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48 South Street

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48 South Street
Brockport, N.Y. 

History written by Carol L. Hannan, September 2013 
Photo Credit and Produced by Pamela Ketchum
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – September 2013. All rights reserved.

Robert J. and Mary Amanda Kingsbury Fellows
Owners/builders(?): unknown to early 1860s

This house appears to have been built around 1858 and was, at the time of its construction, known as 20 Mechanic’s Street or Park Avenue, as we know it today.

Located in the Brockport Cemetery on High Street is a large granite monument and small, individual markers for the Fellows family. It answers the question of parentage for Robert J. Fellows, thankfully, as many other resources have given up few details of his life. Father Joshua Fellows died here in Brockport and shortly afterward, his wife, Julia C. Fellows followed him to the grave. They were originally from Connecticut, by way of Columbia County, New York.

Mary Amanda Kingsbury was Robert’s second wife and he was her second husband. Her parents, Caleb and Irene Buck Kingsbury, were early village residents originally from Massachusetts. All but one of their ten children were born in the village and their descendants were well-known to many generations of Brockport residents.

Robert and Mary had four children: Frederick Henry (or Horton), Charles, Carrie and Lulu C., who died as a young child. To this marriage, Mary brought her first two children: Mary and Franklin Cook. Frederick grew up in Brockport, farmed in Chili and was buried in the Brockport Cemetery. He moved to Virginia to live with relatives in his later years and was the subject of a long newspaper narrative on turning 92, having celebrated only 22 birthdays in his life, because he was a leap year baby! He minded not a bit, because as he recalled, he “always had a cake.” Charles married and moved to Rochester. Carrie married John W. Stevens and eventually moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Robert Stevens was a well-to-do retired farmer during his final years at the Mechanic’s Street house, according to the 1860 Federal Census. Shortly after 1861, however, he either built or bought another home at 3 Main Street, a property which has long since been demolished to make way for a shopping plaza. Still in his fifties when he retired from farming, Stevens had time to pursue other interests, including politics and even in retirement, he had the available funds to employ a live-in household servant.

In 1855, Robert Stevens was elected “President” of the village Board of Trustees. He was, in other words, mayor of Brockport. There was one additional elected position in which he served before his death in the late 1860s, that of village assessor on the Citizen’s party ticket. [Author’s note: One of Brockport’s novel traditions – respected to some extent even today -- is the creation of independent political party lines for village offices.] It seems strange that someone obviously well-known and respected would have left almost no contemporary accounts of his life, but very few could be found. Even his obituary was short and lacking in personal facts. We know that Stevens fell from a ladder and sustained an injury that contributed to his death about a year and a half later. His widow co-administered his estate.

Following her second husband’s death, Mary Fellows eventually moved to Minnesota, where she lived at the end of her life with her daughter and son-in-law. Her name appears on the family monument in the Brockport Cemetery and the date of her death is recorded there but whether she was actually buried in the family plot can’t be confirmed.

William J. and Charlotte Whipple Coon
Owners: early 1860s to late 1860s

William J. Coon, whose family history is unknown, lived in this home for a few short years. His wife was Charlotte Whipple, whose family is also unknown. Together the couple had eight children: Henry B., Otis E., George W., Mary P., John W., Alvah A., Harriet “Hattie” L., and Sarah “Sadie” E. Coon. Tragedy soon deprived the couple of three of their young children, two of whom, Henry and Otis, died within days of each other, suggesting that the boys died of a shared communicable disease. In the Brockport Cemetery is a shared monument to Henry, Otis and John. George, just 18 when he enlisted as a private in the 13th NY Infantry, was seriously wounded at the battle of Gaines Mills in October of 1862. Although he survived the Civil War, according to the town’s official records, he “died in consequence” of those wounds and was also buried in the Brockport Cemetery.

William Coon was a carpenter who also worked as a wagon maker. No other information about him and his wife was discovered to shed some light on the family. Hattie married J. Campbell, Mary’s husband was Charles H. Crammer and Sadie married local farmer Isaac John Gorman. She may have been the only one of the siblings to have children. Alvah married Ida Blasier, but became a widower at a young age. He moved to Michigan. William continued to live in various village locations after the death of his wife in the early 1870s. He and his wife were also laid to rest in the Brockport Cemetery.

George S. and Elizabeth Field Brown
Owners: late 1860s to about 1921

Fortunately for researchers, George S. (Seeley?) Brown named his parents on his military enlistment forms. Gathering more information about Stephen and Mary Ann Seeley Brown has proven, however, to be impossible. The family may have been from the Bergen, Genesee County area. Elizabeth Field was the daughter of Harvey and Mary Parker Field, whose family settled near Bergen, Genesee County after the Revolutionary War. As many others who came early to this area, they were seeking to own the fertile, inexpensive land they saw during war-time service.

The Browns had two children: Eliza D. and William J., both of whom remained Brockport residents for life. Eliza, as a young woman, taught school. William owned and ran a livery service on Main Street. It was he who eventually owned the family home in which his mother and sister “boarded” after his father’s death shortly before the turn of the century. William married but had no children. Eliza never married. Both children attended Field family reunions in Bergen.

George enlisted as a private in the 108th NY Infantry, for which he was given a two hundred dollar signing bonus. He was discharged in 1863 due to wounds received at the Battle of Antietam, then re-enlisted in 1865. Immediately following the war, George took up residence in Brockport, but he reportedly died later as a direct result of the wounds he sustained in battle.

The information from village directories and census records at first gives George’s occupation as “Deputy Sheriff” and “constable.” Brockport directories, unfortunately, aren’t always available, but between 1873 and 1880, George gave up police work and became a farmer. It was around this time period that a large barn was constructed at the back of the home’s lot. Farming became George’s occupation for the remainder of his life. Nothing indicates that members of this family had remarkable civic or religious contributions to village life but by all accounts they were simply quiet, well respected people. Their home, now 48 South Street, was sold after the death of Elizabeth Brown.

The Brown family members were buried together in a plot at Lakeview Cemetery in the Town of Sweden.

Irving and Evelyn Electa Sanderson Bailey
Owners: 1921 to early 1960s

Irving and Evelyn Bailey purchased this South Avenue home at the same time Irving bought the State Street Market from Frank Ellingham. They were both long-time residents of Bergen, Genesee County. Charles and Eliza Bailey were both English immigrants. He was a butcher who taught his trade to three of his sons, including Irving. Evelyn’s parents, Anson and Martha Ann Hudson Sanderson owned a farm in North Byron, Genesee County.

Irving and Evelyn had one son, Charles Sanderson Bailey. Charles began his working career helping his father in the family store, then owned a gas station in the 1940s which went bankrupt in 1944. He married Adelaide Ellen Hartwell and had one daughter. Charles, who had served as a Brockport Fire Department Chief, died in the family home in 1961.

The Baileys had an active social life before and after coming to Brockport; frequently hosting both friends and relatives at their home. Evelyn was especially active in the Presbyterian Church.

Irving Bailey gradually expanded his meat market to include groceries and fresh produce. It was there in 1932, while his son was on an errand, that Irving suffered a fatal heart attack. He was buried in Mount Rest Cemetery, Bergen, New York.

Epilogue 2013 

The house on South Street, always a family home, remains one today. The barn still stands but is no longer part of the original lot, so it has become part of a Park Avenue property. Mature plantings surround the property. The exterior of the home is no longer clapboard, but the expansive front porch remains across the entire front of the house.

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan - September 2013. All rights reserved.