Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Port Byron - A Name of Inspiration

Did you know that Port Byron, NY is credited for inspiring the name of Byron, Minnesota?

In searching the web, I found Byron, Minnesota's name was suggested by George W. Van Dusen after his home town of Port Byron, NY.

Pocket Guide of Minnesota Names published 2002

A Guide to the greatest bike rides in Minnesota

The same information was in the book Exploring America's Highways: Minnesota Trip Trivia by Michael Heim, published in 2004 on page 300.

G.W. Van Dusen was a millionaire who earned his fortunes by developing grain elevators for distribution of grain. His 12,000 sq ft mansion is on the list of landmarks:

Van Dusen Mansion

History of the Van Dusen Mansion

With Port Byron transporting the principal grain market for New York State during the canal period, the occupation of G.W. Van Dusen is fascinating.

I would be interested in finding Mr. Van Dusen in a Federal or State census at Port Byron. This surname in the Ancestry.com indexes has many spelling variations. I have contacted the Van Dusen Center for more information so that we may confirm this historic link. Hopefully he lived here long enough to be recorded in our census, otherwise it may require a look at tax assessment records or land deeds.