Historian Articles

Video - History of Victor (Distance Learning) by Adrienne Dahlstom, Victor Primary School Social Studies Leader

  1. Fisher Family Abandoned Cemetery
  2. Is There History in Glacial Features
  3. Victor News, 1922

marker before the unveiling with family standing around listening to speaker with umbrellasFisher Family Cemetery

Of those still buried here in the Fisher cemetery, the one born the earliest would probably be John Fisher, a mariner who was born in Boston about 1740. He witnessed the trial of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, participated in the Boston Tea Party, and was a veteran of the American Revolution.

In 1790 John and his wife, Bethiah, moved to western Massachusetts with their son Robert and his wife, Lucinda, who was the daughter of a Scottish immigrant. They were joined there by Lucinda’s sister Hannah and Hannah’s husband, David Barrett, and all moved west to a farm south of Cazenovia. In 1810 the two families moved further west to what became Fishers. The Barretts stayed but Robert and Lucinda Fisher went on to Henrietta, where Robert died in 1814. Lucinda was a widow in her 30s with eight children. She moved her family back to Fishers to be near her sister. Her brother-in-law David Barrett and her eldest son, Charles Fisher, then 18, built a log cabin that evolved into the Fisher Homestead.

The aging John Fisher and his wife, Bethiah, made the journey west with their children and grandchildren. They lived a short distance west down what is now Main Street. When they died they were buried across from the homestead in what was becoming the family cemetery, at the corner of what became named School Street and then Wangum Road near the Barretts’ cabin. Roads were rutted and often barely passable in those times, so it was easier for families to not travel to a large but distant cemetery and instead to bury their loved ones close to home. There is already a marker at another such cemetery, the Parks family cemetery up Main Street across Route 96.

As with many small family cemeteries, no written records were kept, so we cannot say for certain who is buried here. But it is safe to say that early graves include John and Bethiah Fisher, their daughter-in-law Lucinda Fisher, and several Fisher siblings, in-laws, children, and cousins.Fisher family all gathered around marker

Charles Fisher’s youngest son, William, inherited the Fisher Homestead. His next youngest, Henry, inherited this land across the street, which Charles Fisher had acquired when the Barretts moved west to Ohio. Henry Fisher married Lucy Bushman, daughter of a well-to-do farmer in Mendon named Abner Bushman and his wife Phebe. In 1885 the Bushmans wanted to build them a fine home on the property, but Phebe Bushman did not want her daughter living next to a cemetery. If they were to build the house, the cemetery had to go.

So brothers William and Henry Fisher moved eight of the most recent graves by wagon to the cemetery on Boughton Hill. These graves included their father, Charles Fisher, who had died in 1872, and his first wife, Rebeckah, who died in 1849. Other graves moved were that of their grandfather, Henry Pardee, elected as a Whig to four terms in the state assembly and who retired from Victor to Fishers, where he died at the Homestead in 1862.

Whether Henry Fisher’s mother-in-law ever figured out that there were still some graves left here we don’t know. But the gravestones were gone and the Bushmans built the house. Some of us remember Henry and Lucy Bushman Fisher’s daughter Clara Fisher living here when we were children. Clara’s second cousin Sheldon Fisher preserved the memory of the cemetery, which became Clara’s garden. Sheldon remembered flowers like heliotrope that were often planted in early cemeteries still growing here when he was young.

By Lewis Fisher, July 2021

  1. QR Code Village Tour
  2. Be a Witness to History!
  3. Victor's Sears Roebuck House

QR Code Historic Village of Victor Business District

Use your smart phone or other mobile device to take a QR code walking tour featuring a number of significanVillage Logo Blue and Goldt historic buildings in the Village of Victor on East and West Main Street. The QR code will tell you the history of the building. Begin anywhere along the route - just look for the sign on the building.

The tour includes:

  • Original Fire Hall, 5 West Main Street
  • Simonds and Sons Cobblestone Store, 2 East Main Street
  • The First Presbyterian Church, 70 East Main Street
  • Original Presbyterian Church Parsonage, 90 East Main Street
  • Victor Village Cemetery, behind the Methodist Church
  • The First United Methodist Church, 106 East Main Street
  • The First United Methodist Church Parsonage, 106 East Main Street
  • The Henehan Block, 69 East Main Street 
  • The Jacobs Block, 61 East Main Street
  • The Barnum Block, 57 East Main Street
  • The Bristol Block, 37-39 East Main Street
  • The Cobb-Prentice Block, 27-31 East Main Street
  • The Goodnow Block, 23 East Main Street
  • The Barber Shop Block, 17-19 East Main Street  
  • The Gallup Block, 1 East Main Street
  • The Moore Building, 2 West Main Street
  1. Seed Potato Capital
  2. Gypsum Mills at Victor
  3. Hamlet of Fishers Post Office

Drawing of Potato with words Maggie Murphy printed on sideFishers, New York - Seed Potato Capital of the World

In the little hamlet of Fishers, New York, now part of the Town of Victor, potatoes were king! From the Civil War to well after World War I every available space was planted with potatoes. The sandy loam soil was the perfect earth in which to grow seed potatoes.

The boom all started in 1877 when the Valentown Grange sent Charles W. Ford to the Farmers Alliance convention in Morristown, NJ. The New Jersey growers were complaining about the difficulty that they were having keeping potato seed between seasons. Ford explained that the tubers grown in his area—that is, Fishers, NY, were very hardy and offered to send potato seed to anyone who wanted it. From then on and for at least 50 more years Ford sent seed potatoes to New Jersey.

Arthur G. Aldridge of Fishers had a warehouse with 50,000 bushels of seed potatoes and his catalogs went around the world. For years he had a photo of “the world’s largest potato”—a spud grown on his farm on Valentown Road the size of a pumpkin.

After the death of her husband, Sarah Connelly carried on the family business under the name of SJ Connelly because it was unusual for a woman to run a business at that time. She named one potato after her sister—the Maggie Murphy.

Ambrose T. Lane, another potato magnate exhibited 50 potato varieties at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

The Victor Rose, Victor White and Brownell’s Best were some of G. B. Pickering’s seed potatoes that, as his catalog boasts, “ The potatoes we offer were grown in the vicinity of Fishers, Ontario Co., N.Y. … No other section produces more healthy or more vigorous seed potatoes.”

Noah Baker grew 10,000 bushels of potatoes a year on Baker Hill and was rated the single largest grower of seed potatoes in the United States.

And did you know that the land that Eastview Mall is built on used to be a huge potato farm?

Produce dealers, like Leslie Loomis in Victor, shipped, at its peak, 500 train car loads of potatoes a year. Big warehouses and freight houses stretched out along the Lehigh Valley and the New York Central’s Auburn Railroad tracks. Railroad Mills, Fisherville and Valentown also became shipping points.

old wooden warehouse

With Fishers the potato capital of the world, it became one of the earliest areas to make use of the newly invented telephone.  The Fishers telephone exchange was started in 1887 with eight outside lines.

Potatoes were so commonly grown that it was thought that the boom would go on forever. But today the sleepy hamlet of Fishers no longer grows seed potatoes—the Aldridge Warehouse was remodeled into offices for Lifetime Stainless Steel, but now the building is used by the Fishers Fire Department.  Other storehouses, railroad stations and warehouses are gone.

The demise of the seed potato industry was the demand for lower quality seed potatoes grown elsewhere (more potatoes could be grown per acre with the lower quality) and the trucker who would buy right off the field, eliminating the middle man in Fishers who would act as the buyer. In 1950, with the last of the Aldridge family passing away in 1950, the glory of the seed potato industry in Fishers was gone. Today the rolling countryside around the Ontario-Monroe county border is home to Eastview Mall, other commercial endeavors, light industrial development, housing developments and the Thruway. Valentown Museum, as the original Victor/Fishers Grange, awaits the visitor to see the way things were in the heyday of the seed potato industry in Fishers.

Babette Huber, Victor Town Historian, 2013

  1. Reflection on Early History
  2. Early Settlement to 1812
  3. Civil War Heroes

Victor - A Reflection on its Early History

By Babette Huber, Victor Town and Village Historian

Victor—Webster’s dictionary defines “victor” as a conqueror, a winner in a battle. As the history of Victor evolved, the name will attest to its appropriateness. On July 13, 1687, a French army of some 1,500 men marched into the Victor valley under the leadership of Marquis Denonville, governor of New France (now Canada).

Along with French regulars were Canadian militia and Indian allies who were to attack and crush the Seneca Indians at Ganondagan. Clad only in his underwear and jack boots (because of the heat of July), Denonville and his army destroyed “the keepers of the Western Door.” Before the French could have the glory of destroying Ganondagan, the Senecas themselves set fire to the village. The invaders finished the destruction by demolishing the corn storehouses and the palisade. Without a home any longer, the Senecas moved to join their confederacy neighbors and relatives, the Cayugas, and the attack only intensified their hatred of the French. Why did the Senecas have such a hatred of the French? The French, who are the “victors,” gain control of the rich fur trade routes that the Senecas have had for hundreds of years and that now the French and English are trying to control.

The Senecas house Ganondagan (Boughton Hill site) as the spot for their capital in the 17th century. It had a commanding view of the surrounding terrain, and one half mile to the west, was the site of Fort Hill and the granary. The village itself was believed to have been inhabited by up to 3,000 Senecas, 100-150 longhouses and surrounded by palisades twelve feet high. A spring was located to the west from which basswood pipes were used by the Senecas to carry water to the village.

Over one hundred years after Denonville’s destruction of Ganondagan, the area once again began to inhabit settlers. This time, however, they were settlers from Massachusetts. Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham made an agreement to buy 2,600,000 acres of land that is now known as the Phelps-Gorham Purchase. (Its boundaries were Lake Ontario as the northern boundary, Pennsylvania as the southern boundary, west to the Genesee River and east to the Pre-Emption Line). The purchasers agreed to pay the Indians $5,000 cash and an annuity of $500 forever. The land was then divided into townships about six miles square. In 1789, William Walker, an agent for Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham, began, for the first time, to sell land directly to the settlers. Walker’s secretary was Enos Boughton of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Enos and his brother Jared visited the area where Ganondagan is today as representatives of their father, Hezekiah. Enos Boughton then bought Township 11, Range #4 (a six mile square piece of land) of the Phelps-Gorham Purchase at 20 cents an acre. The crossroads became known as Boughtontown as settlers from the Boughton family of Stockbridge, Massachusetts began arriving. Enos and Jared Boughton built a log cabin in the area in 1789. The intended community on Boughton Hill was in the form of a square, with a school, a cemetery and the first tavern (the Wilmarth Inn). The tavern’s construction started in 1808 and opened on Christmas Day, 1813. It was a common stop for travelers and stagecoaches. Within eight years, however, the stagecoach route was changed and no longer ran in front of the tavern. Today the Wilmarth Inn is a private residence.

The schoolhouse was used by the children of the Boughton Hill area until 1941. In 1941, the Victor Central School’s first building (now the Victor Early Childhood School) was completed and opened to all children in the newly consolidated and centralized school district. In 1945, the schoolhouse was sold to the Boughton Hill Cemetery Association for one hundred dollars. It has since been dismantled.

Soon the crossroads of Boughton Hill began to lose its importance to the valley where a more prosperous village began to grow. The settlement grew in the valley because it was located on Merchants Road, the trade road east and south to Canandaigua, the capital of the “frontier,” and the road west and north to the falls of the Genesee (Rochester).

In 1812, the Town of Victor was officially established by the State Legislature, and set apart from Bloomfield (which was composed of Mendon, Victor, East Bloomfield and West Bloomfield). In October of that year, a meeting was called to name the town. It was unanimously agreed that the name would be VICTOR after Colonel Claudius VICTOR Boughton who distinguished himself in the War of 1812. On April 6, 1813, the town was formally organized and the first town meeting held with Jacob Lobdell voted to be the first Supervisor and Eleazor Boughton as the first Town Clerk.

Information from this article was taken from—

  • Articles in The Victor Herald
  • The Boughton Hill Site as a National Landmark, Charles F. Hayes III, 1965
  • The History of Victor, New York, 1776-1976, Fagan, Guiffre, Snyder
  • History of Ontario County, New York, 1876
  • Various clippings on the history of Victor, NY from the Town of Victor Archives

Babette Huber, Victor Town Historian, 2015

  1. The McCrahon Brothers
  2. War of 1812
  3. Civil War Heroes, Part 2

Looking at Victor's Pastblack and white photo of Alexander McCrahon white shirt and vest with watch and chain

By Babette Huber, Town and Village of Victor Historian

The McCrahon Brothers—Union vs. Confederate

As the Civil War series continues, Victor had a unique family in which two brothers from the same family fought on different sides in the Civil War.

Alexander McCrahon of Fishers joined the 108th NY Volunteers in August, 1862, when he was 16. His brother, Edward, a salesperson for the old Ellwanger and Barry Nursery in Rochester was working in Louisiana in 1861 when he joined the 7th Louisiana.

Both brothers saw heavy fighting during the Civil War. Edward became an orderly for General Thomas Jackson (“Stonewall”) and fought in the Battle of Bull Run under him. Both brothers were pitted against one another at the bloody battle of Antietam. At Gettysburg, Alexander received a serious wound in the leg and Edward escaped unscathed.

Edward revered General Jackson and soon took on his nickname of “Stonewall”—presumably after Jackson’s death in 1863. At Rappahannock Station in late 1863, Edward McCrahon was taken prisoner by the Union Army. After three months he took the oath of allegiance to the United States and was released.

Alexander, after being wounded at Gettysburg, served out the Civil War and was honorably discharged in August, 1865.

After the war, Alexander McCrane (he changed the original spelling) worked as a railway employee in the West and in Mexico. He died on November 17, 1925, and is buried in the Soldiers Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

artists sketch of Edward McCrahon black and white shoulders up with mustache

Edward “Stonewall” McCrahon became an engineer on the New York Central Railroad. He married Margaret O’Connell of Syracuse and they had ten children. Edward died on August 24, 1918, and is buried in St. Agnes Cemetery, Syracuse.

The McCrahon Brothers family homestead is on Log Cabin Road, Fishers.

Information from:
Town of Victor Archives
Articles by: Father Robert F. McNamara, John M. McCarthy and Wilma Townsend

Babette Huber, Victor Town Historian, 2013

  1. Whistlestop History
  2. Goldfarb's General Store
  3. Village Street Names

The Whistlestop History

The Whistlestop has been a business district ever since its early history. The New Yocolor photo of Whistlestop restaurantrk Central Railroad which passed through Victor beginning in 1840 (and known then as the Auburn and Rochester Railroad) had a train station here (where Sequels is today), a hotel, produce warehouse, coal tower, water tower and flour mill. The flour mill, known as Victor Milling, was built in 1876 by Amos Scrambling. In 1890 the generator from the flour mill was hooked up by Fred Locke (“Father of the Porcelain Insulator”) to run an electrical line to his home to provide electricity for experiments and arc lights on Coville Street—which was adjacent to the Whistlestop area. The flour mill burned in 1937, but the two story section which was used to store the flour stayed intact. Today it houses Finn’s Tap Room Restaurant. The hotel was originally built by Chauncey Felt and became the Aldrich House, Covill House, Benson House and then the Insulator Hotel. It was demolished in 1946. The water tower was across the parking lot from the entrance to Finn’s and the produce warehouse was demolished but unknown when.

Babette Huber
Victor Town and Village Historian, 12.2.13