Continued from 10/27/22
Later Days—Women’s Work
By FERN McCOSKEY STEWART
Perhaps the most exciting day in Canton’s history was during the Civil War on July 10th, 1863, when General John Morgan and his raiders passed through Washington county. The raiders entered Salem at nine o’clock in the morning and left at three o’clock in the afternoon, going east through Canton and New Philadelphia. The people were badly frightened but suffered no serious loss, except for captured horses. The “Rebels” stopped at the home of Alexander McCoskey and demanded food. Mrs. McCoskey had just baked a batch of berry pies and she served them pie and cold milk, which they seemed to appreciate. One of the Morgan’s horses, which was hitched near a young maple tree in the front yard began gnawing the bark from the tree. This tree is still standing in R. B. McCoskey’s front yard. They also took “old Charlie,” the family’s old horse, who later wandered home. John S. Harned Sr., who operated the store at the time, was sitting on the platform adjoining the store and had located the store. One of the raiders came dashing up and said, “Well, Old Peg-leg, hand over that key and be quick about it.” After same parley Mr. Harned handed over the key and they just about cleaned out the store. James L. Thompson, his two sons, Levi and Hiram, and his son-in-law, Acquilla Timberlake, were sitting on their horses under a large tree now standing on Jesse Dennany’s farm when a company of the raider’s appeared and demanded their horses. They all dismounted except Hirman, who resented being ordered around by a rebel and in plain words told them he was not going to give up his horse, whereupon one of the men struck him over the head with the butt of his rifle, knocking him to the ground unconscious. They took his horse, however. General Hobson’s Union forces put in an appearance the following day in pursuit of Morgan.
April 10, 1865, was great day of rejoicing for word came that the Civil War was ended and the Union preserved. Another great day, which is clear in the minds of our present generation, was November 11, 1918, when Armistice was signed, which ended the World War. We can still hear the sound of bells and whistles and see the cars loaded with young people taking a holiday from school and rejoicing that the war was over. Lawrence Mitchell and Warder Morris, were born in Canton, were among those who served overseas and came home after armistice. Herbert Wilson and Glen Thompson were in the Navy and Vilmer Tatlock served as a Y.M.C. secretary during the war. Other soldiers who spent a part of their lives here were Charley Lyles, Harold Lyles, Lawrence Lyles, Robert Packwood, Kelso Henderson and Durward Louden. Farrell Bosley, James Powell, Durward Olider, who are now residents of Canton, were in the service of their country.
Life in the early days was not without some fun and frolic, for according to the old people it was much happier than now. Canton enjoyed the usual pleasures of that age, husking bees, quilting parties, spelling bees, great school exhibitions, singing schools and musical parties which began with kissing games and ended with the old square dance.
In the summer “Spice Valley” located on the farm now owned by Ernest Puriee, was the scene of many happy social affairs. Here the Sunday schools held their picnics and church conventions and the grove resounded to the sound of fife and drum for political rallies. Here on this ground were formed many of the lifelong religious and political opinions of scores of people long passed to the Great Beyond.
On Sunday the children and young people enjoyed going to “Spice Valley” where big old fashioned rope swings provided amusement for them and where no doubt many romances flourished among our ancestors. Another grove south of Canton, then owned by Charles Albertson and now owned by Mrs. Emma Mitchell was used for celebrations by different organizations.
When winter came the young people as well as older ones held coasting parties on Harned’s hill, which is still owned by Sanford Harned. This pleasure was continued throughout the years. Many of us remember also the pond on the Dennany farm now owned by Joseph Schmitt, where great fun was had by skating parties.
During the school term literary societies were very popular and people from other towns and communities attended and took part in the literary work. Soul striving debates by learned men on current questions aroused great interest. Young ladies tried to excel each other in recitations and dialogues and the programs were varied with old time “fiddlin.”
Fifty or seventy-five years ago Peterson’s Magazine was perhaps the ladies favorite fashion and story paper, several copies of which are now in possession of the writer. The stories and poems were romantic but clean and interesting, and many people would yet prefer them to the fiction of today’s best magazines.
Fashions were very elaborate and costly. For a simple dress for a small lady eight or twelve yards of double-width material with ten or twelve yards of ribbon and two or three dozen buttons were required. Silk, velvet and cashmere were suitable materials for best dresses and silk valued at $1 per yard and up. Aunt Sue Trueblood made Quaker bonnets of brown, black and gray silk for $25 each. A milliner shop was conducted by Mrs. Ben Harned at an early date, much of the work being hats remade and trimmed season after season. Fortunately the styles lasted longer than now.
Dress patterns were very intricate and made from charts, and dressmaking was a fine art and several Canton women were good seamstresses. Mrs. Thursa Albertson and Mrs. Drusy Curry, were early dressmakers and later Mesdames Anna Trueblood, Anna Wilson, Martha Limin, Lizzie McCoskey and Vada Harned.
These women also were good at fancy work and fine quilting. Miss Mary McCoskey did expert quilting and her work took many prizes at county fairs.
Mesdames Rhetta Thompson, Anna Wilson and Amanda Tatlock were good spinners. Mesdames Anna Wilson, Amanda Tatlock, Henrietta Anderson and Anne Tatlock owned looms and wove carpets and rugs. For the past forty years Mrs. Stella Tatlock has done sewing, quilting and weaving for many satisfied customers.
The only general store now is managed by Mrs. Nettie Winslow. A filling station and confectionery is managed by William Anderson and son, Everett, and wife. Havilla McCoskey and son, Clarence, ran a Ford garage for a few years and Ermal Elliott ran a garage for a few years with Max Trueblood as an attendant. Mrs. Ella Fultz owns a building on State Road 56, which is sometimes rented as a garage. Sam Gilliland followed the trade of paper hanger and painter until his death in 1936. R. B. McCoskey still follows the trade of painting and Verie Trueblood and Farrell Bosley are carpenters. Carl Stewart is manager of the Stewart Realty company, with offices at Salem. Charles Tarr delivers ice and does general trucking. Mrs. Havilla McCoskey has the honor of being a professional paper hanger. She also does weaving.
John Martin and Jack Allen grow fine strawberries and do truck farming. They, together with several other farmers, grow tobacco.
The Stout-Tucker Fruit farm, just north of Canto, is managed by Max Fultz. This provides several persons with employment during the spring and fall.
The social activities of the village center about the organizations of the Methodist and Christian churches and the Home Economics club.
Daily papers, magazines, radios and automobiles keep Canton in touch with the world and its citizens are the average contended, peaceful people of the United States.