Medina Journal-Register — History was new in Albion on Saturday.
Thanks to the generosity of the Capurso family, the base of the hill leading up to the County Legislature building added a new historic marker early Saturday afternoon. It commemorates the log cabin site of Albion’s first settlers, Mr. and Mrs. William McAllister.
The McAllisters first arrived in Albion in 1811, but he moved away a year later when his wife passed away in 1812.
Al Capurso, the unofficial emcee of the marker’s dedication ceremony, said the McAllisters were the first to settle this frontier area.
“They were here before Albion, before the discovery of sandstone, and before the canal and before cobblestone houses,” he said.
The summit of the hill is where the McAllisters built their cabin, and Capurso said when Mrs. McAllister died in 1812 she was buried nearby. He said skeletal remains, believed to be hers, were found when a construction company working for the county dug them up in 1957.
“It’s still a mystery where she was re-interred,” Capurso said.
Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin praised the Capurso family and mentioned Al’s mother-in-law, the late Donna Rodden. Lattin said Rodden passed her love of local history to the next generation.
“Everything she did was to Albion with love,” Lattin said. “She recognized the importance of local history and heritage.”
In talking about the newest historical marker, Lattin said it is like many others throughout the county in that it only teases a larger story.
“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “There is really an immense amount of history with each marker all over the county, and we’re fortunate to have a number of them here.”
Gaines Town Historian Delia Robinson praised the Capursos for making sure the marker paid tribute to two settlers, and not just one.
“Most markers recognize the man, where he was from, and sometimes his trade,” Robinson explained. “This is different because it acknowledges the fact that men and women settle areas.”
Robinson said the McAllisters came to Albion from a previously settled area, and that while William made the cabin, it was his wife who he relied on for many things. While he worked the land, Robinson said Mrs. McAllister was responsible for maintaining their home, cooking meals, and mending his clothes, among other tasks.
“And this was all done in a log cabin with a dirt floor and an open fire place,” Robinson said.
“I’m so pleased that the Capursos recognized that with the pioneers, there was always a woman behind the man,” she stated.
State and county officials were also on hand to mark the marker’s unveiling.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley read a proclamation he and Senator George Maziarz shared. It commemorated the day’s meaning, and it mentioned the history behind the marker.
As for the day itself, Hawley said, “All of us, all ages here today, we’re a part of history.”
Adam Tabelski, representing Maziarz, briefly talked about how the county has always had people within its borders who have a passion and understanding of history.
“The pioneer elders formed an association that documented the earliest days of the settlers,” he said, adding that the association put a volume together in the late 1800s.
“Even from the earliest days, when it was hard to travel from one town to the next, we had people marking the accomplishments of our area’s earliest settlers,” he noted.
Orleans County Legislature Chairman Dave Callard read a county-issued proclamation that described the McAllisters and thanked the Capurso family. He added that while many people live for the day, the Capurso family truly understands the value of history.
“It’s amazing what’s happened here in the past 200 years,” Callard said. “It will be interesting to see what it looks like in the next 200 years.”
A picture of the marker accompanies this story. One unique feature is the logo that accompanies it. Whereas many in the area feature New York State, this marker has a log cabin.
“I’d seen some that veer from the state logo,” Capurso said. “I wanted this one to be distinct, and Catskill Castings (manufacturer of marker) had a log cabin logo, so it was perfect.”