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Wednesday, June 30, 2010


1855  Horse Island lighthouse

Sackets Harbor (originally spelled Sacketts Harbour) was the chief shipbuilding site on the Great Lakes for the United States during the War of 1812. Thousands of shipbuilders, sailors, and soldiers were stationed at this staging area for operations on Lake Ontario. One-third of the U.S. Army and one-quarter of the Navy
were stationed at Sackets Harbor during the war.
Two battles were fought at this site (in 1812 and 1813). In the First Battle of Sackets Harbor, British marines were unsuccessful in retrieving the Lord Nelson, a British schooner seized by the Americans.

Horse Island, just off Sackets Harbor, was the staging point for British operations during the Second Battle of Sackets Harbor. British troops attempted to capture supplies and destroy the 28-gun General Pike, a new vessel under construction. The attack was thwarted by U.S. troops, but the Americans, fearing their stores would be captured, burned their own supplies.

The first lighthouse was built at this important military post in 1831. The present structure was built in 1869. The fifty-foot tower sits just off Sackets Harbor, and is similar in design to the lighthouse at Stony Point. The lighthouse was replaced by a skeleton tower in 1956.

Schuyler Simmons was keeper at Horse Island from 1926 until his death in 1932. He was succeeded by his wife Julia. Their grand-daughter, Dorothy Beetz, recalls that "when the tide was down, my stepgrandmother on the island would wave a white diaper telling us that it was safe to drive across by car from the mainland. If the water was high, we then went to the island by boat."

Today, the military has left Sackets Harbor. The town has been reborn as a quaint resort town and historic site. It is also the home of the Seaway Trail Visitors Center, located in the August Sacket Mansion.

Grandparents will be in the color pink
The story of Francis S. McCormick and Nancy McAdam begins in Sacketts Harbour  in 1840 when they married. Francis was 21 and Nancy was 15.  The 1840 census shows Nancy's mother Nancy McAdam as head of the household with 11 persons living in the home.  We do not know where the story of the McAdam arrival at Sacketts Harbour originated but until it is verified, we will tell you what has been reported.  Census records have shown that Nancy and John McAdams were born in Ireland and emigrated to the United States eventually living in Middlebury, Vermont.  Little Nancy was born in 1825 in Middlebury, Vermont according to the story she tells.  We were not aware of any other children but the 1840 census indicates many people in the same house.  At this point we are beginning to doubt John's participation in this family.  We do know Nancy McAdam the mother was a Nurse. She was born in Ireland in 1799. The mysterious John McAdam supposedly was born in Ireland. Since we are still in the research mode, we will leave Sacketts Harbour, New York on the "pending completion of the examination" shelf. The name McAdam also is shown as McAdams.  We do not know which one is correct.
When checking the 1850 Census we find Francis McCormick age 35 and Nancy McAdam McCormick age 24 had moved to Rochester, New York with their three children:

1.  Mary J. McCormick  8  b. 1842, d., June 26, 1905
2.  Francis McCormick  5   b. 1845, d., Mar 9, 1913
3.  Sarah McCormick     2, b. 1848, d., unknown
4.  *Note: Anna A. McCormick was born after the 1850 Census
                  and died in 1859 before the 1860 Census
                  She is not recorded in Census data and is often
                  left out of the list of Children.
4.  Eliza Burns  age 16, born in Ireland - servant

Francis states on the 1850 Census that he is an Engineer.  We do not know what work, if any, he had in Rochester, New York


In the 1860 census The McCormick family has moved to Canandaigua, New York.  The following is the list of family members:

              1860 United States Federal Census
                       McCormick Family:

Special note on Mary Jane McCormick who is out of the home by this census:

Mary Jane (Jennie) McCormick was first born November 5, 1842 in Oswego, New York.  She married James F. Dubois who helped Nancy settle the estate after Francis (Frank) died.  Mary Jane died June 26, 1905 in Willard, New York. Mary has left the family home as noted by the 1860 Census.  In 1905 the Democrat and Chronicle printed this obit on Mary Jane. We do not know the reason she was in Willard State Hospital.  In the 1800's the people with Tuberculosis were often placed there.  Also there was no medicine for certain mental conditions and people needed to be isolated.
OBITUARY  for Mrs. Mary Jane (Jennie) DU BOIS

In Willard, June 27th occurred the death of Mrs. Jennie DuBois, wife of James DuBois, of this place. Mrs. DuBois is survived by her husband, five sons, Charles, James, Rankin, and Wallace of Canandaigua; and David of Batavia, and four daughters, Mrs. Emma L. Tobin and Mrs. Jennie Twist, of Canandaigua; Mrs. Anna Dewy of Chapinville; and Mrs. Ida N. Pratt of Geneva. Funeral will be held from the home on lake shore road, Thursday afternoon at 2 o’clock. Interment in West avenue cemetery.
A peculiar fact in connection with this death is that up to the time of the death of Mrs. DuBois, five generations of her family were living, as her son, Charles DuBois has grandchildren and her mother, Mrs. Nancy McCormick, is still living. This is one of the rare cases where a great grandmother has preceded in death the great, great, grandmother of the youngest branch of the family

                                              1860 Census

Frank McCormick 40    Engineer    Head of the Family

Nancy McCormick  33   Housewife

Canandaigua, Ontario, New York

Household Members:

1. Francis McCormick 15, was born 1844, died March 9, 1913 in Canandaigua and is buried with Parents in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. He married Anne Flynn. The death of Frank R. McCormick, a Civil War Veteran, occurred at his home on Main Street South, on Sunday, after a two month illness, aged 68 years. Besides his wife, he leaves a daughter, Minnie, three sons, Eugene, and Willard McCormick of Watertown, Frank of Binghamton, a daughter, Sister Anne LeLobels, of Quebec, his mother, Mrs. Nancy McCormick, four sisters, and two brothers, Mrs. Sarah Meath, Mrs. Cecilia Gentner, John McCormick, Canandaigua, Mrs. Laura Koons, Mrs. Emma Doyle, and W. J. McCormick, Rochester. The funeral services were held at St. Mary's Church on Tuesday. Interment was at Calvary Cemetery.

2. Sarah McCormick 12, born 1848, married Patrick Meath on September 30, 1885, in Canandaigua, NY. Sarah Meath is the Grandmother of Eddie and Howard Meath... Both men were very well known in Rochester during our growing up years. 30's, 40's and 50's. Howard owned a sports store and Eddie was a radio personality... In addition, Eddie was the host / MC at the "Barn" (gathering place for teens)....Greg Doyle, great grandson of Emma (sister of Sarah) McCormick Doyle and Owen Doyle, cousin of Howie and Eddie Meath, had his own band through High School and after. He played the trumpet with his band at the "Barn". Lib and Eileen Doyle, great granddaughters of Emma and Owen Doyle spent many wonderful Saturday nights with Donald and Thomas Brindisi (twins) at the "Barn". For us it was a Teen Dream place to go thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gannett of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

3. Celia McCormick   10   born 1850, married about 1876 to a Mr. Merkley who died about 1879,  and then she married second husband Henry David Gentner from Germany, in 1884 in Canandaigua, New York

There were two children: Annamaria (writing was difficult to decipher) Merkley, born in 1878 and David Henry Fredrick Gentner born September 30 in Canandaigua, NY, died March 10, 1978 in Hudson, New York. Celia is listed as Merkley, widowed  in the 1880 Census living at home with Nancy McCormick and her daughter Annamaria (?), age 2.

4. John H. McCormick 7 was born 1852

5. Emma McCormick   5,  was born 1854 and married Owen Doyle in 1873 in Canandaigua.  Their children are: Frank, Anne, Margery, John Albert born 1884. The next chapter will tell the story of Owen and Emma and their family since they are my direct Great Grandparents and their son John Albert is my Grandfather.

6. Willie J.McCormick 3,  was born 1856; he died December 29, 1906. He married Alice M. Cowen on June 26, 1886.

7. Annie A. McCormick 6months, was born 1860, died 1875. Buried with Nancy and Francis in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. She was
named after her sister Anna A who died 1859.

8. *Note: David McCormick was born 1867 and died 1868.
      He is not listed on this Census because he was born and
      died after the information was obtained. He is buried with
      his parents in Calvery Cemetery.

Nancy McAdam  61,  Nurse, widow, mother of
Nancy McCormick and grandmother of above listed children.

NOTE: At no time did Francis state that he was an Ice Dealer. The first time we see the reference to Ice Dealer and Ice Pedler is the Census of 1880.


The 1870's were filled with many life changes for Nancy McCormick. Her dear husband Francis in 1868 was dead and she found that nothing in the home was hers. It was the law that the oldest male in the family would inherit all possessions that belonged to the Head of the Household. That meant that every dish, pan, bedding, furniture, cutlery, silverware and glasses plus the house and out buildings, animals and equipment were no longer available for the widow since she was a woman and not eligible for inheritance. Nancy was blessed with a good business head. She took inventory of all the items that were on the land, asked her son-in-law James Dubois to assist her and then proceeded to the Court House to lay claim to what she felt was rightfully hers. She needed the income from the Ice Dealership to continue raising her family. She also needed the equipment to harvest the ice.  

 The following is a copy of the Probate of Francis McCormick's worldly goods:  


9 JUL 1868

To the Surrogate of the County of Ontario.
The Petition of Nancy McCormick of the Town of Canandaigua in the County of Ontario respectfully showeth:
That Francis S. McCormick of the Town of Canandaigua in the County of Ontario died in the said Town of Canandaigua on or about the 5th day of May in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and sixty eight.

That at the time of his death he was a inhabitant of the County of Ontario.

That he left no will, as so far as your petitioner has heard, or been able to discover: That he left your petitioner his widow, Mary J. Dubois, Sarah E. McCormick, Cecelia McCormick, John H. McCormick, Emma E. McCormick, William McCormick, Anna McCormick, Edward A. McCormick, Laura E. McCormick, David h. McCormick, all of Canandaigua & Francis P. McCormick
Watertown N.Y. his children.

And your petitioner further showeth, that all the goods, chattels, and credits of the said deceased do not exceed in value the sum of 500 dollars, (this next line is stricken out on the original copy)and his real property does not exceed in value the sum of 200 Dollars: and your petitioner prays that Letters of Administration of the goods, chattels and credits be granted by the surrogate to the petitioner.

Dated July 9th 1868. Nancy McCormick

Ontario County Surrogate Court } SS.

On this 9th day of July 1868, personally appeared before me, in open Court Nancy McCormick the above named petitioner, and made oath that the matters set forth in the above petition are true, to the best of the knowledge, information and belief of said petitioner.

Elihu M. Morse Surrogate.

Ontario County, ss.

I do swear, that I will well, honestly and faithfully discharge the duty of Aministratrix of the estate of Francis S. McCormick deceased, according to the law.

Subscribed and sworn the 9th day

of July 1868, before me } Nancy McCormick

Elihu M. Morse


Bond of Administrator.

Know all Men by those Presents:

That we, Nancy McCormick, James F Dubois & Thomas B. Lyon all of Canandaigua are held and firmly bound unto the People of the State of New York in the sum of One Thousand Dollars, to be paid to the said People; for which payment well and truly to be made, we bind ourselves and our and each of our Heirs, Executors and Administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by those Presents.

Sealed with our seals. Dated this 8th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty eight.
The condition of this obligtation is such, that if the above bounden Nancy McCormick Administratrix of all and singular the goods, chattels and credits of Francis S. McCormick, late of the Town of Canandaigua deceased, shall faithfully execute the trust reposed in her as such; and also if the said Administatrix shall obey all the orders of the Surrogate of the County of Ontario, or the person charged by the constitution and laws with the preformance of the duties of the office, or of any other office or Court having juisdiction in the premises, touching the Administation of the
Estate committed to her then the above obligation to be void; otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.

Sealed and Delivered in Presence of Nancy McCormick

Thomas B Lyon

James F. Dubois

State of New York,

Ontario County }ss.

James F. Dubois & Thomas B. Lyon the surities, named in the above bond, being duly sworn, each for himself says, that he is a resident of the County of Ontario, and that he is a freeholder, and is worth more than one thousand Dollars, over and above all just debts and liabilities existing against him, and over and above his property exempt from seizure on execution.

Sworn this 9th day Thomas B. Lyon

of July A.D. before me. } James F. Dubios

Elihu M. Morse


State of New York,

Ontario County }ss.

On this 9th day of July A.D. 1868, before me the subscriber Surrogate of said County, appeared Nancy McCormick, James F. Dubios & Thomas B. Lyon to me personally known to be the same persons described in , and who executed the foregoing Instument, and severally acknowledged to me that they executed the same.

Elihu M. Morse


A true And Perfect Inventory Of all the goods, Chattels and credits which were of Francis S, McCormick late of the town of Canandaigua in the County of Ontario , deceased, made by the Adinistratrix of the Estate of the said deceased, with the aid, and
in the presence of Thomas B. Lyon and Seymour H. Jackson they having been duly appointed as Appraisers; containing a full, just and true statement of all the personal property of the said deceased, which has come to the knowledge of the said administratrix of said estate, and particularely of all moneys, bank bills, and other curculating madium belonging to the said deceased, and all just claims of the deceased, against said administratrix and all bonds mortgages, notes and other securities, for payment of money,
belongings to the said deceased, specifying the names of the debtor in security, the date, the sum origanally payable, the endorsements thereon, with their dates, and the sum, which in the judgement of Appraisers, may be collectable on such security.

Upon completion of this inventory, duplicates thereof have made and signed at the end thereof by the Appraisers.

The following articles are exempted from appraisement, to remain in the possession of the Widow and minor children of the deceased, persuant to Revised Statutes.

1 Cook Stove 2 Parlor Stoves

Family Bible. all pictures

All School & all other books

1 Cow 2 Swine

All Beds Bedsteads & Bedding

All clothing of the Widow & Children

1 Table 6 Chairs 6 K & Forks

6 plates 6 cups & Saucers 1 Suger Bowl

1 Cream Cup 1 Teapot 6 Shams(?)

In addition to the above enumerated articles from appraisal, the
Appraisers, in the exercise of their discretion, pursuant to the statute, set apart the following articles of necessary household furniture and other personal property, for the use of the Widow and minor children. of the deceased, the same not exceeding in value one hundred and fifty dollars.

1 Table 1.00 12 Chairs 1.00   2.00

Crockery ware 3 Stone ware 3  6.00

Lamps 2.50 Clocks  $2 4.50

1 Dem. Wagon $20 & Nancy 5 25.00

Ice Tools 5. 4 kegs @$1 9.00

1 Cultivator 3.50

1/2 acre(?) Wheat 50.00

1 Cow & Calf 50.00
                                         Total:  $150.00

(hand written on separate paper contents of Ice Business and Misc.)

1 New Boat 25.

Boats Henns(?) 15.

1 Cutter 10.

2 Old Wagons @$8 16.

1 Ice Plow 5.00

1 Culling Box .50 Old Stove $3 3.50

Old Ice House 25.00

Ice in Same 100.00

New Ice House 300.00

Ice in Same 50.00

10 Cords Sline(?) 30.00

2 (?) Wagon & Nancy 120.

               1870 United States Federal Census

Francis S. McCormick died 1868
Nancy McCormick 44,  Head of
Household, Canandaigua, NY                                         
Household Members:

1.  Celia McCormick         20  b. 1850

2.  John McCormick          18  b.  1852  Captain John McCormick was, for years, captain of the “Ontario,” which was built after the destruction of the “Joseph Wood” in back of Nancy McCormick's house.  He married Margret McCarthy and they had three children.

         John E Mccormick 19     b. 1870

         Francis R Mccormick 8    b. 1892

         Gertrude Mccormick 6     b.  1894

 John fought on the Union Side during the Civil War.  He was injured and had an obvious limp for the rest of his life.

3.  Emma McCormick       16  b. 1854

4.  Willie McCormick        13   b. 1857, d. Dec. 29, 1906.
He married Alice M. Cowen on June 26,1886  They had one adopted child called Charlie. His Grandmother took him at a Children's Home giveaway program and gave him to William.

5.  Annie A. McCormick    10   b. 1860  d. 1875
She is buried with Francis and Nancy McCormick
in Calvary Cemetery, Canandaigua, New York

6.  Eddie McCormick   8    b. 1863, d. 1901
He is buried with Francis and Nancy McCormick
in Calvary Cemetery, Canandaigua, New York

7.  Laura McCormick       5    b. 1865,  d. after 1916
She married Jacob Koons Apr 24, 1883 in
Canandaigua, NY

8.  David McCormick   under a year old,    born 1867 and died 1868.
He is not listed on any census because he lived
and died after the information was obtained. He
is buried with Francis and Nancy McCormick

9.  Frederick J. McCormick   2,  b. 1868, d. 1876
He is buried with Francis and Nancy McCormick
at the Calvary Cemetery, Canandaigua, New York

Nancy McAdams     69   Nurse retired, widow, mother of Nancy McC

The 1870's were filled with many life changes for Nancy McCormick.  Her dear husband Francis in 1868 was dead. Nancy was blessed with a good business head.   She needed the income from the Ice Dealership to continue raising her family.  She also needed the equipment to harvest the ice.  She also knew she needed additional work to supplement the family income.  She and Francis had a concession on the pier selling fruit drinks to visitors, so she applied to collect the fees for the cars that drove out on the Pier and got the job.  It is recorded that she did a very good job collecting the fees.  Eventually Nancy was given the job as Pier Mistress, a job that put her in charge of running the Pier.  This included renting out the boats, managing the boat houses, fees for cars and other motor vehicles. A building on the pier was given to her by the city. This was called the "Waiting Room" for those people who were waiting to board the Steamer. This was a place to rest and have refreshments.  The building next door was called the Daisy which Nancy acquired.  She opened up her 'Daisy Tea Room' which became the hub of Canandaigua.  That is where you picked up all the latest local gossip.  It was the most popular spot in Canandaigua.

There were two events to happen in Canandaigua in1873. The first was the court trial of Susan B. Anthony. It was referred there because there were too many folks in Rochester, New York who wanted to do battle over women's rights. The second was the preparation of the Wedding of Emma and Owen Eugene Doyle. The Daisy Tea Room is where you kept tract of what was happening in that trial and I am sure there was much talk of the McCormick/ Doyle wedding.  It was a wonderful place to eat lunch, meet friends, share the news all with a water view. 
The following is from the archives of the Anthony Trial in Canandaigua:
      At the trial, the judge penned his decision before hearing the case (his first criminal case) and discharged the jury because he maintained that there were no questions of fact for them to consider. He found Anthony guilty of voting illegally, fined her $100, and then made the mistake of asking her if she had anything to say.
"Yes, your honor," seethed Anthony, "I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor's verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government."
ONTARIO COUNTY JOURNAL Friday March 14, 1913 Pg 5, col 3 by: Ron Hanley
On the same page, col 5 is an obit regarding Frank McCormick:

DIED McCORMICK - At Canandaigua, March 9, 1913, Frank McCormick, aged 68 years

             1880 Federal Census 

Name: Nancy Mccormick
[Nancy Mcadams]
Home in 1880: Canandaigua, Ontario, New York
Age: 56
Estimated birth year: abt 1825
Birthplace: Vermont
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Father's birthplace: Ireland
Mother's Name: Nancy
Mother's birthplace: Ireland
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Ice Dealer
Marital Status: Widowed
Race: White
Gender: Female

Household Members: Name Age

Nancy McCormick 56

William McCormick 23

Edward McCormick 17

Laura McCormick 16

Nancy McAdams 80

Celia Merkley 29

Armemrla Merkley 2
               1900 U.S. Census                                  

Name: Nancy McCormick
Home in 1900: Canandaigua Ward 3, Ontario, New York
Age: 74
Birth Date: Aug 1825
Birthplace: Vermont
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relationship to Head of House: Head
Father's Birthplace: Ireland
Mother's Birthplace: Ireland
Mother: number of living children: 9
Mother: How many children: 13
Marital Status: Widowed
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page

Household Members: Name Age

Nancy McCormick 74

Laura Koons 35

Rosa Koons 16

Anna Koons 14

Louise Koons 10

Rose Smith 64, sister of Nancy McCormick
                    NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Sunday,August 1, 1915 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Interview with Nancy McCormick on her ninetieth birthday
Bore Thirteen Children and Ran a Business Thirty-three Years; Active on Her Ninetieth Birthday

Although the span of her years is four score and ten, Mrs. Nancy McCormick who lives with her son William J. McCormick, at 457 Main Street West, has few of the infirmities that come with advanced age. Mrs. McCormick is today celebrating her ninetieth birthday and she said yesterday that she expected enjoy the occasion fully as much as do her sons and daughters and the
friends who are expected to drop in.
There has been not a little action in Mrs. McCormick's life. She was born in Middlebury, Vt. on August 1, 1825 and a few years later her parents removed to Franklin Co. in this state. She was married to Francis McCormick at Sackett's Harbour in 1840, when she was but more than 14 years old. Mrs. McCormick and her parents, Mr. and Mrs McAdam, started from Franklin county for Rochester on a lake boat but her mother was so badly upset by the rough weather encountered that the captain of the boat refused to take the party
farther than Sackett's Harbour.
Mrs. McCormick's husband died in Canandaigua in 1868. Some years before his death he had established an ice business in that town, and Mrs. McCormick continued the business , conducting it for thirty-three years. She was the first Businesswoman in Canandaigua and is well known in that place. When help was scarce she frequently did a mans work in the cutting and
harvesting of ice.
Some years ago the town of Canandaigua built a pier into the lake, and Mrs. McCormick was made piermistress, or toll collector, a fee being exacted from all vehicles that drove on the pier and from the boats that landed there. It was the duty of Mrs. McCormick to collect these fees, and it is a matter of record that she did her work well.
Mrs. McCormick had thirteen children, six of whom are living. Besides her son William J. McCormick, with whom she has made her home for eight years, she has two children in Rochester, Mrs. Owen Doyle and Mrs. Laura Koons.
Her other living children, John McCormick, Mrs. Sarah Meath and Mrs. David Gentner, are in Canandaigua. Her oldest son, now dead, enlisted in the Civil war when he was 17 years old.
Except for difficulty in walking due to rheumatism, Mrs. McCormick is exceptionally active for a person who has attained her years. She is able to read without glasses and also to do tatting her favorite occupation. She says the counting necessary to tatting keeps her from thinking. She has a unusually retentive memory for things that happened long ago and is able to recite verses she learned as a child.
Mrs. McCormick has done considerable traveling. She visits Canandaigua a year ago and hopes to go again. She has a vivid recollection of the Civil war and says that the present European conflict impresses her as being a more horrifying struggle.

                         THE MCADAM COAT OF ARMS

In 1890 Nancy has entered a new phase of her life at 65.  She is still Piermistress of the Canandaigua City Pier and is making a nice living for her family.  There was a major concern regarding her son William. He had a severe drinking problem and on top of that he had a gamboling problem that was eating up the family income at an alarming rate.  In November the Temperance Movement that had plagued the area for years became more radical and managed to get laws pasted to prohibit alcohol beverages altogether.  I do not know exactly what happened but Nancy was arrested and appeared in criminal court facing charges of serving alcoholic beverages.  Granted she received a slap on the wrist and a $6.00 fine with no other consequences except to be on the crime list in the Canandaigua Messenger for all to see:

 The People vs. Nancy MC CORMICK. Selling strong beer and ale without license. Convicted, sentence $6.05. Paid.

Either before or after this incident Nancy had an idea that the Center of the Lake did not belong to anyone.  She checked the records at the town hall and sure enough, the center of the Lake was not under any jurisdiction.  Now, by this time, Nancy owned all the rental boats at the pier. I am sure she had a working relationship with the Steam Boats that used the pier as a landing. Her son John McCormick was Captain of one of the Steamboats that toured the Lake.  Having a good sense for making money, she put a barge out on the middle of Canandaigua Lake, her inventory was Liquor and Beer and fine spirits. Since she had control of the boats, the "Feds" could not get there in a rental unless she said so.  I was told this by Mrs. Fennick, a very good friend of Florence Bates and John A. Doyle (you know, Nancy's grandson.).  Mrs. Fennick was 90 years old when we went to see her. Her mind was sharp and she gave my brother Leo and I lots of information that will be told in Chapter 8. Mrs. Fennick said the barge was the place to go for beer and spirits and so they came from miles around.  Nancy's income shot up to millions of dollars.  Mrs. Fennick said she carried the money, at the end of the day, loose in her apron as she walked the pier to her home on the South end of Main Street each and every day.  I do not know how long this dream job lasted but she made a lot of money which may be why so many of the family returned to the McCormick home after their spouses died.  I do not know how much she had left when she died but Mrs. Fennick said William's addictions used up the bulk of her savings. During her extra curricular business, the ice business was still a going gussy and she had plenty of help.  A great portion of the ice harvested was taken to the Brewry by sleds driven by local farmers.  The Ice House was a huge storage facitity that housed the winter harvest of ice for months. 

There was a young man from Ireland by the name of Thomas O'Reilly who came to Canandaigua on his own at age 16. He lived at the McCormick home and Nancy insisted he go to school. It was a private school and Nancy paid the tuition. He also made money peddling McCormick ice.  He finished school,became a full time worker for Nancy and married an Irish Lass in 1880 at the local Catholic Church.  The Canandaigua Messenger had an article relating that while Thomas was making ice deliveries, he had an accident and was was electrocuted. He left his wife and child. 

By 1900, the McCormick home was going strong.  By 1910, Nancy was living in Rochester with her son William and his wife Alice and their son Charles on West Main Street.  In 1916, one year after her Rochester Democrat and Chronicle interview, Nancy died and was buried from her favorite Church and buried in Calvary Cemetery with her dear husband Francis and their beloved children who died early in life and the mysterious Nancy Ann McAdam who died at 81 in 1880. God rest in peace all their souls.

                               NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Nancy McCormick article about 1901

Canandaigua, N.Y., Oct. 6 –

One of the old pioneer residents, and a remarkably well preserver woman, is Mrs. Nancy McCormack. Nearly everybody in in the village knows her either by personal acquaintance, or by reputation. Mrs. McCormack was born in Middleberry, Vt. August 1, 1825, and came to this village in 1852. her husband, the late Francis McCormack, started the well established ice business of the McCormack family in 1858 and died ten years later. His wife has continued the business ever since. The McCormack’s have for years been closely associated with the steam boats on our lake, and the wreck of “The Lady of the Lake,” which was the first real steam boat on these waters, now lies buried under Mrs. McCormack’s boat house. In addition to that the steamer “Joseph Wood” was build in her back yard, and some years afterwards was wrecked by the ice at the end of the pier. Her son, Captain John McCormack was for years captain of the “Ontario,” which was built after the destruction of the “Joseph Wood”. In the early days of St. Mary’s Church, in the times of Father O’Connor, and other early priest here, one of the most earnest workers at the church fairs and festivals was the subject of our sketch. She is now in her seventy-sixth year with a splendid possession of her faculties, and she has resided a large family, and they are as proud of her as one can imagine. That she may enjoy many more years of health and happiness is the wish of a multitude of friends.

McCormick- At Rochester,
Dec. 27 1916, Mrs. Nancy McCormick aged 91 years.
Interment at Canandaigua.
Mrs. Nancy McCormick, widow of Francis McCormick, and well known business woman of Canandaigua, died at the home of her son William J. McCormick, in Rochester, on Wednesday, at the great age 91 years.
Mrs. McCormick was born at Middlebury Vermont , on August 1, 1825, but a few years latter became a resident of Franklin County, this state, where her parents made their home.
She was united in marriage in 1840 to Francis McCormick, the ceremony being preformed at Sackett's Harbour, where the family had settled, following an effort to reach Rochester by means of a lake boat. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. McAdam, were so badly upset by the rough weather encountered that the captain insisted upon their debarkation at Sackett's Harbour.
Settling in Canandaigua Mr. McCormick established an ice
business and boat livery at the lake, the first enterprise of the kind conducted in the place, and upon her husbands death in 1868, Mrs. McCormick assumed it's management, a business that she followed with success for a succeeding thirty-three years.
When the village built a pier into the lake for the accommodation of the steamboats, she was made the piermistress and toll collector, fees being exacted for all vehicles that drove on the wooden structure and from the boats which landed passengers and fright thereon.
She was faithful in the preformance of this public service as she was in looking after her own private business and made the aquaintance and gained the respect of almost the entire population of the village.

Mrs. McCormick was a woman of large stature and in her rime of vigorous physique, giving the harvesting and storing of ice and it's distribution to customers her personal supervision.

Notwithstanding her great age, she continued active and mentally alert to very near the end. Her memory was exelent and she recalled with interest her experiences as the pioneer business woman of Canandaigua, where she is remembered as a most interesting character.

She had thirteen children, six of whom survive, as follows, John H. McCormick of Canandaigua, William J. McCormick of Rochester, Mrs. Patrick Meath and Mrs. David Gentner, of Canandaigua, and Mrs. Laura Koons of Rochester.
The funeral service was held at St. Mary's Church in this city, Friday morning, with interment in Calvary Cemetery.

ONTARIO COUNTY TIMES Wednesday January 2, 1917 PAGE 6 COL 3
DIED   McCORMACK At Rochester, December 27, 1916, Mrs. Nancy McCormack, aged 91 years. Interment at Canandaigua.

For the record, there is no history of any McAdam living in Middlebury, Vermont during the 1820's nor is there any record of a John McAdam associated with the two Nancys in Sackets Harbor, New York. The story that Nancy McAdam told is exactly the same story that Nancy McAdam McCormick told about how they all ended up in Sackets Harbor. This story always had the exact same narrative with no deviation at all.  I am surprised the reporters never asked her about her Father.   In all of the interviews that Nancy McCormick gave, she never mentioned her father living or dead, no reference to him at all.  She had a reputation of telling stories all the time.  I report, you decide.  At the moment the McAdam family resides in the land of Mystery. We had two people personally check the Town Hall and Catholic Church for records of the McAdams.  The results came back there are no records on John, Nancy and little Nancy.  Also there is no record of Rose McAdam Smith who was born supposedly in Sacket's Harbor. Naturally we would love to solve this mystery once and for all but all research ends up with zero information.





  1. Great stuff, Aunt Eileen! Thank You! By the way ... Chad's family thinks they are distantly related to Lord Nelson. Chad's grandmother was a great family historian too and we have a binder FULL of Nelson Family info. The story we all like to laugh about is when one Nelson got in trouble with the police because his wife was mouthy and he couldn't control her!

    Eeeesh ... I can't imagine Nancy getting married at 15! YIKES!

  2. Thank you Theresa, or should I say Lady Nelson 9:) Give me an idea of the genealogy of Lord Nelson and I will look it up. Good grief, a Lord and a Saint....whatever am I going to do with you. We live in amazing times.

  3. Just finished the final draft, Aunt Eileen ... all so interesting! YOu are an awesome story-teller (and a great researcher, too!). I remember hearing those stories about some grandmother selling booze in the middle of Lake Canandaigua ... now I know the rest of the story!

    Enjoy your rest before you delve into the next chapter!

    One thing ... was she worried that her oldest son would lay claim to all of the stuff after her husband died? I can't imagine going to courst over the fear that my son would leave me destitute!

    Another thing I noticed ... people sure moved around a lot! It seems like so many family member moved to different towns ... towns that were pretty far away, espcially by the standars of those days! I sort of thought that everyone stayed close to the place where they were raised.

    Anyways, thanks for the thorough entry! It's great!