Scandalous Heart Balm Suit Accused Ridgeway Native of Impropriety

Vol. 5, No. 38 I do not love thee! – yet, I know not why, Whate’er thou dost seems still well done, to me: And often in my solitude I sigh That those I do love are not more like thee! – Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton Did you know that until 1935, an individual could file a lawsuit against their sweetheart for “breach of promise to marry?” Although both men and women could initiate such a lawsuit, “Heart Balm Statutes” commonly provided a jilted lover with an avenue for seeking financial reparations against their darling gentleman. Sweeping reforms in the

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Jeddo Merchant Lived Double Life in Chicago

  Vol. 5, No. 37 This photograph, taken some time in the 1860s by an unknown photographer, shows Philetus and Eliza Bates of Jeddo; an inscription on the reverse reads “Bates and wife, storekeeper at Jeddo.” The Bates family was well known in Ridgeway near the Niagara-Orleans County Line thanks, in part, to Philetus’ father. An early settler of Orleans County, Orlando Bates constructed the first mill at Jeddo Creek and the location was quickly referred to as “Batesville” in honor of its pioneer founder. On the surface, the life of Philetus Bates appears relatively uneventful. An obituary published in

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The Assassination of Frank A. Burton

Vol. 4, No. 48 Occasionally, an interesting story with local ties surfaces while researching an unrelated subject. The story of Frank A. Burton would fall into that category; a man with local ties, but not necessarily a local man himself. Although unknown in Orleans County, Burton’s story represents one of the most heinous crimes in the history of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The tale of Frank Burton begins with his grandparents, Joshua B. and Clarissa Adams, who arrived in Western New York prior to 1818. The young couple established themselves in the wilderness of the Genesee Country as one of the

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Orleans County’s Elite Led Temperance Reform Efforts

Volume 3, Issue 47 Following the passing of New York’s amendment that extended voting rights to women in 1917, the subsequent election involving the question of whether Albion would remain a “wet” or “dry” town was decided by the female vote. Although the vote was later deemed invalid, the local temperance organizations mobilized a sufficient number of new voters to end the sale of alcohol in Orleans County, even if only for a brief moment. This Thomas Nast cartoon appeared in Harper’s Weekly on March 21, 1874 and depicted the debaucheries commonly associated with the saloon. A man of the

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Setting the Record Straight: William Stafford’s Spiteful Sale of the Proctor Homestead

Volume 3, Issue 43 The trial of George Wilson, accused of murdering his wife Alice in 1887, remains one of the most infamous stories in Orleans County. His trial and execution is a tale filled with speculation and accusation, while the later story of District Attorney William P. L. Stafford is shrouded in spite and hatred following his upsetting defeat in the 1895 election for County Judge. Despite its popularity, much of the story exists as hyperbole and conjecture concerning Stafford’s motives following his embarrassing loss. I was contacted by Gerard Morrisey following my article featuring John Newton Proctor and

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