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36 State Street

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36 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 – June 2013. All rights reserved.

John Henry and Lydia Hamlin Goold 
Owners: about 1855 to 1872 

The Goold family had an early presence in Brockport and especially on State Street, which, at that time and for many years following, was one of the most prestigious residential streets in the village. Ralph Goold built the brick home just to the west of Village Hall in the late 1820s. What is now 36 State Street was owned for decades by the Goold family, as well. 

A Brockport Cemetery monument states that John Henry Goold was the son of Ralph Waite Goold; a New Hampshire native. “The History of Brockport for One Hundred Years,” however, gives an account of the “Gould” family which does not mention a John Henry but describes Henry R. Gould, a brother of Ralph, whose son married Abbie Barry. The 1860 Federal Census describes the family living at this location as headed by “James H. Goold,” with the same wife and children as John Goold. Village maps identify from 1858 on, that a “J H Goold” or a “Mrs. Gould” owned this property. The first task at hand, in cases such as this, is to separate fact from fiction. 

Mistakes are found in all kinds of records, even cemetery monuments, but it appears that the Brockport Cemetery markers are correct. It is most likely that John Henry Goold was the son of Ralph and both were born in New Hampshire, as was repeatedly stated on many records, census forms and their gravestones. The “J. H. Gould” recorded on village maps was John Henry Goold, as the family name was spelled on federal records, gravestones and in the majority of census and genealogical records. John Henry and Lydia Hamlin Goold had a son, Henry Hamlin Goold, who did indeed marry not “Abbie” Barry, but Brockport native Adellaide Barry. 

This house appears on the first village map of 1852, but is likely, at least in part, to have been built much earlier. We know, because of the 1855 Monroe County Census, that the John Goold family was residing in the village by about 1852. John’s father, Ralph, who lived in Brockport very early in its history, was involved with Thomas Roby in several village industries during his rather short life. Lydia Hamlin was the daughter of Elijah and Lydia Pope Hamlin from East Bloomfield, Ontario County, New York. He was a farmer. 

John and Lydia reportedly had, according to some accounts, five children. Once again, some detective work was required to discover the truth. Their children Helen Jane, James Henry and George Tiffts Goold tragically died as young children but their burial location(s) are unknown. Son James Franklin Goold married, became a railroad engineer and died in Michigan at age 31. Henry Hamlin Goold married, became a book keeper in a bank, moved to Rochester and died at age 46. He and his son are buried in the Brockport Cemetery family plot. Maria Goold, a daughter living with the family on State Street in 1870, was actually Lydia’s niece; adopted by Lydia after her mother’s death. She married Horace Belden and lived in Brockport for the remainder of her life. Mariah Goold, also living with the family in 1870 but listed as a housekeeper, may have been related to John and Lydia, but she was not their child. 

“J. H.” Goold was a merchant and postmaster in Orleans County before settling in Brockport. His family also lived in Bergen and reportedly Attica, as well. By about 1852, when the family relocated to Brockport, “J. H.” established himself as a clothing merchant. After moving to State Street, John was nominated first as an assistant and then postmaster by President Andrew Johnson. In the late 1860s, newspapers reported that John had become an insurance agent in Rochester. He was active in Republican politics and the Sweden “Lincoln Club.” Goold was a member of the Union Agricultural Society, which organized the county fair held in the village. In 1862, he was a judge of the leather work entrants. He was a communicant at the Presbyterian Church and was elected to attend a district convention held in Spencerport. Unfortunately, John, like his father, did not live to a venerable age. He died of a “brain inflammation” in October, 1869, and was buried in the Brockport Cemetery. Lydia was executrix of his estate. 

Lydia continued to live in the State Street house until at least 1880. She died in Canandaigua in 1885. Her estate was handled by village attorney Daniel Holmes. Lydia was buried in the family plot at the Brockport Cemetery. Adopted daughter Maria Hamlin Belden is also buried there in the Belden family plot. 

Henry Sedgwick and Florence L. Talford Bushnell 
Owners: early 1900's to 1930's 

There was a period of about seven years between the time Lydia Goold left the State Street home and the time it was occupied by the Bushnells. The home owners during that time are unknown. Henry Sedgwick Bushnell, the next owner, was a retired third generation farmer from Clarkson who moved to Brockport and opened a seed and grain store in February of 1911. He had also been employed for years as a traveling salesman for the Crossman Company and his immediate former employer was the Guelf Seed Store in Brockport. Henry’s father, Sidney Alonzo was the son of a very early Clarkson pioneer, John Hanley Bushnell. The family’s homestead was passed down three generations and remained in the Bushnell’s care for close to one hundred years. His mother was Sarah Ann Winslow, whose family history is unknown. Florence was the daughter of Thomas and Mary E. Talford. Thomas held a variety of jobs and co-owned a tavern in Hilton before his death in Medina in 1866. Henry and Florence had no children. 

After moving to Brockport, Henry immersed himself in work as a member of the Masonic Lodge, eventually becoming its Worshipful Master and receiving a diamond ring from members in grateful appreciation of his service and dedication. He served as a Sweden assessor. Bushnell was also active in the Monroe County Agricultural Society, which ran the “county fair” located just east of homes along State Street. In 1911, he was appointed judge of the poultry exhibition and served as one of many vice presidents. His store, which was first located in the “Welch block” on Main Street was moved in 1915 to the location of the former Gillespie Feed Store. 

During the ownership of the Bushnell’s, this house was substantially enlarged. By 1924, a barn was constructed at the rear of the lot where an earlier barn had burned in 1912 under suspicious circumstances. 

In June of 1926, Henry sold his business, but sadly, his retirement was brief. He died in December of that year after a short illness. Little is known about Florence Talford Bushnell. Her one mention in contemporary news accounts was about the serious injuries she sustained when her train trip to the Chicago World’s Fair was nearly fatal. The train in which many local residents were riding was involved in a head-on collision with another train. Mrs. Bushnell’s injuries were national news but fortunately, although she was severely injured by flying glass, she survived the tragedy. Contemporary newspapers did note the frequent visits Florence made to her mother and stepfather’s house in Medina. Assuming that she continued to live in her State Street house until her death, the property remained her possession until 1936. Florence’s body was interred in the Garland Cemetery beside her husband’s final resting place. 

Luther Albert and Evelyn Augusta Bastian Baase 
Owners: about 1936 to 1946 

The next known owners of this home were Luther and Evelyn Baase. Luther was born in Hamlin to William and Lydia Rath Baase. His father was a farmer. Evelyn was the daughter of Wilhelm and Auguste Epke Bastian. She and Luther were married in Brockport’s Concordia Lutheran Church. They had two daughters. The 1940 Federal Census is the only documentation of the Baase’s time living on State Street. Luther was employed as a shipping clerk. In a reflection of more modern times, Evelyn was a working mother, employed as a full time stenographer. Also living in the household was a young woman from Hamlin who gave her occupation as a maid. It seems likely she was working for the Baase family because instead of describing her relationship in the household as a boarder or lodger, she gave hers as a maid. The Baase family remained in Brockport until 1946, when they sold their home and moved to Rochester, where Luther worked as a fruit and vegetable broker.

Epilogue 2013

The very old house at 36 State Street was sold in 1946 to returning World War II veteran Dr. Wilfred H. Ferguson, a Buffalo native. It became his home and office. In the succeeding years, Dr. Ferguson rose to the position of Chief of Staff at the recently closed Lakeside Memorial Hospital. From the succession of available village maps, we know this house was enlarged a number of times through the years. Between 1902 and 1924, a garage was also erected behind the house. It’s likely the original home siding was wooden clapboard, which appears to have been covered by asbestos-type shakes, now painted grey. The long-time single family residence has been converted to a multi-family rental, as have so many of the homes in this block of State Street.

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