THE LIFE OF A PLODDER

FRED GORTON'S 95 YEARS





an account compiled from his memoirs and diaries

by his granddaughter

Kathy Lynn Gorton Emerson



CHAPTER SIX: THE SENIOR CITIZEN



When he retired it never occurred to Fred Gorton to stop working and take it easy. He simply directed all of his efforts into non-company jobs. He took on small construction and woodworking jobs for other people, continued to rent out and maintain his cottage and apartment, made improvements on his own house, and kept up his gardening. He also developed a number of new interests. He collected picture postcards of churches, propigated perennials, reread the Bible not once but many times, and began to dabble in genealogy. He visited and was visited by his sons and grandchildren too many times to make mention of and in later life frequently served as a babysitter for his tenants.



From the diaries:



November 1, 1946 I took off all the window screens today and washed the windows. Marie and Russell came home from Binghamton.



November 15, 1946 Returned from Leslie's home in Bridgeport by Anson Bates's car. At Rock Hill we had soup at Mr. Bates's sister's place.



Novembe 18, 1946 Started working for Francis Kortright at Al Tuttle's cellar. Dug mud the first day.



November 26, 1946 Finished the cement job for Kortright. 53 hours all told.



December 12, 1946 Built cabinet in kitchen 23x24" with panel door and drawer, even with range top.



December 17, 1946 Russell broke out with chicken pox.



December 18, 1946 Started working for John Somers today.



December 26, 1946 Worked for Bob Oestrick using wood filler and high varnish. Fourteen hours. $14, in his new house on Winslow Place. Dolores came to visit us from Bridgeport. I have $25.00 worth of stakes on hand now.



Janauary 20, 1947 Stakes on hand: 8 bunches (25) @ 6, $12.00, Sherwood. 20 bunches (30) @ 3 $18.00, N.Y. S.E.&Gas.



February 4, 1947 I put two base recepticles in Luther Dowe's (Luther "Yank" Dowe d. Nov. 1948 @ 46) house today.



February 24, 1947 Attended Clark Gorton's funeral. Grace was there, also Mabel Stoddard (May 23, 1880-Jan. 22, 1961), Jennie Stoddard, Celia and Will Ratcliff, two Harris boys, Dewey Carr, Mrs. Aaron Stanton, Cora Randall. Clark was born May 20, 1868, died Feb. 22, 1947. Brookside , Harris, New York.



March 1, 1947 I was putting in a base recepticle at Hollands, Creamery Road, and I fell off the garret stairs and hurt my head, scraped both elbows and turned my left ankle. Two fingers on the right hand were quite stiff.



March 9, 1947 Alice, Floyd's wife, died today.



March 19, 1947 I got my new glasses today. $22.00.



April 18, 1947 Floyd came to call on us today, stayed two hours. I was painting Marie's living room.



May 15, 1947 Ai Gorton died this afternoon 2:25 o'clock at Monticello Hospital, aged seventy years.



May 27, 1947 Drawed maure from Dick Smith's and loaded two trucks and spread for him.



June 13, 1947 Ma went to the Campbell Inn with the Clarks, Aunt Ida, and Mrs. Ed Bengel to the D.A. R. meeting. (I don't think this could be Ida Hornbeck Crosby, Marie's Aunt Ida, but the only other Ida I find in the family is Ida Grant Steenrod, wife of Daisy's half brother, Levi Tucker Steenrod, who was nineteen years older than she was. Ida Steenrod died in 1955.)



August 18, 1947 Les Cooper and Ed Steenrod and I to White Sulphur Springs and Briscoe to see the damage done by the flood Saturday night.



September 5, 1947 I picked 2 bushels of pears from our tree next to the garage tonight. Gave bu. to Cooper and bu. to Coburg and bu. to Gladys Blade. They are $1.90 per bu. at the Victory Store.



September 8, 1947 Brother Leslie came to see us today and stayed to dinner and supper and returned to Middletown on the 8:30 Short Line bus. I took time to be bearer for Mrs.Monroe. [Lydia A. (Mrs. Edwin C.) Monroe, Lake St., d. Sept. 3, 1947 @ 90 years 5 days.]



September 17, 1947 Floyd came and got Daisy and I and took us to Hurleyville to celebrate our birthday. Leslie and Grace were there too. We had a good dinner and Floyd brought us home at 4:30.



September 22, 1947 Ma did her first washing with the new Bendix washer. Marie did hers after supper.



September 29, 1947 Bought new pair shoes. Cost $6.95. Ma had Dr. Payne come today at 5PM. Case of gall stones.



October 25, 1947 Russell and Marie became parents of a daughter between 11 and 12 AM today. They named her Kathy Lynn. [Editor's Note: ME!!!]



November 8, 1947 Mrs. Bill Keller brought the baby from the hospital this AM. Kathy Lynn. Put her right in Mama's lap to hold. She is a very sweet baby.



December 25, 1947 We had our Christmas presents at Russell's apartment Christmas Eve and Russ and Marie took Kathy to Hurleyville. Ma and I took dinner alone, but finished up with telephoning to each of Leslie's family. A very happy ending.



January 15, 1948 Russ telephoned Leslie to let him know how Ma is. Ma slept this AM until 10:45. Marie gave Ma a shot of vitamins this PM.



January 17, 1948 Leslie and Dolores came to see us this PM Arrived about 4:45. Dolores just loves the baby.



February 7, 1948 I had a job of baby sitter this evening from 9PM to 1:30 AM. Kathy slept right through without waking at all.



February 12, 1948 The old yellow cat died today. Bootsey. Eight years old.



February 14, 1948 We got the automatic heat on this AM.



March 27, 1948 Russ received Soldier's Bonus of $250.00. Bought three items--black inlaid linoleum for kitchen, 9x12 rug for living room, and play pen for Kathy.



April 11, 1948 Floyd came from Grace's today, took dinner and went back to Hurleyville 4:45 PM. He is real well.



April 27, 1948 Hotel Carleton, Monticello. I saw my first television program, a ball game by New York. Score 3-1. The jury had a robbery case. A seventy year old man was held up by a German Luger toy pistol. Took $47.61.



April 30, 1948 Mr. Herbert Boxberger finished moving out at 6:30 PM today.



May 16, 1948 Warren T.Myer and family moved in the cottage this A.M. [Editor's note: This was Bud and Julie Myer and their son Peter, who was Kathy's age.]



May 19, 1948 Signed card for Quarter Century Club. [Editor's Note: The Quarter Century Club is comprised of New York State Electric & Gas employees who worked for the company for 25 years or more.]



July 21, 1948 I came in contact with the buzz saw and it cut my left thumb quite deep but I mowed for Les Cooper 1 hour 15 minutes this PM. 98.



August 9, 1948 Dr. Ordin pulled eight teeth this AM.



August 28, 1948 I went to Binghamton to the Quarter Century Club clambake with John Havey, Blake Peck, Ken Sprague. Drove the company car. We also went through the Westover Electric Plant.



September 5, 1948 Russell took Ma and I to Hurleyville this PM. Marie and Kathy and Skippy sat in the back seat with me in his new Chevrolet car. [Editor's note: Skippy was a fox terrier acquired by Russ and Marie before Kathy's birth. Marie nursed him through two strokes and he lived to be 18.]



September 30, 1948 I went to the Liberty Republican Club 8PM at Hotel Lenape. Went with Ralph Voorhees (Feb. 22. 1903-Aug. 13, 1967) and returned with Cooper.



October 8, 1948 I got back from Bridgeport tonight 8:15PM. Russell came to Danbury to get me as I missed the bus.



October 18, 1948 I got my new teeth. $65.00.



November 10, 1948 I started the job of putting in mica pellets for insulation in our garret. We bought 40 bags. $54.



December 23, 1948 Ma went upstairs to see Kathy's Christmas tree tonight, the first time in a year.



February 9, 1949 I trimmed three apple trees today. Roy Carpenter brough three transformer crates for stakes.



February 23, 1949 Eleanor Gross won $100 at the theater tonight. Bengel and Fred Gorton were judges.



April 21, 1949 I finished our garage this PM. Total cost for material for roof, sides, and paint was $63.60.



May 30, 1949 I planted cucumbers today. Les Cooper called at supper time. I planted corn and beans and took out one row of beans killed by frost. Benton's goat got loose and came over in my garden.



June 10, 1949 IBEW had election of officers. Inemann corresponding secretary, Cyrus Blade(May 24, 1903-Sept. 2, 1960; m. Gladys Muhlig Sept. 19, 1931) financial secretary, Fred Gorton treasurer and Herman Berberich president.



July 17, 1949 I didn't go to church this Sunday but I heard a good sermon by the Baptist minister Rev. Bailey over WVOS. Russell and Marie and Kathy went to Hurleyville but I stayed with Daisy.



August 4, 1949 We had our first corn today. I also sold corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes.



August 27, 1949 The investigators came to call on me concerning twins. They spent about an hour here.



September 10, 1949 I hacked my left foot with the point of the corn cutter while cutting off roots from corn stalks.



September 21, 1949 Floyd came and took me to George Jr.'s and I stayed all night there. Next day he took me to see George and Martha and Friday we came back to Oneonta to Laverne Norris's home where he rooms. To the opera at night. I stayed all night there and Saturday back to George Sr.'s. I stayed over Sunday and Monday AM Floyd came and took me to Oneonta to see Frank Doughty (Nov. 3, 1898-1968) and Andrew Ewing and L.K.Byron. We came through Callicoon and Jeffersonville and home without a mishap. I sent the pogo stick back to George Jr.



October 23, 1949 Russell and Marie came to Bridgeport and we came home today. Ma stood the trip very well.



November 10, 1949 Katie Coburg washed and stretched Ma's curtains off the dining room. Myrtle Sager and Catherine brought me home from the movies tonight. I got a telephone message from Leslie to paint for him.



November 16, 1949 I came home from Leslie's after painting an apartment in Bridgeport.



December 4, 1949 I rode to church with Les Coburg and came back with Nelson Krum. Les and Katie brought Kathy up to see us as Marie and Russ are on their way to Miami.



March 14, 1950 Train wreck at Strongtown Crossing, between the Overshot Bridge and the old trestle. Ten cars derailed. Mrs. Myer took Marie and Kathy and Peter and myself.



May 28, 1950 Dr. Stamm called on Ma today. She has a bad heart spell and her leg was numb as well as her fingers and lips.



June 6, 1950 I received a letter from Osmer this noon saying my brother Leslie needs help.



July 25, 1950 Charles V. Mauer came out in our garden for me to sign two insurance checks in favor of the trustees of the Presbyterian Church to pay for lightning damage to the church steeple which is now repaired.



August 30, 1950 Freddie came from Bridgeport to visit us and went home August 31st. He volunteered for Army service and will go to San Antonio, Texas.



September 21, 1950 I finished putting in the walls of Marie's laundry room in the cellar. I started the job September 1. Put in cement in three places to cover drain tile and put the heater in over the door.



September 27, 1950 The first Bank Night after the summer season. $825 total. No one won. The new manager participated. I was judge.



January 3, 1951 Eugene Frederick Gorton came with Anita Grillo to visit us on the 7:10 bus. We had supper in our rooms with Russell and Marie and Kathy.



March 13, 1951 Three men came and put up the antenna on our house this morning and brought a new television set.



May 1, 1951 Norman Waite moved into the rear cottage.



May 17, 1951 I worked all afternoon for Russell at 134 Lincoln Place. Uncrated 80 gallon water heater, mowed lawn and took off valves.



[On May 24, 1951, Fred's cousin Celia Hall Ratcliff died at the age of 77. She left eight of her cousins $1858.44 and her husband half her estate, which was eight times what the cousins got. Will, her husband, remarked after the estate was divided, "the hardest thing I ever did was to sign those eight checks of Celia's money."]



June 24, 1951 Russell and Marie moved today. M. H. Hornbeck and Les Coburg moved them.



June 25, 1951 Ed Steenrod and wife Mary came to visit us at 2PM and stayed until 10:30 PM. Took supper with us, also Russ, Marie and Kathy. I called on Grace this PM when Russ went after Kathy at Hurleyville.



July 14, 1951 Leslie, Catherine, Dolores and Donald arrived here at 1:15 PM. Claire couldn't come, being on a nursing case. Freddie is in San Antonio. Russell and Marie and Kathy took supper with us and dinner the next day.



September 19, 1951 I cleaned Russell's hen house to make a play house for Kathy.



November 26, 1951 9:30 a son born to Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Frederick Gorton of San Antonio, Texas. Leslie telephoned us at 8 PM on the 27th.



January 5, 1952 It snowed 4" last night. Leslie, Catherine, Fred, Anita and baby Eugene Edward Gorton came from Stratford. Fred looks very nice in his Air Force uniform.



August 27, 1952 Fred and Anita are parents of their second boy.



September 8, 1952 Floyd took me to Alvie Eronimous's funeral and then to Ben Gerow's to see Fred and Will Wheeler and Angie.



September 19, 1952 We bought green table and four chairs of Appliance and Furniture Inc. for $83.75. Fred, Anita, Eugene and Bryan, also Nancy Grillo, came 3:30 PM and returned home at 8:50 PM.



October 3, 1952 I got my raise of $7.10 in the social security, from $56.80 to $63.90.



October 7, 1952 I listened to the ballgame over the radio this PM, 1:20 to 4:00. New York Yankees 4, Brooklyn Dodgers 2. The Yanks' 4th Pennant in a row. Fred Bengel's birthday. [Editor's Note: Fred Bengel, a long-time friend, had moved into the apartment when Russ and Marie moved out. As for the baseball, Fred was not really much of a fan. Shortly before "dem bums" left Brooklyn, when they were again playing the Yankees, Kathy asked him if he was a Yankee or a Dodger. His reply was that his mother had always told him he was a Yankee because he was from the North. Kathy currently roots for the Red Sox . . . and for any team playing against the Yankees.]



December 16, 1952 I set up the four deer and Santa and Russell installed two spotlights in the evening. Bengel assisted me next day. (I sought to have an exhibit with moving parts to out-do my neighbors. I owned an electric washer. Its center moved up and down thirty times a minute. I attached a small strong string through a pulley in the ceiling across to another pulley to a teeter board going up and down ten inches. This board had Santa Claus and deer twenty inches high on my front porch.)



December 27, 1952 I took the washer in at 5PM after more than a week to run the deer on the front porch. Four deer and the sleigh with Santa riding with a red cap with white tassel on made by Daisy.



January 21, 1953 Alvin Stickle cut out 1st camel. I painted same white. [Editor's note: I assume this was one of the camels for the next year's Christmas display.]



March 26, 1953 We got a phone message from Leslie saying Claire was married Saturday the 21st of March.

April 13, 1953 We received the double 12s dominos from Leslie today and Ma beat me three games.



June 2, 1953 Queen Elizabeth's coronation on the television was flown over to Boston and we got it at 4:20 PM. Mrs. Atkins and Mrs. Roggenkamp [Freda (Mrs. John) Roggencamp d. Dec. 15, 1968 @82; John Roggencamp d. May 24, 1955 @ 72. They lived on Carrier St.] sat through the crowning of the Queen.



October 16, 1953 Fred and Anita are parents of a baby boy, 8 lbs. 7 oz., Glenn Allen, born on Friday.



December 18, 1953 I got the camels and three wise men out and running. (I invented a scheme run by a half horse power moter, a three inch pulley on a twenty-two inch diameter wheel ran a belt to a ten inch steel wheel. A twelve inch long pipe ran across a plank to carry the exhibit without any interference. It made the camels jig up and down twenty times a minute. Christmas Eve I saw eleven cars slack up or stop.)

April 26, 1954 The guinea pig had three little ones.



September 30, 1954 George Gorton died at 4AM. He lived at Harwick Seminary, would have been eighty October 3.



October 21, 1954 Russ took me to see Osmer today and return. He is still in bed.



January 16, 1955 The old farmhouse burned to the ground in the evening. Old Hickory.



February 15, 1955 I got a black eye in the cellarway but didn't break my glasses.



April 15, 1955 Fred and Anita became parents of their fourth child, a girl, 8AM. 7 lbs. 6 oz. Claire telephoned. Nancy Carol.



September 10, 1955 The two boys and their families took dinner at the Presbyterian Church parlors. The Ever Ready Ladies put it on, including the great grandchildren and Barbara Smedley. [Editor's Note: Barbara was Les and Catherine Gorton's niece on the McKennon side.]



June 11, 1956 Daisy's birthday. Callers were Russ and Marie and Kathy, Ophelia and Ann, Betty Mateer, Lu Grimm (Mrs. Fred B. Grimm; he d. April 24, 1951 @ 71; she d. Oct. 22, 1963 @ 84), May Nichols (Susan May Nichols d. June 5, 1967 @ 85), Fred Bengel. Mrs. Nichols brought angel food cake.



June 25, 1956 We are still here on our 55th wedding anniversary. I did the washing this AM.



July 21, 1956 Brother Leslie gets $23.00 from welfare and $49.00 social security.



September 27, 1956 I walked to Ben Gerow's bridge, called on Angie. The contractors are making a road through Lake Ophelia.



March 16, 1957 I got Uncle David's diary yesterday.



November 27, 1957 Earl Farquhar and Elsie went to Leslie's funeral. Took me also. Middletown. Burial in Pine Hill . Grace Wood and three others attended.



February 11, 1958 The ambulance took Ma to the hospital at 11:05 AM for xrays of the hip. Marie went with her.



March31, 1958 Jack Lavelle took me to Hurleyville for Katie's funeral. Thirty pieces of flowers. A large attendance. I stayed with Kathy. [Author's note: Katie Coburg's funeral was held at the Hornbeck farm where she had lived all her life. Afterward her widower, Marie's father, came to live with Russ and Marie Gorton at 134 Lincoln Place and the farm, which was owned jointly by all of the Hornbeck siblings and Marie, was sold. A few years later it burned to the ground.]



April 8, 1958 Dr. Payne called 11:10 AM. First time in two months. Ma skinned her heel.



June 21, 1958 I waited on Ma every two hours all night and three times before breakfast today.



June 22, 1958 Ma slept all night until 7AM. Three callers today--Russell, Cooper and Mrs. Atkins.



June 29, 1958 Russ and Kathy called this Sunday afternoon. Peonies in full bloom.



July 16, 1958 Leslie called from Stratford last night. Claire had a seven pound girl born at twelve noon. Ann Mary.



July 21, 1958 I got a new subscription to Life Magazine yesterday.



July 25, 1958 Dr. Payne called at 10:45 PM. Ma kept me awake all night yelling "Help! Daddy!"



July 26, 1958 Twenty-six bedpans.



July 31, 1958 Dr. Payne cut the skin off Ma's boil on her neck while I watched.



August 2, 1958 Russell and Marie called last evening. Marie put up kitchen curtains and they put a board under the springs of Ma's bed.



August 10, 1958 Leslie, Catherine and Dolores came last evening 9PM. I went to church today for the first time in nine weeks. Catherine took over.



August 20, 1958 I certainly had a night of it. Bed pan every hour, 2 to 7 AM.



August 21,1958 I called up Mildred Barrerer.



August 22, 1958 Mildred Barrerer called and we bargained with her to care for Daisy.



August 23, 1958 Claire and baby and Leslie came at noon and Catherine returned with them at 5:30 PM Saturday.



August 24, 1958 Mildred Barrerer came at 7 PM.



August 30, 1958 Daisy died at 10:30 PM tonight.



September 2, 1958 Daisy's funeral was held 2 PM at Spencer Ramsay's funeral home. Rev. Orson Rice minister served in Rev. Marshall Smith's place as he was away.



September 11, 1958 Leslie called on telephone last night to see if I could come and visit them. Received Dr. Franz J. Kallerman concerning twins.



Many years later, Fred wrote this:



In the daytime, after my wife had died three weeks ago of diabetes, not able to stand, she stood in my dream all dressed in white and in robust health. I warned her she would fall down. She came toward me and disappeared at my feet.



October 9, 1958 I pasted pictures in the album all day.



December 7, 1958 I sold the Christmas exhibit--motor, three camels, Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus.



December 12, 1958 I wrote up thirty pages of my life's story, "The Plodder," today.



January 13, 1959 Peter Avery and wife and two children came to look at the cottage to rent it.



April 28, 1959 Yesterday I spent most of the day writing up the history of electricity in Liberty.



June 8, 1959 Russell took Edna Stapleton and I to Westwood to Osmer's funeral.



June 16, 1959 I gave Mr. Leuder the write-up of Electricity in Liberty, N.Y. to be typed. 12 copies. [Editor's Note: At this time I have not found a copy of this in Fred's papers. I've seen one at some point, though, so it may yet turn up.]



July 30, 1959 Les Coburg took me to his camp in Ulster County, about 25 miles away. A pond in front and a tree with a complete knot near the outhouse. [Editor's Note: This was called Red Horse Camp and was a hunting camp owned by several Hurleyville men including Les Coburg, his brother Henry, and some of the Durlands.]



August 27, 1959 The Liberty Gazette will print the Gorton genealogy for $40.00.



September 11, 1959 I received fifty copies of the "Genealogy of the Gortons and Steenrods" today. Printed by the Liberty Gazette. [Editor's Note: Strictly speaking, this was not a genealogy. It is an eight page pamphlet consisting of lists of relatives and their children, in no particular order. Still, for someone with only an eighth grade education, Fred didn't do too badly. He wrote to a number of relatives to gather the information and is, in general, accurate. He did made one incorrect assumption, however, stating that the first John Gorton to arrive in Sullivan County, in the 1790s, was born in England. In fact, the first Gorton in this country was John's ancestor, Samuell Gorton, back in the 1630s. After being thrown out of just about every other colony then existing in New England, Samuell ended up founding what is now Warwick, RI and his own religion, the Gortonists. The sect died out after about 100 years.]



September 17, 1959 Floyd arrived at 10:30 AM. We went to see Ratcliff at Liberty Loomis Hospital, then to White Sulphur Springs. To supper with Russell. Had birthday cake.



September 22, 1959 I mailed out twenty Gorton genealogies.



October 31, 1959 I telephoned Margaret Ratcliff concerning Uncle David's diary.



May 10, 1960 The ambulance took Russell to the Liberty Loomis Hospital this PM.



May 12, 1960 Mary Cooper and Gertie took me to Liberty Loomis Hospital. I called on Clair Mitchell (b. Monticello Dec. 8, 1900; electric company employee), Charles Matsinger (b. June 21, 1896; electric company employee) and Russell.



June 25, 1960 Dr. Ordin took out five teeth June 24. I still have wisdom teeth in under jaw.



July 5, 1960 I delivered two little cradles today to Betty Hamilton.



September 14, 1960 Floyd arrived at one o'clock the 13th. Wrote answer to Dr. Kallerman.



October 12, 1960 Bootsey arrived. Les Coburg brought the kitten. Marie and Kathy came too. Four white feet and a white nose.



November 20, 1960 The kitten bit me again tonight at Russell's home.



November 24, 1960 I took Thanksgiving with Russell, Marie, and Kathy. We had turkey. Bootsey went along too.



February 13, 1961 I got valentine of Ophelia.



March 30, 1961 Russell took me to Candlelight service. Kathy and eight other girls joined the church. One child was baptised.



April 6, 1961 The kitten brought in a live ground mole and lost it. I saw it run past my bed at 6AM.



April 30, 1961 Bengel fell on the cellar stairs, cut his eye and hand. Dr. Grant came on Sunday.



May 2, 1961 Bengel came back from Dr. Grant's. Looked as if he had been in a fight.



June 16, 1961 Bengel had a fall in the bathroom.



June 18, 1961 Bengel fell out of his chair.



September 15, 1961 Howard Fields brought Floyd here at 2:30 PM. We went on to Syracuse. We sat up until 10 PM and visited.



September 16, 1961 Floyd and I sat on the Presbyterian Church front to view the Fireman's parade. Russ Hill brought us home.



September 18, 1961 Russell took Floyd and I to Monticello to visit Grace. Got home 4:30 PM. Russell made a black top driveway.



September 30, 1961 In Infields arrived 12:30 and started with Fred Bengel for the John Sickmuller Home in Jeffersonville.



December 21, 1961 Forty-three Christmas cards to date.



April 22, 1962 I had taxi to Sunrise Service on Mager Ave. Charles Willi place. 100 attended. Bob Oestrich brought me home.



May 17, 1962 Grace, Edna and Alice came. Grace stayed 45 minutes.



May 22, 1962 I planted more corn, finished spading my garden.



May 28, 1962 I tended baby William Cogswell. [Editor's Note: The Cogswells were at this time living in the upstairs apartment.]



May 30, 1962 For the last two years I went to the and rode home with Leah Moffett, as she was going to Amenzo Atkins's, next to my home, anyway. This year I decided not to attend the oration by our pastor, Rev. George Beimler, and stayed at home. William Cogswell mowed my lawn the day before and I mowed Peter Avery's lawn and it needed the grass raked up, which I did. I got two bushels of clippings. Decoration Day after dinner I mowed Mr. Atkins's lawn with the power mower. I had my usual programs on the television: Ernie Ford and "Yours for a Song," Art Linkletter and "Queen for a Day." [Editor's Note: "Queen for a Day" was Fred's favorite.]



June 21, 1962 Floyd had another operation Thursday.



June 30, 1962 Quarter Century Club at the Lenape. Forty-eight attended. Beefsteak supper.



August 11, 1962 Quarter Century Club clambake. Frank Birkett drove Paul Harper, Charles Matsinger and Fred Gorton. Arrived 11:30 AM.



August 12, 1962 I got home from the clambake in Binghamton at 8:20 PM. 114 attended. Jack Lavelle drove Bill Haflin (Mar. 6, 1898-Sept. 27, 1968), Charles Matsinger, Frank Birkett and Fred Gorton. No initiation.



August 24, 1962 Earl and Edna took me to Oneonta and Hartwick Seminary for Floyd's funeral yesterday. Also to George Jr.'s. He served us pumpkin pie and coffee.



January 26, 1963 Bread man didn't come Thursday at all.



February 15, 1963 A man came today and put in a dial telephone. No charge.



February 29, 1963 On June 15, 1923 we paid balance of Royce Estate for piano $200. Russell paid $50. We owed $163.50 with interest. Russ was thirteen years old when we bought it.



April 21, 1963 Russell sat with me in church today. He took me to Loomis. I called on Minnie Atkins and Mrs. Kinne. {Editor's Note: Fred got to services at the Presbyterian Church almost every week, usually walking there from his home on Carrier Street. I taught Sunday School at this time and when I went to church afterward I usually sat with him unless I was singing--I use the term loosely since I can't carry a tune--in the Junior Choir. Russ rarely attended services. Marie only went on special occasions such as Christmas Candlelight Service. Leslie's family was brought up Catholic.]



May 8, 1963 On television Rev. Marshall L. Smith married Nelson A. Rockefeller and Margaretta Murphy. She was divorced only thirty-three days. The Presbyterian law requires one year before remarriage. [Editor's Note: This was a big scandal at the time. Rev. Smith was pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Liberty prior to being "stolen" by the Rockefellers to preach in their church.]



May 15, 1963 I planted acorn squash and corn and sunflower seed.



May 25, 1963 Leah Moffett called at 8:45 AM. We had a nice visit. Mr. Cogswell took off all storm windows on my house.



June 9, 1963 I got a letter from Alvin Gorton saying if you want to keep warm this fall and winter come and see me and I'm sure you will enjoy it. [Alvin Gorton (Dec. 13, 1878-Aug. 26, 1968) was in the army 1898 (volunteers) and regular army 1901-3. Went to Ft. Myers, Florida, 1911 and took up a 160 acre homestead in April 1913. He married three times: 1) Rachel Brundage 2) Mrs. Scholton (d. April 11, 1963 @ 80) and Mabel Blatchley Vanderworth, who was 82 when they married on May 5, 1964.]



June 22, 1963 I've been writing up the Presbyterian Church history. [Editor's Note: Another document I don't have a copy of.]



July 9, 1963 Russell took me to Monticello to call on sister Grace. I spent five hours there.



August 2, 1963 Russell and Marie took me to Stratford for Donald and Laurie's wedding.



November 23, 1963 I sat many hours listening on television concerning the President's tragic death.



February 21, 1964 Helen Infield called this afternoon. Fred Bengel died today, aged 88 years.



February 22, 1964 I wrote up the names of 75 church people of the Presbyterian Church of Liberty, New York.



April 19, 1964 Barbara Short took me to their home for supper. Also her Grandpa called at 12:45. Played scrabble and had a nice supper. Got home at 7:45 PM.



May 31, 1964 I went to see the remains of the Tannery. It fell down last week.



June 7, 1964 It was raining when Russell got me home, about 7 PM. Lightning sruck our television pole while we waited for the rain to stop. Cut a piece out above our clothesline pole. We were parked next to my garage. The ground wire in Avery's cellar was black and it smoked somewhat. (My son had a wrist watch with a metal band and he felt it like an electric shock. The car was about 12' from the pole.)



June 29, 1964 I cut grass next to Atkins's barn and could hardly walk back to the house.



December 20, 1964 Kathy's beau took her to supper.



January 29, 1965 The William Cogswells moved out of rooms upstairs this afternoon.



March 5, 1965 A colored lady wanted to rent my rooms. Jehovah Watchtower recommended her.



March 8, 1965 A real estate salesman came to see my home to sell.



May 9, 1965 Kathy came for me Sunday insead of Russell. I learned Skippy went to sleep after 18 years.



October 9, 1965 Russell moved to Walden. [Editor's Note: Still working for NYS E&G, he took a position as District Manager, which he held until he retired and moved to Florida.]



December 29, 1965 Russell takes Kathy back to college Sunday, January 2nd.



January 14, 1966 Russell spent about three hours with me while Dr. Grant had many patients in his office.



March 27, 1966 Sister Grace Farquhar died at 7PM. Lived one week after broken hip. 92.



April 23, 1966 Leslie and Catherine and Colum and Moira Kelly [Claire Gorton Kelly's two oldest children] took me home from Trumbull.



April 30, 1966 Frank Brace rent advance for May.



May 15, 1966 Man mowed Peter Avery lawn. $3.50.



May 25, 1966 I walked to Cooper's, had a taxi home. The longest walk in many months.



July 4, 1966 I phoned Russell, Marie and Kathy last evening in Walden.



July 14, 1966 Dr. Harry Ordin pulled my last wisdom tooth.



August 10, 1966 I stayed three nights in Walden.



September 9, 1966 Russell took me to his home. I stayed all night.



September 10, 1966 Leslie and Catherine took me to their home to live.



September 25, 1966 I got a letter from Catherine Hill. Catherine [Gorton} took me for a walk in the back lot.



Editor's Note: This is the last diary entry, but Fred continued to write letters and to record his memories, dreams, and opinions on paper.



Excerpts from letters to Kathy:



July 29, 1968 I am sending you the second half of my life story for you to type using carbon making two or three copies for me. "The Plodder" is the title.



July 31, 1968 I put the large envelope in the RFD mail box the 30th containing the last half of my life story stating "1st class." No stamps. Said, "Postman, please put on stamps for me." in a separate letter. He said perhaps they sent it on to you to collect postage from you. He rang our bell with the letter with the dollar all sealed.



August 1, 1968 This is a continuation of letter of July 31. A man called on Catherine with the dollar letter, saying the parcel was sent on without postage.



August 27, 1968 I have rewritten the entire of the story of my life and added twenty items. Who cares if we never get the lost parcel.



October 6, 1968 I took my usual walk next to the fence in our back yard, about 300' distant, with the two canes. At Fred and Anita's home celebrated my 90th birthday. Eighteen lighted candles on the cake. To make it interesting I had an envelope with a $10 bill and each great-grandchild threw dice. The ace counted seven and the other spots by number. Four had fourteen. Wayne threw eighteen, the winner. He was happy and said he never got so much money before in all his life. He is seven or eight years old. Fred and Anita came in last night, both dressed with new suits. Anita's suit fit her beautifully and she looked more like a girl of eighteen than a mother of twelve children.



November 13, 1968 I can scarcely walk even with two canes to balance me. I can feed myself but have trouble holding a fork or spoon. Maybe your sweetie would like to see a young couple's picture taken in 1942. He wouldn't recognize me now as I am 90 and don't improve with age. You may tell him still own my first house and will sell it to him for a song.



November 15, 1968 I expect a lady next week to come and type the other half of my life story. Seventy or more pages. My last item is four men electrocuted. Three of them I knew real well. The fourth one saw sparks from a live wire down in the road and to save others chopped it off with his ax. It was raining. He was electrocuted. He was a hero but didn't know it.



January 7, 1969 My dollar is worth less than 25. The world is gone cuckoo. I think, why complain? I won't be here in 1999 anyway. My last pay was $42 a week twenty-three years ago and I got $37.50 take home pay. A fifteen year old boy gets $2 and hour. I lived in the wrong time.



January 17, 1969 I sorted in three piles today the three copies of my life story. I have mailed to two companies an account of the story to see if they want a copy to pass judgement if it has any value worth printing. One title "Looking Back," or "The Plodder," but I didn't mention either. If some of the cousins were invited to your wedding, who knows, they might attend. Tell Sandy he made a good impression.



From the memoirs:



February 7, 1969 I am not a writer, but would like to have some noted writer use my life story, perhaps my past looking back from four years to ninety years.



From the letters to Kathy:



May 24, 1969 I have quite a time to write. It's just like drawing a picture, a slow process. I fell down in the back yard and hit my face in the sod, bent my glasses frame, got a cut on my nose, and the other side a shiner under my left eye which cleared up in a week. Tuesday I fell down in the house as I turned to answer the phone. Now I can hardly walk. A pain in my hip hurts when walking but don't hurt if I keep quiet. It took only ninety years to learn to keep quiet.



June 27, 1969 I will make 91 years if I live to September 17, 1969. The cataract in my left eye is slow growing. I can still see real good to read, thank God.



From the memoirs:



August 18, 1969 I dreamed I was living in my home in Liberty and started for work. I was late in starting, the street was flooded in front of my house, and it was hard to pick my way across the street, so I went cross lots. One place I went up a rise of ground 15' to a point I never saw before, then came to a very large field, newly plowed and level. I was worried I would be at least an hour late to work.



August 22, 1969 I had a dream on the couch. It seemed I was working for the electric company, using a large push broom. The floor was green and newly painted but try as I would I always found a place where I had skipped. At last I got desperate and swept it right out the back door. I awoke, but went right back to sleep again. This time I saw about six or more little boys dressed alike in red, playing.



November 18, 1969 I had a dream. A terrible looking stout man came in and stared at me. I thought he was after money, but he went away and didn't do me any harm. It looked like a bad omen to me. I went right back to sleep and had another dream. I was in a strange man's field and cutting poor hay with a sickle, yet I knew I could do more with a scythe. I was cutting with the sickle on my knees and put the hay in a long shed, about a ton of it. Then I cut weeds in narrow paths from 6' to 10' wide between bushes, but didn't gather them. I awoke but wasn't tired.



February 7, 1970 I dreamed that Ken Davis had eight airplanes or more which were small, about 10' long with red stripes across. He offered me a ride, but I never got it. He would take off and let me walk half a mile. Daisy was there, waiting for a ride, but he didn't take her either. He died age sixty years when she had been dead eleven years. I am here 91 years, 4 months old in good health, but I use a walker with Catherine to attend and balance me.



February 19, 1970 I began walking by myself.



From the letters to Kathy:



February 19, 1970 I don't ever expect to walk without a walker. Ten days before I fell I had trouble to walk and was due for a fall. I was in the hospital thirty-eight days, but Medicare will pay most of the hospital bills. My skin cancer next to my left eye disappeared entirely but the cataract on my left eye runs a lot. I can see with my right eye to read real well. I feel good but it is a problem to write a letter. I hope to sell my home before I go to the place of no return.



From the memoirs:



February 22, 1970 I dreamed I was gathering stove wood in a desolate woods. The lengths 5' and 6' on the wheelbarrow to take home. I don't know where I lived but it was near the woods. No one seemed to care if I took it either.



February 25, 1970 I had another dream at 10:30 AM. We were eating sandwiches and I took the walker and was walking with great speed. I didn't see why I should use the walker at all when I could hustle so fast. Russell was there with five or six others.



February 26, 1970 I had a dream in bed last night. A large pile of logs, brush and undergrowth, some of which I cut with my scythe. We had ten men and boys to help. It took about a week to do the job. It was a very large pile and it seemed to get larger instead of smaller as we worked. We put it in piles and set it on fire. One pile of logs, about twenty large logs, took all night to burn up. And before morning I had another dream. This time I was drawing manure from the barnyard with one horse and wagon. The manure was real fine, like dust, and easy to spread. This time I was living in Liberty. I always dream of working, or floods, or dogs chasing me. I always fall down but the dog never bites me.



From the letters to Kathy:



March 3, 1970 I haven't sold my home yet but expect to soon. I hope to see Russell with the deed for me to sign. I never expect to see the place again. I need a haircut. The barber will have to come here.



From the memoirs:



March 6, 1970 I dreamed I called on the Beseths to inquie if they were going to pay in advance the rent for March. Their faces didn't look familiar, like I saw them in Liberty. Right after midnight I dreamed again. I was sawing stakes for the electric company but made only one bunch of thirty stakes and couldn't find any wire to tie them together.



March 9, 1970 In bed at 7 AM I dreamed six young newly married couples, none over twenty years, met me at the pond which we scraped out of the black muck in the year 1896. This pond is now filled up and a six lane highway occupies this space. The pond was nearly 75' in diameter and 7' deep and Father bought a flat-bottom boat for us, but the pond was so small it was no fun to row on it.



March 11, 1970 I had a dream in bed. I had an acquaintance, Oath Rampe, who wanted to rent my upstairs apartment in Liberty. No price was mentioned. My wife Daisy was living. The same night I dreamed I went in the hog pen and the large white sow caught hold of my clothes and I prayed to God to save me from being eaten by the hog. I awoke unhurt. [Robert "Oath" Rampe d. Aug. 28, 1954 @ 66. His wife Sophia d. May 14, 1969 @ 81.]



From the letters to Kathy:



April 6, 1970 Your Pa and Ma came 10 AM on his birthday to visit us and talk over the sale of my house on 100 Carrier Street in Liberty. The closing date is April 7th. I signed the deed. I am glad to be rid of the last of my holdings. [The house was sold to Vern and Bev Beseth, who had been renting it.]



September 30, 1970 I am well. I just had an electric shave, my biggest chore of the week. I now hate to work at all. I have quite an effort to say some words. I also have trouble to read with my good eye. I hope I don't get blind. I got seventeen birthday cards and sixteen great-grandchildren sang "Happy Birthday" in the evening. It took more than an hour to write this letter so far. I can still feed myself and I use the t.v. five hours a day. Love, Grampa.



Fred Gorton died at Buckingham Gardens Convalescent Home in Newtown, Connecticut on November 26, 1973. He was ninety-five.

To go to Appendix I (David Hall's Diary)

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