Rudely Stamp’d: Emory Upton Featured in a New Play

Rudely Stamp’d, a roving theater company that produces history-themed plays, recently performed their newest production “Brothers at Odd’s: The Brisbane Story” in Batavia, NY, after Derek Maxfield was commissioned to write and direct the play for the Landmark Society of Batavia. The story featured a cameo by Gen. Emory Upton, who was brilliantly portrayed by Michael Gosselin – a professor of English at Genesee Community College.

Set in 1878, the play is a vehicle for bringing public attention to the old Brisbane Mansion on Main Street in Batavia. Built by George Brisbane in 1853, the building became the Batavia City Hall in the 20th century before becoming home to the city police department. The police are ready to move into a state of the art facility, which would leave the old mansion vacant. The Landmark Society hoped that the play would raise public awareness of the Brisbane family and the mansion itself. It is their wish that the historic home be preserved and repurposed in a dignified way.

While writing the play, Maxfield learned that Upton paid a visit to Batavia that summer and incorporated a visit by Upton to the Brisbane family. While there is no evidence to support such a visit, it was a common practice of the Victorian period for someone of Upton’s distinction to pay a call on families of high social standing. This in turn reinforced both the guest and the host’s social status.

Those who have attended the performances were delighted by Upton’s appearance, as the general remains a prominent local hero to this day. Young Emory was raised on a farm just outside of Batavia. He is buried in Auburn, New York, near his beloved wife Emily Martin.

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