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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rev. David Wilson of Hebron, NY

Here's a nice bio of Rev. David Wilson who briefly resided in Mentz. Many of his family are buried at the Wilson-Dixon Cemetery. While Rev. David did have a will drawn from Cayuga County, he moved back to Hebron, Washington Co., NY just before his passing.

Source: The Congregational Quarterly, Volume 6, by Revs. Henry M Dexter, Alonzo H Quint and Isaac P Langworthy, 1864

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Courage of Myrtle Kilmer

Every now and then you find a news clip that makes you stop and realize just how important the imagery of liberty is to us.  I'd like to share a little article that appeared in the Port Byron Chronicle on Saturday January 26, 1917:


Miss Myrtle Kilmer a former resident of this village, who resides with her sister Mrs. Oliver Wilson at Syracuse, is receiving a great deal of praise as the result of an act she performed at the Emanuel Evangelical church Thursday evening while a meeting was in progress. The fire started near the chimney and the auditorium quickly filled with smoke.  The members of the audience crowded to the doors. Miss Kilmer forced her way through the crowd to the front of the auditorium where a large American flag  was hung , took down the flag and then hurried out of the building being the last to leave.  Miss Kilmer modestly denied that any special credit was due her, as it seemed to her the most natural thing to do.

Way to go Myrtle!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Masonic Temple Dedication 1952

Thank you to the Boy Scouts for the opportunity to make the 1952 dedication of the Masonic Temple available to our community as a free download.  It includes the history of our village, firsts in our history, a St. directory and many vintage ads from local merchants and neighboring communities.

Click this link to download the Masonic Temple Lodge No. 130 F. & A.M.

Here's a nice link that contains history of our temple but also has some interesting information about Finley M. King, as well as his photograph, see pages 32 to 34.

Note: 1879 History of Cayuga County credits the first village president as Walter H. Smith but includes the list of the first village board of trustees, see page 311, as well as a list of successive leaders of Port Byron.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Port Byron Nurse in the Civil War

Here's an interesting article I found today.  Katherine Adelia Baker, reported as a Port Byron native and married Pvt. John L. Crane, a soldier of the 9th Heavy Artillery who enlisted at Auburn.

The article goes on to say that she followed her husband to the battle field and served as a nurse.  Her husband was commissioned Captain of Co. H of the same regiment on September 8, 1862.  Capt. Crane was discharged on Nov. 12, 1864.

There are two head of household of the Baker surname in 1840, being G. Baker and J. Baker as well as Rachael Baker.

The Clyde Herald
Wednesday May 31, 1933


Port Byron Native, She Went To Civil War as a Nurse With Her Husband 

Death claimed Oalen's oldest resident Mrs. Kathleen Adelia Crane at her home at Caroline and Reese Streets shortly after midnight Saturday night.  She was 95 years, two months and 26 days of age.  She had been ill in recent weeks.

A native of Port Byron, March 1, 1838 Mrs. Crane as a young woman married John L. Crane, a Captain in the Civil War, and went with him to act as a nurse in that conflict.

They lived in a camp on the Potomac with Mr. and Mrs. Lape and Delia Lape and Mr. and Mrs. Wadley and James Wadley, all of whom have died. Tunis Conklin,

a nephew of the late Hiram Burton, did errands for them in Washington. Soldiers came to the camp to receive supplies from Captain Crane. A baby girl was born at
the camp to a wife of a general and she is believed to be residing in Auburn now.

For many years after the war Mr. and Mrs. Crane resided in Clyde. Mr. Crane practicing law in partnership with the late Charles T. Saxton, New York State's lieutenant-governor, 1904-1906.

Mr. Crane died in the west many years ago. An only daughter, Nellie, an accomplished musician, died at the age of eighteen. She would have been over 60 now.  Mrs. Crane maintained the homestead until her death, Mrs. H. B. Exner caring for her in recent years.

Mrs. Crane is survived by one sister Mrs. Lura O'Neil and one brother, Home Baker, both living here and both more than 80 years of age.  Several nieces and nephews survive her.

Funeral services were conducted at 2 O'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Gelder and Lacey home by the Rev. R.F. Smithson.  Burial was in Maple Grove Cemetery.


Maple Grove Cemetery at Galen, Wayne County, NY records the following burials:
Crane, Adelia C. wife Capt. John L. 1838-1933
Crane, Nellie dau John L. & Adelia C. 1867-1887

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Future Nurses Club

I continue to be amazed at the wonderful things waiting to be found in Port Byron's history.  Here's an article that says Port Byron established the first Future Nurses Club in Cayuga County.

Click the link above to read the 1958 article.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to fultonhistory.com for providing digital newspapers of the past that fills in so many details about our region.

Congrats to Port Byron School for making such an unusual record in Cayuga County!