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Blackmar-Eaton Project History

Please click here to view photos of the Blackmar-Eaton project’s history.

Period I: 1838 – 1857

On March 24th 1838, Almer White sold a small two acre parcel located in the northeast corner of lot 68 B to Lester Brace of Buffalo for one hundred and sixty-eight dollars (Erie Co. Deeds 1838:480[110]).  Lester Brace, however, never lived at the site, but likely maintained the site parcel as a rental property.

The site’s first occupants was the household headed by William Blackmar.  Blackmar was born in 1805 in Greenfield, Massachusetts, but immigrated to the Town of Hamburg, in Erie County, New York in October 1825, via the Erie Canal.  He lived in Hamburg where he worked as a carpenter and taught school for three years.

Blackmar went to Buffalo in 1829, where he worked as a jailer for Sheriff Lemuel Wasson for two years (Briggs 1883:278).  It is likely that his work in the Buffalo criminal justice system brought Blackmar into contact with Lester Brace who later served as Erie County Sheriff from 1835 to 1837. It seems possible that this relationship explains why Lester Brace bought the parcel .

In 1831, William Blackmar married Almira Chafee.  The Blackmar family resided in Hamburg until 1837, when they moved to the Town of Concord.  It is likely that upon their arrival Blackmar would have initially stayed with relatives.  In addition to Almira’s Father, Charles, and her brother Joel who owned nearby farmsteads, her brother-in-law Elisha Eaton owned a farm immediately adjacent and to the west of the 2 acre site parcel, identified here as Structure 1007.

In 1853, Lester Brace sold the site property to former tenant, William Blackmar, for $150 (Erie Co. Deeds 1853:137/86). It is likely that Blackmar continued to maintain MDS 1001 as a rental property.

The 1855 New York State census lists Emiline Darling as head of household for MDS 1001. Darling had been widowed and was living with her three children, James, Gertrude and Fayette, as well as her two adolescent sisters, Mariah and Dalia. MDS 1001 is described as a frame house worth $200, comparatively less than neighboring domestic structures, which are, on average, valued at about $600 dollars (NYS Census 1855).

Period II: 1857 – 1880

The site parcel remained in William Blackmar’s hands until 1857, when he sold it to his nephew Luzerne Eaton for $550 (Erie Co. Deeds 1857:184/599).  At about the same time, Luzerne took over the daily operations of the Eaton farmstead.  It is likely that he purchased MDS 1001 and re-used it as a secondary domestic structure for his parent’s use, while he and his own family lived in the former Eaton farmhouse (Structure 1007) located just north of the Village of Springville owned by his cousin Henry M. Blackmar, while Elisha and Betsey remained at the old family farmstead.  Though he is listed on both the population and agricultural schedule as a farmer, it is likely that Elisha Eaton’s advanced age restricted his ability to do physical labor, and it is likely that he was assisted by his children, grand children, as well as hired farm laborers (NYS Census 1875).

Period III: 1880 – pre-1929

The F.W. Beers and Co. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Erie County, New York shows L. Eaton as owning the MDS 1001 property, though no associated domestic building is depicted on the map (Beers 1880).  While it is possible that MDS 1001 had been razed, it is also possible that the publisher did not depict for tenant cottages or outbuildings.

The 1880 census of the Town of Concord shows that Elisha and Betsey Eaton were now living with Luzerne and his family just north of the Village of Springville. On March 16th, 1881 Luzerne sold his former farmstead to his son-in-law Walter Allen. There is no indication that either Allen or any of his family members ever lived at the site (Federal Census 1880).

It is possible that the site had been maintained as a rental house since Elisha Eaton had left at some point prior to 1880.  It more likely though that MDS 1001 had been abandoned and/or demolished.  Furthermore, after 1857, it appears that the site parcel had been integrated into the adjacent farmstead, as no reference to it or MDS 1001 can be found of it in subsequent deed or census  record.  It is likely that MDS 1001 was abandoned by the late 1890 and was demolished at some point prior to 1929.