life and Times of
John & Helen Fuss
3: Helen's Early Years
Chapter 4: The Marriage
After knowing each other for
their entire lives and dating for 10 years, John and
Helen set the wedding date for March 1, 1929.
By early 1929, there were
three Fuss bachelors, but this soon was to change. In
those days, some weddings were attended by many
members of the family and friends, but it was not at
all uncommon for just the bride and groom to go to a
pastor's home to be wedded.
On February 15, 1929, Clarence
married Helen Albaugh. Helen and John had been
planning to get married during the latter part of
February. However, with this February 15 marriage,
Helen said she wanted to wait until the next month. So
she and John set their date for March 1. On March 15,
Elmer married Ethel Reaver. All three of these
weddings were unattended, except for the pastor and a
witness as was required.
With Helen and John about to
start their new life together, they would need an
automobile. So John had ordered a new Ford Model A
two-door car. It was supposed to have arrived before
March 1. It did not come, so John was becoming upset.
After the long wait, it was to be available at
Crouse's Garage on the morning of March 1. Elmer and
John drove to Taneytown for John to pick up his
automobile. It was not yet ready, so Elmer sent John
on home so he could dress and prepare to go pick up
his bride. However, Elmer did not come for about two
hours. In the meantime, John was pacing the floor
wondering what was occurring. At the Ohler homestead,
Helen was wondering if "she had been left at the
Finally, Elmer arrived. When
talked about many years later as to whether he
purposely had delayed getting the car to John on time,
he would say "no", but at the same time
would chuckle in his unique way.
As soon as the car was
available, John hurried up to the Ohler home. At this
point, Helen was quite agitated. John said afterwards
that he didn't know if Helen was going to take him or
not. In addition, Helen's older sister Emma was quite
cool that day. She did not give Helen anything but a
curt good-bye. Helen always said that this was because
Emma, who was fourteen years older, would now have to
stay home and take care of her parents in their old
age, instead of continuing her nursing career. She
also said that "one Fuss in the family is
enough", as Rosanna Ohler already was married to
On March 1, 1929, John and
Helen drove to Thurmont to the Methodist Parsonage
where their Toms Creek pastor resided. The marriage
ceremony was performed by the Reverend Charles S.
Harrison. This occurred soon after noontime. The only
witness was Mrs. Harrison. This pastor had some sort
of reputation of wanting to kiss women, especially
young women. John had told him in advance that he
would let him perform the marriage ceremony and pay
him to do it, but he was not permitted to kiss the
Helen had packed a lunch for
that day. They did stop in the area around Catoctin
Furnace to eat it. Then they drove on to Frederick
where a photographer took a traditional-type wedding
photograph with the husband seated and the wife
standing behind. Then the same day, they motored on to
Winchester, Virginia where they stayed at a hotel. The
next two days, they motored through Virginia. The
stops included Staunton and Richmond. On March 4, they
were back in Washington, DC. They observed the
inauguration of Herbert Hoover as President of the
United States. It was a rainy day and not many people
had turned out for the inaugural parade, so they were
able to have choice seats along the parade route to
observe the happening.
Chapter 5: Farming at Fuss
After returning from the short
honeymoon, they resided a few weeks at the Ohler home.
In the meantime, preparations were made for the move
of John's Mother and sister to the house that they had
purchased on East Main Street in Emmitsburg. Near the
end of the month, the newly married couple moved to
the Fuss farm to begin their farm life together.
As indicated previously, the
three Fuss brothers had all been married within a
month. Clarence had purchased a farm near New Oxford,
Pennsylvania. Elmer had purchased the former Allison
farm on the Emmitsburg - Taneytown Road. John thought
he was to be able to acquire the former Fuss farm.
However, he started out farming the home farm on a
half share basis.
John continued operations much
as they had been before. He had several milk cows and
flocks of chickens to supply eggs and milk to sell.
The milk was not sold as such, but was saved for the
cream. It was sold to a processor in Emmitsburg for
making ice cream or butter. The remainder of the milk
was fed to the hogs. Most of the income came from the
sale of hogs and especially the large number of steers
that were fattened.
Warren Devilbiss was a full
time hired man during much of this period. In
addition, John's nephew, Roland Long, was a young boy
and spent a considerable amount of time with them,
helping with the chores. Helen had a relatively easy
life prior to her marriage. She had been born on a
farm, but her father had moved from the farm into
semi-retirement when she was only 6 years old.
So she was not accustomed to
being a hard working farmer's wife. She also had told
John that she would not milk any cows. She did
actively take part in the farming operations. My
father of ten told me that she rode the steel wheeled
binder for cutting grain in June when she was six
months pregnant. He said afterwards, that he just
wondered why something bad didn't happen from that,
meaning a miscarriage.
Helen did begin the practice
of canning large amounts of vegetables and fruits
during the summer for the family to use during the
rest of the year. Also, she processed the pork and
beef from butcherings in the winter to be used
throughout the year.
On September 26, 1930, John
Jr. was born in the early evening. It was a very hot
day and the birth was attended by Dr. W. R. Cadle, who
had just recently established a practice in
Emmitsburg. The birth required assistance from John.
John was very protective of
his wife at this time. He was dismayed by the
appearance of his young son, but Dr. Cadle assured him
that everything would be satisfactory in a few days.
It was such a hot evening, that John had to sleep out
on the porch that night. Maybe part of it was due to
the worry and anxiety and not just the heat.
John and Helen continued to
farm the Fuss farm for three years. He had continually
wanted to purchase the farm from his Mother, so that
he would have the place for his own. However, his
Mother would not sell. So on March 1st, 1930, John purchased a small farm
from Bishop located on the same Emmitsburg-Taneytown
Road, at its juncture with the Harney Road. The amount
paid was $2,000.00.
In the meantime, the Great
Depression had settled over the country. Prices were
low. Banks were closing. John had to raise some money
to pay an assessment on the stock of the Central Trust
Company which he had purchased on the advice of his
father-in-law. John had advertised to sell his
livestock and machinery from the large farm before
moving to the Bishop place.
The sale was held on March 4,
1932. However, it was a stormy, snowy day and not many
attended the sale. Prices were low because of the
small participation and the depressed prices. The sale
proceeds were not nearly what John had expected.
Read Chapter 6: Life in
Emmitsburg during the Depression
other chapters in the life and times of John and Helen Fuss
Do you know of an individual who helped shape Emmitsburg?
If so, send their story to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org