The Granger Family
Gideon Granger (1767-1822)
Born of New England Yankee stock in Suffield, Connecticut, Gideon Granger was active in state politics during the years of the American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention. A staunch supporter of Thomas Jefferson, he was named Postmaster General when Jefferson took office as President in 1800, and continued to serve under President Madison until 1813. After resigning from office, Granger moved to Canandaigua and resolved to build a Homestead that would be "unrivaled in all the nation", from which he could administer the many land tracts he had acquired further to the west. After his arrival, Granger became influential in local affairs. Although he died in 1822, succeeding generations of the Granger family played an equally important part in the growth and development of the Canandaigua area.
Mindwell Granger (1770-1860)
Daughter of Joseph and Mindwell Pease of Suffield, CT, she married Gideon Granger on January 14, 1790. Mindwell kept the home and family running while Gideon was away in Washington, often for months at a time. She lived to be almost 90 years old.
Children of Gideon and Mindwell
Mindwell and Gideon had three sons: Ralph, Francis, and John Albert. All three sons helped Gideon in building the Homestead. After its completion, Ralph moved to Ohio to handle his father's business dealings there, becoming the first mayor of Fairport Harbor, on the shores of Lake Erie, east of Cleveland.
John moved to Moscow in Livingston County, although he later returned to Canandaigua and built a house at the corner of East Gibson & Main Streets, now the Parish Administration Center of St. Mary's Church.
Francis practiced law with his father in Canandaigua, and built a house on the west side of North Main Street, about a block north of the Homestead.
Children of Francis Cornelia Granger
Francis married Cornelia Rutson Van Rensselaer (1798-1823) of Utica, NY. Francis and Cornelia had three children: Cornelia, Gideon II, and an infant daughter. Cornelia (his wife) died in December of 1823 from what is believed to have been complications from childbirth. Francis never remarried, and it appears that Mindwell raised the children at the Homestead while Francis was in Albany as a State Assemblyman and Washington as the Attorney General under President Harrison.
Gideon II married Isaphine Pierson of Canandaigua in 1850. They had three children: Cornelia (1851-1857), Antoinette (1853-1930) and Isaphine (1859-1916). The family lived in a "small" Gothic cottage, built for them by Francis Granger, on the southeast corner of Butcher(now Granger) and Main Streets.
In 1860 when Mindwell died, Francis invited Gideon II and his family to move into the main house. Francis built the North Wing at this time so Mrs. Isaphine Granger could have her children on the same floor with her.
Miss Antoinette Granger (1852-1930) was born in Canandaigua. As a child she was a very typical "tomboy.” In her paper, "Memories,” presented to the Traveler's Club, she said she had "many live pets, a large and constantly increasing family of white mice ... which I took entire care of myself and a very dear canary bird ... and I had a turtle and fish, and lizards and tadpoles and little frogs and a guinea pig and of course rabbits." She goes on to talk about learning to sew on interminable patchwork, playing in the rain filled gutters on Main St., collecting tadpoles and minnows in Sucker Brook and playing in the wet basement of a friend's house.
Miss Isaphine Granger (1858-1916) the quiet almost mystic sister, was born in Canandaigua. It is known from a letter dated December 9, 1915 written by Isaphine, that she was very sickly as a child and young woman. "It reminded us very much of my struggle against pain and great weakness as a girl and young lady . . . The best doctors here and abroad accomplished nothing for me, nor did careful diet and every care. I was often on my back for weeks and sometimes years together. I could not honestly say I was free from pain." It is here we learn that through much suffering Isaphine was led to call upon a faith healer to relieve her pain. "Finally in August 1892, feeling it my duty to try anything whether it appealed to my reason or not, for the sake of my mother and sister, I wrote to a mental or spiritual healer in New York asking if she could help me, tho I asked without any real faith..." Apparently it helped, as she goes on to say, " Well her faith was justified and I got rid of a load of pain and fears that had been accumulating for twenty years inside of six weeks, and through the loving kindness of God, I have been as you know me ever since."