The Sotherden's Part II

Posted on September 24, 2018


The Sotherden Beginning Part II


As a mail carrier, Frank bought a farm but continued to carry mail until 1917. The big white farm house is still standing on the corner of Route 31 and Caughdenoy Road.  Before we itemize all his civic, business, and social involvements, I must recount his church activities.


After marrying Abie VerPlanck, he became very active in Immanuel Lutheran Church then on the corner of Caughdeoy and VerPlanck Roads.  (It may be the other way around, and that he met her when he joined the church!)  He was totally involved with running of the church.  He was superintendent of the sunday school for three years, which he really enjoyed as he was starting his own family by this time – Donald in 1912 and Lucy Etta in 1918.  This was the period of time when the church leaders, with Frank in the lead, decided to move the congregation to Route 31 to be closer to the center of business activities and the Railroad Station.


In 1915, the old edifice was torn down and as much of the material was saved as possible to be used for the new building.  While Frank led the building committee and the congregation in its program of construction, they met in Weller Hall next door (Now the church parking lot).  The new edifice was completed and dedicated in 1916 and is still going strong.  Although there were many rough years without a pastor.  Frank served as a member of the church council, as treasurer, as chairman of the pulpit committee and vice chairman of the council.  He took charge during pastoral vacancies by occupying the pulpit and bringing the Sunday message to the assembled congregation.  He and his wife, Abie, set up the endowment fund to give scholarships to potential college students who were members of the congregation.  For many years the congregation looked to Frank to keep things going, especially during the depression years.


In 1920, Frank was elected Justice of the Peace for the town of Clay.  From there, he was elected Town Supervisor of Clay in 1922.  He held this position until August of 1935.  However, in 1924 Frank bought the feed and coal business on Route 31 across the railroad tracks from Immanuel Church.  He made many improvements, tearing down the wooden structure and adding to the present cinder block building.  They serviced all the farmers of the area and provided everything they needed.  They ground their grains and stocked all farm equipment and animal feed.  It was called the Sotherden Feed and Fuel Co. and shipped supplies for the war effort during World War II.  He was secretary of the Onondaga Highway Department for ten years.  During this time, he purchased the International Harvester Corp dealership on Genessee Street.  In 1945, he was working at the Onondaga County Court House.


A side interest beginning in the 1920’s was starting the Cicero State Bank as one of its original directors.  It was called M and T Bank.  He was Secretary and President at the time it merged with Merchants National Bank.  Other activities included belonging to the Clay Volunteer Fire Department for 30 years; a member and past master of the Centerville Masonic Lodge of North Syracuse; the Scottish Rite Bodies; and Tigris Shrine; and, a member of the East Clay Grange.  Frank retired as president of DV Sotherden, Inc. in the early 1950’s, but was still involved in many of the above activities.  One last activity was his applying for membership in the General Society of Mayflower Descendants founded 12 January 1897.  He was accepted and became a Mayflower Descendant on March 7, 1967.  Frank passed away in his sleep May 20, 1971.  His son, Donald, was in full charge of the Mill.  (To be continued)


Dorothy Heller, Historian



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