Secor Family Genealogy: Exploring Our Ancestry
The following stories were written by Susan T. Secor.

Mom's Stories

How Lizzie Trayed the Butter

When Lizzie was very small they lived at Weartsville on the Ed Hand farm and her grandparents John D. and Ada lived nearby. Ada and John had cows and Ada made her own butter. The milk was put in flat milk pans and left in a cool place overnight (springhouse). Next morning they would skim the cream off and churn it. After churning they put the butter into a bit wooden tray and "worked it" with a wooden paddle to get out the moisture and to mix in the salt. Lizzie used to nag her grandmother incessantly to let her tray the butter. So eventually Ada let Lizzie try to tray the butter and Lizzie trayed the butter right out onto the ground and the butter fell right on the pine needles and was ruined. Mom says she is not sure she remembers this happening or whether she was told the story so many times that she thinks she remembers it happening. Says she can still see that butter covered with pine needles.

Lizzie and the "Rock of Ages"

When Lizzie and her parents lived in Weartsville her father, Lester, bought a piano. He loved music and played the violin himself. (He took lessons from Mr. Wainwright in Weartsville. Played until one time when his violin fell out of buggy and wheel ran over it. Couldn't afford to buy another.) He wanted Lizzie to learn to play even though she was too young and there was no piano teacher in Weartsville. Was Lizzie's mother ever mad! She thought they needed the money for other things.

When Lizzie and her parents moved to Hopewell the piano went along to the double house on Model Ave. There wasn't enough room in Lizzie's house, so they put the piano next door in John D. and Ada's side in their sun room. Lizzie took lessons from Sadie Holcomb King. Ada was very religious and loved to go to church and sing hymns. Ada asked Lizzie to learn to play Rock of Ages for her and so she did. It was a real red letter day when Lizzie haltingly played Rock of Ages for her Grandma Ada.

Lizzie's Hideaway

When Lizzie lived in the double house on Model Avenue, her grandparents, John D. and Ada Larue lived on the other half of Lizzie's house. Ada loved children and she was very good to Lizzie. She helped Lizzie make a play house under Ada's back porch. Theu put up some old lace curtains around the edge of the porch and improvised a little table and chair. Lizzie brought in her toy dishes and had a grand time playing in her hideaway.

Lizzie and the "Pared" Ham

Whenever Lizzie went to her Grandmother Ada's for dinner, Ada would ask Lizzie what she wanted for dinner. Lizzie always said "pared" (prepared) ham, potatoes and her favorite vegetable, stewed tomatoes. And that's what Ada would fix. Lizzie didn't get "pared" ham at home as it was a luxury which Susie didn't buy.

Lizzie Sleeps Through the Square Dance

Lizzie remembers that when she was very small and her parents lived at Weartsville, they would hold square dances in the big Manner's store (where Grandpa worked) and that everyone would come and bring their children. They put all the children to bed in Mrs. Manner's house which was part of the store building. Also one time there was a bad fire somewhere in the Souerland Mnts and all the men went up to fight the fire. The women didn't want to stay home alone, so all the women and children went to Manners Store until the men came home.

Lizzie and the Oysters

Grandpa LaRue was very fond of oysters. One time Grandma was going to fix an oyster stew and she sent Lizzie down to Eddie Whiteheads to get some fresh oysters. She gave Lizzie all kinds of instructions about not crossing the railroad tracks instead to go over the bridge, don't let them put any shells in with the oysters, etc.

On the way home Lizzie fell on the railroad bridge and spilled the oysters all over the ground. She was very upset because she knew she would be in trouble when she got home. Lizzie picked up the oysters up off the ground and took them in tears to Mrs. Briggs' house. Mrs. Briggs took pity on Lizzie and washed all the gravel and dirt off the oysters. Lizzie felt better and went home with her slightly damaged oysters. Somehow her parents caught on or Lizzie confessed and so Lizzie caught the dickens anyhow. Grandpa didn't get his oyster stew that night.

Lizzie's Grandmothers

Ada Sutton Larue was an outgoing loving individual. Liked to have fun. Didn't always think of the practical things but always had time for fun. Strong willed and religious (Mom thinks they were Methodist). Good cook.

Mary E. Shaddinger LaRue was more practical. She had a wry sense of humor but was generally rather serious. Thrifty and saving, she could sew, pieced quilts, made rugs, crocheted and tatted. Made her own clothes. She always had cats, barn cats and house cats. A very good manager. Sold eggs. Went to Presbyterian church at Larison's Corners. Patient. Taught Lizzie hem stitching and tatting and how to hem sugar bags so they could be used for napkins (that's how saving she was! But they just didn't have it.) Not such a good cook.

Lizzie and the Revival Meeting

When Lizzie was about 14 or 15 she went in to Trenton to visit with her grandfather John D. LaRue, his second wife Lousa and Louisa's daughter who was Lizzie's age. Lizie did this reluctantly because she was not crazy about Louisa's daughter as they had very little in common besides their age. Also Louisa and John D. lived in the city of Trenton in a dark and dingy apartment and Louisa was a very poor cook (there was no milk in her mashed potatoes and her gravy was as thin as water). Then too Louisa's daughter and Lizzie had to share a bed and Louisa's daughter snuck out of the house at night without her parents knowledge.

Louisa was very religious. One time she took her daughter and Lizzie to a Methodist revival meeting. At the end of the service the evangelist called for sinners to come forward and accept Jesus as their savior. Louisa made her daughter get up and go and she also forced Lizzie out of her chair and made her go too. Lizzie did and when her mother found out she was very upset. Lizzie's parents were Baptists and believed in adult baptism. Lizzie's mother questioned Lizzie at length about what happened perhaps fearing that Lizzie had gotten baptized at the Methodist Revival Meeting. But this had not happened.

Lizzie Sees a Ghost

When Lizzie was about 12 or 13 and she lived at Andrew Wyckoff's farm on Cherry Lane, she would go through the field and gate behind her house down to her friend Ruth Briggs' house on Burton Ave. to play. Many times she would stay there a long time and come home after dark. this made Lizzie's mother very angry.

One time when Lizzie was coming home through the field at night when she was startled by a strange moaning noise. She turned and saw a white ghost under the old walnut tree. The ghost wailed and came towards Lizzie flapping its "arms." Lizzie was terrified and frozen to the spot. "Never so scared before or since." Then she looked up and saw her dad coming and knew then everything was alright. The "ghost" came up to Lizzie and out from under a while sheet came Lizzie's Aunt Mary.

Lizzie went home with her dad.

Lizzie thinks that her mother and Aunt Mary cooked up the plan to scare her so she would know better than to wait so late to come home. Also she thinks that her mother was always a tomboy (she had only brothers) and she had no sympathy with anyone who was afraid of the dark. Anyway, Lizzie thinks that her dad did not approve of the whole buisiness and that there was quite a family "fuss" over their scaring Lizzie.

How LIzzie Dropped Her Sister in the Pasture

When Lizzie was young she always had to look after her little sister Carolyn. This really cramped Lizzie's style. Once when she wanted to go play with her friend Ruth Briggs, she had to look after little Carolyn who was only about a year old. So Lizzie took Carolyn with her and set off at a good clip down across the pasture. Lizzie, not being the most coordinated and graceful of persons, tripped adn fell over a tree root. She dropped Carline on her head. Carolyn started to yell and Lizzie took her home on the double. Carolyn was alright - only a big goose egg on the head - but Lizzie really got into trouble this time.