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Town of

Porter's Past

Newsletter of the Town of Porter Historical Society

Vol. 22, No. 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .September, 1998

Monthly meetings are held at the Youngstown Civic Center in the Civic Room located on the second floor and is elevator accessible. Meetings begin at 8:00 pm. Refreshments are served in the Historical Society museum after the meeting. Bring along a friend.


Name: ________________________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________________
City/State/Zip: ________________________________________________

Annual Dues:
Individual: $ 5.00
Family: $ 7.50
Life: $100.00

Please make checks payable to "Town of Porter Historical Society" and send with this form to PO Box 442, Youngstown, NY 14174-0442

(Pssst!--or forget the form and just send a note with your name and address on it and a check for the amount of dues)

* * * * * * * * * * NOTICES * * * * * * * * * *

September 21, Meeting

Rev. Jacob G. Denny of Ransomville will be our speaker. Several years ago he came into possession of a series of old letters written to a girl in Easton, PA, during the Civil War. The letters were written by her brother and by a friend of hers, both of whom were soldiers in the war. Rev. Denny will share the contents of the letters with us and describe how the girl and her family might have felt when reading of their experiences on the battlefield.

Up-Coming Programs:

Museum Acquisitions:


Do you know anyone who isn't a member? Why not invite them to join us at our September meeting. Rev. Denny will be presenting a fascinating talk and the refreshments are always guaranteed to be delicious. And if you know of anyone who would like to receive a copy of our newsletter or if you would like an extra copy or two for yourself, let Cora Gushee know and she will be glad to oblige. Spread the word that our meetings are thoroughly entertaining. They don't even need to know that they're educational as well! This year promises to be the best yet!

(Towers Corners):

Register of Attendance in School District No. 2
Town of Porter, County of Niagara
Term Commencing: May 6th Ending September 6th, 1867
Attendance of Teacher: Jesse A. Phillips
Pupil's NameParent's NamesAgeApprox. Yr. of Birth
Willie H. LloydThomas Lloyd141853
Albert E. LloydThomas Lloyd061861
Kate E. MoagSamuel Moag121855
Elberteen E. ShippySamuel Shippy141853
Florence A. BalcomMilo Balcom141853
Albert J. BalcomMilo Balcom101857
Charley MossIsaac Moss111856
Marium E. MyersWilliam Myers081859
Rollie G. PhillipsThomas Phillips061861
Charley H. AllenGeorge Allen111856
Walter W. AllenGeorge Allen091858
Arthur CanfieldJames Canfield071860
John MendhamRobert Mendham111856
Willie MendhamRobert Mendham091858
Julias M. RipsonWilliam Ripson131954
Lillie B. CowanPeter Tower061861
Bessie E. CowanPeter Tower051862
Albert JillsonLoren Balcom081859
Picture of an Hourglass READING, AND WRITING AND RITHMETIC Picture of an Hourglass

(Blairville) 1848

Sanders ReadersMorses GeographyAdams Arithmetic
Sanders SpellingMitchels GeographySmiths Arithmetic
Browns GrammarSmiths AstronomyDays Algebra
Preston on BookkeepingColburns Mental Arithmetic


(Zittles Corners at Porter Center and Youngstown-Lockport Roads)

Size ofSize of
Warren BristolMay 184246W. Edward KnowlesNov 184955
Warren BristolOct 184341William Cay T. BarrettNov 1851??
Mary ChubbuckMay 184357Mary QuadeMay 185248
Douglas EatonMay 184362Mary E. EatonNov 185245
Lucinda McArthurApr 184464N. J. RobinsonNov 185338
Stephen H. BakerNov 184453Amanda HarrisNov 185539
Mary ChubbuckMay 184565Mary B. BloodgoodDec 185632
Dorothy MoagSep 184540Mary ParksMay 185732
Almond ComstockNov 184560D. W. EatonDec 185741
Susan JohnsonMay 184639Fanny E. MossMay 185832
Sarah JohnsonMay 184639Henry S. KnappDec 185838
Fatima QuadeNov 184636Mary ParksApr 185940
Mary R. BrightonMay 184733E. H. CampbellNov 185940
Hannibal GaskillNov 184731Ann QuadeMay 186040
Mary A. BrightonMay 184839Clara N. HigbeeNov 186039
Adelia H. CobbNov 184850Emma E. McColloughMay 186134
Hannah WhitfieldApr 184939

Niagara Courier, Niagara Falls, NY, September 27, 1892:

YOUNGSTOWN: We are indebted to the Youngstown News of the 9th for several interesting items:

Miss Sarah Swain has accepted a position to teach school at Great Falls, Montana, and left last week for that place.

Miss Carrie Barton has returned to her position in the Nebraska University, after a two weeks visit with her relatives and friends here.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Niagara Falls, NY, September 11, 1926:

Youngstown Union School Opens With Increase In Attendance Over Last Year; More Rooms Needed; Professor A. E. Barnes, of Clyde, NY, is Principal; More Expected to Register After First Fruit Picking Is Finished; Use Temporary Room.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Niagara Falls, NY, September 14, 1926:

The Misses Marian Lutts and Sara Smithson left Tuesday for Brockport, NY, where they entered the Normal school.

Miss Henrietta Wills left Monday for Pennsylvania where she has accepted a position as teacher of Domestic Art.

Miss Margaret Tower left last week for Geneva where she will teach during the present school year.

Miss Helen Root and Mrs. Jessie Girling returned Tuesday to their duties as teachers in the Lewiston school.

Miss Caroline Bullock, Harriet Hill and Edith Robertson returned Tuesday to Niagara Falls where they will resume their duties as teachers.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

(Amended 1895, 1896 and 1897)

PRIVIES--The trustee or trustees in the several school districts shall provide suitable and convenient water-closets or privies for each of the schools under their charge, at least, two in number, which shall be entirely separated each from the other, and having separate means of access, and the approaches thereto shall be separated by a substantial close fence not less than seven feet in height. It shall be the duty of the trustee or trustees aforesaid to keep the same in a clean and wholesome condition . . . .

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Niagara Falls Gazette, Niagara Falls, NY, September 27, 1876

A horrible murder was committed near the village of Youngstown, in this county, last Monday. Patrick Donovan, an aged and hitherto respected resident of that vicinity, made a murderous assault upon his wife and one of his daughters, cutting both terribly with an axe. Mrs. Donovan subsequently died of her injuries. The daughter, Maggie, about eighteen years of age, will, it is hoped, recover.

After committing the terrible assault Donovan ran to the lake and jumped in the water. He was pursued by the neighbors, and voluntarily came out of the lake and delivered himself up, saying that he had intended to commit suicide, but had concluded that such an act would be wrong and hence he changed his mind. The wretched man was taken to Lockport and safely lodged in jail.

Donovan claims that his wife and one of his sons have been trying to poison him. There is no doubt that the murder was unprovoked and cruel to the last degree. It is claimed that the man is insane. About a year ago, it is said, while Donovan was digging a grave in the cemetery he was over come with the heat, and since that time has been mentally unsound. He was taken to Buffalo hospital, and had recovered to such a degree that further restraint was not regarded as necessary, and he had been with his family for some time.

Donovan moved to Youngstown from Ohio thirty-five years ago [1841] and has during the greater part of his residence there worked as foreman on the works at Fort Niagara. His family consisted of himself and wife, three daughters and three sons. The children were so advanced in years as to be able to care for themselves. They moved in good society, and were known only to be respected. One of the sons, Edmund, has taught school in the village. The two older sons, John and Cornelius, are contractors and have been working in the State of Michigan during the present season. The daughters have remained at home.

A coroner's inquest was held on the body of the murdered woman, Saturday, by Justice Warren Jackman. The jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to her death at the hands of Patrick Donovan, her husband, while laboring under a temporary fit of insanity.

[Editor's note: Patrick's wife, Julia Donovan, was buried in the Catholic Cemetery on Oak Street. Her tombstone shows that she was born April 1818 and died Sept. 21, 1876. Patrick is also buried there. He was born March 16, 1812, and died March 3, 1900. He lived to be 88 years old. Daughter Margaret recovered from her injuries and by 1880 she had become a 24-year-old school teacher who was living with her sister, Mary Donovan, in Youngstown.]



Warren Baker, 5 Sep 1819, son of David and Cynthia (Shattuck) Baker (married Rosalinda Corwin)

William B. Hill, 1 Sep 1853, son of Jesse, Jr. and Catharine (Morrison)(Burgess) Hill (married Carrie Belle Olds)

Lansing Jillson, Jr., Sep 1857, son of Lansing, Sr., and Rebecca (Hays) Jillson (married Margaret Jane Kelley)

Witmer L. Canfield, 22 Sep 1874, son of Franklin H. and Sarah (Witmer) Canfield (married Gertie N. Fowler)

A. Day McCollum, 11 Sep 1875, son of A. Madison and S. Almira (Sanborn) McCollum (married Minnie M. Austin)

Jessie Edith Martin, 15 Sep 1888, daughter of Amby A. and Sarah J. (McCollum) Martin (married Raymond P. White, Sr.)

Julia H. Duffy, 1 Sep 1894, daughter of John, Jr. and Mary Jane (Casey) Duffy (married Porter Johnston)


  • Mary Ann Clyde to John Carter, 30 Sep 1841
  • Fannie Bradley to Cornelius Vrooman, 30 Sep 1847
  • Ellen F. Lutts to Stephen H. Morris, 5 Sep 1868
  • Zulina A Morris [Stephen's sister] to Warren Halstead, 20 Sep 1868
  • Alma A. Philllips to William A. Bedell, 26 Sep 1875
  • Sarah A. Winchester to George Oliver P. Frick, 13 Sep 1893
  • Ella A. Balcom to Henry E. Myers 4 Sep 1905


  • Rebecca (Swain) Williams, 25 Sep 1861, wife of Frederick Granger Williams
  • Julia (Tryon) Badgly, 19 Sep 1866, wife of Joseph Badgly
  • Chloe L. (Henry) Shippy, 15 Sep 1870, wife of Samuel E. Shippy
  • Rudolph Clapsaddle, 26 Sep 1872, husband of Margaret (Quade) Clapsaddle
  • Benjamin M. Root, 14 Sep 1877, husband of Elizabeth (Ives) Root
  • Alvira (Davis) Haskell, 11 Sep 1918, wife of Nelson Haskell
  • Hattie Belle (Morris) Murphy, 4 Sep 1962, wife of Timothy Murphy


JUST IN--This newsletter can be viewed and printed out--on the Internet! See us at It is on the Niagara County, NYGenWeb Project, a genealogy and history website, maintained by Maureen Higgins Seifert,, Akron, NY.

{NOTE, as of mid-2000: Maureen retired as our Webmaster! If you have questions or comments, please write the current coordinators at}

Town of

Porter's Past

Newsletter of the Town of Porter Historical Society
Vol. 22, No. 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .October, 1998

Vee L. Housman, Editor

Monthly meetings are held at the Youngstown Civic Center in the Civic Room located on the second floor and is elevator accessible. Meetings begin at 8:00 p.m.. Refreshments are served in the Historical Society museum after the meeting. Bring along a friend.

* * * * * * * * * * NOTICES * * * * * * * * * *

  • October 19, Meeting; Ralph A. Robertson will tell us about the vignette etchings of the Niagara River and the Falls by artist Amos W. Sangster during the years 1886 to 1889.
  • Next meeting, November 16, 1998: Daredevils of Niagara, speaker, Don Glynn
  • (No meeting in December)


We have a new updated brochure and we're proud of the way it looks. Pick up a couple of them at the museum and hand them out to friends--or even perfect strangers!


Our museum was open on Saturday and Sunday during the Harvest Days weekend, Oct. 9 and 10. Thanks to our volunteers who kept things running smoothly--namely, Cora Gushee, Janet Jachlewski, Mary and Fitch Cady, Bernetta Kelley, Joan Holmden and Vee Housman. We had a steady stream of visitors of all ages and it wasn't difficult for them to find something to fascinate them--the Victrola, the stereoscope, maps, pictures, and artifacts--from hair curlers and curling irons to pig ringers and cannon balls. And they all took a brochure home with them.


Renew your membership now while the price is right! $5.00 for individuals, $7.50 for families and $100 for lifetime membership. Dues will be increased on January 1, 1998, to $8.00 for individuals, $12.00 for families and $120 for lifetime membership.

Leaf Pumpkin Pumpkin Leaf


This time of year means the end of summer, the beginning of crisp Fall days, beautiful Autumn leaves--and Monday Night Football! But to the farmer, it means the end of the growing season and the last of the harvesting. Let's now remember harvests of the past.

Niagara Falls Journal, May 26, 1894

YOUNGSTOWN.The recent protracted rain storm flooded half the farm land north of the Ridge Road and crops are suffering badly. The fruit has suffered the least of any yet, as the weather has kept warm through the storm. The roads and canals and many bridges are washed out. The county will be a heavy loser.

Niagara Falls Journal, July 23, 1892

Farmers have begun their wheat harvest and it promises a large yield. The hay crop has been the heaviest for several seasons.

Niagara Falls Journal, Aug. 20, 1892

RANSOMVILLE. Farmers state that rain has been too frequent for two weeks past and much damage may result. The barley and wheat crop have been fully harvested and the yield will not be up to the average. The yield of small fruits has been small thus far. It is said that the peach crop, though not up to the average, will be a fair yield. Apples are a failure except in a very few cases.

Niagara Falls Journal, Sept. 3, 1895

YOUNGSTOWN. During the past week the following gentlemen from the Town of Porter shipped specimens of fruit to the World's Fair to be placed on exhibition: John L. Hall, Duchess of Oldenburg apples; Peter S. Tower, Early Beatrice peaches; Henry Lutts, Red Astrican apples, Keswick Cadlery apples, Wild Goose plum, Abundance plum, Early Rivers and Early Louise peaches.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Sept. 23, 1930


W. W. Kincaid's Farm, Near Youngstown, Now Embraces Large Area and Is Model Establishment with Latest Devices for Cleanliness, Ease of Operation and Good Crops. Cantaloupes so large that a single man would have a diffult time consuming one at a sitting, water melons the reverse to size but of a deliciousness of meat which makes them a dainty for a queen, eggplant, asparagus and other vegetables and fruits of nearly every conceivable variety; things like these can be found on the farm of William W. Kincaid, president of the Spirella Company of this city. The farm is located on the River Road just as one enters the village of Youngstown. It is a truly marvelous establishment . . . .

Niagara Falls Journal, Sept. 24, 1892

RANSOMVILLE. About 2,500 baskets of peaches have been shipped from here thus far to Potsdam, Watertown, Camden, Adams, Rome, Gouverneur, and other points East. The daily shipment is from 100 to 400 baskets, and the price ranges from $1 to $1.25 a basket. Pears are worth $3.50 a barrel, and 800 barrels have already been shipped from this place. There will be a big grape crop.

Niagara Falls Journal, Oct. 29, 1892.

E. T. Ransom's firm are buying all kinds of farmers' grain and produce, paying the highest market price.

The following was written by T. A. Harter in his weekly column of the Keystone Gazette, Bellefonte, PA, which appeared between 1894 and 1904. It was written in the original Pennsylvania Dutch dialect and was translated by Bob James of Alaska. I believe that it was just as true for Town of Porter as it was for the Pennsylvania Dutch.


The other day I read an article about a man who wished he were a boy again, living at home on the farm. I doubt seriously if that man was raised as a boy on a farm. If he was, then he would have had big advantages over the boys being raised on farms in my days. I wouldn't wish for a farmer's life for myself, and anyone who would must be in pretty bad circumstances.

A farmer's boy. What was he? Born into a home burdened with plenty of work--if he didn't cry himself to death while his mother was out milking nine cows every morning and evening, eventually he'd find himself wearing pants, a pair of red leather boots, and being sent to school. He'd carry a lunch pail to school full of cold liverwurst, hard-boiled eggs, and apple butter bread to learn his A B C's. His legs were too short to reach the floor, and there he'd sit in his classroom all the live long day, glazing his coat sleeves with his nose.

As soon as he was old enough to work, his school days would grow shorter. At first he would miss school for chopping wood, which began in early spring and extended throughout the summers. Then came gathering stones from the cultivated fields, then building fences, harvesting corn, and at just about this time one of the biggest days on the farm would arrive.

It was sheep-shearing day. The day's fun consisted of catching half the sheep, holding them over a carpenter's bench with their heads forced downward, and giving the sheep lice a chance to crawl onto your neck and hair.

The next thing was planting corn. Four kernels to a stalk--one for the birds, one for the worms, and two to grow. Father would follow after with a hoe. If it wasn't done properly he'd come forward with his boot. Have you ever ridden a horse to plow a cornfield? Can you remember how sleepy you'd become and how you'd be jarred awake when a plough blade struck a tree root?

Then harvest would come. Five or six men would wade through the dense wheat fields cutting swaths which fell behind them in clumps as they passed. These were left for the lonely boy who trailed behind them by a half field, and whose chore it was to spread out the straw for drying. We'd always listen to the talk of the mowers as they gathered to whet their scythes. It was generally about girls.

The harvest is here. A dozen grain cradles and binders would be in the fields. Once again the boy is ousted from any fun. Again he follows alone from a half-field distance with his tzomma drawga. For his ten o'clock snack the boy gets a piece of cherry pie--but no whiskey. After dinner the men lie on the grass for an hour of rest, and the boy has to water the horses, hold the scythe handle while the old German blades were being pounded and sharpened, or crank the grindstone to grind the scythe blades until it's once again time to go back to the fields.

Then the oat harvest would arrive, and a ten-acre field would lie shaven clean on a Saturday afternoon. After everyone else had gone to the Sunday School celebration we'd go to the oat field mad enough to fight--but we'd go. In those days there'd be no back talk permitted if we had disagreements.

Finally, Fall would arrive. The corn would have to be husked, and the boy would be hustled out of his warm bed at four o'clock to harness nine horses, then wait behind the warmth of a wood stove until the coming of dawn. As soon as the workers arrived we'd be with them in the fields. We'd just as soon have wrestled with the devil himself than to pack a ripe corn shock. When thresher time was here we'd thresh during the days, and at nights we'd clean up. Have you ever sat in a wheat bin behind an old red windmill until ten o'clock at night with the cold grains of wheat behind your underwear tickling and itching? I think not so.

Right after the harvest celebration schooldays would return again. The first thing on the program would be a big fight at school. If you weren't beaten in the fight, the teacher would beat you later, and when you finally got home from school you'd be beaten again for having been beaten in school.

And so things went during my life on the farm. It passed quickly enough. Surely, there was no great joy in it, and I'd never wish to return to those days. But still I am glad that I once was a farmer's boy, because there I learned what hard work is, and not to fear the life of a working man.

* * *
And what did the farmer's son learn when he was lucky enough to go to high school in Wilson in 1931?

Niagara Falls Gazette, May 20, 1931


RANSOMVILLE, May 20. There was a splendid attendance at Ransomville Grange meeting last Saturday evening, to hear the speaking contest by the boys of the agricultural class of Wilson High School. There were five contestants who were introduced by their instructor, Mr. Dikeman. Those participating were Frederick Oldenberg, speaking against the extended use of machinery; Whitney Barnum, whose subject was "Shall the Farmer Specialize?" Clinton Perry gave a very interesting and instructive talk on "Irrigation"; Frederick Beutel, "Fighting Weeds," and Lee Stacey, "Tractor Farming." These topics were very ably and creditably handled by the contestants. . . .



  • Stephen Knapp, Oct. 9, 1777, (married Catherine Ripson)
  • Cynthia Shattuck, Oct. 13, 1789, (married David Baker)
  • Nancy Hill, Oct. 10, 1814, daughter of Jesse, Sr. & Nancy (Fisher)(married Capt. John Kelley)
  • A. Madison McCollum, Oct. 29, 1842, son of A. Howe and Susanna (Zittle) McCollum (married S. Almira Sanborn)
  • Sarah E. Hand, Oct. 24, 1848, daughter of Henry H. and Maria (Johnson) Hand (married Robert Byron Smithson)
  • Mary Leona Beals, Oct. 1865, daughter of Lewis C. and Mary E. (Clark) Beals (married Wilbur C. Eaton)
  • George R. Carter, Oct. 22, 1883, son of Elwin S. and Sarah A. (Spencer) Carter (married Maude F. Perry)


  • Mary L. Quade to John F. Clapsaddle, Oct. 18, 1854
  • Caroline L. Barrett to Tellico Johnson, Oct. 10, 1872
  • Mary A. Smithson to Henry Lutts, Oct. 17, 1872
  • Mary F. Lloyd to Parley F. Moag, Oct. 16, 1890
  • Martha A. Duffy to George W. Boram, Oct. 22, 1896
  • Blanche E. Tower to Charles Ray Haskill, Oct. 7, 1917
  • Frances S. Truesdale to DeWayne S. Moss, Oct. 27, 1917


  • Angela E. (Pratt) Moon, Oct. 31, 1869, wife of Benjamin W. Moon
  • Seth Balcom, Oct. 2, 1876, husband of Sally (Warren) Balcom
  • Tice Ripson, Oct. 21, 1877, husband of Sophia (Giddings) Ripson
  • Ruth A. (Jillson) Wagner, Oct. 1, 1885, wife of Augustus Wagner
  • Elisha L. Morris, Oct. 12, 1886, husband of Belinda (Ransom) Morris
  • Mortimer C. Henry, Oct. 27, 1928, husband of Nellie E. (Cornell) Henry
  • Carrie Belle (Olds) Hill, Oct. 16, 1942, wife of William B. Hill

Town of

Porter's Past

Newsletter of the Town of Porter Historical Society
Vol. 22, No. 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .November, 1998

Vee L. Housman, Editor


Monthly meetings are held at the Youngstown Civic Center in the Civic Room located on the second floor and is elevator accessible. Meetings begin at 8 pm. Refreshments are served in the Historical Society museum after the meeting. Bring along a friend.

  • November 16, Meeting: Don Glynn, veteran Niagara Gazette reporter, will talk about the death-defying daredevils and other dramatic happenings of the Niagara River.
  • There will be no meeting in December
  • Next meeting, January 18, 1999: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario, speaker, Susan Diachun


  1. Brass Bell of the Youngstown Lion's Club engraved with the names of the Lion's Club presidents from 1948 to 1972. Donated by the Youngstown Lion's Club.
  2. Natural School Geography book used in Town of Porter School District #2, published early 1900s. Donated by Dorothy Samples
  3. Old bottles washed up on the Niagara River shore, gathered up and donated by John W. Owen of Main St., Youngstown.
  4. Large framed photograph of Dr. William F. Falkner, Mayor of Youngstown, 1937-1943 and April 1951 to Nov. 4, 1952. Donated by the Town of Porter office.
  5. Town of Porter Tax Assessor record books from 1918 to 1989--total of 87 volumes. Turned over to the museum by the Town of Porter. A GREAT source of historic information. Now, all we need are some sturdy shelves to store them on. Does anyone know of an inexpensive source?

Come up to the museum and enjoy our display of beautiful old dolls. Helen Murray has loaned us her collection of dolls that she has accumulated from family and friends. See Shirley Temple in her doll buggy, Madame Alexander dolls, bed dolls, Gerber Baby doll, Kewpie dolls and antique dolls. They'll be on display through Christmas. Many thanks to Helen and to Gretchen Greene for arranging the display.

Flag Bar


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This is a very unusual story about three of our veterans of World War II:

Buffalo Courier-Express, October 27, 1946


Infant Found on Tracks After Crash Brought Up as Ransomville Physician's Third "Son"

There are six names on the plaque of the new memorial organ at the Ransomville Baptist Church. Two are listed as the sons of Dr. John C. Plain, but folks around Ransomville know the doctor really lost three boys in the war.

It goes back 34 years. In October 1912, as the Smithson family buggy approached the West Crossing, the horses shied, reared and then there was a terrible crash. [Clarence] Smithson was thrown clear, but his wife [Hanna (Schulze) Smithson] was mangled under the engine. The freight with its 20 cars rolled past. Between the rails lay little Raymond Smithson.

Dr. Plain was called. He glanced at the dead woman and spoke to her uninjured husband before spotting the bundle of white on the tracks. Tenderly he lifted the trembling infant into his arms. "Like a frightened rabbit he was," said Dr. Plain, "his heart pounding and his pulse racing." The four-month-old baby was just 11 days younger than his own son, Gardner. That night Mrs. Plain had two sons.

Although relatives later claimed Raymond, the two boys were brought up together . . . Gardner "joined up" first. On February 1, 1941 he entered service, becoming a paratrooper with the 502d Regiment. About a year later Raymond followed in his footsteps, joining the 505th Regiment as a paratrooper. It was while he was in training at Ft. Benning, Ga., that Raymond received word that the war had taken the first of Dr. Plain's boys. Gardner was killed in a plane crash in New England.

Now a corporal, the boy Dr. Plain picked up from the railroad tracks 30 years before stood at his side as his own son was lowered into his grave in the North Ridge Cemetery of Ransomville [sic].

In January, 1943, Dr. Plain received his second message which began, "We regret to inform you . . . ." Another son, Lieut. Roger M. Plain, was killed in North Africa. Dr. Plain still had one boy in service, Raymond.

Then came D-Day. Dr. Plain knew Raymond was in England. He figured he'd be in on the invasion, and he was. His outfit was one of the first to hit the beaches of Normandy. He wrote Dr. Plain about it. Raymond fought some more. It was in January 1944, that the third message came: "We regret to inform you . . . ."

That's how half the names on the plaque are Dr. Plain's boys. The folks in the little parish knew this when they installed the $2,200 memorial organ.

"I wish they could be together again," said Dr. Plain. "Gardner is buried in Ransomville, Raymond lies beneath French soil. Roger's in North Africa. I'd like the boys together again--always."


When we think of the horse and buggy days, somehow we don't picture them quite like this:

Suspension Bridge Journal, Feb. 20, 1892

YOUNGSTOWN. A team owned by Jas. Bradley of Wilson ran away here last week. They ran about one mile when they were stopped by running into a tree. Slight damages were done to horses, cutter and harness.

Suspension Bridge Journal, March 5, 1892

YOUNGSTOWN. While Fred Balcom, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Balcom, was leading a horse to water on Monday, the animal suddenly wheeled and kicked, striking him directly over the stomach, leaving the print of its hoof and rendering him unconscious. He is expected to recover.

Niagara Falls Journal, July 16, 1892

YOUNGSTOWN. A horse owned by Seitz & Co., undertakers, Niagara Falls, ran away in this village Saturday night, breaking a rough box and medical case that were in the wagon. No other damage was done.

Niagara Falls Journal, December 24, 1892

RANSOMVILLE. Walter Brockway of North ridge left his team attached to a wagon loaded with coal hitched in front of the Ransomville House Tuesday night and they became frightened and ran away colliding with a carriage driven by Walter Peterson. Peterson's vehicle was badly damaged but no one was hurt. Niagara Falls Journal, June 9, 1894

YOUNGSTOWN. A horse owned by Luke Tower of this town, ran away in Ransomville on Saturday afternoon, smashing the buggy into kindling wood and breaking the harness.

The Daily Cataract Journal, Sept. 8, 1905

RANSOMVILLE. There was an exciting runaway and accident in front of the post office in Ransomville on Tuesday noon. The handsome team of blacks belonging to Postmaster Gentle, used on his undertaking wagon, became frightened at clothes flapping on a line in the yard at the side of Mr. Gentle's store and residence, and ran into the street. The wagon was partly filled with barbed wire that Bert Foster had been unloading. The runaways collided with a one- horse rig of an Italian peddler in the roadway. A five-year-old son of the peddler in the latter's wagon was thrown headlong to the ground and was painfully but not seriously injured. George Monohan and H. A. Swigert stopped the runaways. Mr. Gentle offered to engage a physician to attend the boy and to also give the Italian $5 in cash to settle for all damages, but the Italian wanted more money.

The Daily Cataract Journal, Nov. 24, 1905

RANSOMVILLE. The team of William Hyde of Ransomville ran away at Randall Road station the other day and made things lively there for a little while. Mr. Hyde had taken a drummer from Buffalo with a load of trunks from Ransomville to L. A. Bradley & Sons' store at Randall Road and hitched the rig to a telephone pole near the store. The team became impatient at standing and broke loose, then ran into the field with rig jolting over stones and through ditches. A large trunk was spilled out upon the ground and the team became ensnared in a barbed wire fence. One horse was somewhat cut up about the legs and that was the extent of the damage.

Niagara Falls Gazette, Jan. 8, 1914

YOUNGSTOWN. A well known farmer who resides east of this village is receiving the merry ha! ha! from his many friends, as the result of a little piece of forgetfulness on his part, the forepart of this week.
He drove into town Monday morning and went from here to Buffalo via trolley. He returned Tuesday morning, and upon going to a friend's barn where he usually leaves his horse, he found that the animal was not there. He then "hoofed" it home, thinking some one of the family had taken the horse home again, but such was not the case.
Following an all day search, the patient animal was finally located in the Murphy sheds where the farmer's tardy memory at last reminded him that he had left the horse there.



  • Milo C. Balcom, 23 Nov. 1824, son of Chester and Elizabeth (Johnson) Balcom (married Laura A. Johnson)
  • Emengene Tower, 6 Nov. 1840, daughter of Peter and Olive B. (Smith) Tower (married John W. Cowan)
  • Clarence R. Truesdale, 5 Nov. 1884, son of John W. and Sarah Belle (Kelley) Truesdale (married Hazel M. Hopkins)
  • Henry E. Bedell, 27 Nov. 1886, son of William A. and Alma A. (Phillips) Bedell (married Sarah Wagner)
  • Sara E. Smithson, 7 Nov. 1908, daughter of John C. and Clara (Beardsley) Smithson (married Homer A. Maxon)
  • George Stanley Parker, 25 Nov. 1908, son of Elton T. and Margaret (Erb) Parker (married Emma C. Curtiss)
  • Wilbur E. Buttery, 12 Nov. 1915, son of Frank and Grace A. E. (Nickerson) Buttery (married Edith M. Carter)


  • Susanna Zittle to A. Howe McCollum, 11 Nov. 1841
  • Caroline Simmons to Levi Brookins, 19 Nov. 1851
  • May Spencer to Edward J. Servis, 19 Nov. 1891
  • Jennie Tower to Emmett B. Whitney, 2 Nov. 1894
  • Jennie Lou White to John P. Angevine, 14 Nov. 1894
  • Ina E. Moon to Charles S. Taylor, 25 Nov 1896
  • Veda Pearl Parker to Dewey Jeffords, 21 Nov. 1910


  • Margaret (Quade) Clapsaddle, 8 Nov. 1865, wife of Rudolph Clapsaddle
  • Sarah E. (Hand) Smithson, 9 Nov. 1876, wife of Robert B. Smithson
  • Bradley D. Davis, 14 Nov. 1882, husband of Martha C. (Wood) Davis
  • William B. Ripson, 6 Nov. 1922, husband of Lillian M. (Jeffords) Ripson
  • Harry E. Gentle, 4 Nov. 1967, husband of Ada I. (Chestnut) Gentle
  • Porter B. Tower, 9 Nov. 1969, husband of Myrtie P. (Tower) Tower
  • May A. (James) Nichols, wife of Alonzo J. Nichols


The Niagara Falls Journal, December 4, 1903

RANSOMVILLE. The pleasant home of supervisor J. W. Thompson was the scene of a most delightful gathering on Thanksgiving Day. All of the members of the local branches of the Thompson family, 25 in all, were present from the aged mother to the wee great-grandchild--the first time there has been such a complete reunion in several years.
The able host and hostess spared no pains in providing for the comfort and enjoyment of their guests and the happy joyous spirit with which they later entered into the pleasures of the day, could come only from hearts filled with gratitude for the past year of prosperity.
Shortly after noon the beautifully decorated tables were set forth and the guests seated. The hostess, assisted by Mrs. Calvert, served such a dinner as only a most perfect cook could prepare and such as one remembers for an entire year and to which all present did ample justice. From the table the guests repaired to the parlor, where, gathering around the piano, they poured forth their gratitude to God in songs of praise. Early in the evening the guests reluctantly departed, hoping that each might be spared to enjoy many more such Thanksgiving Days.

Town of

Porter's Past

Newsletter of the Town of Porter Historical Society
Vol. 22, No. 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .December, 1998

Vee L. Housman, Editor


Monthly meetings are held in the Civic Guild Room of the Youngstown Civic Center, 240 Lockport St., Youngstown. It's on the second floor and is elevator accessible. Meetings begin at 8 pm. Refreshments are served in the Historical Society museum after the meeting. Bring along a friend.

The museum will be closed on Thurs. Dec. 24, Sat. Dec. 26, Thurs. Dec. 31, and Sat. Jan. 2 due to the holidays. There will be no historical society meeting in December.


  • January 18, 1999: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario, Susan Diachun
  • February 15, 1999: Antique Toys, speaker, Isabel Hobba


Normally, Porter's Past isn't published during the month of December because of the holidays, but because I [the Editor!] want to continue with the fun of gathering up all sorts of interesting items to share with our membership, bear with me as I endulge myself.

I have no particular subject in mind to report on; just a random selection of articles out of old newspapers. Hopefully, it will present an overall sample of just the everyday news of the happenings in our Town of Porter. Here goes!

Suspension Bridge Journal,
Suspension Bridge, NY
February 14, 1885


  • Mrs. N. Phillips has been granted $3 a month pension by the government.
  • Miss Katie Buckley, of Ransomville, visited her friend Miss Fannie Duffie of Fort Niagara last week.
  • Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Dutton are rejoicing over a son and heir, born last Saturday. [William W. Dutton, born Feb. 7, 1885]
  • Dr. A. A. DeLoffrre, post surgeon at Ft. Niagara, has been to the west.
  • Mrs. J. W. Thompson and sons, Joe and Fred, of the Brackets House, Rochester, are in town visiting relatives. [Son Joe was 2 yrs. old, Fred was 1. John W. and Jennie B. Thompson got married about 1880]
  • Byron Tower, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is here on a six weeks' vacation. [Byron later married Nettie Robinson. They had two daughters: Maude married Louis Kelley and Blanche married Charles Ray Haskell.]
  • Mrs. J. Calvert is the guest of relatives in Stratford, Ont. [The children of John and Rebecca M. Calvert married into the Brookins, Shippy and Tower families.]
  • L. P. Tower leaves in a couple of weeks to see the New Orleans exposition. [Probably Luke Tower, Sr. who married Bessie Hosmer. Son Luke, Jr., married Marriam Calvert; and daughter Jennie married Emmett Whitney.]
  • A Niagara man was shooting coweens in the river Tuesday. [Coweens???]
  • The taxpayers of Porter have been signing a remonstrance against the bill now pending in the legislature to authorize the county to erect a court house and city hall for Lockport. The citizens condemn in the strongest terms any project to increase taxation in these hard times. Many would prefer to have the buildings at Niagara Falls.
  • F. S. Whittaker will open a new grocery store in Lewiston in the spring. All wish him success. [That would have been Fletcher S. Whittaker, grandson of Lyman Whittaker and Parmelia (Smith). Fletcher's uncle was Norman Whittaker, original owner of the Ithaca shotgun now on display at the museum.]
  • It is reported that the government will spend $100,000 making rifle and artillery target practice grounds [on] the military reserve at Fort Niagara, building new barracks and officers' quarters and improving the walls and earthworks around the fort, and that General Sheridan and Col. R. H. Stevens will build cottages here.
  • At a pig catch at the roller rink Saturday evening John Reardon won the prize of $2.50 offered to the one barreling the pig twice.
  • Will Eaton and Mrs. M. E. Spencer are giving free lessons in spelling, arithmetic and grammar at the latter's residence every Monday evening.
  • A matched skating race of five five-minute heats between C. Henry and W. Roadhouse Monday evening, resulted in a draw. [Charles Henry's sister Amoretta Henry married John E. Ripson; his brother Mortimer Henry married Helen Cornell.]

The Niagara Courier, September 1, 1888

  • Tramps have caused the citizens of Ransomville considerable trouble of late. Sunday, Justice Fowler with thirty-five followers scoured that neighborhood for them but did not meet with success.
  • Elton T. Ransom's name is mentioned as a possible candidate for receiving the Democratic nomination for member of Assembly in this district. He is a popular business man of Ransomville.
  • A large evaporator and canning factory combined is being erected at Ransomville. The evaporator will have a capacity of 400 bushels per day. About forty hands will be employed during the entire year.
  • A horse was stolen from Alvin Logan Saturday evening at his residence in Ransomville. The horse was found Monday morning, but had been driven Sunday, as was shown by the condition of the horse when found.
  • The Ransomville Creamery Company is disposing of large quantities of butter to consumers. They have just sold 1,000 lbs. to the Wesleyan Seminary at Lima. The company will place their butter on exhibition at the International Fair at Buffalo and compete for prizes.


Niagara County News,
Youngstown, NY
Dec. 22, 1882

RANSOMVILLE--The safe of W. H. H. Ransom & Son was broken open on Tuesday evening. The thieves gained an entrance to the store through a rear window. No money was in the safe at the time. A few articles, such as silk handkerchiefs, caps, slippers, etc., are all that has been missed at the present writing.

Flag Bar
Flag Bar

This isn't the standard reminder of what Sunday, December 7, 1941, meant to our families or to our nation; just a refresher course in what was happening during the remaining days of December 1941 in our area.


Dec. 8, 1941
--Niagara Falls Is Armed Camp as Troops Man Defense Posts --Falls Airport Well Guarded
--City Plans Protection of Public Utilities Here Against Sabotage
--Many Niagara Falls Men Serving With Army, Navy in the New Area
--Yarn Available: Red Cross Calls for Volunteers to Knit Sweaters for Armed Forces

Dec. 9, 1941
--O'Ryan Says Foe Might Hit State Areas In Surprise Move
--Only Japanese Resident of Falls Sees Attack as Japanese Suicide [Theodore T. Kondo]

Dec. 10, 1941
--New Warning of Possible Attack Spurs Defense Efforts at Falls
--Bonds between United States and Canada Tightened By Common War
--Be Calm, Seek Cover If Bomb Raid Alarm Is Sounded
--Falls Boys Club Organizes Aid To America Society
--Tempo of Air Raid Groups Stepped Up
--Club for Service Men To Be Used By Soldiers On Guard Duty Here
--13 Men Enlist With Navy Here

Dec. 11, 1941
--May Postpone Practice Blackout At Falls Until After Christmas
--Volunteers To Be Sought For River Patrol

Dec. 12, 1941
--Defense Stamp Sales Call Upon Ingenuity of Gazette Carriers
--Collect Paper To Aid America
--Air Raid Group Plans Gifts For Men In Service

Dec. 13, 1941
--Falls Blackout Precautions Are Called Ready For Scheduled Test

Dec. 15, 1941
--Guns May Guard Frontier Plants From Air Raids
--Red Cross Sends Iceland Soldiers Christmas Gifts
--Food Dispatched To Prisoners In German Camps By Red Cross Here

Dec. 16, 1941
--What School Teachers and Pupils Should Do In Case Of Air Raids

Dec. 17, 1941
--John L. Madera Officially Listed As Dead

Dec. 19, 1941
--William Barr, fireman, second class, U.S.N.
--James A. Rader Among Hickham Field Casualties
etc. etc. etc.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 29, 1941


. . .A community Red Cross meeting will be held in the auditorium of the Youngstown High School tomorrow evening at 7:30 o'clock. . . Everyone is urged to attend this meeting both from Youngstown and Ransomville and help to organize for immediate and active work. Members of the fire department are urged to turn out.

. . . In its first blackout rehearsal on Friday night [Dec. 26], the people of Youngstown are proud of the result. According to observers, the lights in every building, both business and dwellings in the community, were extinguished immediately after the alert siren at 11 o'clock, with one exception. It is said that there was one house on the west side of Second Street north of Lockport Street in which the lights were lit throughout the blackout. What action the authorities will take regarding this violation of the law is not known.

. . .Dr. Lewis W. Falkner, mayor of Youngstown, is deeply gratified at the result and wishes to thank the fire company, athletic association and the people of the village for their excellent cooperation not only in the blackout but also in the work of the Civil Defense organization. Dr. Falkner also said that the officials at Fort Niagara had been of great assistance.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 30, 1941

Cigarette prices are not raised here. Lucky Strikes, Camels, Old Golds, Chesterfields are $.15 to $.17 per pack. Cigarettes from vending machines are $.17 per pack, with 3 pennies change under the cellophane wrapper.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 31, 1941

Editor's note. In May of 1994 when I was researching the early World War II years of the Niagara Falls area, I jotted this information down. At the time, I realized the significance of it. Under the subject of "Year's Events," the Gazette mentions the single fact that on Oct. 25, 1941, Joseph E. Patterson, age 90, of 437 Eighth Street, died. He was the last surviving Civil War veteran in Niagara Falls. In my mind it represented the final ending of a very old war and the beginning of a new one. Sigh!

Niagara Falls Gazette
Jan. 14, 1941

Hint at Ban on Farewells to Selectees

FORT NIAGARA--Crowds of parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends who come to this post daily to see the selectees, here for induction and processing, have become so large that they interfere with the work of the post.

Colonel Clayton J. Herman, commander of the Fort Niagara Reception center, stated today that he is willing to have parents and perhaps a brother and sister come to say good-bye to their loved ones but he strongly urged the rest to say their good-byes at home.

It is no uncommon sight to see the selectees who left home but a few hours before have 10 to 15 visitors. These folks even crowd into buses waiting to take the boys to the place of entrainment. It is thought that the post may be closed entirely if this practice is not stopped. It is said that there are many cases in which the folks arrive at the fort before the selectees themselves. . . .

(Formerly "Vital Statistics")


  • Dillman Morris, 31 Dec. 1842, son of Elisha and Margaret A. (Baker) Morris (Died 30 Jan. 1864, Civil War)
  • Norman H. Whittaker, 12 Dec. 1848, son of Lyman and Parmelia (Smith) Whittaker (Married Kate Ellette Moag)
  • Julius M. Ripson, 8 Dec. 1853, son of William S. and Marcella A. (Lloyd) Ripson (Marred Emma Pound)
  • Carrie Belle Olds, Dec. 1860, daughter of Alfred S. and Frances G. (Powley) Olds (Married William Bradley Hill)
  • Ora May Warren, 19 Dec. 1889, daughter of Wilbur H. and Edith (Hiam) Warren (Married Harry E. Gentle)
  • Albert ("Pete") Kolloff, 24 Dec. 1900, son of Charles C. and Anna (Bulges) Kolloff (Married Alma Borem)
  • E. Margaret Tower, 25 Dec. 1902, daughter of Cyrus P. and Agnes C. (Lloyd) Tower (Married Benjamin A. James) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARGARET!


  • Cynthia Shattuck to David Baker, 16 Dec. 1808
  • Betsy C. Hosmer to Luke Tower, 15 Dec. 1868
  • Sarah C. Carter to William M. Smithson, 7 Dec. 1870
  • Deborah Holden to George F. Parker, Dec. 1874
  • Mary E. Clapsaddle Smith to John E. DeClute, 28 Dec. 1893
  • Harriet A. Clark to William E. Marshall, 22 Dec. 1900
  • Minnie M. Austin to A. Day McCollum, 9 Dec. 1903


  • Asa Anderson, 14 Dec. 1846, husband of Anna (Campbell) Anderson (Psst! He was Cora (Anderson) Gushee's great-great-grandfather!)
  • George Greenwood, 8 Dec. 1887, husband of Clara (Clapsaddle) Greenwood
  • George P. Tower, 8 Dec. 1924, husband of Elizabeth (Peet) Tower
  • Cyrene M. (Molyneux) Plain, 18 Dec. 1937, wife of Dr. John C. Plain
  • Henry Otto Wagner, 10 Dec. 1954, husband of Maggie L. (Irish) Wagner
  • Edith M. (Turner) Ripson, 29 Dec. 1964, wife of Charles R. Lloyd Ripson
  • Bennison Haskell Ridell, 5 Dec. 1967, husband of Eleanor R. (Newton) Ridell

* * *
NOTE: A digital camera has been donated to the society by Bill Spry and Vee Housman. They have been testing it out in the museum in preparation of photographing our artifacts, documents, pictures, cemetery tombstones, etc. The camera plugs directly into the computer and the resulting photographs show up in seconds onto the computer screen. It is the editor's opinion that the whole operation is MAGIC!

(The following greetings were made possible with our new computer equipment and digital camera. You should see how they look in color! WOW!)

Season's Greetings from our old neighbor and town settler, Pearsall B. Powell and a MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and all!

(Unfortunately, the webmaster has limited capabilities transferring the content to online, so you will not be able to see the wonderful power of this new equipment, sorry ;-{ Maureen Higgins Seifert)

Vee L. Housman, Editor
[(old email address snipped)]
Town of Porter Historical Society
P. O. 442
Youngstown, NY 14174

Copyright © 1998 by Vee Housman, Editor, Town of Porter Historical Society, Niagara County, New York.. All rights reserved.