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Happenings from the Heisey

We have a new roster of board directors and new officers. Joby Topper rejoins the board and Marchal Rote is a new board member. The new officers are President Bonnie Hannis, Vice President Jim Berkebile, Second Vice President Pete Smeltz, Secretary Marchal Rote, Corresponding Secretary Maribeth Long, Treasurer John Gradel and Assistant Treasurer Ronna Thompson.

CCHS turns 100 this year! Although there is one small reference of a historical society in the 1870s, CCHS was legally incorporated on Oct. 18, 1921. The Charter states: “The purposes for which it is organized are literary, scientific, and historical, for the collection and maintenance of a library, a museum and especially for the collection and preservation of relics and records connected with the history of Clinton County and its vicinity.”

There were 94 members, including several Fursts, Dunns, Peales, Fredericks, Shoemakers and Cooks. The first trustees, Saylor McGhee, Charles Dunn, Philip Kift, Laura Fredericks and Henry Shoemaker were elected on March 31, 1922. We’ll be celebrating throughout the year!

We’ve been fielding quite a few research inquiries: information on old photos, an old bottle from the Lock Haven bottling Works which was found in North Carolina, death, birth and marriage certificates of 19th century family members, women and minorities engaged in the lumber industry, the mythical “Thunderbird,” and the Lock Haven Negro Choir. Our researchers, Joyce Adgate and Kathy Arndt use a variety of resources to answer these requests.

From the Collection

By Kathy Arndt

In September, Bill Attick donated the diaries of his great uncle William Esenwine to the historical society. The diaries covered most years from 1927 through 1961. Will Esenwine, who lived in Salona with his wife Eva, served his community over the years as president of the Mill Hall Bank for 33 years, as president of the Salona Water Co. for 20 years, and as secretary-treasurer of the Cedar Hill Cemetery Association.

His diaries included daily weather reports; his weekday visits to the bank, the post office and William Packer’s store; and his weekly visits to the Elks Club in Lock Haven. As he grew older, the weekly visits for him and his wife expanded to physicians, eye doctors, chiropractors and drug stores. He noted both world events such as the Senate and House votes to declare war on Japan, Italy and Germany and local events including the occurrence of local floods, barn and store burnings, and auto and train accidents.

He wrote of the visits from his friends as well as the marriages and child births among those same friends. The deaths of those friends as well as both national figures (Carol Lombard, Father Flanagan, and Al Smith) and local personalities (Sedgwick Kistler, Annie Snyder, and Mary Fox) were listed in the yearly diaries. He wrote not of the arrival of the robins in spring but of the wrens that usually arrived in late April.

For several days in October, he wrote the scores of the World Series games that he listened to on the radio. In 1928, he went to New York City to attend the Series’ games between the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals and in 1958 Will watched his first World Series between the Yankees and the Milwaukee Braves on television at the home of his neighbors, Robert and Helen Reish, whose son Johnny spent many hours at the home of the Esenwines.

After Will died on Oct. 4, 1960, Eva took over writing her husband’s diary for another year. She often noted her loneliness as well as the kindness of her friends and neighbors.

The Esenwine diaries captured the routine of small town life in America, the events of the world outside that small town, the importance of friends, and the speed with which lives can change.

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