Bradford County PA
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Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Diaries & Letters of Tri-Counties
Dora Gertrude Grenold of Sullivan or Jackson 
Photo: Dora Gertrude Grenolds
Township: Sullivan Township, Tioga County PA
Year: est. 1900s
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Gertrude was born June 22, 1894. This is a personal letter written by Dora Gertrude Grenolds recounting summers spent in Tioga County, Pennsylvania: She was the daughter of Sarah Josepine BAILEY of the Sullivan Township BAILEY line. It was transcribed and sent to us by Elizabeth BARR Nichols of Canada. Nancy Dobson sent in the photo. 
Joyce's Search Tip - December 2010
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Since Dora was born in 1894, this is about the early nineteen hudreds although it was written much later.

Dear Libby:

I want you to know about Maple Hill as it is one of the most plesant recollections of my childhood.

Maple Hil was really a rounded small mountain shaped as though it were sugar poured from a giant's cup held high in the sky. It was covered with second-growth scrub-like trees when I knew it, but it had a remarkably money-producing stand of virgin hemlock in my mother's time. When her older brother needed a thousand dollars while in college, a thousand dollars worth of lumber was simply cut from Maple Hill. A few years later a forest fire took all the lumber and there was no insurance in those times. It was blackberries that my cousins and I harvested.

An old cabin-like house still stood there with a shed adjoining. This shed produced strange treasures every summer season. One year a German bible - not badly worn; another year, four pairs of short wide work shoes. Since no one lived there or anywhere on the mountain, it surely was mysterious that such things should turn up in that old shed every year.

Preparation for the trip to Maple Hill began days before by grandmother at least. Fruit jars were brought in from the back room, washed and scalded, new rubber rings for the jars were bought at the store, tops were counted and fitted; then the same routine with the jam jars. These were all wrapped in paper, packed in boxes and barrels and baskets. The small work wagon was backed up and left near the back-room door so it could be loaded by the girls at their leisure. So with sugar, jars, cans and food supplies for two or three weeks (for no stores were available at Maple Hill) the getting ready went on. We, the children, all had important duties assigned to us. We thought ourselves very necessary to the expedition which was in reality a blackberry picking and preserving project.

After the forest fire, when all the good lumber was burned off, the entire mountain was covered with huge blackberry bushes which grew up to ten or twelve feet tall and the berries were inches long and fat and juicy. Which of my cousens (all boys) went with us was decided by their mothers. It depened upon which could be spared by their father or which was given the trip as a reward for past good work performance - this was all decided by the grown-ups in their involved thinking manner, but I could depend on at least two of Uncle Dwight's boys going and probably one of Uncle Ward's.

It seems we could never have all six cousins any one season for the entire blackberry time, bur one year Uncle Dwight did bring up the two that had remained at home to work for at least a week.

And we all picked berries. When I was nine years old it happened to be an excelent blackberry year; this means that the rains had come at the right time and the sun had been warm when the berries were ripening. I recall having picked 12 quarts of berries in one morning besides having eaten all the largest and juiciest ones.

Two hired men took the work wagon up the day before, unloaded everything putting all the provisions in the shed-like kitchen. We got up on the great day at near daylight, dressed and ate breakfast and crawled in the old surrey like zombies in the cool dawn - and we were off. It was "near on" to 25 miles and all up hill. Grandfather always drove us up, but I can never remember his staying about very long. Grandmother and Mabel (the best hired girl anyone ever had) and I and two to four boys made up the party. The children picked berries every morning and brought milk pails full back to the cabin where grandmother and Mabel canned and "jammed". Afternoons we were free to explore. "Be home before dark and stay together" is all the admonition I ever recall. What did we do? The days were just not long enought for our many plans. there were small creeks to be dammed for a really big swimming hole, the tallest trees could be climbed, animals to be tracked in case the boys could come back and set traps in thefall (they never did) and fishing holes located. We even had plans for discoveringn gold mines. There were coal mines within 15 miles so why not gold? We brought Flinch, a card game of that era, and Bible cards; a baseball, bat and gloves. When grandfather was there he taught us to shoot. He nailed a big old book (some county statistical volume) to the lumber mill office wall and that was the target.

There was the remains of a lumber mill operation some 50 yards away from the cabin. When the good timber had been on the mountain, grandfather had it cut, sawed and hauled down to the railroad at Blossburg.

One summer grandfather took us down into the mine where we saw the miners with their faces and hands black from coal dust and with little lamps on their caps. The coal was loaded onto toy-like trains and hauled out by donkeys by a round about road, but we went down the sharft in a rope-operated elevator.

The little town where the miners lived was rows of unpainted houses all built alike, but OH! so different in appearance. Some had white picket fences and beautiful flower gardens; many had morning glories covering a whole side of the house. The fences, they told us, were necessary to keep the deer and rabbits from eating the flowers and garden stuff.

Grandfather never left the surrey on the hill, but he left a horse so the boys could get down to a neighbors about 8 miles away for eggs, chicken, or grocery staples.

Added to our pleasusre was the possible dangers, such as: we might run into a bear--bears had been seen eating blackberries the summer before. We always got stung by bees, the yellow jackets were plentiful. The boys taught me how to get away from the bees if one happened onto a nest. I was to roll on the ground if open medow or crawl under heavy brush if in the woods, but never, never run. One or two bee stings are not dangerous, but dozens are really bad. But there were no dangerous snakes in the whole are, "Thank goodness" said grandmother. I felt so sad for my mother and father staying in the city all summer, living that hum-drum life while here we were with the whole "Black Forest" to explore. I couldn't understand how they could bear it.

We must have gone to bed at dark because I never remember playing any games at the table in the cabin in the way we did back in gandmother's house.

The one time I was really applauded by my cousins (these four were equally enjoyed by me) Stuart, Stanley, Ross and Lyndon, was at Maple Hill. Stuart was a little older and so dependable and naturally good, Stanley, my age and somewhat more adventurous than I, Ross was younger but rugged and stubborn - not easily wheedled -- and Lydon who we all thought we were taking care of as he was years younger. They probably had been cautioned to take care of me - a poor city child and a girl at that -- one whose judgement was not to be trusted. Aunt Sadie, their mother, was a wonderful woman, very quiet and unhurried. She never scolded, nor seemed rushed or upset. She was deeply religious (she was pure Welsh) and no doubt her devotion and prayers helped her to be a remarkable mother and raise sons to be proud of. They surely were the best of companionis and guardians as well. To go back to my one accolade--our one baseball disintegrated the day after arrival at Maple Hill. We just had to have a baseball. I announced that I could make one easily. We found some old men's shoes in the shed, cut the best and largest pieces, greased the stiff leather with butter (the best) worked the leather patiently for hours until it was soft and pliable. For once I was supervising the operation. I carefully made a pattern from old cloth, then from that cut the leather (no witch doctor in the jungle made more hocus pocus than I) and sewed it with real baseball stitches. I really could sew well; and voila!!! one of the best balls we ever had. My cousins showed it proudly to their friends when we got back home probably to excuse themselves for spending so much time with a fool girl, but I thought they were proud of me and praise from any one of them was praise indeed.

The year that I remember best as the season that was a "real blackberry year." The berries were so large, so plentiful that all the jars and cans were full and still we kept bringing in the berries by huge pailfuls. Grandmother wanted to go home, but there was no telephone, no way to get grandfather to come for us until the time set, so she and Mabel tried drying the berries. The sun was really hot and it worked. One roof of the low part of the old lumber mill was tin. They spread the berries on that roof and they dried in the sun. Whether they were usable or whether they mildewed later in the fall, we never knew, but at least we took home big boxes of dried blackberries.

Needless to say we were covered with scratches. Enormous berries meant big brambles. As we vied with each other for the largest berries no one was cautious of scratches. The boys were much better off as they wore heavy breeches. How much is due to those fine outdoor summers we'll never know.

Those boy cousins also taught me a great deal about sportsmanship, fair play, and doing my share of the work. If I tried to get out of the menial tasks such as digging the worms for fishing, I was told that I could stay home and they would go without me. If I told a little "story" to grandmother they would correct me and explain how it actually happened. I learned that it was cowardly not to tell the truth by their example. With all of these admirable qualities they were not too good to be the most daring and adventurous companions.

The best I could ask for my grandchildren would be that they experience summer vacations such as I had as a child. 
You are the visitor since the counter was installed on May 21, 1998.

Subj:  dora gertrude grenolds
Date:  5/4/2003 1:57:47 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (nancy clark)

hi joyce:  dora gertrude grenolds is my grandmother her husband was ludvig sorenson dale my grandfather. my grandmother  never went by the name dora, she didi;t like it. she was known to most as gertrude . i am named after her, and we have the same birth date other than the year.  i have the whole family tree if you are interested in it.   Please let me know.  libby is my cousin from california.    nancy grenolds dale

 Subj:  grenolds family tree
Date:  7/13/2003 11:45:29 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (nancy clark)

hi joyce- i just wanted to let you know what a wonderful site you have created. i am dora gertrude grenolds granddaughter.  you have a very nice letter on you site that was written by my grandmother and sent to my cousin libby.  i have compiled alot of information on the grenolds/grinolds. grennels family. if anyone is researching this famil i would be glad to help.  and if there is anything you can share with me
about my graandmothers family i would be very interested.  thank you for all your help.  nancy grenolds dale dobson