Vol. XXVI May 2008                    Published by the Ontario County Historian *******************************************************************************

            Welcome to the "e-Newsletter" of this 25-year-old publication.  The spring and summer seasons are coming on faster than ever!  Enjoy one of these great programs and let us know of any that your group is sponsoring.





May 17-Jun 15:  Adventure Movies Exhibit at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Rt. 54, just outside

Hammondsport.  Regular hours.  Mon-Sat: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Sun:  10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Admission charged.


Jun 4:  Ontario County Genealogical Society annual picnic and election of officers.  6:00 PM.  At Valentown Museum in Victor.  Museum tour (7:00 PM) members fee $3.50.  Call (585) 394-4975 for more information.


Jun 5-6:  Sluphur Springs Festival in Clifton Springs.  Street dance Friday night.  Parade at 6:00 PM Saturday.


Jun 7-8:  House and Garden Tour of the Highland Park neighborhood (Rochester) sponsored by the Landmark Society of Western NY.  Advance tickets $20.00.  Day oftour $25.00.  Tour luncheon at Pomodoro Grill and Wine Bar, 1290 University Ave.  $15.00.  Tickets at Wegmans stores or the

Landmark Society, 133 S. Fitzhugh St.  Society website www.landmarksociety.org.  Pre-tour lecture, “The Architecture and History of the Highland Park Neighborhood,” Jun. 5 at Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave.  7:30 PM.  Lecture is free.


Jun 14:   Tour of Homes.  Geneva Historical Soc.  Colleges of the Seneca:  A Walking Tour of Hobart and William Smith Buildings, Gardens, and Homes.


The tour features 16 structures owned by the Colleges, this tour will include an assortment of historic and recently constructed or renovated buildings and residences, as well as two gardens. From Gothic and Greek Revival to Jacobean and contemporary style structures, the buildings showcase the variety of construction found on the 186-year old campus.

A box lunch from Hobart and William Smith Dining Services will be available at Comstock House for dining in or take out from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch includes a sandwich, bottled water, fruit salad, chips and cookie. Lunch tickets are $10 and must be purchased by Tuesday, June 10 at the Geneva Historical Society office at 543 South Main Street, Geneva, NY.

Advance tickets for the tour are $10 for Geneva Historical Society members and $12 for non members. All tickets are $15 the day of the tour. Tickets can be purchased at the Geneva Historical Society, Rose Hill Mansion, Pedulla's Liquor Store, and at most area banks. The day of the tour, tickets will be sold only at the Geneva Historical Society
office. Each tour ticket stub may be entered in a drawing for a gift bag. Call the Geneva
Historical Society at 315-789-5151 for details about the tour or tickets.


Jun 14:  2008 Fundraising Whirl at Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford.  Annual spectacular event features “the Sport of Kings Cotillion” this year.  For more information about this event call (585) 538-6822 or email:  whirl@gcv.org.


Jun 27-Aug 31:  Aviation art exhibit at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Rt. 54.  Just outside village of Hammondsport. Regular hours.  Mon-Sat: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Sun:  10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Admission charged.


Jul 4-5:  Glenn Curtiss Museum, Hammondsport.  Centennial of flight of

Curtiss June Bug.


Jul 13:  Treasure Hunt at East Bloomfield Hist. Soc.  At the Academy Museum, 8 South Ave (opposite Elton Park) in Bloomfield Village.  10:00 AM.  Participants can purchase a treasure map with instructions on how to find clues that will lead one lucky winner to a Treasure.  All ages welcome.  A family or couple can purchase one map to share.  $10.00 per map. Call (585) 657-7244 for more details.


Jul 16:

Skaneateles Mail Boat cruise with Granger Homestead Soc.  Bus leaves

Canandaigua 8:15 AM.  Return 4:30 PM.  $60.00 payable to Women’s Council.  Call (585) 394-1472 for information.


Aug 2-3:  Curtiss Classic Motorcycle Rally.  Curtiss was a famous racer at the turn of the 20th Century.  At the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum, Rt. 54, just outside Hammondsport.  Regular hours.  Mon-Sat: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Sun:  10:00 AM-5:00 PM.  Admission charged.


Aug 8-10:  East Bloomfield Historical Soc. “History Days.”  In honor of the 200th anniversary of the Holloway House and the passing of 140 years since the dedication of the Civil War Monument in Elton Park.  Visit www.EBHS1838.org for more information. 


On Friday (Aug. 8) see Michael Krebs, noted Chicago actor and film producer, portray Abraham Lincoln.  Mrs. Lincoln will be portrayed by Debra Ann Miller who has worked with Mr. Krebs for years.  Visit www.EBHS1838 for information and to purchase tickets.  At Bloomfield Central School Performing Arts Center and underwritten by Canandaigua National Bank.


Saturday (Aug. 9) “President Lincoln” will lead a ceremony to rededicate the Civil War monument.  10:00 AM.  Escort of Northern Honor Guard Soldiers.  Fife and Drum Corps.  Civilian women in period dress will sing songs of the era.  Wreath laying by descendants of men listed on the monument. Children can play period games and meet the Lincolns.


Saturday (Aug. 9) Holloway House Bicentennial Celebration.  Join the Lincolns and other historical figures in celebrating the Holloway House’s 200th Anniversary.  Enjoy a four course dinner with Nathaniel Rochester, Thomas Jefferson and prominent local figures.  Photographer on hand to take pictures of guests with historical figures.  Guests invited to come in period costume.  Horse drawn carriages will take guests on a ride around Elton Park.  Each guest will receive a memento of the celebration.


Sunday (Aug. 10) Join Mrs. Lincoln for tea in an event sponsored by Van Bortel Ford and Subaru.  At Grandma Hattie’s Tea party.  Tasty treats and conversation with the first lady.





Questions which end with an asterisk (*) have been published a second time.  Readers with information are encouraged to make personal contacts.


Joan Ridgeway (Ridgeway5@hotmail.com) is trying to track down some information on her Great Great Grandfather, William C. Johnson's family.   I have found the following from the Biographical Department, 1902 Tuscola County Michigan:
"Johnson, W. C.  Son of John and Lodica Johnson, born April 10, 1828 in Canandgua Township, Ontario County, New York.  His father died in 1833, and soon after Mr. Johnson had to take care of himself.  He went to work by the month faming, and worked in saw mills until he came to Oakland County, Michigan in 1852......"
I also found this marriage from the Ontario Repository dated June 22, 1825:
"In this town, on the 15th inst. Jeffrey Chipman, Esq. Mr. John Johnstone to Miss Lodicy Brown." There is a surrogate record for John Johnson dated 1832 Richmond.  She would like to know if this might be the will of her John Johnson.


Doreene (Riggs) Hansen

(adh65@yourstarnet.net) is researching the history of the James Lawrence Ludlow Riggs family.  James traveled cross country,
from Steuben Co, NY, to Emmet Co, IA, in 1864.  Family records show that
he was born in Ontario Co.
Any information would be appreciated.


Barbara M. Bond

(cbbond@worldnet.att.net) has been working on finding the parentage of her
husband's great-great grandfather, James E. Bond, who was born ca. 1810
somewhere in Vermont and settled in Illinois ca. 1840.  Some evidence
indicates that the family migrated to New York State in approx. 1820.
According to the 1850 Federal Census,  Charles Bond and his wife
Morilla/Marilla were living in Victor; his birthplace was recorded as Mass. and hers Conn.


Joyce Jedicka (<campsite2@visn.net>) would like to find a copy of her father's birth certificate. He was Richard Sidney Seager, born in Flint in 1928 to Edward Seager (1905-~1933) and Mildred Jane (Cooper) Seager. Edward was the son of
Sidney J. Seager (1880-?) and Elizabeth May (maiden name not known). Her father died in 1979. *


Richard Felshaw (211 Warrior Way, Matamora, IL 61548) is attempting to piece together the Menter/Mentor family.  It appears that between 1800 and 1810 four Menter brothers (George H; Reuben; Robert; Elijah) settled in Gorham and Seneca.  Some descendants remained in the area after 1820.*


Audrey Myers (13699 95th Pl. N, Maple Grove, MN 55369) is in the process of collecting family history and would like to obtain information on Orlando G. Brown (1833-Dec. 4, 1888) and Jesse Brown (b. 1783 in CT).  The Browns appear in the Canadice census in 1850 with father Jesse.  Jesse also appears in the Springwater census for 1820 and 1830. *




            Here are some suggestions for late spring and summer reading:


            Patrick Griffin has recently published American Leviathoan:  Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier.  (Hill and Wang, 384 pps.  $17.00 paperback) This account of early American history focuses on the “backcountry” from 1763 to 1795, the time when Ontario County passed from Native American possession to white settlement.  It puts out story in perspective with western Virginia and the Ohio country.


            Craig Tuttle’s book, An Ounce of Preservation:  A guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs, is a useful little book giving specific guidelines for family and community archival preservation.  A good book for any small library and museum.  (Rainbow Books, 1995. 110 pps, $17.95 paperback)  Addresses subjects like paper types, ink, photographs, deterioration, storage and care, repair and cleaning, arrangement, and creating a friendly environment.


            While not exactly leisure reading, The Bedford Glossary for US History, should be on the book shelf of any library, museum, or home of a history teacher or student.  It provides “historically contextualized” definitions for more than 500 terms from “abolition” to “zoot suit.”  (Bedford/St. Martin’s pub,  $13.95 paperback)




            The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced that it is considering the following property for listing on the National Register of Historic Places:


            Smith Observatory and

            Dr. William R. Brooks House

            620 Castle St.

            Geneva, Ontario County


            John Dickson House

            9010 Main St.

            West Bloomfield, Ontario County


            Ontario and Livingston Mutual

                        Insurance Office

            9018 Main St.

            West Bloomfield, Ontario County


            Anyone wanting to make comments for or against these listings should write to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Peebles Island, PO Box 189, Waterford, NY 12188-0189.


            The Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery (Rochester) are offering free 2-hour guided walking tours from May through October, 2008.  Special theme tours on selected weekends.  Visit www.fomh.org or call (585) 461-3494.


            The Landmark Society of Western NY has several out-of-town tours this summer and fall.  They include destinations like Cooperstown (Jun.13); the Berkshires (Sep. 7-10); and Elmira (Sep. 19).  The Society also offers a canoe and kayak tour of Irondequoit Creek on Jun 14. and Jun. 15.  Call (585) 546-7029 for more information and reservations.


            Archives Month 2008 will be celebrated across the Rochester region in mid-October.  The tentative theme this year is “Celebrations” in honor of the 30th anniversary of the organization of the New York State Archives in its present form.  The day-long program will be at a central location for participants in Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Livingston and Wyoming Counties.  The organizing committee would like to hear from individual and organizations who would like to present their experiences and expertise related to “celebrations.”  What goes into organizing a successful parade?  How do you conceive and carry out a publications program?  What souvenirs are most appreciated?  What is the best way to raise funds?  There are many more such topics!  If you would like to be a presenter, or organize an hour-long workshop contact Dr. Preston Pierce, Ontario County Historian and DHP Regional Archivist at ppierce@rrlc.org.


            If you have collections of documents, artifacts, files, or photographs in any form you should start thinking about preserving them for the long haul!  You don’t have to be a professional archive or library, and you don’t need even a middle-sized budget to do the right thing by your family or local collection.  What you really need is knowledge.  Try the Northeast Document Conservation Center at www.nedcc.org as a resource!  In future issues we will mention some of the many other sources of good, inexpensive, practical information.


            May 27th marks the season opening for the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, 295 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY. This summer's visitors will enjoy some newly restored furnishings, original Granger family pieces and a new exhibit in the Carriage Museum. Ongoing visitor highlights include:


Narrated Guided Tours:


            Viewing the period rooms in the 1816 mansion that include many original Granger family furnishings, portraits and stories about the four generations of Granger family members who have lived in the elegant house.


            A tour of the Carriage Museum featuring nearly 80 horse-drawn and hand-drawn antique vehicles and farm implements and is proclaimed to be Western New York's largest collection.


            Guided tours are available Tuesday and Wednesday 1:00-4:00 PM, Thursday and Friday 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM and weekends 1:00-4:00 PM June through October. The gift shop is open during all regular hours. Visitors can expect that a complete tour of both the mansion and carriage museum will take approximately two hours. Cost: $6.00 Adults, $5.00 Seniors, $2.00 Students, Preschoolers Free.


Horse-drawn Carriage Tours:


            A favorite at the Homestead with costumed drivers, taking riders back in time, through beautiful historic neighborhoods

including choice of Sonnenberg Gardens, Story Teller Tour or Woodlawn. The “Historic Neighborhood Rides” are available by advance reservation on Fridays and Sundays. We have a handicapped accessible wagonette making it possible for everyone to enjoy the experience. Call (585)394-1472 for reservation and details.


            For a shorter ride on Sunday afternoons, the homestead offers 10-minute “Homestead Rides”, 1-3 pm on the grounds and through the woods of the historic mansion. No reservation required - cost: $5 Adults, $3 Children.


            Group tours and special arrangements are available for parties, weddings, teas, meetings and motor coach groups by advance reservation.


            Call (585)394-1472 or e-mail info@grangerhomestead.org for information.


            Looking for Holland Land Company records?  Try Western New York Legacy:  http://www.wnylegacy.org/

Geneva Historical Society at 315-789-5151 or visit our website at www.genevahistoricalsociety.com.


The Geneva Historical Society’s Balmanno Cottage and Johnson house opened for the Season May 3.  Balmanno Cottage will be open on Saturday and Sunday, from May through October. Built by Robert Balmanno in the 1830s, this Gothic Revival home sits overlooking beautiful Seneca Lake.


            Acquired by Dr. and Mrs. William Walker in 1957 and bequeathed to the Geneva Historical Society in 1997, the house is a virtual time capsule representing the lifestyle of the post-World War II years. The house is furnished with the Walkers’ fine collection of early American antiques and decorated in a traditional style with fabrics and wallpapers from the noted New York design firm of Brunschwig & Fils. Combining past and present, the Walkers approached modern life by rooting themselves in a more comforting American past.


            Like many properties on Geneva’s elegant South Main Street, the grounds at Balmanno feature a terraced garden with a spectacular view of Seneca Lake. The house itself remains much as it was upon Mrs. Walker’s death in 1998.

            Balmanno Cottage is open Saturdays, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, and Sundays, 1:00-5:00 PM, May through October and by appointment year round. Tours of the house run on the half hour with the last tour beginning one-half hour before closing. Tours last approximately one-half hour. Admission is $3.00 per person, children 9 and under are free. Balmanno Cottage is located at 583 South Main Street in Geneva.


            The Johnston House is also open for the 2008 season. Built by John and
Margaret Johnston in the 1820s, the Johnston House originally sat on a prominent central New York farm where John Johnston became a vocal advocate of improved farming techniques. As he was the first in America to use soil drainage tiles to increase productivity, his farm was considered by some in the 19th century to be “the most important agricultural spot in America.” While learning about John Johnston’s role in the agricultural community, visitors will explore the dramatic changes in women’s roles and education during a time when family farms became family businesses. Also at the Johnston farm, visitors will have an opportunity to view the Mike Weaver Drain Tile Museum.


            The Johnston House is open Saturdays, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sundays, 1:00-5:00 PM, May through October. The house may be viewed by tour only, with tours starting on the half
hour. Tours last approximately one-half hour and the final tour begins one-half hour
before closing. Admission is $3.00 per person, children 9 and under are free. 


            The Johnston House is located on East Lake Road at Route 96A, about 1.5 miles south of Routes 5&20, near Geneva, New York.


            The Balmanno Cottage and Johnson house are administered by the Geneva Historical  Society.  For more
information about either property, call the Geneva Historical Society at 315-789-5151 or visit our website at www.genevahistoricalsociety.com.