Nina Daniels


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 family—is 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 war—the Civil War—which 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.

Wednesday, January 14, 1948 - Old-time Quilting Parties
Wednesday, January 28, 1948 - Settling the Land
Wednesday, February 11, 1948 - Candle-dipping
Wednesday, February 25, 1948 - Shanty Sanctuary
Wednesday, March 3, 1948 - The "New Look"
Wednesday, March 17, 1948 - The Pioneer Woman
Wednesday, April 7, 1948 - Forest to Farmland
Wednesday, May 5, 1948 - Pearlash, Saleratus, and Asheries
Wednesday, May 26, 1948 - Pioneer Pleasures
Wednesday, June 30, 1948 - Diversions From Drudgery
Wednesday, July 21, 1948 - A Water Wonderland
Wednesday, August 11, 1948 - Why Big, Fierce Animals Are So Rare
Wednesday, September 8, 1948 - Walls of Stone
Wednesday, October 27, 1948 - The Land Barons
Wednesday, November 3, 1948 - Macomb's Purchase
Wednesday, November 10, 1948 - House that David Built I
Wednesday, November 17, 1948 - House that David Built II
Wednesday, November 24, 1948 - House that David Built III
Wednesday, December 1, 1948 - House that David Built IV
Wednesday, December 29, 1948 - New York Puritans
Wednesday, January 5, 1949 - Early Earthly Discoveries
Wednesday, January 19, 1949 - The Tin Pedlar
Wednesday, February 2, 1949 - Snake Oil and Rusty Dippers
Wednesday, March 9, 1949 - The Safeguard of Liberty
Wednesday, April 6, 1949 - Lil' Red Schoolhouse I
Wednesday, April 27, 1949 - Lil' Red Schoolhouse II
Wednesday, May 18, 1949 - Lil' Red Schoolhouse III
Wednesday, July 20, 1949 - Lil' Red Schoolhouse IV
Wednesday, August 10, 1949 - More Diversions From Drudgery
Wednesday, November 23, 1949 - Speaking of November
Thursday, January 26, 1950 - A Review of the Half-century
Thursday, February 2, 1950 - North Country Diaspora
Thursday, March 9, 1950 - Ah, But a Memory
Thursday, March 16, 1950 - Wide Board Floors to Carpets and Linoleum
Thursday, March 23, 1950 - Gradual Revolution
Thursday, March 30, 1950 - Busy and Bumbling to Tranquil and Sleepy
Thursday, April 20, 1950 - Story of the Churches I
Thursday, May 18, 1950 - Story of the Churches II
Wednesday, July 26, 1950 - Story of the Churches III
Wednesday, August 23, 1950 - Story of the Churches IV
Wednesday, November 8, 1950 - Ruminations of Parishville Fifty Years Ago

"Mrs. Daniels of Parishville"  The Quarterly of The St. Lawrence County Historical


North Country