Fredonia New York
Wednesday, May 13, 1925
Adversities of Life
I will now go back to my school days at Laona and name some of the attendants at the “old red school house” some of whom may yet be living. First, I will mention the Boynton boys, consisting of Fred, Joseph, Philander and Albert. Fred was a musician and played the clarinet. Many years afterward he became a leader of a military band in the Civil War. The last I heard from him he lived in Meadville, Pennsylvania, and probably died there. Joe and “Fanny” (nickname of Philander) became railroad workers and held positions on New York routes. I received letters from the latter about ten years ago from Allegheny, Pa. What became of the rest of the Boynton’s I don’t know, but they probably all passed to the “Great Beyond.”
The Ramsdell brothers, Floyd and David, were also my playmates. Their uncle David was a shoemaker at Laona. Theron Winship was another boyhood friend. He became, I believe, an officer in the Federal Army during the Civil War, but I never heard from him personally after he had grown to manhood. Julius Miller, Pulaski and Watkins Bull, the Foster boys, Albert and Olive Smith, Frances Graham, who afterwards married a Fredonia postmaster. Antoinette Baldwin (who married a Laona man named Emery), John Richardson, Dorinda Clough (who married her school teacher, James Thompson, and died in California about 15 years ago), the Mixter sisters and many others too numerous to mention.
I came across John Foster in Zanesville, Wisconsin, many years ago, who was an amateur reporter on the “free Press” while I was in that city in the 50’s. I forgot to mention Miss Avis Sage, daughter of Linus Sage, who afterwards became Mrs. Reed of Fredonia. I have mentioned some others in former letters to the Censor, but I cannot recall the names of all of them now. The last school teachers at the Laona school that I remember were Mr. and Mrs. Holt. I think the late Judge Holt, of Dunkirk, was our former schoolmaster, but am not certain.
I recall the fact that Major Gorham, who owned the Laona Woolen Mills for many years, was prominent in military affairs in those days. He was an officer in Fredonia during general and company trainings, in which, as a boy, I was much interested. The Risleys, especially George, was a worker on the Griswold farm for years. I recall the name of Porter Sheldon, who was also a co-worker with Mr. Risley on the farm, and afterwards became a lawyer and a legislator at Albany I think. Jeremiah Carter was a noted clairvoyant at Laona and a spirit medium. His son Dexter, and daughter Helen attended school with me for many years. I met Helen at a Jamestown academy about 1859 when I visited Chautauqua county before the Civil War. She was a student there at that time.
I write these facts with the hope of getting in communication with the few who may yet be living, who knew me in boyhood.
Colorado Springs, Colorado