President’s Letter, January 2014
Our web site [luckeyhistoricalsociety.org] has been redone. There are still things to be added but the major changes have taken place. Please visit the sight and enjoy. Let me know if you find errors.
In a pile of stuff in the back room of the library I found a document written by Ortha Wight. If you have read “The Scotch and Scotch Ridge” written by Charlotte Dunipace Shaw, the book is dedicated to Ortha Wight. Ortha grew up in Scotch Ridge. She was a descendent of the Wight and Loomis families. Levi and Pruda Loomis were the first settlers there and the Loomis family arrived soon after. As a child Ortha loved visiting with her grandparents and listening to their stories. She was able to give a wealth of information to C. D. Shaw for her book. The document from our library contains photos of Ortha, her family, her friends and the old homestead. I also discovered that the photographs, letters and documents that C. D. Shaw used to write her book are located in the Bowling Green State University Library and can be accessed by the public. As soon as the weather breaks I plan to visit the library and get scans made so that
we can also include them with our document. The document is titled “This
is a Long Letter” by Ortha Wight 1973. She wrote it to her family. It is
a very well written account of her childhood years. She goes through
each month highlighting the special activities about the farm and town. I
would like to see it shared with the public. After I visit BGSU, I am
planning on sharing what I have found with the Wood County Historical
Society. If you would like to read it, I have it posted on our Web Site or
see me about printing a copy.
On the reverse you will find a portion of Ortha’s letter. The entry for January was rather short but it gives you a taste of her writing.
The photo above was not labeled. I believe that it is one of the homes from Ortha’s childhood, either the Loomis home or possibly the Wight home before the porch with the large number of windows was added.
I have the list complete of people buried in Troy Township Cemetery. However, I still have not been supplied with the information necessary to put grave site locations with the new entries. When the information is complete it will also be posted on our web site.
Mike Sibberson has provided us with an updated copy of the Hopper Mansion. The new photo and document “Settling in America (The life of George Hopper)” has also been posted on the website.
Next meeting Thursday Jan 16th at 6;30 in the Luckey Library. Hope to see you at the meeting. Over and Out Sally
Ortha Wight & her dog Prince taken 1894
“January drives a man in upon himself and test his mettle. It is the coldest month, the darkest and sometimes the snowiest. Now begins that long slow haul up cold slope toward Spring and April”
In January we walked a cold road to school. With heavy overshoes we tackled the ice and frozen ruts, facing a cold wind that turned our cheeks apple red. Our toes were cold and or finger tingled, but we seldom complained of being cold. We loved Winter – but most of all we loved snow. Now in January we would have it.
When the real storms came, we loved the wind-driven drifting snow. It raced across our wide fields and caught itself in the slit rail fence corner. There it froze and waited over the tunnels we made in it.
When the snow was deep we had the thrill of going to school by flat sled. At 8:30 my father would drive to the end of our walk with his team of horses hitched to his huge flat sled. After we were on board he collected my little cousin and all the village children and delivered us all at once at the schoolhouse. At 4:00 P.M. he was waiting outside to take us home.
When there was less snow, there was skating on the River until someone decided the ice was thick enough for harvesting. Then great blocks of it would be cut and taken home to fill the ice houses. Sawdust from the saw mill would be used to cover the huge chunks of ice, and they would last until Summer.
Our ice house was in Granny Kellog’s old kitchen, and in summer it was fun to go bare foot and walk on the ice. Usually we were forbidden to go in there, for that ice was precious. It cooled the milk and butter that were kept in a small kind of ice box called a creamery.
At school we seemed to settle down to serious learning in January. There was little to distract us.
The program for the day, written on the blackboard, was followed to the letter. We studied, we memorized and we recited. If we forgot we were filled with humiliation. Some of the kids were smart and set a kind of standard for the rest of us.
I was not endowed with brightness, but I was willing to work – that is, enough to allow me to keep up with the others. It was never my ambition to excel. I was satisfied to be one of the herd, going along un-noticed.
Arithmetic and I were never on friendly terms, but Poetry and History belonged to me. The New England poets were our friends from the third grade on. How I loved the stories in our books and the poems we memorized. There were poems for every season, from “The Melancholy Days” to “The Barefoot Boy”. I loved them all – sad or happy.
There was little to celebrate in January.
No half days off, no prominent people having birthdays, just School day after day. If we had snow, we made a huge circle in the field behind the schoolhouse, for a Fox and Goose game. If we had clear ice on the River we skated at noon when we had an hour for play.
Many of the older boys and girls were excellent skaters and among them there would always be a few who would help us little kids.
The Scotch Ridge young people spent much more time on the ice than we did – who lived farther from the River – but sometimes we could go back for awhile after school hours, and that was sheer joy. Skating gives you freedom to cut the air fast and clean – wings could improve it very little!
What fun it was to belong to that gay fast-moving crowd, bright colors flying – laughing banter and flashing skates – up the River and down!
Winter sun set much too early.