The handwritten memories of Ethel Raymer Poray were submitted by Sandra Salinas, granddaughter of Ethel Raymer. Sandra notes Ethel Gladys Raymer Poray married Peter Poray. Ethel was born January 14, 1891. Her father was John Frederick Raymer, Jr. ((1859-1941), mother Nellie Estella Blavelt (1861-1918) from Wolcott. They were married July 3, 1881 in Sodus Center in the presense of Elda L. Gaffney & Rev. Matthew Gaffney, John's father was Frederick Raymer who came from Germany.
Note by typist, Dorathy Luedecke Hardie: this is typed exactly like the copy, including spelling and punctuation; if something is unclear I have inserted ?.
FARM LIFE BEFORE ELECTRICTY
By Ethel Raymer Poray
Born in 1841 in Lock Berlin a small hamlet in Central New York state with two sisters and a brother. My mother of English and Holland decent. One could be proud to learn of mothers forefather who came over on the Mayflower to settle in Connecticut. This was on her mothers side. Her fathers people came from Holland. They lived in Wolcott on the same farm until Grandfathers death at the age of eighty six. Mother and her two brothers lived there until their marriage.
My fathers people were emigrants from Germany. They were hard working people and bought a large farm in Sodus, N. Y. They became U. S. citizens. Father had two brothers and three sisters living on this farm which was what was called general, consisting of grain fruit and cattle. There was a flowing creek through the western part leading to Lake Ontario. The house was built by Gen. J. Swift when he was training troops at Sodus Point. It was a large two story cobblestone faced, with fireplace in both ends upper and lower used for heat. It also had a bricked in oven in the front one to the south end. The cobblestones were hauled from the Ontario Lake shore by teams of oxen and on each corner was a bronz eagle. Grandfather bought this place and having poor health sold it to father, who moved his family there when I was one year old in 1892. There was a lot to do to clear the fields of stones which was meany, these were used to build fences to keep the cattle in pasture. Grandfather &gmother moved to a little house on top of hill leading to Sodus Point. The children had to help pick stone and thrown into a wagon ????
Our kitchen had a wood burning range with a reservoir in the back end where we heated the water for dishes and ther uses. It held a couple gallons, which had to always kept full of water.
The front end is where the woodfire that kept the top of stove hot, there were four to six griddles (on handwritten copy there are 3 circles drawn with 3 more circles drawn underneath) on top. The food was cooked on the top of fire pot then moved towards the back to keep warm. Below these griddles was a big oven, where bread, pies, cookies and cakes were baked. This would hold six to eight loaves of bread. It had a divider so one could bake four pies at a time.
The kitchen was where the meals were served on an extension table, which had three extra leaves to extend it out to seat ten people.
The kitchen was seperated from the front part by a large pantry where food was kept on shelves. The cellar which was beneath with a stair leading from pantry. It was very cool down in the cellar. Our potatoes, vegetables and apples were stored here for winter use. Mother had a space there for keeping her cream for butter and the butter which was packed in crocks or jars for the family or for customers who always bought it. It was so sweet and delicious. The butter when taken from the churn was washed and worked until it was ready to be packed.
The kitchen had a sink with a hand pump that pumped water from cistern, holding rain water for washing also for cleaning up. It had a basin for washing hands and faces. A pail of fresh well water for drinking also stood on the sink. In one corner mother had a rocking chair where she sat and sewed or knitted. She had a good many mittens to knit for the family. She also knitted socks and stockings and made the shirts for the menfold and dresses for us girls and herself. She also made dresses for her mother when she came to visit. She tried them on to see how they fit. Mother bought the material out of her pocket money. Turkeys hid their nest under a bush in woods covering it with leaves. We often watched to see where they did this. If distrubed they would leave it and make another. For the pocket or spending money she raised turkeys and geese. In the fall of the year a couple weeks before Thanksgiving we had to round up the turkeys to be penned for fatting on corn. This was surly a big job for they were used to wandering through the woodlands. There being a lot of beechnut trees and they just loved beechnuts just the same as us children. This was a small three cornered nut and very tasty. One could gather a pocketful in a little while. We ate them like peanuts. Those pesky turkeys could fly and we had to be careful not to rush them just keep them keaded for home. One time a big old gobbler who was the pappy of the flock flew up but did not make the tree he was headed for and landed with his neck in the crotch of a smaller tree. He hung himself and bing so big around 40# we could not get him down, so one of us had to get our father to come do it. The gobbler was dead so father cut his head off and bled him. We had him stuffed and baker for our family dinner. We didn't mind this a bit. Mother felt bad but it was no ones fault only the gobbler.
The geese was always in a penned yard so we didn't have to round them up. Mother used to pluck the geese to make pillows and feather beds. This was done as the geese would pull out the ripened feathers with their bills and they were lost to anyone. It was just like humas who shed their hair. The geese did not mind this as it kept them cool in the summer. It was the popular thing to have a nice plump feather bed to sleep on and a girl getting married really prized this. There no mattresses only straw ticks, which was filled with fresh dried straw each fall. Only the rich people could afford a made mattress. They did not sleep any better than those who made their own. It was fun to fill the straw tick and jump up on it to get it all packed so as to put the feather bed on top.
City children never had the pleasure we who lived in the country had or the education of watching the baby animals when they were born or see a baby chick or bird hatch or know the names of different trees, flowers, yes, even weeds.
I would not trade my childhood for theirs even if they had millions.
The late Fall was the time farmers would kill their hogs and beef for their family use and to see the surplus neighbors would help as exchange work. At this time they could do this later years one had to hire a licensed butcher.
The morning was started by getting a fire started under a big iron
kettle which held enough water when boiling to scald the hogts to get
the hair off. This water was put in a deep trough large and long
enough to roll the hog when it was killed. They either shot the hog in
the brain then slit its throat to bleed out. It took about three men
for this. I never watched this as I just hated to see things killed.
The men would use ?? which were round sharp shaped objects to get all
the hair off ???
That old dash churn and afterward a Barrell churn was used to churn the cream which was kept until slightly sour into nice yellow butter. The cows from which the milk came from was Jersey and a mixed breed of cattle. Their cream did not need any butter coloring to make a golden butter. It took about an hour to bring butter which formed in to yellow balls and was lifted out into a butter bowl where it was washed free of the buttermilk with cold water from a deep well then was salted to taste, and worked with a ladle until all the moister was out. Then it was packed into jars or firkins covered with a clean cheese cloth with salt over the top ? covered with paper when ready for to take to the grocer where it was sold and groceries bought for the family. The milk was poured into large pans and the cream formed on top, then a skimmer was used to take the cream off and placed in large crock to sour or ripened before churned. Part of the buttermilk was kept to make pan cakes which was the breakfast along with sausage &coffee or milk, the balance was fed to the pigs.
The pigs which each farmer raised for the family and some to sell. Their meat was cured and some salted down, the ham and shoulder parts were usually smoked in a smoke house and put down in crock for the delicious meat which the family enjoyed. The sausage was made of lean meant &a little of the fat, this was ground by hand grinder or food chopper which no one could be without. The sausage was fried in patties and packed in crocks then covered with the fat to seal. Some was put into cases. This was done with a tool called a sausage stuffer. The long links was smoked and hung in a cool dry place to be fried for breakfast.
The only light we had at night was kerosene lamps. One a big round wick Rhochester Burner. The others were little hand lamps which we carried to light our way down cellar or up stairs to bed.
The men carried lanterns to do their chores if at dark. These had chimneys as well as the ones on lamps had to be washed and shone in the morning also all had to be filled with kerosene to be ready for use. How we hated this chore of cleaning these chimneys. We had to wash them in soapy water dry them and use a piece of newspaper to polish them. This gave them a nice shine, the print on the paper seemed to do this.
???? to the fence row. This was not much fun but had to be done.
Mother had been a teacher before marriage so us children learned to be obedient and how to respect our elders. She also was a good housekeeper and taught the girls of the family to bake and cook food for the family. Each had a job to do before playtime. She did all the sewing for the growing family. I learned to bake bread, starting with a yeast cake I would make 8 loaves and each time besides a tin of biscuits which was added more shortening these for supper.
We had a chain bucket pump in the woodshed father had cemented the floor, making it easy to wash and keep clean. This was where we did our laundry. The wood was stored in one end. It also had a big wood box near the kitchen door which seemed to be near empty all the time and had to be filled. A chore for the boys and they hated it. There was a room in the South part with a stairway leading to second floor. This room was where they had stalls for the oxen which was tied and fed there in the past years. This was all cleaned up before we lived here. Father used to hire a man by the year and in the uuper room was where he had his bedroom. This was seperated from the main part of the house so the family did not come in contact only at meal times, although he was alway treated like family.
The tools used on the farm were of many shapes and kinds. For cutting wood there was cross cut say, Buck saw, two bitted and one bit axes and adz which was a wedge put in the cut side of tree to help it to fall.
For cutting grain there was a cradle which was used to cut the corners of field and outside also a cythe which had a long sharp blade. A Binder which cut and bound the grain. A nower which was used to cut hay. A hay rake which would rake the hay into windrows to be later after it dried would be bunched to be forked onto a big stack on a wagon to be hauled to the barn or put into a big sac in the field for later. The men used pitch forks which had three long steel tines on a handle. When raking barley they used a four or five tineed fork to pitch bundles of the grain onto the wagon. The grain such as wheat &oats were corked 6 in a row by 30. Later years they had a combine machine that threshed the grain right in the field which was sacked there &hauled to a big bin or elevator to store the grain. Before there was a thrashing crew with engine and threshing machine come to the farmer. Every farmer had a plow to turn furrows of land, then it was dragged with a piece of machine called drag, to pulverize the dirt, then a roller was used to flatten it out to be planted for corn or beans and the grain. They used a drill in a large field for grain and beans, a planter used for corn and beans which was in hills so it could be culivated and hoed to keep the weeds down and encourage growth.
Those threshing days were hectic. A crew of five or six men and a couple of neighboring men would come to the farm. The neighbors work was exchange. How those men could eat. Mother would bake around six pies a big batch of bread, baked bean, a laarge roast of meat, mashed potatoes and gravey, homemade butter, sweet and good, the buttermild was delicious to drink cool to the throat, tea and coffee sometimes they took two days to thresh if there were different kinds of grain to thresh. Some of the men who owned the rig would stay over night. Others went home to come next day at 6:30 to work again.
Us girls had to help prepare the meals alsosee that the men had plenty of warm water to wash up along with homemade soap. Which every farm homemade for washing. The soap was made from tallow or other fats with lye.
The boys had to carry pail of drinking water with a long handled tin dipper to the thirsty workers.
Beside the house about thirty feet was a large carriage and hay barn. It was two floors, the first was where the cutter, bobsled and buggy was, also the blankets or robe to cover over in winter, when driving in winter. Grainery was separated by a door and two large bins were there to hold the grain or oats for the horses who's stable was below. There were large plank doors over the place where trough for grain and a slatted manger for hay to feed the horses. The second floor and a large hay mow was here it took a lot of hay to feed those horses which was two stron horses, to each team, four stalls in all. Their names were Florrie a grey mare, Bill a bay, he was an old meanie, would take a bit out of you if he could, we learned to turn him around and he'd forget he balked so went on, he also balked sometimes, Fanny and Tom who was black and a favorite. If you were rideing him and fell off he'd wait for you to get back on. He was also a cutie. When we used to ride the horses down to the creek to drink and brought them back to the barn we'd jump off and face them in stable door. He'd back out guickly and take an extra run before he would come back to be tied in his stall. Florrie was a grey nice to ride and an easy gate. Back of this stable was a barnyard where father kept his sheep and a shed ell shaped. On the top was where hay was stored. Under this shed was pens where when the sheep lambed they were separated from the others until the baby lambs were able to run around. There was a mean old buck named Filkin, will tell more about him. It was fun to watch those baby lambs, they could get through the bars of gate then run and gambole about just like human children. Attached to this shed was a hen house where we had the chickens and their nests. It was the childrens chore to gather the eggs. We got so we knew hoe to handle a setting hen.. She would give one a good peck but we got so we would grab hold of her head lift her up and get any eggs whe might be setting on unless mother had decided she could hatch a batch of chicks. Then a down hand sorted eggs were put under her. It took about three weeks for these to hatch. The hen only left the nest to eat, drink and air the eggs, the moisture of her body would keep them just them just the right temperature. These were Plymouth Rock speckled which was good cooking with layers of fat. When gathering the eggs we would have to climb up a straight ladder into the hay loft to search for eggs as some hens like to hide their eggs so as to hatch a family.
We had a collie dog called Don, who looked like Lassie and he could climb the ladder with us to help in our search. He was always with us and kept any stranger out of the yard if they looked like a tramp. He never bit any but his growl was enough. Mother never let anyone go hungry when they asked for something to eat and we always thought they slept in the barn or shed when passing through. One night I heard a knock on the door and thinking it a neighbor I called out, come in and in walked the worst looking man I ever saw. I was cleaning up the kitchen for the night. Mother came from the sitting room where she had been sewing and asked him what he wanted? He asked for a sandwich and if he could sleep in the shed that night? She gave him something to eat and drink and Father came and he said he could sleep in the shed but not to smoke. He thanked father and promised. I was told to never say come in. To always go to the door after this. You just bet I did after that. My brother and sisters always teased me about this. There were scared about it too.
My sister B was born in 1893 and she of course never had the experience of doing the small chores until she got older but managed to do about nothing. There was two brothers and a sister born after that so it made quite of family of eight children and two parents, but everyone was trained to do certain kinds of work to help in their raising. The older sister had the cleaning to do to keep the house looking neat.
The sheep that was in the yard under the hay shed was interesting. Father bought an old buck to breed. He was all right unless you were bending down to fix something, then he'd back up and head down would run and buck you over. He did that to the men once in a while. We children got so we would tease him , bend over and when he started to bunt would jumpup on a large rock which a post of the shed rested on and he'd butt his head on that knocking him cooko. He finally learned his lesson. We never dared tell father because he was an expensive old buck and if he got killed we'd get our pants warmed. We used to laugh to see what a funny look he had when he banged his old head on the rock.
Winter on Sodus Bay---------This would freeze over in winter and there was skating, ice boating, etc. enjoyed by the young people of that area.
They also would chop a hole and fish for perch.
My oldest brother used to work for a man who shipped ice inland. It was at Sodus Point where the operation was set up. They had a rig with a saw and ice picks &tongs to take the square blacks from bay to the car on crack.
Often my sister Bea would skate across to catch a ride back home with our brother. One day when we got over he had left for home so we had to skate back. It being late in afternoon was sort of dangerous as at the time the ice sort of cracked and we had to watch out for air holes and also keep out of the way of ice boats as there were no lights only the rest of daylight. Believe me, we really hurried to get back across and then walk three miles home. At Sodus Point there is a Malt House built in a good many years ago where malt was made that goes in the making of beer a good many of men would work there. The company bought barley from the farmers and also hops this is still being used in 1972. The Railroad had a big trestle built in where they would bring coal and lad boats with coal to be taken to Canada. Large lake boats or barges would come across and enter Sodus Bay to they trestle to be loaded. It made quite a lot of noise while this was being done. This thing created a lot of work for the men which made families happy. Now in 1971-72 it has been sold and a marina will be set up as this will be an ideal spot for the many pleasure boats to have a safe harbor for boats being stored in dry dock and repair.
The young folks in the community used to have parties in the homes. We would go to these in cutters or bobsleds where a group got together by couples and a farmer with a good tean of horses would drive them if it wasn't too far. They would all sing on the way in time with the sleigh bells wshich was on a leather string around the horses. What a joyous time it was. The driver and his wife was chaperone and no trouble was allowed. The host &hostess would greet us on arrival and had a room all set up by putting canvas over carpet. An old time fiddler and caller was there so we could square dance if so inclined. Coffee and doughnuts for refresment.
One year we built a new barn and we had a dance there. It was my first time to dance with young men although I had watched and learned how. What lots of fun it was. We were not allowed to keep company until we were fifteen so I must have been at that age because I was in High School. From that time on would be invited to all parties. So never lacked for an escort.
My oldest sister lived in Sodus where we attended High School so we stayed with her during the winter and only came home on weekends. During the summer we used to walk a couple miles to catch the trolley which ran from Sodus Point to Rochester and would stop for passengers at the road crossings scheduled. Out stop was called Glovers Crossing. We did not mind the walk to catch the trolly because we always got up early. So seldom missed catching it. The students came from Sodus Point and all along the line.
I left High School and attended a Business College in Rochester where I graduated and became a Legal Secretary. It was in an office of three lawyers Everett K. Van Allen, Wm. Hanks and Clerk of the Supreme Court Henry Woodwark. This kept me very busy. There were very nice to work for. I stayed with them for a couple years, was vacanated for smallpox and this made me very ill. I then resigned and came back to my home. When I got better I was hired to become a Secretary and Cookeeper for H. V. Pearsall Company in Williamson, N.Y. I roomed with my second older sister until I got married.
I married a young fruit farmer who worked on shares with his father, William Poray. We lived with his family until they purchased a home in town. He had three sisters and a younger brother. The older brother had drowned in Lake Ontario while swimming with friends. This happened a few years before in 1902(?6)
My dear mother passed wawy Dec. 18th in 1920 at the age of 57, three weeks after our second son was born. She had been a wonderful mother and we all missed her. My youngest sister and two brothers were still at home. The elder of two brothers married and the younger sister and brother was still in school. Father hired a housekeeper who stole him blind. He had to discharge her. Finally he broke up the home. He stayed with first one than the other, but was never content. The oldest brother then moved in the old farm to have father live with him. He did not treat him very good after father had trusted him to move in, being an old man with arthritis and he had hardening of the artries of the brain, later he had to be put in hospital for treatment when he passed away when he was 84 years old. He was nvery verr affecionate towards us, all he seemed to enjoy was work and would never go anywhere with us. He also expected everybody else to do that too.
Peter Poray---- Peter and I were married Feb. 23rd, 1916 in Williamson at the home of Joe Clicaisnor(sp) on East Main Street. We were to be married in the Presbyterian parsonage but the ministers wife forgot to stay home, so when we got there on one was home. The minister, Rev. Wm. Hallock was helping get the town newspaper out. The Editor had gone insane and was taken to Willard Hospital for finfinement that day.
My sister Helen and Peter's brother Harmon was our attendents. My sister Edna Malone, Joe and Nellie Clicquinoi (sp) was witnesses. We left for Rochester on the New York Central staying at Hotel Seneca, that night in the orning we took taxis to train for Michigan. We spent two weeks in Kalamazoo and Detroit the relatives of Peter there gave a party for us and we visited the different places of interest. We left for New York state and stayed with relatives in Rochester. The snow was so deep, we caught the only bus at station and driving to Clinton St. through tunnels of snow finally reached there. We stayed several days with the Vanthenans (sp) cousins then taking train headed for my folks home at Alton, N.Y. my childhood home. The folks met the train with a bob sled, two seated we had buffalo robes to cover our laps. On the train from Rochester was some Williamson young fellow who had planned to surinade us but we didn't get off the train as we were going to visit my folks so they were disappointed. We came back to Wm. april 1st the roads were just awful as the snow was still there and the horses would step into holes. It was a Bob sled we rode in and took a long time to drive the three miles get home.
We lived together with Peter's parents until they moved to town. The older sister and I did not like each other. She had always dominated the others but I would not let her boss me. We never actually quarreled but she tried to interfere in our marriage so I just had an understanding that she mind her own affais, so it was a relief when they moved to town. Although they had the idea they could walk in any time they wished. This went on until we had a written contract that we worked the farm on shares. Then I gave them to understand that it was our home and only by invitation could she come. I had always gave them a good dinner and tried to be fair but shomehow they resented me.
When our first child was on the way the two sisters Anna &Carrie made the baby a set of baby clothes. I bought the underthings and diapers. This went on for a long time. I always was grateful for their help and it gave them pleasure for they were maiden and no chance of being married.
I was a member of the Rebekah Lodge having joined in 1913 so I pursuaded them to join we had good times together until then finally quit the lodge.
We purchased an incubator and raised white Leighorns and hatched chickens to sell to farmers raising our own flock. This business along with taking care of fruit orchards made a big business. It made a lot of work too but being young and healthy we did it with just one year man. It was a tough long row but we got along until one horrible night the whole thing burned down. We always thought thieves did this. We weathered this together.
Our oldest son was about twelve years old when this occured and was the 1st to discovered that the building was afire. Oldest son was Maynard Poray.
As a baby I had been very ill with a congestion of the lungs, when I'd cry the blood sometimes would come out of mouth. This was something that had to be outgrown. Mother was a good nurse and would make an onion syrup to give me, to break up the conjestion. The old family doctor Wilson gave me up, said I just couldn't live to grow up. But that was where he was wrong. Wiht constant care Mother pulled me through, although I did not go to school until I was nine years old. She taught me to read, spell, write and arithmatic so when I went to school I was in third grade. I was very fond of reading and always kept them neat so they could be passed on to the next.
I learned to bake bread, pies, cookies and cake. How I hated it when the men folks came in at cookie baking time and eat nearly all the batch up so I had to double it to have enough to put on the table. When I first entered school in 1900 my first teacher was William Sill a neighbor.
Sister B and I took turns in washing up the dishes after each meal. One time I'd do the washing and she wiped and put away, quite a few times we'd get into a squabble and them Mother would give us a good scolding.
We just hated it after the threshers were working because it made double dishes to do. I often had to do the bread baking when mother had a lot of sewing to do to keep us clothes or had to go to town for shoes and groceries for the family.
It just seemed that those men could smell that fresh baked bread or cookies and would come in for a snack. I used to have to stir up the second batch of cookies in order to have enough for the table or crock. They always thanked me and said they were very good, make more.
My mother bought a road horse for us girls to drive on the road so as to able to get the mail and groceries. It was just not feasible to drive one of the work team because they were always in use. The horse was a Bay Mare named Whipsey she was a good trotter and was broken to be driven on road. We had a top buggy with rubber tired wheels and my sisters and I was the only ones allowed to drive her. Our older sister and brother had married so was not living at home any more. The R. F. D. was then just starting to deliver the mail the rural homes shortly after this. One day father decided that our horse was not earning her keep by just standing in the stall or driven on the road. So he decide3d to use her to culivate a bean field. We was not pleased and neither was Mother so we just watched him harness her to the culivator. A neighbor who lived and the next farm across the highway was in his field at that time so he watched the proceedings. Knowing us girls just hated to have our horse used like that. Father just said gidap a word which one used to start up a horse. She just started like on the road trotting snaking the culivator and father across the row of beans taking them all out. We had to laugh to see this done, getting to the end of row he stopped the horse unhitched then took her back to the stable without a word. In the meantime we had told mother what happened not another word was said on either side. The horse was used only for driving on the road afterwards.
In the spring of the year we used to hunt wild mushrooms in the pastures after a warm rain. Also in the fall would find hugh puffballs. In the woods one could find merollo(sp) honey coned shaped. We also gathered wild long berries in the early summer. Farm children learned early to do these things and enjoyed it.
Early spring the neighbor men would gather at our place to go spearing Suckers which was a fish which came up the creeks to spawn. My father made a torch which had a long can of kerosene with a hollow tube leading up to a large ball of sacking wound with wire, this they would light and tip the kerosene so it would soak the ball of cloth, this was lighted so they could shine it over the bank of the creek and men could spear the fish with spears. Sometimes they got a wash tub of those fresh fish and would divide them up so each family would have fish to eat. Mother always had a pan of fried cakes and coffee for them to eat after their fishing. This was always enjoyed by everyone. The fish would be about 2 to three pounds and had a round mouth sort of dark silver color and made good chowder or was rolled in flour, salted and fried in deep fat. They were rather boney so children had to have their portion shredded for them when eating the bones were long and sharp. They tasted delicious as being freshly caught and were solid meat.
Will Sill was my first teach who lived to they north of us. The school was called Saltworks district #13. He was a very good teacher and taught Spencerian Writing. He would alway complimate a student on his work even if it sometimes was a mess this encouraged them to try harder. The seats were wood two students to share it &desk. The teachers table &chair up front. A long wood bench for classes called to front.
We walked one and a half miles to school and all the children on the road would join us, all carried their lunch boxes as we were the fartherest away. We would chat like everything and skip stones, watch birds in their flight and even get into a fight which always ended in getting back to be friends before reaching the school sometimes we had to run as we heard the old school bell, to be on time. On the way home we would do the same. In the middle of the fornoon we would have recess. We would all ruch out in the school yard and play games. Soon the teacher would ring a hand bell. The teacher taught primer or first grade up to the fifth at that time the older boys would have to stay home until the winter term to help on the farms. Some of the older girls did too. At the spelling down time the boys would always manage to stand between good spellers. On Friday we would all be called up in a line in the back of the school room and have a spell down. Each one was given a word and if they could not spell it correctly it was passed to the next in line. The first one that missed had to go to the foot of line. This was continued until all the words were spelled. The second time a word was missed you would have to take your seat until the last one stood alone. In order for some of the boys to stay up in line longer some of us would whisper it loud so they could stand longer.
The summer months one would have to pick strawberries which would ripen in june, those nice juicy berries on short cake was very delicious and we all enjoyed them, also there were raspberries. My father had several acres of these. He would hired pickers some were picked up by a wagon which had seats and they were brought to the farm to pick berries each day. The berries were taken to market or would be dried in evaporators on racks, then bagged and sold as dried berries. These were Black caps or purple berries. The Red berries or Cuthberts were a fresh fruit berry and sold to consumers.
The churches of the community would have youth meetings with sings and in August there would be a picnic. Each family packed a basket, consisting of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, pies and other goodies. Lemon aid was made by the committee appointed or you brought watever you wished to drink. Some would bring freezers of ice cream. Everyone had enough to eat.
Croquet and baseball games were played. One road to these picnics on a hay wagon. It was great time for all. We would all sing old songs and there were many good voices mingling on the air.
Sunday school was well attended, each age were grouped into a class to be taught and talk over the lesson. The suprintent was very good in outlining the lesson and he would lead the singing. My oldest sister was organist also the teacher of the class I was in. One of the favorite songs liked by the youngest was "Sitting at the seat of Jesus". The suprintendent had chin whiskers and would throw his head back, chin pointing straight in the air and his voice would just roll out. He was a baritone some of the other men were tenors they along with women alto and sopranio, it was worth listening too.
The Free Methodist used to have a camp meeting in August everyone would go whether they were of that church or not. They would shout out while the minister was preaching "Glory Halliowya" (sp) or "Praise the Lord: whenever they felt the mood. Ome old lady was quite a character. She would jump up in the air, clap her hands and grab hold anyone near and roll or walk down the asile they young folks thought it more like a circus, to watch this and was greatly amused. They did not dare say anything to their elders about this because they might not let us go to it.
If anyone was sick in the neighborhood, every neighbor would do all they could to help the family out by sending food or even do some nursing. There was only one or two doctors within driving distance and some days it would be so far the doctor used to have to stay over night. He always had a little black bag which contained pills, quinine, cough medicine, stethoscope, etc. Sometime the doctor drove down the R R track to get to his patients. One time in the winter, the only road open to any place was down the railroad track because with its powerful engine it could get to the stations along the track throught the country. People used turpentine and onion poltices or onion syrups for colds and conjestion, wometimes it would not help.
Everyone had Bobsleds or cutters to drive throught the snow in winter. The farmers used to plow out the roads with large kettles to push the snow out and pack it down so one could walk or ride to town. It was great fun to ride through the roads in a top cutter with the bells ringing or jimgling as the horse trotted along. There was little turn outs along the road so one could pass the other going or coming. One day when coming from picking up groceries and mail a big tall neighbor ahead of us turned in to let us pass as the horse I was driving Whipsey our road horse who was faster, just as we passed out tops sort of hooked and the man was tipped out into the snow. To see long legs flying, he had to hang onto his horse and I too. The next time in town when waiting for the mail sorted I tried to apoligize and he said after turning out to be polite, Idid not think you'd dump me out. Everyone in the store thought it funny, so we all had a good laugh. He was well liked and a real gentleman who knew it was not intentional.
The neighbor children used to gather at our house to slide down the big hill. Our father buile us sleds and also a low bob sled on which several could ride ont. The ones on front would steer with their feet, the one on bakc to give the push sending us down. We would get the hill so icy that father had to make a path up through the pear orchard to carry the milk. How he used to scold us about this but never stopped our fun because the cows were housed ina shed under the big hay &grain barn. There was also a big shed there where they hung tobacco up to sure. It was hung up on slat racks in top of shed. Father had a piece of tobacco which was raised to experiment. We had to take a can and stick to pick the large green worms that would eat holes in the leaves. We just hated this and was glad when it was harvested.
After the tobacco was cured it was stripped of the leaves very carefully and packed or pressed in large bales to be marketed. This was done in the winter time. It was for Havana Cigars.
Father raised a lot of beans, Great Northern a white bean and pea, sometimes Red Kidney. When these were harvested threshed, we had to sort them to take out the bad ones. It was a evening chore and did we hate it. This was during the winter and really kept us busy. Finally we got a sorting machine which was run bby a treadle to carry the beans to the one picking out the discolored bad beans. This helped to hurry the job along.
When fresh snow came one could ride down then land into this. My boyfriend which is now my husband got his face pushed into this. When sliding down together we often laugh about it.
The sheep were taken down to the bay creek in the early part of summer where they were washed to clean the wool before they were sheared.
This shearing was done before they were driven to the pasture. A man names John Glover used to come to do the shearing, he wore a leather apron and would hold the sheep across his lap and with a sharp shear would do this, keeping the wool all in one piece. The wool was then rolled up in a round ball tied to be sent to the dealer who had it carded into clothing or yarn.
I had a sheep which was born on my birthday. She had a black round spot on her heels. When she bred she had twin lambs. I called her Bess.
One summer when we had the grain threshers we had to ride the horses to the creek for a drink. Father said we were not to race them as it was a very warm day. When we got to the creek we see some of the sheep under the bridge, others lying up on the hill side all dead. A couple of hound dogs were barking at them. We ran the horses back screaming for help. Father see us coming and yelled for us to stop raceing the horses. When we reached him we told him what happened. The threshers all stopped, the men got shot guns and went to the pasture to shoot the dogs. They killed one the other got away. The dog killed was Old Spot belonging to the thresher who wouldn't claim him. For he would have had to pay for the sheep. The State would pay for this. There was no tag on the dog so couldn't be proved who was the owner but one of his sons said poor old Spot I miss him. He didn't mean to do it. Some of the sheep was scattered way down to Sodus Point three miles away. Some was bitten so bad they had to be killed. It was a large flock and the men dug a big trench to bury them afther the State man checked them. The one that still was all right was sold. Father wouldn't raise them anymore.
The men watered the horses from the well that night. It took a long time to erase the experience of that day, but children have a way of putting things behind them. We raised a baby colt, the mother was Flora one of the tean and we all loved her. She allowed us to pet her baby and it got so tame it would follow us likea dog. Often in the pasture we would take a small basin and milk one of the cows and give it to the colt to drink it just loved this attention. After the mother had weaned the colt we would play with it giving a lump of sugar. One day Mother was baking cookies and we often gave one to the colt. We went in the kitchen to get some cookie and the colt stuck his head in the door. Mother told us to back it out as it would get frightened and smash things up. She had to laugh about it afterwards. She explained it to us very carefully. We never tried it agian. When the colt had to be trained for harness it was called broken in to drive. It would take one of the girls to coax it to go. Finally we just had to stop petting Brownie.
My sister Bea and I was given a piece of land to raise strawberries to sell. We used to pick the berries and sell them by the quart to the summer people who stayed at Sodus Point. They were steady customers and would buy all we brought as they were large and delicious. We used the money to buy our nice dresses, hat and shoes so as to look nice at all times.
One day or morning as we were heading for home, a priest who had been calling asked us to take him home as it was so warm and he could not walk that far. As my sister was driving and I was standing on the ground she had to do it while I stood waiting. She was so mad at me we just quarrelled all the way home. I got a big laugh out of it. She had always wanted to the easy part and I had let her drive while I delivered.
Our father used to buy whole orchards of apples to dry in our evaporator which he had built for that purpose. He had quite a large archard of his own. There was quite good money in dried apples and having a large family of children they could help. He used to shake the apples off the trees when ripe and we had to pick them up. We would dump our half bushel baskets into sacks and the hired man would gather the bags of apples into a lumber wagon and haul to the evaporator. There were two kiln to dry them after they were peeled, trimmed by women put in a trough to slide into a revloving bleacher, where a pot of burning sulphur placed in the bottom which bleached them. It took a hour for them to bleach. They they were empted into a slicer which sliced them into rings to be put in the kilm to dry. It took 24 hours to thoroughly dry. They had to be turned once or twice before they were ready to be shoveled off into a big pile into a bin which had to be turned a couple times to cure. Then was shoveled into bags and sold. There was a box dryer where the peeling, cores and trimmings dried.
The Fall of the year was a busy one for all besides picing up apples on Saturdays we would have to slice the apples after we came from school to help get them on the kiln for the night. This job one would cough and sneeze from the fumes of sulphur and it kept us busy. We wort of hated it but it had to be done so we never questioned just worked. After a few years we were high enough in our studies and it became our task to do the trimming and also run the peeler. Which saved the folks from hireing strangers.
One day which was Sunday we were eating dinner a neighbor came and said the dryer or evaporator was afire. We rushed out but nothing could be done to save it. No water could stop it. We thought it must have been the box dryer as peelings were like paper when dried and the furnace used was an open topped one. This ended our hard work because it was never rebuilt until we had been in high school and I left for Business College and graduated from it.
Contributed by Sandra Salinas and typed by Town of Sodus Editor Dorathy Hardie. All spellings and punctuation are as in the original. Thank you in advance for directing all questions about persons that Ethel mentions to the Office of the Wayne County Historian.
Copyright © 2001 Office of the Wayne County Historian
Copyright © 2001 Sandra Salinas
Coding Copyright © 2001 Dorathy Luedecke Hardie/ M.Magillk
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