November 8, 1976
I am your mother, Joan and Susan. Of course, you know my name: Marcella Bucklin Clarke Armstrong.
I was born in Tidioute, Pennsylvania, a little town on the Allegheny River between Warren and Oil City. it is in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, so beautiful in the Fall and Spring and Summer. So much fun in winter -- with sledding down the hills and ice skating on the river.
My birth date is February 18, 1904. There are four of us, children of Henry and Isabel Clarke: (1) Henry Harrison, the oldest, born on June 30, 1902; Joseph Cornelius was the third, born on February 9, 1906; Clara Louise was the fourth, born on August 8, 1908.
Harrison (Henry Harrison) was named after Mother's brother, Harrison (Harry) Bucklin. Joseph Cornelius was named after a family friend Joe Walter and mother's half-brother Cornelius. Clara Louise received our two grandmothers' names. I was named after a nurse, Marcella Warren, who took care of some one in Father's family -- probably Maria.
My maternal grandfather was William Decature Bucklin, who was born on February 17, 1834. He was married twice. His first wife, Hannah McCue, died on July 2, 1868. My grandmother was his second wife; Clara Elizabeth Shearer, born in 1857. There were two children: Harrison, born on January 6, 1874; Isabel Theresa, born on July 12, 1880. Their mother died on May 9, 1884 at the age of 27,when my mother was 3 years old. Their father died on November 26,1899,when my mother was 19, just after she graduated from Tidioute High School.
My cousin, Miss Rhoda Bucklin, brought up my mother and her brother. They lived in my Grandfather's hotel, which had a suite of rooms. My mother had a horse and "buggy" of her own. She had a nice social life in Tidioute. Her brother Harry graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He worked as purchasing agent for Todd Protectograph Company in Rochester, New York. He married Henrietta Hoffman (Aunt Etta). They had one son John, who now lives at Hinckley Ohio, near Cleveland. (John died on February 15, 1981, one day before his 75th birthday.
My paternal grandfather was David William Clarke II, whose wife was Louisa Curtis. They had eleven children:
1. David William (Uncle Will) who married Clara Porterfield.
2. Franklin Curtis, who married Elizabeth Birdseye.
3. Howard Marcus, who married Amni Brown.
4. Harriet Beach, who married Louis Porterfield
5. Clara Louise, (Aunt Lou) who marrried William J. Elder.
6. Maria Elizabeth, who married Adam Riechert.
7. Susan Ann (Aunt Sue) who married Willard Porterfield
8. Julia McClintock, who married Dr. J. Leon Antes
9. Ellen Eunice, who married Dr. Glenn Bowman
10. Henry Elliot, who married Isabel Bucklin.
11. Florence Rosalind, who marrked William O. Fuellhart
Uncle Will and Aunt Clara had very musical children. The "Clarke Sisters" sang with Tommy Dorsey's orchestra. They lived in Valley City, North Dakota. They later changed their name to the Sentimentalists.
Uncle Frank lived in California.
Uncle Howard and Aunt Amni lived on Central Avenue in Fredonia, New York. They moved to Texas. Two children: Mary Amni had a beautiful voice; Elizabeth graduated from Mt. Holyoke College and was a writer.
Aunt Hattie lived in a large house in Tidioute. There were four children: David, Helen, Elliot and Willard. David worked for Standard Oil Co. in South America. Helen had charge of all playgrounds in Detroit, Michigan. Elliot played the piano expertly.
Aunt Lou married a banker, Will Elder. They had a large home in Tidioute. Their children were John, Louse, Margaret, Harriet, and Livingston. John became a presbyterian minister, a missionary to Iran. Louise married Don Thompson. She was a librarian in Cleveland. Margaret married a Smith and lived in Albany, N.Y. She was beautiful. Harriet married Dr. Walter Sutton, a dentist, and lives in Erie, Pa. Livingston played the piano and became an architect in New York City.
Aunt Ellen married Dr. Glenn Bowman, an orthodontist. They lived in Oakmont, Pa, a suburb of Pittsburgh. They had a summer home on the Allegheny River below Tidioute. Their children were Nancy and Betty. Nancy became a doctor.
Aunt Florence married Will Fuellhart, who worked for Wheeler and Dusenbury in the lumber business at Endeavor, Pa. Children: Bob and Bill.
Aunt Sue married Willard Porterfield. She went to Penn State College and graduated the same year as her two sons: Henry and Willard. She earned her Master's degree and taught Spanish at Penn State for years. She had a daughter Susan also. Susan married an Army Colonel (Rogers) and lives in Georgia.
Aunt Julia married Dr. J. Leon Antes, an osteopath. They lived in Detroit and had one son, Richard.
Aunt Maria married Adam Reichert but died soon after. There were no children.
Henry Clarke, my father, entered Grandin Bros. bank in Tidioute after he graduated from high school. He worked as assistant cashier, then cashier, for 23 years. He wanted to be a farmer and so bought a grape farm east of Westfield, New York.
Tidioute was a fine place in which to grow up. There was the river for swimming, ice skating, boating, canoeing, picnics. We played tennis and roller skated. My friends were Sarah Hague, Margaret Anderson, Kathryn Kennedy and Charlotte Carnahan. Betty Ulf came to visit from Kane, Pa.
We were Episcopalians and attended the small white church regularly. We often had the visiting rector to dinner on Sunday.
I remember Christmas eve services, of speaking "The Night before Christmas," of the lighted, burning candles on the tree. Joe and Harrison pumped the organ. They would let the air almost all out before they would pump again.
I took piano lessons from Miss Gertrude Shugart, whose brother was the only doctor in Tidioute. He brought us all into the world -- at home.
We lived up town in a white house which had a sleeping porch. We always had a "hired girl" to help. One was Eva Singleton, another Josephine Russell, and Bertha Singleton. There was a small room in the back hall upstairs.
Father rode a bicycle to work. There were no cars until later. The Grandins were millionaires and their first cars were limousines with chauffeurs.
We sold our house and moved into the square house across from the Presbyterian church.
At about 1916, the Grandin Bros. bank moved to Boston. Father did not want to move there. He wanted to buy a farm. He and Mother looked in New Jersey and New York State. They decided on a farm at West Portland, _three miles east of Westfield, N.Y._
We moved a few days before Christmas 1916. I was twelve years old. What a time to leave friends and familiar surroundings. We lived at the Kenyon, a small inn on South Portage Street in Westfield. Then our furniture came and we lived in a small house until Spring. I was very homesick.
My mother had never made butter or bread -- or lived without luxuries. A Delco system was installed so we had electricity and running water.
Clara and I had a bedroom together with twin beds. The boys slept in an unfinished attic.
We had a hired man, Mr. Mortimer Pratt. His wife did our washing, ironing and cleaning.
I was lonesome in the summer. I read many books. My father called me a "hot house plant." What was there to do outdoors? Harrison and Joe helped with the farm work. We went to school on the B & LE street car, which went from Buffalo to Erie through Westfield. Harrison was often late for the street car. He would see it coming as he left our house, 1/4 mile to the Burrows store, where it stopped for us. He always made it. He didn't know then but he was to break the record for the quarter mile race in college.
The boys were both athletes, playing football and basketball and running track. I played basketball and loved it.
My friends from Portland were Gertrude Fuller, Florence Morse and Frances Barhite. The boys from Portland were Donald Fuller, Melvin Roberts, Sherman Matthews.
In Westfield my friends were Frances Overton, Josephine Hall, Dorothea Brown, Edith Nixon, Marian Ogden, Genevieve Waterman, Caroline Anderson, Verna Dodge.
After I graduated from High School (June 1922) I went to summer school at Chautauqua to take a teacher's course. That September I began teaching a country school of eight grades -- on the Lade Road north of West Portland. I bought a horse for $60 and rode horseback each day to teach. I don't know how I did it. I had never attended a country school -- nor had I ridden a horse. I saved $800. And the next fall entered Lake Erie College at Panesville, Ohio, as a freshman.
I worked part time in the college library -- typing cards, checking out books at the desk. Gertrude Fuller was my roommate. My other friends were Rose Walchli, Mary Ellen Goeppinger, Mary Elizabeth McIlwain. It's hard to remember after so many years.
The next year I transferred to William Smith College at Geneva, New York, where I graduated in 1927. I majored in English. My friends were Irene Overs, Ellen Sill, Huberda Wall, Dolly Hubbs, Marianna MacKay, Marian Thomas, Sophronia Sims.
My first year of teaching High School English was in Salamanca, New York. The next two years were in Westfield and I lived at home. My family had moved from the farm to 42 Academy Street in Westfield. Then I taught three years in the high school at Jameston, N.Y. That was all, for I had met Richard Armstrong, a chemist with the Welch Grape Juice Co., and we were married on Saturday, September 2, 1933, at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Richard was from Iowa.