St. Helena NY Nearing Desertion

Nearing the turn of the century there were only a few families owning property in St. Helena. They were John Piper, John Streeter, George E. Piper, Lucy Wallace, Thomas E. Marsh, A. Alcott, Herman Piper, John Orsburn, and Fred Marsh. L.aura Piper was there until 1902. The southern end of Water Street was no more. The school was still kept at this time. The river had moved closer and closer to the west side of the valley.

The George Teeple family left St. Helena and moved to Nunda in the early 1920’s, when the river destroyed their farm. Soon afterward, the buildings were washed away. For several years, whenever floods came, the family had moved their furniture to the barn and waited for the worst to happen. Finally, they could endure no more and the river became ruler.

A Story is told of a Warsaw man, Fred Lester, now deceased, who lived as a child at St. Helena with his family. His father was serving with the Marines, and his mother was alone with her small children at the time of the spring freshets. The raging waters were lapping at the floor of the cabin and threatened to tear it loose. The quick-thinking mother fastened a log chain to the cabin and then to a sturdy tree and thus cheated the Genesee of its victim.

We have been unable to find more information on this family.

There were no new settlers in the valley now, and as, one by one, they dropped out, no new families took their places.

In the early 1930’s, the land was taken over by various utilities again planning a power dam at Mt. Morris. The dam still seemed far in the future, so the land was rented by those who wished to stay on. Mrs. Nellie Streeter and her son, George, stayed there until 1948 when they moved to the Wheeler house on the Five Corners Road. Her husband, John, who was born in St. Helena in 1870, died there in 1945. The Streeter house was torn down and drawn away in the spring of 195 1 by Herman Chasey and Paul Schroeder of Castile, who purchased it shortly after the family left the valley.

Source: Anderson, Mildred L. H, and Marian P. Willey. St. Helena, Ghost Town of the Genesee, 1797-1954. Castile, N.Y, 1954. Print.

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