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August 11, 2022 - 12:44am
posted by Press Release in hlom, Henry Glowacki, batavia, history, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce its next edition of our Java with Joe E morning coffee presentation on Thursday, August 25 at 9 am. This month’s presenter is Ryan Duffy who will be presenting on Henry Glowacki. Glowacki was a Polish immigrant to Batavia in the 1830s. He became a prominent Batavia citizen and went on to become a lawyer, a clerk for the Holland Land Office, was a recruiter for the Civil War, Village Trustee, and school board member amongst many other things. The event is free to the public and coffee and donuts will be available. If you wish to attend, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]

August 1, 2022 - 11:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in History Heroes, hlom, batavia, news, history.

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For 12 years, Anne Marie Starowitiz has brought history alive for area children as coordinator for the History Heroes program at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Saturday, with the end of this summer session, was her last day in the role.

Starowitz said even though she's stepping away from the program, "I'm sure it will continue."

This summer the children learned all about living in the 50s.  

On Saturday, they delivered a program for their parents. They shared important historical dates and ended the program by singing a song from the 50s.  

During the week they created a lemonade stand and made more than $160 for the Genesee County Animal Shelter.  

Starowitz thanked Tompkins Financial, Adam Miller, WBTA, Photos by Sue Meier, Ficarella’s, T-Shirts Etc, and The Batavian for support of the program. 

Submitted photos. 

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July 29, 2022 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in History Heroes, wbta, hlom, history, news, Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle.

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The History Heroes summer program hosted by Holland Land Office Museum and led by Anne Marie Starowitz visited Adam Miller Toy & Bicycle and WBTA today, fitting into this year's theme of "History Rockin’ Around the Clock in the 1950s."

The theme gives the participating children a chance to glimpse into what it was like to live in 1950s America.

Photos by Howard Owens

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June 16, 2022 - 2:46pm
posted by Press Release in History Heroes, hlom, history, batavia, news.

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Press release:

The Holland Land Museum is proud to announce the return of its History Heroes Summer Program. The museum will be rocking this summer with this year's theme, History Rockin’ Around the Clock in the 1950s. The program runs five days from Tuesday, July 26th through Saturday, July 30th from 10 am-4 pm. If you have a child between the ages of 7 and 12, sign them up for rocking time living in the 50s. The cost is $25 per day per child, with discounts for siblings and museum members.

The children a glimpse into what it was like to live in the 50s and their local history through numerous artifacts from the museum, such as a Sylvania black and white TV, various early telephones, a phonograph, record albums, 45s, and a phonograph needle. Also on display will be typewriters, early cameras, movie cameras, a transistor radio, ball-bearing roller skates, and a skate key. The children will compare what we had back then to what we have today; they will check out the clothing, learn about the history of the 50s and experience an old-fashioned ice cream soda and a cherry coke. They will play many games against each other to give them a sample of what baby boomers experienced. No cell phones are allowed. Instead, we will bring out the hula hoops, chalk for hopscotch, rope for jump roping, a can for kicking, marbles, and much more.

If you are interested in signing your child up for the Holland Land Office Museum History Heroes Summer Program you can contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]. Further information and forms can be found on the museum’s website, www.hollandlandoffice.com, or the museum’s Facebook page.

Photo: File photo from 2016 by Howard Owens

May 9, 2022 - 6:12pm

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Hailed as a hero and confidante of General Ulysses Grant, Ely Parker is mostly known by local historians and history buffs, even though the Native American celebrity of sorts was a Genesee County native and now graces the tail of a $1 Native American coin minted this year.

Don’t know about Ely Samuel Parker? The 2022 Native American $1 Coin honors him as a U.S. Army officer, engineer, and tribal diplomat who served as military secretary to Ulysses S. Grant during the U.S. Civil War. When Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, on the morning of April 9, 1865, Parker rendered the formal surrender documents in his own hand. On the coin Parker is depicted in his Army uniform while a quill pen, book and what’s been called “his graceful signature” are included as symbols of his experience as a successful communicator. His tribe of Tonawanda Seneca and HA-SA-NO-AN-DA are inscribed to recognize his tribe and given birth name. The coin’s head design is of Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean Baptiste.

Terry Abrams, administrative coordinator of Tonawanda Reservation Historical Society, believes this coin is another piece of recognition for Parker.

“I think it's just one one more step in sort of recognizing, you know, the contributions that somebody like Ely Parker specifically had, not just locally but nationally,” Abrams said during an interview with The Batavian. “He was somebody who was a national figure during the Civil War and the Grant administration. So, that's something to note and something to acknowledge.”

He also noted that Parker was “really a sort of complicated figure,” as captured in one of Parker's biographies, Warrior in Two Camps. As intelligent, savvy, effective and versatile as Parker was, he was not always so highly regarded. As a Native American, Parker was not considered to be a United States citizen, he could not take the Bar exam to officially become a lawyer, and his application to join the Union Army as an engineer was denied, all due to his Native American status.

Who he was ...
There’s an exhibit about Parker at Holland Land Office Museum, and Genesee County Michael Eula has given talks about him during the Museum’s History Heroes youth program. Eula recapped Parker’s life, from being born into a large family in 1828 in Indian Falls as a Seneca Native American (part of the Tonawanda Reservation at the time) to studying law for three years and gravitating toward civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. It was when a shortage of engineers opened the door for him to join the Army, eventually serving as an assistant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was present when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox in April 1865, Eula said.

Parker became an esteemed brigadier general and, shortly after the Civil War, named Commissioner of Indian Affairs, serving from 1869 to 1871, Eula said. “He worked hard o improve the lives of Native Americans,” he said.

“He was raised … in a somewhat traditional environment. He learned to speak English, he studied law, he studied engineering. But at the same time, he grew up during the period where, you know, they were trying to move Native people out of New York State, out west. It was only a couple of years after he was born, that the Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830. There was a constant struggle to remain here,” Abrams said. He was one of the people involved in that, trying for the Tonawanda Seneca to stay in their homes and stay where they were.”

The word hero is derived from the Greek word heros, Eula said, to mean a protector or a defender. Not only did Parker do that as a soldier in war, but also during a tumultuous time in civilian life, when Native Americans were not wanted to remain on their own home turf.

During his time in the Army, he exhibited a willingness to risk injury and even death. His readiness to put himself in harm’s way sets him apart from other Americans, which is why we still remember him today,” Eula said. He was a clear role model – especially for young people, Native American and otherwise. He never allowed unjust setbacks to long discourage him. He picked himself back up after disappointment and found new ways to move his life ahead.”

Misnomers and stereotypes ...
Unfortunately, when it comes to notions about Native Americans, society still often thinks in terms of stereotypes, Abrams said. There are either the poor, downtrodden alcoholics or everyone is rich from casino money and tax-free gas and cigarettes, he said. Neither of those extremes are true, he said.

For example, where he lives, on the Tonawanda Reservation, residents don’t participate in any of the casino revenues because those are separate operations of Seneca Nation of Indians. “They’re a completely separate nation,” he said.

“Tonawanda has always been very strongly traditional from the beginning. And they’re still there, they're quite proud of that,” he said. But at the same time, they're certainly very forward-thinking. That Tonawanda community still maintains its traditional tribal government of chiefs and clan mothers. But at the same time, they were the first reservation community, and the second reservation community in the country to integrate in the public school system back in the 30s. So, you have that sort of dichotomy, I guess.”

Full disclosure: although Abrams grew up and remains a resident of Tonawanda Reservation, he is not an enrolled tribal member of the Tonawanda Seneca, he said. However, with that being said, he is a well-versed source for Native American history with deeply steeped ties to personal and professional Native American backgrounds.

Native American Coin Program ...
In 2009 the U.S. Mint began minting and issuing $1 coins as part of the Native American $1 Coin Program. The coins feature designs celebrating the important contributions made by Indian tribes and individual Native Americans to the history and development of the United States. The program builds on the Sacagawea Golden Dollar, released from 2000 to 2008. It featured a portrait of Sacagawea carrying her infant son, Jean-Baptiste on the obverse (heads side) and an eagle on the reverse (tails side). It was authorized under Public Law 105-124, also known as the United States $1 Coin Act of 1997 (Section 4 of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program Act). Native American $1 coins are circulating quality produced as collectibles, not for everyday transactions. However, they may be still used as legal tender.

Ely Parker was one of 17 finalists for the latest edition of the U.S. Mint's Native American series. The inscriptions “TONAWANDA SENECA” and “HA-SA-NO-AN-DA” recognize his tribe and the name given to him at birth.

The newly minted dollar coin has gotten some publicity, but not as much as it could have, Abrams said. He has spotted “a little bit here and there,” but not a whole lot. As curator and collections manager for Niagara County Historical Society, Abrams has access to the coin as the Society acquired a roll for its collections. Abrams said that Parker’s reputation has wavered over time.

“His reputation has sort of gone back and forth. He was seen as sort of, an exemplar of native people. Because he managed to succeed in the larger world. And then that was seen as not necessarily a good thing that he sort of left behind that … there was some feeling that he had left behind his traditional culture, his own people because he moved away from the reservation, and, he never returned.”

Parker has bounced back into favor, Abrams said, for being “instrumental in maintaining” the Tonawanda to nation territory. Despite that “back and forth” of Parker’s contributions, Abrams feels that he deserves acknowledgment for his good deeds. Are there some people that see a coin as a literal token commemorative for Native Americans? Perhaps, Abrams said.

“I think any sort of acknowledgment should be recognized. You know, I think for Native people to see themselves, to see one of their own somewhere in something that potentially can travel all over the place, and is, you know, accessible to anyone almost, because too often native people are sort of hidden or forgotten about or ignored or overlooked. So, you know, having a reminder that we're still here, you know, that's not a bad thing.”

Top photo: The newly minted 2022 $1 coin honoring Ely Parker. Bottom photo: Terry Abrams of Tonawanda Indian Reservation checks out the Ely Parker exhibit at Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia; and above,  Photos by Howard Owens.

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April 27, 2022 - 5:11pm
posted by Press Release in history, History Heroes, hlom, news, batavia.

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Press release:

The Holland Land Museum is proud to announce the return of its History Heroes Summer Program. The museum will be rocking this summer with this year's theme, History Rockin’ Around the Clock in the 1950s. The program runs five days from Tuesday, July 26th through Saturday, July 30th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have a child between the ages of 7 and 12, sign them up for rocking time living in the 50s. The cost is $25 per day per child, with discounts for siblings and museum members.

The children get a glimpse into what it was like to live in the 50s and their local history through numerous artifacts from the museum, such as a Sylvania black and white TV, various early telephones, a phonograph, record albums, 45s, and a phonograph needle. Also on display will be typewriters, early cameras, movie cameras, a transistor radio, ball-bearing roller skates, and a skate key. The children will compare what we had back then to what we have today; they will check out the clothing, learn about the history of the 50s and experience an old-fashioned ice cream soda and a cherry coke. They will play many games against each other to give them a sample of what baby boomers experienced. No cell phones are allowed. Instead, we will bring out the hula hoops, chalk for hopscotch, rope for jump roping, a can for kicking, marbles, and much more.

If you are interested in signing your child up for the Holland Land Office Museum History Heroes Summer Program you can contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]. Further information and forms can be found on the museum’s website, www.hollandlandoffice.com, or the museum’s Facebook page.

Photo by Howard Owens. File photo of the History Heroes visit to the Historic Batavia Cemetery, including a visit to the grave site of Joseph Ellicott, in 2016.

April 18, 2022 - 11:11pm
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in History Heroes, history, hlom, news.

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The Holland Land Museum will be rocking this summer with this year's theme, The Fabulous Fifties. I am very excited to return as a teacher for this program. My goal is to give the children a glimpse into what it was like to live in the 50s.

We have many fun activities planned. First, we hope to display several artifacts from the museum, such as a Sylvania black and white TV, various early telephones, a phonograph, record albums, 45s, and a phonograph needle. Also on display will be typewriters, early cameras, movie cameras, a transistor radio, ball-bearing roller skates, and a skate key.   

This summer, the Holland Land Office Museum will recreate the 50s. The children will compare what we had back then to what we have today; they will check out the clothing in the attic, learn about the history of the 50s and experience an old-fashioned ice cream soda and a cherry coke.

We will have an outdoor day of play. The children will be divided into groups where they will play against each other to give them a sample of what baby boomers experienced. No cell phones are allowed. Instead, we will bring out the hula hoops, chalk for hopscotch, rope for jump roping, a can for kicking, marbles, and much more.

The children will have the Holland Land Office Museum as their home for one week. They will learn their local history by visiting the various rooms at the museum and looking at all the exhibits.

If you have a child between the ages of 7 and 12, sign them up for rocking time living in the 50s.   The program will run from July 26th to July 30th. Please contact Ryan Duffy, the Executive Director of the Holland Land Office Museum, at 343-4727.

Anne Marie Starowitz, Coordinator

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April 6, 2022 - 2:10pm
posted by Press Release in hlom, news, history, Alexander.

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Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its Java with Joe E. morning presentation group on Thursday, April 28 at 9 am. This month our Director Ryan Duffy will share the local connection of Joseph Burke and "The Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind. Burke was a backup musician for Lind when she traveled around the world with P.T. Barnum. Burke had a summer home in Alexander, NY where Lind visited several times. Come and enjoy free coffee and donuts and learn about this interesting piece of local history. The event is free to the public. If you would like to attend, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].

February 25, 2022 - 1:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, Michael Eula, history, slavery, news, video.
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Most history books neglect to mention the marginalized poor of the 19th Century and, perhaps, none were more marginalized than slave women and poor white women.

Genesee County in its early history was little different than the rest of the country in this respect.

"Until well into the 1950s, a typical historical treatment of our country usually excluded about half of the population, which is, of course, female," Eula said during a talk on Thursday morning at the Holland Land Office Museum. "The is an invisibility of women in many historical works."

Eula is uncovering some of that history in a book he's writing, The National is Local: Genesee County, New York, 1802 to Present.

"One example of this effort is the portrayal of the most invisible of women, at least for me, and that would include African-American slave women and poor white women," Eula said. "Both share common traits -- they have little power politically, economically. They lacked basic economic resources in both cases."

At the start of his talk, Eula noted that people often forget the history of slavery in New York prior to the Civil War.

"Contrary to popular belief, the dichotomy between a free North and a slave South is one that is not as pronounced as is usually depicted in a standard history textbook," Eula said. "The end of slavery in the northern states is far more complex than is typically assumed."

The emancipation of slaves in New York began early in the 19th Century but would take decades to complete.  There were slaves still in New York until shortly before the start of the Civil War.

In his talk, Eula shares what census records tell us about who owned slaves in Genesee County into the 1850s.

He also covers the plight of poor white women, who were often forced into the county's poor house/asylum. 

November 25, 2021 - 7:58am
posted by Press Release in hlom, batavia, news.

Press release:

Join us Fridays at the Holland Land Office Museum during our 20th Annual Wonderland of Trees, sponsored in part by Tompkins Bank of Castile and WBTA, to be serenaded by groups of musicians from the Genesee Symphony Orchestra. On Friday, November 26th, December 10th, and December 17th from 6-8:30 various members of the GSO will bring the holiday spirit to the Holland Land Office Museum. November 26th will feature a brass quartet; December 10th a cello and French Horn duet; December 17th a flute quartet. Tickets to the concerts are $5 or $4 for museum members. Tickets are limited to 20 people due to space. Masks are required.

November 20, 2021 - 5:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, Wonderland of Trees, batavia, video.
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Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia: 20th Annual Wonderland of Trees Gala

November 17, 2021 - 7:39am
posted by Press Release in hlom, news, batavia.

Press release:

Come and experience the 20th annual Wonderland of Trees, sponsored in part by Tompkins Bank of Castile and WBTA! The opening gala will occur on Friday, November 19th from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at the Holland Land Office Museum. This year's theme to honor this milestone year is "Through the Years." Visit the museum to see all the wonderfully decorated trees and displays by local businesses and organizations. This year's opening gala will feature many great gift baskets to win and a Grand Basket. The night will also feature holiday music by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and hors d'oeuvres provided by the D & R Depot. Tickets for this event are on sale at the museum. Tickets are $15 per person/ $10 for museum members and $5 for children under 12. For more details contact the museum or visit www.hollandlandoffice.com.  Masks are required.

The Wonderland of Trees will run through the end of December. The basket raffle winners will be drawn Friday, December 17th. Further holiday events will also be held throughout the season. If you would like to participate by decorating a tree or contributing a basket, or general sponsorship, please contact the museum or visit www.hollandlandoffice.com.

October 30, 2021 - 2:16pm
posted by Press Release in hlom, Wonderland of Trees, batavia, news.

Press release:

Come and experience the 20th annual Wonderland of Trees, sponsored in part by WBTA! The opening gala will occur on Friday, November 19th from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at the Holland Land Office Museum. This year's theme to honor this milestone year is "Through the Years." Visit the museum to see all the wonderfully decorated trees and displays by local businesses and organizations. This year's opening gala will feature many great gift baskets to win and a Silent Auction. The night will also feature holiday music by the Genesee Symphony Orchestra and hors d'oeuvres provided by the D & R Depot. Tickets for this event are on sale at the museum. Tickets are $15 per person/ $10 for museum members and $5 for children under 12. For more details contact the museum or visit www.hollandlandoffice.com.

The Wonderland of Trees will run through the end of December. The basket raffle winners will be drawn Friday, December 17th. Further holiday events will also be held throughout the season. If you would like to participate by decorating a tree or contributing a basket, or general sponsorship, please contact the museum or visit www.hollandlandoffice.com.

October 4, 2021 - 11:01am
posted by Press Release in hlom.
Event Date and Time: 
October 28, 2021 - 9:00am to 11:00am

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its Java with Joe E. morning guest presentation. Join us Thursday, October 28th at 9 am at the Holland Land Office Museum as we welcome local genealogist and researcher Jennifer Liber Raines. She will be discussing the burials recovered at the Erie County Poor Farm on the University at Buffalo's south campus, the research, and how the 19th and 20th century poor lived to exemplify the importance of the preservation of our shared history. The event is free to the public.

September 16, 2021 - 11:02am
posted by Press Release in hlom, batavia, news.

Press release:

Have you ever wondered how Genesee County came to be? What was the Holland Land Purchase? What is a Gibbet? How did Batavia get its name? If any of these questions pique your curiosity among many others, then volunteering at the Holland Land Office might be perfect for you. The museum is reaching out to anyone with an interest in local history who would like to volunteer. Any amount of time that can be given is welcome, even an hour a week can make a great difference. Volunteers can work in many different areas, and interests and strengths will be used to the most optimum effect. Areas of need include cleaning, gift shop, docent/tour guide, documenting of artifacts, exhibits and displays, landscaping, etc. Volunteer hours would be during the normal hours of operation of the museum are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm.

If you have an interest in volunteering with the Holland Land Office Museum, please contact Director Ryan Duffy at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]. Information can also be found at the museum’s website at www.hollandlandoffice.com.

September 9, 2021 - 9:02am
posted by Press Release in hlom.
Event Date and Time: 
October 29, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Press release:

September 9, 2021 - 9:00am
posted by Press Release in hlom.
Event Date and Time: 
October 22, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Press release:

September 9, 2021 - 8:52am
posted by Press Release in hlom, batavia, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce its first West Side Ghost Stories program on Friday, October 8th at 7 p.m. Join us as Connie Boyd shares the spooky, sinister, and weird documented stories from the West Side of Batavia's past. Come and listen to tales of murder, ghosts, body snatching hangings, and abandoned cemeteries. This presentation is the same as our Ghost Walk, perfect for those who are not able to go on our guided Ghost Walks. Tickets are $3/$2 for museum members. The program will also be available via Zoom. You can find the link on our Facebook page or website, www.hollandlandoffice.com.

Back after a year hiatus and expanded by popular demand, please join the Holland Land Office Museum for a West Side Ghost Walk on three Fridays in October. The walks led by Connie Boyd will take place on October 15, 22, and 29 at 7 pm. Take a walk on the west side and hear tales of murders, hangings, grave robbing, ghosts and other eerie happenings from Batavia's past. Hear stories of Joseph Ellicott, E. N. Rowell and other famous and infamous Batavians. Be sure to also check out the Old Batavia Cemetery's Walk on Saturday, October 23. Admission is $10.00 and reservations are required with purchase. Tours are limited to 20 people each. The tour begins and ends at the museum and is approximately 1 1/2 to two hours in length. For tickets or more information, please call (585) 343-4727, email at [email protected], or stop by at 131 W. Main St. Batavia.

August 5, 2021 - 4:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history, batavia.
Event Date and Time: 
August 12, 2021 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce the next edition of its History Trivia Night @ the Museum. Join us Thursday, August 12th at 7 pm at the museum to test your knowledge of Napoleon Bonaparte in honor of his birthday on August 15th. If you would like to attend please contact the museum at 585-343-4727. Admission is $3 per person or $2 for museum members. You can also join via Zoom, to find the link please visit the museum’s Facebook page or website at www.hollandlandoffice.com.

July 29, 2021 - 10:19am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barber Conable, hlom, bill kauffman, batavia, news, video.
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Local author Bill Kauffman spoke at the Holland Land Office Muesum last night about the life and accomplishments of Barber Conable, the former congressman who served his hometown Batavia and surrounding areas in Congress for 20 years.

One congressional historian said Conable was as highly and widely respected as any member of Congress in the last half of the 20th Century.

Kauffman, who was good friends with Conable, said Conable was "the greatest political figure our region has ever produced."

This month University Press of Kansas released The Congressional Journal of Barber B. Conable, Jr. 1968-1984 and Kauffman is the editor of the book.  

"To me he was kind of what James Madison and those guys had imagined what a congressman might be like and obviously, precious few have ever lived up to that kind of standard," Kauffman said.

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