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The life and Times of
John & Helen Fuss

John Fuss Jr.

Chapter 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 altar".

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 Charles Fuss.

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 bride.

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 Farm

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

Read other chapters in the life and times of John and Helen Fuss

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