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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Alvin McAnney, a man with many hats- Marie Bishop Doherty

I was always amazed at how many hats my Grandfather wore in the town of New Gretna.  He worked at the Building and Loan.  He stored all paper ballots from elections in wood and glass boxes with locks in the attic on Riverside Drive.  The ballots were huge high quality paper with blank backs.  Any leftovers could be used for crayon pictures. [Moderator's note: Alvin, known affectionately by the locals as "Alvey",  was the Township Clerk in Bass River for some time.]

He fought in all forest fires with a tank on his back.  One time he did it for so many hours and days that he fell asleep driving home and hit a tree.

He sold all fishing and hunting licenses. The one heated room had a huge black cook stove with a constantly simmering iron pot of "mush" for his many fox hounds.This was the favorite"Pub" for all the men in town.  If I curled up in a corner on the wooden "bunk" I could hear all the stories and laughter. They laughed a lot. Those stories were so good, I can still get a laugh out of them. They seemed to all know a man who lived on a house boat and he was the subject of the best jokes.Their theory was,"If you're gonna tell a story always make it better."

He always kept 2 acres of garden going .  There would be bushels of potatoes for everyone to get you through the winter along with dried lima beans and jars upon jars of applesauce and pears from the trees by the chicken pen.  The fear of no potatoes must have been from some McAnneys in the Irish potato famine.  A chicken was killed every sun and sometimes there was deer meat.

When he worked for the State the idea of Lake Absegami was born.  A dam was built and the springs did their thing.  The acres of White Pine were planted then across from the fire tower.

A boat called a "sneak box"  was used for duck hunting . The men built blinds to sit in . Elvey was told by Dr to stop cutting grass.  He rowed out with his shot gun in his boat. The men later asked "Why isn't Elvey shooting anymore?"  I'm sure he went to Heaven in a manner of his choice.

Marie McAnney Bishop Doherty

"Elvey" with his hunting dogs.
(Photo courtesy of Margaret "Peg" Cramer McAnney.)

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