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Helen A. Lassell of Lassellsville, Ephratah, Fulton County, NY

Written and submitted: Donna Bennett 2005

Helen A.Lassell born 11 April 1840 Lassellsville, died 12 April 1926. Helen married Ephraim Bronk in 1858. They are buried in Lassell Cemetery, Lassellsville, NY. (will, genealogy, and Lassell Cemetery records)

Helen was the daughter of Daniel Lassell and Emeline Juliet Burnham; granddaughter of William Lassell and Lydia Shottenkirk. Helen was the sister of Civil War Captain John H. Lassell. (see Captain John Henry Lassell).

After the Revolutionary War, many New England families move westward onto lands in wilderness areas that became available for settlers. The Lassell family came from Rhode Island and settled in the Palatine area (later Town of Ephratah) in the early 1800's. Daniel, son of William, lists his birthplace/date as Palatine area 27 Feb 1804. Lassellsville--a wilderness area when the Lassells arrived--received its name from the Lassell family.

Deed records 1805: William Lassell bought 1/2 of lot 2 in patent #27.
Deed records 1808: William Lassell bought land in patent #27 from Daniel Frye (Phye).
(deed research done by Evelyn Frasier, Town of Ephratah Historian)

1810 census-Palatine, Montgomery Co.: William Lassell.

School District #15, term 3 May 1852 to 20 Oct 1852: students--Helen A., Sarah F.,Lydia, and Caroline Lassell, Casper Bronk.

Helen and Ephraim had 11 children: Calvin, Bernice, John C., Daniel L., Charles D., Katherine L., Ida, Fay, Ross, and twins-Edward C. and Freddie. (Lassell genealogy-Evelyn Frasier)

Some of the Land that Helen A. Lassell Bronk owned:
Will of Daniel Lassell dated 1883: "I give and devise to my daughter Helen, wife of Ephraim Bronk all my undivided half of the north east quarter of Lot #12, Lott & Low Patent in the Town of Ephratah containing 130 acres of land more or less, the other undivided half being owned by said Bronk. I also give to said Helen two hundred dollars."

Will of Ephraim Bronk: (see Ephraim Bronk)

Field notes dated 28 Aug 1883, copied by Daniel Bronk (son of Helen and Ephraim) in 1939 from Ephraim Bronk's survey showed 71/2 acres of land owned by Helen Bronk that she inherited from Daniel Lassell. This 71/2 acres were located between J.H.Lassell's 30 acres and Mary McLaughlin's 71/2 acres in Lassellsville. Helen, as seen in same field notes, also owned 16 acres, Lot#16A which she sold to Alfred Smith. (Ephraim Bronk's papers) J.H. Lassell-brother of Helen; Mary McLaughlin-sister of Helen

1848--New York allows women to own real estate.

1900 census-Town of Ephratah/Lassellsville:
Helen A.Bronk, head of household, age 60, farmer (land owner and occupation!)
Edward Bronk, son, age 23, farm laborer
Lepha, daughter in law, age 23 (Lepha DeNure)
Edna, granddaughter, age 3
Rossie, son, age 16, glove maker
Susie, granddaughter, age 8, at school (Susie is daughter of John C.Bronk)

1905 census-Lassellsville:
Helen Bronk, head of family, age 65, widow of Ephraim Bronk
Rossie, son, age 21
Susie, granddaughter, age 13

1910 census-Manheim, Herkimer County:
Helen A.Bronk, widow, mother in law, age 70
Charles H.Mosher, head of household
Bernice, wife, age 56 (daughter, Bernice Bronk)
Bulah, daughter
Cecil F., son

1920 Census-Manheim, Herkimer County:
Helen A.Bronk, widow, mother in law, age 80
Charles H.Mosher age 58
Bernice Mosher age 56
Cecil F. Mosher, son, age 25

St.Johnsville Water Department history: (see additional information Ephraim Bronk and

In Summation:

Of the above 11 children of Ephraim and Helen, 9 reached adulthood, married, and finally moved from Lassellsville. These sons and daughters settled in NY State communities where wage work in factories, tanneries, professions, etc. was offered. They were part of the movement during that time period of leaving the family farms, working for wages in cities, and seeking an easier (?) way of life. These urban adults had smaller families, city homes, purchased cars, and yet, retained their roots to Lassellsville.

Helen is an example of the strong, sturdy, rural girl of the mid-1800's. She was from a large land owning family who not only were farmers but professional and religious men as well. She continued the trend during that era to marry a local man of equal family status and have many children. Helen and Ephraim's marriage united the Lassell and Bronk families in the Town of Ephratah/Lassellsville.

Helen inherited large acreage from her father, acquired more land during her marriage, and became a widow at an early age inheriting more land upon the death of her husband. She became head of the household, continued to farm the land, raise her young children, and provide a home for her grandchildren.

Helen, who received her education in a rural school house, was the daughter of a lawyer. This background was enough for her to make justifiable claims against the St.Johnsville Water Department in her own name.

Helen was not exceptionally famous in the world. She was a vital person of sturdy New England heritage who, in a mid 1800's to early 1900's, lived in a small rural community.

NOTE--Lassell name is also spelled: Lassells, Lasselles, Lascelles, Lasselle, etc.. "Lassell" is used in this bio to give continuity.

Look for these other biographies:
Ephraim Bronk
Casper Bronk
Captain John Henry Lassell
Daniel Lassell
Henry Fical

The above information is taken from census records, cemetery records, internet websites, wills, deeds/land records, Ephraim Bronk's ledgers, and information provided by Evelyn Frasier-Town of Ephratah Historian.

Copyright © 2005 Donna Bennett, Lisa Slaski and Jeanette Shiel
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