Lou's Place in Cyberspace
Memories of 1900
Sarah Marburger provides a piece of family history with this note of memories she recalls from her mother and aunt. Sarah noted, "I have written down accounts of what life was like in the early 1900s that my Mom and Aunt Polly gave me before they died."
Here are those memories:George Britton McClellan Wannamaker and Jennie Agnes (Kunkle) Wannamaker had four daughters: Sadie, Pauline, Irene, and Madeline. Sadly, Irene died shortly after birth. The Wannamakers had a nice home and well-kept yard in Kresgeville. On the property with the mill and house was a creek that ran the mill and a small orchard of fruit trees.
The girls would wade in the creek above the mill and spend time in the meadows looking for teaberries, trailing arbutus, and forget-me-nots. They would skip stones over the Pohopoco Creek and play in the smokehouse which also served as a playhouse in the summer. The older girls sewed doll clothes and looked for books to read in the attic. They went to Sunday School whenever the pastor could come to Kresgeville.
The Sunday School Picnic was a big social event where everyone enjoyed ice cream, watermelon, and a cakewalk.
Chores in the summer included going to the farmer for butter, buttermilk, and whole milk which was measured into a small container with a handle. The dairy products were kept in the cellar since there were no refrigerators at that time. The older girls would feed the chickens and gather the eggs. They would also dig out the dandelions in the yard.
In autumn, they would gather chestnuts, hickory nuts, and walnuts. They would also pick apples from their orchard which they used to make apple butter. They had “schnitzing” parties and the next day their Grandma Emma (Berlin) Kunkle would come to help cook the apple butter. This was done outside in a huge kettle. The family also did their own butchering. The older girls would help cut the animal fat into small pieces for rendering into lard. They helped their father rake leaves out of the water at the dam so the leaves would not get into the water wheel. They had a horse and buggy and were always happy to go with their father for a ride.
They attended a one-room, one teacher grade school and a one-room, one teacher high school. During the winter, they kept busy at night by cooking fudge and taffy candy, and learning to sew, crochet, and knit. When it snowed, they went sleigh riding. This was a typical life of a child in the country in the early 1900’s.
Courtesy Sarah Marburger.