OK you Grandkids, turn off those cartoons and listen up, this one is for you.
In recent years I have spent much time looking for our roots in old scrapbooks, photo albums and diaries. I want to learn more about what my grandparents were doing at the turn of the century when they were kids. No not last year, I am talking about 100 years ago, 1900, when they were young. Like you, I was not very interested in “old timey” stuff when I was a kid, and when my Grandparents were still around to ask. So pay attention am going to pass on these observations to you guys, so we will not repeat the same error this generation.
Growing up life for me centered around activity on the Ridge Rd., Town of Veteran, Chemung Co., NY. During those years the country was coming out of a major depression and WWII was declared, these major events flavored my early years.
The Ridge Road is special, not only to me, but to your Samson Parent and to your Aunt and Uncles. The reason is that immediately after your Grandmother and I married we left the area and lived in a lot of places all over the world. The one thing that never changed was that, wherever we were living, the Ridge Road was “home” for the entire family, and the place we always returned to visit whenever possible..
File this away, and someday you will read it and find it interesting.
Grandfather Walter R. Samson (1934)
America went into a great depression about 1932. World War II started in December of 1941 and ended in 1945. I was born in July 1934. That would make me born during the depression, seven when the war started and eleven when it ended. These events impacted my life.
The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday, 7 Dec 1941. In those days we heated and cooked on a wood burning stove in the kitchen in the Ridge Road house now occupied by my brother Stuart Samson. That afternoon I was helping my father in the woodhouse, off the kitchen. He was splitting fire wood and I was stacking. My mother in the house was listening to the radio and periodically opened the door and called out news updates. Finally my father put down the axe and said “That’s it. we are going to war.”
WAR ....About all I knew of Japan was that they made “cheap” toys, things like tin whistles and such. It gets dark early in December in New York State, and by chore time it was pitch dark out in the barn. My job was to go up in the haymow and throw down hay for the cows while milking was in progress. One of those indelible childhood memories was born that Pearl Harbor night. I had little idea where Japan was, I had never heard of Pearl Harbor and had absolutely no idea of its location, and every dark corner of that barn potentially held a “Jap” just waiting to ambush me. Being seven at the time, you could not let on that you were scared, but I was, and will never forget where I was and what I was doing on Pearl Harbor day in 1941.
Progress was improving the quality of life on the Ridge Road. The Depression was winding down; the road had been paved a few years before. We had electricity and running water. Small radios were affordable. You could see a movie in one of several theaters in Elmira. My father had constructed a bathroom in the farm house, but the old outhouse still stood out back, in case it was needed again. Still farm life was relatively simple in those days. Entertainment was largely a do-it-yourself endeavor. School was a mile walk away, down the hill to the Middle Road to the one room Veteran #9.
I remember going down to Millport with my father and mother, sitting in the back seat of the ‘38 Ford. I appreciated that there was serious stuff going on, but did not understand the details. Like most American males, my father was going in to register for the draft. When he came out, my mother asked, “You were too old, weren’t you?” He replied “yes” and the somber mood in the car became lighter. He would contribute to the War effort working on the home front, as a civilian.
American resolve was amazing. Almost overnight we shifted into a wartime life style and facilities to support the war effort sprung up across the land. Today I marvel at the logistics that provided the material, manpower and management in such a short time. Years later I served in many places where we still used those facilities constructed for the War. However, to this youngster with limited access to the outside world, the major visible impact in the area was when the Government decided to construct the “Holding Point” down at the foot of the Ridge Road, in an area bounded by the Ridge, Ithaca, Wygant and Watkins Roads, with Horseheads on the south.
Within weeks people who lived within those boundaries and had been perusing 1942 seed catalogs and planning their crops for next spring were moved off their land, their farms gone. The farm tractors and teams were replaced with bulldozers and earth movers that razed the homesteads and changed the landscape. Construction workers swarmed in from all over. After the earthwork came the new roads and tracks for the railroad marshalling yards. Large storehouses and supporting structures shot up.
Places for the workers to stay were a premium. My grandmother took in boarders into our modest farmhouse. One was a flag man at night and impressed me when he told me he used up eight sets of flashlight batteries every shift. He also impressed me when he went to sleep in our hammock with a lighted pipe in his hip pocket and left a nice round burn hole. I have an old picture of him asleep in that hammock with his hat pulled down and his little dog at his side. Every time I see that picture I pause, because in a micro way it illustrates what was happening across America. In eight months since that cold December afternoon when the bombs fell at Pearl Harbor, our serene farm life routine had changed to the extent that we had two strangers living in our house. Noteworthy to me at the time, but really nothing compared to what might have happened had I been just a few years older .......... Boot Camp?, Pilot Training?, Paratroops?, England?, The South Pacific?......who knows, what a difference just a few years made.
The other boarder operated a grader. Somehow he had obtained one of the last Buick cars off the assembly line before they shut down for production of war vehicles. He was proud of that car and when he moved from job to job he drove the grader and towed his Buick.
Ours was a fairly typical farmhouse housing my grandparents, my parents and one brother at the time, plus Great Uncle Harry MacDougall, brother of my Grandfather Charles (Charlie) Mac Dougall. I absolutely can not recall how we fit two boarders into that place. (I know it is a story for another time, but someday I need to tell you kids how in the winter I took a hot soapstone off the wood kitchen stove, wrapped it in what you call a “blankie”, and made my way upstairs to my bedroom where the temperature was the same as out doors, except for the wind factor. No “Winnie the Poo tuck-ins” back then. If it is a cold day and I really want to look busy then I will expand it tell how we thawed frozen chicken water fountains on the living room furnace grate and how Grandfather Charlie caught fire. Long story short he wore three pairs of pants in the winter and leaned back against the kitchen wood stove and ate an apple one evening. Having few front teeth he cut sections and scraped them into “apple sauce” with a table knife and ate them off the knife. He was leaning back onto the stove working on his apple when we first smelled the smoke. You get the picture.....)
The Holding Point was a collection and redistribution facility for war material. It provided jobs for many local people. Some of the least likely ladies* in the area donned fleece lined boots and went off to work on the cold floors of those new buildings located where corn grew the previous year. After the war National Homes moved in and provided employment for many workers who became available on the postwar employment market. I have often wondered about the decision process that led the Government to place the facility in that particular location. (* In my formative years before the War you could take a list of farm life tasks and easily categorize each into either a “Man Task” or a “Woman Task” with certainty. The War made drastic changes to the historical segregation of work by sex.)
Later in the War, prisoners-of-war were kept on the grounds of the Holding Point. There were both German and Italian prisoners. I never saw any Germans, but understood they were somewhat militant and were kept under close surveillance. The Italians lived in tents along the Wygant Road. There was a fence, but it would have been simple to escape. They raised vegetables in gardens and waved and seemed very friendly when you drove by.
There were the air raid drills. I think our telephone party line had about 20 families on it. (In those days people did not talk as much as today.) Our number was 6F21. Conklin’s was 6F12. You spun a crank that made the bell in all the houses ring. For instance if you rang “two longs and one short” (21) it was for us. One long and two shorts (12) would be Conklin’s. Anyway there were very few rings in the evening, and we soon learned that if it was the ring for the Benjamin farm, there was an air raid drill coming. Ernie Benjamin was the local Air Raid Warden. When there was a practice air raid, he would get a call, then proceed to drive up and down the Ridge Road, blowing his car horn. All lights were to be extinguished, or blackout curtains used. If he saw a light in your house, he sat out front and blew the horn until you doused it. As I recall we tried hanging blankets over the windows once, but after that just sat in the dark and listened to the radio, or went to bed.
Just north of the Jock place on the apex of the hill on the west side of the road was the Civilian Aircraft Spotter shack. It was about the size of a brooder coop and had a phone and a little stove that gave off fumes. Sometimes I would accompany my mother, but you had to stay quiet to listen for airplanes, and it was kind of boring for a kid. The place had a phone and binoculars. The volunteer would simply listen or watch for planes, and when one was sighted they would “call it in”. I remember once a high wind displaced the roof. Marshall Conklin was a strong young man, and my mother remarked that Marshall just set it back in place. I was impressed. One day I was there with her, and a big Army truck came groaning up the path with a Colonel passenger who was making an “inspection”. I didn’t know what a Colonel was, but I sensed he was important.
Party lines are a thing of the past and sharing your phone is akin to sharing your car. In the 40’s sharing was a way of life, and anything outside the parties on your line required you to talk to the “Operator” down in Horseheads, someone you probably knew by her first name. We used to go to the telephone office to pay the phone bills, and see the operators sitting on stools wearing headsets, working with lots of patch cords plugged into holes in the switchboard to make the connections. With all the parties sharing a line, sometimes the ladies would suspect that another lady on the line was “rubbering”, or listening in on their conversations.
I went three years to a one room school, Veteran District #9 located on the Middle Rd. just north of the Church Hill Rd.. Miss Tenny was the teacher for my first two years. She thought I was smart and skipped me from second grade to fourth. The third year our teacher was Miss Caroline Geotles who was on her first job and came from Syracuse, I believe. She boarded with Bud and Emily Wagner. She had no car and walked the mile plus each way. It must have been kind of a grim existence for a young lady, and she quit. My mother became the substitute teacher for rest of the year. She didn’t think I was as smart as Miss Tenny did, and she flunked me, so I ended up right where I started. Anyway, my point is that I never went to third grade, but went to fourth twice. Actually in the one room school, with just a handful of kids, it didn’t really matter.
Our one room school had a well with a hand pump, but the water was “bad”. There even was a story that once they pumped up a frog that came from the pond across the road. During the morning recess, two of us would take a bucket and walk down to Jake Fisher’s place (Later Vic Smith) and “fetch a pail of water”. The water went into a crock with blue stripes and a push button tap. There was a school lunch program where surplus food was distributed to rural schools. It came in cans, and we had a hotplate to heat it. One vivid memory is of the large no. 10 cans of kidney beans. Kidney beans have a distinctive odor, and to this day I get flashbacks when I smell the odor that wafts out when you open a can of kidney beans.
The schoolhouse was typical. The blackboard was across the end wall behind the teacher’s desk. Over the blackboard was the alphabet in Palmer script. On the wall was the traditional Gilbert Stewart picture of George Washington. The furnace in the back toasted the kids in the rear of the classroom, the ones in front were a lot cooler. There were two outside toilets, one for boys, one for girls. When you raised your hand you were serious, particularly in the winter. The school had a garage for the teacher’s car that we used for “Annie Annie Over” during recess. Then there was the time Wagner’s billy goat got loose and came to school. We took it back, but we also took a real strong billy goat smell home on our clothes. Winter was the best time. David Conklin was a year younger than I. We would meet on the Ridge Rd. at the top of the hill on the Church Hill Rd. where the Veteran Town Shed now stands and ride our sleds down the hill. On a good day, you could get most of the way down. Of course, after school the sleds had to be dragged back up the hill.
Every morning we recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Bet you younger folks didn’t know that on the word “flag” we extended our right arm out to the flag. We were at war and it was determined that extending your arm resembled the Nazi salute, and the procedure was changed to simply holding your right hand over your heart for the entire recital, as we still do.
Once a year a lady would visit and bring what looked like a portable record player you wound up with a crank. It had a number of head phones plugged into it. Kids put on a head set and followed the instructions. When you got done, your hearing had been checked.
There was also this big old fashioned slide projector. It got extremely hot and the dust burned off so you smelled the smoke while you looked at pictures of things around the world.
I digress. I brought up Miss Geotles because I remember her taking us out on an expedition through the neighboring woods looking for scrap for the war effort. Most families had a private “dump” off somewhere, and we scavenged several near the school, looking for material to collect for the war effort. We lugged old tires and scrap metal back and piled it along the road in front of the school house, and someone came along and collected it.
The year, 1944, marked a major change in our lives. The one room school closed and we rode a bus to Horseheads, to the old brick school on Grand Central Ave, the same one that my Grandmother MacDougall and my mother had attended. (My mother drove a horse and buggy six miles to Horseheads to attend high school every day. She would put the horse in a livery stable, then walk to the schoolhouse. When I was very young her horse “Nell” was still alive, old and blind, but that is for another story.) The start of school is introduced in that part of New York State by morning fog in the valleys, you stood waiting for the bus in your new school clothes looking down at the top of the cloud that filled the Catherine Valley.
We were plunged into existing classes of kids who had been together for several years. Ball games and established recess games foreign to us were an important part of their lives. Those six miles on the school bus coming down the Ridge Road to Horseheads Grade School transported us into a new world with a very different lifestyle. First of all, all the kids in the classroom were in the same grade. They were seated according to ability with the smartest at the rear of the right row, working down until all the slower learners were on the left. Kids in town rode bikes on smooth sidewalks. That would have been a treat for us. That old schoolhouse had a brick exterior and the inside was wood, mostly highly varnished and very attractive. Probably highly flammable too. Even in school you were aware the war was on as evidenced by the rule that you must tear each paper towel in half, and each student was allowed only a half towel upon leaving the rest room.
Kids did a lot of individual collecting for the war effort. In the winter we would put a box on a sled and go around to the neighbors collecting their scrap paper. Then, the next time someone went to Elmira, we would load up the trunk and back seat and take it to a collection point. We were patriotic, but they also paid us for the paper.
Our sleds were used for a lot more than collecting paper, they provided our major recreational diversion during the long winters. As you infer from the name “Ridge Road” there is no shortage of hills in that area. Long slopes, steep slopes, jumps. Mix these with soft snow, crusty snow frozen ice, and nature offered us a very diverse outdoor playland. The accepted procedure was to hold your sled up to your chest, run and “belly flop” onto the sled, and you were off down the hill. Just as blacksmiths have broad shoulders from their work, I now have protruding abdominal muscles which probably came from the youthful sledding.
WWII was a time of rationing. Gasoline and tires for your car were rationed. You needed coupons for sugar or butter, plus other common commodities. Living on a farm was a blessing, because so many rationed things were among the “bounty” from the farm. Agriculture enjoyed some priorities, and it was joked that if you owned a tractor, you would probably not have a gas problem for your car, even if the tractor would not run. I believe all cars got an “A” stamp for their windshield, then stamps indicating a larger gas entitlement depended on your contribution to the war effort.
My Grandfather MacDougall hauled milk from the Ridge Road to the Creamery in Big Flats and Horseheads for 40 years. I have pictures of him with his team and a wagon loaded with milk cans. Later he had a Model T truck and told me it had a “Ruxell rear end”. There was then a Brockway truck, but I grew up with the 1932 Chevy ton and a half truck. I loved that old thing. Then, just as the War was getting underway, he went up to Big Flats and bought a 1939 Chevy short wheel base truck that had been used as the “tractor” in a tractor-trailer rig. He took the long body off the old truck and mounted it on the “new” one. It was much longer than the frame and stuck way out back beyond the end of the frame. Then they took off the inner dual tires on the rear to prolong the life of the tires during the War. This means the rear track was several inches wider than the front. Functionally, it worked, but it looked like some sort of giant grasshopper or other insect going down the Ridge Road, hauling the milk cans collected at farms along the way. Cows were milked by hand or machine and the milk was carried to the milk house where it was poured into a strainer that emptied into a milk can. Evening milk cans were kept in a cooler of ice water overnight. A kid could climb around the loaded truck, feel the cans and tell when the milk was taken, Cold milk chilled overnight or milk still warm from the cow this morning. (And yes, when a cow was awaiting the milking machine and had “let down” her milk, we would try our skill at squirting a stream of milk into the waiting open mouth of one of the barn cats.)
I often went on the daily milk run. The cans were picked up at the farms and transported to the Dairyman’s League plant in Horseheads. I believe a standard milk can holds 40 quarts, so a full can must weigh upwards of 80 pounds. The truck pulled under a cover at the Dairymans League Creamery and the cans were unloaded onto a conveyer that took them inside. There was a small window that revealed a workman on the other side who knocked the lid p and off each with a rubber hammer and then leaned over and smelled the contents of the can. Then the can of milk disappeared and was emptied. Each can had letters and numbers identifying the source farmer. The truck pulled forward and the cans soon reappeared rattling down a conveyor, empty, and too hot to touch because they had received a steam wash after the milk was emptied.
Horseheads now has a business named “On A Roll” located on the corner of the old Ithaca Road. The GLF feed mill used to be out behind. The milk truck always parked in the same spot, by the GLF, on the way home. Usually Uncle Harry took the milk runs, and the ritual was that he parked the truck, bought a paper over at Messings, usually went to Hibbards for hardware for the farm or to pick up an item as a favor for a neighbor on the milk route, but I suspect most of all to hear the local news and complain about the weather. The walls were covered with drawers containing items that were identified, with one example of the items in the drawer attached to the outside. The drawers went to the ceiling and there was a ladder that rolled on tracks that let the clerks climb up and open drawers. They sold seed too. In the back of the store were damp pads (actually milk strainer pads) that had seeds sprinkled on them to demonstrate the germination rate.
Then back up the Ridge Rd. to return the empty milk cans and perhaps a few short exchanges with the farmers along the way. By now it was probably 10 AM. Up at 4 AM, milk the cows, eat breakfast, take the milk, and now start the farm work.
Rationing and wartime shortages gave cause to consider whether to revert back to practices our ancestors used to produce items, now rationed by the Government.
Butter was a rationed item and ours came up in cardboard tubs from the Dairyman’s League on the milk truck. We never seriously made our own butter during the War, but my Grandmother did revive the old practice once. She also made some “old-time” soap, something you do with the lard from butchering mixed with lye, etc. Certainly not a complexion soap. I do remember a boarder, the one with the grader, exclaiming how he enjoyed the salt pork my Grandmother served him, something that he had not had in years. I took a look and it seemed to be a hunk of lard right out of the pig’s belly, all covered with salt. (It was a tidbit that my current cardiac specialist certainly would not recommend, even if his faith allowed him to eat meat from the pig.)
There were some real snow storms every winter. The Ridge Road would drift solid. The old “Walter Snow Fyter” plows would usually get it open, but there were occasions when we had to wait for a rotary blower to be brought in from out of the area. This meant the milk did not go to the creamery, and there was “cream to burn”. That may have triggered the one butter making episode I recall. I am glad she did not continue with the practice, because I would have been a logical guy to work the churn, and I see nothing to like about a butter churn. The better alternative was to take the cream and whip it with sugar, then put dollops of rich whipped cream over everything.
Harvesting during the War years was a big time for the kids. Farmers pooled their resources to form a harvesting crew that moved from farm to farm. Teams and tractors hauled the product from the field to be processed. Combines were replacing threshing machines, and hauling shocks of grain from the field to the thresher was becoming a thing of the past. Silo filling continued. A corn binder cut and bundled corn stalks and tied a twine around them. Men on both sides of the wagon pitched bundles on, and the driver arranged them on the wagon, hauled them to the ensilage machine and unloaded them, one by one, into the hopper of the chopper which cut them up and blew them up into the silo where a couple of people worked with forks arranging the silage. Farming is labor intensive now, but in that era it was even more so. The farm ladies outdid themselves preparing gigantic noontime dinners. One thing I will never erase from my childhood memory is the jack knife swaps. All farmers carried a jack knife. During these “bees” they would approach each other and swap knives, sight unseen. I guess if you got a bad one, you tried again until a good one came along. There were subtle things. For example if the chap unloading corn from the wagon was partial to a brand of tractor unlike the one belted to chopper, he could quietly load the hopper until the poor old tractor would bog down and start to steam, then during dinner he could casually comment as to the apparent limited horsepower of the machine.
When we retired the 32 Chevy truck from the milk route, we used it for casual work, like collection of hay (e.g.. an evening small load pitched on by hand for the “young stock”). I was small but in “granny gear” out in an open field it would creep along and I drove it while Uncle Harry walked alongside and pitched on hay. It had very good brakes because it had a “vacuum booster” on the brakes. One day I managed to stall it, pointed down hill at the woods, and there went the brakes. We were indeed headed for the woods, “and gainin”, when I was able to redirect it back up the hill, and it came to a halt.
My Grandfather grew up with horses and he preferred horses over his tractor for most tasks. I spent untold hours on a hay wagon driving a sweating team while the wagon pulled a hay loader that brought hay up where my Uncle Harry collected it and distributed it on the wagon. Usually my Grandfather Charlie raked the hay into windrows, and I can still hear Uncle Harry complaining that when he raked it, he rolled it over so many times that it came up the hay loader “twisted like a rope”, and was almost impossible to untangle. It must have been a kid thing, but I never wore a shirt in the summer, and driving horses from the hay wagon, the hay would build up and scratch my back and the perspiration would collect all sorts of hayseed and dust.
Once you loaded your hay wagon full of hay, you drove it to the barn, then onto the barn floor. There was a track inside the peak of the barn running out over the hay lofts. That track supported the hay fork which you pulled down onto the wagon and jabbed its tines into the hay. Our system had four tines, others were of a “harpoon” design. The system used ropes and pulleys to lift the fork full of hay up to the barn roof, across to the haymow, and then you yanked the trip rope to dump it into the mow. There was a man in the mow to receive the load and distribute it across the hay mow.
The same trip rope was used to pull the fork back to the wagon for another load. But, to lift the load up, you needed something outside the barn to pull the rope. Early on, I remember sitting in Uncle Harry’s 1932 Chevy coupe with my mother. The rope to lift the hay was attached to the front bumper. For each forkful, she would start the car and back it across the Ridge Road, until she saw Uncle Harry in the barn, standing on the wagon, jerk the trip rope that dumped the hay into the mow, then back up to the barn, shut off the car and read a magazine and wait for the next load. Later I replaced her and a big horse replaced the car. For each forkful, I would lead him away from the barn pulling the rope. The only route for the rope was straight across the Ridge Road. Can you imagine a kid and a horse pulling a rope across that road, about a foot off the ground, today. It would be a short haying season.
Haying in the summer, threshing and silo filling in the fall. The first cold weather signaled butchering time. I still don’t like killing things, but it was an event that focused a kid’s attention. Days before we hooked the team to the “Model T Wagon”, so named because my father had constructed it from an old Model T Ford coupe, and went up on “the Hill” for stumps to burn for heating water for butchering. Now these stumps were interesting. The first settlers in Veteran were faced with a forest of White Pine trees and they needed space to grow crops.
Step one was to cut down trees to clear area where you wanted to plant crops.
Step two was to blast out the stumps and use your oxen to drag the stumps over to make fence rows.
These stumps weather amazingly well and many are still around today in our fencelines. They burn fiercely, and we used them to heat a barrel of water the morning of butchering day.
A pig was selected out of the pen and Uncle Harry shot it between the eyes with his 22 rifle. The bullet killed the pig instantly and the throat was cut to let the blood flow out. Incisions were made in the hog’s rear legs and a notched spreader stick placed between the leg bone and the heel tendon. Hooking the stick to a block and tackle allowed the hog to be pulled up, head down, and lowered into the vat of hot water. The hot water loosened the hair which was then scraped off. The hog was then gutted and hung in the barn to cool and age.
The final phase was to cut up the carcass and transfer it to he house cellar for final processing. The fat was cut into chunks, ground, and “tried” by heating on the wood burning stove up in the kitchen. The liquid fat was strained into lard containers and allowed to cool. We used that lard for cooking year-round. Folks were not so concerned about the “fat” content of their food in those days, and we sure enjoyed those pies made with lard based crusts.
Canning was not limited to meat.. The ladies of the house put fruit, vegetables or meat into glass jars with a lid and a rubber seal into the canner, which was a big vessel with racks to hold the jars and some water inside. Multiple clamps around the top held the top in place when you set it onto the wood stove in the kitchen. Live steam under pressure built up inside and was monitored by a pressure gauge on the top.. The heat cooked the contents of the canning jars and when they cooled a vacuum was created inside that pulled the jar lid down and sealed the contents. Canned foods were a mainstay of farm life and the contents would keep for a long time..
Advent of cold weather focused attention on the need for firewood to burn for heat in the furnace in the cellar and in the kitchen stove. We had plenty of woodland, and winter is a good time to gather firewood. However, you better have enough fire wood on hand to last through periods of deep snow that prohibit working in the woods. Typically we would make several trips to the woods with the “Model T” wagon and assemble a pile of polewood out back of the woodhouse. Then you get out the tractor which is a task in itself on a cold day. The tractor is belted to a buzz saw by the wood pile. Now a buzz saw is a scary piece of machinery. You have probably seen one, but when that three foot diameter blade is whirring inches from some part of your body, you better be on firm footing. One slip and ....... Three men make a good team. One carries polewood and lays it on a table on the buzz saw. The second rocks the table supporting the pole into the blade which lops off about a foot on the end, slides the pole out another foot and repeats. The third man faces the side of the blade and takes hold of the piece that is about to be cut off. After the cut is made, he twists in a smooth motion and tosses the piece through an opening into the wood house. In the woodhouse the wood is later sorted, split and stacked.
Limiting use of cars to essential travel gave a boost to saddle horses during this era. My grandfather loved horses and used them long past the time when his tractor would have been more practical. I had a saddle horse at an early age. Her name was “Kit”.
Rodeos and riding events became more popular. Marshall Conklin was good with horses. I remember a “Murry Turner”, from Sullivanville, I believe, that was an accomplished trick rider. At least I thought so. The horn on his saddle was a chrome ball, like a trailer hitch on a car. He could hold the horn in two hands and swing from side to side, hitting the ground with his feet and vaulting up over the horse’s back and hitting the ground again on the other side. I still remember sitting in the grandstand at the county fairground watching him do trick riding out on the track.
Speaking of the track, that was where the “Hell Drivers” performed every year during fairweek, and I loved to watch them. Suddenly we are at war and fuel and tires are rationed. No way can you waste them on helldriving performances. They were ingenious. I remember a performance they put on with the vehicles rigged to avoid the rationed items. On the back of the cars was lashed a device that burned something that gave off a gas that would run the motors. There were no tires on the cars, metal lugs were attached to give traction on the dirt track. I was too young to absorb the technical details, but still recall the looks of the modified cars.
Jimmy Dick Dann, son of the late Stanley Dan was very mechanically inclined and I used to have a keen interest in his activities. He often drove his Uncle Don’s old Ford pickup. I remember him coming down the Chapman road one evening with some young people aboard, stopping often and leaping out and picked something from among the weeds, tossed them in the back and sped off. Know what they were picking? Milkweed pods. The fluff was for kapok in life preservers for the war effort.
Gerald Dann owned the place to the north of us. Don Dann owned the Sleeper place, and Stanley Dann was south of Benjamin’s. Stanley died, and his wife Pheobe later married Lawrence Dann down on the Middle Road, after Lawrences’s wife Julia died.. One winter day, Don was up at Gerald’s place skidding logs with his Massy Harris. Near our pasture fence line he was bringing out a log with Gerald’s son Fritzie aboard the tractor. Coming down a slope the log rolled off to one side, and when the tow line jerked taunt again, it flipped the tractor and Don was killed. Gerald brought Fritzie down on his Allis Chalmers and went back to try to get the tractor off Don, but it was too late. Actually this must have been after the war years, say 1946, because I remember seeing Don’s wife Fran driving back down the Ridge Road, going home, and she was driving their Frazer. Frazers were not produced until immediately after the War. Don once said the engine in the Frazier and the Massy Harris were almost interchangeable Contintenal motors.
New farm machinery was virtually nonexistent, and used equipment was scarce during the war years. The Lucas family was the dominate farm machinery dealership in the area. Orlo Lucas could “giveth and taketh away”. Most farmers were on a waiting list for new tractors. My Grandfather was able to replace his old Massy Harris Wallis with a new Case SC. This caused a problem with Leo Stevens down the road, because Leo said he went on the list first. Leo worked in the city and really didn’t farm, so it appears Orlo Lucas gave preference to us.
The end of the War signaled the return of many things that had not been available for several years. By then I was in sixth grade in the school in Horseheads. Our school bus ran two routes. First it went to Tompkins Corners with kids living up that way. Then it came back to the school about an hour later and collected the Ridge and the Middle Road students. Conversely, in the morning the Tompkins Corners kids were picked up an hour early and had an hour to wait before school while the bus ran our route.
We were not allowed to leave the school grounds while we waited for the bus to return from its first run. Shipments of bubble gum and balloons started to arrive at a little store near the school. They didn’t last long, and for some reason they were the most coveted things in the universe for kids our age. I still remember some tense times when the word went out that the store had another shipment, and we did not have permission to leave the grounds to get any.
Radio was the principal source of contact with the outside world. Supper time was not a time of casual conversation in our house, like in Beaver Cleaver’s. Supper was timed to sit down when Lowell Thomas came on with the War news. After the news it was OK to speak. Jack Deal from Ithaca had a morning show of interest to rural people. WENY (1230kc) was the Elmira station. A second station WELM (1400kc) was born in Elmira one Sunday afternoon. We heard it sign on for the first time. Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny and others of the era provided entertainment during the long winter evenings. Eddie Arnold had his program for Purina Chow during the lunch hour.
.In the early evening, before the six o’clock news, there were programs for kids. The Lone Ranger, Jack Armstrong, etc. and I always listened to Tom Mix. On April 12th in 1945 I was listening to Tom Mix when they broke in to announce President Roosevelt had died . He died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage, aged sixty-three years, two and a half months. Thus he was elected President for four terms but served only twelve years, one month. My Grandmother MacDougall and Ernie Benjamin were the only Democrats around. She loved FDR, and was much distressed at his passing.
Newspapers were important to us. In the morning there was the “Advertiser” which came up from Horseheads on our milk truck, and the “Star Gazette” which my father picked up on his way home from his job in Elmira.
My grandmother MacDougall kept diaries. It is amazing how much socializing went on, albeit much of it under the guise of Grange, Home Bureau or other semi “professional” organization activities. The center of activity was the Grange Hall, Veteran #1108. The geographical confines of the social group ranged from the Tuma farm in the north down to about where the creek crosses the Ridge Road south of Jocks. It also included the Middle Road from the area around Bank’s (Lant) south, but participation from Middle Road folks was less. From Tuma’s north was pretty much “Odessa” territory. One reason was that the phone line ended just south of Tuma’s. Beyond the party line was long distance” and that had an impact on the social structure of the time.
I would be remiss not to mention the 4H Club and our County 4H Agent, Mr. Ernest Grant.
I was a member of the Veteran Peppy Peppers 4H club and every year raised several hundred chickens. Mr. Grant was a dedicated, dynamic person who made a very significant, albeit intangible, contribution to the youth of Chemung County.
PEOPLE OF THE RIDGE ROAD
I wonder how the Ridge Rd. got there. Probably a trail that was expanded and modified to accommodate pack animals and then teams drawing wheeled vehicles.
A favorite reference of mine is a 1869 map of Veteran. It has a dot for each household, annotated with the name of the occupant.
Fast forward a half century and you have the Ridge Road with the people and the activity I remember as a youth.
Add another half century plus, and we have what you see today.
Let’s focus on the middle era and test my recollection of our WWII era neighbors, starting on the north with the Tumas, and working south down the Ridge Road. Localities often have invisible “social spheres” Our sphere was largely shaped by the range of the party telephone lines and memberships in the Ridge Road Veteran Grange #1108, the Home Bureau and the Dairyman’s League..
I perceived the north boundary on the Ridge Rd. at the Tuma household, the intersection of the Ridge and Acker Rds.(northern intersection) Bill and Mina Tuma. They shared the place with Bill’s parents. The parents were not far removed from the old country. Bill’s father was a carpenter and built their house, I was told. My mother once told me that the first time Bill drove a car was when he went down to Montour to pick up a new Model A Ford farm truck his father had purchased. Peggy Tuma was about my age, Roger was younger. They went north to Odessa to school, we went south to Horseheads, another factor that defined the social sphere.
Coming south, on the west side, was a semi derelict empty house known as the “Latin Place”. Just before you reached it, there was an abandoned road on the west side going down to the Middle Road. It was overgrown, but I did ride my horse on it. The Kelsey/Eddie’s moved into the house, and it was up-graded significantly. The Latins were early settlers in Veteran and I think they are a twig of our family tree.
Across the road is the Latin Cemetery. It is now so overgrown that I can no longer find it. Fortunately, lists of the early settlers buried there do exit.
Continuing south, the Ridge Rd. crosses a small gully. Old maps indicate a District School #17 located nearby on the south side of the road
Coming on down was the “Bill Butler” place. Actually it was the old MacDougall homestead build by my Grandfather’s Grandfather, David MacDougall in 1842. This is where Great Grandfather Marion (yes he was a he, and his name was Marion) raised my grandfather Charles and all his siblings. I have some number of pictures of those people taken in the yard, the location is identifiable because the distinctive hillside across the road is the same today. My mother, Helen MacDougall, was born in that house in 1909. You may ask how it passed out of the family. Frankly, I do not know.
(The Mac Dougalls come from one early settler who came to the region in 1805. He is buried in the Parsons Cemetery and his stone clearly shows “REV. JOHN MC DOUGLE died Aug 12 1836. Aged 56 years, 9 months, 10 days. Various lines coming from John and his wife Sarah Ann Coe, adopted different spellings for their last name. Our line became “Mac Dougall” and I have found it convenient to apply that spelling to the entire clan.)
Next, on the east side of the Ridge Road, on the east corner of the Acker Rd.(South Fork) we find Amil and Lilly Ramstein. Amil was the maintenance man at the Horseheads Post Office and an avid gardener. He was constantly digging, planting and growing, The place was beautiful, but no one could have continued with his zeal. Up the Acker road at the top of the hill was a barn where he had a few sheep and an orchard. The sheep provided manure for his gardening, and the orchard provided apples for me when we hauled hay down from our property on “the hill”. (You kids know how you brake a wagon load of hay so it doesn’t “push” the horses head over heels down a steep hill, like the one by the Ramsteins. You use a “lock shoe” . Imagine a heavy steel device sort of shaped like a narrow dustpan. You attach a chain to the front of the wagon and the other end on the handle of the lockshoe.(the hole used to hang a dust pan.) The chain is just long enough to let the lockshoe go under one rear wheel, and then the wheel does not turn and just skids along and acts like a brake. At the foot of the hill you back the wagon and hang the lockshoe on a peg on the frame, but you better be careful the lockshoes got mighty hot sliding down the hill.)
Ramsteins had no kids and I know nothing of their background. Lily had a Boston accent and they did have a house full of little “peke” dogs that yapped like you wouldn’t believe when you went to their door. Amil used to come down to “fix” our kittens and always helped out at butchering time. One of those “kid impressions” you always remember is that when we butchered a veal or steer, he would take the brains home to cook. We never ate brains, and I could not imagine why anyone would want to.
I’ve said Amil Ramstein had beautiful gardens. The Ramsteins retired to Florida and have passed on, but my brother Stuart blames him for introducing multi-floral rose to his gardens, a plant which has spread throughout the local countryside. It is the sort of vine that makes hedge rows in Europe. Stuart spends a lot of time with his tractors and bushhogs thwarting the advance of the growth.
Moving south to what is today the “Osborn” place. Roy and Ola Chapel lived there when I was a kid. I think they operated it as a tenant place for the Dann family. The one thing I am sure of is that I used to walk up there and get great cookies. Big molasses with a raisin in the center Later, Gerald Dann farmed the place. He was married to Marion, and Phil and Fritzie were younger than I. Gerald’s brother Don Dann was killed skidding logs up in the woods on the east side of the road, near the MacDougall fence line, Gerald moved away and. Ed Osborn bought the place. Ed died last year, but I understand Ellen still lives there.
The next place south was the MacDougall place where I spent the war years. My brother Stuart lives there now, but during the War it was an active farm, Owned by my grandfather Charles and operated by him and my Great Uncle Harry. Harry was the “hired man” a kind and gentle soul who never married. My parents, Ted and Helen Samson lived there at the time. My father spent most of his working life as a machinist at Kennedy Valve in Elmira. My Grandmother Berniece was in all sorts of community activities. She and Ernie Benjamin were the only Democrats around, so she and my father differed on their politics. (Recently we visited the new FDR memorial in DC. It provided a lot of flashbacks to that era. The WPA, the CCC and social programs of the depression years.)
(Remember what they used to say about WPA work gangs----”One a comin, one a goin, one a sh t.in, one a mowin.”)
Move down to the corner of the Ridge Road and the Church Hill and Chapman roads. A church stood where the Veteran Town Sheds are today.
“The Veteran Ridge Free Communion Baptist Church was organized Nov, 19, 1836. . In 1837 the church was built and stood where the Veteran Town Sheds are now located and March 24, 1838 it was first occupied. The Church burned in 1922.”
On the northeast corner was a small house which at one time had been the parsonage for the church that stood across the corner. After the church burned in 1922. my grandfather purchased the property for $250. It stood empty for years. In 1944 my father fixed it up and we moved in, shortly before brother Stuart was born. The Parsonage, like the Church is gone now.
Turn off the Ridge Road and climb east up the Chapman (Church Hill) Road. At the top of the hill lived Herb Chapman and his wife, Grace. They were the parents of Ellen Osborn, her brother Bernie and sister Hazel. They were quite remote, and I have no idea how they survived. There were no utility lines going to their place. It must be about three quarters of a mile from the Ridge Road up the hill to their house. Their mailbox was down on the Ridge Road, and almost every day Grace Chapman would walk down (and back up) that steep hill for the mail. Early in the War period, Herb had a Model T Ford coupe. Later he had a Model A Ford coupe. My grandfather had an air compressor, and I can still picture Herb spending what seemed to be endless hours out by the barn patching the old tire tubes in that car. New rubber products were rationed or reserved for activity in direct support of the War effort, so in the end Mr. Chapman must have been more patches than tubes in those old tires. Herb must have also had a horse, because he had a sort of “sulky” cart made from an old cultivator with wheels that he sometimes drove down the hill.
Ok, I’m going to be a little “mean” and repeat a couple things one of Herb’s grandsons told me recently. He said his dad told him that when Herb brought his first car home he pulled it into the barn and shouted “Whoa”, and went right out the back wall. He also told me that the Model A Ford was their first car with a gear shift and Herb worked the pedals on the floor and Grace did the shifting. I have no reason to doubt any of this, but some of the Ridge Rd. folks have a different sense of humor.
I believe Herb was the son of Ransom Chapman, a Civil War Vet who lived to be a hundred and is buried in the Vary Cemetery on the Ridge Road.
The old Chapman place is gone now too. Only the foundation remains, another remnant of those who wrested a living out of the thin soil on those Veteran hill tops. A more positive memory is of the sledding on that hill which could be outstanding some winter days.
Back down to the Ridge Road. Turn south, and immediately on the east side of the road lived Leo and Katie Stevens. He worked in town, and they were not too active in community affairs. I remember two of their sons, “Teet” and Elwood. Elwood had a small store in Horseheads at one time. Leo was somewhat of a carpenter, and I think he built the house. I was told once that he saw the design in another house and he liked and copied it. When his house was completed, he realized the house he had copied was on the other side of the road, and all the windows which were arranged to admit light were on the wrong side of his new house. Fact or fiction?
Frank and Elizabeth Conklin were next down the road. Rachel, Rebecca and Marshall were older. David was one year younger than I, and probably my closest childhood companion. We used to sled in the winter. I remember when the fad was to build farm ponds. Ours never held water, but Conklins had one that did. David and I went swimming in it one unseasonably warm day in early May. In that era polio was common, and one cause was understood to be swimming. Only kids could have enjoyed a dip in that pond.
Next down the road was the Mosher place. Charlie and Ruth, with Blanch and Lois. Charlie later quit farming and became a dairy milk tester. My first bike was a girl’s bike from Lois with wooden rims and old fashioned tires that were cemented to the rim.
South and across the road lived the Van Duzers. Ed and Annabelle. One of the pioneer families in Veteran. Ed’s bachelor brother Gilbert lived with them. Ed and Annabelle were active in the Grange and other community affairs. Gilbert was more of a recluse at that time. About all I knew about Gilbert was that he did not drive and that he had been in the Navy in WWI. After I left the area, Annibelle died and Edward married a widow neighbor, Helene Hayes. Then Edward died and Gilbert married Helene. I have a clipping about their extended “seniors” honeymoon, with Helene doing all the driving.
Down the hill lived the George Turner family. After the War, they were the first to have a TV. We stopped one night for popcorn and TV. Reception was unbelievably bad by today’s standards, but we loved it. George’s brother, Bennie, was in the War, the Navy as I recall. He returned with a British “War Bride”. A nice lady, but something out of the ordinary for Ridge Road folks. One kid memory was her professed love of oranges, something she and her countrymen had been denied during the war years. That place was established by Rubin Tift, a settler prominent in archives describing early days in Veteran.
On down past “Dann Boulevard” to Don Dann’s. “Dann Boulevard” is an odd name for a dirt road. It’s vague in my memory, but the evolution of the name for that road had something to do with Stanley Dann being road commissioner and giving extraordinary attention to maintaining that road, which led to the back fields on the Dann place.
Anyway, the Don Dann place has long been known as the Sleeper place. My most vivid memory was the day the old house burned down. All the neighbors responded, but I was young and watched from the parked car, it burned to the ground. A couple impressions were formed when the fire reached a box of 22 shells and all the people scattered, and later of my mother chiding my father for working so long to save the cast iron bath tub when there were more important things to save. The fire must have been before the War because I remember being an older kid salvaging paper for the scrap drives out in the back room of the new house. Don Dann was married to Fran. Their daughter (Was it Marybeth). After Don was killed, Bernie Sleeper bought the place.
We have now worked our way down to the Grange Hall. Some notes of my mother, Helen Samson, indicate:
........ and it was decided to build a hall. Five sites were offered for consideration and, after much deliberation, the plot of ground offered by Julia Westlake, located on the Ridge Road was accepted and a lease for 99 years was signed.
A building was purchased from the County Farm. This was taken down and moved to the new site by the brothers and construction was started on the new hall. On April 24, 1914, the first meeting was held in the new hall - the second story of which was not completed. A large shed for the shelter of the horses was also constructed.
Many improvements were added, a deep well drilled, etc. Finally, the growing membership and social activities called for larger quarters, and a splendid addition was built during 1921. In 1923 the Grange paid its share of the rural electric in and the hall was equipped with electrical lights.”
I was a proud member of the Juvenile Grange. During the shortages of WWII, much of the local social life took place at the Grange hall. There was the annual fundraising Chicken Pie Supper, the Dairyman’s League Oyster Soup Supper, Home Bureau and Garden Club meetings, etc.. I have pictures of the 4th of July celebration about 1942 with games, horses, food, etc.
I remember where that “1921 addition” to the back started. We had Juvenile Grange meeting rooms back there and it was heated with unvented gas heaters. They always smelled like escaping gas. The “Juveniles” held their meeting downstairs while the adults met upstairs. Our meetings were relatively short and usually we joined the adults for their program conducted by the “Lecturer”. This was really a break in their meeting for a short period of entertainment. Bill Butler might play his violin, someone might sing or there would be games or contests. (Put eggs on your kitchen floor. Blindfold a friend. While doing that have another friend substitute small piles of cereal for the eggs. Tell your blindfolded friend the goal is to walk across the kitchen without stepping on an egg)
The time period after the entertainment, while the adults finished their meeting was mischief time for kids. Contests involving tossing oyster crackers into the kitchen exhaust fan or trying to make the transformer on the power pole outside spark when you hit it with a rock. SOP was when an adult would come down and demand quite because the noise was disturbing the Grange meeting. They probably should have sent someone down to investigate the quiet, when the older kids started “playing post office”.
A switch in the Grange Hall kitchen turned on an outside pump and after several minutes, water came out of a pipe from a mysterious source and ran into the sink. No faucets. Upstairs during Grange Meetings, women sat on the north side while the men lined the south. Stewards carried staffs and collected passwords and there was a touch of pageantry and secrecy. A print of “The Gleaners” hung on the north wall. Also the four prints of Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms”, something put there by my grandmother MacDougall, who was a fan of FDR and probably felt he was largely responsible for the freedoms. The Grange Hall played an important role on the Ridge Road in the War years.
South of the Grange Hall is the Benjamin farm. Ernie and Ollie Benjamin. Son Stanley. Ollie died and Earnie married Leah.
On south to the brow of the hill. Stanley and Pheobe Dann. I do not remember much about Stanley. He was sick for some time. I do remember sitting outside in the car several times while my mother and grandmother stopped in to pay their respect. The children were James, Joyce and Barbara. (Ever hear the wartime songs “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me”, or “There will be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover”. Joyce and Barbara sang them at one Grange meeting.)
Next to the south is the small Turner Cemetery, then the Ogden place. I think Benjamin Turner owned it before the Ogdens. Harold and Fran, kids were Betty Lou and Fred.
The next place to the south was the Saunders farm, across the road from the Vary Cemetery. Anson was the principal, and he later became involved in local politics. Son Jack went off to the War in the Army Air Corps. There was Robert, then James who was about a year older than I.
Down the big hill, passing the Turner tenant house, the Vary Cemetery and the old one room school (Veteran District #10), to the Turner homestead. Archie Turner, farmer and local politician. Active in the county fair. Raised all sorts of exotic chickens which they exhibited at fairs throughout the state, and probably took a lot of blue ribbons, unless there were more sources of exotic breeds of chickens than I imagine. Helen was married to Milt Roy. It appeared that Milt lived on his farm south of Horseheads on the Lake Road, and Helen stayed on their homestead to assist with the farming activities there. Later Robert was active in fair activities and politics and died suddenly at a relatively early age. George Archie and Sally were the other siblings, as I recall. Like the Van Duzers, the Turners were pioneers in Veteran. (Milt Roy had a farm and sold milk on the Lake Rd. south of Horseheads. I see it is now home for some fundamentalist church.)
Just down the hill on the east were the Wheelers. At one time they had a cider mill, and produced apples. She was Annie, He was Charlie Their son was Hugh. I think there was another, Reese. Reese may have been a WWI Vet. (Every fall we would get out the old cider barrel with wooden slats and soak it in water to swell the wood so it would not leak, then load it on the truck with apples we had collected and set off for the cider mill. There was a period during which the cider was evolving into vinegar when it was “hard cider”. It was years later before I understood the little inside jokes about checking on the cider barrel in the cellar.)
Down at the corner of the Roemmelt Rd. was a stone foundation. I believe my Uncle Harry told me that once it had been a creamery. It was not at the spot designated “creamery” on old maps. The Roemmelts joined the community about that time. The adjoining hill on the west side of the road was owned by Jim Shappee, well known in Horseheads, and was planted in evergreen trees. During Christmas season he would come up from Horseheads and sit in his old Model A truck all day to assure no Christmas tree poaching. As a kid I figured I would rather lose a couple trees than sit in that old truck in the cold all day.
Across the road was the Horton place. Irene was my age. She had an older brother who may have been named Don. Before the Hortons moved in, there was another family. They could have been named Bundy or Rundle, or perhaps it was the Bundys that lived down at the Jock or Berry places.
That was about the south border of the wartime community. Know where the creek crosses the Ridge Road, just south of the “Berry Stock Farm”? One summer afternoon we had a great thunderstorm up the Ridge Road. The creeks flooded. We drove down to see the creek where it crossed the road. The road was underwater from the base of the Berry barn to considerably south of the bridge. Shocks of grain were among the things flooding downstream. Today there are houses in what was the flooded area, and I recall that local flood of long ago every time we drive past them.
The “Community” had participants from the area who did not live on the Ridge Road. Emily Dalrymple Wagner was a long time friend of my mother’s and lived on the Millport road, off the Middle Road.. Jessie and Lena Banks were active in the community. They had sheep and a relatively small farm. I remember that I thought their daughter Ruth, who was several years older than I, was attractive. So did Fred Lant. Long story short, the old Banks place is now the “Lant” place and, with the many silos and giant farm machinery parked about, certainly does not look like the “Banks” place of the war years. Arthur Banks is the brother of Ruth, a “special” man who was a principal in all the harvesting bees I remember so well.
South of Banks were the Wagners (not Emily), then my one room school, Veteran #9, known as the Parsons School, located near the Parsons Cemetery. Further south on the Middle Road is the intersection of the Church Hill road and the place where Jake Fisher lived, later owned by Vic Smith. The original house where we filled the water bucket for the school burned down.
Further south, Roy Hilton had the place later occupied by the Pelows. The Hiltons took in “Welfare Kids” who became my friends in the one room Parsons School. They included David and Patricia Burdick, kids who could tell us a little about life in the city. South of the Hiltons were the Shopes. Loyd and Helen Shope came to the one room school. (Speaking of mischief, one Grange meeting night we put a block under the rear axle of the Hilton’s car. Roy revved the engine, the jacked up wheel spun, and they went nowhere. Mary Hilton was a rather large lady. She got out, saw the problem, turned about and bumped the car with her backside and rocked it off the block back onto the ground.)
Skip on down south to the place just north of the other Middle Rd. school, Bert and Emma Billings. Emma was a part of the distaff social scene. A relatively young man living with them was either the hired man or relation that drove a milk truck. He was killed in a traffic accident one night up Breeseport Erin way.
These golden years are a time to reflect. The power that
created me could have placed me in an infinite number of circumstances.
The fact that my youth was part of a wholesome microcosmic society that
bloomed, lived and faded suggests that I began life in good standing with
that Creator when I was born on a farm on the Ridge Road.
Label to top photo: Back Row
Robert Roemmelt Maynard Shope ? Gregory Marion Personeus
Loyde Shope Lois Mae Mosher ? Gregory Julia Personius Helen
Samson, Matron Sarah Turner Delos Dann
Helen Shope Barbara Dann Donald Horton Marshall Conklin Bog
Saunders Joyce Dann Walter Samson