By Douglas H. Shepard, 2012
Oren Monroe (his name is sometimes given as Orrin or Oron) was born in Thornfield, Ontario, Canada on 11 July 1825 according to his obituary in Dunkirk Evening Observer of 18 April 1900. He, his wife Mary Ann (originally from England) and their two children, William, 4, and Hazard Purdy, 2, moved from Canada to Dunkirk NY in 1852. [1855 New York State Census]
Monroe opened a daguerreian studio at 223 Center Street. In 1867 he put up a building at 300-304 Center Street, at the corner of East Third Street, the Monroe Block. With the stock from the former McCarty & Towle Drug Co., he opened the Monroe Pharmacy. The 1870 Census lists O. Monroe's wife, Mary Ann, as a photographer and their daughter, Hulda McIntosh, as an Assistant Photographer.
Child's Gazetteer (1873) lists O. Monroe & Son, photographers as well as O. Monroe & Son, wholesale and retail druggists at the two different locations on Center Street. The "Son" was Hazard Purdy Monroe. In 1881 Monroe sold his photographic studio to B. R. Gifford. Mary Ann Monroe died on 16 May 1899, Oren on 18 April 1900. [Dunkirk Evening Observer obituaries]