Roadhouse Characters

Almon "Pard" C. Orton





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Pard Orton

What Happened To Almon B.’s Wife?

In the 1890 arrest for “keeping a disorderly house,” Almon, his wife Dora and his father Pard Orton were all included in the warrant. By the time of the 1892 census Pard was retired and Almon was the landlord of the Orton Hotel with his sister Pearl – Dora was no where in sight. What happened?

Almon B. Orton – The Wild Child?

Almon B. Almon was an active participant in all the activities attributed to the "sporting crowd" of his day. These included: horse racing, gambling, prostitution and prize fighting, in addition to already running a saloon/roadhouse. Add to all this his involvement in a little family intrigue with instigating a divorce between his parents and it more than qualifies Almon as a "wild child."

1890 – 1896  Actively participated in horse racing both locally and around the state.

1890  Charged with keeping a disorderly house along with his father and wife. They were all acquitted by the jury

1892  Running the roadhouse with his sister Pearl, their father, Pard Orton, was retired. Almon’s wife Dora was nowhere to be found.

1893  Instigated his father’s filing of a divorce action against his mother. His mother felt her son’s goal was to cut her out of his father’s estate and then to do the same to his two sisters. The court denied the divorce.

1894  Arrested as a “common gambler” in a large city gambling raid. Almon was at Parker Brown’s place in the Behm block in West Water Street, just west of the Weiting Opera house, when he was arrested. This was the same raid that hit Frank Matty and Chris Snyder’s Salt City Social Club in the Larned building.

1894  Charged with running a disorderly house. Pled guilty and was fined $300 and given a 1-year suspended sentence.

1897  During February and March Tommy Ryan made his training headquarters at Orton’s hotel while getting in shape for an upcoming fight.

1897  April 7th. Almon B. Orton died, age 29 years, from typhoid pneumonia. 

Where Was Pard Orton on June 1, 1900

The immediate purpose here was to determine if Pard Orton was still living in the hotel portion of his old roadhouse or whether he had moved elsewhere. In the process the 1900 census provided a roll call of the roadhouse keepers of that time and they provided land marks for a census, that for most part, still did not record an address.


Hayes had taken over Pard's old roadhouse so it's obvious at this point that Pard had moved out. Pard Orton was no longer living at his old roadhouse based on an examination of the 1900 census sequence of names. His old roadhouse had been leased to James Hayes in mid 1899. Based on this sequence, Orton was probably living on Wolf Street close to the railroad overpass and gave his occupation “Landlord,” even though he had no real boarders. Living with the 64-year old Pard was a 27-year old widow named Johanna M. Baker and she was described as a “House keeper.” The only “Boarder” was Johanna’s 8-year old son, Guy.


Mary Orton

After the failed attempt at divorce in 1893, Pard and Mary lived apart. For a while she ran a boarding house in the 400 block of East Adams Street. At the time of the 1900 census Mary Orton was living with her daughter Pearl and her husband Mr. William Colway, at 122 Essex Street in the Ninth Ward [1900 Mary Orton]. Mary died on Thursday, May 7, 1903 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, NOT in Woodlawn Cemetery, where her son Almon had been buried [1903-05-08].


Pard Orton Remarries

On July 7, 1905, Pard and Johanna were married in a ceremony, at a Syracuse hotel, presided over by then Alderman Frank Matty. Johanna had been living with Pard, as a housekeeper, since at least June 1900.


Helping Make Way for the Trolley

"Pardon C. and Johanna Baker Orton have sold a property with 49 feet frontage on Seventh North street to the Syracuse & South Bay Electric Railroad company. This is to be used in the entrance to the city." [1907-08-03]


The Death of Pard Orton

Pard died suddenly at his home at 204 7th N. St., on October 10, 1907, at the age of 72. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery on Sunday, October 13th. Two of the bearers were Frank Matty and Daniel Overacre.

[1907-10-07], [1907-10-10], [1907-10-12], [1907-10-14].


Settlement of the Orton Estate

Pard's widow, Johanna Baker Orton, was given letters of administration over his estate, valued at $2100 [1907-11-19]. Johanna and Pard's two daughters were to share equal third portions of the estate. This gave rise to a disagreement over the disposition of a piano belonging to Jessie Ide, Pard's oldest daughter [1908-07-28]. Eventually this led to the questioning of whether Johanna had actually married Pard Orton. Frank Matty had married the pair and he settled the issue [1909-05-19].



[1900 Mary Orton] - 1900 NY Onondaga Syracuse WD09  T623-1137-156A, Res 247, Fam 295.

[1903-05-08] - "Deaths - Orton," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Friday, May 8, 1903.

[1907-08-03] - "Getting Ready," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, August 3, 1907

[1907-10-07] - "Pard C. Orton Dead," The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, October 10, 1907.

[1907-10-10] - "P. C. Orton Dead," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, October 10, 1907.

[1907-10-12] - "Funerals," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, October 12, 1907.

[1907-10-14] - "Death And Funerals," The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Monday, October 14, 1907

[1907-11-19] - The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, November 19, 1907. This report claims the Pard Orton left no will.

[1908-07-28] - "Objects To Stepmother," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, July 28, 1908. This report states that Orton did leave a will.

[1909-05-19] - "Orton Was Married," The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, May 19, 1909. This report states that Orton did leave a will.