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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Port Byron Band

Thank you Charlene Wood for sharing your fathers band photo!

This photo dates 1935 to 1937 and was likely taken on one of the many band trips of the day.  It does not appear to have been taken at PB.

The Port Byron High School that burned down in December of 1935 lacked a grand staircase and the doors were a single set of double doors.  You will notice in this photo, there are multiple double doors spaced apart.

The doors at our old high school was level with the ground on the first floor:
Old Port Byron High 1899-1935

Class Photo taken at Old PB High Entrance

Names of students in photo

The corner stone to the Port Byron Central School, now Church Street Apartments, was laid on June 26, 1937.  While this school does have a small set of stairs at the front entrance, the doors are placed together and no pillars.

Therefore, this early band photo may have been taken on one of the many band trips.

If anyone can recall where this photo was taken, please contact me so I can update the location with the photo.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

GAR Display at Heritage Days July 31st

Lorraine Orton and members of the Woman's Relief Corps, the official auxiliary of the G.A.R., will be joining us on July 31st to display G.A.R. artifacts.

The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) was an early veterans group formed by soldiers of the civil war.  The G.A.R. became a strong political force and with their endless efforts, the Grand Army Pension Bill became law in the year 1900 securing pensions for the soldiers of the civil war.

To read more about the G.A.R. and Port Byron's Lockwood Post #175 G.A.R., read my article:

Lockwood Post #175

To learn more about the Woman's Relief Corps:


The Center of Action

When people think of Port Byron, NY, they easily find reference to our Erie Canal History.  What most people are not aware of is that Port Byron was also the meeting place for many political conventions.

On October 15, 1856 at 2 PM the 25th Congressional District Convention was held here for the purpose of nominating a candidate for representation in Congress.

The committee consisted of:

N. Drake
C. D. Lawton
Wm Bell Jr
C.H. Richmond
Wm Fosgate

Early Preachers

In Port Byron's early history, it seems many lifestyles were ahead of the times.  I recently found an article from the 1850's, where one of our woman had completed clergy training.  When you look at the role of woman for this time period, most were not employed especially outside their own households or the business of their husbands.  It is always a pleasure to be reminded that things were just a bit different here:

"Mrs. Linda Jenkins of Port Byron, N.Y. has commenced preaching, after a regular course of study, and is now fully entitled to the appellation of "Reverend." 

Herkimer Co. Journal, Little Falls, NY August 13, 1857

A Look Back At Wages

In a hustle bustle world, it is easy to feel undervalued.  Bringing home the bacon continues to be a challenge and when you look back at labor rates from yesteryear, it is easy to see how much has changed.  Here is an ad that appeared in The Daily Courier on Friday October 1, 1875 from Syracuse, NY:

"Fifty laborers wanted to work in the village of Port Byron, NY.  Wages one dollar and fifty cents per day.  Apply at No. 5 Pike Building or on the work.  H. Candee & Co."

This would have the same purchase power as $30.20 per day as of 2009.