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30 State Street

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30 State Street
Brockport, N.Y. 

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

Erastus and Mary “Polly” Fielding
Owner: 1830s to 1860s

The Erastus Fielding family occupied a home located on this site at least until 1861. We have a description of the structure: a very old style house with gable ends facing east and west. Two front doors opened directly into the front rooms. That house, sadly, has not survived.

Of note, however, is the trade followed by several Fielding men. Erastus and sons Henry, Ebenezer and Jerome were portrait painters of some note; responsible for our lasting impression of villagers long since departed, such as the Brockways.

Sad fates awaited Erastus and Jerome, who proudly signed his portraits and named Brockport as his home. They died of consumption – that highly contagious scourge of times past. A number of Fieldings are buried in the Brockport Cemetery.

First Presbyterian Church of Brockport
Owner: 1860s to early 1900s

After the demolition of the pioneer dwelling located on this site, the house now standing on this property was used for many years as the First Presbyterian Church manse. Living in the home now standing on this site were a succession of ministers and their families. Shortly after the turn of the century, the church purchased a very old brick dwelling just to the west of the church and it became the congregation’s manse. Unfortunately, that house, too, has since been demolished.

In researching ministers, it quickly became abundantly clear that contemporary reports of their families and lives were almost exclusively limited to their clerical duties. Many pastors served this venerable parish, which was first organized as a Congregational Church: George A. Armstrong, Henry Webster, D. R. Kiddy, John W. Ross and Emery D. Webster. The family of the Reverend Doctor George Valentine Reichel would also have lived in the manse at 30 State Street.

George Valentine and Mary Lauren Arnett Reichel came to Brockport in 1890. He was a first generation American whose immigrant father, Richard Lorenz was born in Cassel, Germany. His mother was Eliza Augusta Wenzel, who was born in Goettingen, Germany. Richard Reichel, George’s father, worked for the U. S. Department of Immigration in New York City.

Mary or “May” Arnett was the daughter of Silas Horner and Hannah Haines Arnett of Auburn, New York. Her father was a tin and coppersmith. In marked contrast to her husband, “May” Arnett’s family had a member who served in the Revolutionary War, and whose wife, Hannah White, also served the patriot cause.

George first graduated from the Collegiate Reformed Protestant Dutch Church School in New York City, after which, in 1883, he entered Auburn Theological Seminary. He graduated with honors in 1866. In addition to his formal education, George received several honorary degrees, including a Ph. D. His wife, “May” graduated from the Auburn Young Ladies’ Institute. After graduation, George and his wife lived in Dryden, New York before coming to Brockport.

The Reichel’s had a large family: May Arnett, Haines Arnett, Paul Arnett, Christabel Arnett, Victoria Arnett, Richard Arnett and Dorothea Arnett Reichel. Richard and Dorothea died as young children and were buried in the Brockport Cemetery. Paul, as an adult, lived in Brockport on Mercer Street and worked in Rochester as a public school teacher. His daughter, Jean was born during his years of missionary work in Siam. She, as Jean Pepper, became an English teacher at Brockport High School and long-time village resident.

It was fortunate for this family history that George Reichel had an interest in genealogy and published “The Family of Reichel,” detailing what otherwise would have been information that could have been lost forever. He was also the author of several religious books, including “Side Lights from Science and History” and “What Shall I Tell the Children?”

Reverend Reichel served the Brockport parish until 1889 when he moved to the Midwest. He and his wife, however, were both returned to Brockport in death, to lie forever beside their two youngest children. Unmarried daughter Christabel is also buried in the family plot.

Leonard D. and Mary E. Crippen Trimmer
Owners: about 1914 to 1938

Following the departure of the Reichel family, the Presbyterian manse was occupied by the Reverend George Allen and family, but its days as a parsonage were numbered. Shortly after the turn of the century, the house was sold to private owners. The identified private owners were Mary Trimmer and her husband Leonard.

Leonard D. Trimmer, the son of Parma farmer William and his wife, Susan M. Tillotson Trimmer, was himself a farmer who retired to this State Street home in Brockport. Mary was the daughter of Sarah and Lorenzo M. Crippen of Sweden Township. Her father was also a farmer.

After moving to Brockport, Leonard became a director in the family firm of Minot & Crippen, which sold insurance. No record of his involvement in civic activities could be found.

Mary, who had been a school teacher before her marriage, was the mother to one son, Lorenzo W., who died as a young child. She spent her married life keeping house, which, by the time the couple had moved to Brockport, included the care of her elderly mother, Sarah, who lived to the venerable age of 95!

Mary received a sizeable inheritance from her husband, who predeceased her by a number of years. She continued to live at her home after the death of both her mother and husband. Mary died in 1938 and was buried in the family plot at the Garland Cemetery.

Epilogue 2013
The second house at 30 State Street remains standing today. As late as 1924, the property had at the rear of its lot, a large barn, which no longer exists. A more modern garage, which appears to be old, replaced the barn at some point in time. The house has been converted into one of the many rentals on the street.

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