Big Springs Historical Society

Big Springs Historical Society

Volunteer History Sleuths Needed!


(Need a paragraph or two, with interesting images, to describe the overall of our collection.)


Genealogical Research: At present we are unable to honor e-mail requests for geneological research. On-site research assistance is available by appointment. Please check back for updates on this service.

Reference Material. The large, three-story building which is home to the Society, is a wonderful museum. Artifacts are displayed which reflect the diversity of our 210 year history.

What is less well-known, is the Museum’s archive collection. For instance there is a complete run of Caledonia newspapers from 1917 to 19XX.

The collection contains many photographic images; a few from the 1850s, more from the Civil War period, and many photograph albums featuring family members from the 1880s though the early 1900s. There are many photographs of school classes from the 1910s and 1920s, and pictures of village baseball clubs. The museum houses images of local buildings, street scenes, Civil War veterans, parades, and the destruction caused by our two village fires.

In our collection are family Bibles, and much paper ephemera on a variety of topics. Some, before the introduction of typewriters, are handwritten; but much important history has been transcribed from early manuscripts to easily-read type-script. The Museum has file folders for families for which there is considerable material. Naturally, the 19th century pioneer families are well represented. Some of the paper and photographic material is filed by subject: school, churches, farms, railroads, businesses, DAR.

Finally, there is a library of important historical reference books, period maps, black and white photographic negatives, and 35 mm color slides.

This reference material is available to those who wish to conduct their own research. We urge you to sample the Museum archives, and then perhaps offer material to expand and complete the collection. If you have important photographs you would like to retain, let us scan the images and return the originals.








The Museum has begun a modest publication effort, building on the strength of its archives, It follows the notable booklets: Caledonia-Mumford Bicentennial (Brown and Hanna, 1976) and Caledonia History of the Town and Village (Esther Hayward, 1990s). The following titles are available at a modest cost from the Museum. The pages are 8.5 x 11 inches, and spiral bound.

  • Pioneer History, McKenziePioneer History of Caledonia and Surrounding Towns. This is a transcription of a rare manuscript, now lost, which only exists in a few photocopies. It was written by Donald D McKenzie (1792–1851) who came from Scotland in 1804, and pioneered with his family. Near the end of his life he wrote this reminiscence, parts of which were used by the published historian, Orsamus Turner. (128 pages)
  • Williamson & TroupCharles Williamson & Robert Troup, Land Agents for the Pulteney Estate.  (32 pages of text and 6 pages of images) (Download 5-page sample: Williamson & Troup-snippet )
  • Pioneer Families of Avon_Page_1Pioneer Families of Avon. This is a facsimile of a booklet privately printed in 1871. (45 pages including an index of names)
  • McKay TitleThe Family History of Robert & Jennett McKay. The McKays came from Scotland before the Revolutionary War and settled in Pennsylvania. After the opening of Western New York, family members moved to Caledonia. (28 pages of text, 8 pages of images)
  • The Oil Scouts-TennettThe Oil Scouts, This is a facsimile of the 1915 booklet written by James Corbett Tennent. He was an early adventurer in the Bradford, PA oil field, and this is his account. (85 pages text, 2 pages of images)
  • Our Childhood in BeulahOur Childhood in Beulah. Stories by James Corbett Tennent and Margaret Shearer Tennent (brother and sister) of their childhood in Beulah, Town of Wheatland. His reminiscences were published in the local newspaper in 1914. Her stories were deposited in the BSHS archives, and have not been published before. Biographies of both authors are included. James made $1M in the oil field, and at the end of his life spent much of it improving Caledonia. (128 pages text, 4 pages of images)
  • Biographies Prominent CaledoniansBiographies of Prominent 19th Century Caledonians. (65 pages of text from period publications and 10 pages of images)
  • Pioneer Settlers, Native AmericansPioneer Settlers and the Native Americans. Excerpts from rare 19th century documents indicating mutual respect between the pioneers and Seneca Indians. (59 pages)
  • Hosmer ChildrenChildren of Timothy and Elizabeth Hosmer. The Hosmers were prominent in Avon and Caledonia, and this is their history. Also included is the story of the Farmersville Inn in Cattaraugus County, which was built in 1818, the same year as the Hosmer Inn in Caledonia. The Hosmer Inn has been moved to the nearby Genesee Country Museum, and the ballroom walls stenciled with patterns taken from the Farmersville Inn. (89 pages of text and 5 pages of images)
  • McKenzie & AllenCloth Manufacturers of Mumford, Donald McKenzie & Oliver Allen. The biographies of both men are presented. McKenzie was a pioneer from Scotland who established an early woolen mill, saw mill, and grist mill in Caledonia. He bought land and water rights on both sides of Oatka Creek and started another woolen mill, which was purchased by Allen. Allen then erected a three-story stone manufactory which was a large operation for the period. It furnished employment for many until it folded in 1902. (44 pages of text and 8 pages of images)
  • Strobel Mill MumfordThe Strobel Woolen Mill and Other Mumford Businesses. Spring Creek splits into several branches as it flows across George St. in Mumford, then into Oatka Creek. Water power was harnessed in the early 1800s, and there were many businesses in a 120 year history of George Street. The businesses including, grist mills, malt house and brewery, plaster mill, distillery, woodworking business, and a manufactory of smoking pipes. The largest concern was the Strobel Woolen mill which lasted from 1882 until 1899. It was converted to a paper mill in 1905, and principal product was toilet paper. It closed in 1939, and finally George St. was quiet. (30 pages of text and 6 pages of images)
  • Centennial Book of the First Presbyterian Church. A facsimile of the booklet published in 1906, and now rare. (56 pages)
  • Suburban Villages of RochesterViews in Suburban Villages of Rochester, NY With Sketches of Prominent Men. A facsimile of small pamphlet published about 1915. It includes Caledonia. (36 pages including many images)
  • Old Days in CaledoniaOld Days in Caledonia. This work by local historian, David Leathersich, was published serially in 1906 in the Caledonia Era newspaper. The writer remembers Caledonia as it was in 1836. He does not take up the subject chronologically, but rather as personal reminiscences, recounting them as he would in conversation with friends. He groups his narrative around places and men, rather than times, beginning with a pen picture of the old buildings that stood along the western end of West Main Street. This is a transcribed digital copy to which has been added photographs and a street map to make the narrative more understandable.