Springwater - Mrs. Laurena M. Withington, Springwater’s oldest woman resident, will celebrate her 90th birthday anniversary on Friday with a family dinner at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Withington.
She was born in the Town of Richmond and is the last survivor of a family of seven children whose parents, Leonard Briggs and Mary Allen Briggs, were early settlers and lived in a log cabin. Mrs. Withington proudly boasts that her grandmother, Mary Garlinghouse, was the first white child born in Ontario County, Town of Naples. She recalls unusual incidents regarding the log cabin days.
The cabin floor was made of wide boards with an occasional knothole and one night the Briggs children heard a peculiar noise beneath the floor. Their uncle, a Mr. Garlinghouse, was visiting there and he decided to investigate. He stuck his finger through a knothole, intending to raise one of the floor boards, but his finger was severely bitten by a rattlesnake. A tourniquet was applied and the injured man was put on a horse and hurried to the doctor, a distance of several miles.
In those days early weddings were the usual thing and at the age of 19 Laurena Mary Briggs of Richmond, and George A. Withington, Erie Railroad agent of Springwater, were married Oct. 4, 1873, by the Rev. W. J. Hobbs, pastor of the Advent Church in Springwater.
“Mr. Withington drove a horse and buggy to my father’s home in Richmond and took me to the parsonage for our wedding ceremony,” relates Mrs. Withington. “Then we boarded the train to Rochester where we stayed at the old Whitcomb House for three days and then went on to Niagara Falls.”
Withington, who served as Erie station agent at Springwater for 30 years, and after his retirement was a coal and produce dealer, died several years ago. At the time of his death Mrs. Withington was issued a lifetime travel pass signed by the president of the Erie Railroad Company, and although failing health does not permit her to use the pass, it is renewed yearly, on Jan. 1.
In former years Mrs. Withington was associated closely with the Methodist church and an active member of the Worker’s League, of which she is a past president. Now she leads a quiet life at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Alma Capron. Both her hearing and eyesight are impaired but with the help of a magnifying glass she is able to read the daily paper.
An ardent Republican, Mrs. Withington did not miss the privilege of casting her vote until she was past 88 years of age.
She has one son, L. A. Withington of Springwater; one daughter, Mrs. Alma Capron of Springwater; a stepson; Farley J. Withington, 593 Park Ave., Rochester; a grand daughter, Miss Marion Capron, Hornell; two grandsons, Capt. Leonard Capron with Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army, and Carl Capron of Shortsville. Also two great-grandchildren, Nancy, 10, and James, 2, daughter and son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Capron.