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Nunda Notables 

Over Nunda's long history many people have contributed to the growth and character of our area. The purpose of this page is to built a "hall of fame" of sorts - a list of the people who have played a role in our local history.

You will find some people who were "famous" in the State or Nation - others who were "ordinary" people who were important part of Nunda. You will find inventors, business leaders, writers, and just plain folks. But they have something in common - they were Nunda's Notables - individual who were important to the Nunda Area.

The list is in alphabetical order. It consists of the person's name and why they were notable. If we have additional information on them, there will be a link to their page.

This is a great opportunity to add your ancestor to Nunda's "hall of fame" !

Click here for our guidelines and suggestions for submitting names.

Also see our Portraits from Nunda's Past


 Information on this "Nunda Notable"

  Britton, Suranus
 Came to Nunda as a contractor on the Genesee Valley Canal in Nunda Area - with Utley Spencer helped to complete the Deep Cut. Active businessman and builder - owned a livery, managed a stage route through Nunda. Received contract to build railroad at Keene NH. Also active in lumber business. His second wife Priscilla Russell (half- sister of Andrew Russell) was active in the Baptist Church and organized community fund raisers and support for the soldiers in the Civil War. Suranus eventually sold his business interests and "went west". Invested heavily in Cleveland area railroads. Lost his fortune. (Hand p 288,615)

  FitzGerald, Edward Burke
 Son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael FitzGerald who became an engineer on the Colorado & North Western R. R. He was killed in a avalanche in Colorado was he was 23. See obituaries for further information.

 Paine, James
(b. 1783- d. 1866) Became the first settler to own land within the present boundaries of Nunda. Born in Connecticut, married Polly Dana and brought her and two sons to the Keshequa Valley on March 15, 1817. Story was he carried a bag of wheat on his back to the closest mill (Dansville), returned the next day. Mary Jemison was said to be a visitor and the family home. Paine family continues in Nunda area to present day. (see Hand p 120)

Porter, May
(b. 1875? - d 1893) Moved to Nunda from Minnesota to teach school - lived with her Aunt in the village. Taught at School #11, the"Coopersville School "(corner of Creek and Cooperville Rd). On November 14, 1893 a fire broke out in the attached woodshed and quickly spread into the schoolroom where Miss Porter and her twenty students were working. With the help of Melvin Chambers and his younger brother Harvey, they got the most of the students out the window. Witnesses reported that the teacher refused to leave the school building and went into the smoke and flames to try to rescue Johnny Johnston, a four year old who was visiting school that day with his sister. Both Miss Porter and the Johnston Boy perished in the fire. (see "Tragedy at Cooperville School" in Tom Cook's "Yesterday...Stories of Old Nunda."

  Russell, Andrew
  (b. 1830-d.1902) Artist and photographer probably born in Oakland, and raised in Nunda. Taught penmanship at Nunda Literary Institute, had a studio possibly on Church Street. Married Delia Duryee . Left Nunda to open studio in New York City - enlisted in Civil War. Became photographer - after War became photographer for the Union Pacific. Took the famous photo at Promontory Point Utah in May 1869 when the Transcontinental Railroad was complete. See a photo exhibit on Russell and view some of his art work and read a short biography.

Stilson, Sarah
 Daughter of local missionary, Rev Lyman Stilson, born in "Burmah", almost killed by a Bengal Tiger when a baby. (see Hand p 474 ) Family returned to Nunda, attended Nunda Literary Institute, attended Teachers Institute in Nunda in 1860. Wrote "Nunda's First War Poem" encouraging enlistments. Became first woman from Nunda to graduate from college - Vassar class of 1869. Went on to teach in New York City . Writer, poet, and State Exam Reader for the New York Board of Regents. (see Hand.) You will find more about here on the Oakwood Folks and Family Page at

You can submit the name of any person who you think made a contribute to the history of the Nunda area.

Please remember...

  1. They must be deceased.
  2. They must have lived at some time in the Nunda Area (can include Portage and other surrounding towns)
  3. Please give their names, any dates you may have, and a short summary of why you think they are notable. You can use the summaries above as a guide.
  4. Please cite your sources. If they are from your family stories or your own memory, we will put your name as the source.
  5. We reserve the right to edit the material!
  6. Send email or mail it to Tom Cook. PO Box 177, Nunda NY 14517
  7. Thank You!


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