1230 Western Avenue in
      Dec 1959
1230 Western Avenue; house of Dr. Thomas Helme - picture taken December 1958.
[from W. Mohr archive held by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve; contributed by Steve Rider]

[edited excerpts from "Household of Helme", Turnpike Record, 6 Nov 1958]
A 150-year-old home which housed four generations of a pioneering family in Guilderland will soon be levelled......the Helme homestead at 1230 Western Avenue will be razed to allow construction of a 32-lane bowling alley*, to be built by John Quadrini, Schenectady builder. The house, part of a twenty acre farm, has a white exterior over brick walls and was built in 1818. Thomas Helme Sr. and his family were the first occupants, and his son Thomas Jr. was an early alumnus of Albany Medical College in the year 1854.This Doctor Helme had a busy life. In addition to his practice, he was active in academic circles, having served twice in the later 1800's as School Commissioner of Albany's third District. During the Civil War he was a surgeon with the New York State Volunteers.....a son [also Thomas] followed in his father's footsteps. The younger doctor, also an Albany Medical College graduate (about 1890) set up practice in Guilderland shortly after his graduation and marriage. After living for ten years in a house now standing near the Tom Sawyer Motel, Dr. Helme moved his family back into the homestead in 1900. His office was located in the downstairs section of the house....[he] died in 1924 at the young age of 53....Mrs Lulu Helme-Smith, Sara Helme and their brother Thomas are currently packing to vacate the landmark.....[another] brother Clifford lives in Central Bridge, and Jennie Helme, who ran the farm behind the house and operated the Wayside market beside it, lives....at 5 Tryon Street.
*this was not built; the motel which now occupies the site was constructed instead.

This house is clearly identified as that of Dr. Helme on the Beers map of 1866.
However, it is shown on both the Sidney map of 1851, and on the Gould map of 1854 as H. Daniels; that was Henry Daniels who is listed in the 1850 census. John Daniels, Henry's son, is listed in the 1860 census living in Dr Helme's household; he had married Catherine Knowles, and Dr Thomas Helme had married her older sister Elizabeth Knowles.
Deeds show that Dr Helme only purchased the lot and house at 1230 Western in 1860, and adjoining land in 1862, both from the Daniels family, who had owned and farmed these lots since 1836. Earlier owners do not include the first Thomas Helme, the doctor's father, so the story that Helme family were the first occupants has to be fable. The Sidney map of 1851 shows T. Helme as owning property and a house several miles farther west along the Great Western Turnpike (in what is now Westmere), which is probably where the doctor was born and grew up.
McKownville part of Beers
      map 1866
Part of Beers map of Guilderland 1866 showing the area of McKownville including Dr. Helme's house

Mckownville on the Gould map
Part of the Gould map of 1854 showing the area of McKownville and the Helme house labelled with the name H. Daniels

sidney map
      1851 excerpt showing T Helme houseMcKownville on Sidney map 1851
Parts of the Sidney map of 1851 showing (left) the location of the house of T. Helme on the Gt Western Turnpike near Tollgate #2;
and (right) the area of McKownville and the future Dr. Helme house labelled with the name H. Daniels
Henry Daniels in the 1850
Listing from the 1850 US census for Guilderland (McKownville), showing Henry Daniels and family, including his son John; the Sidney and Gould maps show this family occupied the future Helme house in the 1850's; deeds show that the Daniels family sold the properties to Dr Helme in 1860 and 1862.

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