Austin R. Conant (1838 - 1925) & Mary T. (Harwood) Conant (1840 - 1921)

By Doris Davis-Fritsch

Austin R. Conant was born[1] in 1839 to Cornelius Conant and his second wife Perlina*. Cornelius and his first wife Malhala, were early settlers of Perinton coming from Herkimer County in 1815. They farmed what was then Arthur Newton’s[2] property located on Carter Road. Daniel Conant, also settled just north of Cornelius’s farm in 1818[3]. Cornelius and Daniel were among the 19 founding members[4] of the Free-will Baptist Church that was instituted in 1820.

Austin attended the Macedon Academy, Wayne County NY in the early 1860s and in 1864 married Mary T. Harwood[5]. They had both became members of the First Baptist Church the prior year[6] and were among the congregation of 287 when the current church, a locally designated property and on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1876[7] (94 S. Main) They remained members until their deaths in 1921 and 1925.

The 1872 map shows the Conants owning a home at what is now 24 West Street, next to a large parcel of land to the south owned by Martin Wood and his wife, the former Maria Hobbie[8]. He also owned property south of the village on Turk Hill Road[9]. By 1875, Austin was listed in the census as Head Bookkeeper, Saleratus Factory (the DeLand Chemical Company). At the time, he was head of the household and lived with his wife Mary, son Newton, and a domestic servant. His high level position in the company was likely instrumental in making it a success. He worked for the Deland Company for over 40 years[10].

He purchased an open parcel of land next door from Martin Wood in 1876[11] and likely built the house and carriage barn at 30 West Street soon after. In 1885, Austin and his son opened A. R. Conant & Son[12], a clothing store that replaced Snow & Parce. They purchased the goods of that business and leased their store space on South Main Street. It appears through the absence of advertising and his son’s relocation to Philadelphia[13] that they were only in business for a few years. It later reopened as Snow, Parce and Snow.

In 1886, the year after opening that business the Conants, who had lived in the house for approximately 10 years, sold it to Celestia Ayrault and Emily Ayrault Hobbie[14].

He then bought from Mr. and Mrs. Wood, the lot south of where he sold. “Upon this lot he has started a fine little cottage home to be composed of 6 or 7 rooms, all on the ground floor. Will Barnes, the architect.” The contractor for the building of the “cottage” was Edward Marshall[15]. The home at 36 West Street –was completed in the spring of the next year (1887).[16]

It is not known if he lived at 36 West Street, but the 1898 Census lists the Conant’s on West Avenue. In 1900, he lived on North Street.[17] (Roselawn Avenue) He built a small house at the end of Cherry Street, which was actually 30 Nelson Street. By 1903[18] he was selling this house because of Mrs. Conant’s health. They were to live in Philadelphia with their son, Dr. Conant. The advertising stated that the house was "comparatively new".

By 1913 they were living at 6 Beardsley[19]. This home was likely built around 1910.[20] Mrs. Conant died in 1921[21]. Still living on Beardsley in 1925, Austin died at age 85. They are both buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Fairport NY.[22]

* Conflicting information from article Monroe Cty Mail of 6.11.1903 on Almira and Charles Plumb. That article states that Cornelius’s first wife was named Almira. According to the Elmwood Cemetery listing Cornelius’s wives were Malhala, wife of Cornelius; d Feb. 26, 1823 aged 31y *m 10d and Perlina, wife of Cornelius; d Feb. 7, 1842 aged 37y 11m 18d


[1]1900 Federal Census

[2] Monroe Cty Mail 6.11.1903

[3] Research in 1959 by Marjorie Snow Merriman – Fairport Historical Museum

[4] Landmarks of Monroe Cty 1895, page 424 & McIntosh History of Monroe County 1788-1888

[5] 1900 Federal Census

[6] Fairport Historical Museum photo hand written on back of image

[7] www.PerintonHistorical Society.org

[8] Fairport Herald Mail 11.23.1882

[9] Town of Perinton Plat Map of 1872. Alvarado Conant and Franklin Olney previously owned this house/land per Research in 1959 by Marjorie Snow Merriman – Fairport Historical Museum

[10] Fairport Herald Mail 8.27.1925

[11] Property Abstract

[12] Fairport Herald Mail 2.6.1885

[13] Fairport Herald Mail 2.3.1888

[14] Property Abstract

[15] Fairport Herald Mail 9.20.1886

[16] Fairport Herald 10.22.1886 and Fairport Herald 4.29.1887

[17] 1900 Federal Census

[18] Monroe Cty Ml 2.5.1903

[19] The 1913 Fairport Business Directory and the1918 Farm Journal Directory

[20] Monroe County Property Assessment Information

[21] Fairport Herald Mail 5.18.1921

[22] Fairport Herald Mail 8.27.1925

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The Conant - Boyland House and Carriage Barn at 30 West Street is a local designated landmark.

Individual stories about the owners of 30 West Street can be found in the Personage section of this webpage or click the name below.

Celestia Ayrault & Emily Ayrault Hobbie

Issac S. Hobbie

William & Belle Boyland

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