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Saturday, May 31, 2014


     We were just about ready to leave Pennsylvania, and go back home to Texas.  Bobby's job was nearly over, and mine had been over  for a couple of months.  All of a sudden I realized I needed to get moving if I wanted to do some things!   I went to Oswego and Fulton, New York to hunt up Dutton information all in one day, but there were more records to copy so I told Bobby I needed to go back, "And while I am up there I might as well swing over to Albion and do a little research on Mom's family."  This would be a two day trip.

     November 21, 2013 I went to Oswego, and finished all the copying I needed to do, then headed west to Albion.  It was dark by the time I got there, and I stopped at a store to ask about a B and B (I have to spell "and" because this lovely program won't let me use the and sign; this is what it does "&").  They knew nothing, so I went to the next block and walked into the library.   The lady behind the desk said there was a B and B, and gave me the number to call (librarians are a nice bunch of people and they know everything).  
     "Yes, they had a room," and gave directions.  Finding places in strange towns in the dark is NOT my gift, but I did find it.  Here it is the next morning--Erie Canal Schoolhouse B and B, and it is right beside the canal.  This used to be  a Catholic school named St. Mary's.  The owners, Jeri and Lou Becker, bought it so they could have room for their daughter and son-in-law and their four children to live with them.  You guessed it!  The children moved on to Philly or Pittsburg for a new career, so the owners decided to turn it into a B and B.

They have a wonderful business to run in their retirement years (both retired from Xerox).  They gave me a tour; here is a snapshot of the school.  Each room is different and they all have names.  This is just one of the classrooms with a display to enjoy.
 The Erie Canal Room with a nice quilt and big bed.

The blackboards are covered with comments from visitors.  Very interesting comments.

 Original stained glass window.
The Heritage Room is where I spent the night.  I put something about Texas Tech on the board!
A day bed made from a family crib.
Dutch display.  Jeri's family is from Holland.
Another shot of the Heritage Room.
I don't know the name of this room, but it is cozy isn't it?
     The couple has an amazing display of Charles Howard, founder of the Santa Claus School.  It was too dark to take pictures of it, so you will just have to go and see for yourself.
     The next morning I had breakfast, visited  a little, and then set out to look at the city.  It was cold and wet, very wet without actually raining.  Water condensed on everything, but at least it wasn't falling out of the sky.

     I walked around the main part of town, not enough time to get off on side streets.  Old houses fascinate me, so here goes.  I want Mom to get an idea of what was here when her mother was a girl growing up in these parts, and I am quite sure these houses were here at that time. Cupolas  were definitely in fashion.
      Two and three story houses were the normal thing, and just look at that fancy woodwork under the eaves.  I love the arched windows, too.
      I imagine that this flat roof section was an add-on.  I hope that flat roof doesn't leak.  You know, flat roofs and cheerleaders are the bane of a school superintendent's existence.
     I call this a turret.  And how would you like to roof this baby?
      The green siding is an interesting touch.
     Most of the houses were wood frame, but here is a nice brick home.  Something like this would cost a fortune nowadays.
      More gorgeous wood under the eaves.

      This one has such beautiful wood trimming and a nice cupola.  For some reason it seems Italian to me.

      Another nice cupola.  I will bet all these were built about the same time--keeping up with the Joneses.
More pretty wood, but I am amazed that there are no huge old trees in these yards.   The owner of the B and B said that many big old grand houses have been torn down.  What a shame!

     Albion has nice historical signs in the city.

     This is a house on the outskirts of town, and I just had to pull over and get a picture.  I'll bet this is ominous in the dark with a full moon overhead.

     After I wandered around taking these pictures I started on the business section of town, which is over the canal.
        I climbed up the stairs to the lookout above the bridge (see picture above) to get several pictures.

Barges on the Erie.
     This is a shot of Main Street from the top of the bridge.
     Nice old building constructed in 1882.
       Another beauty downtown.
      It is so nice to see that these old buildings are preserved and in use.
      Love this gorgeous store front with curved windows.
     This little building looks so different from the others.  Maybe it was built later.
     The Briggs Building located downtown.  Amazing!  I can't find any history about it.
     The Swan Library is below.

      Citizens National didn't have a date, but it looks like it has been there a long time.

     It is 9:00 AM, and time to go onward to City Hall, better known as "Village Hall."

      This building sitting next to Village Hall is quite impressive, lots of nice craftsmanship.
      It was built in 1873.  My goodness, the details puts our modern structures to shame!
     Just another view of the Village Hall.  They told me they didn't have the information I needed, and  directed me to the clerk's office.
     The County Clerk's office is located a little further down the road near the courthouse.  Albion is the county seat of Orleans County, New York.

     As you can see, there are a number of things that you are not allowed to do here at the clerk's office.  Is this magnificent or what?
     No guns allowed!  Well, this is New York, and I thought guns were illegal everywhere here so I left mine at home.
     Solid wood doors and stained glass to boot!
     I scoured the records and could not find anything that Great Grandfather owned--no land, no houses.  I wish I had taken time to look for marriage, divorce, and death records.  Maybe that will be another trip.
      This marker is in front of the Orleans County Courthouse.  Money went a lot further in those days!
     Front of the Orleans County Courthouse.
      The Orleans County Courthouse.  It is a beauty and  is worth every penny of that $20K they spent to build it.
     The churches in this part of the world are grand, and old.  Here are just a few of them.
This is First Methodist Church.
The historical sign tells it all.
     First United Methodist isn't the only Methodist Church in town.
     Free Methodist Church in Albion, N.Y.
     The church is still going strong.
     First Methodist Episcopal Church
     First Baptist.

     Full view of First Baptist.  It is a grand structure.

       The Universalist Unitarian Church is really impressive.

The Presbyterian Church was the best of all and I took lots of pictures.
     Presbyterian Church. The beautiful stained glass windows are priceless.
      One of the spires on the Presbyterian Church.
      Another entrance to the Presbyterian Church.  The building committee needs to get the parishioners fired up on a paint job.
      Presbyterian Church.
      View from the street of the Presbyterian Church.  Amazing craftsmanship.
     Saint Joseph's Catholic Church.
       Saint Joseph's Catholic Church.
      Front doors of St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
     The Episcopal Church.
     I am always interested in schools.  This is the high school with flags at half-mast in memory of the Kennedy assassination 50 years ago.
     I got directions to the cemetery and found it.  Mt. Albion Cemetery is very well kept and beautiful.
     I had no idea where to start, so I started at the caretaker's building.  The man in charge looked for the family plot on the computer.  Everything is cataloged  and the areas in the cemetery are marked, so you don't have to walk for miles searching.   The caretaker building isn't too shabby either!
     The entrance to the cemetery.

     This is where Great Granddad Isaac Brinkerhoff and Great Grandmother Harriet Brinkerhoff are buried.
     Eleanore Harris, better known as Aunt Nellie, is a sister to Edith Brinkerhoff, Mom's mother.  Their parents are Isaac and Harriet Brinkershoff.
     Margaret Curtis is Eleanore and Herbert Harris' daughter.

     The next project was to find Mom's half-brother, Everett Germaine.  Mom said he was buried at Oakfield, NY, which is about 10 miles from Albion.  Oakfield is such a tiny little place, but they had their cemetery cataloged too.

The Cary Cemetery is right across from the fire hall.
I saw the location of the grave on the map at city hall and knew where it was located, but the cemetery is not marked in rows or areas, so I got in the general vicinity and walked until I found it.
     Joseph Everett Germaine was born in 1906.  I had to dig the moss out of the lettering with my fingernails and a twig that I found.  
     Edith Brinkerhoff married Wilfred Germaine, Everett's father, when she was 19.  His parents were French Canadians.  He was a heavy drinker and probably abusive when he was drunk; this caused lots of marital strife.  During one of his drunks, Edith even had to climb out a window with Everett and walk to her parents' house.  She kept coming home when things got too tough for her, and finally her dad told her she would have to make up her mind about the marriage--either stay or get a divorce.  She got a divorce.  They were only married a couple of years.
     Later, Wilfred Germaine moved to Ohio, and stayed until he died.  I don't know if he kept in touch with Everett or not.
      Later on, about 1910, Edith went to Pompey's Pillar, Montana to visit her Aunt Minnie Stark; Everett stayed in New York with his grandparents, Harriet and Isaac Brinkerhoff.
      Edith was a hard worker, and had lots of energy, so she started working as a housekeeper for various families.  Eventually she met Robert Cruce and they married in 1912.   She didn't go back to Albion for a visit until her daughter, Harriet, was a toddler.  Everett never came to Montana to visit or live,  and grew up under the care of his grandparents.
 I called Mom to ask her how Everett died, and she said he was in an institution for lungs.  She didn't know if he had TB or how he died.  I was sad to see this lonely grave, with no kinfolks nearby, until I thought of I Thessalonians 4:16-18, "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words." It doesn't matter where we are buried; all that matters is our acceptance of Christ as our savior.
     These headstones are in a lot better shape than the Dutton's at Fulton, New York, but the moss loves to grow on them making it hard to see dates.
     It was late and I had to get on the road, but managed to stop and take a couple of pictures of the farming.  This is nice flat land, good for farming, and that is what Great Granddad did for a living.  In fact he died during harvest.  The threshing machine broke down, and he took a nap while they were fixing it.  He laid down under a tree with his hat over his face, and when the thresher was fixed the crew went over to wake him up, and found him dead.  There is much more to tell, but I think I will have to write a book about all these old days.  It is so important to know about our ancestors, and what they had to do to just live, then we realize that we can handle whatever comes our way.
 I hope it dried up enough for these folks to get in the field and get this cabbage out.
     I wish that my mother could have seen all this, but until she goes to Albion, I hope this little narrative and pictures gives her an idea of where her mother, Edith Brinkerhoff, grew up.  It is beautiful county.   And I would like to see it in the summer with the sun shining.

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