Your Community. Your Newspaper.

File photo

Marks and holes can be seen on the back of a Hennessy headstone in Sacred Heart Cemetery where the bronze veteran’s plaque was ripped away.


WELLSVILLE — No one likes to see a town’s treasures go down the road, but that is what often happens when people pass away, and their possessions are sold in an estate auction.

PIANO COMES HOME: In January 2022 fans were pleased to discover that an old box-style piano, from the estate of Barbara Williams and the Mather Homestead had come home. The piano was sold in an estate auction in 2017 to Rebekah Gena, wife of Brad Gena, and since she was on her way home, she arranged for the antique square grand piano, circa 1875, to be shipped south.

Then due to economic and personal reasons, the Genas decided to return back to Western New York to start a restaurant. The piano came back with them. The Genas found the perfect place for the renovated antique when Brad decided to open the Wellsville General Store restaurant in the former Gee automotive garage.

The Genas had to modernize the instrument because it could not be appropriately tuned. They replaced the old keyboard with a modern keyboard. Now the traveling piano can be played on special occasions at the General Store for the pleasure of the Genas’ customers, which oftentimes included friends of the late Barbara Williams.

MARCH, MARCH, MARCH: Allegany County women and their supporters joined women across the country when 21 people, including 19 children, were killed by a gunman at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24. The gunman was shot and killed. The shock of the incident and the failure of law enforcement to act reverberated around the nation.

In June women decided to lace up their sneakers and participate in a countywide march, which was organized for Wellsville to coincide with March For Our Lives events across the country. March For Our Lives was originally organized by students who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. on Valentine’s Day 2018.

Those who turned out to participate in the march ranged in age from elementary school students to retirees. One poster carrying teen drew attention with a poster that put her face in the crosshairs of a rifle scope.

The group was nearly 100 strong when they entered Island Park and headed uptown. They gathered at the Fassett Green Space where four speakers were scheduled. The message was the need for responsible gun laws, not abolishment of the second amendment.

On July 11, President Joe Biden signed a new gun safety bill, the first safety legislation to be passed by Congress in 30 years.

That local march paved the way for another march just a few months later.

Many people were incensed when the Supreme Court struck down the 50-year-old Roe v. Wade decision, believing it was an attack on a woman’s right to choose and could lead to other decisions nullifying the rights of certain groups. On Oct. 8, all around the country, women marched and rallied to show how they felt about that decision. Locally, women were invited to join the Women’s Wave rally and march in Wellsville. Nearly 100 women and their supporters showed up to express their opinions with speeches, posters and music.

DESPICABLE VANDALISM: In June, while Memorial Day flowers were still blooming in their pots, a local man discovered a despicable crime while walking in a local cemetery.

Mike Baldwin found 13 military headstones at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Wellsville had been vandalized. The bronze military plaques had been pried away from the headstones. There was immediate outcry. Within a few days several thousand dollars were raised as a reward for information leading to an arrest.

Five weeks later, an arrest was made. Village police charged 42-year-old Eric T. Logue of Wellsville with several counts of criminal sale, 13 counts of cemetery desecration, grand larceny and criminal mischief. Police executed a search warrant at Logue’s residence at 20 Clark St. after obtaining witness statements, evidence and video surveillance. Logue awaits sentencing pending county court action.

The bronze markers have been restored. The pledged reward money was not paid according to Police Chief Tim O’Grady because no one provided information that led to the arrest.

MONARCHS TO THE RESCUE: Over the summer and into the fall a group of citizens calling themselves the Wellsville Monarchs approached the village board with two requests. The first was to stop killing the milkweed plants growing on village property and the second was to provide places around the village for monarch butterfly gardens to help stop the extinction of the butterflies. Monarch butterfly caterpillars survive on milkweed.

The village is reconsidering its milkweed policy and trustees have asked for possible locations for gardens. The plight of the monarch was embraced by many who in November planted milkweed seeds provided by the group in their gardens and in the Fassett Green Space.