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blackberries, Daniel Ney, Blue Mountain, funeral customs, Washington Township, birthday surprises, ice harvesting
A set of handwritten notes copied from a scrapbook (perhaps from the Historical Society of Berks County) identified as "F10AG B877", transcribed by Alfred L. Shoemaker circa 1950. Within, Shoemaker notes various observations including funeral customs, ice harvesting, gardening trends and birthday etiquette.
Scrapbook F10AG B877
p. 50 Article on Daniel Ney who lived on top of Blue Mt.
“Each year he burns about 60 gallons of tar out of the pitch knots he gathers on the mountain." Mrs. Ney lights her fires with pitch knots, which catch fire almost as readily as oil.
p. 97 Pumpkin seeds give excellent satisfaction as bait for mouse traps.
p.101 More Ice Houses Going Up
It is claimed that it is by far best to pile ice cakes on the edge, and fill the space all around with saw dust… old men claim that placing the cakes on edge does not encourage melting as by placing them flat.
p.104 Some farmers keep pea fowls to save Paris green bills.
p. 109 Berks Chestnut Crop.
p.113 Pall-Bearers Now and in the Old Days
“Another custom practiced in certain sections years ago was for some men to act as their own undertakers. This was only done upon the death of a child. In such a case the father would secure an ordinary pine box, place the body in it and carry it to the cemetery, and after digging a grave inter it.”
Eagle correspondent wrote above
p.115 In passing through the country one each year sees less of the gardens with cane fruits planted along the fences. Blackberries, raspberries, etc., are nowadays planted away from fences by most people, for in this way can be avoided the jungle of canes, grass, and weeds that used to fringe the old garden fence and each year grow wilder.
p.121 In Washington township the old-style birthday surprise party is going out of date, and what they term a “better surprise” is taking the place of the former. Some time before the birthday anniversary occurs one or more of that person’s acquaintances send out letters to the friends of the individual to whom the surprise is to be tendered. In these the date is given, together with a request to send the party named a letter of congratulations, or a gift, or both… usually the post master is instructed by those in charge of the affair to keep all the mail matter until the evening of the birthday and then deliver the same all together. In some instances the mail thus accumulated fills a two-bushel bag… The recipient returns thanks by mail to each one that remembered him or her.
p.121 Catechetical Customs
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Shoemaker, Alfred L., "Notes From Scrapbook F10AG B877" (1950). Alfred L. Shoemaker Folk Cultural Documents. 235.
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