moxon. The Moxon family was one of the earliest settlers in Greece arriving in 1825. Henry, her father, was born in England and came to Charlotte in 1836. He was the village blacksmith.

In 1882 Emma began her 22-year teaching career, first in the Charlotte grammar school and then, beginning in 1897, as one of 8 faculty members at the high school.

Charlotte High School foreground with the grammar school behind it from the Office of the Town Historian
Charlotte High School foreground with the grammar school behind it from the Office of the Town Historian
Emma Pollard Greer presenting scrapbooks to Charlotte High School courtesy of Marie Poinan
Emma Pollard Greer presenting scrapbooks to Charlotte High School courtesy of Marie Poinan

At the time of her death at 88 in 1944, Emma was the oldest native of Charlotte. She was the village’s historian. She wrote about the town of Greece and Charlotte for both the Democrat & Chronicle and Times-Union newspapers. In 1933 she contributed “Home Builders of Old Charlotte” to Volume 2 of the Centennial History of Rochester published by the Rochester Historical Society. At the age of 75, she completed the manuscript for her History of Charlotte and gave two copies to the Rochester Public Library. It was published in full in 1999. It is due to Emma’s diligent history-keeping that so much is known about the early history of the village and the town of Greece. One woman she wrote about was Julia Roberts.

When they hear the name Julia Roberts, those who are familiar with the history of the Charlotte blast furnace (1868-1927), do not think of the beautiful, talented actress, rather they think pig iron. Julia Pollay Roberts’ husband, Henry C. Roberts, took the reins of the iron manufacturing company in 1879, saving it from collapsing.

Stereopticon view of blast furnace, circa 1888
Stereopticon view of blast furnace, circa 1888
Postcard of blast furnace, circa 1910, from eBay
Postcard of blast furnace, circa 1910, from eBay

Henry’s many business interests required him to take frequent trips and it was Julia who managed the iron works plant in his absence. Charlotte historian Emma Pollard Greer wrote of her: “She must have been one of the earliest women iron masters in the United States.” After Henry’s death in 1885, Julia became head of the company, successfully keeping it “one of the most complete and best-equipped furnaces in the country.” Again quoting Emma Pollard Greer, “Mrs. Roberts had an unusual grasp of business for the women of her period.”

Unfortunately, the financial panic of 1893 and the ensuing depression forced Julia to shut down the operation. It was resurrected and leased to other companies, with Julia retaining some financial rights until 1902. The blast furnace finally went out of business in 1927.

Blast furnace, 1918, from GHS
Blast furnace, 1918, from GHS
4215 Lake Avenue, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers
4215 Lake Avenue, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers

After the property was sold to the city of Rochester in 1929, Julia who had lived at 4752 Lake Avenue near the blast furnace (where the Port of Rochester Marina is today), moved to this house at 4215 Lake Avenue. Julia Roberts died in 1938 at the age of 90 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

You can check out the Program Marie Poinan did on the Charlotte Blast Furnace in our Program Archives

Laura Justine Bonesteel A/K/A Jessie Bonstelle

Rear from Left to Right Ada, Georgia, Ida,
Front left to right Mary Lillian, Jessie Bonstelle

The only photo of Five of the Six Bonsteel sisters, Not in the picture is Annie Laurie Bonesteel, she was the only daughter who did not make it past a year old, and this photo is in the Benedict collection at The Greece Historical Society.

Laura Justine Bonesteel (1871-1932), called Jesse, was born in the town of Greece in 1871, the youngest of eleven children and one of six girls. Her parents were Joseph F. Bonesteel and Helen Norton. She was stagestruck at the age of 2 as a singer and was featured on a national tour by the age of 7. By her teens, she had leading roles in productions from the Schubert Company and pursued a career as an actress. And her paternal grandfather Heinrich “Henry” Bonsteel who ran The Bonesteel Tavern at Frankfort at High Falls at the site where the Flat Iron Cafe is located today at the intersection of Lake Ave, Lyell Ave, Smith St, and State St you can read more about Henry Bonsteel from the blog LOCAL HISTORY ROCS! by ROCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY/LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY DIVISION titled A Genealogy of Place Pt. 3:  From Frankfort Institute to Flat Iron Café. Laura Justine Bonsteel’s siblings are listed below by year of birth, two of her siblings Henry Joseph and Annie Laurie did not make it past one year old, and Frederick Henry did not make it more than 3 years old. Henry, Annie, and Federick might have passed away as a result of any of the following childhood illnesses and diseases at the time which could have been the fourth cholera pandemic, smallpox outbreaks, yellow fever, and/or some other disease from the 1850s. Thanks to Jo Ann Ward Synder who is currently working on the Pioneer Families of Greece Volume II which is in the process of being worked on right now has provided the updates on the genealogy of the Bonsteel family here and below is the complete list of the children of Joseph Frederick Bonsteel and Helen Norton.

  • Sons of Joseph Frederick Bonesteel and Helen Norton in order of year of Birth
    • Henry Joseph Bonsteel (1854–1857) – Cause of death unknown,
    • Joseph Bonsteel
    • Frederick Henry Bonesteel (1864-1865) Died from Dysentery (intestinal infection, diarrhea),
    • Charles Suggett Bonesteel (1866-1929),
    • Harry Francis Bonesteele (1869-1934)
  • Daughters of Joseph F. Bonesteel and Helen Norton in order of year of Birth
    • Georgia F. Bonesteel Raynsford (1856-1937),
    • Mary Lillian Bonesteel Tiffany (1858-1932),
    • Twins Ada Lucelle Luella Bonesteel Benedict (1860-1943) and Ida Estelle Bonesteel Webster (1860-1931),
    • Annie Laurie Bonesteel (1867-1868) passed away from Marasmus- in today’s world Failure to Thrive,
    • Laura Justine Bonesteel (1871-1932).

    A printer’s error changed her professional name to Jesse Bonestelle. She starred in a number of productions, but her acting talent was limited. She found more success as a manager, producer, and acting coach.

    According to the book Images of America series: Rochester: Labor and Leisure, written by Donovan A. Shilling, it was the Frederick Cook Opera House that made the mistake on the theaters’ marquee and in the playbill, she decided to change the last name from Bonsteel to the last name Bonstelle and Bonstelle had a more romantic-sounding name to it. The Cook Opera House in Rochester is no more but you can read more about its history at LOCAL HISTORY ROCS! blog by ROCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY DIVISION titled The Play’s The Thing: A History of Cook’s Opera House, Part One and The Play’s The Thing: A Brief History of Cook’s Opera House, Part Two

    Jesse Bonestelle from the Library of Congress
    Cover of Theatre Magazine, October 1928
     Temple Beth-El (1902) — Beth-El's first temple, in central Detroit, southeastern Michigan.
    Temple Beth-El (1902) — Beth-El’s first temple, in central Detroit, southeastern Michigan. – Attribution: Andrew Jameson at English Wikipedia

    After running her own stock companies in Rochester, Syracuse, and Northampton, Massachusetts, she moved to Detroit, where she leased the Garrick Theatre and mounted plays there until 1910; in 1923 she was back in New York City managing the Harlem Opera Theatre.

    In 1924, Eugene Sloman purchased the Temple Beth El for $500,000 (about $6.7 million in 2009, when adjusted for inflation) for Jessie Bonstelle, the former synagogue got a new life as a home for the arts. Bonstelle had conducted a company at the Garrick Theatre for 15 years before finding a permanent home with the former Temple Beth El. Bonstelle was featured in a series of articles in McCall’s in 1929, giving advice to aspiring actresses.

    The Temple Beth El was reconfigured by Architect C. Howard Crane into the Bonstelle Playhouse. In 1930 there was letterhead that was showing it was the Detroit Civic Theatre, the first civic theatre in America.

    “Here she continued to produce plays and encourage young performers. Broadway producers respected her acumen and skill, often asking her to try out new plays for them.”

    Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division
    Katherine Cornell in The Age of Innocence, 1928

    She had a brilliant knack for spotting acting talent and among her clients was Katherine Cornell

    Melvyn Douglas,

    Melvyn Douglas gives Greta Garbo a kiss in Ninotchka, 1939
    Frank Morgan as the wizard in The Wizard of Oz, 1939

    Frank Morgan,

    And William Powell.

    William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man, 1936
    Katherine Cornell as Jo in Little Women, 1919.

    Jesse’s greatest achievement as a producer was persuading the family of Louisa May Alcott to sell her the rights to Little Women and she produced the first stage adaptation of this beloved story, taking it to Broadway and London.

    Laura Justine Bonesteel passed away on October 14, 1932, at the age of 60 from a heart attack in Detriot, Michigan, and was laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetary in Rochester, New York. And in 1936 a memorial Tree was planted in her honor a copy of the photo can be seen in the Wayne College library digital archives. Also to note in a post about the Bonstelle Theatre on HistoricDetroit.org there was an article written in Detriot Discovery magazine in 1974 by Mary McHenry that Jessie Bonstelle’s ghost haunts the theater, ” Her Soul was the theater, now the theater is her soul”. Wayne State University had numerous students that have gone on to star in some good movies like Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters Movies, and Mary Jean Tomlin aka Lily Tomlin who starred on The Merv Griffin Show, and later appeared on the Garry Moore Show. You can read more about the Bonstelle Theatre from Histroic Detroit as well as the Garrick Theatre from Historic Detroit to understand its history. A little update as of August 3, 2023, on the Bonstelle Theatre when I stopped in and explored the tintype studio and started to talk about tintypes and film and I brought up the Bonstelle Theatre in downtown Detriot and one of the two volunteers at Greenfield Village heard that was some talk about salting the ground around the Theatre because of how her spirit or other spirits are haunting the space but when I was going by the facility heading home on August 8, 2023, it looks like they are prepping some work to be done on the building most likely is the building is getting ready for demolition.

    Some Honorable Mentions

    Blanche Stuart Scott

    Blanche Stuart Scott grew up on Mount Read Blvd and became a famous female pilot, an Automobile Adventurer, Actress, and 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 where GM’s Delphi Plant is now located, 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

    Kara Lynn Massey

    Kara Lynn Massey (born February 16, 1985), was a Greece Athena grad that went on to star in some big Broadway productions and is known professionally as Kara Lindsay, is an American stage actress and singer, best known for her roles as Katherine Plumber in Newsies (2012) and Glinda in Wicked (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019).

    Kara Lindsay - IMDb
    Kara Lindsay (Kara Lynn Massey)

    Thank you for joining us today. Next week we look at the Greece Performing Arts Society.

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    Bicentennial Snapshot No. 47: Childhood diseases

    Today we will look back at some of the illnesses and diseases that affected the lives of many children.

    Mother Newell and her eight children, Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, 2021, photo by Joe Vitello
    Mother Newell and her eight children, Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, 2021, photo by Joe Vitello

    When we conduct walking tours of local cemeteries, we get asked about all the small tombstones. Yes, they usually indicate the grave of a child. Here in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery are the graves of eight Newell children: Anna, Edward, George, another George, Hattie, Henry, Julia, and Willard.

    The child mortality rate in the United States, for children under the age of five, was 462.9 deaths per thousand births in 1800. This means that for every thousand babies born in 1800, over 46 percent did not make it to their fifth birthday. Over the course of the next 220 years, this number has dropped drastically, and the rate has dropped to its lowest point ever in 2020 where it is just seven deaths per thousand births. Although the child mortality rate has decreased greatly over this 220-year period, there were two occasions where it increased; in the 1870s, as a result of the fourth cholera pandemic, smallpox outbreaks, and yellow fever, and in the late 1910s, due to the Spanish Flu pandemic. source: UN DESA; World Population Prospects 2019, Online Edition

    Child mortality rate (under five years old) in the United States, from 1800 to 2020
    Child mortality rate (under five years old) in the United States, from 1800 to 2020
    Each five-year increment is from January 1 of the previous 5-year marker to December 31, of the 5-year marker.

    Most of the Newell children lived less than a year, one died at the age of three, and the longest surviving child died at the age of 12. In the United States during the 1850s and ‘60s, 42% of children died before the age of five. There were numerous communicable diseases prevalent in the 19th century. These included smallpox, diphtheria, measles, meningitis, scarlet fever, and whooping cough. Cholera infantum was also common.

    Mother with a sick child
    Mother with a sick child

    One historian wrote: “Up until the 1930s, infant mortality, especially in the cities during the summers, was ferocious. Infant susceptibility to a variety of respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders was exacerbated by poor sanitation, overcrowded tenements, contaminated milk supplies, and lack of refrigeration.” Cholera infantum was a gastrointestinal disease of infants and children. “Various strategies were devised to remove infants from danger during the hottest months.” One strategy was tent hospitals. One was set up in the Town of Greece along Lake Ontario on Beach Ave where Waterview Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and some parts of where Lakeshore Country Club holes 16 and 17 were used as walking paths before the country club was formed in 1932 on the Greenleaf Estate.

    Believing that the pure air and salubrious effects of breezes off Lake Ontario could benefit the health of sickly children, Dr. Edward Mott Moore established the Infants Summer Hospital circa 1885 on land

    Dr. Edward Mott Moore
    Dr. Edward Mott Moore
    Halbert S. Greenleaf from Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester by William Farley Peck
    Halbert S. Greenleaf from Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester by William Farley Peck

    …donated by Halbert S. Greenleaf. Greenleaf and his wife, Jean Brooks Greenleaf, had a summer residence on the property that extended from Latta Road to Beach Avenue. It was also the largest stock farm in Monroe County.

    Plat book of Monroe County, New York. Plate 24 [map].

    The land was situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario just west of the village of Charlotte. The tent hospital was on today’s Beach Avenue. The Greenleaf’s Summer property was 167 acres. His neighbors were the Flemings, the Lings, Mrs. G.C. Latta, J.G. Martie, David Tennison, Orin Hoxey, and the McManus.

    Close-up of Halbert S. Greenleaf Property from the 1902 Plat Map
    Postcard of Infants Summer Hospital from Rochester Public Library’s History and Genealogy Division

    They first erected tents to house sick children. Ample accommodations were provided for mothers who expected to stay with their children. There were no charges for any service or care.

    By 1888, some permanent buildings had been erected.

    Postcard of Infants Summer Hospital from Rochester Public Library’s History and Genealogy Division
    Kitchen and dining hall of Infants Summer Hospital, 1930, from Rochester Public Library’s History and Genealogy Division

    Once milk began to be pasteurized there were fewer cases of cholera infantum and children suffering from cardiac conditions or orthopedic injuries needing a lengthy recuperation were admitted here for care.

    The Map to the right is the 1932 Plate Map of the City of Rochester which shows the Greenleaf Property subdivided at the Clarence S. Lunt Property.

    rpm00588, 11/10/04, 11:39 AM, 8C, 6864×10148 (592+665), 138%, Copy 4 stops w, 1/40 s, R107.3, G86.5, B107.8

    This 1935 Plat Map shows a better close-up of the Infants Summer Hospital listed on the map.

    In 1929 the name was changed to Convalescent Children’s Hospital. It operated at the Beach Avenue address until 1960. Today the building is Waterview Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

    Convalescent Children’s Hospital, 1949, from Rochester Public Library’s History and Genealogy Division
    Convalescent Children’s Hospital, 1949, from Rochester Public Library’s History and Genealogy Division
    Ad for Scott’s emulsion, 1880, from the British Library

    Another challenging disease for doctors was diphtheria,

    What is Diphtheria?

    The definition of diphtheria according to the Oxford Dictionary is an acute, highly contagious bacterial disease, causing inflammation of the mucous membranes, formation of a false membrane in the throat that hinders breathing and swallowing, and can cause potentially fatal heart and nerve damage by a bacterial toxin in the blood.  It is now rare in developed countries because of immunization.

    Since the disease was so contagious people were quarantined for a range of 12 days to several weeks. Emma Pollard Greer writes in her History of Charlotte that an outbreak in the summer of 1881 delayed the opening of school in the fall.

    Quarantine Poster early 20th century, from the National Library of Medicine of the National Institute for Health

    In 1913, a boy in the Brown family of West Greece was stricken; his older brother was a teacher at the Brick School, District School No. 10 on Lake Avenue. That school was shut down in the hopes of stopping the spread of what was also called “the choking disease.” You can learn more about this district school in Bicentennial Snapshot # 43

    A native of a small town in Illinois, Dr. George Sanders settled in Greece after serving in World War I. He would maintain a practice in Greece for almost 50 years, serving as the Town health officer as well from 1920 to 1944, and as the school district’s physician from 1960-1968.

    You can read the digitized copy of his autobiography here on our site

    Dr. George Sanders from the Office of the Town Historian
    Dr. George Sanders from the Office of the Town Historian
    Rowe-Hillman-Sanders House, 2672 Ridge Road West (no longer standing), from GHS

    His home and office were on Ridge Road in a beautiful old house.

    In his reminiscences, Dr. Sanders describes his campaigns to keep children in Greece safe from the communicable diseases that so often took the lives of children at an early age—smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, and diphtheria. Using horses who were immune to it, an anti-toxin was developed to inoculate children against diphtheria.

    Dr. George Sanders inoculating a child against diphtheria, Greece Press, April 24, 1947
    Dr. George Sanders, 1920, from GHS

    Dr. Sanders wrote: “The year before I arrived in Greece the last case of smallpox occurred. Vaccinations had been started and with everyone vaccinated today the disease has disappeared, but diphtheria was a dreaded disease; I got in on the first diphtheria anti-toxin treatments.”

    Headline from Democrat and Chronicle, April 28, 1926

    “The groundbreaking campaigns against diphtheria in the 1920s and ’30s evolved into a universal program of infant vaccination in the United States. A DTP vaccine, created in the 1940s, combined diphtheria and tetanus toxoids with an inactivated version of the bacteria that causes whooping cough (pertussis).”

    Polio Outbreak

    Between 1945 and 1955, those earlier diseases were supplanted by another that struck terror in the hearts of parents—polio. Polio (short for poliomyelitis, once called infantile paralysis), is used to strike thousands of children in the United States each year. According to one historian: “By mid-century, polio had become the nation’s most feared disease. And with good reason. It hit without warning. It killed some victims and marked others for life, leaving behind vivid reminders for all to see: wheelchairs, crutches, leg braces, and deformed limbs. In 1921, it paralyzed 39-year-old Franklin Delano Roosevelt, robust and athletic, with a long pedigree and a cherished family name. If a man like Roosevelt could be stricken, then no one was immune.” Look at this picture of him attending the Mother of Sorrow’s Church centennial celebration on June 8, 1930, we may not know what was to the right of him in the picture but look at how the Governor left hand is gripping the right arm of his secretary Guernsey T. Cross, a certain way, so that FDR could stand up for this picture, in the back of him he may have some sort of device to help him stand up because of the state of paralysis from polio but because this was a photo for the Public we do not have the full picture to the right of the governor in this picture.

    Distinguished guests at the centennial celebration, June 8, 1930, from the Rochester Times Union, June 9, 1930 (from left: Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt; Guernsey T. Cross, governor’s secretary; Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt; State Senator Frederick J. Slater, chairman of centennial committee.)
    March of Dimes poster from the Museum of Health Care
    1957 March of Dimes Poster from the March of Dimes Foundation

    In 1945, there were 12 Grecians suffering from polio. More than half the men, women, and children attacked by polio recovered with no enduring effects 29 percent were left with a slight residual paralysis, 18 percent remained handicapped, and three percent died. It was most fatal to children under the age of 10.

    Polio was one of the costliest diseases known to medicine. Some Insurance Companies set up insurance policies for people with Polio to be able to cover the costs of Polio treatments and medical bills related to pay for care if someone had Polio, yet today the same insurance companies no longer will set up coverage to pay for treatments for Cancer, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 related health issues or other diseases because they are now at the whims of shareholders and Wall Street over the policyholders.

    Ad from Greece insurance agency in the Greece Press, September 25, 1952
    A child receiving physical therapy for Polio from the CDC

    Treatment of the disease in its acute stage required constant skilled nursing, extensive physical therapies, and frequently expensive equipment. That care and treatment often extended for months afterward.

    “During the epidemics of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, some patients with serious breathing problems were placed in an “iron lung,” a cylindrical chamber that surrounded a patient’s body from the neck down, which used rhythmic alterations in air pressure to force air in and out of the individual’s lungs.” In 1950, realizing that their iron lung machine was better off in a hospital setting, the Barnard Fire Department donated it to Strong Memorial Hospital. We will get to Barnard Fire Department in Snapshot # 50. And in 2020 at least one company at least in the state of Kansas started to make a modern-day version of the Iron Lung to help build them because of the short supply of ventilators in the country because of COVID-19. As of this post currently, there are at least 2 people left living using Iron Lungs in the United States.

    Iron lung/via Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress/Public Domain
    Collection folder to put dimes in from Yale Medicine

    Every January for more than 10 years, the women of Greece participated in the campaign to raise money to find a vaccine to prevent polio. The campaign culminated in the Mothers March, a night when everyone was asked to leave their porch lights on and the mothers went from door to door in their neighborhoods soliciting donations. Every home in the town was canvassed. In 1952 almost 2,000 mothers participated. It was an all-out effort joined by many others in the community to contribute to the campaign to fund research for a vaccine.

    Every year the Men’s Brotherhood of Bethany Presbyterian Church held a dance; two of the organizers were polio survivors. There were collection boxes in all the schools. The Paddy Hill Players put on a benefit show.

    Greece Press January 27, 1949
    Greece Press, May 13, 1954

    And every year they hoped for an effective vaccine. That hope was realized in 1955; The Jonas Salk vaccine was first to be approved that year; it was made from completely inactivated polio viruses and injected into the body. The oral vaccine developed by Albert Sabin was made from weakened polio viruses. It was introduced in 1963. A kindergarten class in a Greece school was a testing site for the Salk vaccine; the children were given two shots over a two-week period in May 1954. They were part of the largest human experiment in history. Although recently in the news, still, because of the polio vaccine, cases in the United States are very rare now.

    Thank you for joining us today, next week we look at Gordan A. Howe

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    Bicentennial Snapshot No. 46: Epidemics and Pandemics

    Today we will talk about how past epidemics and pandemics affected the town of Greece.

    COVID-19

    Graphic representation of the COVID-19 virus

    Here’s a graphic we’ve become familiar with. Since March 2020, we have been living with the COVID-19 virus.

    During the pandemic of the last three years, we have had to make numerous adjustments to mitigate the impact of this deadly virus.

    Some of the same mitigation supplies and tactics were used in at least one other pandemic which was the Spanish flu in 1918. They included wearing masks, and gloves and people started washing their hands. But there was no officially created hand sanitizer designed per se but they did use 70% or higher alcohol as a cleansing agent to ensure certain tools and supplies were clean and ready to be used.

    Mitigation supplies, photo by Bill Sauers
    Mask distribution at Greece Town Hall campus, photo by Bill Sauers
    Door of town hall, photo by Bill Sauers

    In the early days, masks became obligatory. Some people felt it was not necessary for the mask to be used but the stores that were deemed essential services because of the type of industry they were in required patrons to mask up, keep them six feet or two meters apart, constantly sanitize hands, if you touch it take it do not put it back for someone else to take, most Restaurants that allowed you to dine-in had to resort to take-out only because they could not allow anyone in the restaurant unless they worked at the restaurant. Banks were drive-thru or atm-only. Government offices, schools, and most businesses switch to remote work and or eLearning for most of 2020 and part of 2021. Some other businesses were closed altogether because of federal, state, county, or local laws that were issued to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Almost the entire country was shut down except for Flordia which did not close anything down but the companies that did operate in Flordia that had national chains took the preventive measures to close and do what was best for their customers.

    Town Board Meetings were not held in person but on Facebook Live.

    Even our Tuesday Programs for a bit were put together using Zoom.

    Here is a link to the list of the Programs that we did using Zoom Meetings while the pandemic was going on. https://greecehistoricalsociety.org/category/program-achrives/zoom-programs/

    And everyone found different ways to meet instead of face to face.

    For example Town Board Meeting was Streamed live via Facebook Live
    Monroe County Covid Dashboard

    Tens of thousands of people were stricken with the disease; our hospitals and other medical facilities were overwhelmed. Too often family members could not be with patients. Sadly, presently more than 1700 in Monroe County have died.

    Genesee Fever

    Throughout its history, the people of Greece have had to endure other deadly diseases. You may recall seeing this drawing in an earlier Snapshot, but we want to again point out how swampy the shoreline of the Genesee River was, not only at the mouth of the river but along much of its length in the 9 miles upriver to Rochesterville. A perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. An octogenarian wrote in 1868.”This country was sickly, as all new lands are, particularly at the mouth of the river, where two or three sets of inhabitants died off, and indeed the whole country was infected with agues and fevers.”

    mosquito biting on skin
    Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com
    Hincher's Hut
    Hincher’s Hut First Settlers in Charlottesburg E. Spelman 1972
    Historical Marker at King’s Landing, photo by Joe Vitello

    It wiped out the early settlement of King’s Landing which we told you about in Snapshot 4. The early settlers called it Genesee Fever; it was a relentless cycle of fever and chills that plagued them during the warmer months—the cold and snowy months brought them some relief. People blamed it on a miasma, that is, a “noxious vapor rising from marshes or decomposing matter that infected and poisoned the air.” They did not realize that the mosquitos which thrived in the swampy waters of the river banks was the cause.

    One historian says, that about twenty graves were made in 1798, at King’s Landing, for people who had succumbed to the Genesee Fever. One of them was Gideon King, founder of the settlement. After his widow died in 1830, a tombstone was erected on her husband’s grave; it was inscribed with these words: “The Genesee Fever was mortal to most heads of families in 1798, and prevented further settlements till about 1815.” It was half a century before medical professionals diagnosed Genesee Fever as malaria.

    Gravestone of Gideon King photo by Dick Halsey from mynygenealogy.com

    Cholera Outbreak

    A segment of a map of the cholera epidemic route compiled by Ely McClellan United States Assistant Surgeon, 1875, from commons.princeton.edu

    Another deadly illness ascribed to miasma was cholera. Greece settlers were affected by two epidemics, one in 1832 and one in 1852. Much like the COVID virus was introduced to this country by travelers, so too was cholera. According to “Letters on Yellow Fever, Cholera and Quarantine; Addressed to the Legislature of the State of New York: With Additions and Notes,” in 1852, cholera originated in India. In the early 1800s, it started to spread out of Asia, eventually making its way to North America in 1832. It arrived on the continent in Quebec and Montreal, brought via emigrant ships. It then made its way to New York State. Cholera officially reached Rochester on July 12, 1832.

    Cholera is caused by contaminated water and food. A toxigenic bacterium infected the small intestine triggering an acute, diarrheal illness. Sanitation was extremely poor; sewer systems were non-existent and people did not connect the disease to polluted water, but to miasma.

    Cholera handbill, 1832, New York City Board of Health
    George Payne property along Canal near Elmgrove Road from GHS

    Most of the cholera victims lived close to the Genesee River or the Erie Canal into which raw sewage was dumped. Public wells became contaminated as did private wells as they were very often located close to outdoor privies.

    Cholera was also called the Blue Death; the severe dehydration caused by diarrhea turned a victim’s skin blue. “The seemingly vigorous in the morning were carried to their graves before night,” wrote Jenny Marsh Parker in 1884.

    A cholera victim exhibiting the bluish pallor characteristic of the disease, by John William Gear, 1832
    Port of the Genesee, from Henry O’Reilly, Sketches of Rochester, 1838

    In 1832, the cholera epidemic broke out in Rochester and the surrounding towns. In just six short weeks, the epidemic took almost 2,500 lives, or 1% of the population of the area. During the months of July and August business and travel were almost entirely suspended. Giles Holden, head of the Board of Health centered in Charlotte, closed the port and posted guards on Ridge Road to keep infected parties out of Greece.

    One reference said that the people who succumbed to cholera in the 1832 epidemic were buried in unmarked graves in the northwest corner of the Charlotte cemetery, in the area surrounding Sam Patch’s grave.

    Sam Patch’s Grave in Charlotte Cemetery, photo by Mike Parker
    Charlotte Cemetery Historical Marker, photo by Mike Parker

    There were a series of deadly outbreaks of cholera in the mid-1850s. 1852, 1854, and 1856. In 1854, one of the victims was Belinda Holden Marshall, married to ship’s captain Steven Marshall and sister of Giles Holden. In September of 1856, twelve immigrants, sick with cholera, were left at Charlotte. Henry Spencer, the poor master, had them taken in a wagon to a building near the pier so they would be isolated from the villagers. Some of them were children who were so delighted with the ride to the lake that they shouted and waved their hands. They all died the next day. They too are buried in the Charlotte Cemetery also in unmarked graves.

    But the hardest hit area was Paddy Hill.

    Paddy Hill looking north on Mount Read Blvd., the 1920s, from GHS
    Democrat & Chronicle, August 18, 1879
    Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, photo by Joe Vitello

    A newspaper article in 1879, said about the 1852-54 epidemic: “The writer of this can go back in memory to the great cholera plague of over a quarter of a century ago which rendered this city desolate and populated its graveyards. The surrounding towns were free from the visitation of this destroyer except for the town of Greece immediately about Mount Reed, predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church. Cholera held fatal revel for many days and swept away to eternity members of the best families in the locality. There was terror everywhere around and the little graveyard that caps the hill witnessed more corpses at a time to the burial than there were mourners able to be present.” In the ensuing years, the residents of Paddy Hill predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church were particularly susceptible to dysentery as well as cholera and had a high rate of fatalities as the headline states.

    Medical professionals concluded that well water was being contaminated from run-off from the cemetery.

    There are many parallels between the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, measures to prevent the spread of the flu were the same later recommended for covid.

    Red Cross Nurse in a mask with tips to prevent flu, 1918, from National Library of Medicine.
    Erie Canal Packet Boat, 1840 era — from: Fort Hunter – “Canal-Town, U.S.A.” / by David H. Veeder. (Fort Hunter, N.Y.: Fort Hunter Canal Society; printed by The Noteworthy Co., Amsterdam, N.Y., c1968) — p. 9
    Barnard Crossing from Office of the Town Historian
    white airplane flying over white clouds
    Photo by Daniel Frese on Pexels.com

    Where ships and boats were agents spreading the cholera contagion in the 19th century, trains were the agent in the 20th and would give way to airplanes in the 21st century.

    Headline Times-Union, October 15, 1918

    Most of the documentation for the Spanish flu in Monroe County is about the city of Rochester, but one can still get a sense of its impact on Greece. There were three deadly waves of the flu between the spring of 1918 and the spring of 1919. Rochester was most seriously affected by the fall of the 1918 wave. In the two months between the middle of September and the middle of November, more than 10,000 people caught the flu, and 1,000 of them died. But health authorities acted quickly to contain the spread; two weeks after the first cases occurred, they closed schools, theatres, churches, sports venues, hotel bars, and other places where people gathered.

    Troop transports facilitated the spread and infections at military posts were high. That was the case in Greece. At the time of the Spanish flu, Kodak Park was still a part of the town of Greece. There was an aerial photography school posted there.

    Inspection, United States School of Aerial Photography at Kodak Park, 1918, from the Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
    Group portrait of officers, United States School of Aerial Photography, 1918, the Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division

    Fifty-seven men from the school came down with the flu.

    So, the old Infant Summer Hospital on Beach Avenue was reopened to care for them.

    Infants Summer Hospital from the Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
    Times-Union October 15, 1918

    The towns around Rochester fared much better than the city; the number of infections was manageable.

    Nevertheless, school nurses from the city visited homes in Greece. One nurse, Rose Weber, visited a family of eight in Greece, and every single member of the family was infected; the youngest child was little more than an infant. “No one was dying but every person was in need of care. Miss Weber saw that the family was made as comfortable as possible. A doctor interested himself and toward midnight went to the home with a woman who had consented to care for the family.”

    Nurses, 1918. From historicbrighton.org

    Thank you for joining us this week; next week we will look at those diseases that greatly impacted children.

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    Autobiography of Dr. George Sanders

    (Written in 1977) (digitized June 12, 2009) (Converted to Web Edition in 2023)

    Dr. George Sanders from the Office of the Town Historian

    Editor’s note: Dr. George E. Sanders, beloved Ridge Road physician, practiced with Dr. Walter Hillman in the Rowe-Hillman-Sanders home at 2672 West Ridge Road. The stately home became Rivers Furniture Store and then Empire Electric Supply Company. The building has been demolished and has been replaced with three stores in the front Quick Nails, Eyemart Express, and AT&T, on the side next to Round Pond Creek that runs under the parking lot is the Monroe County Department of Health WIC Program office and in the rear of the building is the ABC Associated Builders and Contractors Empire State Offices as well.

    I was born in a small coal mining town in Illinois in 1872 in the days before welfare and government messing into the lives of the people. My father was a traveling man. He sold coal. We had a small house, a cow, a pig, and chickens. I went barefoot after May; the first of May until late in September. That means that I went barefoot to school and wore a black satin shirt and a pair of overhauls. If we were poor we did not know it, as my father earned $125.00 per month for his family of six.

    When my sister got ready for college, we moved to Champaign, Illinois where the state university was located. I went to the university for three years, then medical school in Chicago for 7 years. My tuition at medical school was $155.00 per year, room $3.00 per week, breakfast and lunch 15 cents each, and dinner at night 25 cents. After medical school, I became an intern at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago; received no wages, just room and board. I thought nothing of not being paid because it was the experience I wanted.

    When World War I was going on, I asked for service in the Medical Corps and was sent to Camp Gordon, Georgia, and was assigned to a medical unit caring for the 5th Replacement Unit, remaining in the same position until 1919. While at Camp Gordon, A Dr. Walter Hillman from Greece, NY was my roommate. He asked me to come to Greece to practice with him. I arrived in October 1919, stayed at the Hillman home on Ridge Road West, and practiced with Dr. Hillman. By the way, his father, Dr. Livinius Hillman practiced in Greece beginning about 1850. He purchased our house in 1852. The house was built about 1808 by Lewis Rowe. (Note: the Rowe family originally settled in Kings Landing, where Kodak Park is today, in 1797. Because the Genesee Fever was rampant in that area, they relocated to Ridge Road in 1806, opening the Rowe Tavern in 1810 where St. John’s church is located.)

    Dr. Hillman (presumably Walter) did not hold office house. He made house calls all day long, and, of course, I did the same. We had several horses and our hired man who took care of them. He also drove for the Doctors. Everything was lovely until Christmas Day. The snow began and lasted until April. I was assigned a cutter and a horse. The roads were plowed by a board wired on the side of a bobsled. I wanted to impress the farmers who were plowing along the road and drove too close to the pile of snow on the side of the road and dumped over. Another cold blustering day the snow was blowing from the west across Long Pond Road and I again was dumped over.

    In 1921, Dr. Hillman had an auto accident and died. I had been practicing by myself in a room in the Frank Paine house. Then, after Dr. Hillman’s death, I moved back and established an office, with office hours in the afternoon and evening; thereby, I worked from 8 am to 9 or 10 pm. Those hours would kill the average physician today. House calls were $3.00, office calls $2.00.

    People thought nothing of calling the doctor at night, which means that I had to climb out of my warm bed, get dressed and drive to someone’s home. Most of the calls could have waited until morning. One night someone called to come and I being very tired said, “Take one aspirin tablet and a cup of tea and I will call in the morning.” I never heard from them again.

    Being near the Ponds down near the lake, I always had a pair of pliers to cut fish hooks that became lodged in people. Wish I had a picture of two little boys sitting in my waiting room with a little puppy between them with a fish hook in his lip. I can still see the faces of those boys.
    Dr. Hillman and two or three of the nearby physicians operated on the kitchen table. One day I gave an anesthetic for Dr. Lenhart in Spencerport while he did a gall bladder on a table near the window in a house on Ridge Road. Everything came out alright except no one paid me. We took out tonsils on kitchen tables. Thank goodness, w never had a post operative hemorrhage.

    Maternity cases – we did most of them in the home. I had taken a short course in the lying in clinic in the ghetto of Chicago and learned how to prepare the bed, and also fix a cone with paper and a cover with ether. The hard part was after working hard all day to get a call to go on a maternity case that would take all night, get home in the morning, take a bath and shave, get breakfast and work another day.
    Pneumonia was one of the most dangerous diseases in our early years. We did not have oxygen tents for the homes. I remember a case of Dr. Hillman’s who had lobar pneumonia in December. We put him in a room with the windows open so he could get fresh air. He was covered with blankets, but it was cold for the Nurse and Doctor. Luckily, he lived. Remember that was before the wonder drugs.

    I remember Dr. Fleming in Charlotte who had a large number of patients about Paddy Hill Church. One day he arrived at the gate of a house where they had a very vicious dog, and the dog was making a big fuss. The Irish lady of the house said, “Come right in, Doctor. If he bites you, I’ll get after him.”

    In a rural practice there are always a big number of broken bones. We did have x-ray so their reduction (setting) was not hard. Cutting off the cast was always a job.

    Greece in 1919 had about 7,000 inhabitants. Many were Eastman Kodak workers and market gardeners. The town was divided into different parts: South Greece, Hoosick or West Greece, Paddy Hill, North Greece, and Greece Central. Probably because of transportation, these were rather distant centers.

    Dr. Hillman had a Buick touring car. He did not want any closed-up car like a sedan, and not long before my time he had given up horses. The winter began in earnest on Christmas Day of that year. We had to rent horses from a neighbor and use sleighs. I thought I was quite well acquainted with driving horses but had never ridden in a cutter. Consequently, I had several dump overs when I got too close to the side of the road. The roads were not too well cleaned.

    One night a man came to Dr. Hillman’s house when he was entertaining a group of classmates from the University of Rochester. The fellow had a toothache. Whisky was used as an anesthetic and then we pulled the wrong tooth, so the fellow had to come the next morning and the aching tooth out.

    One night after dinner at our house a group of men were sitting on the porch and Al Skinner told about his father who had the contract to cut ice on the ponds and fill the ice houses of the hotels. One morning it was very stormy and cold and Al asked his father if he was going to make his men work out on such a day. His father answered, “Yes, they are men, ain’t they?”

    Miss Mary Moll lived on Mill Road and did some reporting for the Rochester newspapers. house. It was a common sight to see her walking on the road from Ridge Road to her home day or night. We would think that was quite a walk these days. In fact, a Mr. Kishlar on English Road, a generation before my time, walked from English Road and Long Pond to Lake Avenue to work. Jack Farrel, lived and worked at our house when a boy, used to walk to Lake Avenue to meet the boys. Jack was a grand man. He came to our home to work for my wife’s grandfather when he was 15 and stayed with us until he died at 87. He was loved by all the kids; never told any of their secrets. He brought up my wife and later our five children. They would tell Jack everything and me nothing. Jack and Frank Siebert would spend their Sundays walking all over the farm.

    One night a patient on Manitou Road for some reason thought she would come to my office to have her baby. She walked about six miles and did not make my office but had a baby on a neighbor’s porch. I delivered a baby for a woman who had 12 or 13 children. I dressed in my tuxedo a fitting garb to be at the birth of her last child. Maternity cases would always take long times. One day I delivered three babies in different houses. Also, I remember one night we went to a dance at the University Club after a busy day; I was tired. I got a call for a maternity case and I did not get to bed until 11 o’clock the next night.

    North Greece was more of a community than it is today because of better transportation. I remember going down there one day. I drove my horse and cutter down there and tied my horse in front of Doc Clark’s harness shop and make nine calls about the corners. I stopped in Chet Kancous’s meat market to get meat for dinner.

    Billy Schmidt’s garage was a very busy place and they certainly were accommodating. One stormy day I got stuck in the snow on Elmgrove Road near the canal bridge. I called Billy and he came from North Greece with four men. They shoveled me out. Billy drove his car ahead to break a path. They had dinner at our house. It was 11 o’clock before they were able to get home because the snow blocked the road.

    I have always worked. At age 12, I ran messages for the Pana (Illinois) Telephone Co. If a long-distance call came for someone, and he belonged to the majority who did not have a phone, for 10 cents additional charge I went to tell them to go and call Long Distance.

    One summer I worked in a factory – at age 14, which is not allowed now. I ran a grinding machine, and also put rubber tires on baby buggies. After moving to Champaign, I worked in a construction crew. I received $2.00 for a 10-hour day. I hit the boss up for a raise and he gave me $2.50 a day. In Chicago, while in medical school, I put out express packages at for Adams Express Co. 1; also, I sold shoes at Hassel Shoe Co.2 I worked downstairs where we sold $3.50 shoes; upstairs were the expensive $4.00 and $4.50 shoes.

    After being in Greece for a year, I was elected Health Officer for the Town of Greece and served over 25 years. In the early days, we did not have the wonder drugs we have today, so medicine was much different. The year before I arrived in Greece, the last case of smallpox occurred. With everyone being vaccinated today, the disease has disappeared. Diphtheria was a dreaded disease and I got in on the first diphtheria anti-toxin treatments.

    We organized a health committee in the town about 1926. We had health meetings, had a big Town parade one year, started smallpox and diphtheria vaccinations in schools. Hired a Town Nurse; Mrs. Florence Barnes Justice was our first nurse.

    As Health Officer in Greece and Gates, it was my duty to examine all the school children each fall. I received 50 cents per child. That was quite a chore. To examine the pupils in just one of our high schools would take quite a while. Later in my time, we gave polio vaccine in the schools, so now there are practically no polio cases in the county.

    Dr. Sanders operating his 1920s car
    Dr. Sanders and nurses in 1929

    As the Town grew larger, more nurses were added. I feel they did a good job. After the county took over the medical department, everything has changed, I hope for the better.

    Dr. Sanders making house calls, 1920

    After enjoying retirement in Penfield, the doctor past away on September 5, 1988.


    1 Adams Express Co. a 19th-century freight and cargo transport business that was part of the Pony Express system. It became an investment company in 1929 during the Great Depression.

    2 Otto Hassel Pasted down Hassel Shoe Company to his son Henry Charles Hassel and Henry owned Hassel Shoes Co from the late 1860s till some point before his death in 1955. Waiting on more Information able the Hassel’s and Hassel Shoe Co from Chicago History Museum to expand a little bit more on this company.

    Bicentennial Snapshot No. 44: Rumrunners and Bootleggers

    Today we are exploring the wild and lawless days of Prohibition.

    Prohibition Poster from nebraskastudies.org

    In 1909, a vote to make Greece a “dry” town was narrowly defeated. The agricultural interests of the town clashed with the beach resorts and tourist attractions that catered to a clientele that drank. One newspaper account said, “The grudge of the farmers was that their hired help deserted as soon as they got a month’s pay and bathed in the alcoholic delights of Charlotte and Ontario Beach.” On the other side of the debate were the many town residents of Irish, German, and Italian descent for whom wine and spirits were an everyday part of their culture.

    By the time Congress took up the question of national prohibition, 33 of the 48 states were already dry. When Congress sent the eighteenth amendment to the states for ratification, where it needed three-fourths approval, they allowed a generous seven years for its passage, but in just 13 months enough states said yes to the amendment. Drinking liquor was never illegal. People were allowed to drink intoxicating liquor in their own homes or in the home of a friend when they were a bona fide guest. And it was legal to make or consume wine or cider in the home. Buying and selling it was illegal; people were not allowed to carry a hip flask or give or receive a bottle of liquor as a gift.

    Headline from The American Issue, Westerville, Ohio, January 25, 1919
    Prohibition-era prescription for whiskey, from US Treasury National Archives

    Exempted from the law was the use of alcohol in lawful industries, for religious practices such as communion wine, and for scientific and medicinal purposes. Intoxicating liquor could be obtained via a doctor’s prescription; the rate of sales for medicinal alcohol went up 400%.

    Mother’s in the kitchen
    Washing out the jugs;
    Sister’s in the pantry
    Bottling the suds;
    Father’s in the cellar
    Mixing up the hops;
    Johnny’s on the front porch
    Watching for the cops.

    Poem by a New York state Rotary Club member during Prohibition

    The poem to the right says it all; ordinary people, probably law-abiding citizens before 1920, were defying the law. And many were living in the town of Greece.

    Poem by a New York state Rotary Club member during Prohibition
    1924 Map of Greece With Current Street Names over the main roads in the town

    Rumrunners were smuggling liquor from Canada by sea and bootleggers carried it over the roads. With eight miles of shoreline and roads leading to downtown Rochester and points west and east, Greece was a hotbed of prohibition defiance.

    Some of these prohibition slang were used during the era of prohibition and speakeasies

    *got to see someone about a dog –going out to buy bootleg whiskey

    *needle beer –filling a syringe with pure alcohol and piercing the cork on a bottle of “near beer”

    *whisper sister, ladylegger –female proprietor of a speakeasy

    *white lightning –whiskey

    *giggle water –alcoholic beverage

    *hooch, bathtub gin –illegal moonshine

    *cutting –making counterfeit liquor by mixing it with artificial ingredients to simulate the real thing

    *set-up –ginger ale or soda served by speakeasies, to which customers added their own liquor from hip flasks

    Canadian Ben Kerr, the self-styled “King of the Rum Runners,” was one of the most successful of the rum smugglers. He made regular trips to the beaches from Greece east to Pultneyville; he refused to land on American shores, customers had to row out to his boat, he frequently changed his drop days, and he wouldn’t travel under a full moon, preferring dark, foggy, or hazy nights. There are used copies available on Amazon via Thriftbooks or you can get it on the kindle https://smile.amazon.com/Whisky-Ice-Canadas-Daring-Rumrunner/dp/1550022490 you can preview the book here on the right.

    • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Dundurn Press; Illustrated edition (July 26, 1996)
    • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 26, 1996
    • Print length ‏ : ‎ 192 pages

    As of this post there is 1 new copy and 11 used copies available on Amazon

    Preview of The Saga of Ben Kerr

    Preview of Berine you’re a Bootlegger

    Joan Winghart Wilcox Sullivan wrote about her father, Bernie Winghart, her paternal uncle, Ernie, and her aunt, Mamye (who was a Schaller); they were known as the Bootlegging Trio. As of this post, there are 5 new and 2 used paperback copies available on Amazon and it is also available to read on the Kindle. Check out the preview of the book on the left.

    • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Trafford Publishing (July 15, 2010)
    • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 15, 2010
    • Print length ‏ : ‎ 88 pages

    Andrew Wiedenmann was born on November 15, 1865, to Michael and Anna (Merdler) Wiedenmann who had eleven children together. His father Michael Wiedenmann was a cooper and worked in that trade just like Tom Toal we talked about in a previous snapshot. Anna (Merdler) Wiedenmann survived until May 1909. Three of the Wiedenmann children served in three different parts of the City of Rochester Government, William served on Detective Force; Frederick was an Attorney of the city and a member of the City Council representing the 15th ward for thirty-two years, and Andrew featured in the picture to the right, his other brother George Wiedenmann died in 1905 and was a Profession Baseball Player for the Detriot Ball Club. Anna and Edward died young. His sisters included Katherine, Julia, Minnie, and Anna (Wiedenmann) Kugler.

    Andrew Wiedenmann was Collector of the Port of Rochester for much of Prohibition and as such he supervised many of the sorties against rumrunners on both lake and land throughout his district. This area covered 178 miles from the western end of Orleans County east to Oswego County. He was diligent, aggressive, and resourceful in his quest for Prohibition scofflaws.

    But before he became the Customs Collector at the Port of Rochester, he attended the Whitney school as a boy later he attended the Rochester Free Academy. From 1886 to 1890 he was a Professional Baseball player for Rochester, Buffalo, Hamilton, Ontario, and Portland, Maine clubs. He went on to hold his first public office as the deputy collector for the Internal Revenue Service for his district from 1897 to 1901, then made a police court investigator for sixteen years, and then in 1917 he was elected sheriff of Monroe County and held that role until December 31, 1920, and in 1924 President Calvin Coolidge appointed Andrew Wiedenmann as the Collector of the Port of Rochester.

    Andrew J. Wiedenmann taking the oath of office, Times-Union, April 30, 1928
    Lake Ontario shoreline at Braddock Bay from media.defense.gov

    His keen eyes and his investigative skills came in handy as well he was the Collector of the port of Rochester when he was the Head Sheriff of Monroe County he knew places where he would watch for people to sneak stuff into town and where to spring traps to collect the crooks. He once walked the beach from Charlotte to Manitou investigating rumors of liquor shipments being off-loaded in obscure spots. On the walk, he came across a group of people hiding under a tarp with contraband alcohol.

    As the Customs Collector at the Port of Rochester, Wiedenmann often accompanied the Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.S) in their pursuit of rumrunners in the darkest hours of the night. He would shout: “We are United States Customs Officers. I order you to halt.”

    36’ Double-cabin picket boat from U. S. Coast Guard History Program
    Ridge Road near the Pine Tree Inn, 1920s, from the Office of the Town Historian

    On July 12, 1924, he and his agents chased a truck laden with 1200 bottles of ale 18 miles along Ridge Road. Bullets flew as gunfire was exchanged.

    Andrew Wiedenmann caught both Ben Kerr and the Bootlegging Trio. But his biggest challenge was the notorious Staud brothers from the town of Greece. By the way, all three of the books mentioned here today are in the museum’s reference library. You can at least get the first two books on a Kindle by Amazon but the book Booze, Barns, Boats, and Brothers which is about the Staud brothers is only in the museum reference library and can be viewed when the museum is open or by making an appointment to look at the book.

    Booze, Barns, Boats and Brothers” by H. Dwight Bliss III
    Grand View Heights Beach neighborhood, 1924,

    On July 8, 1930, the Democrat & Chronicle wrote this about the Staud brothers: they are “The most dangerous and intrepid gang of rum runners in Western New York.” Local newspapers also characterized the brothers as the “most daring,” “most powerful,” and “notorious” of smugglers. The gang operated out of a home on Grand View Heights Road (today, South Drive).

    Look pretty innocent, don’t they? But they were ruthless thugs when they grew up. From right to left, Karl, George, Edward, and Milton, called Midge.

    Photo of Staud brothers when they were young and innocent or were they?
    George C. Staud from H. Dwight Bliss III

    They were the sons of George C. and Ida Staud (the couple also had three daughters); their father was the postmaster of Rochester from 1917-1921 while Andrew Wiedenmann was the Sheriff from 1917-1920. He had plenty of trouble with them as teenagers, but did not live to see their Prohibition notoriety. Their mother had also died, but their stepmother was living. Between Andrew Wiedenmann and his brothers, William who served on Detective Force; and his brother Frederick who served as an attorney for the City of Rochester may have had other run-ins with the Staud Brothers. Before the Staud Brothers went into the bootlegging business during prohibition.

    Karl was the eldest, born about 1895. His nickname was “K-the Bishop.” He had a muscle infirmity and walked with a limp. He acted as the gang’s accountant, keeping the books for shipments and payments, and also for Midge’s speakeasies. He also frequently provided bail for George and Eddie. George was born in early 1900. He was described as a “scrapper,” tall and lean. Eddie, born also in 1900, “did most of the dirty work.” “Midge” was born in 1901. He was broad-shouldered and tall at 6’3”. Although the youngest, he was the boss and brains of the gang. The newspaper called him the “‘Little Caesar’ of Rochester’s rum-running hierarchy.” The reference of course being to the Edward G. Robinson movie.

    Kidnapper gang from Times-Union July 19, 1930
    Midge Staud and Jack Foran in Midge’s first boat, courtesy of Bill Sauers

    The brothers quickly established the lakefront from Sodus Point to Oak Orchard as their “domain” and were ruthless in enforcing the boundaries.

    Midge Staud had a fleet of large cars, Pierce-Arrows, and Studebakers, which he altered so they could stash up to 500-quart bottles of whiskey “in the seats, in backs of the seats, false floors and even false side panels in the doors.” The Stauds’ uncle, Fred, owned a shoe store and they would hide whiskey bottles in shoeboxes at the rear of the store until they could sell or transport them.

    If you want to learn more about Pierce-Arrow cars you can visit the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum before you go to their museum check out their website to view their current museum hours at https://pierce-arrow.com/.

    1928 Pierce-Arrow from eBay
    Staud’s poison car, from Times-Union, circa May 1929

    The Stauds altered this car so that poisonous mustard gas was emitted from the exhaust pipe. It was registered under a false name or now it is referred to As Known As or AKA or an alias which would allow someone to hide their identity or business from either the government, local authorities, or other gangs that were in the business of rum running, but there was enough evidence that proved that the car was owned by Midge. George was arrested wearing only his underwear trying to escape capture after the car was stopped by agents. This same car was involved in a Christmas Eve raid led by Andrew Wiedenmann.

    The Stauds would find a cooperative farmer who would let them hide the liquor in a barn. Some had underground tunnels linking the shore to barn basements. Late at night, the beer, whiskey, ale, and wine would be transported in modified cars to speakeasies all around the area including the many that populated Greece.

    Stauds’ barn on Norway Road in Kendal, New York for H. Dwight Bliss III provided by Bill Sauers
    Christmas Eve Raid, Times-Union, December 26, 1928

    This photo shows 200 cases of assorted liquor which was seized by border patrolmen Monday, December 24. Midge and George Staud along with four other men in their gang were arrested in connection with the raid. The liquor, which was composed of whisky and champagne, was intended for the Rochester holiday trade. Tire tracks in the snow alerted agents to this cache in a farmer’s barn.

     Towne Tavern sometime after 1945 Courtesy of Bill Sauers

    George served some jail time on a few occasions, but nothing major. Authorities could never get a conviction against Midge. Later in life, Midge ran the Towne Tavern (Left) on Gibbs Street in Rochester and for many years he, George, and Eddie had an interest in the Grove House in Greece. Their career as rumrunners and bootleggers was mostly forgotten.

    Family gathering of the Staud family, inside the Towne Tavern photo courtesy of Bill Sauers
    Grove House bar courtesy Bill Sauers

    So where was all that booze going? Quite a bit of it was staying right here in Greece. And that’s the subject of our next Snapshot.

    Thank you for joining us today. Next week we take a look at Greece speakeasies.

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    Bicentennial Snapshot No. 43: Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses of 1872 Part 2

    Today we will conclude our tour of the old district schools in Greece.

    Common School District in this snapshot:

    Common School District # 7

    The original No. 7 schoolhouse was torn down in 1899 and replaced with this one-room wood-frame building located on the north side of Frisbee Hill Road just east of North Greece Road. The belfry-topped schoolhouse closed its doors to students in 1944. Two years later, the property and building reverted to the Frisbee family who had made an initial agreement with the school district for it to be used solely as a schoolhouse.

    District 7 Loses old-school by Court rule. Florence Haskins 150 Frisbee Hill Rd. sued Myron B. Kelly, as trustee of the school district for possession of the schoolhouse and the quarter-acre of land her great-grandfather had turned over for school purposes.

    Justice Cribb upheld the decision that The $1 lease terminated in 1944 and the school building goes with the land.

    The school was abolished in 1944 when they agreed to send pupils to Union Free School District #4 Parma, Hilton School districts.

    This information came from the Democrat Chronicle on May 11, 1948.

    The schoolhouse was built at a cost of $700 on a quarter-acre plot of land leased by Edward Frisbee, a North Greece pioneer, in September 1833, as long as it was used as a school. Mrs. Cancella was a teacher at the one-room schoolhouse. Lou Frisbee was the bus driver. The school had about 15 students and went from K – 10 or 11 grade.

    Dorothy Frisbee used to serve soup, sandwiches, and cookies to the kids if they didn’t bring any lunch says Ruth a former student. The most difficult time was in the winter on the bus because she said the winters were tough and it was difficult for the bus to get through the snow. The roads weren’t plowed like today and the drifts were quite high. She didn’t remember how they heated the school but she said it got quite cold inside on occasions in the winter.

    Common School District # 7
    Common School District # 7
    Common School District # 7
    This is how it looks today. Common School District # 7. photo by Gina Dibella

    Common School District # 8

    Common School District # 8
    Common School District # 8
    Common School District # 8 on the 1872 map

    Other than its location on the south side of Mill Road, also known as Podunk Road, just west of North Greece Road, little is known about this school. No doubt it was similar to the other schools. Each of the common school districts had a one-room school building with a single teacher who taught all grades. There is only one building left in this area and that is the Covert-Brodie-Pollok House at 978 North Greece Road the other house was another cobblestone house at 543 Mill Road but that one had to be demolished due to it being structurally unsafe, you can learn more about these two houses in the Cobblestone house snapshots.

    Common School District # 9

    District 9 had two different schools on the east side of Long Pond Road bordering Round Pond Creek between Mill Road and Maiden Lane. The earlier schoolhouse was made of fieldstone (hence the name “Stone Schoolhouse”)

    Common School District # 9
    Common School District # 9
    District No. 9 Stone Schoolhouse

    One out of the 17 common district schools and the 2 joint districts in the 1800s were built using fieldstone the rest of the school districts were built with wood. The cobblestone school was in school district 9 on the 1872 map of the town of Greece and it was located at 980 Long Pond Rd.

    In 1917 it was replaced by a two-room schoolhouse. The Fieldstone school was sold for $ 5.00. Arthur Koerner and Willis construction firm was awarded the contract to build the new two-room wooden school at 1048 Long Pond Road. Also, The Greece United Methodist Church formed inside School Number 9 on July 25, 1841, when Reverend William Williams met with a group of people to start the church, and then another group meeting at the Greece Center schoolhouse at district school number 17 on Latta Road and the church grew to 21 members. Students were educated in that building for 30 years until it closed its doors around 1944.

    Common School District No. 9 Fieldstone School in front of the two room school house
    Common School District No. 9 Fieldstone School in front of the two-room schoolhouse
    District No. 9 Wood Schoolhouse– A tall flagpole stood in front of the schoolhouse.

    The current two-room schoolhouse was later sold at a district auction at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 1949, and was purchased by Harold Tebo. Harold then hired Arthur Korner to draw up plans to convert the schoolhouse into a private home and one of the features of the old school hidden above the now lowered ceiling is a tin ceiling that was used to reflect the heat and keep it in the building.

    One Day in 2003 during the summer an elderly lady had shown up at Gene Preston’s stand and said she had attended the two-room school what I don’t remember from that day was whether she was a student or a teacher at the school, she did say that the teachers entered from the rear of the building as seen in this picture here they did have 2 classrooms and at this school, they broke the class in half were grades 1 to 4 were in one class and students grades 5 thru 8 were in the other side this way they could teach more students and possible a couple of the students were that of W.N Britton who had a house on Long Pond Road 8 houses south of Common School District # 9.

    Common School District No. 9 Teachers Entrance
    Common School District No. 9 Teachers Entrance
    In the photo with the students you will notice the well pump to the left of the doors.
    In the photo with the students, you will notice the water well pump to the left of the doors.

    In the photo with the students, you will notice the water well pump to the left of the doors.

    You can read what the society has in terms of minutes from Common School District Number 9 it contains not that many entries but it starts on August 10, 1910, and ends on May 5, 1942. It contains some interesting facts about how much it costs to install electricity, and water in the school and how much tuition costs.

    The school had a sidewalk running to the street from the front doors. This was twice as wide as sidewalks today. When the sidewalk was removed after the house was sold the old sidewalk was put along the banks of the creek.

    Barb Worboys (Left) Harold Tebo (Right) Photo was in the Mid to Late 1970s

    Ever since my mom, Barb Worboys’s Grandfather Harold Tebo bought the house from the District in 1949 did not modify the exterior except for removing the front entrance and adding a large slab concrete pad in front of the front door and a second chimney at the end of the south end classroom.

    Left is the large blue barn Preston, Foreground Common School District # 9

    The only modifications were done on the interior of the structure only where Arthur Korner and Harold Tebo agreed on changes regarding where the stairs are to be moved to, how to use the coal chimney that was in the center of the house with a second chimney at the end of the south classroom, a garage door, and basement access below and in the rear on the north side above ground was where the teachers had once entered the school from to open the school up for the students to enter for school, and above the lowered ceiling in some parts is still a tin ceiling which helps in a few small areas to help with heating the house.

    Doug Worboys

    When the new Canandaigua Bank was built at 3204 Latta Rd, Rochester, NY 14612 they were inspired by school # 9 and used the pictures of the exterior to design the building. Inside this Branch for Canandaigua Bank, it is decorated with school-themed photographs that they picked from the Greece Historical Society and others and here a few of the images are on display, three of them are different grade class pictures from Hoover Drive, one of District #3 Ada Ridge School and District No. 11 Frederick Lay School, as well as a custom-designed Chalkboard.

    This is the East Elevation Blueprint Drawn by Arthur Korner
    South Elevation from the Architects that designed the Latta Road Branch.

    If you took and flipped the East Elevation blueprint on the left and overlay it on the south elevation on the right like in this image comparison below you can see it is almost the same design except for the two covered porches in the actual blueprint for the school conversion to a private house vs the bank rendering. the second chimney was not shown on the east elevation drawing but it was on the West or front elevation. So if you look at the pictures of the school above you will see how the bank flip the elevations around to design the bank and used the school as it bases of the building.

    Common School District #10 / Abelard Reynolds School No. 42

    In 1856, Greece School District No. 10 was divided and the old schoolhouse at Stone Road and Dewey Avenue became District No. 15.  A one-room brick schoolhouse for District No. 10 was built on Lake Avenue opposite Stonewood Avenue.  This building served the district for about 40 years.

    Around 1896, a two-room frame schoolhouse was built.  After about 20 years of service, that building was sold at auction, taken down, and reconstructed as a private dwelling on Lake Avenue south of Boxart Street.

    In 1916, a modern brick building replaced this frame building.  This new building had four classrooms, a gymnasium, and rooms in the basement for manual training and domestic science. This was similar to Greece School District Number 5 which had 4 classrooms, a gymnasium, an assembly hall combination, a teachers’ room, a store room, and inside lavatories all on a nine-acre plot. But Common School District Number 12 was a two-room Brick Building that only had 2 classrooms and had inside lavatories.

    On January 1, 1919, Greece School District No. 10 came under the control of the City of Rochester, when a portion of the district was annexed to the city. In the fall of 1924, the gymnasium was remodeled for use as a kindergarten.  (There had previously been no kindergarten.)  The other basement rooms had also been set up as classrooms.  Within seven years of being built, School 42 was outgrowing this building.   In the summer of 1925, a six-room portable addition was built.  In January 1926, the eighth grade was transferred to Charlotte High School. By September of 1926, the seventh grades were moved elsewhere and School 42 became a regulation elementary school.

    Contracts for the construction of the current building were awarded in July 1927.   A portion of the present building was ready for occupancy in the spring of 1928 and the rest was completed by September of that year.   This new building contained 20 classrooms, a kindergarten, an auditorium-gymnasium, a teachers’ lunch room, a kitchen, school nurse’s quarters, and the usual offices.

    On October 9, 1952 plans were approved for a three-story addition to School 42 to be built on the back of the U-shaped building.  This addition would include seven new classrooms and a combination lunchroom-community center.

    On May 29th, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into federal law that specifically allowed Abelard Reynolds School No. 42 to acquire a set of chapel bells from London, England – duty-free.  The bells arrived shortly afterward aboard the Queen Mary.

    There have been additional improvements made to the building through the years.  School 42, standing two miles south of Lake Ontario, now proudly serves a diverse population of approximately five-hundred students from the City of Rochester.

    Three schools have occupied this site on the east side of Lake Avenue directly opposite Stonewood Avenue. The first was a one-room brick structure.

    Who was Abelard Reynolds:

    • Was born on October 2, 1785, at a place called Quaker Hill, near Red Hook, NY.
    • In 1812, purchased lots (23 and 24) on the north side of what became East Main Street and built the first frame house west of the Genesee River.
    • Moved his family to Rochester in 1813.
    • Was the first saddle-maker, the first magistrate, and the first innkeeper on the “one-hundred-acre tract.”
    • Became the first Postmaster of the incorporated city of Rochester in 1812, appointed by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester.
    • Moved his house in 1828 to build the Reynolds Arcade on Main Street: a multi-storied brick building 56 feet deep with 86 rooms and 14 cellars. 
    • Was one of the founders of Rochester’s first public library.
    • Was a member of the Masonic order and a Prelate of the Knights Templar.
    • Was a member of the first Board of Education.
    • Died on December 19, 1878, in Rochester, NY.
    Common School District # 10
    Common School District # 10
    Common School District No. 10
    1916 Common School District No. 10
    1927 – Abelard Reynolds School No. 42. From Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
    Abelard Reynolds

    Common School District # 11

    Common School District # 11
    Common School District # 11
    District No. 11 Frederick Lay School photo from GHS

    This school was located on the north side of Ridge Road just west of Mt. Read Boulevard [formerly known as Eddy Road]. In addition to the original one-room building created this two-room brick and shingle structure. All Greece schoolhouses were equipped with an outdoor lavatory, also known as an outhouse or privy. Some schools were fortunate enough to have luxuries such as an organ or a furnace. This school was one of the first to have a furnace, although it still had outdoor privies.

    District No. 11 Frederick Lay School
    Class photo of District #11, located on Ridge Road (where Home Depot is currently located), 1906. William Britton is far left, back row.

    Each of the common school districts had a single teacher who taught all grades. High schools did not develop until the very end of the 19th century.

    Common School District # 12 – Greece Ogden School

    Common School District # 12
    Common School District # 12
    Common School District # 12
    Common School District # 12
    District No. 12 South Greece School or Henpeck School today, photo courtesy of Gina DiBella

    The Granite brick in the center at the top of the schoolhouse in south Greece reads:

    School District #12
    Greece Ogden school.
    Erected 1864.

    Students living in the South Greece area known as Henpeck attended school in this brick one-room schoolhouse on the east side of Elmgrove Road just south of the Barge Canal. This one-room schoolhouse closed in 1930 when a new schoolhouse was built further south on Elmgrove Rd due to the one-room schoolhouse reaching capacity for students to attend school the new District #12 school was built on Elmgrove Rd at Elmore Dr, The Elmgrove School District joined Spencerport Central District when it was formed in 1949.

    The old two-classroom school at 463 Elmgrove Rd. was sold at auction on March 1, 1959, and bought by Harold Tebo. Harold’s intent was to make this a bowling alley. He had bought alleys and other fixtures from a bowling alley in Rochester that had closed. He stored the items at the old school #9. Later he sold stock to people to make the lanes a public company. The idea didn’t work out. The building was later sold again and is a small private apartment in 2007.

    In 1959, the red brick building was auctioned off and today is a private residence.

    Each schoolhouse was equipped with a pot-bellied stove for warmth during the cold winter months. Every day the teacher assigned one boy to gather enough wood for the day from the woodpile behind the schoolhouse. Another student was responsible for getting fresh water from the well of a neighboring home. The water bucket and ladle were placed in the front of the classroom for all the students to use.

    Students from District No. 12 South Greece School, date unknown from the Office of the Town historian

    Common School District # 13 – West Greece Hoosick

    Common School District # 13
    Common School District # 13
    Common School District # 13
    inside of Common School District # 13
    inside of Common School District # 13

    This school was located on a hill at the southwest corner of Ridge and Manitou Roads. To the south of this two-room frame schoolhouse, was the Hoosick Cemetery. Manitou Road has since been straightened. The schoolhouse was moved to Dean Road in the town of Parma and used as a private residence.

    Common School District # 13
    Common School District # 13 is now a private residence photo taken in 2001 by Doug Worboys

    Common School District # 14

    The plot of ground on which this school building stands today was donated to the district, to be used for the purpose of a school building, by Terry Burns (Great-Great-grandfather of Art Newcomb) on June 8, 1852. This was a quarter-acre plot. Some of the early teachers of this school were, Lotta Janes, Jennie Martin, Mary McShea, Mary Burns, Miss Grinnen, Bridget Beaty, Ellen McCarthy, Miss Johnson, Lillian burke, and Mary Ann Mellon. June 1945 the teacher Florence (kirk) archer Bygrave, rang the school bell to summon pupils to the last lessons ever to be said there. That afternoon the schoolyard flag came down for the last time, thus ending nearly one hundred years of dispensing education to the children of this community. The following year the school joined with No. 5 school at Latta Rd. and Mt. Read Blvd., and after being vacant until the spring of 1947, it was sold at public auction, and was converted into a private dwelling.

    School Days at Dist.14 School

    From the Memoirs of Art Newcomb

    Some of my schoolmates at the one-room school were Fred and Jimmy Beaty, .At that time the schoolroom contained several rows of large double desks. Two pupils sat together in the double seat. I usually sat with my brother Floyd and sometimes with Austin Beaty. At one time Floyd, Austin and myself, all shared the same seat… Some of the games we played were “Fox and Geese” in the snow, “Duck on a Rock”, “Tickly Bender” on the thin ice in the creek, tag, beanball and baseball.. Everett Kirk was the school cut-up, and one time brought eight sticks of dynamite to the school in a market basket. He had found the dynamite at the site of some blasting project in the neighborhood. He hid two of the sticks under the bridge nearby, and brought the rest into the school and concealed them in his desk. Later he terrorized the teacher and most of the pupils by juggling a few of the dynamite sticks from hand to hand , frequently dropping one on the floor in the process. Fortunately , however, none exploded and he was finally induced to remover the dynamite from the premise. The school contained an organ which was pumped by foot. Several times a week, Emma Kirk played the organ and we all sang. One afternoon an incident of great disturbance occurred, the occasion of which, was prompted by the boy pupils in pursuit of a mouse which had taken refuge inside the organ. In the ensuing scuffle the organ was overturned and in the frenzied effort to capture the mouse the organ was completely demolished … On very cold winter days all the pupils would move in closer to the part of the room nearest the stove to keep warm. All eight grades were taught by the one teacher, and each class moved to the front seats, at the front row of desks, when it was time for their lessons to be recited. Hats and coats were hung on hooks and nails on the walls about the room. Each morning, two of the boy pupils were sent down the road to fetch a pail of drinking water from one of the neighbor’s wells. The pail was set on a bench in the schoolroom, and a tin cup was provided from which to drink.

    Memoirs of Art Newcomb
    Common School District # 14
    Common School District # 14
    District No. 14 Beatty Road School
    Common School District No. 14 Beatty Road School now, photo courtesy of Gina DiBella

    Today the former Beatty School is a private residence.

    Common School District # 15 – Barnard School

    The second school was erected on the north side of Stone Rd on 1/2 acre donated by Mr. Bartholf, inside it had a big wood stove, wood box, water pail, and dipper. This was used until 1916 and sold. The buyer was Edward Parsons who moved it and converted it into a garage at the rear of 622 Stone Rd. In 1916 a third structure, a two-room schoolhouse, was located at the apex between Maiden Lane and Stone, facing Stone Road, this was completed and considered a model rural school building for its time. By 1924, however, it was overflowing and another building became necessary. A school (shed rented) at the rear of Dewey Avenue Union Church on the southeast corner of Dewey Avenue and Haviland Park (now Bethany Presbyterian) temporarily accommodated grades seven and eight. The school had folding chairs, rough lumber tables, and inadequate heating. Grades 1 thru 6 were taught by Mrs. Mildred Bates, Miss Mary Collins, and Mrs. Martha Abigail taught 7th and 8th grade.

    On September 5, 1924, the cornerstone for the new school was laid. John A. Garrison, a former pupil of the second school in 1860 laid the cornerstone. The formal opening of the new brick school was held in May 1925. The school had two classrooms, a library, and a science room. The 1925 PTA held a membership drive. The first project was to secure playground equipment. Proceeds provided two slides for the playground.

    Barnard School
    Barnard School
    Common School District # 15
    Common School District # 15
    Common School District # 15 – Barnard School
    PositionName
    PresidentMrs. Walter Brewer
    Vice-PresidentMrs. Howard Badgerow
    SecretaryMrs. Hiram Mume
    TreasurerMrs. Fred Bartels
    First Staff at Barnard School

    Kindergarten and first grade still met in the old wooden school house for many years. It was relocated to the northwest corner of the 1924 structure. The north section of the present building was finished in 1928. On April 30, 1930, the district was reorganized as Union Free School District 15. In August 1938 voters in the Barnard District were split on building on a 10-acre plot at Dewey Ave. and Britton Rd. The PWA would furnish $135,000 and the remaining $165,000 would be raised by a bond issue. Arguments by objectors felt first a need for a new school had not been demonstrated. Objectors wanted guarantees that would show a second high school in the northern section of the district could be filled. The plan was for a 10-room structure capable of handling 170 pupils below 7th grade plus making the possible establishment of a 9th grade at the present school, thereby avoiding the need to send the 9th-grade students into Rochester City Schools. Northern residents sought approval while residents in the southern portion of the district disapproved of the issue since it was not needed and would increase taxes. Gross registration in 1938 was 612 total, and attendance was 527, including 411 in the main building and 116 in the second structure. The efficient operation was 448 for the main structure and 128 for the other. Britton Rd Junior High school became the second school of Union Free District #15. On October 29, 1947, a resolution was passed to build at the corner of Dewey Ave. and Britton Rd. The cost was $475,000. The school held grades K-6, and each grade had two classrooms for a total of fourteen. In 1949, Harold Kimber became Principal. On August 25, 1953, the voters approved an addition. The school remained K – 6 until 1965. A two-story addition was added to the building on the north end. This consisted of two Industrial arts and Home economics rooms, art, gymnasium, and eight classrooms. After the addition, they took in 7th and 8th grades. This school remained K-8 until 1960 when English Village Elementary School opened. Eventually in 1981 Britton Rd. school closed while enrollment was in a decline. The school was torn down after Wegmans Food Market bought the Property and the new Wegmans Store opened in December 1983.

    Today it houses a private Jewish School, Derech Hatorah (Derek ha tor a) of Rochester.

    Derech Hatorah (derek ha tor a) of Rochester photo by Bill Sauers

    Common School District # 16

    Common School District # 16
    Common School District # 16

    District #16 in 1872 was located at Greenleaf Rd. near Ling Rd. as shown on the map of 1872. There is a discrepancy between this district and District #2 in 1822. Then there is a conflict following the 1872 map and the 1887 and 1902 maps show a school located across from the Upton-Paine house where the entrance to Elmridge Plaza calling this district 16 but because when they submit the Trustee’s reports the was nothing on the report indicating the address of the school or its location for record-keeping on that paperwork only the committee members knew which one went to which actual school location or it was kept in another register that was lost and never digitized by the State of New York Education Department or State University of New York kept it on file has yet to digitize these records for research and for the historian and local historical societies to store them for preserve for as long as the schools were in use for but we will never know.

    District No. 16, David Todd School

    There are some questions about where District 16 was located. On 1852, 1887, and 1902 maps of Greece, there was a school indicated on the north side of Ridge Road across from and east of the Upton-Paine House (now Ridgemont Country Club)’ It was thought to be District School No. 16 by some. However, the 1872 map shows a school on what was first the Blanchard property and later property owned by Patrick Fleming. The 1872 map clearly says that this was District 16. It is because of record keeping that we do not have a clear answer to the location of which location is the correct Common School District 16 location. From what we can tell based on later maps the town was growing in population and that forced the town to rearrange the Common School Districts 3, 8, 9, 12, and 13, which may have led to the restructuring of the common school districts to create this school, and the students that went to the Patrick Fleming farm may have been forced to either to go to school # 5 at paddy hill or District 4 in Charlotte but we will never know.

    The bell that called students to class at the one-room schoolhouse known as the David Todd school is now on display at the Greece Historical Society and Museum. Although all ages of children were in the same classroom, students were taught separately according to their grade levels. Those being instructed at a particular time would move to the front desks, while the remainder of the students worked on their lessons at desks at the back of the room.

    1910 School Room exhibit at Greece Historical Society and Museum, photo from Bill Sauers

    Common School District # 17 – Greece Center Latta/Long Pond

    Common School District # 17

    In 1824 the minutes of the Greece Common School board meeting list the forming of district 17. On April 25, 1828, District 17 was divided with Parma, Parma retained the old school building and property judged at $12 (USD in 1823 dollars) (340.24 in today’s cost) of that $6 (USD in 1823 dollars) (170.12 in today’s cost) was to be paid to the Town of Greece for its inhabitants. The commissioners then adopted new school lines for District #17. Sometime around 1919 district #17 changed to District #2.

    Late 1933 – The school had eight rows with one to five students in each row of first to eighth grade. The school had a pot belly stove that the older boys had the job to keep burning. The water was retrieved from an outside well with a hand pump. Lighting was by electricity this year because power ran north to the highway garage. At some point, said the Late Pat Preston spouse of Gene Preston, the school had just the 1st to 4th grade and then the students would go to School 38 on Latta Rd (2007 is now a condominium complex), and then high school they would attend was Charlotte High School on Lake Ave. Mrs. Heard was a teacher during that time and classes started around 9 a.m. The bathroom was double separated. A large cardboard circle colored green and red hung on the doors. Red meant the room was in use and green meant the room was available. Lunch was at your desk or outside, weather permitting. As far as punishments well those couldn’t be recalled whether any were handed out. The teacher was without question in control. There was a period for recess and the favorite game was hide & seek.

    Greece Grog Shop in former Greece Common School District Number 17, Greece Historical Society Archives

    When no longer a school, for a number of years, it was a liquor store.

    Greece Common School District Number 17, (2009) photo courtesy of Bill Sauers

    For nearly 40 years John Geisler ran a real estate business out of the old school building. He sold the building in 2016.

    Greece Common School District Number 17, 2022, photo Bill Sauers

    Since 2016 the building has been vacent. Unfortunately, it is not listed as a local landmark and its future is uncertain.

    Joint District of Parma and Greece

    In addition to its other District schools, there were two joint districts shared with Parma.

    Greece Parma Joint District # 13

    Greece Parma Joint District # 13
    Greece Parma Joint District # 13

    This school was located on Manitou Rd at the corner of Payne Beach and Manitou Beach Roads. It is shown on the 1872 Map and believed to be used up until 1944. At this point, students then went to the Hilton Schools.

    No pictures or other info is available on this school.

    Greece Parma Joint School District No. 14

    Joint School District No. 14 from the Office of the Town Historian
    Greece Parma Joint School District # 14
    Greece Parma Joint School District # 14

    The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane’s Corners School, was located at the southwest corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.

    Class photo of District #14 students and teachers, 1903. The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane's Corners School, was located at the south west corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.
    Class photo of District #14 students and teachers, 1903. The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane’s Corners School, was located at the southwest corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.

    New Greece Central School District and Consolidations Forming in 1928

    Greece Central School District # 1 – Willis N Britton / Hoover Drive / Odyssey / Now Discovery Charter School / Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester

    Greece Common School Districts Nos. 3, 11, and 16 were consolidated to form Greece Central School District No. 1 in 1928 located at 133 Hoover Drive. It was the first centralized school district in Monroe County and the 13th Central School District in New York State. Nearly three decades later, voters approved the annexation of Greece Central School District No. 1 with Consolidated School District No. 5 and Union Free District No. 15, both consolidations of former Greece common school districts, in May 1955. On July 9th, 1928, voters approved the acceptance of the donation of five acres of land in the Koda-Vista tract, from Willis N. Britton. The school district did look at a few other properties before approving the Willis N. Britton site, the property at Ridge Road and Latona Road where Mrs. Clark had property near Falls Cemetry and near the Colby-Shearman House. There is a clause on the land that the Willis N. Britton family that land was to be used as a school and if at any time the land was not going to be used as a school it would revert back to descendants of the Willis N. Britton family who owned the land before. The first formal organization of the first school board in 1929 was John Easton, Norman Weeks, Adelbert Lanctot, Arthur Kerkel, and Arthur Koerner. Norley Pearson was District Clerk. John Tallinger acted as Treasurer and Mr. Lanctot, President. Willis N. Britton officially opened in 1929 at a cost of $200,000 but they decide to tack on the building the third floor at that time so instead of building 2 stories at $200,000 they raised an additional $25,000 for a total of $225,000, and the original gross square foot of Willis N. Britton School was 40,326 square feet and 18 classrooms. In 1948 Willis N. Britton School gained its first expansion to the building and expanded the gross square footage by 29,134 square feet to now a total of 69,460 square feet and 14 additional classrooms making the school able to have 32 classrooms in the school. In 1952 another addition was added to the school expanding the school to another 10 classrooms and 18,273 square feet to the building making it now 24 classrooms and 87,733 square feet. In 1957 is when the gym was added to the building and 3,670 square feet were added to the building bringing it to 91,403 square feet. Then in 1961/1962 the wing that housed the home ec and the technology shop was added that adding an additional 26,845 to the school for a total of 118,248 square feet to the school and in 2004 an additional expansion occurred to create a music wing that added additional square feet to the building, according to the Monroe county real property portal it reports that the square footage for the property at 105,271 square feet when Greece Central School District finally closed it’s doors for good at the end of 2011 – 2012 school year at 133 Hoover drive and moved Odyssey Academy to Maiden Lanes at the Old Cardinal Mooney / Greece Apollo Middle School Campus at the start of the 2012-2013 school year due to the drop in student enrollment, one of the other reasons for moving Odyssey to the Maiden Lanes location was the lack of space for the outdoor sports programs and the gym was getting old where it was deemed a little bit small by Section V standards if the school district had expanded towards Corona Rd it might have been able to stay as a District school but we will never know what the school could have been if it was able to stay and grow. One of my classmates Erin Gallenger painted a mural of a Snow Leopard at the North Entrance to the main Parking lot and redesigned the school’s logo as her Graduation Gift to the school before the Class of 2002 exited the campus as graduates and the following year is when the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme started.

    Willis N Britton / Greece Central #1
    Willis N Britton / Greece Central #1

    Willis N. Britton was one of the Town’s Largest Peach Growers in the Town and was appointed to the role of town supervisor in 1903.

    You can learn more about Hoover Drive’s Odyssey

    Odyssey’s Motto
    1950s School Room exhibit at Greece Historical Society and Museum, photo from Bill Sauers

    What is unique about the pull-down map at the Greece Historical Society and Museum?

    On our Facebook post for this snapshot take a guess what is unique about it there is something missing on it compared to modern pull-down maps of the United States look at pull-down maps or just maps of the United States. There is a clue in the description of the picture.

    The District’s name was officially changed to Greece Central School District in April 1973.

    Current Greece Central Logo

    Thank you for joining us today. Next week we start our look at Prohibition.

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    Bicentennial Snapshot No. 42: Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses of 1872 Part 1

    Today we will take a tour of the old district schools in Greece.

    Common School District in this snapshot

    Our Snapshot this week is based on an exhibit researched and written by the late Gloria LaTragna and edited and designed by Gina DiBella in 2001 and updated for showing at the Greece Historical Society in 2018. This photo exhibit, Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses, is currently on display in the new Greece Office of Student Transportation Services at 1790 Latta Road. We greatly appreciate Gina sharing it with us for this Snapshot. Some corrections and updated information were provided by Pat Worboys who was doing research at about the same time and found things that were not included in the exhibit Restore, Renew, Rediscover Your Neighborhood Schools. My research started because my mom’s grandfather Harold Tebo, purchased not only Common School District Number 9, he also purchased the larger 2-room school on the northwest corner of Elmgrove Road and Elmore Drive the Greece Ogden School Number 12 which you will see in Part 2 of Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses that I became interested in researching the school houses of Town of Greece and with my dad Doug Worboys, we started doing more digging in on the research which took us to the Landmark Society of Western New York and there we found some information that I had Maureen correct before we recorded Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses of 1872 Parts 1 and 2. One of the most unique things that happened in the summer of 2003 was when Gene Preston came over and got both me and my dad to come over to the stand, and said he has an elderly lady who had either taught at school # 9 or was a student once we got to the stand we started talking with her by the way we never got her name before she left the stand. She told us about some of the interesting things about Common School District Number 9, how the teachers would enter the school from the rear and the students entered from the front. I will fill in more of this in part 2 of Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses of 1872.

    Credit page for exhibit courtesy of Gina DiBella
    Map of Common School District in 1872
    Map of Common School District in 1872

    Long before the establishment of the centralized Greece School District, students in the Town of Greece were educated in schoolhouses scattered throughout the town. Students in the area previously known as the town of Northampton have had the opportunity for a formal education since 1798 when the first school commissioner was elected. In 1823, one year after the Town of Greece was established, it was divided into Common School Districts. By the end of the 19th century, Greece had 17 common districts and two Joint districts that sat on the Parma Greece border just north of the North Greece Common School District # 6 area and west of the Frisbee Common School District # 7. There were some Districts that ended up being renumbered and restructured when the number of students kept increasing which occurred around 1919 and included the annexation of some of the districts into the City of Rochester School District as well.

    Common School District #1

    Common School District No. 1 school was located on the west side of present-day Lake Avenue, just north of Little Ridge Road [now West Ridge Road]. This one-room schoolhouse served the students in Hanford Landing. Today Kodak Park occupies the site of the schoolhouse and surrounding farmlands.

    District No. 1 Hanford Landing School
    District No. 1 Hanford Landing School

    After moving from this location the school was located in an old frame building on Dewey Avenue north of Lewiston Avenue (Ridge Rd). The school housed 50 students. Mrs. O. H. Gordon was the principal until 1912. In the spring of 1912, the new present Kodak school 41 was completed. The school was admitted to the University of the State of New York. The name of the school switched to Kodak Union (Kodak No. 41) school in 1916. George H. William was the principal. At about that time a high school department was added with about 18 pupils. In 1917 an addition was added due to tremendous growth. In 1919 the school came into the city system. The student population at that time was 350 students in grammar and 45 students in high school. The high school became known as Kodak High School. Districts # 1, 4, and 10 were consolidated in 1916 when they were annexed by the city. Later high school students would attend John Marshall or Charlotte High School.

    Common School District 1
    Common School District 1

    Common School District # 2

    Common School District #2 Big Ridge School was located on the north side of Big Ridge Road [now Ridgeway Avenue] between Long Pond Road and Latona Road. A 1902 map, however, no longer shows a schoolhouse located on this site. There is no picture of this school located on Ridgeway Ave based on overlaying the 1872 map over a current map that puts the structure between Wehner Mower and Ventdi Septic Services on Ridgeway Ave today. The only thing we have from a Common School District No. 2 town of Greece of County of Monroe for the school year ending July 31, 1919, to Fred W. Hill who was District Superintendent at the time and you can see that Trustees Report here

    District No. 2 Big Ridge School on 1872 map Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division

    Common School District # 3

    Common School District #3 – Walker School

    Common School District #3 – Walker School was located on the west side of Mitchell Road near the site of the former Mitchell Road branch of the Greece Public Library. This school sat right on the Walker Property and the house still stands today. In 1912 – 1913 Elizabeth J Crawford was the teacher at Common School District #3 and Fred Hill district Supt.

    Common School District # 3
    Common School District # 3

    Common School District #4

    Common School District #4
    Common School District #4

    Perhaps in existence back in 1817. The first known teacher was a member of a pioneer family, Miss Adeline Holden. The school was located at Latta (Broadway) and Stutson (Holden) streets. In 1837 George Latta donated a site at the North side of Stutson St. A new one-room brick building replaced the old one. In 1837 bricks used for the building were made on-site. In the 1860s the school was overcrowded with 1 teacher handling 80 students. In 1868 a new school was built at the corner of Latta Rd and River Streets serving students grades 1 thru 8. In 1893 a two-story addition was completed at a cost of $ 6,200. In 1907 a second school was constructed on site which was Charlotte High school’s first building, and finished in 1908, sat on the site of the present Rochester Fire Department’s Engine 19 / Marine 1 / Gator 2 / Brush 1 at the Y where Lake Avenue and River Street meet right next to the Charlotte Cemetery. In 1911, the district employed 13 teachers. Both school buildings were demolished in 1937.

    Common School District #4
    City of Rochester Fire Department Station RFD E19 / Marine 1 / Gator 2 / Brush 1
    Common School District #4 (Rear) Charlotte High School (Front) Charlotte School from Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division

    After annexation, Rochester built school # 38 on Latta Rd in 1928 and put on an addition in 1953. School # 38 Latter closed and is now home to Lake Breeze Condominiums. And Charlotte High School moved across and down the road no more heat 30 feet to the north where it used to sit. Students in this area ended up going to District #10 Greece or what is now called the City of Rochester, District # 42 – Abelard Reynolds School more on this School in Part 2 of Common School Districts of 1872.

    Charlotte High photo by John Cranch
    Charlotte High photo by John Cranch

    Common School District #5 – Paddy Hill

    District No. 5’s frame structure originally stood on the same parcel of land that Paddy Hill Elementary School occupies today. On the southwest corner of Latta Road at Mt Read Blvd, Mother of Sorrows Church and Cemetery were and still are located across the road. This district was in existence seven years after the Town of Greece was formed. The first school was located on a 60 x 60 lot on the southwest corner of Latta Rd. It was created by early settlers. The land was donated by Judge or Squire Nicholas Read. In the middle of the room was a three-legged pot belly stove that heated the room during the winter. Double benches could seat a total of three students. were the fixtures. In 1887 the student numbered 83. By 1894 the number had grown to 92. Miss Kate McShea and Miss Mary Burns were two of the earliest teachers. The salary in those days was $395.00.

    District No. 5 Mt. Read School – The north end of the Mother of Sorrows shed for horses and carriages are seen at left. Notice the fork in the road where Mt. Read approaches Latta Road. 

    The schoolhouse was closed in 1929 due to a fire that damaged parts of the school it would cost 5,000 to repair the building instead of it getting torn down the structure was salvaged and purchased by Milton Carter who moved it down the hill on Latta Rd so he could use it for his residence. The old school serves as a home presently.

    Chief of Greece Police – Milton Carter residence
    Common School District #5
    Common School District #5
    Nicholas Read
    Nicholas Read
    District # 5 / Paddy Hill (1932-1955)

    Students attended Barnard School from 1929 until 1931 when a new brick school was opened across from the old frame building at 1790 Latta Road in 1932. A much-mentioned feature of this new school was the indoor lavatories. This one had 4 classrooms, a gymnasium, an assembly hall combination, a teachers’ room, a store room, and inside lavatories all on a nine-acre plot. Only one classroom was used for many years. The school grew to 11 teachers. When this closed in at the end of the 1954-55 School year the students then went back to the southwest corner of Latta Rd and Mt. Read Blvd when Paddy Hill Elementary school opened.

    In 1955, Paddy Hill Elementary School was built and students moved across the road once again.

    Paddy Hill (1955- Present) Photo Take 2011 Bill Sauers
    Historical marker photo by Bill Sauers

    There has been a public elementary school at this intersection since 1839, either here or across the street making it the second oldest continuous location in the county. The Greece Historical Society received a grant from the William C. Pomeroy Foundation to install this historical marker.

    The large brick school building No. 5 was converted to administrative offices for the Greece Central School District. It was torn down in 2021…

    Greece School District # 5 photo by Bill Sauers
    Greece Office of Student Transportation and Support Services, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers

    to make way for the Greece Office of Student Transportation and Student Services Facility. This is where you vote for the school budget each year and it also holds the District Board Meetings instead of at Greece Odyssey Academy. In the back of this complex is a sea of buses that brings the students to and from school each day and behind that is Arcadia Middle and High School

    Several artifacts from the building were saved including this sculpture of the Torch of Knowledge which is now mounted in the backyard of the Greece Historical Society and Museum. Gina DiBella, on behalf of the Society, is preparing a report documenting the history of the building for the New York State Historic Preservation Office.

    Torch of Knowledge from District No. 5 building photo by Bill Sauers
    Stone name plaque from District No. 5 building, photo by Bill Sauers

    The name plaque above the entrance door was also preserved. According to sources both within the School District, the Town of Greece, and Members of the Historical Society, said there are plans to mount this 10-foot by four-foot slab near the flagpole of the new building with a time capsule buried with the students from Paddy Hill school participating. But as of this post that has not occurred yet when it does happen it will be added to this post and in a story as well in the January Newsletter will be a story on Paddy Hill School written by Bill Sauers, and when the museum reopens in March we will Feature this school as the featured exhibit of the year for 2023.


    Common School District #6 – The Gooseneck School

    The irregular direction of College Avenue as it winds from North Greece Road to Latta Road forms what appears to look like a gooseneck. Although this road does appear on the closeup map of the North Greece area in the 1872 Monroe County Plat Map by Beers, F. W. (Frederick W.). Atlas of Monroe Co., New York: From Actual Surveys by and Under the Direction of F. W. Beers. New York: F. W. Beers & Co. which you can see on the Monroe County Public Library http://photo.libraryweb.org/rochimag/mcm/mcm00/mcm00009.jpg

    If you look at the overall 1872 Plat Map of Greece as seen on this link here even if you zoom in on the map you will see the outline of the gooseneck area but the above link will take you to the close up area http://photo.libraryweb.org/rochimag/mcm/mcm00/mcm00008.jpg

    The name of the street is said that the name of the road came about due to the school. The first school on this site was a brick structure.

    In 1927 the school had swings, slides, and teeters (teeter-totters or seesaws) 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. that same year they had regular electric lights.

    Common School District #6 – The Gooseneck School

    The children of the small hamlet of North Greece attended this school until 1949 when Common School District No. 6 joined the Hilton School District.

    Common School District #6 - The Gooseneck School
    Common School District #6 – The Gooseneck School
    Common School District #6 – The Gooseneck School
    Map of North Greece 1872
    Map of North Greece 1872
    Hotel DeMay, 2007, from Bill Sauers

    After the school closed, the school bell was relocated to the top of the chimney of the former Hotel DeMay.

    The school building still stands today as a private residence.

    Common School District No. 6- Now
    Common School District No. 6 – Now a Private Home photo courtesy of Gina DiBella

    Thank you for joining us today. Next week we continue our tour of the old Common School District with Districts 7-17 and Joint Districts 13 and 14.

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    Bicentennial Snapshot # 40 – Growing up on Paddy Hill Farm

    Today we’ll share with you what it was like growing up on a farm on Latta Road.

    The Whelehan farm at 1438 Latta Road is the last of the Irish family farms in the Paddy Hill community. In 1990, a volunteer with the Greece Historical Society interviewed Francis Howard Whelehan, who lived his entire 94 years there. He described his life growing up on the farm.

    Whelehan home on Allyndaire Farm 1438 Latta Road, photo by Bill Sauers
    Nicholas Read

    Howard’s great-grandparents, Thomas Whelehan and Mary Ryan Whelehan, came to the Town of Greece from King’s County in 1836. Mary was Squire Nicholas Read’s grandniece. They had seven children, three sons, and four daughters. One of their sons, William, inherited the Read farm.

    Thomas and Mary’s son, Patrick, born in Ireland in 1832, was Howard’s grandfather and his grandmother was Margaret Goodwin, from another Greece pioneer family; she was born in 1834 to Patrick Goodwin and Rosanna Beaty. Howard’s father, born in 1877 was John Patrick Whelehan. In this photo, which hangs in the living room of the Society’s museum, Patrick is the bearded gentleman in the front row; John Patrick stands directly behind him. Margaret Goodwin Whelehan is seated second from the left.

    Patrick Whelehan Family, circa 1880s, from the Office of the Town Historian
    1902 Map from Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division

    As you can see from this map, members of the Whelehan family had farms along Latta Road and down Mount Read near Our Mother of Sorrows Church.

    After Father John Patrick Quinn became pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Church,

    Father John Patrick Quinn from Mother of Sorrows Church, 1829-1979
    Our Mother of Sorrows Church postcard, circa 1910, from Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division

    his sister, Matilda (Tillie) Quinn, moved to Greece, became the organist and choir director of her brother’s church, met John Patrick Whelehan who was in the choir, and married him in 1899.

    They moved into the home at 1438 Latta Road which was built for the newly married couple by Patrick Whelehan. Their first child J. Donald was born in 1903 and their second son, F. Howard in 1905. The farm was large and by 1908 they were expanding the number of barns to store hay and grains,

    Whelehan home on Allyndaire Farm 1438 Latta Road, photo by Bill Sauers
    Whelehan tombstone in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, photo by Joe Vitello

    but shockingly, John Patrick died in early 1909. Tillie, a widow at the age of 38, was left with a six- and a four-year-old. As she said when she got home from the funeral, she had two things in life, two little boys and five dollars.

    After their father died, Arthur Yates from Elmtree farm…

    You can read more on the Yates-Thayer house in A Gentleman’s Country Estate and also check out snapshot # 31 – Iconic Homles in Greece

    Yates-Thayer home, 710 Latta Road, photo by Gina DiBella
    Latta Road, 1910s, from the Office of the Town Historian

    sent the two little boys a pony.

    Although Tillie grew up on a farm in Macedon, she was a school teacher before her marriage and knew little about managing a farm. In addition to the crops, the farm had chickens, pigs, horses, and cattle. Neighbors and family helped initially but she knew she’d have to get some permanent help. When she inquired around, she was told there were two or three men she might hire, but they all had “the same little trouble” Howard recounted in the interview “they liked to drink a little too much.” She did hire one of them, she needed the help.

    Dairy cow photo by Keith Weller USDA, www.ars.usda.gov
    Chicken by William Baptiste Baird from the Library of Congress

    Farming under the best of circumstances was hard. Most of Tillie’s needs could be met from the farm itself, but when she needed to buy additional goods, she didn’t have ready cash. She would gather 10 to 12 dozen eggs and take them to the grocery store in Charlotte. The grocer always took her word for how many there were. He’d tally up the amount she was due, for example, $3.25. Tillie had her list and she’d walk around picking up coffee, tea, sugar, flour, etc. When the grocer told her, Mrs. Whelehan, you’re getting close to the $3.25, that was it; she had no more money.

    Tillie would keep old papers and iron bits like plow points for the rag and scrap men who would come from the city to collect them. She stored them near the chicken shed.

    Ragpicker by Thomas Waterman Wood circa 1865

    One time a scrap man stopped at the farm, he weighed the paper and iron she had, and paid for them. But the next day, Tillie discovered that every one of her hens was gone. Most likely the scrap man had stolen them. Tillie depended on those hens for her grocery money. Soon all her neighbors each gave her two hens, and her hen house was soon replenished.

    In the early decades of Howard’s life, there was no electricity or running water in the house. The house was heated by a cook stove in the kitchen and a pot-bellied coal stove in the parlor. Taking a bath was quite an undertaking which is one reason why they didn’t have one very often. If they were going to see the doctor or the dentist or before going to church on Sunday, Howard said, “naturally we would have to take a bath.” They would pump about two pails of water to heat on the stove. That could take up to 40 minutes. Then they had to haul the heated water down to the basement where there was a tub (chamber pots and washbowls) they could bathe in. The Smithsonian has a good collection of 19th and early 20th-century Portable Bathtubs that can be viewed at https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/portable-bathtubs-tub-bathing-from-the-early-19th-and-20th-centuries.

    Tin Bucket used as a portable bathtub from familyheritageliving.com
    Anthracite chestnut coal from northeastnursery.com

    In late summer or early fall, they would hitch a team to a box wagon and drive down to Greece Lumber on Latta Road (near the bridge over the parkway today, where the now-closed Latta Lea Golf was and a townhouse complex, built next to the parkway) which sold coal and lumber, they filled the wagon with two tons of chestnut coal. They’d store it in the cellar and use it all winter in the pot-bellied stove in the parlor.

    In addition to growing potatoes, cabbages, and “every kind of berry” for themselves, Tillie also had a contract with a hotel on the Irondequoit side of the river. This was in the days before the Stutson Street Bridge. Howard and Donald would load up a wagon with potatoes and they and horse and wagon would cross the river on a flatboat called the Windsor that ran on a chain.

    Stutson Street Bridge Marker
    Stutson Street Bridge Marker
    Windsor Ferry at Charlotte from Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division

    Howard also recalled that there were two major parties during the winter. One was always at Leo Whelehan’s home next to Our Mother of Sorrows Church.

    Also, Leo Whelehan had reported some of the unusual phantom stories written in Eight Miles Along the Shore. The story of the Phantom Man was featured in our Halloween special for the Bicentennial Snapshots in snapshot 32.

    Leo Whelehan home courtesy of Alan Mueller
    Bell-Larkin-Janes-Beaty house at 543 Long Pond Road

    The other was the Janes family home on Long Pond (which was the former Peter Larkin home). Now home to the Lang Dental Group.

    In summer they looked forward to going to the Farmer’s picnic every year at Manitou Beach.

    Swimming at Manitou Beach, 1917, from the Office of the Town Historian
    Distinguished guests at the centennial celebration, June 8, 1930, from the Rochester Times Union, June 9, 1930 (from left: Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt; Guernsey T. Cross, governor’s secretary; Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt; State Senator Frederick J. Slater, chairman of centennial committee.)

    Another of his relatives, State Senator Frederick Slater, organized it every year. In this picture, Senator Slater is on the far right. On the way home he’d start making plans for the next year’s picnic, because said Howard “none of us had any pleasure between them.”

    Howard also talked about the Big Freeze of 1934. They raised apples on their farm, some to be sold to Duffy-Mott. He recalled lying awake at night hearing the apple trees breaking; he said it sounded like a man was out there with a big board hitting the barn as hard as he could. The next morning when they went out, they could put an arm through any tree, because they had all split open. More on this in snapshot 33 extreme Weather Part 1.

    Damaged fruit trees in Greece, NY 1934
    Snow on the ground at the Whelehan home and Allyndaire Farm 1438 Latta Road, photo by Bill Sauers

    Matilda never remarried. Even so, she successfully ran that farm for years and was able to send her oldest son, Donald, to the University of Rochester and Harvard Law School. Howard took over the farm.

    The transcript of the interview with Howard Whelehan is attached below for anyone interested in finding out more about growing up on Latta Road.

    Thank you for joining us today; next week we go shopping at Northgate Plaza.

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    FRANCIS HOWARD WHELEHAN Q&A

    By Marietta

    This is a transcript from a recording between Franci Howard Whelehan and Marietta of the Greece Historical Society recorded on July 5, 1990, at the Whelehan Allyndaire Farm the Audio will get digitized at some point to be able to be listened to with the text transcript. An original paper transcript is in the museum this is a fully digitized version of the Q&A with Howard Whelehan.

    Marietta: How are you today, Howard?

    Howard: Very well.

    Marietta: Good.. have a nice 4th of July?

    Howard: Yeah, had a very nice 4th of July, a little warm.

    Marietta: Record heat I think.

    Howard: Record heat and record thunderstorms and everything else.

    Marietta: Do you remember some 4th of July’s from the past?

    Howard: A great many of them, of course as you well know when we were little we could use firecrackers but of course, as you well know they went out and a neighbor of mine a Mr. Kintz they were at a 4th of July party…probably you know about that.

    Marietta: No.

    Howard: It was outside and his wife was sitting at the end of the table and there are people in the crowd who you might say
    like to be funny. Well, this man had a firecracker, so unbeknown to her, he lit the firecracker and she stooped over and it blew the eye completely out of her head.

    Marietta: Oh dear, I can see why they emphasize safety with firecrackers now. That was not a very good way to celebrate the 4th. Well, tell me about your early childhood.

    Howard: Well in 1899 my father and mother were married and they moved into this new house on Latta Road.

    Marietta: This house we’re in right now?

    Howard: Right now. In 1903 my brother Donald was born here and in 1905 I was born here. My father’s parents were farm people they lived on the Island Cottage Road in the town of Greece. My mother’s people were farm people, they lived in the town of Macedon. My father was very much interested in agriculture. This was quite a big farm and he raised a great deal of hay and grain and after they were here for just a few years, he decided that he needed more barn room to hold the hay and grain. So in 1908, he had a new addition put on the big barn. But unfortunately for all of us, he never saw any hay or grain put in it, because early in 1909 he died. Well, that was a great shock to our whole family. I often heard my mother say, “When she came home from the funeral that she had two things in life facing her 2 little boys and $5.” Well, we did have the farm. We did have cattle and horses and pigs and all that at the barn and they had to be taken care of so our neighbors were very good at that time…they came and did our chores. Of course, Donald and I were too small at the time we weren’t able to take care of them and my mother knew nothing about farming she was a school teacher all her life, and in other words, she couldn’t take care of the big farm. So the people did come but naturally, she knew that we had to have help..had to have a hired man. So she inquired around and was told that there were 2 or 3 men that she might be able to hire..so but they all had the same little trouble they all liked to drink a little too much.
    But that didn’t matter, who had to have someone, so she did hire one of those men. Well of course Donald and I were very small and we could help out. For example, we could feed the chickens, gather the eggs, feed the little pigs and little calves, and of course another thing that had to be done, to go out in the pasture in the late afternoon and drive the cows down. So in addition to all that just a day or two after the funeral there was a very wealthy man who lived just down Latta Road- his name was Mr. Yates. He owned several coal companies in the city and also in Buffalo, and he sent his hired man out the next day to see if the two little boys here would like a pony. So of course, we liked the little pony, so we did get him. His name was Romeo and he was getting rather old. He was a circus pony. And what he did or what he didn’t do in the circus was let anyone ride on him. So he was another pet. Well then there was no running water, we had a well at the barn and either Donald or I or the man you’d have to pump a pail of water or a couple of pails of water for the women of the house to use and we could do that and in addition to that, the animals had to have water so we would do our part to pump the water into the big trough for the animals to drink. So we did all that and then of course when we got a little older we would have homework to do but after the homework then it would be time to go to bed, which would be about 9 o’clock.

    Marietta: Oh bedtime was early.

    Howard: So but different things happened even then and I remember this little thing. I was in bed one night and my mother came upstairs and woke me up and said that the Mrs. so-and-so (I forgot her name) was downstairs and she was the next-door neighbor and they lived in a rather. old house. Her husband worked on the railroad. They got ten cents an hour for 10 hours of work. I believe that’s a dollar a day and they worked for 6 days, which would be $6. Well, back of this old house there was a dilapidated orchard that hadn’t been taken care of in a great many years. There were old dead limbs in the trees and on the ground, weeds growing up through it and everything. So my mother said that this lady was downstairs and she wondered if Donald and I would go over. Her husband (there happened to be a bar right over at the corner on the way home with his $6) he stopped at the bar and got a little too much to drink and the $6 was gone and they had no food or anything for the children. So of course they had a few words and the wife knew there was a big rope in the cellar.

    The husband went down the cellar and he got the big rope and when he came up and told his wife he was going out in his orchard and go up in a tree and hang himself…he was going to commit suicide. She wanted to know if Donald & I would go over and walk around in the trees and find him hanging there and if we did find him hanging there to come in and let her know and the three of us would go out; she’d have a big knife and would cut him down out of the tree and drag him in put him in and put him on the kitchen floor all night. She said she’d feel better if he was on the kitchen floor rather than hanging up and swinging around in a tree. Well, I was always very scared in the dark and naturally this v.s sure didn’t help any..so the two of us started Over & I was scared to death. And we did start to look around in the trees . . . the wind was blowing some and it would blow the old dead limbs one against another and I thought it was the guy up there swinging his body was swinging. But we kept on going and finally, we heard a little crackling in the old dead brush on the ground. Well, then I was so scared I didn’t know what to do. So the two of us stopped and this noise would come on again. Neither one of us could move..well we stood there for a couple of minutes and finally what appeared in right front of us was a big black & white cow. There was a big barn just the other side of this old house with a little pasture around it and the cow broke out of that night and happened to wander into the orchard. The next morning the lady came over and told my mother that later that night after the husband sobered up a little and he came in and everything was made up so everything was back to normal again.

    Marietta: That was quite a night.

    Howard: We didn’t have many baths in those days. Not as many as now because it was a little harder to get a bath. Of course, when we’d be going to church on Sunday or if we had to go to a dentist or doctor naturally we would have to take a bath. So I’ll give you a little story about what we had to do to get ready for a bath. Well, take it in the middle of summer, when there wouldn’t be any heat in the kitchen stove. The first thing you’d have to do is get some papers, and some kindling, and some wood and start the fire. Well, then we did have rather a big tub..that was used just for that purpose… I don’t know what you’d call it but it held two pails of water, and that would be pumped out of the cistern and you’d pour the two pails of water in this big container… it would take a good half hour to 40 minutes to heat that water. There were no lights then and no heat or anything like that. We did have a cement floor in the cellar but when the water was hot enough we’d get a dipper and dip that into a pail and light a lantern and take it down cellar, dump it in the tub, and eventually take a bath..so that wasn’t very easy to do.

    Marietta: No it was quite a process.

    Howard: Not many baths were taken. As I said there were no lights or anything but for heating, we did have a kitchen stove as most every farmhouse had. Then in the late winter or late fall, they’d always set up in our parlor a little coal stove… they’d call it a pot-bellied stove and in the later part of the summer we would have a team harnessed and they would be hitched onto a box wagon and there was a coal yard (Yates Coal Yard) on Latta Road down about 2 miles and we would go down there and get 2 tons of chestnut coal and come home and put that in the cellar and that’s what would be used for heating purposes.

    Marietta: Now would that coal yard be over towards Lake Avenue..that way.

    Howard: That coal yard…there’s a lumberyard there right now.

    Marietta: Greece Lumber?

    Howard: That’s right there and there was a coal yard well right there on the same spot at that time. You could buy either lumber or coal, which made it very handy and I will talk a little more about that.. we used to ship apples and they would leave a car right there. Well in this parlor where the little stove was it was very nice. My mother would if a lady or people came at night.. she might bring them in there. And they would either visit.. we did have a piano in there.. they might play a game of cards or visit or play on the piano. So it worked out very well. Our meals on a farm were here and I imagine every place were good and I suppose the reasons was that we raised a great deal of that right on the farm. Potatoes and cabbage and of course we had our garden.. lettuce and everything berries so it worked out very well and then, of course, we did have our own meat.

    We raised our own little pigs and we would have our pork to eat in the winter and we did not have much red meat as we called it in those days for two reasons. The first was I don’t know if it was the main one or not, we would have to hitch a horse to a buggy and drive to Charlotte which was 2 miles, and then the other drawback was the question of money. There wasn’t too much money in those days to buy such things. I might give you a little history of that. We did have hens as I said and we would get quite a number of eggs a day all that the family would want to use and then by the end of the week there might be 10, 11 or 12 extra dozen and they would be brought to the grocery store.

    Pig, hog industry
    brown hen near white egg on nest
    Photo by Alison Burrell on Pexels.com

    My mother, there would be a horse hitched up on a buggy and my mother, Donald and I would go down to the grocery store. Well, we knew the grocery men very well and he would always take my mother’s word that there were say 12 dozen of eggs there.

    What he would do is write down or figure them up.. they’d come to say $3.25 and so he’d write that down and then my mother would have her list. At that time women didn’t buy anything at a grocery store because they didn’t have the money that they really didn’t need but of course, they did need the coffee, teas, spices, sugar, flour, and things like that. Well, she would read off the coffee I’ss just say 80 cents and he would write that down and then tea so many cents, and finally, he would say Mrs. Whelehan you’re getting near the $3.25 ‘and when she got near the $3.25 that was it there were no more groceries because she had no more money. Well that was that and that was how we lived but we did have a little bad luck there too. At that time men would come from the city with their horses and a little wagon and all papers were reused at that time and iron. On the farm, you’d have plow points and little pieces of iron and my mother would always keep them. Our chicken house was in and old house at the barn and she would keep papers and iron things right besides that… so this particular day this man came and wanted to know if she had any and she said yes she did. So they went over and they would have a little scales. They would weigh the papers and iron. So he weighed them up and paid her and went. And then the next morning, we went over to feed the hens… there wasn’t a hen on the farm. All were gone.

    Marietta: Oh, he had stolen them?

    Howard: Well that was our groceries and it left us very bad, but we did have nice neighbors, and the first thing we knew each neighbor would come with two hens, and the first thing we knew we had our hen house replenished.

    Marietta: Wasn’t that great, oh.

    Howard: And the hens were back and we got the eggs and we would begin to be able to eat again and of course we often kind of wondered where the hens went but we felt we sort of knew where the hens went.

    Marietta: That’s right.

    Howard: The ladies were all very good bakers on account of I just said it was too far and there were no stores near anyway.

    Marietta: The closest store would have been in Charlotte?

    Howard: In Charlotte.

    Marietta: So that would have been quite a trip?

    Howard: And so and I know all the ladies but my mother made the cookies, pies, and cakes and the bread. Of course, I don’t know how you make bread but she’d have a big breadboard and when she’d be getting short, she’d mix up flour and water and all at night and we’ll say in the winter and she’d mix that all up and then she had a big container like a pail only much bigger and she would put this dough in there and open the stove door…there’d be a nice hot fire there and she’d cover this pail and by morning it would have come right up to the top. And she would work that down on the big board and cut it down up into loaves and put it in the oven and it would turn out to be very nice bread the next day.

    Marietta: Mmm fresh bread.

    Howard: Well the canning we had ‘our garden and naturally we had fruit and she would as all neighbor ladies would do a lot of canning and that worked out very well for the winter. They would open the jars and it would taste very good. Now in regard to an ice box.. we didn’t have any such thing and I don’t think that any rural houses around here did have any. We had a nice cool cellar cement floor and we had 2 tubs down there that were used just for that purpose, and before each meal, the butter, milk, and perishable things like that would be kept and the bread was kept in a big tin down cellar and someone would go down and get the milk and things and bring it up and then immediately after the meal someone would bring it right back and we got along very well then. We did in the town there were several ponds and the man who ran the pond, they would be used to cut ice in the winter and as the snow would fall and when the winter time would come and the ice under would be thick enough for him to walk on; he would push all that snow off and would let the cold air get to the little ice by late winter it might be 8-10″ thick and then he would call the neighbor farmers. We had a team and a big long sleigh. It would be cut into big chunks and loaded on our sleighs and then we would bring that to his ice house which would be near the pond and that would be packed away… I believe they put sawdust around the cakes and that would keep them from thawing in the winter and in the summer. I really don’t think that I had any favorite food. I will admit that I always liked sweet things and in the morning on the breakfast table after breakfast, there were always cookies on the table, and at noon there were always after the main meal either pies, pudding something like that, and then after the supper meal, there was always cake. So we always had those things and of course, I appreciated them very much.

    There may have been 2 or 3 doctors in the town and I think there probably there were but we didn’t have any in our section of the town because we were so near Charlotte. There were two very good doctors down there Dr. Fleming and Dr. Sullivan… Our doctor happened to be Dr. Fleming and what would happen if a person in your household became sick very suddenly, someone would have to harness a horse depending on the weather and whether they hitched them onto a buggy or a cutter. They would drive down to Charlotte, up to his office and you’d wait your turn to see him. And if the person was seriously sick soon as he got through he would have to harness his horse and drive way out and hitch the horse to the hitching post and come in and administer to the person and but if the person wasn’t quite as bad and could be taken to the doctors…he or she would be taken to the doctor but even that was run a little bit different than it is now. If you go to a doctor or a dentist now you go by appointment 2 o°clock, 3 o’clock or something but then you would open the door to his reception room… I think you might call it. There might be one person in there, might
    be none. But in other words, you had to wait your turn. What they gave for medicine, of course, I never knew but I did always noticed this that before you would leave them they’d have a little paper container with a little top on it and they would put some pills in there and seal it up and always write on the outside “Take one pill every 6 or 8 hours.”…and of course, we would always follow those instructions.

    Around here it was known as Patty Hill and the Irish people and I guess they are all superstitious. I know my mother was and I am myself. I’ll give you a little case about my mother. She and Donald & I were going out one Sunday afternoon in our car. So we got ready and went out.. our car was out in the driveway and when we got in & turned the key on but the engine wouldn’t start. So we tried it some and after we tried it 2 or 3 times.., my mother said to leave it right there that maybe if we got out on the road that we’d have an accident and it would be much worse and that she would have the car fixed the next day. It was probably better the way it was. And another thing I could mention but it was always thought to be very unlucky. We’ll say a woman was going out of her house to go to a neighbor and really needed her glasses, but she went out locked the door and got a few feet away from the house, and thought she forgot her glasses, she would never turn come back and unlock the door because that was very bad luck. And of course, we know about an umbrella walking in the house with that. And of course, Friday was always a day you sort of had to watch out for they said.

    Marietta: You didn’t start any big projects on Friday.

    Howard: No, no big projects on Friday. Well, entertainment there wasn’t any. You might say for me in those days. Very little if any of course I was only 4 yrs. old and there were a few houses but far away and very few little children. My brother was only 22 months older than I was but he was a little on the smart side a lot and didn’t enjoy playing little games. In other words, he went on & I guess he got through Harvard Law when he was 22 years old which was quite young so I there was nothing much for me to do, so of course, there were no radios, no TVs, telephones nothing. So late in the afternoon over there was the other side of the barn there was an old house and in that house an elderly couple. The name was Mc Cabe that was a rather hard name to say so my mother always told us to the man’s name was Tom and the ladies’ name was Kate, to call them Mr. Tom and Mrs. Kate. So I would ask my mother some afternoons if I could go over and ask Mrs. Kate if she would come over and play cards with us…well she would always say yes. So I would go over and Mrs. Kate was a very large woman and she would always say yes. And you know at that time the women would always put a big shawl over their heads. So you’d see Mrs. Kate coming with a big shawl on her head and we’d play cards on the kitchen table. And I think it was about 8′ long and 6′ wide with two big leaves on it and I always had to sit in a high chair because I was so little even then I couldn’t hardly look up over the table. So I often thought in later years that it must have been a very interesting card game for Mrs. Kate and I always played Donald and my mother. Well when my father passed away, of course, my mother didn’t know anything about farming very hard. And her father was getting very old so he sold his farm and came up to help my mother out a little. So practically every night I guess I’d ask grandpa if he’d play cards with me and he always did. But it went on this particular night and I asked him if he would play cards with me and he had a very good reason why he couldn’t. So I asked him the next night and he had another reason that night but that was just as good and I asked him the third night and he still had another reason he didn’t
    play with me. So by that time I guess I got a little superstitious or something so, I asked my mother why grandpa didn’t play cards with me. Well, she said this is Lent, and in Lent, you are not supposed to have any pleasure of any kind, and it lasts for forty days and at the end of forty days Grandpa will play cards with you again.

    Marietta: Ah.

    Howard: So I had nothing to do naturally.

    Marietta: What kind of cards did you play?

    Howard: I have no idea .. as I said it must have been interesting with those older people.. but anyway it sort of passed my time away a little. Well by that time they were beginning to sell farms around and the farms on either side of our place were sold and houses were built and naturally there’d be people in the houses and children so they would come over. I would have horses and they would be hitched onto wagons and they would get on the wagon and ride around and have a good time doing that. Then in addition to that, we had the big barns I’ve spoken about but I’d gone out of that kind of farming into fruit farming. So we had a nice big loft so I fixed that over and put two basketball baskets and the young boys would come and play basketball. Well then there were two old houses over there that we used as barns and I was through
    with them so some of the little kids turned same as them into clubhouses. So there were several little clubhouses around. Well, then another thing right back of our house there was a large low spot. So I thought it would be nice for skating. So I went down to the east end with equipment and drew in a lot of dirt and made a big dam to hold the water. All the water comes down from the hill and it floods it down
    there and the water can be very thick. That’s what I did and I put some posts in and had lights put on them and then I had a big tractor and a big snowplow on the front of that and I would push the snow off when it snowed so the water would freeze more. So this particular day I guess had just gone that that afternoon and I had come to the house for something and while I was in the house two little girls climbed up on the tractor and fell off the tractor down on their face and broke their arms and knocked out teeth.

    Marietta: Oh dear.

    Howard: So of course the ambulance had to be called and that didn’t make me feel very good. But still, I knew that I was insured so
    that took a little of the sting out of it, but anyway, the officials came and knew more than I did. A great many would skate down there maybe there’d be a hundred or a hundred in fifty kids down there skating around and they would come from as far as Stone Road. So when the officials came he said well that isn’t private skating at all that’s public and you have to have a paid public, which I inquired and it would have cost about $7oo to insure that little thing down there. So anyway I went out of the skating business.

    Marietta: You had one venture in the skating.

    Howard: Well we did have every winter two big parties. One was held on the top of Patty Hill by a very nice family and the other on Long Pond Road. A few days before the party the lady who would be giving it she would of course invite and the ladies would go and help her get the house ready, wash dishes I suppose, and get chairs ready. And we would all look forward to the night and we would put on our best clothes and each lady was supposed to bring some little food or salad or cake or something like that and so we would go. And in those times people could do different things, they could speak pieces maybe, or there’d be a vocal soloist, a violin and different things like that when they’d all gather that would be carried out, each person would do what he …. and the first thing you knew you could smell the coffee and you could see the ladies bringing the lunch on so we would all have a very fine lunch and then they would go into a big room and there WOuld be the violins, and everything like that and they would play and sing until it got too late and then they would come home…all having a nice time.

    Marietta: And that was in a private home.

    Howard: Yes, a Leah (Leo) Whelahan’s home, and then over on Long Pond Road there was also a big house Mr. James’ house and it would be the same thing there. Well then another party we always looked forward to was the Farmer’s Picnic and which was held at Manitou which is a long way away when you have to drive there with a horse and buggy…I’d say it’s a good six miles there probably. No one had to be invited we were all…anyone could go. So we would look forward to that and on the day two things had to be thought of – of course, the women would prepare a lunch and but another thing that had to be brought along was a flynet for the horse. Because there would be so many flies around so we would drive way up there, to the picnic. And of course all had a fine time, of course naturally the lake was there and we had bath houses, crocket for ladies, pitching horseshoes was quite a sport then and there would be rides for ponies, merry-go-round, ice anything you want. They’d have it ‘there, so of course, we enjoyed that very much. The Slater family lived just the other side of our house a little and I often heard Senator Slater say in later years, that way they would on the way home discuss all the time about how they would plan for next year’s farmers’ picnic, because none of us had any pleasure between then.

    Marietta: So it was a big thing.

    Howard: I might mention one more that might not be to close to the Town of Greece but still it was beneficial. I guess probably we all know Frank Gannett. I guess we read his papers some and we in the Town of Greece you could belong to the Farm Bureau. No one would ask – I think it was $5 or $10 a year and when I started in the farming business, I had no father to tell me what to do. I never went to an agricultural college or anything like that – so I always tried to get all the information I could and of course Mr . Gannett was born and brought up on a farm and
    was just as poor as the rest of us. But every year late in the summer, the ones who belonged to the Farm Bureau would get an invitation from his office. He’d invite us to a picnic on his farm – that was in Henrietta and it would be very beneficial to us because and I think we all know who Mr. Gannett was. At one time before the Republican Presidential Election, it had boiled down to 3 or 4 men who the candidate would be for the
    Republican Party. And Mr. Gannett was one of three or four men but he missed out on that a little. But we would get an invitation for his picnic and what he would do from Cornell and Michigan State and other colleges, he would have those professors come to his farm and they would conduct experiments all year on his farm and then he would invite everybody around – the Greece people and we would go up it would usually be, it was always on a Saturday afternoon and for some reason, it was always a nice day and we would go up and the professors would all be there and they would explain their experiments to us, which would be very beneficial to us. For example, we didn’t know on the side hill
    you couldn’t grow any crops on a side hill, but they told us that you could use it for pasture- that if you had a strip and then another strip of plowed ground you could sow something and then another strip of sod and so on. So those experiments were we learned a lot that’s why I’m mentioning it and there might be new machinery to help us out. Well then after that was shown, he had a real old farmhouse and we’d go down for the picnic. And he had a very large yard and that would be filled with tables and I never saw such food- truckloads. Soft drinks, anything you could mention, and then at a certain time over a loud speaker, they’d say that lunch is to be served so they would line up and you could go along. There would be a person there – anything you wanted and you could go back as many times as you’d like. Well then after that they had a little side porch with a little railing around it and after we were through eating then right out from the side porch there were dozens and dozens of benches and we would go and sit on the benches and when we were all placed there M/M Gannett would come and she would sit in a rocking chair on the little side stoop and he would stand up to the rail and tell us about his early days or the farm. Different stories which were very interesting and I do happen to remember this one. Their farm was just a speck east of the city – he named the town but I forget and of course, they worked on the farm and as he grew just a little he decided that he would like a watch but he had no money and his parents didn’t have any money, but he did ask his mother if she would stop in a store when she went up-city to find out how much a watch might
    be. So she said she would and she went one day and came home and said that she could get a watch for $2.40 Well of course he didn’t have that kind of money at all but he did know there were seven houses, I think between he and the city and right at the end of the city there was a little store and every morning a newspaper company would leave the papers there so that when someone went in to buy something he could get a paper. So he thought it all over that if I could get that company to leave the seven extra papers every morning- maybe I could deliver them to the seven houses & maybe in the time get enough money to buy my watch. So anyway I don’t know who made the arrangements but the company said that they would leave those papers there. So he would get up mornings in the dark before school, walk up and get the papers and deliver them to the seven houses…and his grand total amounted to about 8 cents a home and he put that away and of course, he knew it would be weeks, months ..he had that all figured up. But anyway time went on and he got the $2.40. So he asked his mother naturally there was a big merry-go-round in that section & of course, we all know about the pier. People would walk out on the long pier and if they were in bathing suits they could dive in the water. And then right at the end of Beach Avenue, there was no Driving Park or no Stutson St. bridge then & right at the end of that road down there at the Lake at Beach Avenue there was a big flat boat with a little railing around it. And I’m pretty sure it was known as the “Windsor” and that ran on a chain. And if people wanted to go across to the other side they would get their ticket and every so often it would go back and forth. And of course, it would carry a horse and buggy and well anyway there is quite a big hotel on the other side. A nice hotel and at that time my mother used to raise quite a lot of potatoes. So the man who ran the hotel he got in touch with her one day to see if he could buy some potatoes, so she did sell a lot to them and Donald & I had to deliver them with a team & wagon and my mother always kept very nice horses and the teams we drove that day was one of them was a very strung horse. So we went down with the small load of potatoes and there were men on the little boat and they let us on and I knew this horse was scared but they kept him under control until they started the engine in the boat and it started to move; then he started to move and he stood up on his hind legs and everybody thought he was going to jump right over the railing into the river… but I often thought we were just two boys, we went across- we got across and unloaded the potatoes, what we must have been thinking of when we’re over there that and had to come back the same way.

    Marietta: That’s right that return trip….of dear.

    Howard: Well just this side then of course there was Lake Avenue and on the East Side of that there were 3 or 4 buildings- yeah they would call them buildings and one would sell ice cream cones, and the other one soft drinks and the other one candy and so on and as luck would have it on the West Side – and there was competition naturally would be the same buildings almost and they sold the same things ice cream, candy and all. See but they all did but on the West side they had it over the East side a little in this respect because just the other side a block or so up was a bar and of course, they would attract some men and they would often go there. But of course, the Lake was there for swimming purposes there were 2 or 3 bath houses and then in the summer when things would really get going good they would line up the sidewalks facing West..running West and there would be all kinds of shops along. These might be ones where little rabbits came up & if you could shoot them and places where you could buy cars and there might be a little places where real rabbits, little children could see the rabbits and maybe this or something and then there were always a little- I don’t know what you’d call it but there 2 or 3 ponies they’d have them tied and if a person wanted a little child to have a ride a ticket could be bought and the child could ride on the pony and then there was a barn there and of course horseshoe p~tching there were a lot of them and they did have a barn there with a horse in it and a big sign on it that the only horse in the world that his head was where his tail should be. So of course that sounded kind of funny to people and when a big crowd would come the people would sort of start to go there and they had two men just for that purpose they would go in and come out laughing as hard as they could – well then people would think that there was something to it and they would go in again and come out laughing harder than ever– well after 2 or 3 times there would be a man there to sell tickets.

    Quite a number of people would buy a ticket and go in..well the horse would be standing in just the opposite direction. His head would be just in the opposite direction. So they would do little things like that and anything that you’d mention— Ferris wheels and anything like that was there and well of course it was known as the Little Coney Island. Well then of course another big attraction was the Manitou Line and that was…we would in the house I live in you could always hear the whistle. Different whistles but it started there and they were very nice cars. There 2 or 3 steps leading up to the car and then in the car was as I recall maybe one big long seat but they didn’t mind nobody checked if you wanted to stand on the step going up. You could so people would get on that… they would ride to Manitou or you could get off where ever you wanted and they would stop and start and pick up people and that went to Manitou which was always also you could have a thing there to do and something that always interested me – or the other end of the line near Manitou and of course I never quite could understand how they had it fix- ed but the little railroad that carried the cart went right over the lake you might say they had big posts driven in the ground and then the tracks laid on that and it carried the little cars very well over so it really was a very wonderful place. People would either walk there or you’d drive your horses there or take the street car there. Well then up West of that about 2 miles west of that was Island Cottage and that was also very nice of course it wasn’t nearly as big as Charlotte but of course, the Lake was there and the bathhouse and 2 nice stores you could buy anything- little food that you wanted to and there was a hotel there the Island Cottage Hotel was a nice ground there with picnic tables in and shade trees and people could drive there and then in addition to that there was a nice baseball field and our town always had a good baseball team and whoever was in charge would play usually on Sunday afternoon and during the game, some men would go around with his hand and collect a few pennies around.

    Of course going up from Charlotte to Manitou not only could you see the Lake all along but there were 2 or 3 ponds you would pass by and they were very nice and for some reason would always grow in ponds and men would go there and I don’t understand that but at the time were used in the making of a chair and the men some men down around there would cut in the winter in the marsh and they would cut it like dry corn and bring it up to dry ground and put into shalks like corn and tie it and evidently it would dry and then in the early spring/summer a buyer whoever would be interested in it; they would come and buy it from the men and quite a few of them made very well on that. And then another occupation, you might call it, naturally with the marsh there were little animals furry and quite a number of men did trapping. And they would trap these little animals and skin them and sell that and do very well with that – so that line was a very nice thing for people of the Town of Greece.

    Well, we did have two railroads near us. One went through Barnards Crossing that was up Dewey Avenue maybe 2 miles or a little more and the branch from that as I have mentioned before there was a branch from that that went down to our (Yates) coal company on Latta Road and lumber yard…..or to put a car we could use it to ship apples on – but the main line that went through up there was for coal and I think that came from Pennsylvania probably and there were 2 big car ferries that drew this coal to Canada. We evidently sold a lot of coal and I understand that each car ferry would hold 12,14, 16 car loads of coal and I don’t know just how they’d do it but where the big boat would
    come it would back up to the railroad line. It was all fixed with tracks in the boat and they could run the cars right on to the ferry and then they would take that over to Canada and that was that line.

    Well then back of us right next to my farm there was another railroad. And I don’t kow how far down East that went but I heard maybe 40 miles or so and it did run..as far West as Buffalo I understood. And that was a real farming section and we raised different things there would be potatoes in one, cabbage and then you all know about Duffy-Mott. They bought great amounts of apples, of course, they needed cans and all that was shipped on that line in addition to that, there were two passenger trains every day and at each little station there would be a little side track and a little weigh-in station would be standing there with scales on it. And for example, if a farmer sold his cabbage a car would be placed near him you might say and the farmers would bring their cabbage there and weigh them on the scales and fill up the car, and then it would be taken away. Now I believe that that line is gone now, it has been out now for about 8-10 years but before that was put in I was told when I was a small boy by an elderly man- and he had seen it before that railroad was there, there was a road there a dirt road and there were little specs of log cabins or places to live and he told me then he said I could take you and show you 2 or 3 wells right now so it proved that there were houses along there at that time.

    Marietta: So that was the HOJACK LINE – that’s north of your farm?

    Howard: Well that’s – I’ll get to that. That road was there first- well as I say it was right long my farm and I was always very much interested when I was back near there. It’s kind of exciting to see a big train coming – it was then of course today their run on electricity, I guess – to see the smoke puffing out of them and then chugging along and another thing that was interesting – I don’t know why – I would read where they were from.. might be apples from the State of Washington …and they would be from all over, but an interesting thing and I never quite knew why of course it would be in summer and I might be back there working the horses and the train would come along… I would usually stop and for some reason the motormen he would be at the window and he would always wave at me, of course, we didn’t know each other…and I would wave back and then there was always the little question about how it got its name and I guess maybe this they decided on this…as I say it went to Buffalo and right near the stop the trains got in every night at about 5 o’clock and there was a little boy who lived in a house right near, he would ask his mother if he could go out and see the train come up, he was very much interested, so she would always say yes. So he would go out and finally, he would see the train come puffing up and it would stop there and the engineer would shut off all his controls and climb down the ladder and the little boy he would always be so excited he’d shout “hol Jack” because we couldn’t say “Hello Jack” and they think this is how the railroad got its name. Well, of course, I guess we have come along to wars and we have always had them and they aren’t very good things. There were several cases around here, I know a boy who went to school with me, he’s a little bit older, he went over there and while over there both eyes were lost, so from that day until the day that he died a few years ago, he sat in a chair, with people having to wait on him. Well then too, there were airplanes then but people traveled by train and so the government would send a notice to some boys to be at the railroad station at a certain time such as 8 o’clock. So this particular night two boys near here were to go, one was a close relative and the other we knew him very well, so we would go up, people would go up and of course, it would be a very sad sight for the parents to see them go and we all knew, everybody knew they might come back and they might not come back. Well in that particular case after the war was over my cousin didn’t come back but the other boy did come back. We did it was in 1971, eight of us went to Hawaii. My brother and all and Bob and all they were helping me good on the farm. My brother was a lawyer in New York he had given out and wouldn’t take any money so I brought eight people to Hawaii and while there we went to Pearl Harbor. Have you ever been there?

    Marietta: No I’ve never been there.

    Howard: Well, of course, they had a man on a boat that would tell us and he would go along and I think the first thing that we went by was a huge boat. Just the top of it was sticking out of the water with a pole up with a big 9Americanflag on it and in that boat even then were the bodies of over 1200 young men that was sunk that night or day and then after the war was over they sent some men in to see if they could get the bodies out but the irons and all were so twisted in there so sharp and all that those men would have been killed so they left it right there. So then we went on and when we got to about the end, there was like a big mountain and straight across…it’s kind of hard for me to describe it and then there was quite a spot that there was a desert you might call it and that’s where the planes came over to kill the people and that was right there was of course when they did come over well… I used to buy my spray material from Agway and there was a young man who worked for them and he would come here and he sold to me. And then he had to go to war and he was in Pearl Harbor when it came and he came back and told me all about it. He said he was a pretty good musician and there were 15 or 20 boys at this particular time playing instruments and standing around; they were singing and having a good time and all. Then all of a sudden the planes came over this division in the mountain and of course let the bombs down and he was knocked out, he had to be taken to the hospital, but he said there were 20 of them playing in the band or whatever you call it and over half of them were killed. And then right near there of course that day or night I don’t know which it was a great many of the boats were sunk. But there was a huge boatyard right beside and they had the equipment, and they raised those boats almost immediately and got them in working condition and they helped defeat the enemy. Well along the side was a huge hill or almost a mountain and for as far as you could see was nothing but little white tombstones, with the young men lying there.

    Marietta: All the boys we lost?

    Howard: So it was an awful thing. Of course then back here we weren’t in quite such bad shape but you could hardly buy anything. If you had a car you couldn’t go out except maybe to a hospital or something like that. You couldn’t buy any sugar or there was a great many things you couldn’t buy or couldn’t do. There was an elderly man, he was a carpenter but he had given it up, but he would come and do little things for my mother; fix a window or something at the barn. So he came one day and said that he and his wife were getting old and with our cold winters that they were going to live in Florida. So he went to Florida, they went to Florida and in the meantime, he heard that he had quite a little bit of money in those days – we heard he had $40,000 which is a lot of money then. He had it in stocks, bonds, and banks. Well then, of course, everything went then banks and all failed so he stopped in one day came to the door, and said Mrs. Whelehan would you have any work for me? He said I don’t have l cent, we hardly have enough money to buy food for my wife and myself. He said every single penny is gone. So my mother said yes that she did have – she wanted a stoop put on – so she said he could put the stoop on and of course, he was very pleased to get the money. But that were the conditions but everything seemed to go bad in those days, but I think it was in 1934 that a cold night came along and I think it went down to around 26 or 27 degrees and I know during the night we could hear; of course we all orchards you could hear your trees cracking open. it sounded like there was a man at the barn with a big board hitting the barn just as hard as you could hit it. Well, we went out the next morning and you could put your arm right through any tree; they were all completely slit open.

    Marietta: Would this have been in the early spring?

    Howard: Well it was in the middle of winter.

    Marietta: Oh middle of Winter…I See.

    Howard: Of course, it had to be when it was that cold. It never went that cold before. Well, of course, that was our living but the city people, would some of them not all of them couldn’t buy heat, coal or anything, then they couldn’t get any work, and so the government I don’t understand that but they got in on that and they hired these men that wanted to work for 25 cents an hour and for example in our orchard there would be about 25 brought here every day on a big flat wagon and five or six men would go to a tree with a shovel and an ax and they would dig the dirt away and cut the big roots, and while they were doing that there’d be a man he’d have a big heavy rope .. he would be climbing the tree and go up in the top and tie that rope onto a big limb up there and then when the men on the ground would have the tree pretty well dug; they would call and eight or ten men would come and they would get ahold of this rope and work it back and forth; giggle the tree and finally the tree would go out of the hole and tip over and then it would be ll sawed up by hand. Crosscut saws and ax and things like that and of course they would fill the hole in and all then that wood it would be cut into lengths for our stove or fireplaces and the government did allow us to keep a little of that wood. But then big wagons would come and of course, somebody knew who needed heat and that wood would be brought to those people.

    Marietta: So it went for a good purpose, but you lost your trees.

    Howard: It worked out very well but of course, it made it very hard on us orchard people because everything was gone. Well, in regard to town government, I never got into that very much…I guess I had enough to do without that but the voting was a little different then from now I think. Now when we go to vote we go to a beautiful hall with lights and heat big nice tables and everything. But then our district was over at the corner of Dewey and Latta Road. The booths were a little bit of a wooden hut you might say. They were kept someplace in the town, I don’t know where and just before the election a big wagon or something would go and one would be loaded on and our’s would be brought over here and put off on the corner- naturally off the road and then in a day or two a little stove to hold wood and a little wood would be brought along and then the day of voting well that would be the same. There would be two Republicans and 2 Democrats sitting at a big table and right behind them were 2 kerosene lamps in brackets and you would go and vote. It was on a paper ballot, I guess and you would put that in a box, and then you couldn’t hold 2 or 3 extra people in them but if there were extra people in at 9 o’clock..the same as now I believe they would be asked to leave and the people would count the ballots and so that was how it was done then. And we did have quite a big man in the town, not only in the town but in the whole county. His name was Al Skinner. I guess everybody knew him quite well. And he won every election for a great many years except his last one. He lived down along the lake I believe and he also had a place to keep little boats, and he was very nice to everybody and then at the same time about was Gordon Howe. He was the town supervisor for a great many years and I did happen to know Gordon very well. We went to Charlotte High School together… but he was a year or two behind me. He was a very fine basketball player and a few years ago we happened to meet in the grocery store and got talking about our earlier days. I guess so he had one thing that he was always sorry about in his life, he had. Of course, he was a fine basketball player, I knew that, everyone did, he did too. But that was his ‘trouble, he spent a little bit too much time playing basketball and thinking about basketball and it was largely on that account that he never went to college.

    Marietta: Oh-h.

    Howard: And of course, he went way up in the world, was a fine speaker and all but he never went on to college. But he did say as we know…well he didn’t say but we know that he was responsible for M.C.C. being built.

    Marietta: Mmm…that’s right.

    Howard: So he became very much interested in it but I didn’t happen to belong to the same party as those two men but they helped me out and I was in the fruit business then and I did have a big truck, a big flat bottom truck and they would have a parade every year. So somebody would come and ask me if I would take the band on the truck – so of course, I would be in the parade and they would come and decorate the truck and then I would go where they would say to go and the band would get on and they would play and we would go aroung and finally land at the place for a little picnic. So that worked out very well and they would all do nice things for me but at about that time the Democrats had always run the town…but about that time the Democratic Supervisor got in which wasn’t liked very well by the people, so the next year a Republican Supervisor got in and of course, as we all know they’ve been in ever since, the Republican Supervisors. But up until that time, everything was you might say sort of at a standstill in the town, but Eastman Kodak Company was there and they were growing, they were hiring people from not only the city but outside. They were building houses. We began to improve our roads, water lines were put through, sewer lines were put through, electric lines, and then the people…We were never told how many people were living in the town at that early stage. I know a few thousand and today they tell me there could be around 100,000 people living in the town of Greece and they all seem to be living well, especially in the western part of our town…it’s just building right up and they all are driving their cars by here. All seem to be enjoying it. I’ve lived in this house for 85 years ..it seemed like home to me and I hope I can always live in this home. So I might close by saying… “Be it ever so humble there is no place like home in the town of Greece.”

    Rotobowling Never Quite Caught on in Greece

    In the late 1940s, as bowling was becoming more popular, the residents of Greece had several choices of where to bowl, including Boem’s on Edgemere Drive and the Charlotte bowling hall on Stutson Street. Along the Ridge, there was the Lyon’s Den, Damm Brothers, and Ridge Bowling, but with no AC and the dependence on pin boys, they were not what anyone to­ day would call truly modern. The first truly “modern” bowling hall in the Town of Greece was first proposed by the Fasano fam­ily. Their plan would not only bring a modern bowling hall to the town, but at the same time introduce a new game that might revolutionize the bowling industry.

    In 1946, Michael Fasano and his sons, Ernest and Donato, purchased the Lee property at the intersection of Dewey Avenue, Maiden Lane, and Stone Road and within a year proposed building a “Huge” Shopping Plaza which would include a 24-alley bowling hall. The facility would not be the standard bowling game, however, but a new revolutionary game called Rotobowl­ing.

    First patented by Orville Whittle of Florida and being franchised around the country, it was unlike regulation bowling. The game used a 94-foot carpeted alley with lights along the edge, rubber cushion banks on each side, and hazard pins suspended over the courts. The balls were propelled down the alley with a device that looked similar to an upright vacuum cleaner. The game was dependent upon a player’s ability to bank shots rather than on physical ability. Scoring combined the total number of pins downed and the number of times the ball was banked.

    It seems the Fasinos had some trouble explaining the game to the Town leaders who had the mistaken impression that it was a gambling game with an elaborate pay-off device.

    Gambling of any kind, including bingo, was illegal in New York State at the time. There was also the fear that the bar in the facility would be too close to Barnard School. By the time things were worked out with the Town, the Fasinos began to realize there was no future in the game. They probably discovered that people were not amused with a noiseless game that took no physical effort.

    The Fasinos then looked for other opportunities and in 1954 opened their plaza with a new modern Loblaw’s grocery, Cramer’s Drug Store, and several other stores, including a restaurant with a bar. We can wonder if the Fasano’s realized that as they opened their plaza, bowling was in fact, being revolutionized. Down the road a mile and a half, Sam Mink at his Ridge Bowling Hall was introducing the Rochester area public to the AMF “pin spotter”, the first automatic pin setting machine, the single most revolutionary item in bowling history.

    Modern bowling halls would eventually come to Greece, but not without a struggle. In 1956 Schantz Construction proposed a bowling hall opposite the new Northgate plaza and in 1957 a hall was proposed at McCall and Stone Roads on the Frear Estate. They were both opposed by neighbors and the Town. But soon Dewey Gardens and nearby Terrace Gardens were opened, followed by Maiden Lanes in 1960.

    History has all but forgotten the Rotobowling game, and the Fasino’s proposed plan. Luckily for the Fasinos, they realized the public didn’t want to play their game and gave up their Rotobowling franchise before construction began. They did build a plaza, and although the tenants changed throughout the years, the plaza itself lasted nearly a half-century.

    This is a condensed version of a story that first appeared in the November 9, 2006, Greece Post

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    Willow Creek Ranch

    Located at 1118 Long Pond Road about 80 years ago was the Willow Creek Ranch. Far in the rear of the 10 acres was a farm house. Owner, Irving James Thompson known as ‘Tommy” Thompson, was a big strong fellow weighing near­ly 400 pounds at one time, who could pick up a heavy iron anvil by its point with one hand. He was a cowboy who created Willow Creek Ranch where he had several horses and a large pasture. In the late 1940s, he went to Nebraska and brought back several horses to his ranch where he broke them and sold many of them. Others he trained for rodeo events. There was never a horse he couldn’t ride. Rodeos, combined with a western theme parade, became a very popular event at the Long Pond Road location.

    A Greece Press newspaper dated August 4, 1944, shows an advertisement headed, “Come One! Come All! Come to the home town rodeo at Willow Creek Ranch, Long Pond Road near Maiden Lane, Sunday, August 6, 1944, at 1 PM, with a parade at 2 PM led by Monroe County Sheriff horses. Thrills for young and old.” It goes on to say: “Bucking broncos, calf roping, knot tying, bull dragging, bronc­ busting, and a western horse show. Local amateur cowboy entries invited. Cash prizes and trophies.” It shows Tommy Thompson and his trick horse, Duke Thun­derbolt, an Arabian gelding. Said the poster: ‘Tommy Thompson, Ray Slaght, Lucky Boy Williams, managers. 10% goes to Red Cross.”

    Duke Thunderbolt performed amazing tricks such as pulling the family wash off the clothesline, blowing the horn on the family car with his nose, counting, rocking a chair, and executing a horse prayer. Other tricks included: taking off Thompson’s hat, rolling over and playing dead, and holding an American flag in his teeth. Thompson would demonstrate his rope skills and knot tying.

    Much of this information I learned from sons Gary and Bob Thompson. Bob is my brother-in-law and lives in Greece. Today the Willow Creek Ranch site is the Ronald J. Arndt Funeral Home. Nothing remains but memories from the days of the Thompson family being there and the excitement of the rodeos. Mr. Arndt was in awe learning of the history of his place.

    At the rear of the property was Round Pond Creek. Our family farm was not far away at 1036 Long Pond Road where the same creek flowed through our property. As a lad, I remember the “ranch” being up the road and Tommy Thompson who always wore a large western cowboy hat and leather boots. My dad, “Cap” Preston, was a friend of Tommy’s and would take my brothers Eddie and Ken and me along to visit at Willow Creek Ranch. It was named that because of the many large willow trees along the creek.

    Tommy Thompson was also a heavy equipment operator at Kodak and retired in 1969. He was born in Napanee, Ontario, Canada, arriving here at age 18 on a ferry boat from Cobourg, Canada to Charlotte. He passed away in 1982 at his Hamlin, NY home at age 72.

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    “Climate Change in 1918?” – YUP Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

    Was anyone aware of climate change one hundred years ago? Was that term even used then? More than likely not… The local families (usually farmers) spoke of a harsh winter or damp spring. The Farmer’s Almanac might predict what was ahead with some luck.

    Here are a group of photos all taken with a folding Kodak camera by Alfred Bowers Sr. They cover about a three-year period from 1917 to 1920. The general area is Ridge Road, west of Kodak Park to al­most Stone Rd. Albert Jr. is in some of the shots, as is Mrs. Bowers. The photos are not identified by me, but all were noted on the original photos. Unfortunately, none of the buildings or old familiar landmarks that existed 100 years ago exist today. Get out your copy of our society’s publication, “Eight Miles Along the Shore” and casually peruse the pages.

    Just a thought, how would we, somewhat pampered folk in the 21st century, deal with the winter of 1917-1918? The roads would not be plowed….no snow plows! A very few roads might have the snow rolled with a large wooden drum pulled by a team, which allowed travel by horse and sleigh much easier. Drifting was a problem because of the open farm fields. Imagine no street lights and just a few telephones. Early radio was not available to the public until a few years after World War I.

    The rare owner of an automobile put it away until late spring. Public transportation was limited to the trolley service on the Lake Avenue line from the city to Charlotte. The Dewey Ave. line ended with a loop at Ridge Rd. You might hope that an Auto-bus would appear along Ridge Rd. from Parma headed to Kodak Park, if the snowfall was light. The Greece farmer was lucky if he had a team of horses hitched to his sleigh or the converted wheel wagon.

    Neighbors watched out for each other and always were willing to help. The “family fruit cellar – larder” was always stocked with full canning jars from the fall harvest. The root vegetables were stored in the root cellar. The wood pile and coal bin were ready for winter before Thanksgiving. After Christmas, the Parlor was closed off. What little heat rising through the floor or a grate from the warm room below for the bed­ rooms came from the kitchen and a “parlor stove” in the sitting-dining room. No reading in bed…. too cold and poor light…….no late TV….or even a last look at Facebook or email.

    Enjoy the winter photos from a long time past in rural Greece. Hopefully, you will be warm and snug. Should you feel a chill, heat up a cup of instant cocoa in the microwave and enjoy! Think of April… winter could be over then!

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    Greece memories: Farmer’s diary shows 1800’s life in the Island Cottage area

    The William Connelly family lived for many years in the Island Cottage and Janes Road area. Connolly was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland in March 1818. At the age of eleven, he immigrated to the United States with his parents. Early on, they set­tled in the Greece area.

    Connelly kept a diary starting in the 1830s until his death at the age of 78. The following extracts are from these diaries:

    Historical marker at Mt. Read and Latta, photo by Dick Halsey
    Historical marker at Mt. Read and Latta, photo by Dick Halsey

    December 5, 1839: I was united in marriage to Miss Nancy Beaty. The ceremony took place at the “church in the woods” (Latta and Mount Read). Two Indians in tribal costumes attracted by the Gathering at the church stopped in their journey to look in up­ on the scene. Supper was served in Mullen’s Cooper Shop.

    Learn More about why Mother of Sorrows is called the church in the woods in Bicentennial Snapshot # 39.

    May 29, 1841: Alice, our first child is born.

    February 10, 1853: Our house is darkened. Nancy Connelly, my beloved wife, departed this life today. May the Lord have mercy on her soul.

    January 3, 1856: I was married today to Ellen Burns.

    April 16, 1861: President Lincoln has called for an army of 75,000 men. The shooting on Fort Sumter a week ago makes war be­ tween the North and South of our country certain. The whole land is in turmoil

    April 26, 1870: Jimmy Goodwin had a “bee” to lift the log house and put a foundation under it. The boys turned out well… (This is the first mention of the log house pictured in the photo.)

    December 1, 1878: Walked across Buck Pond on the ice to Lewis’ to talk about a new house. The Connelly Farm was located at what was then the end of Island Cottage Road and Janes Road.

    Valentine’s Day, 1879: Drove to Charlotte and left the horse to be shod, took the train to Rochester and bought valentines for the children.

    June 17, 1879: Started to dig the cellar for the new house. Bought four chairs for the new house and paid $3 for all four. (The four chairs would cost you about 69.32 in today’s money)

    October 27, 1879: Mr. Allen agreed to paint the new house with two coats of paint inside and out for $25.

    December 11, 1879: The boys started to tear down the old log cabin. Wife paid Allen $2 for a rocking chair and all of $8 for an extension table.

    Our Mother of Sorrows Church, photo by Bill Sauers
    Our Mother of Sorrows Church, photo by Bill Sauers

    Other interesting entries in Connelly’s diaries noted the end of the Civil War, election of presidents, the building of Mother of Sor­rows church, the births of his children and the loss of two daughters in the 1860s.

    His father dies at age 89 in 1869. He notes many marriages births and deaths of his neighbors. As a farmer, he constantly wrote about the weather in his orchards of apples and pears, his purchase of empty barrels to ship the apple and pear crop, plus fertiliz­ er for his land. The arrival of the railroad in 1875 south of his farm was given a special mention of several sentences. On July 2, 1889, at Charlotte, he sees the electric trolley, the first in the county running from Ridge Road to the lake.

    Connelly continues to jot in his diary until the day of his passing, October 20, 1896. His last words to his wife were reported as, “The sun is setting Ellen. It is a beautiful sunset and the last I will ever see. Goodbye all.” The time was 5:30 p.m.

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