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91 State Street

91 State Street

91 State Street
Brockport, NY

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

Isaac and Eliza Johnson
Owners: 1850s to 1870s

Isaac Johnson, according to Federal Census data, was born about 1801 in New Jersey but his wife and family were born in New York State. Johnson was a chair and cabinet maker. His son, Joseph, joined with him in his trade but by 1860, Isaac’s occupation was “Gentleman,” meaning he was retired from active employment. Their youngest daughter, Agnes, was a school teacher still living with her parents in 1870. Aside from the names of their children, which were reported in the census, nothing is known about this family except for the location of their home. They quite possibly left Brockport, as neither the parents nor children seem to be buried locally. Where they went is unknown.

Charles Wesley and Augusta Orendorff Root
Owners: 1870s to 1915

Charles and Augusta Root were longtime village residents and for all of that time, they lived at 91 State Street. Both were born in New York State. They were a family of two, never having their own children, but sometimes including in their home other family members or boarders.

Charles Root, as many of his village contemporaries, was a veteran of the Civil War; Company A of the 140th New York Volunteers; the so-called Rochester Racehorses. He entered the service as a private and was discharged as a first sergeant. For the remainder of his life, he maintained an interest in reunions with his fellow volunteers and even attended the 1914 dedication of the New York State Monument erected at Andersonville, Georgia, where he was held as a prisoner of war. Root’s company fought in numerous battles and sustained heavy casualties at places very familiar to historians today -- Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, and Appomattox, just to name a few.

Charles Root held a number of elected positions, including the job of village “police justice” or “constable,” which, in the past was decided by voters. Always a Republican, Root was a Sweden/Clarkson school district trustee and nominated for village trustee, as well. At the age of 70, on the 1910 Federal Census, he was no longer a “constable” but was still at work as a church sexton.

Charles and Augusta Root died within a short time of each other and are both buried in the Brockport Cemetery. Charles’ military service, an abiding interest throughout his long life, is documented on his tombstone.

William and Blanche Conley
Owners: 1915 to 1942

Following the death of Augusta Root, her home was sold to neighbors William and Blanche Conley, who rented the property. The first tenants were the Elmer Tuttle family. Elmer was a “yard master” for the railroad. The next occupants were Dorr C. and Mable Redman. The Redmans were early settlers in the area, somewhere near our current Redman Road, presumably.

Redman was a bank clerk for many years, then a salesman and finally a Town of Clarkson Highway Department employee, by which time he had left the village and moved back to his native Clarkson. He was a member of the Brockport Masonic Lodge. He and his wife had three sons who each served in WWII, the youngest of whom, Richard, was killed in action during the invasion of France, shortly after D-Day.

Epilogue 2012
This house, which is neither the largest nor grandest on State Street, is one of the oldest. It was last purchased by neighbors living at 85 State Street and is now being completely renovated. Original details uncovered by the renovation include post and beam construction, the use of tree trunks rather than milled lumber as supports on the first floor, massive hewn beams with axe marks clearly visible and the location of chimneys on exterior walls to the east and west of the main rooms, structures which have long since been removed. Random width pine floors are seen throughout the home as well as exterior sheathing obviously recycled from signs, with the original lettering still visible.

The house is a fortunate example of an early family home being completely renovated for many years of future use. Although at one time it was doubtful the home would have any future at all, given its recent very poor condition, it obviously won’t share the fate of other historic village houses which no longer exist.

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