Every good book and many magazine articles have a preface - either by the author or about the author. This must be about one of the most delightful authors the old Press readers ever met on the printed page. Someone well qualified should write the biography of James Chambers Moore. He was not just a citizen of Saltsburg; he was an institution. I knew him only as the head of a magic store that could produce almost anything you could ask for in the way of tools and accessories to run a house, farm, and dairy. But I know from his letters from DeLand, Fla., published in the Saltsburg Press, how he loved his home church, Saltsburg's Presbyterian. And from our hinterland, remote from that church, I heard with bright green envy how he sent several crates of oranges each Christmas, enough that every child in that Sunday School might be remembered.
Do you remember - but of course you oldsters do - the charming letters Mr. Moore wrote each winter from Florida? He loved a good joke, and was always weaving them into his letters. Do you remember the one about the pastor who had charge of two churches in a Florida town - one at the north end of town and one at the south end? He announced one Sunday morning that on the following Sunday, babies would be baptized at both ends. We thought that was a side-splitter. Well, here he is again, a little older now, taking his friends and all Indiana Progress readers of 1916 on a nostalgic journey back to the village of his boyhood - Saltsburg in the Sixties. He writes:
"Backward, turn backward, oh time in your flight
Make me a child again, just for tonight."
I want to sit at the old familiar spot at the Point, where we would catch great strings of fish. I want to hear the plaintive song of the whippoorwill and the tinkling of bells on the distant hills, sweetly mingling with the happy chorus of the song birds in their morning or evening serenades, or hear the musical note of the boat horn giving the signal to open the lock on the old Pennsylvania Canal. A vision of the happy past opens before me, and I can imagine I am a boy again playing around the old familiar places that I am about to describe. I can never forget the Indian shows - with real Indians; for months after the show had gone, the hills resounded with our faces painted and feathers on our heads and down our backs, we went forth on the war-path and, in our imagination, scalped many a white man.
I will commence this story with a description of the old brick church, which stood at the north end of town, on the spot now occupied by S.M. Kiebler, as a planing mill. The memory of the old brick church is very dear to me, for in it the writer, along with about one hundred other young people made a public profession of our faith in Christ, a decision the wisest and most important any young person can make; for a truly successful life depends on this decision and youth is the time to decide this important matter, before the cares of business and the pleasures of this world crowd upon us and we forget. The old church had two doors in front and one at the upper side. The pulpit was high and reached by many steps. The choir box in the rear of the church was also high and boxed in, with entrance in the center and reached from each aisle; seats, pulpit and choir box painted white. The fronts of the front seats were made to let down and were used as tables at the 'Communion Season'; also tables were set in the aisles to accommodate the communicants. All members of the church were obliged to get from the Elders a little lead token, which would entitle them to the privilege of Communion. These tokens were collected by the Elders as soon as the communicants were seated at the tables. About half the basement next to the road was used for a Sabbath School room, for Prayer Meeting, and old-fashioned singing school. Across the street was the old canal basin. The basin was very wide so that boats could be turned there. Next to the basin and on the spot occupied by Harry Starry, as a garage, was Kingley and Kelly's General Store; across the alley, James Alcorn's general store, in part of the building occupied by the Alcorn heirs; opposite the Alcorn and Blank properties, the canal lock; and on a bridge across, just below the lock, the Hugh Kelly property. (I don't understand about the bridge from this sentence, but, no doubt you old-timers do). Hugh Kelly was the lock tender, and we boys thought of Samson when we would see him open the great gates himself. On the east side of the lock, Henry Blank, the baker lived, and such good, ginger cakes he did bake! - big as a butter plate, and all for one copper cent. Across the alley the stone house occupied by William McQuiston, as dwelling and store room, and, fronting on the canal, his large warehouse; another old house; then the ten pin alley, about where the depot now stands; across the alley below the Freet house, an old house (can't recall who lived there); but in the basement of the house, William Fulton had a butcher shop. He butchered about once a week. If you wanted to get a good piece of meat, you had to get up at three or four o'clock in the morning, go stand in line and wait your turn, just about like the arrangement you have now for getting your tickets marked off for the lecture course; first come got the pick, last come, a soup bone. ***
I must close for this time. But more of this right after Christmas.
Florence B. Taylor
2907 Hampshire Rd.,
Cleveland Hts., 18, O
Next - 12/22/49 - Margery takes a serious fall
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