How to add a posting below . . .

To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The The Farmer In The Dell & Miss Margaret's Missing Ring

Yesterday, I received a comment regarding a resource for looking up old newspaper articles that might shed some light on the circa 1920 Job's Creek Bridge accident. The unidentified commentor suggested that I check out the New York Times archives on the internet for a possible lead. I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything helpful about the accident; however, I found, to my surpeise, various old articles on New Gretna. Who would have thought that the New York Times would be concerned with little old New Gretna?

I came across the following New Gretna news article that brought my mind back to that familiar childhood song, The Farmer In The Dell. Somehow I found myself humming the tune and singing .   .   .  "The cat takes the rat, the rat takes the cheese, and the cheese stands alone"  .   .   .  as I finished reading the article. It's strange as to what can trigger your mind back to your childhood.

New York Times - April 20, 1904

Rye Allen was a well loved, gregarious New Gretna character, a jack of all trades whose fingers were in just about every pie in New Gretna, a real entrepreneur. Those who knew him or heard tell of him from the old timers would not be surprised that he would make headlines in the New York Times. Nothing he did would be a surprise!

See the Thursday, November 27, 2008 and Sunday, December 21st blog entries (links below) for more information on Rye Allen.

Rye Allen made a splash in the New York Times with the help of his cat and an unwitting mouse. His returning the ring to Miss Margaret is a testimony to his honesty and integrity. (Photo courtesy of John Steinhaurer, Jr.)

Now, Miss Margaret Adams was just the opposite. A quiet, well schooled, proper lady who taught school and/or was principal here in New Gretna for over 40 years. She was loved and well respected by three generations of New Gretna youths, an active member of the Methodist Church in New Gretna, and a pillar of the community.

Miss Margaret Adams was the beneficiary of Rye Allen's keen eyesight and honesty. She should be smiling about getting her ring back, but I wouldn't be smiling either if I had to wear that long, stiff collar. (Photo courtesy of Naomi Post Maurer, Miss Margaret's niece.)

Anyone out there who remembers Miss Margaret or has a story about her or any other New Gretna principal or teacher, please drop a comment here at the blog. (Note to RS- We don't want to hear about all those times KG put you under her desk when you misbehavied in class.)

Pete S


  1. Hi Pete-
    When I read your interesting article asking for comments on New Gretna school teachers, I laughed, thinking I had a good story to tell but your last sentence squashed my aspirations-
    ""We don't want to hear about all those times KG put you under her desk when you misbehavied in
    class.) Teddy lived this punishment & I am sure many other mischevious boys as well. Teddy's comment "It was close." In today's enlightened world this might be called Child Abuse. We parents accepted this, didn't like it but were not vocal in expressing our distaste. Life moved on & this disappeared into our memories. Phyllis

  2. I was a kindergartener in 1945 at the New Gretna Elementary School. Our teacher was Miss Shropshire. She taught not only kindergarten but also first and second grades. The principal (don't know her name) taught fifth and sixth. We took a nap every day-all three grades. One day I had no desire to sleep and was talking to the girl on the next cot-yes cot-we had cots, sheets, blankets and pillows at nap time. She tried to shush me but to no avail. Miss Shropshire heard me and sent me to the principal's room. I could not bring myself to go into the principal's room so instead, I sat in the corridor on a bench next to the third and forth grade room. I don't remember which teacher came out to ask me why I was there but the cat had gotten my tongue-belatedly. Finally, Miss Shropshire came by and explained to the other teacher why I was there and they also commented about my uncharacteristic silence. The upshot was that I got to spend recess standing in the corner in the principal's classroom.
    Beverly Mathis