Postmaster John B. Judson
tells of Days in Old Kingsborogh

    

Source:  Contributed from the personal collection of James F. Morrison;
Article dated July 1, 1916.  No author listed.


Gives Entertaining Reminiscences as Principal Speaker at Supper last Night 
in Connection With Organization Meeting of a Man's Club 
of the Old Kingsboro Presbyterian Church -- Several Other Speakers

 

The men of Kingsboro Presbyterian church met at an informal luncheon last evening at the church preparatory to organizing a men's club for the church.  The members of the Philiathea class served a dainty supper, which was greatly appreciated by all.  After the supper, Rev. William C. Spicer, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, delivered a most interesting talk on the theme, "Brotherhood."  Mr. Spicer brought out forcibly the idea of christain altruism and his talk was greatly enjoyed by those present.

Back to Kingsborough

Postmaster John B. Judson, in his own inimitable way, gave some interesting "Reminiscences of Old Kingsborough."  Mr. Judson said in part:

Whether you enjoy the next fifteen minutes or not, I want to say to you that I considered it an honor to be invited up here tonight; and I thank you for your invitation.  It certainly is a pleasure to have an opportunity to come and talk to you men of Old Kingsborough.  Some of you are old schoolmates; some of you are the descendants of friends of boyhood days; and some of you are newcomers who have been attracted to the beautiful surroundings of the ancient and honorable burg.

I congratulate you upon the reorganization of this club.  A men's club like this, in association with the a church, is a splendid proposition.  It's good for the church -- and it's good for the men who constitute the membership.  The day of long-faced, blue-hued, Pharasocial-visaged, holier-than-thou religion has passed.  If you want to attract men to the church you must provide a cheerful brand of theology with some social and fraternal features for dessert.  Men, nowadays, absolutely refuse to believe that in order to have religion, one must first acquire dyspepsia, liver trouble and a grouch.  The community spirit and good fellowship you will develop in this club will, in my humble opinion, do more for the Kingsborough Presbyterian church than a hundred church members whining around in sackcloth and ashes.  I do not know what is to be in your constitution; but I want to suggest one additional clause for your by-laws:  "Take a shoulder-hold and help your pastor boost."

It's fine to have the privilege of being under the leadership of an up-to-date, twentieth-century, 1916, young man like your pastor, Rev. Mr. Hoffman.  He has the correct cut to his clerical clothes.  He has the right slant to his Troy collar.  He has more than this:  He has the straight-from-the-shoulder, center-of-the-bull's-eye manner of speaking; and he has the rare faculty of convicting, convincing, converting and conserving his friends.  Old Kingsborough is to be congratulated on securing this able young preacher of polish, probity, perseverance and punch.  He will scrape off the moss from the walls of this church and make the mother of all the other Gloversville churches young again.  The average man does not the minister unless he is dying.  Then he sends in a hurry for the clergyman.  We don't give the minister as much chance, with his religious philosophy, as we do the doctor, with his nauseating physic.  (This point was illustrated by an appropriate story.)

"Looking Back at Old Kingsborough."

As we grow older, it is easy to deal in reminiscences.  My mind readily goes back to a period thirty-five or forty years ago; and to any man growing old, these incidents are fresher in memory than more recent happenings.  Our home was always an open house to visiting clergymen.  I remember well Rev. Washington Frothingham of Fonda.  He was a great writer - a very able man.  And if we were all as able as Washington Frothingham, our eccentricity would not be so noticeable.  Washington Frothingham wrote of men he knew, of places he had visited, of incidents with which he was familiar.  On the contrary, take some of the modern writers of note.  Robert W. Chambers, the great writer of books-- the most successful and the best rewarded novelist of modern days.  He gets his inspiration from the balmy atmosphere of Broadalbin's hills and vales.  He apparently gets his facts, fancies and fiction mostly from other books.  He writes glibly about the old English baronet, Sir William Johnson, and the Baronial hall at Johnstown -- when it is alleged that Mr. Chambers has never visited the hall at Johnstown where Sir William was wont to parley with the Indians.  Mr. Chambers writes entertainingly of Fort Johnson, and yet I am credibly informed that he has never met the Hon. Theron Akin.   Speaking of writers and novels, two men were hotly discussing the merits of one of Chamber's new  stories.  Finally one of them, himself an author, said to the other, "No, John, you can't appreciate it.  You never wrote a book yourself." "No", retorted John, "and I never laid an egg, but I am a  better judge of an omelette than any hen in the state".

Washington Frothingham was an occasional preacher.  He knew how to preach -- at great length.  He used to come up to Kingsborough and supply the pulpit in this church.  His sermons were usually two hours long.  Yes, I was there.  Mr. Frothingham always stayed at our house.  My father was a good old-fashioned Presbyterian deacon of the old school.  There was no modern, dodging religion in those days.  We had the straight goods.  There were four growing, mischievous boys at home then.  We were glad when Mr. Frothingham came.  That always meant something extra on the table, for ministers are proverbially big eaters.  We were glad, too, when Mr. Frothingham left for Fonda.  A minister's visit to our house in those days meant this to us boys:  Three-quarters of an hour in the morning at family prayers.  If I had the time I would explain to you men what family prayers were.  It meant attendance at church services at least three times on Sunday; grace said at every meal (with your dear brother, perhaps, sticking a pin in you under the table.)  It meant scriptural reading around the family circle on Sunday afternoon, when we were all expected to take part.  There was no Sacandaga Park then; Darius Green had just fallen off the barn with his flying machine-- and automobiles had not even been planned in the mind of the craziest man in America.

"Looking Back at Old Kingsborough."

I want to say to you men frankly, that I have never forgotten all I learned in Kingsborough.  I may have drifted somewhat away from this strict, early training.  But, nevertheless, I have found it impossible to get entirely out from under the influence of those indelible impressions gained in that old Presbyterian home; and many a misstep or mistake in after life has been prevented by the inanimate shadow of the spirit of my early religious training in that old christian home on the hills.

The question often occurs to us, What do we men most need?  what we men need is not so much outside help as inside help.  We often deplore the lack of worldly success, spending the time in mourning that should be used for working.  We don't need sympathy.  We don't deserve sympathy.  Many a man looking for sympathy, needs really two swift kicks, properly placed.

speaking of Old Kingsborough, I can not remember as far back as the time of the distillery which was a great success in older days.  I can just remember Jerome Case's cider mill.  Some of the deacons of later days wanted to forget it.  I have a very vivid recollection of another cider mill.  I shall never forget that one.  To prove the great change in the attitude of Kingsborough, only recently a modern brewery, making a product containing but five per cent of alcohol, was forced out of business.  Schedam Snapps and Hostetter's Bitters are no longer sold in the grocery stores for medicine--and on  the proposition, at least, New Kingsborough has made rapid strides over Old Kingsborough.

  


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