It is hard to imagine my Grandmother Nina Daniels was born in 1870, nine years before the invention of the light bulb. Twenty-seven years later, when she gave birth to my Aunt Dorothy, it was to be eleven years before the first Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line. As I sit here hunched over my computer typing words into cyberspace, it's almost inconceivable for me to consider the world-shattering societal and technological change that has taken place from the horse-and-buggy days of my grandmother's childhood, to our modern era of nanotechnology and space exploration. And considering that such ground-shaking change has taken place in the short span of just three generations of my familyis mind-boggling.
This rapid march of progress was driven by the dreams and hopes of people like the early pioneer settlers who came to the North Country from New England during the mid to late nineteenth century. These rugged individuals, possessing a puritanical ethic of hard work, inventiveness, and Yankee ingenuity, struck out headlong for the rugged new frontier to begin a life anew, and never looked back.
They were tough, yet kind and self-sacrificing people. The women toiled uncomplaining the daylong under stark and primitive conditions, and plied crude implements to complete the endless chores with which to raise a large family. The men, through sheer dogged determination, tamed the rugged wilderness by clearing the land, building a home, and working the land to produce the food to feed his large family. And lest we forget, the hard times many of these rugged individuals experienced were interrupted by warthe Civil Warwhich made life for both men and women much more challenging for those who survived, and of course the families of scores of men did not survive. These were the stalwarts, both men and women, whose heroic deeds in the simple act of surviving in the Northern Wilderness inspired my grandmother Nina Daniels to chronicle in her writings in the local newspaper, the Potsdam Herald-Recorder. These were men, as my grandmother would write, "with the bark on."
As my Grandfather wrote in the April, 1963 St. Lawrence County Historical Association Quarterly, Grandmother Nina Daniels was a devoutly patriotic woman, who had a deep, abiding love for the lore and history of the people and the region, and a profound appreciation for those before us who paved the way for us to enjoy the comparatively safe, easy, and convenient life we enjoy today.
Following are her articles in the Herald-Recorder for the years 1948-1950.