1919 Methodist Bible Classes Outing in Flemington, NJ

To those of us who, like your columnist, were living in Wayne in 1919, the duplicate pictures lent for use in this column by Albert A. Ware and by Miss Anna Wood, are subjects for an evening’s study and contemplation, for they bring back memories of a time now more than 30 years past, memories, too, of the people who lived here then, many of them already old timers. They are reminiscent also of the style of clothes they wore in 1919 and of the kind of good times they enjoyed. A later issue of the column will show the kind of automobiles our citizens drove in 1919!

31_image01Although the picture used in this week’s column shows more than 30 people, it is a reproduction of but a small part of the original group of several hundreds of persons gathered at “Broad Acres Farm”, the country home in Flemington, N.J., of Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Ware, then of West Wayne avenue, Wayne. The occasion was the 1919 gathering of the Methodist Bible Classes of Wayne.

To attend these yearly outings, it was not necessary, however, to be a member of these Bible classes, nor even of the Wayne Methodist Church. A general invitation was extended by Mr. & Mrs. Ware, particularly, perhaps, to those among their friends who had automobiles, who were asked, “Wouldn’t you like to come, and perhaps bring others?” For, 30 odd years ago, transportation by car was not the commonplace matter it is in the summer of 1953.

And the answer to this invitation “to come and bring others”, was almost always an affirmative one, according to Albert Ware, as he and his sister, Mrs. Gertrude Ware Case, reminisced over the original large picture with your columnist recently. Incidentally, this original picture is about four and one-half feet long, by almost a foot deep. In the group are several hundred people, their likenesses startlingly clear after almost 30 years. To those who know them, their identity is immediately clear. The large banner attached to the marquee reads:

Methodist Bible Classes
Wayne, Pa.
Broad Acres Farm
Flemington, N.J.

The small pennant held by the man in the lower right hand corner is one of those that were tied on to cars that brought the Wares’ guests from Wayne to Flemington. One side read, “Broad Acres”, the other, “Wayne”, thus making each one in the group recognizable to the others.

The trip to Flemington was a more time consuming one in 1919 than it was in 1953. The start was always early, the occasion a merry one. The attire of the guests was much more formal than it would be on a similar occasion nowadays, especially among the men. Most of the latter wore dark suits with white shirts and heavily starched collars, one of them sporting a wing-tipped Ascot tie and stick pin. Some few had on soft collars, but not a man among them was minus his coat, and many wore vests, carefully buttoned from top to bottom. How different from a similar picnic group of today! However, the women were much more casual and comfortable in appearance than the men, most of them dressed in the 1919 version of the present shirtwaist dress, though somewhat longer in the skirt now than then!

Mr. Ware made some attempt to lighten the spirits and attire of his men guests once they had arrived. All were furnished with broad brimmed farmers’ straw hats, but even when they wore them – and many merely held them in their hands – they did not do much to counteract the stiff collars and dark ties.

One notable exception in the picture is R.C. Ware, brother of the host. “R.C.”, as he was familiarly known, must have been some kind of “grand marshal” for the occasion. In a picture to be shown later in this column, readers will see him in a big farmer’s hat, a full length linen duster ornamented with a huge metal star and with whiskers and a false nose!

Mr. and Mrs. A.M. Ware were host and hostess to their guests in every sense of the word, for they furnished, not only the farm for this annual outing, but food in abundance, served by those whom they had especially employed for the occasion. The meal was always a hot one, the main dishes, as Albert Ware now recalls them, being “always chicken and corn and gallons of apple sauce!” Doubtless these were but a few of the items on the menu of a real farm dinner, served country style. At any rate “a wonderful time was always had by all.”

In the next few issues of this column reproductions of other sections of the large picnic portrait will be shown. Among those identified by Mrs. Gertrude Ware Case, Albert Ware and your columnist in examining the entire picture have been: Mrs. William Lacock, J.D. Lengel, George Lentz, Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Luckenbill, Miss Vivian Lee, the Reverend and Mrs. Henry Rushton and Henry Rushton, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. C. Wesley Reep, Harry Rodenbaugh, Major and Mrs. William Aull, Mr. and Mrs. William Bateman, William Bryan, Miss Lilian Barley, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Beale.

Also, there are Mr. and Mrs. A.S. Case and their son, Richard; Mrs. A.A.H. deCanizares, Phil Collins, Mr. and Mrs. Milton J. Porter, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Wetzel and daughter, Barbara; Reverend Henry E. Walhey, Mr. and Mrs. A.I. Wood, with their son, Nelson, and their daughter, Anna; S.C. Wetzel, Oscar Weideman, Jr., Steward A. Young, William T. Field and Mrs. Frank Freeman.

Still others will be named in succeeding articles in this series, to which Mrs. Patterson will be glad to add any picnic reminiscences given her by her readers. Telephone: Wayne 4569.