September has been my month to travel for some "early years" Julia Wilbur research. Now I have to sort through and do something with all that I learned. I just came back from a week in Rochester. The Wilbur family moved to Rush, about 10 miles south of the city, in the last 1820s. To my surprise and delight, the family house still stands, and I met the current property owner! That was probably the highlight, but many other discoveries:
- Julia's complete will, as well as her sister Frances' and sister-in-law Charlotte's, at the Monroe County Surrogate's Court, as well as copy of father's will in the Livingston County Historian's office;
- First-hand look of Talman Hall and Reynolds Arcade, albeit changed over the years, as well as bridges over the Genesee River, main streets, and evocative houses throughout the city;
- Excellent places to immerse myself in the past in the Local History Room of the Rundell Library in downtown Rochester (mostly for microfilm of old newspapers) and the Rare Books & Special Collections at the University of Rochester (Porter family papers, Post Willis papers, Fish papers)
- Helpful and interested historians in Rush and Livingston County
- A meeting with a Wilbur descendent with whom I have emailed for many years
- Visit to Wilbur family's graves in Avon Cemetery (unfortunately, hers is leaning from an errant lawn mower)
Rochester remains proud of its history. My airbnb host also helped me understand current efforts to re-build the city.