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Memory Lane

I Remember When

By Charles J. Dewey for the Livonia Gazette, 2 February 1927

Rediscovered by Betty White Greene.

Your last issue (of January 28th) put me in a reminiscent mood: I can remember “way back when” John H. Norton was station agent at Livonia, and his brother Corrydon Norton, was his assistant. I remember very well Mr. H. A. Barton, the druggist with his basso-profundo voice. I also remember Walter Patterson, with his crippled arm; he was about the first to be able to take a message without using the ribbon; it was spoken of as something wonderful at that time. I remember Capt. Willard Chapin, the postmaster, and Solomon Woodruff, the banker. I remember Elbert Long and did business with him; I saw him again last June, on a flying visit through western New York. Mr. Ashley McDonald evidently was about 9 years younger than I, as he speaks of being “a mere child of 63.” Well, I am a mere child of 72.

I also taught school in “the Piney Woods” of Marrowback; it was the winter of 1876 and 1877; Samuel Naracong was the trustee who hired me, but I do not remember the princely salary which he paid me. I boarded with the Cole family across the road from Mr. Naracong’s house; the family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Cole, Leroy, Sam (I think), Clara, and two younger girls. I, also, was the boss, although that was disputed by some of the big boys, but I remained in a position of authority. I remember the old “Mud Tavern,” and looked in vain for it last June. I remember Squire Robert Neel, J. P., who was the very personification of justice, and who would not allow any levity in his court when in session.

I am very indignant over the prospect of the destruction of the village of Honeoye; I went to Sunday school at the Congregational church there when I was able to go, probably the first summer of 1862. I remember Rev. S. Mills Day, of blessed memory, who held the longest pastorate of any minister in the state of New York, at least so I am informed. I met his daughter, Mrs. Minnie Patterson, last June; when I first saw the two daughters of Rev. Mr. Day, they were living in the parsonage at Richmond Center; the older one was Fannie, who is not living now, I believe.

I found two old acquaintances in Richmond, Mrs. Mary Norget and Miss Ada Steele; Ada went to school at the little old red schoolhouse on the green at Richmond Center when I did.

Now let’s hear from some other old-timers who remember “way back when...”