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128 State Street

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128 State Street
Brockport, N.Y. 

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

Troy A. and Permelia R. Prince White 
Owners/builders (?): 1861 or before to 1863 

This home, which appears to have been built at least by the early 1850s, was occupied in 1861 by Troy and Permelia White. The 1863 village directory gives the family’s work and home address as number 30 Main Street, which was located above a village bakery. 

According to his obituary, Troy A. White was born in Cincinnatti, but he repeatedly stated to census enumerators that his birth place was Kentucky. With a father born in Virginia and a mother born in Louisiana, Troy was a child of the south and an African-American; also sometimes referred to in contemporary documents as a mulatto. Born in December, 1827 when, as we know, slavery was common and legal in Kentucky, Troy was presumed to have been born a free man. He could read and write. He mastered the trade of “hairdresser and fancy dyer” and ran a successful village business until about 1900, when he moved into his daughter’s home in Livonia, Livingston County, New York.

The only other detail of Troy’s parentage that could be found was his mother’s first name --- Bathsheba. She lived with her son’s family in 1875. Henry White, a young Black barber born in Indiana, lived with the family in 1860. He was likely a relative. Permelia R. Prince was married to her husband for thirty-two years. She, too, was African-American or referred to as mulatto. Her sister was Harriet A. Prince Barrier, also a Brockport resident and the mother of Fannie Barrier Williams, a nationally known speaker and civil rights activistist. Permelia’s mother was Philantha Macy (?) Prince, who was widowed with dependent children as a fairly young woman. Philantha, at age 65, was living alone in Sherburne, New York in 1860, and working as a washer woman. By age 76 in 1870, she was living with her daughter and son-in-law in Brockport. Although no irrefutable proof could be found, the only Black family living in Sherburne between 1820 and 1830 was headed by farmer Noah Prince, who died in 1839, so it is very likely that Noah was Permelia’s father. 

Troy and Permelia had one daughter, Eveline (or Evelyn) B. White Burns. Her husband, Edward S. Burns, was an African-American barber living in Livonia, Livingston County. Eveline graduated in 1870 from the Brockport Normal School, making both her and her cousin Fannie Barrier the first African-American graduates of that college. In later years, Eveline, who bore but lost all four of her children, taught music from her home. Her husband had become a successful businessman and the couple employed a live-in white maid. 

Upon their deaths, both Permelia and Troy’s obituaries described the esteem which their communities had held for them. “A Good Woman” was how Permelia was described. She was a member of the Free Methodist Church and the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, which was very active in Brockport. She would be remembered, according to her obituary for her “sterling Christian qualities and her many good works.” Similarly, Troy’s obituary described him as “quiet and unassuming and respected by all who knew him.” 

The final resting places for the White family members are unknown. 

Peter and Mary Ann Wallace Guelph or Guelf 
Owners: early 1860s to early 1870s 

In the time period between the ownership of the White family and the long ownership of Fred Schlosser, it appears that this house was occupied by Peter and Mary Guelph. Maps and village directories of that time period, including census documents, put this family in the location of this home, but as the houses weren’t numbered and the census enumerators didn’t record information in any particular order, this conclusion isn’t absolute. 

At the time of the Guelph family’s residence here, this section of State Street was an area of immigrants. Peter Guelph or Guelf, as the name was alternately spelled, was either from Baden, Germany or Belgium, as he later consistently claimed. Mary Ann Wallace Guelph was born in Canada and both her parents were born in Ireland. It’s likely that she was the daughter of Irish immigrants and Brockport residents James and Lucinda Wallace. 

Peter and Mary Ann had four sons: Charles P. (Peter?), George F., William Wallace and Frederick Schlosser Guelph. Charles lived in or near Brockport for most of his life. He was a salesman. George became a taxidermist and self-taught, self-described “naturalist” whose carefully documented, extensive studies of wildlife supported the establishment of the first conservation laws in New York State. Although technically an amateur “naturalist,” he was widely considered an expert, although he actually earned a living in other professions during his lifetime. George, who never married, was also an amateur photographer whose pictures documented village scenes and are now paired with historical narratives accessible on the internet. He was a member and officer of the Brockport Fire Department. William was a salesman like his older brother and spent most of his life in or near Brockport. Fred was obviously named for one of the Frederick Schlossers, either father or son, who were the Guelph’s neighbors on State Street! He was a veteran of World War I who left Brockport and eventually settled in Colorado, where he died. 

Peter Guelph was first identified in Kendall, Orleans County, where he worked on a farm. In 1861, in Albion, New York, he enlisted as a private in Company C of the NY 1st Cavalry and rose to the rank of Sergeant by the time his tour of duty ended. He later also enlisted in Company G of the 28th NY Infantry in 1863. He was a laborer, 5’ 7 1/2” tall, with blue eyes and black hair. At the time of his enlistment, he once again declared that his country of birth was Belgium. 

In 1882, Peter attended a “Reunion of the Gallant 28th” in Lockport. Surviving veterans, members of the Grand Army of the Republic, converged on Lockport, which had decorated homes and businesses with bunting, flags and streamers for this occasion. Celebrations began at dawn with the firing of a cannon. This 20th anniversary of the mustering in of the regiment drew former comrades from as far away as Michigan. Peter, and later his widow Mary Ann, received a pension for his years of military service. He also received a government tombstone for his grave in the Brockport Cemetery. 

Years of military service to his adoptive country were likely the greatest civic achievement of his life, but Peter Guelph did run successfully for public office in 1890 and 1891. He became the village “collector” (of taxes), a necessary but perhaps not the most popular of positions. 

Throughout his life, Peter held a variety of jobs, beginning as a farm laborer in Orleans County. After the Civil War, when he and his family moved to Brockport, Peter was a “saloon keeper,” grocer, and finally a laborer. In 1885, he declared to the census enumerator that he had no occupation, but at the time, his sons were employed and living with him. Following Peter’s death, son George remained with his mother, but not in this house. Mary Ann Guelph purchased a home on Union Street, where she and George spent the remainder of their lives. 

Immediate Guelph family members (using the spelling Guelf) are buried in the Brockport Cemetery include Peter, Mary Ann, George, Charles, his wife and their adopted daughter Beatrice. George’s headstone bears the inscription “NATURALIST.” 

Frederick and Phoebe Yauchzi Schlosser, Sr. and 
Frederick and Lulu H. Tuttle Schlosser, Jr. 
Owners: early 1870s to late 1930s 

Frederick Schlosser --- either senior or junior --- owned this and the neighboring home for over six decades. Schlosser, the father, a German immigrant and his wife Phoebe Yauchzi, also a German immigrant, moved to the Brockport area during the early 1860s. Neither his nor Pheobe’s parentage is known, unfortunately. She later declared herself to have immigrated to the United States in 1848. She spoke English but wasn’t a naturalized citizen. 

Schlosser opened a tavern, either in the village or the Town of Sweden. Because of the excise taxes imposed to pay for the Civil War, we have a record of Schlosser’s residency here. In 1864, he was one of four “retail liquor dealers” in Brockport, and paid an excise tax of $4.17. Alas, by 1866, his tax had risen to $25.00. In time, Schlosser would form a partnership with his son, who continued running a “saloon” and restaurant for most of his life. Fred, senior, however, owned a fish market at 9 Main Street in 1869-70. In 1885, Fred Schlosser & Son was a produce company. Neither of these ventures seems to have had the staying power of saloon ownership. 

Fred Schlosser, Junior, remained in Brockport his entire life. He was a mainstay of the Brockport Fire Department, spending years as assistant chief and then an astounding 24 years as chief, a record which will undoubtedly never be broken. He was involved in other community activities, as well. For example, in partnership with neighbor Bert P. Ward, Fred organized a grand carnival in 1890, under the auspices of the Base Ball Association. Many “attractions” included cash prizes. There was a baseball game with a Navajo baseball club from New Mexico, a female parachute jumper from Ohio, a homeliest man contest and a mustang race, among many other events. Fred, Junior’s short marriage ended with the sudden death of his wife, the Brockport native Lulu Tuttle. He never remarried. After the death of his father, Phoebe Schlosser transferred ownership of the neighboring home to Fred, who mortgaged the property. 

The final chapter of Fred, Junior’s life was his unfortunate decline in mental and physical health. His will was challenged by the angry nieces and nephews who weren’t remember in his $35,000 estate. The challenge, however, was unsuccessful. Fred was laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery alongside his wife and parents.

For additional information on the Schlosser family, please refer to the history of 126 State Street. 

Epilogue 2014 

Looking at 128 State Street today, it’s easy to see the original size and shape of the earliest part of this very old home, which, like so many others, was simple in its design. Yes, over time there have been changes. The first addition, to the rear of the house, was constructed between 1861 and 1872. By 1902, side and rear additions had been added in addition to the construction of a large barn at the back of the lot. Our last village map, made in 1924, showed even more enlargements along the west side of the house. In addition to the use of replacement and products and siding, the front porch also appears to be a new addition or rebuild of an earlier porch. The style of the porch is new as are its building materials. 

Between 1872 and 1902, not surprisingly, a large barn was erected at the back of this lot. Fred Schlosser loved horses. He took every opportunity to lead village parades sitting astride one of his horses and outfitted in his Chief’s uniform. Sadly, this barn no longer exists. We have, however, photos of him as a reminder of days gone by. Perhaps amateur photographer George Guelph was responsible for these photos --- one more connection between residents who have long since passed into history but who have left their imprints on the Village of Brockport.

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