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Goc, Michael J. / From past to present : the history of Adams County

Remembering Friendship,   pp. 116-125 PDF (8.5 MB)

Page 116

membering Friendship, 1895 
Looking north from the corner of Third and "Belfast" in Friendship.
Editor's Note: The following is an edited version of Winn 
McGowan's reminiscences that appeared in the Friendship Cen- 
tennial Edition of the Friendship Reporter in 1957. 
I invite you to go with me on a brief tour of the little village of 
Friendship on a sunny morning in late May of 1895. If you will 
assemble at my childhood home at the extreme south end of 
Belfast Street, we will begin our journey there. 
Before setting out upon our tour let us take time to note the 
beauty of the typical old-fashioned village street of years ago. 
At the extreme north end of the street, we see the old red hotel 
barn with its big sliding door wide open. From that point to where 
we are standing, the street is perfectly straight, while down the 
middle stretches a well-marked road worn by the plodding feet of 
horses and the wheels of buggies and farm wagons whose weight 
has dug deep into the native sandy soil. "Improved" by the very
meager highway department of those early days, two or three 
times a year teams would appear hauling loads of clay which 
would be distributed among the spots where the sand was deep- 
est, thus causing the road through Friendship's main street to 
become, in the course of years, not quite so sandy, though per- 
haps it might become even more dusty than before. In those 
days the highway department consisted of a man in each road 
district of each town who was known as a pathmaster and in 
whose charge was placed the responsibility of overseeing the 
building and maintaining of the roads. 
Now, is everyone ready? All right, let's go straight north 
right up the middle of Belfast Street. 
Directly ahead of us, one on either side of the village street, 
two houses appear. On the left is the home of Frank Higbee, a 
Civil War veteran and on the right, that of the family of Andrew 
0. Holm. Suddenly someone exclaims at the trees beside which 
we are standing. Yes, right in the middle of the road, three im- 
mense Lombardy Poplars, the greatest in circumference and the 
tallest, that I have ever seen. The road divides before it reaches 
the trees, giving us a double-track system for a few rods. 
And now we come to the first street intersection in our jour- 
ney. Did you ever hear of Friendship's 4-H block (Fourth and 
Main in 1999). Behold, it lies before you. Yes, I will explain. Here 
on the four comers we have the family names (beginning in the 
northwest comer) Hamilton, Higbee, Holm and Hopper. This we 
called our 4-H comer. 
The present Jereczek home, built by John P. Lewis, who was 
for many years our County Superintendent, was not there in the 
olden days. Instead there was a big, level, beautiful, grassy space 
perfectly adapted for a playground for the village kids. I remem- 
ber that Mrs. Hamilton used to speak of it as "the green." And
remember Mrs. Hamilton for her miraculous cookie jar that seemed 
to have no bottom; there were always more. And I ought to know 
for I was there at play with their kids a good portion of my time all 
summer long. 
"The green" was an ideal place for "stillpond," similar
"blind man's buff. 
Another game that I recall, very exclusive, was a tragedy 
which required a cast of three, always the same actors and all 
stars, of course. One of my special pals and his older brother and 
I quite frequently rehearsed the hideous episode. So frightful 
that I wonder that we even dared to play it, pierced by the most 
agonizing screams and dripping with gore, it was our own private 
interpretation of a terrific scene which we called "Sea Serpent."
The older brother was always the prehistoric monster and his 
brother and I the victims, the "poor fish." 
But I must hurry on and not take up too much time I keep 
forgetting that I am talking now in terms of 1957. So I shall not 
even mention that Balm of Gilead or the Black Cherry trees that 

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