IN AND OUT OF THE CLAPBOARD HOUSE
by Alice Fitzgerald Wood
This account was written by hand in 1953 in a composition notebook. The original text of this true story has been edited and arranged in somewhat of a chronological order. This story centers about the clapboard house originally built by James Lusk on Jackson Road, Clarendon, New York. The home still stands today at 17111 Jackson Road.
The author's father deserted the family the day after Christmas in 1899 as the story tells. Walter Fitzgerald took his father-in-law's horse and buggy to Holly where he sold it and had not been seen since. This occurred only four weeks before Mrs. Alice Fitzgerald Wood was born. Not long after this had happened, Mrs. Wood's mother, Blanche Fitzgerald, read an article about an unidentified man who hung himself in a hotel room in Buffalo. The article appeared in both the Rochester and Buffalo newspapers. Mrs. Wood's mother wrote to the police in Rochester seeking information about the man and her letter was returned by the police with a note that there were dozens of women that had contacted them with similar requests in search of their husbands. Someone suggested that perhaps the body could be exhumed and identified but Mrs. Wood's mother could not afford this option.
About 1955 the clapboard house was sold for back taxes and after the new owners had moved in an elderly gentleman visited the premises and asked the lady of the house if he could look around the property as he had lived there once. He didn't identify himself and when asked if he would like to see the inside of the house, he declined. When Mrs. Wood found out about this gentleman visitor she felt quite certain that it must have been her father who had returned for a visit.
The original Lusk home. James Lusk is in the yard with daughter Charlotte and 10 year old grandson Benny is the tree on the left. Photo about 1880.