The Lilacs

Elizabeth Pickard

Our information on Elizabeth Pickard is rather limited. She appears to have been born c1803 in Niagara County, and may have been Native American. She purchased this property in Sept 1836 for $1,200 and sold it in July 1849 for $800.

She married George B. Lawrence, who was a farmer from Canada. We do not know when the marriage occurred, but prior to the time she sold the property in 1849, as his name was added to the deed.

The 1840 census lists her as living alone at The Lilacs – her property was next to Joseph Blakeley. Upon sale of the farm in 1849, Elizabeth, George and his family moved east to Seneca Falls, NY. The 1850 census shows Elizabeth (47) and George (59) and his 4 children (all born in Canada) living in Seneca Falls, NY. The 4 children were 2 sons (George & Robert) and 2 daughters (Catherine & Elizabeth). The oldest son, George, was 24 years old and was listed as a farmer, along with his father. The other 3 children were all in school. The Lawrence household shown on the census also included 2 male immigrant laborers (one each from Ireland [45 years old] & Germany [32 years old].

Elizabeth and George then moved to Niagara County, probably in 1855. The 1860 census finds George (70) and Elizabeth (57) living in the Town of Wheatfield, Niagara County (South Pekin Post Office). George’s youngest son, Robert, then 21 years old was still living with them, and the household also included a female English immigrant (20 yrs) and a male Prussian immigrant (14 yrs). George is shown as a farmer with real estate valued at $3,864 and his personal estate valued at $2,000. Interestingly, Niagara County land records show that they purchased a 170 acre farm (2 parcels in Lots 18 and 19, Township 13, Range 8) in Aug 1855 from Jonathan & Delilah Ayer for some $7,500 - a farm which they subsequently sold in Nov 1862 for $6,500.

After moving to Niagara County in 1855, George & Elizabeth were involved in many real estate transactions, with many of the transactions occurring after they sold the 170 acre farm in 1862. Most of the properties were village lots in Lockport, Niagara Village and on the Niagara River. We do not know if they became real estate investors after selling the farm, but some of the properties changed hands several times, sometimes on the same day, and there were instances where properties moved back and forth between George and Elizabeth and third parties.

George and Elizabeth apparently moved to Canada, possibly around 1864. Real estate transactions after mid-1864 show their address as ‘Stamford, Canada West’. Also, they do not appear on either the 1865 NY state census or the 1870 U.S. census. Incidentally, all the real estate documents that involved Elizabeth, starting with her 1836 purchase of The Lilacs, did not contain her signature but, rather, only an ‘X’ – yet none of the census forms showed her as unable to read and/or write.