Welcome to the History Corner!
Port Byron, New York is an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz, located along the pathway of the original Clinton's Ditch. My mission is to promote the rich history and heritage of our community with emphasis on our pioneer families, their contributions as well as any other tidbits that readers may enjoy. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Palatine Migration

It is enjoyable to hear from others that contact me in response to my articles. Recently I was contacted by distant relatives in Canada to share that they are doing well.

The descendants of the 1709/1710 Palatine movement have called New York home for more than two centuries.  Some of their off spring found their way to Canada.  The recent contact made me take another look at my ancestor Anna Maria Hoffman who married Johann Nicholas Traver, ancestors to many of the Port Byron Traver families and their various off branches.

To recap, Anna Maria lost her husband and most of her children on the voyage to America.  Upon settling in New York, she married a man named Joseph Reichardt who also made the voyage.  Establishing a family unit was critical for this time period, as it reduced the chances of her small children being removed from the household to be placed to work.  The family not only stayed together but flourished with the addition of two additional sons from this union.

In researching what became of Anna Maria Hoffman Traver and her second husband Joseph Reichardt, I found the land deed at Rhinebeck:

"New York, Land Records, 1630-1975," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32717-7704-71?cc=2078654&wc=M7HT-W3D:358133801,358565401 : accessed 26 April 2015), Dutchess > Deeds 1718-1761 vol 1-3 > image 300 of 769; county courthouses, New York.


"New York, Land Records, 1630-1975," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32717-7313-75?cc=2078654&wc=M7HT-W3D:358133801,358565401 : accessed 26 April 2015), Dutchess > Deeds 1718-1761 vol 1-3 > image 301 of 769; county courthouses, New York.

There is allot of information about Joseph Rikert at the website titled Descent by the Sea.  It includes useful information about the Reichardt land in Rhinebeck and how it would later be in the possession of Zachariah Traver.  The article also states that the land was later acquired by Col. John Jacob Astor in 1905.  Astor was a casualty on the Titanic disaster in 1912 and his connection to our ancestors land is very fascinating.

Around the time he acquired the farm, Astor was buying as many farms as he could to add acreage to his Ferncliff Estate.  How Astor used the Reichardt/Traver farm is unclear, as I was not able to access the deed online for that date range.  However, the land transaction is not unusual as the Traver family also had a unique connection to Astor, being officers at the same bank where Astor was a trustee.  

In 1905, officers at the Rhinebeck Savings Bank included Augustus M Traver, President and Thaddeus A Traver, Secretary.  Both Traver men along with others, including John Jacob Astor were Trustees.  Given this connection, the relationship could have aided the purchase of the family farm.

To learn more about John Jacob Astor, read a short bio at the New Netherland Institute


Monday, March 23, 2015

Centerport Detour

Here's an interesting post that I know the Centerport residents will appreciate, it provides a clue as to when the road between Port Byron and Centerport was paved:


SYRACUSE JOURNAL   MONDAY OCTOBER 22, 1917

AS STATE REPORTS ROAD CONDITIONS

Port Byron -Weedsport — Work In progress. Leave Port Byron for Weedsport on new concrete pavement to Centerport.  At Centerport four corners turn south one-eighth mile, crossing Erie Canal, taking first left hand turn to Weedsport. Detour posted.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stranded

Today we travel between places without giving it any thought but can you imagine a time when you could get stranded in Port Byron and it would be considered news?  That is exactly what happened to a theater company in 1908:

THE SYRACUSE HERALD  JULY 8, 1908

The Percey-Norman Stock company which has been playing at the Auditorium Annex, is stranded in Port Byron. After paying the fares of the fourteen members of the company to Port Byron the manager had 45 cents.   There were sixteen paid admissions to see the show and so the actors were unable to get back to Auburn.  The boy who sings the solos between the acts managed to get a ride to the city after he had done his turn, while the others, sitting as a committee of the whole, are trying to devise ways and means.

Here's some background from Billboard Publications, 1908