Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
St. Francis Annual Picnic
Overton Township, Bradford County PA
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Tri-County Genealogy & History Sites Home Page
How to Use This Site
Warning & Disclaimer
Overton Township Page
No Unauthorized Commercial Use
Say Hello to Joyce 
Article Submitted by (Name Missing from Document 
- if this is yours, please let me know)
Joyce's Search Tip - January 2008
Do You Know that you can search just the 250 pages of Church Records and Histories on the site by using the Churches button in the Partitioned search engine at the bottom of the Current What's New Page? .

St. Francis of Xavier

Annual Picnic

St. Francis of Xavier’s annual picnic was first a fund-raiser for the church, but it was also a major social event if not the major one in the Overton area. It was the only permanent location with permanent buildings. A grove in Overton, donated for use by the Bahl family, was cleared and five buildings were erected from the trees removed. Construction was in a U shape with the dining room on one upper edge followed by a long narrow structure that held a refreshment stand along with areas to sell raffle tickets and goods, later when electricity was installed ice cream was added. The dance hall was at the bottom. Starting up the other leg was a small structure housing two games. The bingo stand anchored the upper edge. Area in the middle had some benches and a Big Six wheel. The picnic, to my knowledge, is the only use of the grounds.

The picnic's were held using mainly all donated goods, very little was store bought. Each family was given a long list of goods to provide.

Included were:

5 Chickens - cooked w/broth

Potato Salad or peeled potatoes for mashed potatoes

Dish of Baked Beans

Baking Powder Biscuits


Any produce from garden

Canned Goods - (Apple Sauce, Pickles, Pickled beets)

Jelly - Jam's, Butter, Sugar

4 Pies (same as now)

Milk - originally from all farmers - but that was not trusted - then from the Bahl family, who donated a can of milk for many years. It took at least two days of cooking to get ready for the picnic. All they had to cook on were wood stoves. The chickens had to be killed, plucked, cleaned and cooked along with all the baked goods. Canned (by families) goods and produce were gathered. Most people brought their donations to the 9 o’clock mass. At the picnic grounds a large box of ice was installed for storage. All food was put on very large platters and passed around. Later a refrigerator was installed that today is used to store dry goods.

For many years Margaret Lambert was kitchen chairperson. The picnic went on as described until Mildred "Millie" Marshall became chairperson. Reports were the previous year she went to the St. Basil's picnic. That year it was believed a bad chicken was responsible for making a lot of people ill. Millie upon being the chairperson promptly changed St. Francis to Barbecued Chicken. She is also credited with removing a table from the dining room claiming "There is no room in here, you can't walk between them. Anyone who is fat cannot get in." One table was removed and was taken to the bingo stand. She is credited with a number of good changes.

For many years all potatoes were cooked at the picnic grounds. Baked Beans were taken over from the families by Bill Sick of Dushore, then passed on to Bernie Walsh and wife of Dushore. Now, due to health laws, the only thing that is cooked at the picnic grounds is the barbecued chicken, nothing by the families. All else must be bought. The event started about noon with the dinner and games, slowing in late afternoon to allow the farmers to go home to do their chores, returning in the evening for the square dance which for many years lasted until midnight. The picnic always took place in August giving the farmers a break in the middle of crop harvesting season.

Story from Anita Sullivan(mother) - One time James(grandfather) and Patrick(father) were off helping another farmer with his oats thrashing - farmers pooled their resources working together going from farm to farm. Grandpa forgot to kill the chickens before he left. Grandma was running around wringing her hands "When are we going to do those chickens? It takes a long time to pluck those chickens, clean them and cook them" - all they had to cook on was a wood stove. Finally she said to my mother "Let's go catch the chickens". They went out, caught the chickens and put them under a crate. Later she told my mother "Why don't you kill a couple of them and we can get them done"? So mom went out and got a chicken in position, took a chop at it and missed completely. Second chop she got it in the lower neck near the breast line. It took her four chops to get the job done, leaving the chicken without a neck or one wing. Then grandma told her to let it flop around to drain the blood out and save them the trouble. The chicken promptly flopped under the chicken coop. Mom had to crawl under the coop to retrieve it. Mom announced "NEVER, NEVER AGAIN"! The men when later informed thought it hilarious.

It took all night to prepare the chickens.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On ? 
By Joyce M. Tice
Email Joyce M. Tice

You are the  visitor since the counter was installed on 23 FEB 2007