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John O'Dell's Diary
Johnny Strowger
Bessie Cowles
Irva Wright

Compiled here are the diaries of four children who lived in the Webster area between the years 1867 and 1917.

The oldest of the diaries, dating back to 1867 belongs to John O'Dell, age 14,who lived on his families farm just east of Holy Trinity Church. His family included his mother and father John and Sarah O’Dell, an older brother Haran (?Hirum) and three sisters, Cintha, Sara Ann and Margaret. John probably attended school on the east side of  South Avenue across the street from the red brick building near the Spry School.

The second oldest belongs to Johnny Strowger, also 14, and dates back to 1874. He lived with his parents and sister May near the corner of Route 250 and Lake Road. His Great grandfather Abraham Foster is listed as one of Webster’s earliest citizens and owned much of the land along both sides of Lake Road from Route 250 to Phillips Road. Johnny attended the District #9 School on Lake Road. 

The third diary, written in 1911 is that of Bessie Cowles, age 8 at the start of the diary, who born in Ithaca in 1903, moved several times with her fmaily before settling in Webster.  .  Bessie lived in the Village of Webster on South Avenue and attended Webster Union School on the north west corner of South Avenue and Sanford Street. Her Father was a newspaper printer

The last of the diaries was written in 1917 and belongs to Erva Wright. Erva, age 11,was the daughter of May Strowger, Johnny Strowger's sister. She lived across the street from 1302 Lake Road.  As she grew up, like her mother, Erva helped manage the family business.  She went to college, became a teacher, and was active in Politics in Monroe County.  Erva may have attended school in the District #9 school on Lake Road.  However, she graduated from the Webster Union School in the Village.

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Webster Museum