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121 Park Avenue

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121 Park Avenue
Brockport, N.Y. 

History written by Carol L. Hannan, April 2014 
Photo Credit and Produced by Pamela Ketchum
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – April 2014. All rights reserved.

Ida May Hooker Gordon
Owner/builder (?): between 1861 and 1872

John Henry and Janette Chappell Hubbard 
Owners: early 1860s to 1870 

This home was built between 1858 and 1860; first appearing on a village map in 1861. It was then known as number one High Street. The first known owner was John Henry Hubbard, his second wife, Janette and children from both his first and second marriage. Although the name Chappell is familiar to village residents, Janette was from Brooklyn at the time of her marriage. The ceremony took place in North Parma, Monroe County. 

The Hubbard children included Ella, Sarah Louise Hubbard Erwin, and John H. (Henry?) from John’s first marriage, Minnie Hubbard Coleman, Harriet E. and John Franklin Hubbard. Sarah, Minnie and Harriet moved to Rochester. John Franklin was a sheet metal worker at Kodak who later moved to Texas. William moved to Toledo, Ohio.

John was born near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, grew up in Fort Ann, New York and moved to Brockport in 1820, where he spent most of the remainder of his life. He was a grain buyer or produce merchant. At some time before 1872, the Hubbard family moved from this house but continued to live in Brockport. 

Much later in life, John and Janette lived with their children. Upon his death in 1912, John’s obituary stated that he would be buried in Brockport but the exact location of his final resting place is unknown.

Armistead and Mary Stone Fielden 
Owners: by 1870 to late 1870s 

By the 1870 census, this house was owned and occupied by the Armistead and Mary Fielden family. Armistead, of English Quaker lineage, was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. “Armistead” was the maiden name of his great grandmother and also his grandfather’s first name. After moving to Oneida County, where he married Mary Stone, Armistead moved to Rochester about 1840, then became a farmer in Hamlin. By the time he moved to Brockport, Armistead had retired. 

Mary Stone, according to census records, was born in Massachusetts. She and Armistead married in Camden, Oneida County, New York when she was in her early twenties. Nothing more about her lineage could be found. 

The Fielden family consisted of five children: Frances, Judson, Mary, Harriet and Eliza. Nothing is known about the fate of Frances or Harriet, who likely married before the family moved to Brockport. Judson served in the Civil War, as a Corporal in Company A of the 140th Infantry. He was discharged for medical reasons after about a year. Judson married Annabelle Dauchy in Brockport in 1871. Eliza and Mary both died unmarried and are buried in the Brockport Cemetery. 

As a resident of Brockport, Armistead Fielding joined the local Baptist Church. Other than his religious affiliation, however, nothing could be found to give a more complete picture of the family’s interests. 

Shortly after daughter Mary died in 1878, Armistead and Mary left the Brockport area, either following or moving with their son Judson to Milford, Michigan. Mary died in 1882. Armistead lived until 1889. Both he and his wife are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, Milford, Michigan. 

Erastus Melville and Florence Whelan Kniffen 
Owners: late 1870s to late 1830s

Erastus Melville Kniffen, son of farmers Alanson and Mary Elizabeth Youngs Kniffen, lived in the Park Avenue area with his parents after his father retired to Brockport. Florence Whelan, his wife, was the daughter of farmers James and Harmony Whelan. Florence and Erastus, in fact, grew up on neighboring farms. Before her marriage, Florence was a piano teacher. 

Erastus and Florence, with their only child, daughter Emma Belle, continued to live with his parents until they purchased and moved into this house, which was known then as number 72 Park Avenue. As with other village homes, the address changed over time, including, in this case, its street name. There would be one more address change in the nineteen twenties to 121 Park Avenue, as it remains today. Perhaps, someday, High Street will reclaim its first home, but for now, the property is a Park Avenue residence. 

Erastus was a long-time railroad employee, or “trainman.” Whatever his specific duties, Erastus worked for the railroad his entire life. His family attended the First Baptist Church, where daughter Emma Belle married Edward D. Stewart. Florence gave up teaching piano after her marriage and became a housewife. In later years, Erastus’ unmarried sister, Harriet, lived with his family. So, too, did his widowed father. 

After the death of his wife in the 1930s, Erastus moved into his widowed daughter’s home on Holley Street, where he spent the last years of his life. Beach Ridge Cemetery in the Town of Sweden is the location of the Kniffen and Stewart burial plots.

Epilogue 2014

This home retains much of its original early styling, although additions have been made to it over time. The open porch at the side of the home has been somewhat closed in. There was once a front porch which no longer exists. Its few former early owners lived quiet lives representative of what Brockport has meant to many generations of residents: a place to live surrounded by family members; a place to raise a family and a place to find employment. Brockport was, in earlier times, a place to live in retirement after a hard-working life on surrounding farms. Today, this very old home remains a charming single family residence.

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan - April 2014. All rights reserved.