A Tribute To The Bicentennial
This booklet doesn't attempt to record the Westfield area history from its earliest beginning to the present time. An excellent historical book compiled for the 1967 Westfield Centennial, under the chairmanship of Mrs. William Jameson, (her own name not given in book) already exists. Our purpose here is to spotlight interesting personalities and events we believe to have strongly influenced the Westfield area that we know today
America's Bicentennial Year will hopefully mark a renewal of our dedication to the principles of democracy as presented by our forefathers. Principles we might have lost sight of in recent years
We feel the following pages significantly present a few who have combined the philosophy of rugged individualism with unselfish willingness to help others. And this, in essence, is what our country is all about
The Le Cercle Moderne Book Club of Westfield has assembled this material and sponsored this booklet as its contribution to America's Bicentennial observance. Sincere and special thanks go to all those who have allowed us to share in their memories and helped in providing this material.
Westfield Bicentennial Committee
Mrs. Murl F. Eaton...............................................................................Heritage Chairman
James Baker.......................................................................................Festival Chairman
Mr. and Mrs. William Snyder..............................................................Horizons Chairmen
Westfield A Bicentennial Tribute
By Bill Pippin
From Research Compiled
By Mary Eaton
Westfield was originally known as Priestville. This name probably derived from the fact the area was a central point for missionaries traveling between Hornell, NY and Williamsport, Pa. Since Priestville was the name of the first post office (Henry B. Trowbridge being the first postmaster), the name, Westfield, was apparently chosen after 1820
Reuben Cook Sr. was the first white settler within the present Boro limits. He lived in a log cabin built between 1806 and 1808, on the south bank of the river across from the present Satellite gas station. Ayers Tuttle was the first permanent settler in 1810 and built the first grist mill on the present Floyd English property. In 1825 he opened the A. Tuttle Inn. Jessie Lapham, a native of Rhode Island, bought 200 acres here in 1816 and became the first carpenter and surveyor
Dr. Barton Streeter was Westfield's first physician, arriving in 1830. His housecalls were made on horseback to all nearby settlements. He charged a dollar for the first mile and fifty cents for each succeeding mile. Office calls were thirty-five cents
In 1891 Dr. Arthur Bottum established a hospital in his home, the former Leland Scott House on Main Street. He made an incubator there in which a small premature baby was kept for a time. The hospital closed in 1899 upon the death of Dr. Bottum
The Good Samaritan Hospital was operated by Dr. Hervey Hagedorn in his home during the 1920's -- the former home of the superintendent of the H.H. Crary Tannery. This building is now the home of Mayor and Mrs. William Snyder who operate the Westfield Home for the Aged
Presently, the only physician in town is Dr. Stuart Davis. He is that rare kind --- a general practitioner who also makes house calls
The first lawyer was Augustus Streeter, who settled in 1830. He and Butler B. Strang studied law under A.J. Monroe in Knoxville. Strang, who was elected D.A. in 1856, went to the State Legislature in 1860. In 1870 he became Speaker of the General Assembly, and later served two terms in the Senate
The first church organized here was the Methodist Episcopal Church. Although begun in 1830, it wasn't officially organized until 1855. The Episcopal Church was organized about 1882. The present church was built and services were begun in 1895, as St. John's. The Wesleyan Methodists erected their church in 1870 and the Baptists organized theirs in 1891. All of these churches are located on Church Street
F. Strang came here from Lawrenceville in 1830 to open the first General Store. Other pioneer merchants about this time were Luke Scott, James Turner and Will Simmons. In 1844 Richard Krusen entered the mercantile field and quickly became an important civic leader. In 1846 John Montanye built and operated the first tannery at the site of the present Eberle Tannery.\
Krusen Cemetery was established in 1867 by Richard Krusen, on a mound eight feet high and a hundred feet in diameter. It was soon filled, so Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was opened in 1892. Just east of the Boro, on Route 49, is the Champlin Cemetery.\
The jockey hitching post in front of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Brace on Main Street was brought to Westfield by E.G. George in 1820
Westfield's first school was built about 1829 on the corner of Main and Lincoln -- the present site of the Valley Dollar Saver. The present Westfield Elementary School was built in 1914. An addition was constructed in 1938. The first and only woman to hold the office of Tioga County Superintendent of Schools was Sarah I. Lewis Krusen, who served from 1876 until 1880. The last County Superintendent to serve was Harold Swayne of Westfield. The office was abolished in 1971
The Cowanesque Valley Joint School District, composed of Knoxville Boro, Westfield, Clymer and Brookfield Townships, was formed in 1948 and 1949. It was joined by Westfield Boro in 1950 and by Chatham in 1959. The new Cowanesque Junior and Senior High School opened in 1958, and in 1966 the Northern Tioga School District was formed from the Cowanesque, Elkland and Williamson jointures
Westfield was organized as a borough on February 16, 1867. Butler B. Strang was sworn in as the first burgess. Councilmen were Richard Krusen, James Masten, Simon Wilcox, S.B. Lewis and Thomas Sanders
The Westfield Index, established by McNaughton and Leach in 1873, was the first newspaper. It was discontinued in 1874, but the following year O.S. Webster bought the press and founded the Westfield Idea. E.M. Bixby changed the name in 1878 to the Westfield Free Press. Presently it is the Westfield Free Press-Courier, a merger of the Free Press and The Knoxville Courier. The manager and editor is Marie Pepero of Galeton
Two railroads completed laying tracks to Westfield in 1882. The Fall Brook (later the New York Central) started in Lawrenceville, Pa and eventually extended to Ulysses. The Addison and Pa. (later part of the Baltimore and Ohio) reached Westfield, then later extended to Gaines and Galeton. The railroad is now W.A.G. --- Wellsville, Addison and Galeton. Passenger service was discontinued several years ago
The Farmers and Traders Bank was established in 1885 with E.M. Tucker its president, and is now one of over thirty branch banks of the Commonwealth Bank and Trust Co., with headquarters in Wellsboro
Early farmers raised cigar-leaf tobacco in our valley. At least two companies in Westfield manufactured cigars during the 1880's. One company was in the present Crary Hose rooms. The cigar business here ended when mass production elsewhere made it uneconomical, and famers turned to the more profitable business of dairying. The cleared hilltops and the river valley land were found to be ideal for forage crops
The first milk plant opened in the early 1900's s the Helvetia Milk Company. Until 1932 it was operated by the Borden Company, and is presently the Eberle cut shop. The M.H. Renken Dairy of Brooklyn, NY was established in 1927 in the eastern part of the borough, continuing operation until 1962. After it closed, the milk was transported to the main plant in Middlebury Center.
The first volunteer hose company was organized in 1890. The Crary Hose Company is constantly updating their equipment and servicing the community when fire or other emergencies strike
In 1898 a telegraph was brough into the Boro by the Postal Telegraph Cable Company of New York. Electrical service was initiated in 1925 by North Penn Power. The first producing gas well came in on the Ray French farm in 1935. Television cable service arrived in 1951
The Valley Dollar Saver, an advertising publication that also prints items of interest and announcements, has been delivered free to the surrounding area since 1948. The owners are Wilson and Jean Gridley
The Riverside Manor on Race Street opened to Senior Citizens on March 15, 1974, filling a definite housing need for the elderly. All fifty apartments are presently occupied and there is also a waiting list.
The above are some of the firsts that helped to mold Westfield's future. But this future wouldn't have been possible without the dedicated service and suffering of a few patriots two hundred years ago. The following are some we would like to particularly honor during this Bicentennial year:
REUBEN COOK, Westfield's first settler and the first white settler in the Cowanesque Valley west of Lawrenceville, was born at Old Hartford, West Division, in 1747. He built the first log cabin here about 1806 on the south bank of the river, near the present site of Seal's Lumber Company. After living in Ohio for a time, he returned here in 1820, and in 1823 he was granted a Revolutionary pension of $40 annually. He lived in Osceola until his death in 1829. Both he and his wife are buried in the Osceola Cemetery. A son, Reuben Cook Jr., died during his hundredth year in October of 1881 at his home in Brookfield
JOHN H. BROWN, born in 1759, served under the Connecticut Continental Line and was placed on the Pension Roll March 5, 1819. He died about 1835 and is buried in the Cowanesque Pioneer Cemetery.\
JOHN JOSEPH, born February 28, 1754, served from Northhampton County, Pa. He died April 13, 1823 and is buried in the Bacon Cemetery in Brookfield Township
JAMES KING IV, born March 28, 1765, served as a private in Captain Olney's Company, Rhode Island. He settled on a farm in Westfield Boro in 1825, where the first cow stanchions in the county were introduced. Upon his death November 13, 1844, he was buried on his land, which is subsequently owned by C.E. Krusen
AZEL N. NOBLES, born September 12, 1764, served in the Connecticut Continental Line and was placed on the Pension Roll January 31, 1833. His name is spelled Asa in the pension record. He died after 1835 and was buried in Brookfield Cemetery, Brookfield Township
SYLVESTER PHILLIPS, (Rev), was born June 12, 1758. He enlisted in Captain Israel Chapin's Company and took part in the Expedition into Canada in 1776 at the age of 18. He died February 8, 1841, and is buried in the Champlin Cemetery, Westfield Township
SIMON RIXFORD (or Rexford), born in 1754, came from Winchester, Massachusetts where he had served for seven years in the Massachusetts Militia, having enlisted at the age of 15. He was afflicted with deafness caused by close proximity to artillery during battle. He moved to Clymer Township with his wife and son in 1820, purchasing 300 acres from James Mix, Clymer's first settler (1818). Placed on the Pension Roll on January 15, 1833, he died sometime after 1835 and is buried in Mixtown Cemetery, Clymer Township
EZEKIEL THOMAS, born October 25, 1747, served as sergeant in New York's Continental Line, Placed on the Pension Roll November 26, 1819, he died in 1828 and is buried somewhere in Westfield Township
AYRES TUTTLE, born in 1762, served at the Battle of Bunker Hill as a member of the Patriot Band. Tuttle arrived in the Westfield area previous to 1809 and settled in the Township just east of the Boro. He died in 1837 and is buried in Champlin Cemetery, Westfield Township
Thanks go to Mrs. Clarence Franke [real name Lola Wetherbee] and Mrs. William Ladd [real name Rhoda English] , members of the Wellsboro Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, for this roll call of Revolutionary heroes from the Westfield area
Lenore H. Clark. . . . . In memory of Katherine L.O. Clark, Kenneth
L. and Phyllis Clark Baker, William L. and Edith H. Clark, and Guy, Fred
and Walter Clark and William C. Clark
The village of Potter Brook was settled by Stephen Potter, a native of Rhode Island, in 1818. Mr. Potter's wife was Matilda Aldrich. Years later, in 1866, Isaac Thompson, son-in-law of Stephen Potter, moved to the village from Harrison Township. He built the house now occupied by Mrs. Charlotte Wheeler and family. Isaac and his wife, Mary, had five daughters: Mrs. Eva Hawley, grandmother of Mrs. Reva Newcomb; Mrs. Emily Weeks, mother of Mrs. Mary Manning and the late Frank Weeks; Mrs. Julia Skinner, mother of Arlie Skinner and Lula Lechler; Mrs. Saphronia Weeks, mother of the late Maro Mulford; and Mrs. Hattie Nivison.\
The inhabitants of the village at that time were Quakers from Rhode Island, with such familiar names as Aldrich, Potter, Wood, Leonard and Seamans.
In October, 1874, the date Potter Brook was established, Isaac Thompson opened the first store. The first post office dates from that same time. Horatio Aldrich was the postmaster. Other stores to open were W.C. Kendall in 1883, Charles Markham in 1884, Willis White in 1892, and John Haven in 1894. The Miller grocery store and post office, run by Harry and Minnie Miller for many years, was destroyed by fire in 1951. At the time it was operated by George Wetmore. Mrs. Minnie Miller was the last postmistress, and in 1971 Potter Brook became a part of the Westfield town delivery, with Harold Plank as the regular mail carrier and Faith Cary the substitute
Across the road from Ed Potter House, in 1882, George Potter operated a feed mill, planing mill, shingle mill, saw mill, and cording machine --all under one roof. George was the grandfather of Mrs. Theo Stratton, and of Arden Potter of Wellsville, New York
The Fall Brook railroad was completed to the village in 1883, extending from Elkland to the Harvey Rumsey crossing just west of Westfield. Service was discontinued in 1932 and in 1934 the tracks were removed. The depot was purchased by Henry and Joe Plank, who moved it in back of the Markham store to be used as a storage building.
In 1883 the first hotel --- the Kendall House --- was built by Adelbert Hawley at a cost of $8000. When it burned in 1888, Mr. Hawley rebuilt on the same location. William Truax purchased the hotel in the 1930's and operated a store and garage in it for over thirty-two years. The former hotel is now Kolesar's Garage
The Potter Cemetery was incorporated in 1884. The 1 1/2 acre plot located across from the church soon filled, and in 1913 Allie Weeks incorporated the Riverview Cemetery. This cemetery, on a hill overlooking the village, is still in use
Potter Brook's first schoolhouse was a two-room building constructed on the Potter Brook Road in 1884. After nearly a half-century of service, it closed in 1931, and the children were transported by bus to the new Westfield Township Consolidated School. The first bus driver was Clio Tanner.\
At one time there were three blacksmith shops in the village. Between the hotel and the Cowanesque River a blacksmith shop was operated by Sam Holt. This was in the early days. Later the same shop was run by Wilson Burdick, before being converted into a cheese factory by Lou Murdock. The building burned down in 1950
The first church service was held in 1884 in the depot, and later in the schoolhouse. Reverend J. C. Ferrill was the pastor and the congregation consisted of Wesleyans, Methodists and Baptists.\
The Mission Church, now known as the Rod and Gun Club, had at one time a large membership, but when this dropped to only six members it was taken over by the Happy Hour Club, a group of civic minded women sponsoring community betterment. The club located a library in the building, and it is also used for community affairs, meetings, and as a voting place
The present church, chartered in 1890, was built by volunteers at a cost of $1300 on land donated by Isaac Thompson. A Sunday School room and kitchen have been added, and the present pastor is Reverend Dale Tubbs
In May, 1913, a devastating fire consumed the Charles Markham, Allie Weeks and John Havens stores, along with the building where the post office was then located. The Markham store was the only establishment to be rebuilt
Potter Brook's Old Home Day was discontinued in 1942 (because of the War) after six years of observance. But with the help of the community, former residents, and the Happy Hour Club, the event was re-established and has been held annually on or about the Fourth of July, since 1960. Huge crowds annually gather to witness the parade, baby contest, partake of entertainment and enjoy an excellent dinner
Many descendants of the early settlers still live in the vicinity of
Potter Brook. The oldest life-long residents alive today are Lula Lechler,
soon to be 90, and Arlie Skinner, who is 85. They are great-grandchildren
of Stephen Potter, the founder of Potter Brook.
Fred J. Wood, Founder of the Westfield Boy
In 1871, three miles east of Knoxville on the Joseph Wood homestead, Fred J. Wood was born. As a young man in 1894 he married Ella Youmans. The following year they moved to Westfield, where Fred had purchased a store which would become known as the F.J. Wood Dry Goods Store.
Fred sold his store in 1914 to A.W. Lugg, of Knoxville, and bought a farm near that town. He and his family lived there until 1928, when the farm was sold and they returned to Westfield. Fred and his son, Joseph (and later Milton), established a feed and machinery business which was sold years later (1947) to a son-in-law, George MacKnight. Now owned by Fred MacKnight and Sons, it is called Agway
Earlier, though, in 1911, Wood established the first Boy Scout troop here. Since the Boy Scout movement in this country began in 1910, Westfield's Troop 50 was probably one of the earliest. The charter issued to them at that time, signed by Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Ernest Thompson Seton, is a source of pride to Troop 50. Since Wood moved from Westfield in 1914, no records are available for the Boy Scouts of that period, but records from 1926 show that Troop 50 was reorganized. The Scout Master then was Trowbridge, and his assistant was H.M. Farwell.
Donald Cobb became Scout Master in 1946, a position he held until retirement in 1972. Much of the credit for Troop 50's unique scouting record must go to Mr. Cobb, for under the guidance the movement thrived. The first boy scout to attain Eagle Scout level (scouting's highest rank) in Westfield was Marland Parsons, and it is believed there is no troop in America that has produced more Eagle Scouts. The present Scout Master is Rod Cochran, president of the Bicentennial Committee, who reports that Troop 50 will have its 65th Eagle Scout when William Tubbs earns that honor this year
Fred J. Wood, a man who during his lifetime was generous with both his time and money, died in 1970 at the age of ninety-nine. A campership in his memory has been maintained by his son, Joseph
Seven years ago it was found necessary to form another group of Boy Scouts to accommodate increased interest. The men of the Methodist Church were instrumental in putting together Troop 53, with William Lewis as Scout Master, ably supported by Harold Lewis, Harold Jones, and Albert Brugger. There are a number of active Scouts from the Harrison Valley, Sabinsville, and Westfield areas participating, and Troop 53 is establishing its own record for producing Eagle Scouts. The ninth boy to achieve that rank was honored at a banquet in February of 1976
The Influence of Walter Clark on Local Education
In education, Walter G. Clark must rank high in Westfield's history. From 1921 to 1934 he served as principal of the high school, the longest tenure of any principal there
Mr. Clark was born in Westfield on April 14, 1890, the son of William and Katherine Baker Clark. He was educated here and at Mansfield Normal School, graduating in 1909. He also took several courses at Penn State, and received a B.S. and a M.S. degree in Education from Bucknell.
Following graduation from Mansfield, Mr. Clark served as principal of Woolrich Schools in Clinton County (1909 to 1910), as principal of the Clymer Township Schools in Sabinsville (1910 to 1921) before becoming principal of the Westfield Boro School. Wherever he served he was distinguished by his sense of discipline, enthusiastic support for sports, and high quality of education. In 1934 Walter Clark was chosen to be the Assistant County Superintendent of Schools, under E.E. Mervin. He became the Tioga County Superintendent of Schools in 1936, a position he held for twenty years. During his term a number of schools were built in the county and he received many honors, among which was being recognized as an outstanding educator by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education. In 1954, he received the Benjamin Rush Award from the Tioga Association for outstanding contribution in the field of education and health. He retired in 1956.\
Mr. Clark was a charter member of the Westfield American Legion No. 519 and a veteran of the First World War. He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church, serving as vestryman for many years. He belonged to the Wellsboro Rotary Club, the Heart Fund Society, Tuberculosis Society, Crippled Children's Society, Children's Welfare, American Red Cross, Junior Red Cross, the M.S.G. Alumni Association, Pennsylvania Education Association, Masonic Lodge No. 477 (of which he was past Master), Coudersport Consistory, Irem Temple Shrine of Wilkes Barre, and was on the Board of Directors of the Wellsboro Hospital.
The Cowanesque Valley High School was built on the site of the old Westfield Fairgrounds on land donated by Walter Clark and his brother. The Walter Clark Auditorium is a memorial to his lifelong work in education.
Walter G. Clark died on February 29, 1972, survived by two nieces: Misses Lenore and Katherine Clark (Katherine died in 1974), a grand nephew and two grand nieces. He is buried in the family plot in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, overlooking the Boro of Westfield
The present high school principal is Charles James, and the elementary principal of all district schools is James Gardner. The Westfield Township school is under the Boro principal, Thomas Huzey, who also services Knoxville. Doctor Kenneth Schoonover is Superintendent of the Northern Tioga School District.\
A Mother's Memorial
Westfield's beautiful churches are all located on Church Street, with the exception of one: St. Catherine's Roman Catholic Church on Lincoln Street. What follows is the interesting story of this little chapel
Very soon after the death of Catherine Adams on May 18, 1904, two of her sons, Thomas Albeus and Robert A. Adams, of New York City, asked for and received permission from the Bishop of Scranton to build a memorial chapel in honor of their mother. It would be built on the site of the Adams' home, a home that had been in the family for three generations.
The home was soon razed and the new structure was created of limestone (from the quarry on the hill north of town). A fine example of Gothic architecture, it was designed by J.G. Glover, a New York architect, and every effort was made to insure that it be a lasting memorial. To this end a cement floor, metal-lined trusses and roof planks, and a copper-tiled roof with copper ridge and cornice became part of the little chapel. The woodwork is of solid oak, the finish being the same as that found in many European churches.
All the stained glass windows are original. The Adams brothers, after consulting artists in Munich and Paris, finally placed their order with F.J. Grenier, a descendant of the family that constructed some of the noted cathedral windows in Europe. It is said that the large rose window over the altar has never been duplicated.
The date on the cornerstone is 1904. A bronze tablet at the left entrance proclaims this to be a Catherine Adams Memorial. The property is enclosed by a substantial iron fence and gateway supported by stone posts. Small as the church is, it was ample for the congregation of the era in which it was built. But in this Bicentennial year of 1976 it is fairly bursting at the seams. The Adams family and a party of friends arrived in Addison, from New York, in November, 1906. A special train was waiting there to carry them to Westfield for the dedication of the chapel as St. Catherine's R.C. Church. The dedication was performed by Bishop Hoban of Scranton, who was assisted by Reverend John O'Toole of Elkland.
. September, 1951, saw friends and relatives of the Catherine and Thomas Adams family gathered at St. Catherine's to witness the first Solemn Mass of a grandson, Thomas Joseph Adams. Son of T. Albeus, Thomas gave up a lucrative position in New York City to don the brown habit and sandals of the Capuchin Friars. Later, after a year in a Washington D.C. seminary, Father Adams went to St. Louis as pastor of a 25-family parish, St. Borromeo's. Hard work and prayer helped make this into a beautiful edifice with a formal garden, where a concert series was annually presented. Although Father Adams has died, his brother, John Quincy Adams lives in New Jersey and carries on the family business of refrigeration and cold storage. Some local descendants are Edgerton Adams, his daughter, (Carolyn) Mrs. Tom Taylor, and a son James, all of Knoxville
The Business of Westfield
The Eberle Tanning Company
After 1810, when Ayers Tuttle built a grist mill east of the present
borough limits, and soon after established the Wayside Inn in his home,
many industries, shops and stores sprang up in Westfield, only to fold
after a few years. The most notable were Hollister Baker's Foundry, Van
Dusen's Marble Works, Tremaine's Flour Mill, Rood's Carriage and Wagon
Shop, the Westfield Planing Mill, Kelts and Gilbert Tannery, H.H. Crary
and Company Tannery, Phillips Foundry on the corner of Mill and Lincoln
Streets, two cigar making establishments, hotels, and innumerable mercantile
concerns that lined both sides of Main Street.
However one business that refused to fold was the Eberle Tannery, established here in 1867.
Legend has it that Frank Eberle, a Bavarian native, began tanning hides in a hollowed-out log vat at the end of an old Indian trail in the Cowanesque Valley. It is a fact, however, that throughout the years, despite severe reverses, nothing could destroy the Eberle spirit.
In 1889 the Mill Creek flood washed away all the tannery's vats, barns and storehouses, but Mr. Eberle picked up the pieces and rebuilt. He was in charge until his death in 1895. His son, Joseph F. Eberle Senior, then continued the business and initiated the changeover to mechanization. Production soon increased, and so did demands for Tioga Oak. Disaster struck for the second time in 1919, when fire destroyed most of the buildings. But Joseph had inherited his father's determination, and rebuilding began at once. The Eberle Tannery survived when other tanneries were discontinuing operation, maintaining a program of regular improvement and modernization, resulting in greater efficiency and a better product. It is notable that during the depression years Eberle continued full employment. Being the main industry for this area, Westfield didn't suffer from the effects of unemployment, bread lines, or loss of business by the merchants. Today the Eberle Tanning Company is operated by Joseph F. Eberle Junior, assisted by his son, Mark. Present goals are maintaining today's pollution standards, along with steady improvement in both product and efficiency. The tannery enjoys the distinction of being the world's most modern tannery, and the largest producing sole leather. Explosions and fire destroyed nearly a third of the Eberle Tanning Company's Plant II on Race Street on March 8, 1976. This is the building commonly known as the Cut Shop. The blasts shook nearby homes and buildings as balls of flame a hundred feet high shot into the air. Walter Zinck of Knoxville, working at a sole treating operation in the blast area, lost his life in the fire. Eighteen other employees escaped without injury. At this time, no estimates of the damage have been released.
The Railroad Era
1882 marked the beginning of a new era for Westfield. Five hundred people were on hand to witness the arrival of the first train from Addison and Pennsylvania Railroad. It was only a donkey engine pulling three or four flat cars on a narrow gauge track, but it brought with it the promise of easier, faster travel. Soon after, the first excursion to Addison took place, on December 19, 1882. The railroad was later extended to Gaines, then to Galeton, and in 1893 the track was widened to standard gauge and renamed the Buffalo and Susquehanna. Eventually it became part of the Baltimore and Ohio Another railroad to reach Westfield in 1882 was the Fall Brook. It began at Lawrenceville and extended to Ulysses, where it met the Coudersport and Port Allegany Railroad, or the "Hoodlebug," as it was called locally. The Fall Brook ran Sunday excursions to Mills, during the summer, from 1881 to 1910. The Mills terminus was the I.O.O.F. Park, consisting of five acres of river bottom land located near the tracks.
Many brought picnic lunches, although food could be purchased on the grounds. There was a grandstand where noted persons could speak. The Mills Band would often play in full uniform. There were free entertainment, usually in the form of a high wire act or a parachute jump, along with teeters, high swings, a croquet course and baseball games. A merry-go-round might be brought in, to be kept busy from morning until night by young and old alike. The terminus was returned to Westfield in the early 1900's, and the Mills period of importance quickly faded into history. Several years later the track from Westfield to Ulysses was taken up and sold.
Railroad facilities in the borough are now owned by WAG, which operates on the old B and O tracks from Wellsville to Galeton. It is often referred to as the Sole Leather Line, since the Eberle Tannery (the only tannery left in Tioga County) is its main customer. One freight train still makes the daily run, although passenger service ended November 19, 1949
Consolidated Gas Supply Corporation
The man responsible for the discovery of gas in Tioga County might well be a young, well-dressed engineer named Jack B. Gaddis, who selected the drilling sites. In 1935 this pioneer geologist for the North Penn Gas Company made a location on the Ray French farm, due west of Sabinsville, and on August 19 of that same year a producing well was drilled. In the spring of 1936 a location was made on the George Stebbins lease that, when drilled in, became the largest producing gas well east of the Mississippi River
Mr. J.F. Eberle, co-owner of the Eberle Tanning Company, was one of the main promoters of the gas field. He directed a town pool established so that each town lot owner who entered the pool would receive his proportionate share of the natural gas royalties. Over a period of 46 months money from this pool paid to lot owners was about $100,000. Although once considered one of the best gas producing fields in the U.S., it became evident about 1950 that the wells were failing. Plans were made to clean them out, using the wells and existing pipeline facilities as a storage pool, and consequently the Sabinsville Station went into service in October, 1951. Compressor stations have since been built in Harrison Valley, State Line, Boom Station (near Lawrenceville), Ellisburg, and at Woodhull, New York
Consolidated Gas Supply Corporation is today one of Westfield's most important industries, employing many from this area. It has also drawn a number of families from other localities here, families who have become permanent residents and who are making a genuine contribution to Westfield's civic, social, and economic life
Electri-Cord Manufacturing Co., Inc.
In June, 1965, through the efforts of Westfield's Industrial Committee, Electri-Cord Manufacturing Company, Inc., was persuaded to locate here. The plant manufactures electric cord sets and is housed in the old Kayser-Roth building on East Main Street, under the management of Mr. Jerry Samuels. Electri-Cord employs about 300 women and men, and is an asset to Westfield's economy
K and W Medical Specialties Company
The area's newest business venture is the K and W Medical Specialties factory, located west of the borough in Westfield Township on the Pritchard Hollow Road. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held in July, 1974 before an interested group of business industrial representatives
Eugene Wolstenholme is president of both the K and W Machine Co. in Warminster, Pa. and its Westfield subsidiary. Jack Klinger is the local plant manager and Vincent Trezza is the director of engineering. The plant began operation in 1975, manufacturing component parts for artificial kidneys. The company wants expansion, but the current economic crunch, creating a scarcity of plastic, has slowed that expansion. But once conditions stabilize, components used in the assembly of other precision medical instruments will be made, necessitating more personnel
The Cowanesque Valley Iron Works is located in the village of Cowanesque, once known as Edgecombville. John Rieppel built his foundry here in 1887 because he wished to take advantage of the two railroads which intersected there
Walter Rieppel, a grandson, and William Rieppel, a great-grandson, carry on the business today. They have about thirty employees. Many types of iron goods are manufactured and casting work is done for local industries and individuals.
The Harold Rieppel Company
Another of the John Rieppel's grandsons, Harold, was formerly associated with the foundry in Cowanesque but retired in 1969. He built a new home and a small plant south of the borough on Route 349. Although retired, he keeps busy doing aluminum casting and making fancy ornaments. He is a representative for Homelite pumps and chain saws, providing sales and service for them. He also repairs lawn mowers and other machinery. Because of his long-time interest in baseball, he is presently making automatic baseball pitchers for Little League teams. Mr. Rieppel has been commissioned by the Bicentennial Horizons chairmen to set a replica of the Liberty Bell on a base in Riverside Park. Names of Westfield area servicemen will be engraved on this base.
Westfield Manufacturing Company
The Westfield Manufacturing Co. is located in the former M.H. Renken
Dairy Plant. It has been reported that Women's and Children's underwear
are made in wholesale lots and shipped to the parent factory in Hornell,
The Heart of Westfield
Not long after John Eldridge Harvey was born in 1842, his parents left their Greene, New York home and traveled south into Pennsylvania . Of their four sons, the youngest was John. The trip was made in an oxen-drawn covered wagon containing tools and household effects. Mrs. Harvey rode a horse sidesaddle, holding John in her lap. Upon reaching Ulysses they stayed overnight with a relative, then pushed onward to the Potter County settlement of West Bingham. Staking our land, they built a shelter and began a new life for themselves. It was easy to find work in the vast virgin forests, where lumbering was a growing enterprise. Mr. Harvey was a good carpenter and taught his sons the trade. The school at West Bingham was a crude, three-sided affair heated by a large fireplace. Young John was able to attend only when there was no work at home, which was seldom, but on his own, he became a well read, self-educated man. At the onset of the Civil War, John Harvey walked to Port Allegany, joined a group of young men rafting down the Allegany River to enlist in the Union Army, and became a member of the Signal Corps on April 26, 1861. Over the next four years he participated in the battles of Bull Run, Winchester, Spottsylvania Courthouse, Lookout Mountain, Wilderness and Gettysburg. While John was at the Gettysburg camp he met and shook hands with President Lincoln. It is ironic that, despite his war record, John was a nonviolent man who did not hunt, fish, or use profanity. Mustered out of the army in March, 1865, he worked in lumber camps around Cherry Springs and did some carpentry. He helped all three of his brothers build homes in the West Bingham area. These still stand, one of which is an octagonal house. John liked to keep diaries and did so from 1861 until he was long past ninety. Shared by his two granddaughters, Mrs. Laura Tanner of Potter Brook and Mrs. Vivian Hilfiger of Muskogee, Oklahoma, these diaries are now prized possessions
Soon after the war he began spending many evenings at the Crum household. Several diary entries were: "Went to Austin's," or "Went to the meeting," and finally one entry that said simply, "Married Mary today." There had been no previous entry about her. John and his new wife, Mary Delephine Crum, made their home with her father, Austin, and for his bride's wedding gift John cut down a cherry tree and made two lovely drop-leaf tables. The largest is presently in the Tanner home.
The Harveys had two children, Franklin and Rhoda. In 1885, when Rhoda was twelve, the family moved to Westfield. A relative, Albert Baker, had a machine shop and ironworks in the northern part of the Boro, and lived in a fine home on Mill Street, now occupied by the James Carpenter family. The first Harvey home was on the eastern corner of Main and Mason Streets. Later John bought a fifteen acre tract extending from the present Dale Weidman property to the Mrs. Clair Baker home on Mason Street. The tract included the present Richard Hall home and barn, as well as the pasture ending at the property line on Stone Quarry Road now owned by the Ehrlers. John's large garden was located on the Murl Eaton lot, purchased from his heirs. The remaining acreage was kept mostly in corn or hay. A section, starting with the Eaton home, was sold in 1949 for development. An extension of North Street was named Harvey Avenue and became the second new housing project in town.
John served as Water Commissioner for many years, and the Boro's water came from a well and pumphouse on land he had deeded to the town. Since he lived nearby, he spent much of his time tending the pumphouse and correcting any problems. He served on the School Board for about thirty years and was president in 1914 when the new Westfield High School was built. He was still on the board when the 1938 addition was built. John was also superintendent of the main building of the Westfield Fair. After Mary's death in 1909, John's daughter, Rhoda, and family moved in with him. It was meant to be a temporary move, but Rhoda remained there for the next thirty-five years. Rhoda had been Westfield's telephone operator in the 1890's, when the line first opened to Wellsboro and Mansfield. Later she worked in Holcomb's Drug Store, where she met Ben Rogers, another employee. They were married and had two daughters, Laura and Vivian.
John spent a number of winters with his son, Franklin, on the Isle of Pines in the Caribbean, where Franklin had invested in a grapefruit plantation. Many Americans had moved there at the close of the Spanish-American War and were making huge profits shipping their fruit duty-free to America. Although Cuba claimed the Isle of Pines on the basis of a 1904 treaty with the United States, these Americans were confident in the U.S. Senate would never confirm the treaty. But in 1925 it was confirmed and a tariff imposed that brought ruin to Franklin Harvey and many other Americans. Adding insult to injury, a severe hurricane completely destroyed the grapefruit plantation. Crushed by the disaster, Franklin died soon afterwards and was buried on the Isle of Pines.
John Harvey was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church almost from the time it was organized, serving as the Sunday School teacher of the Mizpeh class. He was a member of the Official Board and a trustee for many years. On his hundredth birhday the church gave him a party. The community was invited, and indeed it seemed that the whole town had turned out to pay their respect. A stained glass window on the left side of the church altar is a memorial to John and Mary Harvey. Although seldom ill during his lifetime, in 1944, aged one-hundred-and-two, this good and gentle man wore out. He is buried in the Crum plot in the Ulysses Cemetery beside his beloved wife.
A granddaughter, Laura Tanner of Potter Brook, has in her possession
a large flagstone found on the former Austin Crum farm at West Bingham.
Discovered over ten years ago when the property owner became curious as
to why grass refused to grow on a particular spot in his front lawn, the
flagstone, still in excellent condition, has this message clearly chiseled
on its face:
J. E. H.
JUNE 23, 1847
* * * *
Joseph Abramson's Modern Horatio Alger Story
Perhaps the best known personality in Westfield is an aged man who can be seen daily trudging to the post office or to Fitzwater's Restaurant for his morning coffee break. Joseph Abramson has scores of friends who greet him wherever he goes, and he has done business with most of them -- their parents and grandparents as well.
Joe was born in Ergwilken, Lithuania when it was part of the Russian
Empire. As a young man in 1905, he and a boyhood friend, Ben Marcus, immigrated
to America. On a chilly March day they landed in New York where they were
met by two of Joe's cousins, partners in a law firm. After two weeks of
sightseeing in New York, Joe and Ben went to Elmira. Joe's grandparents
lived there, and also an aunt, Henny Oppenheim. After comtemplating their
future, both young men acquired some merchandise and sundries, a pack to
carry them in, and began traveling about the countryside selling their
wares house to house. They were known as "pack peddlers" in those days,
and folks were eager to purchase sewing notions and other small items,
thereby avoiding a trip to town.
Joe often visited the Westfield area. An uncle, Joe Phillips, lived in a home on Stephenson Street (later the Walter Clark apartment house) and Joe was always welcome there. The day came when Uncle Joe invited his nephew to leave Elmira and make his home with him. Joe accepted the offer. His friend, Ben Marcus, had settled in Galeton, where some of his relatives owned a large department store.
From Westfield, Joe worked a regular route covering fifty miles round trip, including Potter Brook, North Fork, Clymer, Ulysses, Galeton and all points inbetween, sleeping in the home where he happened to be when night fell. Besides his merchandise, Joe also carried bits of news with him that his patrons were happy to receive.
Within four and a half years Joe was able to buy a small covered wagon and a horse from Asa Trowbridge. The peddling was a lot easier and Joe's customers could be covered once every four weeks. Later he would trade his horse for a better one, the purchase made at Hoffman's farm on the North Fork road.
Business continued to increase until Joe needed a storage building to hold his ever expanding supply of merchandise, and he rented the former Dr. Secor home, near the corner of Main and High Streets. Here there was also a stable for his horse. He continued to peddle for nine years, until in 1914 he turned his storage building into a dry-goods store.
One day Joe was invited to the home of a salesman friend in Lock Haven. The salesman's daughter, Minnie Friedman, was very pleasing to the eye and Joe invited her to accompany him on a sleigh-ride. It was the beginning of a courtship that would culminate in marriage in 1915. Minnie and Joe's first home was on Church Street, a few doors from the store. In 1922 they bought their present home (corner of Church and Stephenson) from Paul Ford, who completely remodeled it for them. The Abramsons had one child, Margery, a talented musician, who went on to graduate from Julliard School of Music in New York, where she met and married Eddie Manson, another talented musician. They made their home in New York City, where Margery died prematurely at the age of thirty-nine. She is survived by one son, David Manson, an entertainer and assistant producer at Columbia Broadcasting in Hollywood, California.
Over the years Joe's merchandising skill and accommodating ways built up a brisk business and he began looking for a larger place. He rented the F.D. Strang building and opened a Ladies' Wear store (presently the Fish Shoe Store and the Mali Mai Boutique). Success continued and Joe soon bought the entire block from the Strang estate, extending from the corner of Church and Main to the present Fitzwater Restaurant. He added a Men's Wear and a Shoe Department. Minnie was a good helpmate to her husband, working as his secretary and bookkeeper throughout the next fifty years. Illness prevented Joe from working the last two years, but Minnie, ably assisted by Madelyn Weidman, kept things running smoothly.
When he came to this country, Joe left three brothers and a sister in Lithuania. All three brothers were killed in the First World War. His sister, Mary Katz, lives in Capetown, South Africa with her three children, all of whom are college graduates.
Although he hasn't enjoyed the best of health recently, Joe remains in good spirits and enjoys getting out to the Country Club for social events. He and Minnie spend religious holidays at Grossingers, where they renew ties with friends and relatives from New York City. These trips are made possible by Elbridge Mack, their driver. Most winters include a Florida vacation, but this year it was cancelled due to Joe's illness. Westfield's oldest citizen and wife are looking forward to a better year in 1976.
The Passing of a Giant
Gates McNinch was a giant of a man. Not only physically, but in his genuine concern for his native town. Born July 8, 1893, Gates was the son of Alonzo and Ida McNinch. He was in the third generation of the McNinch family, who settled here in 1880.
He attended Westfield's first school on the site of the present elementary school, which replaced the original in 1914. Soon after completing his education there he went to work for Rogers and Ayers in their grocery store on Main Street. He was with them for sixteen years. Then in 1925 Gates opened an insurance agency in the store building now housing Sunderlin's Shoe Store.
Never marrying, he made his home with his parents on Maple Street. During the middle 1930's, when his mother suffered a broken hip, Gates desperately needed a mature woman to care for her. With the help of the Kelleys of Galeton, Alice Kennedy was persuaded to take the job. Alice cared for Mrs. McNinch until her death, then stayed on as housekeeper for father and son.
Gates had an avid interest in anything connected with the early days of Westfield and assembled much historic memorabilia and books. Another hobby was his very complete and valuable coin collection and he enjoyed showing and talking about with other collectors. His trusting nature was taken unfair advantage of once when an extra fine 1864 L cent was replaced behind his back by an ordinary coin.
The McNinch family owned a small dairy farm in the northeastern part of the borough. After his father died, Gates continued to operate the farm, taking pleasure in the outdoors and in the animals, until advancing age forced him to sell the cows and let the farm lie idle.
In 1967 he moved his insurance agency to the building on the corner of Main Street and Strang Avenue. During the nearly fifty years that Gates conducted his business he also served for thirty years as Borough auditor, for twenty-five years as Justice of the Peace and Notary Public, was a member of the Westfield Fire Department, the Eulalia Grange, and the Westfield United Methodist Church. Ill health forced him to retire in 1973, and he sold his business to Mrs. Joan Hornsby, who still operates as the McNinch Agency.
A veteran of World War I, Gates was a charter member of the Gerald G. Griffin Post 519 of the American Legion (organized in 1920), and served as post commander for four years and as adjutant for six years. He was a member of the I.O.O.F. for nearly sixty years, a past noble grand, and a member of the Odd Fellows Encampment. For more than fifty years he belonged to Westfield Lodge 477, F & AM, the Shrine and Coudersport Consistory.
For years Gates celebrated his birthday by inviting friends to Fitzwater's Restaurant for ice cream and cake. Arrangements were usually made by Evelyn Eaton, is former secretary, and over protests, Gates always insisted on paying the tab. He had enormous affection for Westfield and often said that no town could have finer folks to live and work with. His death on October 6, 1975, at the age of eighty-two, robbed this community of something special. His burial in Krusen Cemetery, Westfield's oldest, was in keeping with his love of the past.
Westfield's "Hostess with the Mostest"
Hazel Lutes was a hospitable person who loved to entertain, and the larger the group the better. There were few evenings when she did not have guests for dinner, or that a party wasn't in progress at her spacious Main Street home. Her dining room table, always extended full length, would seat at least a dozen people, and probably half the population of Westfield shared that table at one time or another.
Hazel's childhood dream was to become a teacher, but not until her first husband was killed by lightning did she decide to enter Lock Haven Normal. After teaching for fourteen years she married Dr. George Holbert, a dentist from Knoxville. They moved to Westfield in 1936 and bought the house that was to be their lifelong home.
Dr. Holbert equipped part of the house as an office, while his energetic bride was soon involved in church and civic projects. Her activities included teaching at the Westfield Township School; serving as town librarian (for over twenty-five years -- the first ten without pay); helping to organize the Tioga County P.T.A., then serving as president. She was also secretary of the Westfield Boro Council, handling all water, sewer, and parking meter funds for over twenty-five years, along with being the Registrar of Vital Statistics, Republican committee woman for Westfied, and serving on several committees of the Methodist Church and as church treasurer.
After her second husband died of a heart attack in 1950, Hazel transferred to the Westfield Boro Elementary School, teaching fifth grade students.
Hazel loved working with people. She was an active member of practically every organization in town --- usually as an officer. Whenever any group needed a meeting place, Hazel was sure to remark, "Why not my home?", and nine times out of ten, her offer was accepted.
Since her home was so large and was centrally located, she and Dr. Holbert decided it was ideal for a Tourists' home. She took in overnight guests and even permanent paying guests. She usually had at least one teacher, often two, living there.
Entertaining was never a chore for Hazel, who made guests feel comfortable by giving them a task almost as soon as they came through the front door. "Many hands make light work," was her philosophy, and as a result she always enjoyed her own parties
Soon after she retired from teaching, Hazel married Gene Lutes, a widower and long time friend from Buffalo. Although in failing health, she refused to let it conquer her gregarious spirit. But in the fall of 1969 she admitted that she couldn't make her usual trip to Florida. On October 18, 1969, she died suddenly about a week after her seventy-third birthday. Gene survived her by only a year.
Westfield truly is not the same.
People, Courage, and Dreams
Simon McCullough, The Spirit of '76
Simon McCullough's dream didn't come true.\
Born the son of James and Lena McCullough in a log cabin on a farm near Gaines (July 11, 1886), Simon worked as a lumberman as soon as he was old enough. Twelve hours a day, six days a week, for a dollar a day.
In the depression he lost his pants and shirt and came home in a barrel. Two friends, Joe Abramson and Sam Baker, helped him back onto his feet. When the depression ended Simon started building new homes and wrecking old ones.\ He was also writing songs In 1939 he wrote "Take Me Back To Pennsylvania", the words set to the music of Len Fleming. The song won fifty bucks in a contest and was featured on the Laurel Festival for several years. But Simon's dream was bigger than this. He wanted more than anything to build a home for old people, a pleasant place where they could live without a heavy economic burden
Simon retired in Virginia in 1965 and returned to Sabinsville, where
he owned a nearby coal mine. In 1972 he secured a permit to start stripping
operations on the mine, and he also put out an album of his songs titled
"The Silver Star". The home for old people would be called the same thing,
and all proceeds from the album and the mine would be used to finance the
home. Simon had engaged an Altoona company to distribute and sell his records
--- a number of which had been recorded by a Wellsboro singer, John Putnam.
When all communication from the company ceased, Simon drove to Altoona
to investigate. He was shocked to learn that the company had gone bankrupt,
and that his records were being held in receivership as part of the firm's
Some of the records had been placed in the J and B Store in Westfield, and in Ackley's gas station. A favorite was "Looking Down On Williamsport", the flip side of which was called "Tioga County".\ Losing his records was only the start of an avalanche of bad luck that was to descend upon Simon McCullough. Soon afterward, at Sayre Hospital, he had a leg amputated. Scarcely more than a year later the other leg was removed at Coudersport's Charles Cole Hospital Being a realist, Simon had to concede that his dream of an old people's home was not meant to be, nor could he continue operating his coal mine. It was leased to Joyce Brothers, near Alfred.
Losing his dream has not broken Sime's spirit. He does a lot of reading and a room in his Sabinsville home has been outfitted into a small shop where he is able to refinish furniture from his wheelchair. His wife, Eliza, is there with him. When he celebrates his 90th birthday in this Bicentennial year, Simon McCullough should be honored as a living example of the Spirit of '76.
Local Woman is Honored
Miss Pearl Yaeger is the oldest living native-born woman residing in
Westfield. She is a staunch church member and was honored in June, 1975
for 80 years of continuous service to St. John's Episcopal Church. She
was a member of the first confirmation class of that church in 1895. About
seventy-five friends and family members joined her at the Penn-Wells Hotel
in Wellsboro. They paid tribute to her and her sisters, Mrs. Grace Matteson
and Miss Edna Yaeger, for a combined total of 225 years of dedicated service
to the Episcopal Church. Miss Yaeger received a jewelled cross from Bishop
T. Stevenson. A history of her life in book form was presented to her by
Mrs. Joseph Eberle and a corsage was given to her with a tribute from a
godchild, Mrs. Fred Klarman.
Mrs. Ellen Trowbridge, well known for her skill with prose and poetry, read a poem she had composed for the occasion. She then presented it to the honored guest.
A letter from President Ford to Miss Yaeger was read by Mrs. Frank Maryott. Other members of the group honored the 93-year old woman in word and song for her life-time of service and devotion
Earns Driver's License at Age of 73
John Nosal doesn't mind getting stung by his bees. It helps his arthritis.
But recently when he got behind the wheel of a car for the first time,
he was very nervous. John, at the age of 73, took his driver's test in
Wellsboro and passed on the very first try.John lives at 246 Maple Street
in Westfield and took his driving lessons from Frank Farwell, the Cowanesque
Valley High School instructor. It took about thirty hours of instruction
before John felt he was ready for the big test --- of which he says, "The
hardest part was learning the driver's manual."John wants a lot more practice
before he'll feel comfortable about making a long trip. And of course he'll
have to buy a car first.
John Nosal came to Westfield in 1951 and worked for Eberle Tannery for two years until he was disabled. He is originally from Ukraine, Russia, where he was born in 1902. His wife, Nadea, works part-time at the Eberle home. John's hobbies are beekeeping, gardening, and bicycle-riding. His philosophy is, "It's never too late to learn."
An Outstanding Citizen (James Briggs)
James M. Briggs, Sr., was born December 8, 1900. He was a farmer near Sabinsville. But on Arbor Day, 1976, a tree-planting and memorial will be established and maintained at the Northern Tier Children's Home, honoring Mr. Briggs as an example of unselfish dedication to his community and state. James was Director of the Tioga Conservation District for seventeen years, six of which he served as Chairman. He was a member of the Tioga County Planning Commission since its creation in 1965, served as a member of the Grange, and as Director of the Northern Tier Children's Home --- established for the underprivileged of this region.
During his lifetime he worked diligently toward preserving Pine Creek, serving as Director and Treasurer of the Pine Creek Watershed Association, and also as a member of the Pine Creek Task Force. He died December 29, 1975. On April 30 of this Bicentennial year he'll be permanently recognized as the outstanding citizen he was.
Faith Can Move Mountains (John McCutcheon)
October 1, 1970, was the turning point in John McCutcheon's life. There
was an apple tree on his family farm in North Fork that John had never
before picked. Deciding this was the time to do it, he climbed to the top
of a 25 foot ladder and reached naturally for the biggest apple he saw.
Seconds later the ladder kicked out from under John and he was plummeting
head first to the ground.
The 67 year old man was conscious, but unable to move. He was also blind. Nearby, he heard his little cocker spaniel, Susie, barking frantically. The dog began running back and forth from the apple tree to the road and finally attracted the attention of a passerby. Harold Jones, a telephone crewman, went over to investigate and found McCutcheon.
John was taken first to Charles Cole Hospital, then to Strong Memorial Hospital, in Rochester, NY. His spinal cord had been severed just below the armpits, two vertabraes broken, and his arm fractured. Even if he survived, it was feared he might be permanently blind.
But John was able to see out of one eye, with limited sight in the other, within two weeks. Seventy-two days after arriving in Rochester, he went back home to North Fork. With the help of his wife, Hattie, a practical nurse, John progressed from bed to a wheelchair. When he had regained enough strength in his arms he took up leather tooling, selling just enough of his handiwork to support his hobby.
John feels he owes his survival to faith in God, the excellent care and inspiration of his wife, and to good clean living. He's been hosptitalized six times since the accident, for pneumonia, surgery to remove kidney stones, and other problems. Each time he's fallen to the lowest depths of discouragement, John has heard a message from the Lord lifting him up. This, and the encouragement of friends, neighbors and doctors, has given him the heart to go on.
Before his accident John had been a dairy farmer and for 34 years a school bus driver. Still active in community affairs, John is a member of the United Methodist Church, Victoria Grange, Harisson Valley Fire Company and is the Harrison Republican committee man.
Hattie McCutcheon is able to take John around by virtue of a bedside lift and a motorized lift for the family car. But the biggest lift John gets comes from within.
A man with Ideas (George Hunt)
George Hunt, of North Fork, is in the television business and knows
quite a lot about electricity. In fact, back in 1937 he built a windmill
with a six-foot propeller that made enough electricity to run his house
and barn. Of course those were the days before frostless refrigerators
and electric dryers.
Hunt's interest in wind power was renewed about the time the current energy crisis arose. A large barn on his property bearing religious signs and a lifesize picture of Christ is lighted at night by floodlights powered by an electric eye which operates when struck by headlights from cars passing on the highway nearby. Due to the current cost of electricity, Hunt decided to whip up another windmill to light his barn.
The new windmill Hunt built is made up of five 55-gallon oil drums and is a real conversation-piece around North Fork. The biggest problem with windmills, George says, is not too little, but too \b much\b0 wind. "Some nights they're just ascremin', and I have too jump up and put on the brake before they take off and fly."
Hunt figures his unique power plant cost all of $100, including $20 for bolts, $20 for pipe, $16 for ball-bearings, $30 for chain and sprockets, and $10 for the batteries. He also developed a special mercury switch powered by centrifugal force which will start the generators only when the rotor is turning fast enough to charge. Otherwise the generator would simply drain the battery charge.
He and his brother-in-law, Chester Beach of Mason Street, plan to continue their experiments with wind power.
"I'd like to make enough of my own electricity to run my whole house," George says hopefully.And why not? George Hunt is a perfect example of the Yankee ingenuity that was once our main resource.
The Douglas Family
The first Douglas in this country was William Douglas 1st, who arrived
from Glasgow, Scotland at Cape Ann, Boston, in 1640. The name originated
from the small river Douglas, in Lanarkshire, Scotland, which drew its
name from the Gaelic dhu-glas, meaning dark gray---the color of the water.
The Douglas family has a long history in Sabinsville, dating from the time
Sabinsville was part of Westfield.The first Douglas in Clymer Township
was Charles Paddock Douglass, who came here in 1835 and stayed for only
a few months before returning to Madison County, New York. But in 1837
he returned with his family and located on Mill Creek, a short distance
from what is now Sabinsville.Purchasing 350 acres of the Bingham lands,
he built a saw-mill on Mill Creek near the present steam saw-mill belonging
to Orrin Stebbins. Charles was assessor, auditor, school director and supervisor,
as well as being the surveyor when the township was laid out. When the
post office was established at Sabinsville in 1849, Charles P. Douglass
became the first Postmaster, a position he held for sixteen years.
The first hotel in Sabinsville was kept by Charles, and the first Township election was held in his home. His son, George Washington Douglass, married Violette Roberts, of Sabinsville.
George enlisted in the 57th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, in 1861 and served until 1864. He was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg. Later he ran a general store in Sabinsville, also serving as Postmaster from 1878 to 1894.
Wallace Douglas, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a third generation member of the Douglas family, was recently voted a member of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America at the meeting of its Executive Council in New York City.
A local descendant is Emma Stebbins of Sabinsville
Culture, Country-Clubbing, Main Street Shops and A Soggy Saga
Le Cercle Moderne and The Westfield Public Library
Le Cercle Moderne, also known as the "Book Club", originated in 1938 when two women who loved to read, Opal Wheaton and Mildred George, recognized the need for a Westfield literary club.
Friends were contacted, the idea was talked-up, and twenty women were invited to Mrs. George's home, where officers were elected, by-laws adopted and twice-monthly meetings scheduled to be held at member's homes. Le Cercle Moderne, the French translation of Modern Circle, became the name of the club, the primary purpose of which was to secure new books and pass them around the circle to be read and discussed. A portion of each meeting was also devoted to the fine arts and current events.
By the end of the first year a number of books had accumulated and members held several discussions to determine what to do with these books. Mrs. C. Park Streeter suggested that an effort be made to start a Public Library, although previous attempts to accomplish this had failed.
Following counsel with a representative of the Pennsylvania State Library, and with a nucleus of twenty books to work with, members of Le Cercle Moderne began an enthusiastic campaign to interest other Westfield residents in the idea. Like the tiny spark dropped in dry leaves, the movement caught fire. An open meeting was held and the Westfield Public Library Association was organized.
To provide the books with a home, a small room in the Odd Fellow's Building was rented. On April 6, 1940 the library opened to the public with a selection of roughly 500 books, most of which had been donated by the people of Westfield. Through the generosity of Mrs. Joseph Eberle, Sr., Paul Ford, and other interested citizens, bookcases, tables, chairs, lamps, a desk and other pieces of furniture were provided. Money was also needed to defray operating expenses and memberships were offered to the public costing a dollar each.
By 1943 the library contained more than a thousand books being read by over 600 persons. Expense was kept at a minimum with the help of volunteers. The librarian, Mrs. Hazel Holbert, served for years without pay.
The present library on Maple Street was once the home of Harland Moore's family. Then it was sold to William Straitz of Galeton and used as an automobile showroom. Later it was rented to the Westfield Boro School District for the Commercial Department of the High School. In March, 1949, when Mr. Straitz offered to sell the building for $6000, the Library Association voted to purchase it.
Once again Le Cercle Moderne got busy. The merchants and public were canvassed and by June, 1949, there was enough money in the Library Fund for a down payment. Mrs. Rhoda Harvey Rogers, a citizen of Westfield, loaned the balance of $3000 to the Association, at three per-cent interest.
The library's interior was remodelled to adapt it by efficient book display and use. This was accomplished by the Eberle Tanning Company. Once partitions were removed, the lower floor was turned into a spacious area that conveniently stored and exhibited thousands of books. The upstairs became two rental apartments, providing much of the revenue for building upkeep. At the same time the dues-paying membership arrangement was dropped and a free-to-the-public incorporated association was formed, supported partly by a one-mill Boro tax. By 1958 the loan had been paid off, making more money available for improvement.
In 1962, with a grant of $2995 from the Horace Packer Foundation, the library building was remodelled. White-painted cedar siding replaced the old stucco, a low, overhanging ledge was removed and a new entrance added. The library was also able to update its service, join the County Library Association, weed out old, unused books, add new encyclopedias, magazines and newspapers, and provide an additional service of borrowing from other libraries in the county organization.
The interior was completely renovated in 1972 with another Packer Foundation loan and memorial donations. The modernization was directed by Mrs. Joseph Eberle, Jr. who was the president of the Library Board at that time. The improvements to the library attracted many more people to take advantage of its use. At the present time the library has approximately 6000 volumes.
The Book Club still sponsors the library and annually donates twenty books purchased by its members. A large number of memorial books add to the collection, and the Library Board, composed of interested citizens, purchases additional books. Le Cercle Moderne members on the Board are Mrs. William Jameson, President, and Mrs. Alan Altman, Vice President. The present librarian is Miss Patricia Haines.
Occasionally Le Cercle Moderne meetings are held in the library of members' homes. During the past year monthly book reviews were offered to the public, along with reading programs, story sessions for children and films. Time and talent is donated by Friends of the Library to help with these programs.
Westfield is grateful to the charter members of the Book Club, whose vision saw the need for a library and whose efforts established it. The officers of Le Cercle Moderne in this Bicentennial year are: (Sorry, the women’s own names are not included here – They are identified by their husband’s names only)
Mrs. Murl Eaton...........................................................President
Mrs. Frank Manning...................................................Vice President
Mrs. Robert Gridley...................................................Secretary
Mrs. Alfred Krysiak...................................................Treasurer
River Valley Country Club
During the 1960's a number of influential citizens of the Cowanesque Valley (many of them golfers) entertained the idea of building a country club and golf course. Traveling to Wellsville, Coudersport, Wellsboro and even farther for recreation could thus be eliminated. Kenneth Hegman's 225 acre farm, just south of Phillips Station in the Jemison Valley, seemed an ideal spot since the farm was located halfway between Westfield and Knoxville. It offered scenic beauty and even a romantic history. Mary Jemison had once hunted the area with her Indian husband --- hence it was called "The Jemison".
FHA (of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) agreed to loan half of the $300,000 cost of the project if a substantial amount could be raised locally. In 1964 the Cowanesque Valley Recreation Association was formed.
Shares in the Association were sold to raise working capital. Architect Raymond Hall, of Port Allegany, would design the clubhouse. The building contract was awarded to Domenick Sama and Paul Ford and Son Lumber Company of Westfield. Local industries generously provided men and machinery for much of the work, and the holding of "bees" plus volunteer labor helped to reduce the cost.
Geoffrey Cornish designed the attractive nine-hole golf course, utilizing existing hills as well as level areas to create a challenging course, and one that would also stimulate the use of an ever increasing number of carts. A heated 52' x 62' swimming pool, with underwater lighting, was installed on the south side of the clubhouse. A greenskeeper was hired and housed in the former Hegman home.
In order to choose a name for the new recreation center a contest was held, and Lena Hopkins, of Westfield, won with the title, River Valley Country Club. The club opened July 1, 1965, and was formally dedicated on Saturday, April 30, 1966. Present officers are Thomas Taylor, President; John Bush, Vice President; George Hewitt, Secretary-treasurer; Mrs. Donald Laughner, Recording-secretary; Mrs. Ed Parker, Assistant Treasurer.
From spring opening until snowfall, Ladies Day is held each Tuesday and Men's Night each Thursday. At least one major social event or dance is held monthly, and every member serves on a committee some time during the year. Several golf tournaments are held each summer. Although golf carts are now stored in barns on the property, plans are being made to construct a storage building closer to the clubhouse. The River Valley Country Club's modest fees and uncrowded greens attract an ever increasing number of local and out-of-town members.
Main Street Shops Now And A Decade Ago
At first glance, Main Street in Westfield may not appear to have undergone
many changes in the past ten years, but a second look and a few inquiries
will convince you that the years have brought major changes to the business
Approaching from the west side of town, we notice the Big M supermarket owned by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hess of Sabinsville in the former Daniel Fitzwater store.
Directly across Main Street is the Valley Dollar Saver, the advertising publication owned by Wilson and Jean Gridley. Cramped for space in the building now occupied by Sunderlin's Clothing and Shoe stores, they were able to expand in the former Westfield Garage.
As we cross the bridge spanning the Cowanesque River, we see the Jaycee building on the north side of the street. A few years ago this was owned by Hornby Auto Parts and then sold to Olsen Tenglund Auto Parts, Inc. The Auto Parts company is now located in the eastern part of the former M.H. Renken Dairy Co. plant. Westfield Manufacturing Co. occupies the main part of the same building.
Passing Sama and King's Bowling Alley, we find that the Billiard Parlor, once operated by Rex Bennett, is now the Montgomery Ward Store managed by Joe Van Dusen.
Gordon Walker's Barbershop is presently the Glad Tidings Book Store under the management of Mrs. Samuel Oldham.
The next store stands empty. Until recently it housed the Robert C. Gridley Insurance Agency. A few months ago this business moved to the corner of Maple and Church Streets into a beautifully remodeled building.
On the other corner of these streets is the Exxon Service Station operated by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Potter. After several years of working in other stations, Paul decided to run his own. Good luck, Paul.
The McNinch Agency still occupies the building on the corner of Main and Strang but is now owned by Mrs. Joan Hornsby. This was once the Rex Pritchard Barbershop.
The Westfield Free Press-Courier has been remodeled and presents a most attractive Colonial facade.
Gleason's Western Auto Store now comprises four stores, the latest acquired being the former Clyde Bailey Jewelry Store, later owned and operated by Barbara Fitzwater as Barb's Jewelry Store.
Passing Charles Bryant's Clover Farm Store, we can see the familiar C.L. Franke Dollar Store sign, but the ownership by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Price has been transferred to Mr. and Mrs. Rex Cook.
Moving westward, we pass the U.S. Post Office 16950 which now serves the area with door to door delivery. Postmaster Joseph Sama states that this service began in May 1970. The mailmen who perform this service are Hardy Judd, Harold Plank, and substitute Andrew St. Peter. The rural mail delivery is handled by Fred Allen, Bill Treat, and Winfield Neal.
East of the North Penn Gas Co. is the block that was occupied by Marian Hubbard's Dress Shoppe and Lora's Restaurant in Westfield's Centennial year. It now houses Howard's Electronics, owned by Dick Colvin and the Wingate Insurance Agency operated by Rod Cochran.
Fred Swanson's two stores remain empty. They served as the Centennial headquarters in 1967. The Westfield Theater also is dark and empty. We hope it is not forever.
But look at that empty space! What is missing? It is the once fine I.O.O.F. building that has been razed. The grounds are presently being used as a parking lot for the Frank and Meika Restaurant that is next door. In 1967 this restaurant was occupied by the State Liquor Store and the Zuker residence. Later the Liquor Store moved to the building where it is presently located. This was the Cady Clothing Store in previous years. Lora's Restaurant preceded Frank and Meika. This restaurant was moved to present site after the building was remodeled into a modern dining room, kitchen, and bar.
Continuing our way eastward, we stop for gas at the former Cole Chevrolet, and learn that it has been sold to Doan and Jacobson. Directly across the street, Paul Ford and Son's Lumber Co. is now called Seal's, and is owned by George Plank.
Farther on, the Satellite sign comes into view. This is where Stanley Brock's Arco station was doing business not too many years ago. It is now operated by Mr. and Mrs. James Carpenter.
Returning to the business section, we scan the south side of Main Street and talk to passersby. The Colonial Hotel is now owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Donald Pentz.
A tribute to our old home town by the Eaton daughters: Geri Kutney, Marilyn Van Dusen, Carol Hoyt, and Evelyn Butler.
The next buildings are occupied as the Westfield Police Office and Arthur
Paul's Barbershop,--- once Schaner's Restaurant. Rosenbloom's Syle Shop
is gone. The room is now used to store furniture.
The next building still houses a dental office, but the dentist is now Dr. John Martin instead of Dr. Daniel Robert
The Westfield Office of the Commonwealth Bank and Trust Co. was in the process of being remodeled in 1967. Ackley's Beauty Shop and other buildings in the rear were razed. A very modern drive-in depository and parking area has been installed for greater customer convenience.
Herbert Potter is still conducting the All-State Insurance Agency on the corner.
Cook's Clothing Store in the Abramson building is now Fish's Shoe Store and the Mali Mai Dress Shop.
Enculturation Travel, Inc. is a Richard Lovell enterprise.
Fitzwater's Restaurant has been operated by Mrs. Harold Dibble for the past nine years. It remains a favorite place for the coffee break or a well cooked meal.
Outman's Pharmacy occupies the two stores that formerly contained the drug store and the Outman Hardware. It has been remodeled into a beautiful, modern pharmacy that is a credit to Westfield and to its owners, Rea and Mary Ann Outman.
The Ja-Bea Store, formerly Sunderlin's Store, now encompasses three stores, - the original building plus the one-time Kenneth Baker Red and White Grocery Store as well as the Clark Drug Store.
Compliments of the Westfield Area Lions Club
The Smith Hotel was owned by Paddock and C. Brehaney in 1967. Today it is owned by Charles Paddock.
It is hard to believe that so many changes could have occurred in such a short time but it is true.
The Soggy Saga of Mason Street
According to one old-timer, a resident on North Street, there were no
floods in our area in past years. But there can be little doubt that the
situation has recently changed.
In 1949 Simon McCullough, of Sabinsville, bought enough land on Mason Street to build three houses. One was sold to Murl Eaton and wife, another to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Smith (now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Lias), and the lot in between was left vacant. By the 1950's most of Mason Street had been developed by Paul Ford and Son, and by Domenick Sama. Duane Swimley of Knoxville, built two homes there which were then sold to Mr. and Mrs. Chester Beach and Mr. and Mrs. Ben Sheppa.
The first clue that a problem might exist arrived with the spring thaw in March of 1950.
A small quantity of water was found in the basements of the Eaton and Smith homes. Later it rose to a foot in depth. The solution seemed to be a submersible pump --- nothing out of the ordinary, since most Westfield homes were so equipped.
Came the winter of 1956 with an unusually heavy snowfall which began to melt on February 26 when the temperature suddenly rose dramatically. Water began pouring down from the hill northwest of town like an unleashed river and in no time Mason Street's backyards had become lakes. Basements on the west side of the street rapidly filled with water.
The problem was alleviated with help from the Crary Hose, Eberle Tannery men, and other volunteers, who manned and pitched in to clean up the after-effects.
Two weeks later it happened all over again. This time the town tackled the problem, installing a drain sewer down Harvey Avenue.
Floods on Mason Street were soon forgotten.
Until June 23, 1973, Hurricane Agnes. Several days of constant rain turned areas of Pennsylvania and New York drained by the Susquehanna, Allegheny, and Genesee Rivers into a one-hundred-year disaster.
Even so, Mason Street might have escaped being flooded, had not a huge, fallen tree blocked the old abandoned North Fork Creek bridge, forcing the water to channel across fields and gush over the back lawns of Mason Street.
Erosion of the creek's bank had been a problem for many years, but the deluge of water spilled by Hurricane Agnes simply chewed the banks away like a starving monster. Without banks the creek couldn't be contained.
For Mason Street residents it was like the aftermath of war. Pumping, cleaning, chloroxing, repairing --- replacing appliances and furniture that couldn't be salvaged. Federal grants helped, and for the most part the hardship was accepted stoically. After all, it was over. For at least another hundred years.
Contributed by Virginia Trowbridge in honor of her parents, Mr. and
Mrs. Robert Trowbridge, and brother and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Virgle
But that hundred years was telescoped into three, when on September 25, 1975, another chapter was added to the Soggy Saga of Mason Street. It came at 10:10 pm. After three days of intermittent rain in the wake of Hurricane Eloise, the streams didn't seem abnormally high. Not until Policeman Marengo came pounding on doors along Mason Street, ordering everyone to evacuate. Behind Marengo, torrents of muddy water were pouring across yards, sidewalks and even the highway. Everyone grabbed coats, locked doors, and waded toward a waiting truck, barely able to stay on their feet, separated from their cars by a barrier of rushing water. Many men toiled bravely throughout that night of September 25, 1975 evacuating residents of Mason, Lincoln, Woodlawn, and Mill Streets, as well as many from West Main Street Extension. Many found refuge in the Fire Hall, others at the Methodist Youth Center, and still others went to the homes of friends and relatives. Westfield and Sabinsville firemen, the Wellsboro Civil Defense, and the Police coordinated their efforts by Citizen's Band radios. People were regularly warned of the river's depth and of certain danger spots. The Ulysses Fire Department gave aid to many. Those connected with the Consolidated Gas Company were assured of pumps and aid. But those not affiliated with any group, except for the kindness of friends and neighbors, were not so furtunate. Dayton Brown's crew from the Ingersoll Rand were of great help in removing debris, as was Westfield's Carl Burrous.
North Fork Creek was once again the villain. Following Agnes in 1972, little had been done to reinforce the eroded banks. As a result, the flooding was much more severe in 1975, leaving untold tons of mud, water, and debris in the fields and gardens separating the creek and Mason Street. Damage to basements filled with appliances, furniture, and other goods totaled thousands of dollars. Why must we always wait for disaster before taking steps to prevent it? Those responsible for the maintenance of the streams will hopefully use common sense and rebuild the banks with materials not so easily washed away in the future. Let us hope in this Bicentennial year that "The End" has been appended to the Soggy Saga of Mason Street.
Entertainment Today and Yesterday
Entertainment has always been an integral part of our area. Like other towns in the 1920's Westfield had its Opera House, where various artists entertained with drama, vaudeville and music. Pride's Opera House, where older residents can recall Ethel and John Drew Barrymore appearing. Unfortunately, two fires in 1926 and 1927 forced it to close.
Another outstanding event was the Chautauqua, held each summer from 1913 until 1927 in a large tent set up at the end of Strang Avenue. Lectures, instruction in the arts, and other quality entertainment satisfied Westfield's cultural hunger.
For over fifty years --- from the days of silent films until 1969 --- Westfield had its movie-house. Owned by the Clark Brothers for at least a quarter of a century, it was sold to Fred Simmons, closed, then reopened by Walter Clark and Wilson Gridley. After eleven years the theatre again closed, for what would seem to be the last time.
The Valley Bowling Center opened in 1958, owned and operated by Domenick Sama and Cecil Brehaney. Mr. Brehaney later sold his interest to Charles King. League bowling quickly became the favorite sport of many area residents.
Snowmobiling has recently caught on with winter sports enthusiasts, and Denton Hill's nearby excellent ski-facilities attract many to the slopes. The River Valley Country Club has already been mentioned. Another source of entertainment is provided by the young folks, who have produced champion basketball, football, and softball teams in recent years.
But let's return for a moment to the way it was.
The old Westfield Fair is symbolic of an era that brings back nostalgic youthful memories for so many old-timers hereabouts. The Fair was once the high point of each year. It took place every August from 1886 until 1941.
Passing the Cowanesque Valley High School and grounds at the junction of Route 49 and North Ford Road, imagine the area surrounded by a high fence. Entering the main gate you would see many buildings housing animals to be judged, a midway, games of chance, sideshows, and crowds of happy people. Their rigs (or surreys) would be tied near the fence. After the 1900's, "tin lizzies" began replacing them.
The large fair building for exhibits and the cattle barns were located on top of the hill. The grandstand was situated down near the road. Many free acts were performed there. The track for the horse race lay where the football is now.
The Fall Brook train might come into view, a trail of gray smoke against the blue of summer sky, discharging excited passengers from all points along the railroad. Some even from Westfield, only a mile away.
But some time before 1940 interest waned. Attendance dropped. In 1941 the decision was made to discontinue the fair. When the war ended it was not reopened. The buildings were torn down, except for the large exhibition building, which burned.
The Auction Barn
And who can forget the excitement of auction night at Rumsey's Auction Sale Barn that was built in the middle 1940's? Whose families came to watch the sales and hear the auctioneer's voice as it rose in the familiar chant until finally, the "Going once, Going twice, ANYbody else want in? -- Sold!" was heard. Buyers came from far and near to purchase cattle and kept the bidding high and spirited. It brought many from the down-state Lancaster area and made them acquainted with the advantages of this area.
Climbing the stairs from the sale ring brought you up to the spotless restaurant and dining area managed by a sister, Mittie Simmons. She was assisted by Lena Dillenbaugh as cook, relatives, and many young waitresses. Can you imagine getting a small T-bone steak dinner for 95 cents and a large T-bone dinner for $1.55? The food was so good that many people made it a point to go there for dinner even if they were not interested in sale or dance.
The room beyond was the dance hall with a large, highly polished dance floor. Those who lived here during the 1940's and 1950's have wonderful memories of those bi-weekly dances where a parent had no compunction about allowing their young folks to attend. No drinking or other questionable conduct was permitted. In fact, it was common for the older crowd to join in the fun. Fraley's of Waverley furnished the music and what good music it was!
Darold and Elvira were charming hosts and provided such a friendly atmosphere that a "full house" was always assured.
Something good has passed us by.
The "Good Old Days"
It is surely true that people in general were more happy and carefree in those days. They had less, but seemed to take hardships pretty much for granted. Entertainment wasn't part of every day's activity as it presently is. Winters were long and cold. Snow often covered the ground from Thanksgiving until spring. School began at nine and dismissed at three-forty-five --- unless you'd run into some difficulty --- in which case you stayed after school. At home there were certain chores to do, like bringing in wood or coal from the cellar. If your parents didn't own a cow you might have to go out with a pail to the neighbor's to fetch the daily quart of milk.
Families ate in the kitchen, except when company came. The table was lighted by a kerosene lamp. After supper, with dishes washed and put away, everyone gathered around the stove in the living room where children got busy with homework. There was no radio. No television. A wind-up Victrola might be the sole source of commercial entertainment, emitting from a gay morning-glory horn the music of Sousa's Band and Uncle Josh.
Friday night was the night for parties and dances. Perhaps a sleigh-ride. Saturdays were for skating or sledding downhill.
Heating the house was a problem in those days. Bedrooms were often frigid on cold nights. A hot flatiron wrapped in wool felt good against the feet. Eventually came gas lights and heat, and we said goodbye to the task of filling oil lamps and washing blackened chimneys. Gas street-lights were installed. A nightwatchman (George Trimm) went around town lighting each one by hand.
And certainly deserving of at least honorable mention was the little building occupying every homeowner's backyard. In winter snow sifted through the cracks and occasionally the door blew open at the wrong moment. For night visits the lantern was lighted. Providing some warmth, but not quite enough light by which to read the Sears' catalogue. But then on cold nights one didn't usually tarry long.
Ah, the good old days!
We weren't concerned with the troubles of other countries. Schoolboard hassles in nearby towns. Teachers' strikes. Auto wrecks. Plane crashes. Muggings. It was an interesting time, spiced by the wonder and joy of experiencing the first of so many things now taken for granted --- gas, electricity, automobiles, phonographs, radio, airplanes, television...even men on the moon!
But would we want to go back to outdoor plumbing, horse-drawn wagons, and shivering in cold beds?
No. Not really.
Better that we find a way of combining today's technology with yesterday's idealism. Perhaps then we could have the best of two worlds. And what a fine celebration our Tricentennial would be!!