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April 25, 2014

Wrights Corners in the spotlight

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Nearly 60 people, young and old, crammed into the Niagara County Historical Society Thursday afternoon to reminisce and hear tales about living in Wrights Corners during the 1930s and 1940s.

Dick Gallagher, Mary Eldredge Urtel and Mary Wick Hahn led the presentation. Now in their 80s, all three grew up in Wrights Corner during the 30s and 40s. The presentation was the culmination of a three-year effort to get people interested in the topic, Gallagher said. 

“We wanted to get something like this on record,” he said.

Gallagher, who grew up on Slayton Settlement Road, started the presentation talking about people who were prominent in the area during that time period, from George Rounds who ran a sawmill to Red Caulkins, who ran a one-chair barbershop in Wrights Corners.

“Red had the family living there, and they’d all come out and fight on a Saturday night,” he said, noting that the farmers in the area would go to watch. “They’d argue and he was trying to cut hair and do the whole job.”

Eldredge Urtel also grew up on Slayton Settlement Road near Gallagher, and talked about the two-room school at Wrights Corners that she went to starting in the fall of 1936. The first four grades were on the first floor, and grades five through eight were on the second floor. She walked a total of four miles to and from school everyday. 

“I don’t remember school ever being closed,” she said.

Growing up on a farm at the time, Eldredge Urtel said she was expected to go to school, come home, change and start working on the farm. Her dad mostly grew tomatoes, so she would clean up the tomatoes and get them ready for her father or mother to take to the Clinton-Bailey Farmer’s Market in Buffalo at 3 a.m.

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