September 1989

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About this Issue

Note from the Editors

For September, the month of harvesting the season's crops, this issue with John Rezelman's article about the Boss potato digger. This simple machine was thought up by a Wallace, New York, man to dig tubers on local farms. Some of the machines were manufactured at one time in Corning, but more of them were made in Leroy, New York. Read John's article to find out how the Boss digger came to be thought of, by the people who used it, as possessed of a personality all its own.

In this issue we introduce the regular appearance of chapters from Edwin N. Harris's book, Harpending's Corners. Last month's issue began the series with "Husky Norris and the Wrestling Match." That was a story for the fair-month of August. For the back-to-school-month of September, Ed Harris's "Locomotive in the Study Hall" is appropriate.

Along with an introduction to Mr. Harris and his book, we include the preface to Harpendings's Corners. It is followed by stories from Chapter Two of Ed Harris's book. In the next few issues, before settling into the pattern of the book, we will include stories from various chapters to fit the season of publication.

Also in this issue is another installment from Fran Dumas' series on the Outlet. Is you have been enjoying her descriptions of the mills along the Keuka Outlet you may want to join Fran on a walking tour of the Outlet Trail in October to see the mill sites and the brilliant autumn foliage. You may wish to become one of the Friends of the Outlet Trail by sending a $25 or $10 contribution to KLOPA (Keuka Lake Outlet Preservation Area) Commission.

This issue contains the second part of Chapter XVII from Peter Henderson's Gardening for Profit. Peter Henderson came to this country in 1843 when he was 21 after working as a gardener on estates in Scotland. He worked for market gardeners near NYC and soon went into the business for himself. Always a hustler and a remarkably canny man, Henderson was successful in the very chancy truck farming enterprise. He went on to start the famous seedhouse that carried his name. In 1866 he wrote Gardening for Profit, some say as advice for returning Civil War veterans. Henderson gave practical and valuable information. The book went through several editions and many printings.

Another active man of that time, Robert Ingersol, may have read Peter Henderson's book. Ingersol's advice to the farmers at the 1889 Yates County Fair as reported in the Bath Plaindealer of September 28, 1899 sounds much like what Peter Henderson might have said. Robert Ingersol was born in Dresden, New York, and became famous as an orator and for his outspoken ideas about religion. You can read the report of his Penn Yan speech

Shirley McNulty remembers the first woman teacher at District #4 School in Yates County that was located on the Bluff of Keuka Lake. Mrs. McNulty was, herself, a school teacher for many years in Painted Post.

Grace Mary Fox writes about a place west of Avoca and north of Howard that is known as "The Castle." Mrs. Fox has lived near Avoca and The Castle all her life and has visited the scenic spot high in the hills many times in her childhood and since. She still enjoys going there for picnics or long walks. Mrs. Fox is the Town Historian for Avoca. Her article first appeared in the Steuben County Historian's Newsletter, Vol. I, No. 2, in the spring of 1988.

This issue concludes with "A Garden in Montacute", another chapter from Caroline Kirkland's 1839 story of living on the frontier, titled A New Home. Montacute is the fictional name she used in her book for the town of Pinckney, Michigan.

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