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Fred Gorton's Page

This is the place to find information on THE LIFE OF A PLODDER: FRED GORTON'S 95 YEARS
compiled by his granddaughter, Kathy Lynn Gorton Emerson.
Interested in the history of the Liberty, New York area
from the 1870s through the 1970s?
Or this branch of the Gorton family?

This is the book for you.


THE LIFE OF A PLODDER is now available as an e-book, available to purchase from all the usual e-book stores for $3.99. The e-book edition has been updated with corrections and clarifications and a few new photographs. Here is a link to a page with links to those stores. More will be added in the future. A print edition is in the works for late 2020 or early 2021.





When he was in his eighties, Fred Gorton wrote his autobiography as a series if essays. After his death, his granddaughter inherited those handwritten pages, edited them, and distributed the result to Fred's family members. Later she expanded the manuscript, adding some background about the area Fred lived in and a few notes to clarify things he got wrong, and made the text available to the general public on her webpage. Now, for the first time, this expanded and updated edition is available in book format.


Fred Gorton was interested in the doings of his neighbors, as well as in the things that directly affected his family, making this a treasure trove for genealogists and historians alike. His memories provide a firsthand look at the town of Liberty, New York, its citizens, and its environs from the mid-1870s through the mid-1960s. At the heart of the Sullivan County Catskills, Liberty was a center for tourism in those years and Fred's stories touch on both the tradition of the farm-boardinghouse and the ways local people made ends meet in the off-season. As a self-described "plodder" he worked as everything from a farmhand to the first RFD carrier for Ferndale, New York, delivering mail with a horse-drawn buggy and later in a Model T. One of his side jobs was making piecework picture frames with "Liberty, NY" painted on them to sell to tourists. Anyone interested in life in small-town America from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century will find something to savor in the story of Fred Gorton's ninety-five years.



Words of praise for THE LIFE OF A PLODDER from Sullivan County Historian, John Conway:

The historian, Joseph A. Amato wrote that it takes a collaboration, "an unlikely marriage between the professional and the amateur" to give birth "to an invigorated genre of local history." Fred Gorton's writing is proof of that. Here, his original words, only slightly edited for clarity, provide the unmistakable sense of place that is so critical to the appreciation of the history of any locality. This is indispensable reading for anyone with the desire to know what rural America was like during this important time in our history.



Questions? Contact  Kathy or send written comments to:

Kathy Lynn Emerson

P.O. Box 156

Wilton, ME 04294


Kathy Lynn Emerson
is a writer by profession and the author of
a number of novels and non-fiction books.

To go to the index page for, click here: Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Kathy Emerson\Documents\Tudor Women outdated files\quill2.jpg