Books For Sale

At the Genesee County History Department
3837 West Main Street Road
Batavia, NY 14020

To order a book please make your check payable to:
Genesee County Historians Association

Entertaining Genesee Entertaining Genesee
Genesee County, New York 20th Century in Review and Family Histories


Animal Tails


Famous Genesee I


Famous Genesee II

Entertaining Genesee

The Historians’ Collection of Newspaper Articles Featuring Our Famous Entertainers & Those Who Entertained Us

Complied by Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian and
Judy Stiles, Genesee County History Department’s Research Assistant

Published in 2011
$20.00 [Plus $1.60 tax (8%) and $5.00 shipping and handling]


This 401 page book contains two sections.  The first is our talented residents and in order to be considered for this collection the local person had to either be an actor, musician or if they had done something special or unique that was entertaining. Also included are local people widely known or celebrated for their achievements involved with entertainment.  The second section features celebrities.  Some preformed for our pleasure while others simply passed through on their way to other destinations. Many of the articles were discovered by the staff of the History Department and our volunteers while conducting research on other topics.  In addition the Genesee County Municipal Historians also found stories and even a few of our patrons contributed information. The articles were sorted chronologically and include those printed in local newspapers. For a small rural county we definitely have had numerous entertaining visitors and helped to foster a great many talented sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  These articles document our local history as they record events of the times and include the names of area residents.   I invite you to please visit the Genesee County History Department and see this collection, as I think you too will be impressed. 

Sample Story:

Daily News December 2, 1965

     The object of the months of fund-raising appearances and preparations will culminate Friday evening in New York City when the Bergen Bell Ringers perform for the taping of the Ted Mack Amateur Hour television show.
     The taping of the show will be done before a live audience for showing on nation-wide television Dec. 19.  The Bell Ringers will perform a medley of two Christmas carols.
George W. Peck, director of the bell choir’ and the 14 members boarded a chartered bus this afternoon at the Bergen Methodist Church for the trip to New York and a busy day Friday.
Instruction received from the television show call for the Bell Ringers to be at the studio at 11 a.m. to begin rehearsals.  The afternoon will be spent practicing and with camera run-throughs to perfect the staging of the show.  Recording of the show will be done between 9 and 10 p.m. before the audience.

                                                       Holiday Songs

     Because the show will be seen shortly before Christmas, the Bergen group was asked to perform songs suitable for the holiday.  The medley to be played will include, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” and “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holley.”
Formed about five years ago by the Rev. Bruce Ratjhan, then pastor of the Bergen Methodist Church, the group plays specially made bells imported from Holland.  Their repertoire includes hymns, old favorites and semi-classical numbers.
In addition to Mr. Peck, the group includes his wife, Mrs. Hilda Peck and their daughter, Carol, a student at Byron-Bergen Central School.  Other members are: Charles Wickline, Miss Ann Aradine, Leon Pocock, Miss Georgien Bradway, Kenneth Hay, Marshall Hungerford, Mrs. Harriet Pask, David Aradine, Miss Marle Pocock, Miss Carol Hay, Mrs. Gordon Ball and Mrs. Kenneth Bater.
One member of the group, Mrs. Herbert Hay, will be unable to make the trip due to illness.

Started at Fair

     The trip to New York is the end result of an appearance at the Genesee County Fair last July.  Soon after appearing at the Genesee County Fair they were asked to audition at the Monroe County Farm & Home Center in Rochester and this resulted in an appearance at the State Exposition at Syracuse.
After an appearance on the opening night of the exposition, the Bell Ringers were asked to return Saturday night for an appearance with 35 other acts on a show MC’d by Ted Mack.  From this group, Mr. Mack selected six to go to New York and the Bergen musicians were the second named.
None of the Bell Ringers is a professional musician.  The director is meat manager at the Le Roy A&P Supermarket; one of the members a telephone operator, another a bookkeeper, and several others housewives.  Six are students at Byron-Bergen Central.
For the past three months it has been a continuous round of appearances for the Bell Ringers as they worked to raise funds for the New York trip.  Other civic groups have cooperated with dinners and dances and over $900 has been received to cover the transportation and hotel costs.
The Bell-Ringers are scheduled to return to Bergen about 8 a.m. Sunday and will be guests of honor at a breakfast at the church.  The Men’s Club will serve the breakfast.



Complied by Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian and
Judy Stiles, Genesee County History Department’s Research Assistant

Published in 2004
$75.00 Price Reduced Now Only $60.00 [Plus $4.80 tax (8%) and $5.00 shipping and Handling]

This hardcover volume features family biographies, histories of area churches, organizations, businesses and schools. Photographs are found on nearly every page that helps to illustrate this detailed text.  A unique chapter is the 20th Century-in-Review which includes a chronological timeline highlighting events that shaped our county for every month between 1900 through to 1999.


I began reviewing the Proceedings of the County Supervisors/Legislators, The Daily News, local history books and the History Department files. I also contacted the Municipal Historians and asked for their input. My goal was to include events that would record the history of the county and I made every attempt to document the growth of county government, industrial changes, social issues and military activities.

I added events that happened nationally and/or globally, noted the Presidents and Vice-Presidents, the New York Governors, their years of service and political affiliation, [(R) is for Republican and (D) is for Democrat] and the county population for each decade. These items are located at the beginning of each year and are intended to provide the reader with a broader sense of history. The county events are listed in chronological order (whenever possible). I noted weather with floods, snow storms and temperature extremes. I recorded major fires and health concerns such as the outbreak of scarlet fever during 1901. I documented the growth of the centralized school systems, sports activities and a few humorous anecdotes.

While reading through the wealth of information, I had a difficult time selecting which event would spark the most memories. If I left out something you consider noteworthy, I apologize, however it was impossible to include every occurrence. The photographs were added to provide a visual remembrance for our senior readers and to show younger generations what Genesee County looked like during the past one hundred years.

If, after reading this "Century-In-Review," you wish to learn more about the events listed, you are welcome to do so at the Genesee County Department of History. This collection captured only the highlights and for a more detailed account you will need to refer to the list of resources that were used to create this summary.

May we all enjoy the next century . . . .
Susan L. Conklin, County Historian

Sample from 1920:

18th Amendment Became Law-Prohibition Began January 16
19th Amendment Was Ratified-Women Won the Right to Vote, August 26
Total County Population - 37,976

  • Oakfield's bronze tablet for World War veterans was unveiled during an impressive ceremony which was attended by 450 citizens and ex-service men. (January 2)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Assistant Secretary of the United States Navy was the guest speaker at the Batavia Chamber of Commerce dinner where he addressed over 200 at the Batavia Club. (February 21)
  • Stafford celebrated its 100th birthday. It was formed from Batavia and Le Roy on March 24, 1820. (March 24)
  • A special meeting for women was held in Elba to allow them a better understanding of the Constitution when they vote. (March 31)
  • Ten barrels of wine were removed from a home located on Ellicott Street, in Batavia. The barrels were taken to Buffalo where they were destroyed. (April 8)
  • The Baker Gun and Forging Company's factory in Batavia was converted to manufacture automobile parts. (April 19)
  • A charity drive raised $8,914 for the Children's Home in Batavia. (April 28)
  • The Bethany Center Baptist Church noted its 100th anniversary. (May 1)
  • The Batavia Triangle Radio Club set up antennas on the roof of the YMCA to receive messages from up 2000 miles away. (May 22)
  • State troopers captured 151 cases of whiskey. (May 26)




Compiled by Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian

Published in 2001


When I was appointed the County Historian, one of the first files I added to the collection was labeled"Animals" because I could not find a folder in which to place a newspaper clipping about a dog. Often while doing research you discover unrelated but interesting information that you want to keep for another project. Over the years, the History Department staff has added local newspaper articles and stories from history books to the Animal File. Regular patrons of the History Department's Research Library and the Municipal Historians started to find animal stories and these were also added to the collection. As time went by the Animal File had grown and so many stories had been collected that I could no longer answer the question "Hey, do you guys have the one about the...?" I decided it was time to take a serious look at what had been gathered.

It is difficult for us to imagine what it was like when the County was first formed. It must have been an adjustment for the wild animals who roamed freely through the woods. From F. W. Beers' Gazetteer and Biographical Record of Genesee County, New York 1788-1890 comes the following description titled "game, etc." -

The country abounded in game. The deer were at their very doors. The more dreaded bear was a frequent but not so welcome visitor. It is related that on one occasion a bear with two cubs made an unceremonious call to a store on West Main Street (Batavia). A clerk grabbed a musket, pursued the intruders, and brought back with him a cub which he had shot down in the encounter. It is not recorded whether these grizzly customers returned for another charge.

The bears, wolves, panthers and elk were hunted into extinction in Genesee County. The smaller forest creatures found their homes being replaced with farms as trees were cut down and the land developed for cows, sheep, hogs and horses. As communities grew, pets became popular with dogs and cats being important members of our families. These stories capture the changes in our society and how we view animals. They are important because they reveal daily life, humorous moments and record history.

As County Historian I hope that you will enjoy this collection. If you would like to read additional stories, please visit the History Department and review the Animal Notebook. I assure you that the History Department will continue to add more stories.

Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian

Sample Story:



Charles Thatcher of Boston, an animal trainer, had previously visited Batavia and purchased an orangutan from Henry Forrestal, who had bought the animal in New York, where it had been shipped from Burma on Captain John Blanchard's ship, Octavia, in 1825. Forrestal named the animal "George" and trained it and gave exhibitions at Main and State Streets, the orangutan doing a grimacing face-washing act, a bottle drinking scene and gustily eating sweet cakes thrown to him by the crowd.

One day while District Attorney Heman J. Redfield was trying a case in the old Ellicott Hall Court House on Court Street, "George" climbed up the side of the building, leaped through a window and entered the third floor room, taking a seat on the jury bench.

  The Past and Present Column
The Daily News
February 5, 1949, Page 5




Famous Genesee I

The Historians’ Collection of Newspaper Articles Featuring Distinguished Residents & Prominent Visitors

Complied by Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian and
Judy Stiles, Genesee County History Department’s Research Assistant

Published in 2007
$13.00 [Plus $1.04 tax (8%) and $2.50 shipping and Handling]


The staff of the Genesee County History Department decided in 2005 to sort and organize articles on famous residents and famous people who had visited the County.  In order to be considered for the collection the person had to do something that would involve New York State, the country or had an international impact. They were also included if they had done something special or unique  The definition of famous is one who is widely known or celebrated, who is distinguished, prominent, prestigious and/or honored for their achievements.  Much to our surprise we had enough articles to publish a series of books which will feature our Famous Genesee.

Book 1 includes our distinguished residents and prominent visitors.  It is by no means to be considered an encyclopedia for the county on this topic, but rather a collection of articles selected by the historians. Please note that all entertainers, sports personalities, politicians, and heroes will be used in other books for this series.  The articles used for this project include those printed in local newspapers, local history texts or were researched and written by the department staff, the Municipal Historians. A few were provided from our patrons, who contributed information about one of their noteworthy family member.

I want to assure you that the collection will continue to be added to as additional articles are found, we are visited by someone famous or a local resident becomes famous.  For a small rural county we defiantly have had numerous famous visitors and helped to foster a great many famous sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.  I invite you to please visit the Genesee County History Department and see the collection, as I think you too will be impressed. 

Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian

Sample Story:


       How many really know that “As the chief of survey for the Holland Land Company, Joseph Ellicott was the first to use 12 inches as the standard for a foot in the United States.” There’s not a building,be it a modest home, a “castle”, a modern industrial plant, a country road or a superhighway, the garments we wear, the food we eat, nothing, in fact, that has to do with our daily lives, that doesn’t depend on this measure!

       To GeneseeCounty’s founder, our own Joseph Ellicott, goes the honor of having established the 12-inch foot as a standard of measurement when he surveyed this area in 1797-1799 for the Holland Land Company. It seems that when Mr. Ellicott was selected by the Dutch proprietors in 1797 as chief of survey, there was no accepted standard for the foot.  The Holland Land Company’s holdings, some 3 ½ million acres-virtually covered all of Western New York and it was highly important that his measurements be accurate when he surveyed the wilderness into townships and ranges.

        It was very important, he knew, that the maps he was to prepare for the records of the Holland Land Company, the state, and the landowner himself, should be correct in order to prevent future boundary squabbles.   Up to this time, surveyors had not agreed on just how many inches made a foot, and Ellicott realized that this discrepancy must be corrected before he could accurately survey so vast a region.

      Accordingly, he first collected and compared a number of rulers then in use.  He selected the ones that agreed nearest in length to each other. From a mean proportional of their several lengths, he then formed one of exactly 12 inches.  This then became the unit of length for a foot on all Holland Land Company surveyor’s chains and maps.  Having made this decision, Mr. Ellicott reported to the Dutch proprietors:

     “ I have, in order therefore to perpetuate my standard of measurement, so highly important, affixed twelve-inch rulers made of brass to the backs or covers of the several filed books, by which all chains forever hereafter made use of in surveying those lands, ought to be adjusted.”

      Thus did GeneseeCounty’s founder give the world a standard twelve-inch ruler.

       Fortified with this perfected innovation, and with another, the transit instrument- invented by his brother, Benjamin Ellicott, who had it manufactured in Philadelphia since no instrument possessing all the qualities desired, was then to be found in the United States.  Mr. Ellicott and his principal surveyors arrived on The Purchase and in 1798 began to ascertain and correctly establish the east line known thereafter as the Transit Line; a “line running due north from the monument established at the southeast corner on the northern boundary line of the State of Pennsylvania to the boundary line between the United States and the dominions of the King of Great Britain in Lake Ontario, according to the deeds and conveyance from Robert Morris to the company…”  Ellicott’s lines and measurements, accordingly, stand practically true today with very little deviation.

Daily News: By Miss Charlotte Read, GeneseeCounty Historian Ca. 1960




Famous Genesee II

The Historians’ Collection of Newspaper Articles Featuring
Distinguished Heroes, Politicians & Reformers

Complied by Susan L. Conklin, Genesee County Historian and
Judy Stiles, Genesee County History Department’s Research Assistant

Published in 2008
$13.00 [Plus $1.04 tax (8%) and $2.50 shipping and Handling]

Famous Genesee Book II is now available at the History Department. This book is a continuation of the Historians' collection of newspaper articles.  Book I included our distinguished residents and prominent visitors.  Book II features our distinguished heroes and politicians, local connections to President Lincoln and prominent visitors who were heroes, politicians and reformers. It is by no means to be considered an encyclopedia for the county on this topic, but rather a collection of articles selected by the historians.  Book II includes more than 100 articles and 25 photographs.

Sample Story:

Daily News October 25, 1945 

     Private A. Lucille Adelman, wife of Elmer B. Adelman of No. 10 Ellicott avenue and believed to be the only grandmother from the county serving in the Woman’s Army Corps, has been discharged from service in California and has returned home.
     Mrs. Adelman entered the service last spring and took her basic training in the medical section at Fort DeMoines, Ia.  She was then assigned to a port of embarkation and debarkation in the headquarters company.  Before entering the WAC, the Batavian was associated with her husband in the operation of Adelman’s Radio Store at No. 208 East Main street.
     Mr. Adelman, formerly with the United States Army Signal Corps is commander of Glenn S. Loomis Post, American Legion.

For additional information and to order books, please contact
The History Department at (585) 344-2550 Ext. 2613.