Source: NMHS Newsletter, February 1987
ETHEL LONGENECKER REMEMBERS As told to Lester Binnie.
My father’s name was Charles Moyer and my mother was Edna Mylin. I was born about two and a half miles southwest of Laketon. The orchard operated by G. N. Moyer was just north of where I was born and is where I lived after I married Randall Longenecker. When I was about six years of age, I thought that I was old enough to milk “Old Cherry”, and I aggrevated my folks until they let me do it---right out in the barnyard. There was no need to tie her up.
I started to school at “Goose Heaven”, about a mile and half south of where I lived. The schoolhouse was on the south side of the river. Why they called it that, I never knew. Will Scott was my first teacher. Of course, I walked to school and when the snow was deep, I’d hold onto the rails on the fence as I walked along. That’s different than it is today. I like school pretty well. Each year when school was out, we had a great big dinner and all the folks would come and we had a nice program. Walter Berry and Veril Alexander were in my class. I remember that Veril liked milk so well that he would bring it in a bottle and hang it on a big tree across the road to keep it cool, and then he’d have it for dinner.
George Hoover lived down by the river. Willie and Arthur Groninger and I would go down to the river to try to catch turtles. We would go fishing in the river sometimes, too. No, I did not go swimming in the river. I never went swimming, period! Never!
In Laketon, the Huggens Grocery Store was there on the corner where Thelma Butler used to have her beauty shop. Manias Ulsh had a store across the street and the post office was in there for some time. Bender had a drugstore on the corner too. Dr. Mooney was our doctor. He also pulled teeth including one of mine. I remember he took me out in the yard and set me down in a chair and pulled it. I was just a little kid then. It seems to me that Mr. Frantz was the blacksmith.
Kerney Wertenberger had a big band in Laketon and it was a good one too. They had a bandstand where they sat and played and big crowds of people would come for the music and to see the outdoor picture show and eat the popcorn that was for sale. Orlie and Mary Showalter, our neighbors, always took their kids and they would each have a large bag of popcorn of their own. You did not buy everything you saw in those days, you took your own stuff if you had it.
After the sixth grade, I went to Laketon to school. At that time, John Price had a surrey with side curtains on it, pulled by two ponies. They had been wild horses, I think. He came and got Willie and Arthur and myself and took us to school. I do not recall that father paid for this. When I was a sophomore, I got the whooping cough and did not get to finish high school.
I remember when they double-tracked the Erie Railroad---and those foreigners and the way they lived and what they ate. I thought it was awful the way they would eat anything that would hold still. It was all built up west and across the road from Center schoolhouse, with temporary housing and tents where they lived. Later, Asa Ireland moved a house and barn from west of the tracks and put them north and across the road from where those people had lived. We had lots of tramps stop at our house. It seemed they would be on the move between the Erie and the Vandalia Railroad, south of the river.
During the Depression we worked very hard, planted everything we could, and raised practically everything we ate. We went to Laketon or Manchester to get the few things we needed and could pay for. Mother most always had a can of lard and some eggs that she would sell to pay for the groceries. Then there was the huckster wagon. I cannot remember when there was not a huckster wagon by our place about once a week. It was all enclosed and they had a little of almost everything you would need and they would trade for eggs and live chickens.
We had lots of Italian peddlers with suitcases tied on their backs. When I was a little girl, I was always thrilled to see what they had. No food, of course, but we often bought a few little things from them.
It seems that we had lots of gypsies too, even after we were married. I did not like them when they came. There was a place across the river on the Bert Ogden farm where he let them camp. We had an old bulldog and he did not like them either. They would just stand out in the road and yell for us to call him off so they could come into the yard. We hardly ever let them in.
The gravel pits were fairly common. One was at the crossroad a half mile north of where we lived. One time one of mother’s sows came up missing and we could not find her anywhere. My father found her down in the gravel pit with a bunch of other pigs. That was going a long way, wasn’t it?
I think North Manchester is a nice town. I’ve always liked it. When mother and I would go into Manchester, it was for the whole day. We would put the horse up at the livery stable at the old hotel that stood near the Lutheran Church [Young Hotel]. Mostly, she shopped at Lautzenheiser’s Grocery and at Oppenheim’s. She bought cloth and made all our dresses, and shirts for father. But she never made coats and mens’ pants.
There was always a big time at Halloween and the fair was a big deal. The fairgrounds were where the Peabody Home is located. They had good horse races there and we always went to the fair.
There were not many social activities in Laketon when I was a teenager. Randal; lived just south of the Niconza Church. He would come to our place in a buggy with his horse, Prince, and we would sometimes drive to Lukens Lake just to drive about and see the people. We never went swimming. There was a log cabin there where they sold refreshments and had music. If Carrie Sausaman was living, she could tell all about it. We would often see her there.
We were married in 1911 and several years after that we got a Model T Ford. We would sometimes get together in homes of friends and we had good times.
Each year we grew corn, wheat, oats, hay and buckwheat, and during the Depression, we grew cane to make sorghum molasses. Once we had seven large lard cans of sorghum and we used all of it. For livestock we had chickens, pigs, cattle and sheep. After we were married, we sold sour cream, saved up in five gallon cans. I think it went to the Beatrice Creamery in Chicago. Later, we sold whole milk until I left the farm. We took it to the depot on the Erie where it was put on the milktrain and shipped to Chicago.
Electricity came to our house on Christmas day, I remember. I cannot recall the day or year, but my children were small. We used it only for lights and a clothes iron. I had a washing machine with a gasoline motor. I believe that was before there were any paved roads in our neighborhood. They were all dusty gravel roads, kept fairly smooth by a large road grader pulled by a team of three or four horses. Bill Runkel was the township road supervisor. He lived south of Lukens Lake, but he did not do the grading. He just supervised. When he was on the go, he always aimed to get to father’s place at dinner time. He would just drop in, saying that he expected to pay for his meal. And when he left he would give mother ten cents and the feed for the horse went for free!
I was an early member of the Pleasant Township Home Economics Club. We used to get on a bus and away we would go to Detroit or Chicago and we would have the best time. Of course, they have lots of fine trips these day, but I wouldn’t tackle it anymore. I’ve been a member of the Riverside Garden Club, the Rebecca Circle, and Senior Citizens.
[photo] Members of the Laketon Band are: Front Row, left to right: 1. Unknown, 2. Unknown, 3. Arlie Henry, 4. Hugh Wells, 5. Loren Wertenberger, 6. Unknown, 7. Joe West, 8. John Rager. Middle Row: 1. Unknown, 2. Otie Gunup, 3. Charles Gunup, 4. John Tryon, 5. Charles Weaver, 6. Unknown. Back Row: 1. Allen Ogden, 2. Rolla Ohmart, 3. Howard Rager, 4. Rob Moyer, 5. ? Ohmart, 6. Ernest Anderson, 7. Asa Ireland. Picture donated by Jean Ireland.