Life in Emmitsburg in the mid 1800's
A Girl's Happy
Summers in "that saintly old village"
[Originally published in April 24th, 1908 in
the Emmitsburg Chronicle]
deeply interested in the “Chronicles of Emmitsburg,”
having spent me very happy summers in that saintly old
village. While it has been long time since, I still find
some similar names in your interesting paper. The
circumstances connected with Marshall Hyder, “Bud’s”
broken nose, is indelibly stamped upon my memory, as I
happened to be a guest at is home at the time. His
parents did not “swallow the story that he had fallen
from a fence.” If he proposed it, it was but a fleeting
thought, for you, who know him best, must know that
truthfulness was one of Marshall’s chief charms that
characterized his entire life, and it is a tribute to
his memory that suggests these lines.
I need not eulogize his praise has been heralded from
East to West. Only yesterday, I heard him spoken of as
one of “God’s noble men and a born gentleman.”
particular Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Hyder were away and he
were in charge of Mr. James Gelwicks, who usually stayed
at the great house when the older members were away,
that the girls might feel more secure having a man
around good. When Marshall came home with his
bloody, swollen nose, he thought not so much of his
suffering, as he did of his father’s silent rebuke. I do
not know if we called in Dr. James Eichelberger, but do
know, we kept the boy awake nearly all night to keep the
blood from running down his throat, and that his sisters
and I were frightened nearly out of our wits.
I talked with Marshall a short time before his last
illness, when he referred to the incident in his usual
pleasing way, he said the blow had always affected his
breathing and had been the cause of an operation. He
loved the reminiscences of his old home and friends.
Speaking of baseball, I think the girls in those days
were just as enthusiastic as the boys; a prospective
match game was an event, particularly on a Saturday
afternoon when we would don our best frocks, sit in the
scorching hot sun back of the upper hotel for two hours
or more, just to see our favorites run, if nothing more.
To a city girl who had seen little or nothing of country
life and had a very crude conception of the customs and
people the Saturday night beaux; the old stage coach
with its one arm driver (Mr. Six); the old street pump;
the handsome, gallant young men were all a pleasing,
lasting revelation. Really I believed them to be
something like 'Aunt Polly Bassett’s singing school.'
In the good old times the girls were much more helpful
and domestic than now-a-days; we were not out hatless
all day, nor were we seen at all hours dressed in our
Sunday gowns; and really I believe the boys liked us
best because we were conspicuous by our absence until
evening, when we had mined our recreation.
There is one thrilling, as well as humorous circumstance
my family enjoy hearing. It was the eve of Mr. Clem
Guthrie’s departure for the West. He and Marshall had
gone to visit Mr. Paul Motter who was very ill; we were
to wait up and say goodbye. Ten or eleven o’clock
struck, when we were called to bed an unusual hour but’
still we lingered. The bell rang; Zourie and I rushed to
the door. I cannot describe the scene, but there lingers
in my memory the spectacle of a great monster coming
bustling in and I hear a frenzied voice calling to me to
“run,” which I did, with alacrity.
flew to Mr. Hyder’s room, we gave him time to dress
believing the thing, he or she or it, was at our heels.
He grabbed a boot, my friend a hairbrush, while I hid
behind a chair there were no firearms. The dog ran down
stairs upsetting a pitcher of water, the greatest
pandemonium reigned, when in walked Marshall and his
mother smiling calmly, asking what was the matter? In
all the confusion, we had failed to miss Mrs. Hyder,
she, in a huge Buffalo robe was the monster. Finding no
amount of persuasion could get us to bed, she was
obliged to conjure some forcible means that would. We
went. I am now an invalid a “shut in” for five years and
may never see the old own again, but there will always
remain a warm spot in my heart for Emmitsburg.
G. C. D.
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