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51 Park Avenue

51 Park Avenue

51 Park Avenue
Brockport, NY

History researched and written by Carol L. Hannan
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – April 2012 All rights reserved

Helen MacLeod Lyford 
Owner: early 1860s to mid-1860s

This circa 1860s house, first identified on village maps in 1861, was identified as the property of “Mrs. Lyford.” Helen, wife of Thomas Lyford and her daughter Mary T. were identified in the Monroe County 1855 Census as living in Sweden Township. According to some records, Thomas Lyford died in 1859, and by the 1860 Federal Census, his widow Helen and daughter Mary were living at 7 Mechanic Street. This address is one and the same with 51 Park Avenue today.

Widow Lyford listed her occupation in 1860 as “residential housekeeper.” Her daughter’s name was listed as “Tryphene,” which appears in various forms in the Brockport Collegiate Institute during the late 1850s to mid-1860s, such as “Lyford, M. Phenia.” There is also an entry in the 1863 Brockport Directory for a Helen “Lifford” at 7 Mechanic Street.

By the 1880s, Helen Lyford was living with her daughter and son-in-law in Avon, Livingston County and was included in the Blind, Deaf, Delinquent Census Schedule, which noted that she was blind due to cataracts.

Charles Henry and Mary Ann Huntington Scranton
Owners: early 1870s to early 1900s

By the time Charles H. Scranton owned this property, its address was 14 Park Avenue. Scranton was a village businessman, giving his occupation as a “sadler” in 1863 and “harness maker” on census forms. During the 1860s, records show that he regularly paid taxes on his products
(see picture in slideshow). Although not a village native, Scranton spent most of his life here. His parents, Benjamin and Samantha, settled in Painesville, Ohio, where Scranton was living when he met and married his wife.

Mary Scranton was a member of the DAR, claiming lineage from Major Hezekiah Huntington, who served at the siege of Boston. She and her husband had three daughters, Fanny Maria, who married Richard E. Garrison and May Louise, who married Wilson H. Moore, a wildly successful Brockport businessman. Her third daughter, Grace, died very young. Mary lived with her daughter May and son-in-law Wilson Moore later in life, although her husband was still alive. He was listed on the 1900 census as a “lodger” with the Jerry B. Allen family on Park Avenue while she lived around the corner, on State Street, with her daughter’s family.

Charles Scranton was 75 years old when he entered Rochester’s Homeopathic Hospital for an operation to remove a diseased eye. The operation was a success and Scranton seemed in good spirits when his daughter May and son-in-law returned to Brockport on the evening train. After a convivial chat with his nurse, Scranton, alone in his room, removed a pistol from his travelling satchel, wrapped a blanket around his head to muffle the sound, and shot himself in the head. He died several hours later, never giving anyone a clue as to why he committed suicide.

Mary and Charles Scranton were eventually reunited in death along with their infant daughter, Grace, at the Brockport Cemetery.

Aurelia S. Heddon
Owner: early 1900s to 1931

Aurelia and her husband, Lewis P., an insurance agent originally from Le Roy, lived in a rented house on Main Street in 1900, after which she purchased and lived in this Park Avenue home. According to 1910 Federal Census information, she was the sister-in-law of the home’s other occupants, Yale C. Forbes and his family. The Forbes had moved out of the home by 1920 and 76 year old widow Aurelia was living there alone. 

By 1930, however, Aurelia was described as a “lodger” in the home with the Charles Shaw family. Shaw at that time was an unemployed construction laborer; hardly a person with the means to have purchased such a home. More likely, the elderly widow was assisted in the home by the Shaws until her death the following year, after which ownership of the homes passed to Aurelia’s sister and her husband, Yale Forbes. The Heddons had married rather late in life and had no children. They are both buried in the Brockport Cemetery.

Yale C. and Louise Buckley Forbes
Owners: 1931 to 1946

As his former brother-in-law had been, Yale Forbes was a village insurance agent. He was a native of Fairport. He and his wife, Louise, had two daughters, Gertrude and Hazel. The family, from contemporary accounts, did a good bit of socializing but otherwise had no notable interests in community activities. When Yale died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1938, he was described as a well-known village resident. Unfortunately, we have very little knowledge of him today.

Following the death of Yale, his widow and daughters, still living at home and unmarried, were left alone without an income and little in the way of assets. The house, according to public record, was worth $5,000. The remainder of Yale’s estate was estimated to be less than $3,500 --- but he did leave his business. In quick order, Hazel filed papers to assume ownership of the Yale Forbes Agency and carried on as the manager of her own insurance business.

With Hazel as breadwinner and Louise as homeowner, the Forbes women carried on with their lives until the mid-1940s. Mother Louise died in 1943, Gertrude in 1945 and Hazel passed away in 1946; the final family member to be interred at the Brockport Cemetery.

Epilogue 2012
This Park Avenue house remains well cared for as a family home, giving little indication of having been built so early in Brockport’s history. A succession of strong and independent woman owners seems to have served it well. 

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – April 2012 All rights reserved

Additional information 
added by Pam Ketchum, April 2012 
   ~ 1953 Rochester Telephone Directory: George H. Droste 
   ~ 1963 Bkpt Vil Directory: George & Margaret R. Droste; George was a teller at Linc Roch Trust. Margaret 
                                         was a teacher. They had a daughter, Deborah.  
   ~ April 13, 1993: The home was purchased for $77,000 by Michael A. & Donna M. Kaplan. They had a son, 
                            Sean and a daughter, Elizabeth. 
   ~ March 13, 2003: The home was purchased for $125,000 by Stanley M. & Laura L. Fisher. They had twin 
   ~ 2012 assessed value: $128,100, square feet: 2,688, lot size: 49’ x 264’ .3 acre, zoned single family