Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for the ‘Lewiston’ Category

February is “the Month of the Tilting Road”

In Lewiston, Tuscarora History on February 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    From the Niagara Falls Gazette, February 28, 1951…

    Month of the Tilting Road…

Chief Clinton Rickard is one oldtimer who subscribes enthusiastically to the claim that Niagara frontier winters are not nearly as severe as they used to be.  And he quotes Indian history to prove it.

The Tuscarora chief recalls that when he was a boy and farmers hereabouts depended solely on horses and wagons for their winter transportation regular country roads were not used for several months each year.  Deep snow made lanes impassable and drifts covered the fences so the farmers struck off across the fields and traveled over temporary winter routes. 

Along about this time of the year the snow would begin to melt but the slanting sun’s rays would cut down one sleigh track more than the other.  As one side of the road  fell away the sleighs passed over it with a decided tilt. 

Chief Rickard links those days with the present by pointing out that the Tuscorara word for February means “month of the tilting road.”  It was a highly descriptive name in the years when February snows were deep and lasting.  But nowadays there is no tilting road because the winters are not what they used to be…

Chief Clinton RickardFebruary




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




Microfilm Available at the Lewiston Public Library

In Deaths, Irish Americans, Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Microfilm, Niagara County, Niagara County Resources, Niagara Deaths, Niagara Falls, Official Records of Niagara County, Polish Genealogy, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York, The Polish of Niagara Falls, Town of Lockport on February 5, 2014 at 12:41 am

Microfilm at Lewiston Public Library

Lewiston Marriages, 1847

In Lewiston, Marriages on February 4, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Lewiston Marriages, 1847, extracted from Town of Lewiston records.


Record of Marriages, Lewiston

In Lewiston, Marriages on February 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm

 “Record of Marriages, County Niagara

State of New York, 1838-1841″

Jonathon Bell, Justice of the Peace

Original record: Lewiston Court Records, 1838-1841

Courtesy Lewiston Museum


Lewiston Births 1847 and 1848

In Births, Lewiston on February 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm

The following link contains Lewiston births from 1847 and 1848. These were extracted from Town of Lewiston records by a local historian.


Happy Birthday to the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library on January 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

new years

On New Year’s Day, 1901, the Lewiston Public Library was born. Under the direction of president Dr. George S. Hobbie and library committee chairman, J. Boardman Scovell, the Men’s Club held a “Grand Social Festival and Library Reception” at Moss Hall (the present day Lewiston Opera Hall location). Everyone was invited to come and to register as a member. Each person who attended was also required to donate a book. Some brought as many as 20 volumes. One particular lady from Niagara Falls donated one hundred books. It was a spectacular event. Even Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was invited. Although he was unable to attend he did send an autographed copy of his book on Oliver Cromwell. This book is now on display in the Frieda

T roosevelt         oliver cromwell       oliver cromwell book

Bourgon Local History Room alongside books written and signed by many of our presidents.

When the Lewiston Free Library officially opened in its original location at 469 Center Street later that year, things were quite different than they are today. Library hours in the library and reading room were from 2 to 5 every day and 7:30 to 9 every evening, “…Sundays and holidays excepted…” Borrowers could only draw two books and a time “…and not more than one of fiction…” for two weeks at a time.

According to the library’s first annual report, the library opened with 2, 375 books and 459 registered borrowers. The first title in the Accession book is Jo’s Boys, by Louisa May Alcott. It was most likely a donation. It is still in our collection, although in a special place behind a locked cabinet in the Local History Room.

Jo's boys                                    Jo's boys2

Along with being a place to read and borrow books, patrons were encouraged to use the building as a meeting place for friends, as well as a place to write letters. The first librarian, Miss Mary Marguerite Wright, was just a young girl when she took on the position. She went on to become a screenwriter and an activist in several causes during the early 1900’s. It was said that during her stint as head librarian she was “at all times ready and willing to advise borrowers in selecting suitable books for home reading, or to aid reference work or study.” But special attention was paid “to the children.”

first annual report

The Lewiston Public Library is proud to celebrate its 113th birthday this January.

Meet the Oldest Book in the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Old Lewiston on December 20, 2013 at 9:31 pm
Front cover, animal hide sewn together

Front cover, sewn together

The oldest book in the Lewiston Public Library is, The Young Mill-wright’s and Miller’s Guide.  Although inscriptions within the book claim that it was published in 1789, research reveals that the first edition of this work was published in 1796 in Philadelphia.  Written by Oliver Evans, the book went through many editions.  Interestingly, Evans had been granted one of the first U.S. patents and his inventions  were licensed by people such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their business enterprises.  Throughout the book the name “Chappel” is written in various places.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson listed as subscribers

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson listed as subscribers

In the front of the book is an inscription which reads:

Robt. Miller his book bought

in Lewistown Monday the 8 day

of February  AD 1796

Price three Dollars

Steal Not This Book for fear of

Shame, look up, behold the owner’s




As the origin of the book is unknown, we are not positive that this book was actually purchased in Lewistown, New York.  Lewiston, New York, as we know it, did not exist at the time this book was first published.  It wasn’t until 1798, when the State Surveyor, Joseph Ellicott, selected Lewiston as a village site.  There were only a few dwellers in what is now Lewiston.  Mostly Lewiston was comprised of occasional squatters, cattle drovers, people connected to the business of the portage, soldiers and Native Americans.

The back of the book reveals another interesting inscription:

“Robert Miller his book

Bought of Gen Elliott

Market in Lewistown February

the 8 AD 1796″

Back page inscription

Back page inscription

I am unsure of who “Gen Elliott” might be.  There was a Matthew Elliott who had been in the area during this time period.  He was a trader, an Indian Department official and a Loyalist militia officer who succeeded in maintaining a British influence among the Native Americans along the borders of Upper Canada.  Before 1796, much of this area (including Fort Niagara), was still held by the British.  In fact it was during August of 1796, that the British officially evacuated Fort Niagara.   Perhaps this book was a sort of “goodbye” present for Mr. Miller.

last pic of book

The story of this book will probably forever remain a mystery.   For who was Robert Miller,  Mr. Chappel, Gen. Elliott?  Over 200 years ago, a man purchased a new book about operating a mill–supposedly, right here, in Lewiston–and here it remains.

two pages book

The book cover is handstitched

The book cover is handstitched

Some War of 1812 Artifacts at the Lewiston Public Library

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, Old Lewiston, War of 1812 on December 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm

War of 1812 artifacts

As the anniversary of the burning of the Niagara Frontier approaches, you may like to view some artifacts from that period in the Lewiston Public Library. These items from the War of 1812 period were donated by Jack Dryja.

The following description was included with the items:

At top left is a .69 cal. American musket ball found in Lewiston, New York, at a US camp called Hardscrabble, which was burned by the British in 1814.

At top right is a .75 cal. British musket ball also found in Lewiston, New York, at a site known as Sage’s Tavern.  This musket ball was used in the Brown Bess Rifle.  On December 19, 1813, after capturing Fort Nigara and burning the Village of Lewiston, the British Army commandeered this site and used it for their headquarters. 

Included are pipe bowl stems and chards from clay pipes of that era. 

Also included is Flint (used in the 18th Century) found in Artpark, Lewiston, New York.