My Family History, by Dennis Bengert:
My great grandfather Gustave bought land from the railroad on Union Rd.He farmed some and had some of the earliest greenhouses located this far from downtown Buffalo. Greenhouses and flowers were his gig. He built the big white house at the foot of Greenfield Ave next to Arby’s. He spent his first night in that house and died the next day of Pneumonia. Before Gustave died he made sure that all his boys had their own farms and greenhouses.
Gustave had two daughters. One was a redhead and the other one dyed her hair red (so vain), they never got married. They always worked for their brothers, sometime together and sometime apart depending upon their moods,(sisters).
John Galley was my grandfather. He had the greenhouses on Union Rd at the foot of Forest Ave., called The J.H.Galley Florist Inc. He married Winnifred Lehde which was another big nursery operation. The Edward Lehde Nursery was on Old French Rd. across from Dan Majeski. Edward Lehde had nursery farms all over WNY and also in Ohio. Edward had a brother that had a greenhouse operation on French Rd. near Borden called H.C.Lehde Greenhouses Inc.
Rudolph Galley had his greenhouses at Old French and Clinton St. He had three sons and three daughters all in the business except for one daughter. The girls were Elma, Eleanor and Ruth. Ruth was the daughter he disowned. She left town and had no part in the greenhouses.
Elma marred Art Seedorf and had a farm and greenhouse on old French Rd. (she really ran the show!!!!!, stubborn German).
Conrad and Gustave Jr. (Connie and Gus) had their greenhouses on Union Rd where Dunn Tire is today. It was called Galley Brothers. This was by far the biggest operation around. They had sixteen acres under glass. They could burn a train car of hard coal a week keeping the green houses going. World War II came and Galley Bros.had to close.
Andrew Galley had a flower shop on Clinton St. just in from Bailey Ave. Jacob Galley had a greenhouse a little ways out Clinton St. but still in Gardenville. I remember one old timer at the fire hall quoting his sign in front of his place it said, “Jake Galley Florist”.
Paul Galley had the greenhouses on Old French Rd were Bengert’s Greenhouse is today. Paul marred Louise Weber (George (Gram pa) Weber’s sister). Paul’s greenhouses were sold to Robert and Ester (Galley) Bengert ,July 1,1946 and the greenhouses in Gardenville continue.
I don’t know much about my father’s family, they were from the other French Rd. but I will tell you that he was perfection all the way. It was done perfect or it wasn’t done. He only went to the 8th grade but he taught me algebra, he could read a square, and make a set of stairs or the pitch on a roof to cut rafters.
The biggest thing I can ever remember about the greenhouse people is we never competed against each other. We helped each other because we all knew there was enough for everyone. We are servers.