Ruth Lewis

Posted on December 19, 2016

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Ruth 1a

REMEMBERING CLAY

Story of Ruth

A long-time member of Clay is 100 year-old Ruth Lietz Lewis whose grandparents on her mother’s side came from Germany. Ruth’s parents settled in Liverpool where she was raised. She attended Liverpool schools and the old St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Her life and involvement with Clay begins with the Euclid Hotel. On Saturday nights, square dances were held upstairs. It was at one of these she met Leland Lewis, her future husband when she attended with two of her girl friends. The Second World War was just beginning and this was a good place to meet any young men that were still at home. Leland worked the farm with his father. In 1941 they were married in St. Paul’s where she had been baptized and they moved to the Lewis farm on Mud Mill Road. Leland’s father, Platt and mother Ira (Gates) lived in the old homestead on over 100 acres of farm land. He had worked the farm on shares for many years, but finally bought the farm from the owner. Ruth and Leland moved into a newly built house on the property, a little south of the homestead. The story goes that the big barn had burnt down and Platt felt it was because of the faulty construction of the builder. To compensate Platt, the builder constructed a new house for Ruth and Leland. She has lived there for 68 years. So her farm life began in 1942 and her membership at Immanuel Lutheran Church. She had a large strawberry patch and put a stand in front of the house to sell them. Of course, she made jam. Across the road they grew corn and cabbage. The cabbage went to the sauerkraut factory in Clay, near the Church. She remembers helping cut New York City. Some was given sold to the cheese factory in Clay. In the winter, the big milk cans were put on a sled and pulled to the corner of Mud Mill and Caughdenoy Roads to be picked up. They had work horses to pull the plow before they bought a tractor. Here their children were born – Ron in 1943 and Donna in 1947. Ron attended the one-room Dutch Settlement School on the corner of Mud Mill and Caughdenoy Roads. Originally it was called Youngs Corners after the some of the first settlers of the area – the eight Young siblings who began arriving in 1812. They were also the founders of Immanuel. It is believed to be one of the first schools in Clay, but the deed for this building shows 1861. Their Grandmother, Ila, taught here. In 1948, Mr. Sears, owner of the Funeral Home in North Syracuse, worked with others to centralize the schools in Clay, Cicero, and surrounding area. After the new North Syracuse Central School was built on Main Street, the children would walk to Ver Plank Road to pick up the school bus – children from Mud Mill, Ver Plank, Caughdenoy and Oak Orchard. The children belonged to 4-H and Ron raised rabbits. Besides working on the farms during her life, she worked as a cook for 21 years at Pitcher Hill and Cicero Elementary Schools, taught Sunday School, was a member of Daughters of the Nile (Shriner’s auxiliary) and Home Bureau. She remembers especially, Dorothy Lepinske, Lola Hawthorn, Evelyn Trumble and Pastor Kisselburgh. Her monther-in-law Ila has her name on the Pr Reichert quilt that hangs in Immanuel‘s meeting room. The old homestead is rented by Joe Toundrow (who helps Ron with the haying on the farm). He is a long-time resident of the area brought up in a house on the other of the tracks on Mud Mill Road (not the wrong side!) and is like a member of the family. Ruth enjoys living in her house with all her wonderful memories. Ron and Linda live only a couple minutes away and Donna visits every three weeks from her home in New Jersey. What a wonderful life!!

Dorothy Heller, Historian

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We continue with Carl’s memories: “As my brother and I grew, we soon were driving the horses on the hay fork with one driving the team and the other handling the hay rope and ‘whiffletrees’.