Neighborhoods of Yesteryear Full of Charming Lore  
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ed Patenaude So I’ve Heard

Friend Esther Stocklin offers this take on the Webster Gore from 1925, when her parents, Frank and Anna Snyder, purchased the Marcus Wood property in the Upper Gore. A new development, Mike’s Way, is at the corner of the long-ago Snyder farm.

The four-room house was in total disrepair, and nature had reclaimed the land, Mrs. Stocklin said. Mr. Wood was the Gore correspondent for the Webster Times, and he made more news than he wrote at one point, claiming he and his wife could live on very little, something like 7 cents a day.

The Boston Post sent its roving reporter to Webster and he interviewed the couple, confirming their parsimonious ways. The story was reproduced in other publications and letter writers weighed in on the report, keeping it alive for several weeks.

Mrs. Stocklin said her family didn’t move to the Gore until 1933. There wasn’t any water or electricity in the region, the house was without plumbing, and the Upper Gore was a narrow dirt road. This precipitated an eight-year wait to occupancy and gave her family time to excavate the cellar, construct an addition and make improvements, she said.

Albert Snyder, her brother, and still a resident of the Upper Gore, tells of Rudolph Langer, who had skills in dowsing, using a forked stick from a willow or apple tree.

“While holding his hands and arms in a certain fashion, the stick would bend to a source of underground water,” says Esther. “That’s how our water source was found, and my father dug a well.”

She said some of the Upper and Lower Gore residents were the Emersons, Bracketts, Wilders, Ides, Whipples, Roses, Hoyles, Wakefields, Howlands, Fellows, Lambs, Gleasons and Coopers. There are stories about some of them.

To begin, there’s the Dr. George Ide story that was relayed to her mother, Anna Snyder, by Oscar Ide, probably the oldest Gore resident in the 1930s.

Dr. Ide was anti-slavery and a supporter of Abraham Lincoln. He attended a Lincoln rally in Boston during the 1864 presidential campaign, spoke in Lincoln’s behalf, was beset by Southern sympathizers and mortally wounded. Dr. Ide, an inventor, was interested in spiritualism and believed there was gold in the Gore hills.

Dominic Fellows lived across from the Marcus Wood house. He would walk about two miles to the Brass Ball, a pub in Douglas, to enjoy libations and sang loudly in German on his return home, as Esther heard the story.

The Slater family, possibly Sam’s son, George B. Slater, had a site on a hill over the Upper Gore, where they would be driven by their coachman to view Webster Lake. Once, in a high wind, the barn door slammed shut, killing the hired man, related Mrs. Stocklin.

One of the Bracketts was married to a Mr. Butler. He taught music in the public schools before the Snyders ever heard of the Gore, says Esther. In fact, her mother was one of his pupils. Another Brackett woman was poisoned by her husband, and he served jail time.

Finally, Esther says, she became well acquainted with Miss Corabel Ide, whom she remembers as elderly.

“Regrettably, I could have gleaned a wealth of information about earlier Gore history from her, but my interests at the time were elsewhere.”

Still, young Esther Snyder carried out one of Miss Corabel Ide’s final wishes: “I played her favorite hymns on the pump organ at her funeral at the Gore Reformed Methodist Church.”

The church was on Lower Gore Road, across from Wawela Road, a seasonal settlement. It was mostly a summer services church for many years and burned down some decades ago, probably in the 1960s.

John W. and Mary V. (Szynal) Englehardt will experience a Minneapolis Christmas this year, as in not-too-recent times.

The Englehardts lived in Minnesota for years, but returned to Webster, Mary’s hometown, for personal reasons
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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