OF THE NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC.
Volume VII, Number 2 (May 1990)
College Librarian Emeritus, Manchester College
Sadie Irene (Stutsman) Wampler was a remarkably talented woman: an artist, musician, teacher, interpretive reader, speaker, playwright, drama critic, and a creative and resourceful director-producer of scores of memorable plays and pageants for more than 40 years.
Sadie I. Stutsman came to North Manchester in 1900 as a girl of 14, enrolling in the Academy at Manchester College after only two weeks at Central High School. She had attended Prairie Flower School near the place of her birth in Elkhart County about three miles east of Goshen, and death had already overtaken her father, Benjamin Stutsman. When her mother married Elder J. C. Murray in 1903, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where her stepfather was pastor of the Washington City Church of the Brethren.
Sadie studied art privately at the Corcoran Gallery and with Mrs. John Garber as well as in classes at the Maryland Collegiate Institute, Unionbridge, from which she was graduated in 1904. She worked as a printer’s assistant in the United States Bureau of Printing and Engraving the following winter and in 1905 moved back to North Manchester to enroll in the Manchester College Music Department but also signed a contract to teach orthography in the business department.
After studying at the Chicago Art Institute in the summer of 1906, Sadie returned to North Manchester both to continue her study and to teach classes in choral music, drawing, and expression. Receiving the Music Diploma in 1907, she studied that summer at the Columbia College of Expression in Chicago and returned in the fall to begin teaching full time in music, art, and expression, a term used then for interpretive reading and speaking. That was the year that Otho Winger joined the Manchester College faculty to teach history and philosophy and a full year before Vernon Schwalm would arrive as a student. In 1908 President Crouch added girls’ physical education, called “physical culture,” to Sadie’s teaching load.
The full teaching load notwithstanding, she managed a course or two at a time to complete requirements for her A.B. degree in 1906. During these and subsequent years, she studied several additional summers at both the Chicago Art Institute and Columbia College of Expression, earning from the latter a diploma in 1919. Sadie wrote to Dr. Schwalm of these times: “During these years I was in classed from 7:30 to 5:00 five days a week, so my nights were rather short for sleeping and rather long for study.” Not surprisingly, therefore, President Winger in 1920 conferred on her an M.A. degree at commencement, “not as an honorary degree,” he declared, “for it had been labored for!”
Though tall and broad of shoulder, Sadie was a very attractive woman. In the same year, 1920, she became the bride of Benjamin Franklin Wampler, a businessman in town known as “B.F.” who became a part-time music instructor at the College from 1920 to 1925. It was in that year (1919-1920) that Sadie had been released from teach art and was assigned to teach courses in English and American literature, which fit hand-in-glove with her interest in literary interpretation and in techniques of expression.
Sadie continue to teach full time until 1932, when she was reduced to half-time status, in part because of debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. Though she continued half-time status for 20 more years with steadily increasing pain, only her course load and salary were reduced by half, for Sadie applied all of her energy and time to teaching and to planning dramas ever more meticulously until 1948, when walking and managing stairs became too painful and dangerous for her to continue directing plays.
Sadie continued to teach, some classes meeting in her home on Wayne Street. She retired in 1952 at age 66 and lived 11 more years. As her weakened body was succumbing to the shock of a second amputation in 1963, she was hear singing:
The Great Physician now is near;
Your many sins are all forgiv’n;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer;
Go on your way in peace to heav’n.
Sadie bid farewell to this world at dawn on July 17, 1963.
To all who knew her or enjoyed her many dramatic productions, the words of English Department Chairman, Fred R. Conklin, at her retirement in 1952 ring true:
The riches, which your life now holds
Have come from gifts you gave.
“Your coffers are full,” not of silver or gold,
But of beauty and music!
Her life was fully invested in teaching and drama in both the college and in her church whose peace stance was declared with one word emblazoned about the entrance to her last home at 721 Wayne Street: “Irene,” a direct transliteration of the Greek eirene, peace, and Sadie’s middle name.
Were you ever a marble kid? Few people today know about the game of marbles. It was strictly for kids and a bit frowned on by mothers.
You played it by kneeling down on the bare ground for a game board, usually in a damp spot. A circle was inscribed in the soft earth, and the players lined up around it. Two contestants placed about 13 marbles each in the ring and took turns shooting at them. To shoot you held a larger marble in the closed hand and then projected it forward by the thumb, trying to knock the inside marbles out of the ring with the heavier “glassie” shooter. This hand could not touch the ground but came as close to it as possible. When crawling about to sight for a favorable angle of attack, of course, clothes as well as hands became filthy!
Kids frequently made up their own rules, and friends stood by to see that there was no cheating. The player continued as long as he was a winner and score was kept by the number of marbles he displaced. It took considerable practiced skill to be a good player and to play for keeps of all the marbles he shot successfully.
Temper, verbal harassment, and at times fistfights added to the bloody-nose gore.
Girls didn’t usually play this game very much but were always ready to stand back and cheer their favorite player and thus kept the tempers rolling. At our school this was mostly a spring game. It could be played only as long as tempers were controlled or mothers didn’t call the principal too often about “Johnny losing all his marbles.”
My brother played the game after a fashion but wasn’t much good at it. He didn’t have the practiced hand because farm kids had evening chores to do. Mother had made him a sturdy marble bag to take to school, “cause the other fellers had them” Always a wise teacher insisted that the marble bags be placed on a certain shelf during school time. No boy wanted to be left out of the springtime “marble fever,” even if it did only last a few weeks.
However, marble fever isn’t dead. Every once in a while you read about an eastern city holding a marble festival, even a girls’ contest.
When delving into my family treasures recently, I came across some marble mementos. One was a lively big glass marble about one and one half inches across that had belonged to my mother. It was a beauty with different shadings of blue swirling around a pure white core, then all over laced with a thin line of coral. I always wanted to know its story, but Mother never told me. She just smiled softly and said that in her young girlhood days these were called “sweetheart gifts.”
Perhaps my most vivid marble memory concerns my younger son. My husband, Harry, was teaching at Bridgewater College in Virginia during the winter months, and as seasonal transients we came back to North Manchester every summer.
One spring morning shortly before we left Virginia for the season, a group of us was standing on the church lawn, enjoying the spring sunshine and talking, when I noticed my son and the minister’s visiting grandson’s playing about and sitting on the steps of the church. An elderly gentleman was talking to them. I didn’t notice that he had given the boys a paper sack of marbles. In kid fashion they were delighted and began dividing, “one of you, one for me,” putting the marbles into their pockets.
The last bell rang, and we went inside. The minister’s wife and her grandson were seated in the pew just ahead of us. She invited my son to sit with them.
The service started, and the boys were behaving beautifully for four-year-olds. When we sat down after the morning hymn, there was a distinct “plomp” and then steady rolling sound down the sloping, wooden floor. The two boys wiggled to see. Then came a series of plomps and many rollings! Of course the boys did not want to lose their treasures so they got up and started out. My very red-faced husband grabbed ours, while the amused minister’s wife caught up her offspring. The entire membership was fairly choking with smothered laughter.
The started minister came to and recognized the crisis. He started to speak and then burst into laughter, a signal for everyone but the Weimers to roar! After what seemed a lifetime Reverend Johnson stepped forward and raised his hand for quietness and spoke, saying he felt it wise to change the order of the service a little. “Since the Lord loves a cheerful giver, we will now receive the morning offering. Will the ushers please come forward?”
I can’t tell you much about the rest of the service, but always after that our two sons sat with their parents, and one sheepish-eyed old gentleman steered clear of us for quite a while.
Exploring the antiques of northern Wabash County, we find three varieties:  articles, which the pioneers brought with them;  articles which were made after they arrived; and  articles purchased after they were established.
Most settlers in this area came from around the Dayton, Ohio, area; their families had come after the Treaty of Greenville in 1796 from eastern Ohio, New Hampshire and Connecticut. These migrants had made the long haul over the mountains, and what they brought were smaller articles: Set Thomas clocks, Birge and Beck clocks, small boxes, Nantucket baskets, sandwich glass, Bennington pitchers, and wood and gilt framed mirrors. An occasional Hitchcock chair may be found. Infrequently one finds a chest, sometimes carved or with decoration in water paint. There are also samplers and very old patterns of bedding. A small amount of dark blue tableware by Clews and Enoch Wood is found, along with “rattail” silver spoons and brass candlesticks.
The Pennsylvania Dutch moving westward and eventually settling in this area, brought many more goods with them, due to the short distance and their huge Conestoga wagons, pulled by ox teams or several horses. Much of their gear had been accumulated in the years after the American Revolution: great chests, storage pieces, bureaus, spinning wheels and looms, huge cupboards, “cannon ball” beds, along with tools for many crafts.
Carpenter, “joiners” who were cabinetmakers, gunsmiths, and weavers were among this migration.
The migration to Wabash County began in the 1820’s. Wabash, Laketon, New Madison (now Servia), North Manchester were settled in the mid and late 1830’s. Lagro was an early settlement due to the building of the Wabash-Erie Canal.
The German Brethren came into northern Wabash County in 1850 and following, in a second migration from middle Ohio. Also using Conestoga wagons, they brought much of the household gear that had kept antique shops active to the present day. Pennsylvania Dutch furniture, cupboards, and so forth, are the highest priced articles on the local market.
Once settled the pioneers began making articles needed in their daily lives. Plain cupboards, benches, and chests were made. Wood and flax grown locally was spun into cloth and bedding. Hides were tanned and made into harness and shoes.
The Jenks family, living in the Salem area, made chairs, a large hickory split variety with woven plait seats. These were painted black, with red, white and green trim, a homegrown Hitchcock! The grandfather also made small rocking chairs for his numerous grandchildren. A blind daughter of this family and her blind husband made brooms, using broom cane grown on the family farm.
There did not seem to be any baskets made in this area, but people had various sized boxes with wooden handles.
After the removal of the Indians from this area, some would wander back in the summers to escape the Oklahoma heat. They camped in brush huts on the flats of the river, below Elm Street in North Manchester. They peddled willow baskets and whittled spoons and butter paddles.
The pioneers worked together and traded their skills. One of the most important workmen was the blacksmith who made locks and keys, and pump fittings for wooden pumps. Hiram Whitlow was an early blacksmith, followed by the Thrush family who made wagon tires and later wagons and buggies.
Itinerant peddlers came through the early settlement, selling tin ware, cast iron pots and skillets, etc., some with long legs to use in fireplaces. Early weavers turned out woven coverlets, small rugs and rag carpets. Everyone worked from dawn to dark. The amount of handmade articles that have come down to us is truly amazing.
The pioneer outpost soon became a thriving town. We had a postmaster three years after the town was settled, and soon there were gunsmiths, an iron pump factory, and a pottery, all along North Manchester’s Main Street. The pottery turned out some Bennington-type pieces but never was able to make a good blaze and soon made only red ware.
With the opening of the canal at Lagro in 1837, the area had an outlet for its grain, hides and furs, and became increasingly prosperous. Little has been written about the impact of transportation on the pioneer community. The canal operated to transport pioneers but chiefly as a freight line, bringing in manufactured goods from the east coast, tools, medicines, thread and calico materials, dishes, and other household necessities to make life more bearable. There was a railroad in southern Wabash County in 1857, but none in the northern part of the county till 1871.
Tighlman I Siling and his brother, Milton, were furniture makers who came here to build a furniture factory in 1854. They made bureaus, tables, an occasional sofa, and coffins. Siling closed out his business to enlist in the Union Army in 1861, and the Argerbright family succeeded him. None of this early furniture is marked.
The citizens were hard-working people of moderate taste, so we do not see the fine rosewood and mahogany chairs and tables of a more pretentious society.
By 1876, the nation’s centennial year, the wounds of the civil War were healed, and the country enjoyed the results of it labors, agricultural machinery increased grain production, and there were expendable funds for better living. Cook stoves, coal oil lamps, sewing machines, lace curtains, abundant cloth, and even manufactured clothing appear, as well as the lawn mower.
Much of what is currently in antique shops comes from this ear: pie safes, cottage organs, and “dressers” with handkerchief boxes. Fancy bric-a-brac abounded.
There was much furniture being made in the Goshen area and New Paris, also in the Grand Rapids area in Michigan. Every town had a furniture store. The upholstered settee and couches appeared along with fancy portieres and curtains. The housewife spent her butter and egg money on ironstone Willow Ware, the “tea leaf” and “flow blue” patterns, the sprigged Adams pottery and the bright red, green and blue dished known as “gaudy Dutch.”
Fringed red and white table cloths and napkins set off the tableware. Heavy clear glass from Ohio and Pennsylvania makers was common. The clear pattern glass dates from this time also.
One hundred years ago, in 1890, the most elegant gift a housewife could receive was a set of Haviland china. One branch of the Haviland Company operated in New York, the other in Limoges, France. Great quantities of the china were sold. To see the amount remaining of this fragile product, one can imagine the care it received: it was really “company” dishes.
Greentown glass, now much sought after, was given away as containers for mustard, etc., and Majolica, the garish pottery, was a baking powder premium. Red Bohemian and cranberry glass, glass paperweights, “bride’s baskets,” and novelties were made by Austrian immigrant glass workers. Cut glass and finely blown stemware was common.
Americans were living in affluence, and the simple life of the pioneer had become a legend. I will conclude this incomplete resume at 1900. It is with some chagrin that I remember the household gear of my childhood of the early 1900’s, now being sold as antiques!
Of a Fine Blue Platter
From its lofty heights on the top shelf of the very old and tall, black walnut cupboard, the blue platter looked down on much activity within the pantry and homestead.
The platter came from Berkeley Springs, Virginia, in 1832 by covered wagon, Andrew Frushour’s part of sharing in a settler’s homestead that had come to this country from Zurich, Switzerland, October 26, 1732, on the ship “Mary.” It has been handed down from Andrew’s generation to Calvin, then George, and then into Edna Heeter’s possession in 1940 at the death of her mother and the breaking up of a long-standing happy home of which Edna was the “baby” of a family of eight grown children and the last living member. Of course, all the brothers and sisters were impressed early that the platter was a relic and used only on special occasions when it was carried out with reverence.
The heirloom was among Edna’s great-grandfather’s share of household articles as he, his wife, and baby son, Calvin, left Virginia and came by covered wagon to Ohio and on to Indiana where they settled four miles north of Lagro. Andrew staked off ground to hold, as was common. They lived humbly and worked clearing the land. There were Indians, wolves, panthers, and robbers present. A log church and later a frame one were built, and still later a log school and frame school came into existence.
Andrew Frushour took his team of horses to Lagro during the canal building and plowed gardens for the Irish workers and others. Standing near his homestead is a brick schoolhouse which replaced the wooden buildings where were gone. The brick schoolhouse was built 1882-83 and used until 1918. The area is still named after the Frushours, and yearly reunions are held.
The North Manchester Historical Society
Callers: Ethel Kinsey, Elizabeth Hendrix
Covered Bridge: Glen Beery, Max Allen, co-chr., Nolan Walker
Education: Grace Kester, chr., Mary Jenet Penrod, Pat Ringenberg
Historian: Helen Ross
Homes Tour: Evelyn Niswander and Grace Kester, co-chr.
Membership: Orpha Book, Robert Nelson, Dick and Jo Reinoehl, Karl and Bonnie Merritt, Carolyn Reahard
Memorials: Barnetta Carey and Margaret Smith, co-chr., Davonne Rogers
Museum: Keith Ross, chr., Judy Scheerer, Ferne Baldwin, DeWayne and Doris Snell, Robert Nelson
Newsletter Editor: Robert Nelson
Oral History: Merrell and Lois Geible, co-chr., Maurine Beery, Sara Allen
Publicity: Davonne Rogers, Shirley Rogers
Restoration: Stephen Batzka, chr., Randy and Sharon Fruitt, Roy Kinsey, Oris Hippensteel
Tourism: To be announced
Ways and Means: Pat Ringenberg, chr., Martha Rhoades, Ruby Muir, Lucille Walters, Phyllis Montel
Vice President Treasurer
Nancy Reed * 982-2858 Lola Sanger * 982-6766
Submitted by L. Z. Bunker, M.D. Ret.
Vanilla Extract * 1 ounce fresh vanilla beans cut fine * 2 ounces granulated sugar * 4 ounces water * 10 ounces brandy. Put in a pint bottle. Shake daily for 14 days.
Mice * Pumpkin seeds are very attractive to mice. Traps baited with these will soon destroy the little pests.
Almond Tarts * Yolks of 3 eggs * ¼ pound sugar * ½ pound ground almonds, rather coarse. Put in tart tins lined with puff pastry and bake in hot oven for 8 minutes. Take the 3 egg whites and mix with 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Mix and spread on the tarts. Return to the oven and brown delicately.
Another President Winger story that has always amused me occurred in the early 1940’s.
During the late Depression and World War II years teachers trained in special fields were hard to find, so Manchester College, like many other colleges, began to fill vacancies with displaced foreign professors. One of these came and was housed in a college house directly across from the administration building.
All faculty wives were expected to call and welcome the newcomers. I happened to be calling on the wife late one afternoon and could not help overhearing a telephone conversation. The call was to President Winger’s office. The new prof. did not know our American ways and certainly not President Winger’s!
The new prof. announced that his apartment was cold and he wanted someone to come see to it. I could hear the voice answer, “There is coal in the bin, isn’t there?” In minutes President Winger himself came stomping across the street, and the two men went to the basement. Shortly one could hear coal being shoveled into the furnace, and the men returned to the upper hall.
President Winger spoke, “That furnace is in good shape, and you have plenty of coal. All you need to do is add a shovel or so each morning. Did you try it?”
“No,” was the answer, “I don’t do that kind of labor.”
The president spoke again. “We furnish you the apartment and the coal, but a fireman does not come with it…that is your job. When you are cold, I suggest you go down and add some coal to the fire. It is easy and not hard to learn. Yes, you may need to wash your hands afterward, but that won’t hurt. Good day!”
The door clicked and the president trod back to his office. I left soon and could see the president sitting at his office window, busily pecking away on his old typewriter. How much of the lesson was understood and applied I never had the nerve to find out.