Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for the ‘Lewiston Public Library’ Category

More interesting stories of old Lewiston

In Lewiston, Lewiston Interviews, Lewiston Public Library, Old Lewiston on August 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm


This interview begins with the Lewiston Library…  Poor Isabel was given the wrong book by that “elderly maiden,” Miss Ottley, “who didn’t like children.”  For “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” was a miserable book for a six year old!   Miss Ottley was actually the second librarian at the Lewiston Library.  The first librarian was Margaret Wright.  Miss Wright was a writer and playwright through much of her life, but first began her career in literature at the Lewiston Library.

There are other stories here, too.  Perhaps, you can find the grave that Isabel speaks of, yourself!  The one carved with a weeping willow and… (just one more tell-tale symbol of the man’s life)…a bottle.  Apparently someone found that quite offensive (as Mr. Rich was known to imbibe from time to time) and chipped it off.  Or did they???

Make sure you read toward the end as there is a story that links Lewiston to the assassination of President McKinley– one fateful day back in 1901. 

Interview with Isabel Cornell, Evelyn Cornell, Herbert Vaughn, and Fred Koethen

The Skeleton of a Soldier

In Lewiston, Lewiston Interviews, Lewiston Public Library on July 21, 2014 at 8:36 pm

On June 2, 1976, George Vanderhoek conducted a most fascinating interview with Mrs. Gilbert Farr (Gladys Alice Perrigo Farr). The descendant of an old Lewiston family, Mrs. Farr had many stories to tell including detailed descriptions of life in old Lewiston. Her grandparents were former residents of the Kelsey Tavern (also known as the Lafayette House) on Center Street. Her interview includes an eerie legend concerning the rattling bones of an old soldier…whose skeleton and buttons may still remain in the cellar of that building. She also mentions Lafayette’s visit to Lewiston back in June of 1825. Perhaps someone today knows where his medicine basket is located?

Interview with Mrs. Gilbert Farr


Life mask, Marquis de Lafayette Courtesy Cornell University

Life mask, Marquis de Lafayette
Courtesy Cornell University

Marquis de LaFayette

Marquis de LaFayette

“In the days of enormous head gear for women”… and other interesting stories of Old Lewiston

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Old Lewiston on June 24, 2014 at 8:48 pm

I found yet another historical interview neatly typed up in my file cabinets. This interview was undertaken on February 19, 1975. Mr. A. Gow Brownell, former head of the Foreign Language Department at Niagara Falls High School, was interviewed by D. George Vanderhoek, former president of the Lewiston Historical Society. Mr. Brownell describes early ways in and out of Lewiston, selling fruits, The Lewiston Academy, the Lewiston Public Library and…what was found in Mr. Hotchkiss’s attic.






The Lewiston Librarian and the Indian Chief

In Lewiston, Lewiston Interviews, Lewiston Public Library, Tuscarora History on June 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Chief Elton Greene

I recently found these documents while going through a file cabinet…looking for something else and it caught my eye. One of our favorite Lewiston librarians from times past, Virginia Scipione, had interviewed Tuscarora Chief Elton Greene in February of 1975. A Lewiston librarian, myself, I have also interviewed Tuscarora chiefs and I have heard some things about the Little People that Chief Greene mentions. I wrote of the Little People in a book called, From the Mouth of the Niagara River; Stories of Four Historic Communities. They were called: Oogweshiya.
Does anyone know of these Little People? If you do, I hope you will share.

This interview also contains legends of big animals and monsters, the Tuscarora language, the clans, choosing a chief, the maternal lines and other fascinating incidents in Tuscarora history.   I find it especially remarkable how the Native Americans follow a matrilineal line of descent as genetics today proves that our DNA contains common elements that are passed on from mother to child for endless generations.

Click on the following link to read the transcript of the full interview:

Interview with Chief Elton Greene

An Invitation Finds its Way Home

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Old Lewiston on April 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

It has been 104 years, but thanks to Cynthia Van Ness, Director of Library & Archives, Buffalo History Museum, an invitation has come home.
Finding this item in her collection at Buffalo to be either “a duplicate or a better geographic fit” for our collection at the Lewiston Public Library, Ms. Van Ness mailed an invitation to a celebration of the 178th anniversary of George Washington’s birth back to the Lewiston Public Library today.  The commemorative event was held at the historic Frontier House on Center Street on Tuesday evening, February 22, 1910.
page one

page 2



The Dead Beats Society at the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Library Programs, Obituaries, The Dead Beats Society on March 26, 2014 at 2:51 pm

It all began with a book. A most unusual book: The Dead Beat, Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of  Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson.

the dead beat book

It is much more than a history of obituary-writing.  It is a touching tale of life and what we ultimately leave behind.  Johnson says that our obituaries are our last little outposts on Earth.

The newspaper people say that the obituary writers are “working the dead beat.”  As we were starting to get our genealogy group off the ground at the Lewiston Public Library the first thing we started with was organizing the obituaries that librarians from times past had kept in binders.  Everyone must realize how important obituaries are for genealogists!   Volunteers, Dick and Ellen Niles, came up with an ingenious system of manipulating a genealogy software program, The Master Genealogist, to something in which we could store our obituaries.  Thanks to their hard work we now have a database in our local history room which contains over 14,000 Niagara area obituaries.  We also decided to call our genealogy group the Dead Beats Society.

Volunteers continue to spend countless hours inputting data into this program.  Beverly Bidak and Maureen Weber took over the reigns after Dick and Ellen Niles moved away.  Today new members offer to help out as it is a never-ending task.  Volunteer, Peggy Salada, brings in obituary clippings and the others add them into the system.  I also bring in old obituaries found after scouring through the digital newspaper website, http://www.fultonhistory.com.  I have started at the beginning (Niagara Falls Gazettes from 1854) and one day will finally meet up to the present.

Maureen Weber and Kathy O'Connor work on inputting obituaries at the Lewiston Public Library

Maureen Weber and Kathy O’Connor work on inputting obituaries at the Lewiston Public Library

Patrons can request a look-up or may check out the program themselves.

The Dead Beats Society meets once a month and works on various genealogy projects including helping people break down those brick walls.

The book, The Dead Beat, Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson, is available at the Lewiston Public Library.


Tuscarora Cemetery, Lewiston

In Cemetery Plots, Deaths, Dorothy Rolling, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara Deaths, Town of Niagara historian, Tuscarora History on March 17, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Stereoview by George Barker, Tuscarora woman at Niagara Falls

Stereoview by George Barker, Tuscarora woman at Niagara Falls

Courtesy Town of Niagara historian, Dorothy Rolling.

The following includes burials at the Tuscarora Cemetery, Lewiston:

Tuscarora Cemetery

New Microfilm from Gimigliano, Catanzaro, Italy

In Lewiston Public Library, Microfilm, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on February 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Maria Teresa Scalzo Ciambrone

Thanks to the Friends of the Lewiston Public Library the Genealogy Department will be adding new microfilm to our collection.
The microfilm on its way from Salt Lake City includes the following records from Gimigliano, Cantanzaro, Italy :

Registri dello stato civile di Gimigliano (Catanzaro), 1809-1900
Nati 1809-1825
Nati 1825-1847
Nati 1847-1861 –
Processetti 1809-1818
Processetti 1819-1830
Processetti 1830-1848
Processetti 1849-1860 — Notificazioni 1810-1845
Notificazioni 1846-1861 — Matrimoni 1809-1861 — Morti 1809-1828
Morti 1829-1861
Nati 1866-1888
Nati 1890-1910 — Pubblicazioni 1866-1910 — Matrimoni 1870-1900
Matrimoni 1901-1910 — Morti 1866-1910

Many Niagara Falls area residents of Italian descent may find valuable family history information in these records.

Lewiston, New York, Deaths 1882-1898

In Deaths, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara County, Niagara Deaths on February 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm


























Various Lewiston, New York, Deaths

In Deaths, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Niagara Deaths on February 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm