Department of History
The Department of History is currently closed to the public. Please contact the Historian via email or phone to request information or to setup an appointment (as needed).
Closed on all major holidays.
Please call or e-mail in advance to notify the historian of your intended visit. This allows for the historian to locate and pull appropriate materials prior to your visit.
Matthew R. Ballard, MLS - Historian
34 East Park Street
Albion, New York
Phone: (585) 589-4174
ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1439-8235
M.A. American History, anticipated 2019 - SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport NY
M.L.S. Academic Librarianship, 2012 - SUNY University at Buffalo, Buffalo NY
B.S. History, 2010 - SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport NY
A native of Albion, Matthew graduated from Albion High School in 2006 and enrolled at SUNY The College at Brockport in 2007. Focusing his studies in American History during the era of National Expansion and Reform (1815-1880), he has studied a broad range of local subjects including Cobblestone Masonry and Polish Immigration; completing his B.S. in History in 2010. In 2012, he earned his Master of Library Studies (M.L.S.) from the University at Buffalo where he studied academic librarianship and special collections management. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in American History with a concentration in Archival Management from SUNY The College at Brockport.
Matthew has over ten years of experience in local history and preservation efforts. Currently, he serves as treasurer of the Orleans County Genealogical Society and in the past has served as Director/Curator of the Cobblestone Society and Museum, president of the Cobblestone Society and Museum, and chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission in Albion. He also hosts the Albion Polonia website, which serves as a historical and genealogical resource for area researchers interested in the Polish communities of Albion and Medina. Matthew received the Orleans County Heritage Hero Award in 2014 as part of the inaugural class of inductees for his work in preserving the history of St. Mary's Assumption Church in Albion. In 2017 he received the SUNY College at Brockport Recent Alumnus Award for professional achievement and dedication to community service.
In addition to his responsibilities as County Historian, he is the Director of Library Services at Roberts Wesleyan College with assistant faculty rank, where he serves as the faculty liaison to the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Business, and Nursing; he is also a member of the Rochester Regional Library Council's Advisory Committee.
Crime - "Stories that Kill: Infamous Criminals in Orleans County"
Erie Canal - "History of the Erie Canal: The Development of Orleans County"
Immigration (General) - "Fear of the Unknown: Creating the Illegal Immigrant in 19th Century America"
Immigration (Norwegian) - "The Sloopers: Birth of Modern Norwegian Immigration"
Immigration (Polish) - "History of Albion's Polonia"
Local Family Histories - "Brothers in Blood, Brothers in Arms: The McOmber Family of Orleans County"
World War I - "The Lost Generation: Orleans County in World War I"
The Pioneer Record pays homage to the pioneer settlers who ventured into the wilderness that was Orleans County. The earliest settler arrived in 1803 and many traveled along the southern shore of Lake Ontario or along the historic Ridge Road. Often call the “Black North,” the region was covered with forests so dense that light could not penetrate the tree tops. Men, women, and children toiled in the vast wilderness, clearing the land and preparing a life and future for themselves.
Founded in 1859, Article VIII of the Pioneer Association Constitution stated, “The Secretary shall keep a book, to be called the “Pioneer Record,” in which he shall enter this constitution and the proceedings of each meeting of the association, and he shall also keep a register of the names of the several members, the place of their birth, the year they became residents of Western New York, and the time and place of the decease of each member…”
It is in this spirit that the Department of History shall resurrect The Pioneer Record as a way to preserve the continued development and progress of the history of Orleans County.
The Pioneer Record is a publication that provides entertaining and informative articles about the history of Orleans County and the surrounding region.
For questions about the publication or the submission process, please contact the Historian.
Katherine Rowley: 1934-1938
Theta Hakes Brown: 1938-1944
Joseph B. Achilles: 1944-1957
Cary Harling Lattin: 1958-1974
Arden McAllister: 1975-1978
Cary Wilson "Bill" Lattin: 1979-2014