23 Nov 2017, 8:55am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Burger, Robert J.

The Walworthians: Burger, Robert J.

The Walworthians: Burger, Robert J.


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Robert J. Burger

March 20, 1996


Robert J. Burger is one of the people in our neighborhood. He has a good memory and a writer’s attention to detail when he talks about the way Walworth used to be.

He related the history of Route 350 from its life in 1878 as a Town Road, to when the County took it over and       to 1930 when New York State assumed the responsibility for it.

“There were fewer than 10 cars passing by my house each day on the narrow road,” he said. “I watched them lay the steel grid on the concrete. There was 6-inches of concrete.”

Bob was not the first to tell me of how much fun the Friday night dances in the Grange were.

“At that time, the Grange was what is now the Auction Hall,” he said. “As a matter of fact, Charles Pembroke was the band leader and square dance caller. He introduced me to my wife.”

Sometime during the fox trot, round or square dance Margaret Schafer, of Lewis Road, and Bob fell in love and had a marriage that lasted 54 years.

She recently passed away, but their 7 children are still mostly in this area. John (a professor teaches in California(, Helen, Karen, Anne (who is married to an English man and lives in England, Michael, Jean and Margaret (who are twins) attended the Walworth Academy     although, Bob recalled that one year he was taxed $8 for the Freewill School District.

Bob was born in Oswego, New York, but his mother died when he was four years old. He lived in an orphanage for about a year until a Marion couple needed extra help with the chores on their farm.

“Dr. Esley would drive his horse and cutter the 7 or so miles to make a house call when we needed him,” Bob said. “The doctor lived in the house near the gas station.

“I was 26 in 1939 when he did my blood test for the marriage license.”

The Marion farm became Bob’s but he had to sell it to pay off family debts. He and Margaret moved to Ontario, but when they put in Route 104, they sold it. The house was moved to a site on the north side of the new route.

In 1943, they bought the farm on Route 350. He had a job as an apprentice with General Railway Systems.

He had planted Christmas trees as a way to make extra money. In 1964, he realized what a bonanza he had. He quit his job and dedicated himself to Burger’s Nursery.

At one time he had as many as 23,000 trees in his nursery. Joe Finley used to buy them wholesale from him and re-sell them.

Bob will sell only during the trees dormant times, so, he began to write in his free time.

His three published books are Siblings (1985), The Ice Cream Girl (1987), and Guide to Successful Planting (1993).

He has a 116-page manuscript of poems and a children’s story that are waiting for a publisher.

The next time you see Bob, ask him about the time he got his car stuck on Atlantic Road near O’Brien’s Hill (the Walworth Water Tower).

Thanks, Bob, you are a Walworthian with the accent on worth.


November  16, 2017 Up-Date:

Robert J. Burger



Burger, Robert J.
Ontario: Died on September 10, 2007 at age 94. Predeceased by his wife Margaret & brother Joseph Burger. Survived by his children, John (Leone) Burger, Helen (Donald) Pfromer, Jean (Barry) Dobler, Margaret (Daniel) Bitacola, Karen (Paul) Paprocki, Ann (Paul) Maynard, Michael (JoAnn) Burger; 9 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; brother James Burger; many nieces & nephews. He owned & operated a nursery. He participated in many activites including his bowling league, euchre club, & is the author of 3 books.
Friends are invited to call Sunday 2-4 & 7-9PM at MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 1961 Ridge Road, Ontario. His Mass of Christian Burial will be held 10:30AM Monday at St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, Ontario. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Donations may be made to Ontario Volunteer Emergency Squad or Walworth Ambulance in his memory.

Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Sept. 12, 2007


10 Nov 2017, 3:10pm

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Walton, Margaret E.

The Walworthians: Walton, Margaret E.

The Walworthians: Walton, Margaret E.  


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


Margaret E. Walton

March 06, 1996

March 06, 1996

Margaret E. Walton is one of the people in our neighborhood.

Peggy was raised in a family that believed ‘Nothing’s as loving as something from the oven’. She grew up in Montana where baking bread was a family event.

She met her husband, Jay Webster, in Missoula, Montana when he came out to visit a University friend. Jay is currently a tool and die maker. He is invaluable when it comes to repairing equipment such as an old bread mixer.

Jay is originally from Webster, so, after several years of living in Montana, they moved to Walworth in 1980.

“At that time, we felt Walworth would be a good place to raise our children. Also, no one in this area was baking bread like this,” Peggy said.  It seemed natural to keep on baking bread like I used to do in Montana.”

At first she sold to friends, then she got involved in the Fairport Farm Market and business increased. Her breads are now available at Schutt’s Cider Mill and the Topps in Panarama. Eventually, her breads will be available at the new Topps on Rte. 31.

Peggy wanted to stay home with her children. Her bread baking business allows her a flexible schedule so she can do things with them.

The Webster’s have four children. They  are Sam, 20; Robin, 17; Ben, 11; and Jesse, 9. Robin has been helping her mother in baking breads since she was 12. She started out as a part-time helper, but is now full-time help.

As Peggy’s small business grew, they built an addition onto their rustic country home to accommodate it. Now she can listen to her old, commercial Read Bread Mixer as sunlight streams in large windows overlooking the woods.

She bakes about 100 loaves of bread a day. The public seems to really like Peggy’s sour dough bread, which is also her personal favorite.

“But I also like the New England Anadama Bread,” she quickly added. “It’s made with molasses and cornmeal.”

I have tasted Peggy’s Whole Wheat Bread and can attest that it was absolutely delicious.

If you don’t find Peggy’s bread in the store, give her a call:  524-1946.

Thank you Peggy. You are a Walworthian with the accent on Worth.


2 Nov 2017, 4:54am

Comments Off on The Walworthians: Ginegaw, Harold and Virginia

The Walworthians: Ginegaw, Harold and Virginia

The Walworthians: Ginegaw, Harold F.


A collection of telephone interviews published in the Wayne County STAR Newspaper and Wayne County MAIL Newspaper, 1994-209

by Kate Chamberlin


~Harold F. Ginegaw

January 31, 1996


Harold F. Ginegaw is one of the people in our neighborhood.

“If you think this is cold,” he told me when our temperature was in the teens. “You should have felt it in ’34 when it was 24 degrees below!”

Harold was born May 17th in the farm house on the northwest corner of Routes 350 and 441. His older brother and sister and he helped care for 7 cows, many chickens and tended all kinds of fruit trees:  pear, apple, cherry and even prune (plum).

“After that big freeze in ’34,” he remembered. “I’d wrap my feet in newspaper and then shove my boots on to go chop the fruit trees for firewood.”

The Ginegaw’s lost several hundreds of their trees because the severe cold split the trunks. The trees were standard, 25-foot tall varieties, not the dwarf hybrids.

“We used to get 44 bushels of fruit from each tree,”  he said.

In 1936, he and his brother dug a mile long ditch to drain the land that is now Ginegaw Park. They grew spinach, onions and potatoes in the rich muck land.

One of the few farm machines they used was a 4-horse drawn manure spreader they’d bought from Don Howard.

They didn’t get their first tractor until 1939, so, the horses were also used to pull the tank holding the spray for the fruit trees.

Harold remembers going to Duell’s where they had big blocks of ice. They’d use an axe to chop the ice for ice cream.

Harold attended the Walworth Academy and likes to say that the only way his brother got out of first grade was by the building being torn down.

While the new school was being built, Harold attended classes in the Grange Hall. He studied Agriculture in High School but ended up working for Xerox for 13 years and Garlock for 21 years.

He and his wife, Virginia, have lived in their Main Street home for 50 years. They set up housekeeping right after their February 2, 1946 wedding.

Harold and Virginia have restored the home Yeoman built in 1834. Many of the hand-hewn beams, with bark, are still visible.

Their used to be a Hat Shop next to their home. They have several hat molds that will eventually be put in the Walworth Historical Society’s Museum.

One of Harold’s (and, presumably, Virginia’s) accomplishments is the raising of their 8 children.

“Seanna, Daonna, Nancy, Gregory, Carol, Ginny, Clarence, Amy.”  he said one by one. There, is that eight?”

I decided not to ask him to name all the grandchildren!

He says his hobby is being with his family and working on his home, but will readily admit that he also likes to go to the Finger Lakes Racetrack.

He is very proud of his wife for being the Methodist Church’s Historian for so many years.

He is delighted that the park bearing his family’s name is kept up and he feels the new Town Hall, although expensive, is quite an accomplishment.

You’d never know he’d been through two open heart surgeries and a kidney removed unless he told you. He is a prime example of a good neighbor. He is often seen bopping around from shop to shop with a friendly, “Hello.”

Thank you, Harold. You are a Walworthian with the accent on worth.


Up-date, November 01, 2017: Harold and Virginia are buried side-by-side in the Walworth Cemetery.

Harold F. Ginegaw, 1924-2007

Virginia C. Ginegaw, 1916-2013

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