Ladies Aid Society of the Wayne Methodist Church cookbook of 1892

This week the mail has once again brought interesting information about Wayne in a bygone era. This time it was a letter from Miss Lillian Walter who, with her sisters, Miss Helen and the late Miss Nellie Walter, lived for many years at 105 Runnymede avenue with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Walter. They moved to Perkasie about 12 years ago.

Miss Lillian Walter writes: “The other day in cleaning out a kitchen drawer in which there were several old cook books of my mother’s, Helen and I came across this old cook book compiled and published by the “Ladies Aid Society of the Wayne Methodist Church” in 1892, 65 years ago. It was done as a means of raising money for the society… the church had been fairly recently built.”

The letter then tells of a recent visit to their home, made by Mrs. Gertrude Ware Case and her brother, Albert Ware, both Wayne residents of many years, who had been much amused by the contents of the old book.

Miss Walter regretted that the book had not reached this writer in time for exhibition at the recent historical meeting of the Saturday Club, when many other mementos of the late 1800’s had been on display.

Miss Walter’s letter continues: “I was a little girl at the time the cook book was published, but remember perfectly my mother buying a copy, and I am quite sure that the book found its way into the kitchens of most of the Wayne households of 1892… the timing of the cooking of certain vegetables is priceless – one hour for spinach, for instance!”

The booklet of “Practical Receipts” was compiled by the Ladies’ Aid Society less than a year after the completion of the building of the church. There were well over 100 recipes in the 78 pages, and even more advertisements than recipes.

As the reader glances over the various items, she is struck by the fact that many edibles that were then made in the kitchens of Wayne are now purchased from the shelves of the grocer. Homemade bread seldom makes its appearances on any table now, particularly “bread of entire wheat flour.” Tomato catsup, pickled onions, picklelilli, chili sauce and chow chow come in bottles these days, and, more often than not, soups come in cans. Welsh rarebits, warm slaw, potato pancakes, kidney stews, breakfast croquettes are but a few of the now almost forgotten dishes. And who makes raspberry vinegar now?

Under the listing of “Things learned by experience” are the following:
“If your coal fire is low, throw a tablespoon of salt on it, and that will help greatly.
“To remove grease from a carpet or any woolen goods, beat up the yolk of an egg until it is light, rub on the spot with a brush, let it remain half an hour; then wash with hot water and Babbitt soap.
“To prevent codfish from smelling through the house when cooking, put it in a covered boiler and place in the oven – it will cook just as well.
“For a burn, apply pure castile soap; moisten the soap, shave off and spread over the burn; it prevents blistering.
“To keep your milk pure, put it into glass fruit jars and close tightly.”

(Next week’s column will contain same of the many advertisements that appeared in this 65-year-old cook book.)

Wayne Girl Scouts Troop #131 of Radnor Grammar School, War Bonds

52_image01Many pages could be written on the history of Wayne Girl Scout Troop 131, one of the oldest in the Philadelphia Council. However, this brief article endeavors to chronicle only the very beginnings of this troop, whose charter dates back 40 years ago this April.

A record book of Troop 131, made up of early troop minutes, old pictures and newspaper clippings, was kept for many years by Miss Myra Paxton, now Mrs. Elliston J. Morris, Jr., of St. Davids. The first page contains brief minutes of the first meeting, “On Friday, March 23 (1917), six girls met to organize the Wayne Troop of Girl Scouts. It was decided that Miss Nancy S. Hallowell be captain and that a charter be obtained for the troop.”

At the second meeting on April 6, “It was decided to invite the girls of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades of The Radnor Grammar School to join the troop the following Friday, at 2:30 in St. Mary’s parish house, Wayne. All subsequent meetings to be held Friday, at the same time and place until school closed for the summer, when a new time would be decided upon.”

Enthusiasm ran high in the newly-formed troop. By the next meeting, the much prized charter, now carefully preserved in the troop records, was on exhibition. Captain Hallowell was joined by Lieut. Margarette Tingley and membership had grown to 23. Part of the business meeting was the pledge of allegiance, after which the Scout Laws and requirements for a tenderfoot scout were explained. Patrol leaders were elected and dues of ten cents a month were decided upon.

At the meeting a week later “patriotism was discussed and tying knots was practiced.” Next on the program was a hike to the woods near St. Davids, where eager young scouts “picked flowers and looked for birds.” After that they “returned to the school campus where the salute to the flag was given.” At another meeting “the uses of triangular bandages were explained and practiced… drills and setting up exercises took place.

By early May, the group took an active part in a pageant given at the Saturday Club for the Wayne Branch, American Red Cross when, dressed as nurses of that national organization, they acted as ushers, took enrollments and served tea; proving that “a Girl Scout is useful and helps others.”

This troop of young girls was also very active in the sale of war bonds, canvassing not only homes in the Wayne – St. Davids – Radnor area, but also met trains at the station and solicited sales at the bank. The total of their subscriptions reached an amazing $16,000.

Much of the early success of this troop may be attributed to the leader, Miss Hallowell, whose untimely death saddened the whole community. One of her outstanding achievements with the troop was swimming instruction for each girl. This was done on the lake at “Walmarthon,” the former Walton estate, now Eastern Baptist College, St. Davids.

Throughout the ensuing years, many Scouts have made their way through the ranks of Troop 131, under the guidance of many fine leaders from the time of Miss Hallowell, to the present leadership of Mr. John Dunlap, of Villanova.