14 and 16 Second Street

14 Second Street, 2006

William Buttry was born in England and came to the United States in 1852 at the age of 23.  Two years after his arrival, he moved to Geneseo and became employed at the Homestead.  For the next forty-five years, he was a trusted and valued employee of the Wadsworth family, in charge of the house and grounds.  In 1873, Mr. Buttry purchased two lots on Second Street and built the houses at #14 and #16 at the cost of about $1,000 each.  Note the similarity in construction of these houses and the identical detail on the porches, even though placed differently.

16 Second Street, 2006

16 Second Street, 2006

Mr. Buttry’s son, William, Jr. was born in 1856.  He trained as a blacksmith and pursued that occupation during his earlier years.  In 1876, during Geneseo’s celebration of the nation’s centennial, the premature firing of a cannon cost him his right hand and his trade.  He soon became proficient with his left hand and joined his father as an employee of Major Wadsworth for many years. He policed the Wadsworth lands and prepared it for the fox hunts.  In 1888, when Major Wadsworth imported Mongolian pheasants from Oregon, William Buttry, Jr. learned from an expert English game keeper the proper way to raise and liberate them.  Up to 3,500 were liberated in one season and it was said that no one in the area knew more about game birds and their habits than he did.  He married the former Mary Sutton in 1903. His parents died in 1909 and 1911.  In 1913, they improved both houses with the addition of kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.  William Buttry, Jr., died in 1935. His wife retained possession of the properties until 1944, when she transferred title of her two houses to Mrs. Harry Andrews.  There was no known blood relationship between the Buttrys and the Andrews, but both families had roots in England. At the time of her death in 1950, Mrs. Buttry was living with the Andrews on Avon Road.

It may be of interest to note that in 1895, Mr. Buttry also purchased a large vacant lot at what is now 45 North Street. About 1904, he constructed an ice skating rink on the North Street lot that became a popular spot with the youth of Geneseo for many years.  In 1922, the Buttrys sold the lot to the Troop M Club and they erected stables there.  In 1947, Troop M sold the section of land facing on North Street.  A house was built in the 1950’s.