The InnKeepers -
Our Simple Story
Our story as innkeepers has really flown by when over 20 years ago we became the proud owners of the Allegiance Bed & Breakfast.
After over 30 years of us both working in healthcare and higher education corporate executive Human Resource professions, we decided it was time for a change. We loved traveling and spent many of our vacations in Bed & Breakfasts developing a love for a warm, personal and “at home” place to stay as compared to a larger sterile hotel atmosphere. We wanted to be able to provide this same feeling to others, so it made sense to meld our passions for cooking, decorating and entertaining with our experience from us both working in hospitality to own and operate a Bed & Breakfast. We took a leap of faith and decided to leave our home in Pasadena, California in search of a new lifestyle that allowed us the freedom and opportunity to create our own warm and inviting place to stay.
Location, location, location. Our search for the perfect house to turn into our dream Bed & Breakfast began in May 1999. We loved the seasonal changes of the east coast and started our cross-country search in New Hampshire. As we started our way back west through Vermont and into New York we drove through Mount Morris and into the driveway of 145 Main Street. We looked at each other and said, “this is the place”. It had everything we wanted, curb appeal, history, small village charm, country atmosphere and enough local activities to entice visitors to want to stay. Six months later we pulled into Mount Morris looking forward to what the future held for us and next chapter in our new home.
After we purchased the house we wanted to make sure we continued to honor the past owners and history of the home and local area. Our first honoree is Reuben P. Wisner who built the home in 1838 in the Federal Revival style and who was a successful local attorney, Union colonel, and Baptist deacon. When ownership transferred to John Prophet in the early 1900’s, the front balcony, pillars, carriage drop, and sunroom were added so that the mansion would architecturally resemble a Greek Revival style home, or as Mr. Prophet preferred, as the “mini” White House. Mr. Prophet established the canning factory just outside Mount Morris where it stands today. Mr. Prophet also installed the first plant to manufacture “tin cans” used in their business. Our historical commemoration expands to the name of the business in honor of Mount Morris native Francis Bellamy who wrote the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance in 1892. His birthplace, now a historical landmark is just down the block form the Inn. Other historical tributes include each of our eight guest rooms that are named after many influential people from the early 1800’s one of which includes William Pryor Letchworth. Letchworth State Park is just one mile from the Allegiance and is well-known as the “Grand canyon of the East”.
We have lovingly spent our entire time rebuilding and renovating this wonderful 11,000 square foot estate from the exterior to the interior, the amenities offered and the genuine hospitality that we want to share with our guests. We have given our Inn and home a new life and new feel and we couldn’t be more proud of our accomplishments. It gives us great joy to share the experience of living in the most beautiful home we ever imagined owning with our guests and want to make sure it still stands for many years to come as it has for the past 180+ years. When we sit in the parlor and look around us, we think wow, what were they doing back then when everything was so simple”. Our goal as Innkeepers is to provide a feeling of privacy, tranquility, and seclusion with unforgettable cozy accommodations for our guests. We have designed the Allegiance with a harmonious blend of traditional and antiques, infused with Victorian and contemporary furnishings. Guests may relax and enjoy the mansion, as we say “mi casa es su casa” style. We hope that you enjoy your stay with us. The history and charming atmosphere of our grand mansion will invite you here; being a guest in our home will bring you back.
Your Hosts, Steve & Glenda
The History of Allegiance
The Early History of the House and Reuben Porter Wisner: The Wisner Family can be traced back to two brothers who left the Netherlands for America in the late 1500’s. Both brothers where given land on Long Island, New York which they owned and occupied until 1684. In 1684 the English, who did not honor the Wisner’s land title, seized control of the land. When the Wisner’s left Long Island the ancestors of Reuben P. Wisner moved to Orange County, and resided there for one century. Reuben’s ancestors were influential people, one of them being a member of the Continental Congress. This ancestor would have signed the Declaration of Independence but George Washington sent him to supervise the production of powder for the Continental Army. Then, in the early 1800’s the Wisner’s again moved, this time from Goshen to Aurelius in Cayuga County, New York.
The Genesee Valley has counted many brilliant and distinguished men, throughout the years, who were engaged in the legal profession. One of these, widely known for his success, was a prominent and influential citizen of Mount Morris, Reuben Porter Wisner. His life, is the story of a poor boy who came to the Valley as a youth, settled in a busy and fast-growing village, and made good, not only in his profession, but also in his family and community life.
Reuben Porter Wisner was a native of Springport in Cayuga County, born March 1, 1810. His parents were of limited means, and Reuben's formal schooling was meager. He attended school during the winters, and as soon as he was old enough, he did farm work summers. A strong desire for learning was apparent at an early age, and this desire, plus an unusual amount of ambition, native ability, and determination, enabled him to instruct himself, to a large extent, in the languages, rhetoric, logic, and history.
Whenever possible, young Reuben would visit the nearby city of Auburn, and his chief delight was to attend sessions of court there and witness trials conducted by William H. Seward and others. Mr. Seward became interested in the young man, who, he observed, was exceptionally industrious and keen, and he invited him to enter his office in Auburn as a student of law. This offer was accepted, and the counsel and experience gained from his association with Mr. Seward, first as student and later as legal assistant, prepared Reuben for the responsibilities of the profession which he was to practice the rest of his days, in the Valley.
Reuben came to Mount Morris in 1832, and it was here that he opened his first law office, at the age of 22. All the qualities necessary for success in this field, such as energy, firmness of purpose, high reasoning power, self-confidence, and eloquence, were at his command, and within a short time Reuben had won the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens. Before long he entered into partnership with Judge Samuel H. Fitzhugh of Mt. Morris, and this firm became one of the most successful and distinguished in the Valley.
In 1838, Reuben, erected a beautiful and spacious residence on the main street of the village which he had chosen for his home. This house was called, by Reuben, "the dearest and sunniest spot on earth." Reuben and his wife Sarah Clark, resided there with their children, until her death in 1850. Reuben was later remarried to Ellen Fisk in 1851 and remained in the house as long as they both lived. They were said to be an affectionate family, kindly and generous in nature, and the palatial home of the courtly and gracious Wisner’s was ever open to all people.
In 1841, during the governorship of his friend and former associate, Mr. Seward, Reuben was elected to represent Livingston County in the New York State Legislature, his colleague being Augustus Gibbs of Livonia. Although Reuben enjoyed a notable record in Albany and occupied an important place on the judiciary committee, his chief interests were at home, and he declined to be re-nominated.
Reuben was a great leader in Christian Work in his community. Having united with the Baptist Church of Mount Morris in 1843, he remained a loyal member throughout his life, contributing liberally to its support and serving as superintendent of the Sunday School for over twenty years.
Taking his part in civic affairs, Reuben held the office of town clerk in 1837, village clerk from 1837 to 1839, president of the village in 1847, village collector for a time, and justice of the peace for several years .When the Genesee River Bank was organized in 1853, he was on the first board of directors. He was also a director of the Avon, Geneseo and Mount Morris Railroad as long as it existed and was one of the incorporators of the Mount Morris Cemetery Association in 1859, serving as its president from 1859 to 1863.
As a colonel in the 58th Regiment, New York State National Guard, Reuben was active in the recruitment of volunteers during the Civil War. On many occasions his stirring patriotic speeches were credited with the raising of recruits and contribution’s not only from the village of Mount Morris, but also from Tuscarora, Brooks Grove, and other neighboring settlements. Reuben himself contributed generously to the cause.
Reuben Wisner died October 22, 1872, eight years after his wife, Ellen had passed away. In 1866, he had formed a new partnership with Thomas J. Gamble, native of Groveland, who continued the business after Reuben's death. The burial place of this distinguished Valley citizen and his family is in Mount Morris Cemetery.
In 2001, the city of Rochester and Monroe County in collaboration with the High Falls Brewing Co. did a public art project called “Horses on Parade” to enlighten the community to the world of art, its local talented artists and dedicated businesses. There were over 600 submissions from artists to paint horses many were sold, auctioned off or donated and proceeds went to several notable charitable causes. You can see some horses still on display today at the Rochester International Airport and the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce in Geneseo.
When we saw them we just fell in love with the purpose of the horses and that is where the idea gave birth to our horse “Liberty”. We contacted the artist of the horses and asked to have one made for the house. Our original idea was to paint Liberty with an American flag draped over him and with the Pledge of Allegiance scrolled on his chest. Well little did we know, Liberty would remain white in honor of a particular white stallion that would run up and down the streets of Mount Morris in the early 1800’s. When talking to the some of the towns people who knew more of the history, we learned of this story and the vote down came to leaving him white.
But in the end, we dedicate Liberty to all those men and women who have fought for our country, died and survived wars so that our nation and all people could be free. My father and Steve’s father both fought in WWII and if you ever have a chance don’t forget to visit the Livingston County Veterans Monument park on Main Street.in Mount Morris.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”