The Ransom Family
Niagara County ties to the Ransom family are probably most apparent in the namesake community, Ransomville. Tracing their heritage back beyond Niagara County’s origins, the first progenitor to travel to the New World was Robert Ransom who arrived in Plymouth Colony in 1654, most likely an indentured servant who sought greater freedom in America. Fast forward to 1826 and we find Jehiel Clark Ransom, arriving in Niagara County on foot from Ulster County, taking up residence and becoming postmaster of the growing community. Descendants of the Ransom family today number in the thousands and trace their ancestry to Jehiel’s nephew, William Henry Harrison Ransom who arrived in the county in 1839. The community of Ransomville was named in William’s honor. He and his wife, Elisa Estes Ransom, had 13 children who each had children of their own. The thirteen branches of this Ransom family tree stretch beyond Ransomville to include members scattered all across the United States.
Ransom’s parents must have enjoyed a political bent, as they named their son William Henry Harrison after a man who was active in politics, but before he became president. Another child was named George Washington Ransom. W.H.H. Ransom moved from Sullivan County to Niagara County and purchased a farm in Wilson. Early on in life, he was a carpenter and in 1846, bought a general store from his uncle, Jehiel Clark Ransom. This store was presumably quite profitable as one account states, "There are very few stores in Lockport that carry as large a stock of goods as may be found in the Ransom store in Ransomville." In addition to his large inventory, W.H.H.'s reputation for honesty and integrity contributed to the store's success. W.H.H. died December 29, 1889 at the age of 74 in Ransomville, NY.
Ransom’s descendants have carried on their pride in the family name. Beginning in 1929, the extended family began celebrating family reunions in various locations around Niagara County, the first at Coolidge Beach in Wilson, a shoreline hamlet west of Roosevelt Beach. More recently, family members who cannot attend the annual reunions held on the first Sunday in August each year, have created a “virtual-reunion,” sharing stories and heritage through the internet.
Douglas Farley, Director
Ann Marie Linnabery
Erie Canal Discover Center
24 Church St.
Lockport NY 14094