Town of Parma and Village of Hilton

David Crumb was born in Hilton and grew up in the village during his early years.  At age 8 he moved with his family to a farm on Curtis Road where he lived until his graduation from Hilton Central School.  Following graduation from high school he went to Florida State University where he graduated with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.  From there he went to Michigan State University where he earned a Masters of Business Administration.

    His professional career began in Marshall, Michigan with Win Schuler Restaurants.  He later moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana where he was General Manager of the Marriott Hotel there.  By 1981 he was back in Rochester as General Manager of the Marriott in Greece, N.Y.  With his wife, Mari, and three children he was able to purchase the farm that he grew up on and still continues to reside there.

A later career move brought him to Rochester Institute of Technology where he became a tenured professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.   During his years in academia he had the privilege of teaching on many occasions in R.I.T.s sister school in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  This was perhaps his most memorable career experience.

Always interested and connected with history, and especially the history of his native community Hilton and Parma, he stayed in touch with his older relatives and their friends and gained a deep perspective on the early history of the area.  He was able collect and acquire many old photographs, documents and other artifacts pertinent to the early days of Hilton.  In 2008 with the retirement of the then current historian, Mary Townsend, he was appointed Village of Hilton Historian.  In 2014 he was appointed Town of Parma Historian.

He enjoys working will all people interested in the communities’ history, and his office is open on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  He can also be reached by e-mail at

The Nation’s Last Surviving Union Combat Veteran
of the
Civil War

James Hard was born on July 15, 1841 in Victor, New York.  When he died on March 12, 1953 in Rochester at the age of 111 several months shy of his 112th birthday he was the oldest Union combat veteran of the Civil War. 

In the 1940s and 1950’s  Hard was a social luminary.  He rode in every Memorial Day and 4th of July Parade in Monroe County and attended many public events.  His activities were chronicled in the local papers religiously.  He was a well-known individual to everyone.  In 1951 David Crumb caught a glimpse of him in a local parade and never forgot the moment. 

Fast forward some sixty years and David Crumb found Mr. Hard’s full-page obituary, which he then saved.  Soon after, he had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Hard’s  great great grandson, a Parma resident,  who provided him with many of the old veteran’s photographs, medals and other mementos. 

Shortly thereafter, a story was written for the local paper, and subsequently a program was developed for the Parma Hilton Historical Society.  Since that time the program has been delivered to over twelve county organizations.  At one event, over ten of Mr. Hard’s  descendants were in attendance. 

Hard, an interesting study, whose recipe for longevity was ”don’t worry too much and smoke plenty of cigars” was in over twelve major battles in the Civil War and later became a pension attorney in Rochester.  His life story should not be forgotten.

The Hojack Railroad

Fruit shipments by rail accounted for significant growth in Hilton. Learn about the history of the Hojack Railroad and its influence in the towns it once served.

The Great Hilton Fire of 1965

Mr. Crumb will explain the timeline of events as they unfolded throughout Main Street, Hilton.

On the 50th anniversary of the fire in 2015, this same presentation was given to the town whose attendance exceeded 300 people.

If you would like for your organization to hear one of Mr. Crumb’s presentations, please call us or email the Parma Hilton Historical Society.