Town of Porter Historical Society -- newsletters

Town of

Porter's Past

Newsletter of the Town of Porter Historical Society
Vol. 22, No. 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .December, 1998

Vee L. Housman, Editor


  • January 18, 1999: Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario, Susan Diachun
  • February 15, 1999: Antique Toys, speaker, Isabel Hobba


Normally, Porter's Past isn't published during the month of December because of the holidays, but because I [the Editor!] want to continue with the fun of gathering up all sorts of interesting items to share with our membership, bear with me as I endulge myself.

I have no particular subject in mind to report on; just a random selection of articles out of old newspapers. Hopefully, it will present an overall sample of just the everyday news of the happenings in our Town of Porter. Here goes!

Suspension Bridge Journal,
Suspension Bridge, NY
February 14, 1885


  • Mrs. N. Phillips has been granted $3 a month pension by the government.
  • Miss Katie Buckley, of Ransomville, visited her friend Miss Fannie Duffie of Fort Niagara last week.
  • Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Dutton are rejoicing over a son and heir, born last Saturday. [William W. Dutton, born Feb. 7, 1885]
  • Dr. A. A. DeLoffrre, post surgeon at Ft. Niagara, has been to the west.
  • Mrs. J. W. Thompson and sons, Joe and Fred, of the Brackets House, Rochester, are in town visiting relatives. [Son Joe was 2 yrs. old, Fred was 1. John W. and Jennie B. Thompson got married about 1880]
  • Byron Tower, of Grand Rapids, Mich., is here on a six weeks' vacation. [Byron later married Nettie Robinson. They had two daughters: Maude married Louis Kelley and Blanche married Charles Ray Haskell.]
  • Mrs. J. Calvert is the guest of relatives in Stratford, Ont. [The children of John and Rebecca M. Calvert married into the Brookins, Shippy and Tower families.]
  • L. P. Tower leaves in a couple of weeks to see the New Orleans exposition. [Probably Luke Tower, Sr. who married Bessie Hosmer. Son Luke, Jr., married Marriam Calvert; and daughter Jennie married Emmett Whitney.]
  • A Niagara man was shooting coweens in the river Tuesday. [Coweens???]
  • The taxpayers of Porter have been signing a remonstrance against the bill now pending in the legislature to authorize the county to erect a court house and city hall for Lockport. The citizens condemn in the strongest terms any project to increase taxation in these hard times. Many would prefer to have the buildings at Niagara Falls.
  • F. S. Whittaker will open a new grocery store in Lewiston in the spring. All wish him success. [That would have been Fletcher S. Whittaker, grandson of Lyman Whittaker and Parmelia (Smith). Fletcher's uncle was Norman Whittaker, original owner of the Ithaca shotgun now on display at the museum.]
  • It is reported that the government will spend $100,000 making rifle and artillery target practice grounds [on] the military reserve at Fort Niagara, building new barracks and officers' quarters and improving the walls and earthworks around the fort, and that General Sheridan and Col. R. H. Stevens will build cottages here.
  • At a pig catch at the roller rink Saturday evening John Reardon won the prize of $2.50 offered to the one barreling the pig twice.
  • Will Eaton and Mrs. M. E. Spencer are giving free lessons in spelling, arithmetic and grammar at the latter's residence every Monday evening.
  • A matched skating race of five five-minute heats between C. Henry and W. Roadhouse Monday evening, resulted in a draw. [Charles Henry's sister Amoretta Henry married John E. Ripson; his brother Mortimer Henry married Helen Cornell.]

The Niagara Courier, September 1, 1888

  • Tramps have caused the citizens of Ransomville considerable trouble of late. Sunday, Justice Fowler with thirty-five followers scoured that neighborhood for them but did not meet with success.
  • Elton T. Ransom's name is mentioned as a possible candidate for receiving the Democratic nomination for member of Assembly in this district. He is a popular business man of Ransomville.
  • A large evaporator and canning factory combined is being erected at Ransomville. The evaporator will have a capacity of 400 bushels per day. About forty hands will be employed during the entire year.
  • A horse was stolen from Alvin Logan Saturday evening at his residence in Ransomville. The horse was found Monday morning, but had been driven Sunday, as was shown by the condition of the horse when found.
  • The Ransomville Creamery Company is disposing of large quantities of butter to consumers. They have just sold 1,000 lbs. to the Wesleyan Seminary at Lima. The company will place their butter on exhibition at the International Fair at Buffalo and compete for prizes.


Niagara County News,
Youngstown, NY
Dec. 22, 1882

RANSOMVILLE--The safe of W. H. H. Ransom & Son was broken open on Tuesday evening. The thieves gained an entrance to the store through a rear window. No money was in the safe at the time. A few articles, such as silk handkerchiefs, caps, slippers, etc., are all that has been missed at the present writing.

Flag Bar
Flag Bar

This isn't the standard reminder of what Sunday, December 7, 1941, meant to our families or to our nation; just a refresher course in what was happening during the remaining days of December 1941 in our area.


Dec. 8, 1941
--Niagara Falls Is Armed Camp as Troops Man Defense Posts --Falls Airport Well Guarded
--City Plans Protection of Public Utilities Here Against Sabotage
--Many Niagara Falls Men Serving With Army, Navy in the New Area
--Yarn Available: Red Cross Calls for Volunteers to Knit Sweaters for Armed Forces

Dec. 9, 1941
--O'Ryan Says Foe Might Hit State Areas In Surprise Move
--Only Japanese Resident of Falls Sees Attack as Japanese Suicide [Theodore T. Kondo]

Dec. 10, 1941
--New Warning of Possible Attack Spurs Defense Efforts at Falls
--Bonds between United States and Canada Tightened By Common War
--Be Calm, Seek Cover If Bomb Raid Alarm Is Sounded
--Falls Boys Club Organizes Aid To America Society
--Tempo of Air Raid Groups Stepped Up
--Club for Service Men To Be Used By Soldiers On Guard Duty Here
--13 Men Enlist With Navy Here

Dec. 11, 1941
--May Postpone Practice Blackout At Falls Until After Christmas
--Volunteers To Be Sought For River Patrol

Dec. 12, 1941
--Defense Stamp Sales Call Upon Ingenuity of Gazette Carriers
--Collect Paper To Aid America
--Air Raid Group Plans Gifts For Men In Service

Dec. 13, 1941
--Falls Blackout Precautions Are Called Ready For Scheduled Test

Dec. 15, 1941
--Guns May Guard Frontier Plants From Air Raids
--Red Cross Sends Iceland Soldiers Christmas Gifts
--Food Dispatched To Prisoners In German Camps By Red Cross Here

Dec. 16, 1941
--What School Teachers and Pupils Should Do In Case Of Air Raids

Dec. 17, 1941
--John L. Madera Officially Listed As Dead

Dec. 19, 1941
--William Barr, fireman, second class, U.S.N.
--James A. Rader Among Hickham Field Casualties
etc. etc. etc.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 29, 1941


. . .A community Red Cross meeting will be held in the auditorium of the Youngstown High School tomorrow evening at 7:30 o'clock. . . Everyone is urged to attend this meeting both from Youngstown and Ransomville and help to organize for immediate and active work. Members of the fire department are urged to turn out.

. . . In its first blackout rehearsal on Friday night [Dec. 26], the people of Youngstown are proud of the result. According to observers, the lights in every building, both business and dwellings in the community, were extinguished immediately after the alert siren at 11 o'clock, with one exception. It is said that there was one house on the west side of Second Street north of Lockport Street in which the lights were lit throughout the blackout. What action the authorities will take regarding this violation of the law is not known.

. . .Dr. Lewis W. Falkner, mayor of Youngstown, is deeply gratified at the result and wishes to thank the fire company, athletic association and the people of the village for their excellent cooperation not only in the blackout but also in the work of the Civil Defense organization. Dr. Falkner also said that the officials at Fort Niagara had been of great assistance.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 30, 1941

Cigarette prices are not raised here. Lucky Strikes, Camels, Old Golds, Chesterfields are $.15 to $.17 per pack. Cigarettes from vending machines are $.17 per pack, with 3 pennies change under the cellophane wrapper.

Niagara Falls Gazette
Dec. 31, 1941

Editor's note. In May of 1994 when I was researching the early World War II years of the Niagara Falls area, I jotted this information down. At the time, I realized the significance of it. Under the subject of "Year's Events," the Gazette mentions the single fact that on Oct. 25, 1941, Joseph E. Patterson, age 90, of 437 Eighth Street, died. He was the last surviving Civil War veteran in Niagara Falls. In my mind it represented the final ending of a very old war and the beginning of a new one. Sigh!

Niagara Falls Gazette
Jan. 14, 1941

Hint at Ban on Farewells to Selectees

FORT NIAGARA--Crowds of parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends who come to this post daily to see the selectees, here for induction and processing, have become so large that they interfere with the work of the post.

Colonel Clayton J. Herman, commander of the Fort Niagara Reception center, stated today that he is willing to have parents and perhaps a brother and sister come to say good-bye to their loved ones but he strongly urged the rest to say their good-byes at home.

It is no uncommon sight to see the selectees who left home but a few hours before have 10 to 15 visitors. These folks even crowd into buses waiting to take the boys to the place of entrainment. It is thought that the post may be closed entirely if this practice is not stopped. It is said that there are many cases in which the folks arrive at the fort before the selectees themselves. . . .

(Formerly "Vital Statistics")


  • Dillman Morris, 31 Dec. 1842, son of Elisha and Margaret A. (Baker) Morris (Died 30 Jan. 1864, Civil War)
  • Norman H. Whittaker, 12 Dec. 1848, son of Lyman and Parmelia (Smith) Whittaker (Married Kate Ellette Moag)
  • Julius M. Ripson, 8 Dec. 1853, son of William S. and Marcella A. (Lloyd) Ripson (Marred Emma Pound)
  • Carrie Belle Olds, Dec. 1860, daughter of Alfred S. and Frances G. (Powley) Olds (Married William Bradley Hill)
  • Ora May Warren, 19 Dec. 1889, daughter of Wilbur H. and Edith (Hiam) Warren (Married Harry E. Gentle)
  • Albert ("Pete") Kolloff, 24 Dec. 1900, son of Charles C. and Anna (Bulges) Kolloff (Married Alma Borem)
  • E. Margaret Tower, 25 Dec. 1902, daughter of Cyrus P. and Agnes C. (Lloyd) Tower (Married Benjamin A. James) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARGARET!


  • Cynthia Shattuck to David Baker, 16 Dec. 1808
  • Betsy C. Hosmer to Luke Tower, 15 Dec. 1868
  • Sarah C. Carter to William M. Smithson, 7 Dec. 1870
  • Deborah Holden to George F. Parker, Dec. 1874
  • Mary E. Clapsaddle Smith to John E. DeClute, 28 Dec. 1893
  • Harriet A. Clark to William E. Marshall, 22 Dec. 1900
  • Minnie M. Austin to A. Day McCollum, 9 Dec. 1903


  • Asa Anderson, 14 Dec. 1846, husband of Anna (Campbell) Anderson (Psst! He was Cora (Anderson) Gushee's great-great-grandfather!)
  • George Greenwood, 8 Dec. 1887, husband of Clara (Clapsaddle) Greenwood
  • George P. Tower, 8 Dec. 1924, husband of Elizabeth (Peet) Tower
  • Cyrene M. (Molyneux) Plain, 18 Dec. 1937, wife of Dr. John C. Plain
  • Henry Otto Wagner, 10 Dec. 1954, husband of Maggie L. (Irish) Wagner
  • Edith M. (Turner) Ripson, 29 Dec. 1964, wife of Charles R. Lloyd Ripson
  • Bennison Haskell Ridell, 5 Dec. 1967, husband of Eleanor R. (Newton) Ridell

* * *
NOTE: A digital camera has been donated to the society by Bill Spry and Vee Housman. They have been testing it out in the museum in preparation of photographing our artifacts, documents, pictures, cemetery tombstones, etc. The camera plugs directly into the computer and the resulting photographs show up in seconds onto the computer screen. It is the editor's opinion that the whole operation is MAGIC!

(The following greetings were made possible with our new computer equipment and digital camera. You should see how they look in color! WOW!)

Season's Greetings from our old neighbor and town settler, Pearsall B. Powell and a MERRY CHRISTMAS to one and all!

(Unfortunately, the webmaster has limited capabilities transferring the content to online, so you will not be able to see the wonderful power of this new equipment, sorry ;-{ Maureen Higgins Seifert)