The former Ellis home on Route 60 just outside of Laona was a well-known and highly recognized landmark on the oft-traveled roadway. Last owned by James Ellis Rowley, the structure was razed following his death in 2022.
But prior to the home’s demolition, Gail Pugh Dash, Pomfret Historian Todd Langworthy and several area historians were able to go through the house and discovered a treasure trove of documents and artifacts that offer fascinating insight into the history of the area – Laona, in particular – through business ledgers, bibles, a recipe box, The Normal School Mothers Club meeting minutes, and more!
Included in the artifacts is the personal Bible and Congolese Bible of Sylvia M. Parsell, who died in the Laona home of her sister Mrs. Lyvenus Ellis, in 1952. Parsell was a Missionary in the Belgian Congo for 26 years. The business ledgers show purchases by noted area residents A.A. Straight and Marion Skidmore, Ellis families, and many families with relatives still residing in the area. These and the insights they yield will be shared in this multimedia lecture.
Dash is the VP and Past President of the Chautauqua County Genealogical Society, Charter Secretary/Historian of the Celia Sampson Cole Daughters of 1812, and Secretary and Past Registrar of the Jamestown Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution. She is a 1986 graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a BS in Elementary Education and a concentration in Anthropology/Archaeology.
Part of the Chautauqua County History Lecture Series at the Opera House, and presented in Partnership with the Darwin R. Barker Historical Museum
Free Admission (Donations Accepted)