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
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,
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.