Significant People of Avon

Cornplanter. Source: Wikipedia

Cornplanter (1740 - 1836) 

"Chief of the Seneca. The son of a Native American mother and a white father, he acquired great influence among the Seneca and in the American Revolution led war parties for the British against the colonial forces, particularly against Gen. John Sullivan in New York.
During the American Revolution, the Iroquois warrior Cornplanter rose to prominence, becoming a principal Seneca leader. He was also known as John O'Bail after his Dutch trader father.
After the Revolution, Cornplanter quickly decided that keeping the peace with the new Americans was the best way to help his own people. Although his mission as a peacekeeper was often unpopular and difficult, he negotiated the best possible terms for his people on numerous occasions when he traveled as a statesman to Philadelphia."  ~ Source:




Dr. Timothy Hosmer (1745-1815) 

Founder of Hartford (now Avon) in 1790, Revolutionary War surgeon, County Judge

"Another important early settler was Dr. Timothy Hosmer, physician, jurist, politician, land owner, tavern keeper. This Connecticut Yankee, a tall, corpulent, scholarly man, who wore breeches of soft deerskin and tied his powdered wig with a ribbon, gave the settlement its first name of Hartford. He was the grandfather of the poet Hosmer." --Source- A River Ramble: Saga of the Genesee Valley, by Arch Merrill, 1943. 


Ebenezer Merry (1748-1809)

Avon’s first Town Supervisor

Historic Marker, at the Rts. 5 & 20  bridge over the Genesee River




Gilbert R. and Maria Berry 

Gilbert Berry married Maria Wemple (b. 1759) in Fultonville and they then settled in Geneva, on the western edge of the fast- moving frontier. He was trained as a silversmith, and made brooches for the Indians. In spring of 1789 the Berrys moved to the east bank Genesee River, across from the Indian settlement of Canawaugus. They erected a log house in what was later Avon.

It was not Gilbert’s intention to open a tavern, but he and Maria entertained the few travelers that passed. To gain a little money, he installed a rope ferry across the river. In their small log dwelling the couple raised four daughters.

In addition to the home/tavern and ferry, Berry built Indian trading posts in Avon, at the river mouth on Lake Ontario, and in Big Tree (Geneseo). He did a brisk business with trappers and hunters, and his packhorses laden with furs were often seen on the main trail to Albany. He was also General Chapin’s local Indian agent.

In 1797 Gilbert died an early death at 32. Maria assumed charge of the tavern and rope ferry, and asked her unmarried sister, Volkje, to join her. The women were widely known as “Widow Berry and Miss Wemple.” Their tavern became the favorite place of land agents, surveyors, explorers, and pioneers. The more notable Indians were partial to Widow Berry, for she was reluctant to sell Indians alcohol.

The women eventually left the small log cabin for a large-scale building at the east end of the village. It became a famous stopping place for travelers.  In 1812 Maria and Volkje ceased to operate the inn.  Source: Philip Parr, Big Springs Historical Society, Caledonia NY


Samuel Blakeslee (1759 - 1834) 

War of 1812 Commanding Hero

"Born in Connecticut, Samuel Blakeslee was a drummer boy in General George Washington's Grand Army, served as a Colonel in the War of 1812 at Black Rock and Buffalo. Later he became a founding member and elder in the First Presbyterian Church of East Avon. Samuel and his wife Phebe are buried in the Avon Cemetery. " 
Source: Dr. William Blakeslee Chapel

John Hubbard Forsyth (c. 1797-1836) 

Avon's Alamo war hero, lost his life in the Battle of the Alamo. William

Henry Cuyler Hosmer (1814-1877)

“The Bard of Avon”, soldier, “War of the Rebellion”. 

Jane Ann Hogmire Williams (1825-1927)

Avon’s first 100 year old resident. 


Aaron Barber III. Source: Mulligan Family private collection


Aaron Barber III (1836 - 1925) 

Aaron Barber dedicated funds from his estate to build and endow the Avon Free Library, which was completed in 1928. He organized the State Bank of Avon in 1891, and then served as president. Barber also was elected to four terms as Avon Town Supervisor. As a farmer, he raised nationally recognized shorthorn cattle at his farm on Barber Road, on the north border of Avon, now known as the Mulligan Farm. He is buried in the Avon Cemetery under a large obelisk.




Capt. Orange Sackett . Source: Wikipedia

Capt. Orange Sackett. Source: Wikipedia


Captain Orange Sackett (1837-1925)

Civil War hero: Captain of 136th New York Infantry; participated in erecting Soldier's Monument in Avon's Village Circle.

   "Orange Sackett was born in 1837 to Orange Sr. and Amanda (Sheldon) Sackett as the youngest child of eight. He attended the academies at Lima and Canandaigua, NY. Later, he was employed as a butcher and grocer in Avon, NY. 
   Orange was commissioned to recruit a Cavalry outfit in Albany in 1862. Shortly thereafter, he assisted in the recruiting process for a company in the 136th New York Volunteer Infantry in Geneseo, NY. This company was derived from the 30th Senatorial District of: Livingston, Allegheny, and Wyoming Counties of New York. 
   He enlisted in the 136th New York Infantry Volunteers in August of 1862. He originally served as quartermaster then commissioned as First Lieutenant. He aspired to the rank of Captain in charge of Company G. The 136th New York left from Camp Williams at Portage on October 2, 1862. Captain Orange Sackett fought in all the major battles with the 136th New York, such as: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The Chattanooga Tennessee battles: Wauhatchie, Lookout Mt., Missionary Ridge and Knoxville, were parts of his battle history. H also participated in the Atlanta campaign, as well as their march through Savanna. The conflict at Bentonville, North Carolina was the last battle for Captain Orange Sackett and the 136th New York Infantry Volunteers. He returned to Avon, NY, and was mustered out in June of 1865. His company had started with 100 soldiers, but only 44 of them returned. 
   Orange Sackett owned and operated one of Avon's largest and most famous hostelries, Knickerbocker Hall at Avon Springs. 
   In 1867, he married Cornelia U. VanZandt in 1867. They had two sons, William V. Sackett and John S. Sackett. 
   In 1875 Orange Sackett was appointed to a committee of five, to take charge of the purchase and erection of a soldiers monument in Avon. This statue still stands in the village park circle. 
    President Harrison appointed Orange Sackett postmaster of Avon in January of 1892. He continued his service up to and during WWI and served as Deputy Postmaster until his ill health forced him to retire. 
    Other posts/positions that Orange held during his lifetime are: Village Trustee and Clerk, School Trustee, Chief Engineer of the Avon Fire Department and Chairman of the Fire Board. He was an active and prominent member of the GAR and of the Avon Springs Lodge No. 570, F. and A. M. 
    Captain Sackett died December 16, 1925 at the age of 88 and is buried in the Avon Cemetery."  Source: Irene Haas Grissom (

Matthew T. Cleary (1893-1918)

 Soldier 1st NY Cavalry, Fallen War Hero, Battle of LaSalle River. 

Heather Grant Knight (1910-1998)

 Distinguished horse breeder, race champion.