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93-95 State Street

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93-95 State Street
Brockport, N.Y. 

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

Ida May Hooker Gordon
Owner/builder (?): between 1861 and 1872

Daniel and Eliza Ploss Pease Owners/builders (?): between 1880 and 1892 to about 1900 Daniel Pease, son of George O. and Betsey Greene Pease, lived in this area his entire life. He and his wife, Eliza Ploss Pease, believed to be the daughter of farmers William and Sarah Ploss, began their married life in rural “Union,” Monroe County. Union, which no longer exists, was the northern part of Clarkson, New York. Although a land owner in Union, Daniel’s occupation, according to the 1850 census, was that of a carpenter and joiner. 

Daniel and Eliza had four children: Sarah, Lorenzo, Oragan J. and Mary. Mary lived with her parents as a young adult and worked as a servant. Oragan (His name on documents recorded variously as “O. J., Orange, Ogin, Oregen or Oragon) married, bought a house on Gordon Street and worked as a clerk in a grocery store. As this branch of the Pease “genealogical tree” frequently repeated family names, we could speculate that “Oragan” was perhaps his grandfather’s middle name – however it was spelled. 

Daniel Pease worked most of his life as a carpenter and joiner but in the 1860s, when his family first moved to Brockport, he was a “traveling agent.” Once living in Brockport, he returned to carpentry to make a living. His business at one time included a partner, John L. Clark. Daniel’s carpentry business in the 1880s had an estimated worth $5,000 and employed additional workers. There was, at this time, a record of his use of boilers and engines to run the business but the location of his shop remains unknown.

The building of this house in the 1880s, when Daniel Pease owned a carpentry business, suggests that he was likely the builder of this home. His children grown and his business successful, Daniel and Eliza would have had the money to construct a lovely house on one of Brockport’s more upscale streets. Wealthy and influential residents lived on State Street: an ambassador to South America, the Seymour family and successful businessman John A. Latta. The days of tanneries, mills and slaughterhouses intermingled with the scattered houses of immigrants were giving way to large, impressive homes and residents “of means.”

Daniel and Eliza, unfortunately, had few years left to enjoy their showcase residence. When When Daniel passed away in 1897, Eliza had already preceded him in death. He was ever the industrious resident in his later years, however, and as the official enumerator, Daniel recorded his own household in the 1892 New York State Census. Always the loyal Democrat in a strongly Republican town, Daniel ran for minor elective offices and was finally elected assessor in 1893 for a term of one year.

No obituaries could be found for Daniel and Eliza, which could have given us more information about them and their surviving relatives. George O. Pease and wife Betsey Greene, Daniel’s parents’ graves are located in the Brockport Cemetery, where Daniel and Eliza are also buried. The Brockport Cemetery is the final resting place for a number of other Pease family members, as well.

James Edward and Mary Agnes Wiegand Conley
Owners: about 1900 to late 1830s

James Edward Conley, a first generation American of Canadian and Irish ancestry, was the son of James and Mary Owens Conley. He was a Brockport native by birth. The Owens family lived on State Street and was known for many years as immigrants who became successful Brockport businessmen. Mary Agnes Wiegand was also the
daughter of immigrants. As her name suggests, Mary Wiegand’s father was a German native. She lived in Rochester and married James there before returning with him to Brockport. Mary Wiegand was a cousin of the Lester family; long-time residents of State Street. The Lester sons were village businessmen of note.

The Conley’s children were born in Brockport. James and Mary had five: Ruth Marie Conley Corcoran, Blanche Louise, Harold Frederick, Leona Agatha Conley Potter and Dorothy Florence Conley Wright. Blanche became a teacher and did not marry. Leona attended college for three years. Harold married and moved to California, where he died. 

James Conley was nominated by President Grover Cleveland and became the Brockport Post Master in 1895. We forget today that before Civil Service reforms, the job of postmaster was one which was entirely political in nature. From his success in lobbying for this post, we know that James Conley was a favorite of powerful local Democrats. He succeeded two postmasters who, in three years, had both been removed from office, as the local press put it, for “defalcation.” As James assumed his office, in other words, his immediate predecessor went on trial for embezzlement. Conley, fortunately, suffered no similar fate in his tenure as post master. 

Following this appointment, Conley continued his interest in politics, becoming a Democratic elector for President in 1900. He went to work in the John Owens grocery store and explored a variety of business interests. Shortly after the turn of the century, Conley was part of a group of businessmen who attempted to establish a monopoly for the locally owned and newly incorporated Winne telephone company, against Bell Telephone, which was making inroads in establishing their own monopolies throughout the area. Then, in 1909, came an opportunity to a few prominent village businessmen, which seemed to promise a bright and economically profitable future: the formation of the State Bank of Commerce of Brockport. 

Banking establishments from the earliest times in Brockport had had an abysmal record of success. Unfortunately for James Conley, this bank suffered the same fate as had so many which had come before. By the 1830s, the State Bank of Commerce of Brockport was insolvent. Worse yet, a depositor by the name of George Warner, from Clarkson, sued the Board of Directors, claiming they accepted his deposit of over $5,000, knowing full well that the bank was on the verge of financial collapse. Warner won. The fourteen director-defendants included James Conley, who had also been employed as a long-time cashier in the bank. This was the only black mark on the otherwise long and honorable business career of James Conley and, sadly, it came at the end of his life, as well. 

James and Mary Conley, his parents and their daughters Blanche and Leona are buried together in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, Rochester. 

Epilogue 2014

After the long tenure of the Conley family, this house became a rental, which is what it remains today; now a divided home housing mainly college students. The original clapboards have been covered with pale yellow siding accented by black shutters and the white of the still existing, expansive front porch, columns and railings add a rather classic accent to the house Daniel built. Of all the homes on State Street, this one may be the best examples of a house which resembles its original style.

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