Wright's Corners School Program, 1873
This article was printed in the Little Falls Evening Times, Saturday, August 18, 1923.
James F. Rankins is my Grandfather, Armitta Rankins was his sister, about 4 years older than him. Mary Lotridge was second cousin to James and Armitta. At the time of this exercise James would have been 9 years old and Armitta was 13 years old. Wright's Corners is in the town of Little Falls, on State Rte 167 between Little Falls and Paines Hollow.
Contributed and typed by Willis Rankins
Forty-Eight Years ago in Wrights Corners District. Program of Public Exercises which were held by the pupils of the School House there in 1873 - Late John R. Mixter was the Teacher.
An interesting old program, now yellowing with age, gives information about the character of a public exibition which was held in the Wrights Corners district school house on September 24, 1875, by the pupils of that district.
The late John R. Mixter, for many years a school teacher in the town of Little Falls, was the instructor in the district at the time mentioned. Many of his old pupils well remember Mr. Mixter and the program will recall to those who are still living happy memories of the boyhood and girlhood days of long ago.
The old program shows that the entertainments in those days were long ones. First came an opening address by Emory J. Snell, and this was followed by three recitations; "If Ever I See," by Schuyler Ackerman; "I Don't Know," by Minnie Mixter; and "Don't Crowd," by James F. Rankins.
Following an interpolation of music, the next feature was a drama entitled "A Little More Cider." There used to be a song in those days, the name of which was "A Little More Cider, Please," and it is possible that the song and the drama may have some connection. At any rate, as the exercises were held in September, before the cider was old enough to arouse the suspicions of revenue investigators, had there been any such officials at that time. Those who were listed as taking part in the drama were:
Erastus Applejack, the cidermaker, A. H. Cole; Zep Applejack, his son, W. H. Shant; Deacon Peachblossom, M. Lotridge; Isaac Peachblossom, his son, C. H. Bellinger; Hans Drinker, E. J. Snell; Miss Patience Applejack, Miss Mary A. Cole; Miss Polly Applejack, Miss Herma P. Davis; Miss Hetty Mason, Miss Armitta Rankins.
Then came another group of what appears to have been recitations: "The Voice of Love," Miss Nora Owen; "Going Home," Miss Emma Ackerman; "You Puzzle Me," James E. Bellinger; "Der Drummer," E. J. Snell; "Lecture on Apples," H. Edwin Guiwits.
After that was an Ethiopian sketch, "Take It or Leave It," with S. E. Baker and H. E. Guiwits paticipating, following which were more recitations;
Smile When You Can," Miss Mary Lotridge; "The Dying Mother's Counsel," Miss Nettie Hyde; "Speak Gently," Miss Kittie Snell; The Lost Ship," Miss Armitta Rankins; The Address of Brutus," Marlot Lotridge; "Pride," James E. Bellinger.
Another drama followed, entitled "Irish Assurance and Yankee Modesty," with this cast: Pat, D. B. Bellinger; Mr. Buffer, George A. Snell; Captain Charles Herbert, C. W. Bellinger; Mr. Clifton, E. J. Snell; Nancy, Miss Mary E. Cole; Miss Arabella Buffer, Miss Mary Lotridge; Susan, Miss Emma Ackerman.
A tableau depicted "The Gambler's Warning" there were gamblers in those days as well as now - and then D. B. Bellinger gave a sketch, "Pat Fagan's Pedigree."
For good measure, another comedy sketch, "That Fellow That Looks Like Me," was given by: Mrs. L. W. Bobkins, Miss Amelia Staring; Mr. L. W. Bobkins, Curtiss Zoller; Cupid, a servant, H. Edwin Guiwits.
The exercises were closed with an address by D. B. Bellinger.
There were of course no motor cars in those days and no good roads. A speaking exhibition of the kind described above certainly must have been a big neighborhood event for the Wright's Corners folks, who undoubtedly turned out in large numbers to attend the entertainment and view with pride the demonstrations or practorical and histrionic talent on the part of their young boys and girls. What a contrast with modern attire, customs and conditions it would make if there were some way of renacting the scenes of that gathering in the Wright's Corners school house nearly half a century ago! But alas, only memory, not time, ever goes back.
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