2016-06-08 / In This Place

Joys of June

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by Trish Adams

Our dive into the impact of the Pepacton reservoir over the past month makes for very interesting history, but it can certainly be a downer, particularly for those with memories of living through it. So I thought with the coming of summer, we could focus on the happier news from this time of year. Our first story, during WWI, seems to be a tantalizing starting point for a war-time thriller. My question: How did the sabotaging student know that the incriminating document would be found in Miss Silliman’s effects? Hmm?

June 2, 1916
Hobart Woman Freed

Miss Mary Silliman, Held as Spy in Germany to be Released.

The case of Miss Mary Silliman, a former resident of Hobart, who was arrested in Germany about two months ago on the charge of being a spy, has at , last been decided. Ambassador Gerard has been informed that she will be released within a few days. Miss Silliman was a teacher in the American School for Girls in Constantinople and while on a trip to Warnemunde, Germany, was arrested and placed in prison on the charge of being a spy, the particular evidence against her being a copy of a code for the transmission of messages, found in her trunk.

Some time ago Miss Silliman had one of the Turkish students expelled from the school and she explains that the code was probably placed in her trunk by the vengeful student, knowing that Miss Silliman would get into trouble on account of it.

Friends and relatives in this vicinity have been considerably worried over the position of Miss Silliman and the message of Ambassador Gerard to the state department stating that she would be released is very joyful news to them.—Hobart Times I’m sure many of our local builders would love to face this “dilemma.”

June 9, 1916

Houses Needed to Handle Our Population There has been a shortage for year. It is now acute.

Margaretville is badly in need of dwelling houses and the man who will build some may rent them before the cellar foundation is completed.

The demand has been growing for several years. There has been no time in the last eight years when houses were easily found and this condition increases every month until it is now impossible to rent even a few rooms at any price.

The D. & N. shops, Fuller’s mills and Griddle’s mill have brought about 50 men to town. One of these men has built a house for himself. The other 49 either want places or have already taken the available ones.

As an indication of the demand for houses the following information from William Mussmann is interesting. Mr. Mussmann recently sold his interests in the firm of N. D. Olmstead & Co. He did not advertise for rent the rooms in which he and his family live and has no intention of vacating them. Nevertheless eleven people visited him within a few days asking if the rooms would be for rent. If he had advertised the rooms it is difficult to estimate the number of inquiries he might have had. The demand is not a momentary one. It will exist continually and would still obtain if all three of the industries mentioned above should be stopped. A four family house on a quiet street in town would bring the landlord 10-15 per cent on his investment. The proposition is worth looking into.

June 7, 1946

O. D. Bakers Celebrated Golden Wedding Monday

Fifty years ago, June 3, 1896, Ozias D. Baker arid Miss Nora E. Graham were united in marriage by Rev. O. Van Keuren at the home of the bride in upper Dry Brook. It was a gala affair with about seventy guests present. They were attended by Miss Grace Marks, niece of the groom, as bridesmaid and Aaron Graham, brother of the bride, as best man. After a customary wedding trip to Kingston, they returned to the Baker homestead, where the sister of the groom and her husband Mr. and Mrs. Garner Whipple, then resided. Here a bountiful reception awaited them.

They started their fifty years of wedded life employed at the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Luzern Baker, which they later purchased.

This union was blessed with three children, Lionel, Vivian and Marion. Lionel met with a tragic death at the age of nineteen. Their daughter, Vivian, now Mrs. George Armstrong, is living on the original Baker homestead which has been in the family for four generations. Marion, whose wife is the former Hilda Todd, lives on the farm where his father began farming. There are three grandchildren, Phyllis and Douglas Armstrong and Larry Baker.

On Monday, June 3, about two hundred friends and relatives gathered at the Dry Brook Community hall to celebrate Mr. and Mrs. Baker’s fiftieth wedding anniversary and to show their appreciation for their many years of neighborly acts. The hall was beautifully decorated for the occasion in yellow and white. Tables were set for the immediate family. A delicious buffet luncheon was served at 4 o’clock, after which the bride and groom were presented with a purse of two fifty dollar bills besides others gifts and cards.

There were about twenty-five guests present who were in attendance fifty years ago.

Since retiring from active farm life Mr. and Mrs. Baker reside in a bungalow on the farm of their son, Marion. The happy couple departed feeling that they had reached the end of a perfect day. As if we needed reminding, Clarke Sanford can effortlessly epitomize the palpable glee mountain folks feel in the delicious, heady days of summer.

June 14, 1946

From Clarke Sanford’s “Mountain Dew”

Sunday was a marvelous green day. Never were the Catskills more beautiful. The heavy rains of the week had cleared the air, green, green mountains stood like great pictures in the sky, there was a heavenly smell of new leaves, blossoms and the fragrant earth.

Days like Sunday come but once a year as spring comes but once in the lives of boys and girls. Business prospects, health, home planning, air castles boom on a day like that even faster than the fast-rising inflation price of homes. It’s worth a lot of cold and hardship to live one day in a land that can be as wonderful as the loved Catskills last Sunday. It’s an inspiration for weeks and months to come. Maggie reminds us of the fun as the end of the school year looms and celebrations abound in the school calendar. She certainly nails how a parent feels whenever their child performs!

June 8, 1956

From Feminine Furrows, Plowed by Maggie

Friday evening we attended the circus at school. I laughed until I cried at the spontaneous actions of the youngsters. Probably one of the biggest attractions of the show was the pair of horses. Made by the children of papier maché, they were large enough and strong enough for the youngsters to ride. It was difficult to tell whether the children or their parents were having the better time.

It was interesting to watch a mother’s face as her child’s turn to perform approached. First there was a smile of expectation, then a shadow of concern. Would he remember what to do? Then fear darkened the maternal brow as he entered on his solo work or ride. As his particular bit drew to a successful close, Mother patted the perspiration off her brow, dabbed at her eyes, blew her nose, exhaled mightily and settled down to enjoy the balance of the show. Even though her youngster was unrecognized in a feed bag and brown paper sack, or a black outfit as an elephant, Mother knew her child. Pride was written clearly in the face of the woman. . . .

. . . The house is fragrant and beautiful with sprays of apple and plum blossoms. These fragrant sprays always remind me of the stories I read when I was a little girl about the beauty of Japanese flower arrangements. Even without an artistic touch, these delicate colored blossoms carry freshness, hope and the vigor of youth into a room. Find your own summer fun in our archives at nyshistoricnewspapers.org/middletown.

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