Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Martins of Manchester, NY

1904 map of Manchester, the fan shaped object is the railroad roundhouse
2015 map of Manchester, the roundhouse is still visible a red X marks the Martin lot

     I've spent this week tracing the lives of Anna O'Hora, the sister of my great-grandfather Edward O'Hora, and her husband Patrick Martin.  Anna's birth took place in Auburn, NY and her brother Edward's after the family had moved to the farm in Littleville, NY.  Anna, like all the O'Hora children except one, remained in the area marrying Patrick Martin, in 1880.  The census taken that year shows Anna and Patrick living in Farmington, the next town over, with Patrick engaged in farming. The New York census of 1892 shows the couple and their three children living about ten miles away in Phelps, NY with Patrick still farming.  The really interesting thing about this census is that right below the Martins is listed Andrew Fitzpatrick, laborer. There are in fact, quite a few laborers enumerated below Patrick and Anna, but I doubt they were all working for him.  The 1892 census makes it hard to tell if Andrew is living with the Martins or not, no house or family numbers were recorded in this census nor were relationships given, it was a pretty bare bones tally of New York residents.  Andrew Fitzpatrick is of interest because in 1898, Anna's sister Winifred married a man named Andrew Fitzpatrick who was born in Ontario, NY.  I always wondered how they met, perhaps this was the moment.   

     Various censuses show Patrick Martin following several different trades, from farmer he went to tinsmith in 1900 and finally to hotel keeper in 1915.  The census of 1910 simply says "own income" under occupation.  News articles were more informative.  For example, in 1897 a local paper tells us Patrick was granted a hotel license that year and another license in 1905 (and in the intervening years I assume).  An article from 1907 reads, "Ed Devitt, employed at the ice house, got into a drunken carousal at Patrick Martin's saloon at Manchester on Monday night."  Clearly, at some point Patrick applied for and was granted a liquor license.  An article published in 1893 also clears up the 1892 New York census that showed Patrick in Phelps, surrounded by laborers-- "Patrick Martin will sell at auction at his residence on the Sahler farm, 4 horses, 7 cows ..."  Patrick must have been renting the farm in Phelps from the Sahler's and all those laborers were likely employees of the Sahler family.  It's easy to imagine Anna's sister Winifred visiting her in Phelps and meeting the eligible Andrew Fitzpatrick.

     I next turned to Family Search's New York land records where I found Patrick purchasing property in Manchester village in 1893, right after the farm auction.  The description of the lot in the deed, bordering Lehigh Street, placed it near the Lehigh Valley Railroad yards.  Now I went to Ancestry and it's collection of New York land ownership maps.  There was only one "P. Martin" found, sure enough right next to the yards.  This had to be the spot!  But nothing is ever that easy right?  The map at the top of this page shows Patrick's lot near the roundhouse in the yards, right where I'd expected; so why does every relevant census say he lived on Main Street?  Lehigh Street was right off Main Street, but it wasn't Main Street.  I can't reconcile this discrepancy, try as I might.  There are no purchases of land on Main Street recorded for Patrick.  Since the property was on the corner maybe they just didn't bother to write in another street name?  But on every census?  The newer map shows that today the street is known as Merrick Circle.

     Anna O'Hora Martin died at their home in 1907 from a cerebral hemorrhage and Patrick passed in 1916.  He left his estate to his maiden daughter Mary Honora who soon sold the property.  Patrick's obituary gave more clues as to his business dealings:  

Geneva Daily Times Nov. 13, 1916
Patrick Martin, one of the best known residents of Manchester died at his home in the village Saturday.  Mr. Martin conducted a hotel in the village for several years and retired from business in 1908 when the "drys" carried the day.

     My conclusion from all this is that Patrick tired of farming and purchased the hotel property, financing it by auctioning his farm equipment and livestock.  He supplemented his income while starting the hotel by tinsmithing.   After a time he expanded the business adding a bar until 1908 when Manchester voted to become a dry town.  After that he continued the hotel.  Today a bar called O. Henry's stands on the lot Patrick and Anna owned.  County records online say it was constructed in 1900, seven years after the Martins purchased the property, but perhaps they simply enlarged the building that year, or the original was torn down and a new one built.  Or the transcriber made an error.  I'm still puzzled by the censuses that say the Martins lived on Main Street; I wonder if the dotted lines that lead straight from the middle of the Martin lot towards Main Street on the 1904 map indicate an access road to Main?  Perhaps it was considered an extension of Main Street in 1904?  This will need more work...


  1. Well Patrick certainly appears to have had a work ethic and was creative at finding ways to make a living as he plugged away at various occupations. That issue with the Main street is curious though and I hope you are able to figure it out.

  2. Me too. I'm really starting to think that dotted line was a road from Main St. Thanks for stopping by.