Account of Benita Gray's
Visits to the Pan-American Exposition
August 1901 Mr. and Mrs. William C. Gray of Utica, N.Y. traveled to Buffalo
to attend a Prohibition convention and visit the Pan-American Exposition.
They were there several days. Then in September, Mrs. (Benita) Gray returned
to Buffalo to sing in the winning mixed chorus from Utica during "Welsh
Day" at the Exposition when there was an Eisteddfod (music competition)
being held on September 20. She recorded her experiences in a travel journal
kept for such occasions. Her granddaughter, Carolyn E. Fix, having inherited
her journal, has transcribed the Buffalo portion of her journal for its
Sample diary entries.
The Journal Entries:
Benita Gray and William Gray, of Utica, N.Y.
Buffalo, July 31, 1901.
After some disappointments
we started for Buffalo, Will and I, on the Fast Mail at 2:25 P.M. [from
Utica, NY]. Nothing of importance transpired and we arrived in B. at 8:10
after riding on four or five different cars. We found Uncle Simon Staley's(?)
house at 834 Prospect Ave. They have a boy Arthur about 7 1/2 years old.
They are very comfortably situated. They were not expecting us as they
had not received my letter. We visited awhile, then went to bed.
Will and I got up at 6 and
took a walk out on Front St. to get a glimpse of the Niagara River and
Lake Erie; the view was fine. Aunt Sim had breakfast ready when we returned.
After eating Will and I went down the street and walked around a little.
Then took a car to Con. [Convention] Hall to the National Prohibition
Committee. There I saw Dr. Tasely, Mr. L----, Mr. Long and several others
whom I knew. At noon we went to Allens restaurant for dinner and then
went to the Con. in the P.M. Took a trolley and rode up around the Pan
Am. Gate and to the Con. Wrote to Evelina [her daughter, age 6, my mother].
Then went to the Yacht Club home wharf at the foot of Porter Ave. Saw
a number of yachts and some large lake steamers. Got back to the house
at 11 P.M.
In the morning helped Auntie.
Then Auntie, Will, Arthur and I went to the Con. and spent the day there
until 12:30 A.M. Then went home to tea and left Arthur. [Then went back
to the Con. where] we saw John G. Hutchinson
of the famous Hutchinson family who used to give concerts as long ago
as I can remember. He sang for us. [He was] almost 90 years old. Oliver
Stewart gave an address; also Fred Victor of N.Y. City. In the eve was
the Grand National Oratorical Contest, which was good but altogether too
long. I got very tired.
Auntie, Will, Arthur and I went to the Pan American. Went along
the Midway. There were 56,000 people on
the grounds, as this was "Midway Day". We went through
the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Buildings.
After lunch we went with the crowd to the Stadium.
There we saw 10,000 homing pigeons
liberated, balloon ascensions, races, etc., etc. Went into the Temple
of Music where the band was playing. Sat and rested awhile.
Ate our supper, then went to the Liberal
Arts Building awhile.
Went and sat in front of the Electric Tower. Of all the beautiful
sights our eyes ever saw, this beats all we ever heard of. Thought
of as dreamed about. In the eve they altogether look like a city
of light. We could hardly get away, but we did and sat on the bank
of the Lake and watched the beautiful Electric Fountain illuminated
by all the colors of the rainbow. Got back to the house about ten.
I was quite tired.
Wrote a little. Uncle, Will, Auntie and I went to Normal (?) Memorial
M.E. Church. Enjoyed the service very much. Mr. wrote to Alma after dinner.
In the P.M. we all went to Forest Lawn Cemetery to cousin Frankie's grave.
Walked around a good deal; met Mr. Wordwell. Saw a beautiful lake with
hundreds of goldfish in it and swans. Also some fine monuments in glass
cases; one of a little girl, one of a young man that died suddenly just
as his mother was handing him a rose. Saw the Crematory (?). Then came
back to the house and had supper. Auntie, Will, Arthur and I went back
to the same church, visited awhile, then went to bed early.
Will went to
find some feather renovators [he was in that business]. We met him
at ten o'clock at the foot of Main St. wharf. Took the steamer Superior
and went to Crystal Beach. That is a fine sandy beach on the Canadian
side of Lake Erie about 10 miles from Buffalo. There are some fine
hotels and a great many cottages there where people are spending their
summers. Then we met Mr. and Miss Beechwood of Utica and had our lunch
there. The boat was late, so we did not get back to B. till four.
Auntie and Arthur went home and Will and I went down to the wharf
to see the grain boats and elevators, which was a great sight. Then
went through several large dry goods stores and made some purchases.
Had soda water in one. Went and sat in the park and rested and ate
popcorn. Got home at eight, had a late supper and wrote some.
York State Building
Tuesday. [August 6] Will
and I got an early start to the Exposition. Visited the N.Y.
State Building, Life-Saving Station, and
South American, Cuba, Mexico, Alaska,
Puerto Rico, U.S. Government,
and Model Dairy [buildings]. Took a ride on the
smallest railroad in the world and wrote our
names in the biggest book in the world. Met Auntie and Arthur at 1 o'clock,
had our lunch and went in the Manufacturers
Building. In the Music Hall heard a grand organ
recital. It rained. We visited the Electrical
Building. Auntie and Arthur went home early. We had lunch and went
around and through the Midway. Got back to the house about 9 o'clock.
Saw John Royhill.
It rained in the
morn. About 9 we went through the market with Auntie, then Will
and I went to the Pan. Went in the East Amherst Gate. Visited the
Agricultural and Railroad [buildings].
Then we went in the Fish Commission.
Saw the famous Tiffany diamond worth 100,000 dollars, also his case
of jewelry worth 1,000,000 dollars. Went in the New
York State Building, saw a lot on the Midway and got home about
eight. Quite tired. Wrote to Mrs. Johnson and Eva Jones.
Got up early. Arthur
and I took a walk down on Seventh and Front avenues. Then Will and
I went up to the Ex. and visited the Ostrich
farm, [and the] Agricultural, Penn.,
N.J., New England, Chile,
Ohio, and Minnesota
buildings. Had dinner at the Nebraska Sod
House. Saw the Art Gallery. Wrote to
[several friends], went in Venice in America,
Machinery and Manufacturers [buildings].
Had lunch at the Dairy and waited to see the Tiffany Fountain lighted
up. Got back to the house at 9 o'clock. My Auntie had a chicken supper.
Got up at
6 o'clock, packed my satchels, bade them goodbye. Started for Niagara
Falls at 9:35. The sight is a grand one that I shall never forget.
Took a ride on the Maid of the Mist;
had to wear rubber cloaks. Then Will and I took a ride on the wirtrell
(?) Railroad. Also took the Grand Gorge Route, it was a grand ride.
Saw the Suspension Bridge. Then went
to Lewiston and saw the head of Lake Ontario. Then went back to
Niagara Village and took a walk out on the grand bridge to Goat
Island. Got our lunch. Took the 3:45 train back to Buffalo and expected
to leave for Utica at 5:15, but could not 'till 7:10. Nothing of
importance transpired on the homeward stretch, except a hard thunderstorm
and a minor accident which detained us about 30 minutes. Arrived
in Utica about 1:20 A.M. Sat. morn and at home sweet home at two.
Found all safe and sound.
Utica, the next Monday
cousin Ruth Broadwell and daughter Creta (?) Merriman came and stayed
until the next Friday. I went with them. Mina, Evelina and Alma came from
Lebanon Sat. the 10th to tea at Edwina's., [to] Mrs. Chas.
Griffins of 8 West St. and then to Mrs. Miller at 233 Rutger St. E. [Edwina?]
and I went as far as Rome with them and spent the day with Eva [Evalina?].
When we arrived home [201 Howard Ave.] we found "Carrie Nation" and her hatchet at our house. She spent the night with us. [She was the
famous radical prohibitionist who traveled around chopping up liquor bars
with her hatchet. Therefore she was not welcome in many hotels and had
to stay in private homes. My grandmother was also an ardent Prohibitionist.]
The Philharmonic Society gave
a supper in the Auditorium. I went and when I got home I found Mrs. Pratt
here from New Haven. She stayed a week. The next Tuesday, Glen Leigh came,
she stayed 'till Friday. Wed. Mrs. Barker came from Oneida Castle, she
stayed one night. Then Mrs. Rowlands spent the P.M. Mag. and a Mrs. Celingman
(?) of Chicago called. Nellie and Evelina started for Rome and did not
get back 'till Sat. 11 A.M. Aug. 31.
Sept. 2. Labor Day.
Henry Lee(?) and
wife of Webster, Ia, came. They stayed 'till Thursday. Spent most of my
time with them.
Sept. 6. President
McKinley was shot and wounded at the Pan. Am. In Buffalo.
Czolgosz, assassin of President McKinley
of President William McKinley
10. Was my 46th
birthday and also my 23rd wedding anniversary. The Philharmonic
Society gave a concert at the State Hospital. Friday eve we gave a grand
concert at the Auditorium; made our two hundred dollars. President McKinley
died at the Milburn House in Buffalo at 2 A.M. Sat. morn., the 14th
|Buffalo, Wed. morn the 18th.
Society started for Buffalo at 8:58. The 125 members arrived at our
destination at 2:30 P.M. [We then] went to the Ansteth Hotel on the
corner of Grant and Military. Later Edwina, Leroy Jones and I went
to the Pan American and visited Machinery Hall
and the Temple of Music. The Brooks Marine
Band [i.e. Thomas Preston Brooke's Chicago Marine Band] was just
playing The Sweetest Story Ever Told when we went in. Then
we saw the Tiffany Fountain. Met Roy and Lee, had lunch together and
went down to the Midway. Went back to our hotel at 11 o'clock and
Thursday [the 19th]. Everything closed on account of the President's funeral We had a rehearsal in Dearborn Street Baptist Church. Then most of the chorus went to Niagara Falls. Edwina and I went up on Prospect Ave. to call on Aunt Staley(?). Found her sick in bed. Went downtown and had dinner at the "Acorn". Went to the top of Ellicott Sq. Then went to see the Milburn Home where McKinley died. Spent the P.M. and eve at Emma Ayres at 128 Norwood Ave. Had a very pleasant time. Got back to the Ansteth at 10 o'clock.
Funeral cortege of President McKinley on Delaware Avenue, Buffalo.
of Temple of Music.
Sketch by architects Esenwein & Johnson.
Friday morn [the 20th]. Edwina, Leroy,
Miss Philpott and I took a car for the Ex. Had a lot of fun. Visited
the N.Y. State Building, Mines, Horticultural,
Government, and Dairy [exhibits], and several State buildings and
ate our lunch near the [Nebraska] sod house. Spent most of the P.M.
in the Temple of Music at the Welsh Day Eisteddfod [music competition].
Our Cecilians Ladies Chorus of 32 voices won first prize of $175.00.
Miss Philpott and I went in Agricultural Hall and then had a boat
ride on the Canal. Met E.[Edwina?], had
our lunch and went to the Temple of Music for the evening session.
Our Haydens [male chorus] won second prize of $75.00, our Helen
Griffith first prize of $10.00 for alto solo and the pieces we [the
chorus] sang were "We Never Will Bow Down" [by
Handel] and "God So Loved the World" [by Sir John
Stainer]. Prof A-------, Adjudicator.
Prof. I. T. Daniel was
our conductor [and Daniel Protheroe conducted the Eisteddfod]. And
last but not least our mixed chorus of 125 voices, the Philharmonic
Society of Utica, sang and won first prize of $1,000.00. (This is
the chorus to which I belong). And all of the jollyfications
I ever saw, that took the lead. We had coffee and did not go to
bed 'till the wee small hours. The house did not quiet down 'till
of Music in color rendering
by John Ross Key
Courier, Sept. 19, 1901
Sat. morn. Edwina,
Leroy, Miss Philpott and myself took a car downtown, had breakfast at
the "Acorn" and did some shopping. Edwina left us to start for
Utica. The rest went to the Ex. and visited the Forestry,
Indian Village, and Fish Commission [exhibits].
Then we took dinner at the Nebraska Sod House and went in Manufactory
Hall. Saw Miss Libbie Ansleth Alaske(?) and met Leroy. We then went to
the Johnstown Flood Bazaar and up and down
the Midway. We left the grounds early, went to the Hotel and dressed in
a hurry. We gave a grand concert in the Convention Hall in the City of
Buffalo, which was a "success". Did not get up very early.
baggage and breakfasted. Leroy and I took a car and went to the Lake
Erie front. Most of our chorus went home early Sunday morn. Called
at Auntie's. She and Arthur went back to the Ansteth [Hotel] as she
and they [the Ansteths?] were old friends and they had a turkey dinner.
Then all hands had our pictures taken by J.P. Williams in back of
the house. We started for Utica at 3:10 P.M. Arrived here at 9:15
all safe and sound. Took a bath and went to bed at 11. Very tired
and with quite a hard cold.
Utica, Sunday, Sept. 29. The Philharmonic Society was photographed in front of Trinity Church on Broad Street by Mr. Frey.
Tuesday eve, Oct 1. Had a meeting called to give
Prof. Daniel $100.00, Miss Utter, our pianist, $25.00; Bert White Sect.
and Mr. William Tree(?) $10.00 each. The balance was then divided equally
among the 125 singers [which figures out at $6.84 each]. [The average
annual income in 1900 was $400.]
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