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. 45: Speakeasies

    Today we continue our Prohibition in Greece story with a look at the speakeasies that dotted the town.

    Clinton N. Howard

    Clinton N. Howard was a powerful, passionate, and persuasive advocate against alcohol. He was called the “Little Giant” (he was only five feet tall) and the “Apostle of Prohibition.” Widely known as a brilliant orator, it was said that between 1901 and 1920 when the 18th amendment was passed, he had addressed more people than any other living individual. He visited almost every town and city in the nation. He gave more than 3500 sermons just in the Rochester area alone.

    Broadside promoting Clinton N. Howard from digital.lib.uiowa.edu
    Headline from Democrat & Chronicle July 31, 1928

    Howard damned Latta Road as “the Highway to Hell” because of the number of speakeasies along its length. Once Prohibition went into effect, Howard was a constant watchman to see that it was enforced. He disguised himself (sometimes as a woman) and went into places to obtain evidence the law was being violated in more than 300 cases. During the first week of April 1921 alone, a disguised Howard (he looked like a derelict), along with two US Secret Service agents. visited 138 bars and was served whiskey at 137. He did so to prove his claim that the Rochester area was openly flouting the law and that local police were doing little or nothing to enforce it.

    But the beach resorts and hotels that catered to the tourists and summer vacationers were going to continue to give their clientele what it wanted, law or no law.

    Limburger Cheese Club at the Grand View Beach Hotel from the Office of the Town Historian

    Grand View Beach Hotel

    Grand View Beach from GHS

    Anthony Kleinhans built the Grand View Beach Hotel circa 1882 at 2200 Edgemere Drive (today Old Edgemere Drive). Joseph Rossenbach, Sr. took over and then was succeeded by his son, Joseph Rossenbach, Jr. who was a proprietor during Prohibition. Newspapers referred to the Grand View Beach Hotel as an “exclusive lakeshore nightclub.” Thousands of dollars had been spent to transform the wooden building, which faced the lake, into an attractive resort. It was “one of the most exclusive of the lakeside night clubs…having long been popular with merrymakers who seek recreation at the midnight hour.” Right from the earliest days of Prohibition, the Hotel was a favorite target of dry agents.

    But the year 1930 was extraordinary; in August three raids were made on the Hotel in quick succession. The raids marked the first time within the memory of any of the Rochester agents that a place had been visited two nights in succession. When the agents staged their surprise raid on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 6, four barrels of beer, immersed in the cool waters of Lake Ontario which flowed through a cellaret under the bar room were found.

    Headline Times-Union August 7, 1930
    Headline Times-Union August 8, 1930

    The warrant used in the raid on the night of August 7 was executed in Buffalo on a complaint of two special agents, who reported they had made several “buys” of liquor at the Hotel on Wednesday night, scarcely two hours after the first raid. Agents swarmed into the crowded barroom just as the evening’s gaiety was getting underway. Catching a glimpse of the raiders approaching the door, Harry Lames, the bartender, began smashing every bottle within reach. The tinkling glass spurred the agents to greater speed. One started to leap over the bar shouting threats. Lames desisted in his efforts to destroy the evidence.

    Although the agents did not enter the crowded dining room of the Grand View Beach Hotel on August 7, “news of the raid spread quickly and in a moment the place was in an uproar. Glasses were emptied surreptitiously under the tables or tossed into handy flowerpots. Agents reported several cuspidors in the barroom were filled to overflowing with liquid smelling strangely like alcohol as worried customers stood awkwardly nearby with empty glasses in hand.” On August 9, in the third raid in four days, State Troopers seized liquor samples in a midnight raid on the luckless hotel once again. Ultimately, the Grand View Beach Hotel Bar was ordered padlocked for six months in October 1930.

    Headline Times-Union October 8, 1930

    Sea Glades Hotel/Bar/Restaurant

    Sea Glades Hotel, 1930s, Greece Historical Society

    The Sea Glades hotel/bar/restaurant located at 788 Edgemere Drive was known by various names over the years, Outlet Cottage, Lake View, The Breakers, Surf Club, and Edgewater, but during the height of the Prohibition era, it was called Sea Glades. The proprietor, Ward Vaughn, was considered the most genial of hosts and a “highly personable character.” At the Sea Glades, Vaughn had a “class trade” who liked to spend freely and stay late. It became Vaughn’s custom to invite his customers to the darkened porch of the Sea Glades to watch the cases of whiskey and bags of ale as they were “imported” from Canada from a boat idling just beyond the sandbar. He figured it proved his claim that his product was “right off the boat.” The rumrunners, however, didn’t like so many witnesses, so they shifted to a nearby cove and loaded the liquor into an automobile, and then delivered it to Sea Glades. Vaughn, reluctant to give up his nighttime drama, just substituted his own employees offloading empty wooden cases from a boat borrowed from a friend, his customers none the wiser about the charade.

    Mike Conroy Boxing Career

    An immigrant from Watervliet, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium whose real name was Clement J. Versluys, Conroy made his professional boxing debut on May 31, 1920; and during his ten-year career, with 57 bouts he won 34, 22 of them were KOs, Lost 19, 8 of them were KOs., and 4 Draws. The remaining matches for Mike Conroy’s carrier were before he turned pro which put his record at 31 Wins, 22 of them were KOs, and 2 were either losses or draws before he went pro which puts his overall wins at 65 wins of his 79 bouts, 42 of them by knockouts (KOs). He also won several heavyweight titles here in New York State and on December 13, 1924, Mike Conroy won his match in Havana, Cuba against Antolin Fierro the match was planned to be a 10-round match but by the 5th round, Mike had successfully Knocked out Antolin Fierro and took home the Cuban Heavyweight title to Greece, New York. He was a sparring partner of Gene Tunney during the five years leading up to Tunney’s defeating “Battling Jack Dempsey” (Henry Peaks) for the heavyweight crown. Conroy also fought exhibitions with Jack Dempsey. Dempsey and Tunney were the two leading boxers of the Prohibition era.

    Mike Conroy Stats from BoxRec.com and according to BoxRec.com the stats they have for Mike Conroy’s professional debut. any Fights listed in his record before that date of this fight, in record published in THE RING, were amateur affairs.

    divisionheavy
    statusinactive
    bouts57
    rounds359
    KOs38.6%
    career1920-1929
    debut1920-05-31
    ID#038308
    birth nameClement J. Versluys
    sex male
    nationality USA
    residenceRochester, New York, USA
    birth place Watervliet, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
    BoutsWins
    5734
    LostDraws
    194
    Mike Conroy’s Professional Boxing Stats
    Mike Conroy matchbook cover
    1925 Flyer

    Pine Tree Inn

    Pine Tree Inn from GHS

    Mike Conroy’s Pine Tree Inn, located at 1225 Ridge Road West at the terminal of Mount Read Blvd, was formerly the home of the Lay family, one of the early settler families in Greece. The name comes from the pine trees which used to surround the apple orchards. It was converted to a tavern-hotel around the turn of the 20th century and was purchased by Conroy in December 1928. The congenial Conroy, known as the Bull of Ridge Road, didn’t let the Volstead Act get in the way of his turning the Pine Tree Inn into a local hotspot. His establishment was raided by dry agents in August 1929 and in May 1930 and padlocked in December 1932. Conroy’s inn straddled “the line between the town of Greece and the city of Rochester,” and his lawyers used that quirk to beat convictions. If the warrant said the property was in Greece, the lawyer produced a paper, such as a gas bill, saying it was in the city and vice versa. In due course, agents learned to make out warrants both ways.

    Domino Inn / Cosmo Club

    As we told you in Snapshot 24, the hotel at Latta and North Greece roads had many names during its 108-year history. It was the Domino Inn and Cosmo Inn during Prohibition. In August 1922, private detectives caught proprietors Harry Wilson and Lewis Dustin serving highballs, cider, and whiskey. Wilson and Dustin were ordered to appear in court to show cause why they should not be removed from maintaining their property. On April 16, 1926, the Domino Inn was raided by a squad of federal agents; they confiscated a pint of gin and proprietor Lewis Dustin again had to answer for it in court. Under new ownership with a new name, the Cosmo Club, the inn was again a target for dry agents in 1932 when proprietor Ray Keck (who previously owned a restaurant at the intersection of Latta Road and Long Pond Road) was arrested for possession of two half barrels of beer and a small quantity of liquor.

    North Greece Hotel/Domino Inn from GHS

    T.W. Beatty & Son. Island Cottage Hotel

    Island Cottage Hotel from GHS

    Beatty’s Island Cottage Hotel, at 953 Edgemere Drive near Island Cottage, was a lakeshore landmark built by Thomas Beatty in 1891 shortly after the opening of the Charlotte Manitou rail line. It soon became the spot to go for summer outings and picnics. Raymond Beatty took over the operation of the hotel in 1917. It was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1932. Ray Beatty and Walter Riddell, the bartender, were arrested after a raid on July 23, 1932, when seven half-barrels of beer, 330 gallons of cider, and assorted liquors were impounded. Riddell was arrested and fined again in May 1933 just months before the law’s repeal.

    Reardon’s Inn / Braddock Bay Grill

    Braddock’s Bay Hotel from GHS

    Reardon’s Inn, later the Braddock’s Bay Hotel, was located at 372 Manitou Road. William and Jane Reardon owned and operated Reardon’s Inn. Jane Reardon was arrested on August 13, 1931, for possessing two half barrels of beer, two gallons of cider, two ounces of whisky, and two ounces of gin. She pleaded guilty in September and was fined $100.00. Today it is the Braddock Bay Grill.

    Braddock Bay Grill, 2019, photo by Bill Sauers

    Grove House

    Grove House, the 1910s from the Office of the Town Historian

    Grove House, located at 187 Long Pond Road was established at least as early as 1880. It was considered a roadhouse compared to more upscale speakeasies.

    The arrests made during raids were for comparatively little alcohol; there was “some beer, wine and cider” on August 28, 1929; 16 one-gallon jugs of cider on November 29, 1929; and a mere two gallons of cider and one barrel of beer in August 1931.

    Grove House, undated, courtesy of Bill Sauers
    Public Nuisance Sign from GHS

    The bar was padlocked for several months in 1932.

    Grove House’s alcohol was supplied by the Staud Brothers. According to Dwight Bliss, George Staud told him that they kidnapped a federal agent, who infiltrated the Staud organization and held him in the basement of Grove House where they threatened him with a “one-way ride to Lake Ontario.” The agent managed to escape, but possibly still in fear of the Stauds, requested a transfer to Detroit where he thought he’d be safer.

    Grove House bar, undated, courtesy Bill Sauers
    Grove House, 2008, photo by Bill Sauers

    After Prohibition, George and Eddie Staud operated the restaurant at Grove House.

    After the Staud brothers, Fred Rotunno owned it for a bit before it became Barnard’s Grove you can read more on the Grove house from Fred Rotunno and Edmond Uschold interview that was done by George Caswell and Edwin Spelman on August 10, 1977.

    Today, it’s Barnard’s Grove Restaurant.

    Barnard’s Grove, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers

    The Prohibition and Speakeasies Exhibit – Ended in December 2023

    Prohibition exhibit at Greece Historical Society and Museum, photo by Bill Sauers

    The exhibit gave people a look into the era of Prohibition and speakeasies in the town of Greece.

    Below is a custom map created by members of the society that shows all the locations of the speakeasies.

    On the Map Below the Reardon’s Inn was mistaken to be on F.H. Straub’s land when it was supposed to be marked on the John Mose 4-acre lot we will work on correcting that marker. The Custom Google map above shows the locations of all the speakeasy locations that were in Greece, New York.

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