[The following was written by Dorothy (Sherman) Way [36] probably after Charles’ death. Chuck is Charles Archie Way [29], Dorothy’s Husband. I think she was the only one who addressed him as Chuck. The locations mentioned are in the vicinity of Corry, Warren Cty, PA]


Chuck’s family history as I have gathered it in bits and pieces. There are probably many omissions.

Grandpa Charles DeLeslie Way [15] was born in East Branch in 1844. He served in the Civil War and was never well after the war. He was a carpenter and built oil well derricks. In 1869 he married Mary Catherine Reynolds [16] and they had 3 sons. Lee [24] (1870) was a railroad man all his adult life, part of the time as a telegraph operator. I saw some pictures one time of exotic birds he had drawn, very good. Chuck’s dad Archie DeLeslie [11] was born on November 8, 1874, more on him later. Carl [25] (1877) was a musician and I think played in an Army Band. He also wrote music.

As I stated, Charles DeLeslie was never well and he died in 1879 leaving a widow and three small sons. Mary Catherine was a dressmaker and turned to that trade to support her boys since there was no kind of welfare then. At Horn Siding between Spring Creek and Garland there was a big boarding house and private dance hall with paid ladies. The Madam came up to Spring Creek and wanted Grandma Mary to make dresses for the “ladies.” She needed the money so she took the job. Her brother-in-law got her a new Singer sewing machine and she thought she was in business. However, she was nearly kicked out of the church and had to stop making the dresses. It was rough going and Chuck’s dad went to work for a Mr. Wood at a young age for only his board. He walked to school from Baker Hill to the school at the foot of Job Hill, now called Eldred Hill

On April 19, 1900 Archie De Leslie married Georgianna Amelia Hines [12], daughter of John Hines [13] and Jane Clark Hines [14]. John Hines came from England, date unknown, and I know nothing of Jane Clark except that she was called Jennie. Georgianna, or Georgia as she was usually. called, was born on December 5, 1884 and had an older sister Maggie Mae (1881) [411].

Grandpa John, as Chuck always called him, was foreman at the stone quarry this side of Garland. He had always handled dynamite and when he had an old horse that had outlived its time he turned to dynamite as a way of disposing of him. One day he put a stick of dynamite and a short piece of fuse in his pocket and took the old horse up on the hill. He tied the dynamite to the horses neck lit the fuse and started back to the barn. When he heard a noise and turned around the old horse was right behind him. You can imagine his speed getting away from that horse.

When Chuck’s dad and mother were married He was working in Becks Tannery in Spring Creek. It did a good business of tanning an average of 1800 hides a week. The first tannery burned in 1901 and another one was brought in from Torpedo but most of the men had been laid off. Some of them went to work in the stone quarry but I think Chucks dad cut axe handle bolts for a Mr. Larry’s handle factory in Union City. There were several tarpaper shacks down by the quarry and Chuck’s mother and dad and Aunt Mae and Uncle Harry lived in 2 of them. They weren’t much and that was a cold winter. The water pail and wash basin would freeze on a bench between 2 wood stoves. Mr. Larry came in the spring and paid the men. They had worked all winter without pay. Chuck’s dad had a $90.00 bill at a store in Garland for groceries, what clothes they needed and horse feed. The next spring the men were called back to the tannery.

Ethel [8] tells me their mother and dad lived for a time in a log cabin almost across from where Monk [40] and Mary have built. I remember seeing the remains. From there they lived in a house that was supposed to be haunted just down the road toward Spring Creek. She thinks they lived there when Eva Mary [26] (born January 12, 1901, who only lived 3 months) died. There was supposed to have been a necktie salesman killed in that house and years later his sales bag full of ties was plowed up in the field. She says she was scared of it as a kid and didn’t like to go past it. One day she went in on a dare from Fern [27] and got the scare of her life from a noise that turned out to be a cow with a mournful moo.

In 1901 or 1902 they moved to the "Old Place” and a family of 5 more were born. They were Fern Marie [27], December 24, 1902, Ethel Josephine [8], May 16, 1905, Anna Amelia [28], January 30, 1910, Charles Archie [29], August 2,1914 and Jennie Mae [30], June 10, 1921.

I don’t have the date when Chuck’s father started working in Ajax but I believe he worked there for several years. He also was a farmer and I remember him telling of putting Jennie into a feed bag strung between the two horses when they went to work in the field. Jennie doesn’t remember it but she remembers riding on a horse while they worked.

[In the copy of this writing that Ethel [8] had, the first sentence of the last paragraph was crossed out and the following added:

“Dad Way never worked at the Ajax. Uncle Carl worked there in the early 1920’s. Dad Way, Archie, worked at the Radiator plant. Was there in 1924.” ]

The entire family was musical and went various places to play for dances with Fern going to play second fiddle. Chuck’s mother played guitar and a peddle organ and they sometimes took it with them. She also played an autoharp. When Fern married, Ethel took over the second fiddle then in later years played the uke. Anna played guitar, Jennie the uke and Chuck the violin, banjo and harmonica. I don’t think any of them ever had a lesson. Ethel also told me their dad played drums in a Spring Creek Band. She says she remembers his hat with the gold braid trim that the kids would parade around in while he played the fiddle for them. She doesn’t remember a uniform. She also remembers him playing violin in a band over at Wrightsville but he didn’t like going alone, he also could play the “bones” with both hands, a trick Fred picked up. She remembers, too, once when Clancy at Garland paid the fare for her mother, father and herself to go to Garland on the train to play for a dance in his hotel. They stayed overnight and were treated royally. She was 13 and it was a big thrill to ride the train.

Ethel says Fern was closer to their mother so she, Ethel, doesn’t remember as much as she would like to about her life. I think she led a kind of hard life because Chuck used to speak of it often and wish he could have done more for her. Ethel remembers her always listening to their prayers and everyone had to be blessed, mama, papa, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles. She was also very good with the sick. Ethel, too, was on call for caring for many new babies, she says she has a list. She remembers more going hunting with her dad. One day he dug 13 skunks out of one hole. Skunk skins were worth money then. When she went back to school her teacher told her she smelled. I imagine she did.

It was about the time Ethel was born that their dad was so sick the doctor didn’t think he would live. He had wanted a good violin and his mother and brother Carl [25] gave him “Huldy.” She doesn’t know where the name came from. “Black Betty” came down through the family if I remember correctly. I wish I had listened a little more. Millie [39] has Black Betty.

Ethel also tells me she remembers she and Anna driving the horse and buggy to school and the kids giving the horse carrots. Chuck told of him and Anna driving a horse and having trouble with some of the bigger boys. Anna braided a nut or bolt into the whip lash and hit one of the boys on the head with it. Chuck remembered carrying water from a spring about 1/4 mile from the school. He didn’t mind because it got him out of school for a few minutes, 1/2 hour or so.

On August 12, 1927 Chuck’s mother was horribly burned when a kerosene oilcan exploded when she was starting a fire in the kitchen stove. They had returned from Spring Creek and evidently there were still hot coals in the firebox. His dad beat the flames out, burning his hands so badly he always carried scars. Chucks dad took his mother to the hospital leaving Chuck (13 years old) to put out the fire, He said there were boxes of shells on a shelf that were going off too. Ethel was at Colza helping Anna who was recovering from Vera June’s [60] birth. Their dad stopped there on the way back from the hospital and Ethel went home with him. She says his hands were bandaged so he could hardly drive the car. Chuck had told me he remembered helping his dad shock oats and leaving blood on every bundle. Their mother only lived 2 days and I can’t even imagine the shock and turmoil the family went through.

It must have been sometime after this while his hands were still stiff that Chuck had to learn to play the violin for a dance because his dad couldn’t. He learned to play using only 2 fingers and he always played that way. I have heard other players ask him how he got in all the notes using only 2 fingers.

In June of 1928, about one year after their mothers death and while they were living in the valley on the “Old Place” there was a bad flood. I believe only Chuck, Jennie and their dad lived there then, I remember Chuck speaking of washing and ironing Jennie’s dresses. Anyway, the flood washed out all 3 bridges and took the back of the house and the woodshed where Chuck kept his treasures, whatever they were. He told me once he had a setting hen in there. I remember seeing part of the big bridge that had been there. Ethel says she went home to help clean up. A friend helped with the papering and painting. She says they had to use shovels to clean out the mud and gravel.

Columbus Township didn’t want to replace the 3 bridges so they offered to pay to move the house over the creek and up onto the hill. And Ethel tell’s me that Fern was in the house cooking dinner while it was being moved.

Starting at the flat a new road was made up through the woods to the corner below my place. Chuck had the dubious honor of driving the first horse and buggy on the new road and he said it was pretty rough and he had to avoid hitting stumps.

Ethel tells me that the barn wasn’t moved out of the valley when the house was so they had to go down the hill to care for the stock in the barn. She also tells me they only lived there one winter. Walter [416] and Cora [414] Lamona wanted the land and water for pasture. Some kind of a trade was worked out and they moved up here. At that time the farm was in 2 plots of land with a combined acreage of “56 acres more or less” as stated on the deed dated August 23, 1929.

[The “new” house was just East of the old place on Way Road. (Eber Way [99] had been living there before his death.) The house and land were passed on to Charles and Dorothy and they lived the rest of their lives there.]

I got a few memories from Jennie. She remembers riding bareback on a horse behind Chuck and being brushed off when they went under a low limb. And riding on a sled with him when the runner caved in and he held it with his hand until they finished their ride. She has a scar on her face from a dog bite when she was about 8 years old because, she says she disobeyed after being told to stay away from the dog. I think she said the dog had pups. It was after I started coming over here that she and Virginia [2] rode on a sled through a barbed wire fence. The wire went right between them, scratching Jennies face but not too seriously. She says she remembers going fishing down across the railroad by lantern light with her mother and father. She says there were a lot of blood-suckers down there.

I remember Chuck telling about helping his dad skid logs and falling in front of the log. Luckily he fell into a hollow and the horses pulled the log over him with minor damage.

I think perhaps his most thrilling adventures with a horse is the one he told about in a speech he wrote for the Historical Society. I have this on paper in his own handwriting and will copy it here verbatim.

“In the year of ‘29, when I was 15 years old I was hauling milk into Spring Creek with a horse and buggy. One fine morning I took along a boy from New Castle who was visiting a neighbor. Like all boys I had to show off for the city lad. I let Old Dick have his head and when we reached the top of the hill into Spring Creek we were going much too fast. When I tried to slow the horse a hold-back broke. The road was dirt and about half the width it is now and its still pretty narrow. When we rounded the curve right square in front of me in the exact center of the road going about 4 miles an hour was a neighbor woman driving her Model T touring car. Unable to stop Old Dick promptly stuck his head through the back curtain and with the thills pushing on the back of the car we went into Spring Creek.

“We were both headed for the milk plant on the other side of the railroad tracks. We were about even with the church when we heard the whistle of the Flyer. Margaret Griswold, who was driving the car and was as scared as I was, had shifted into high and we were all going about 20 miles an hour. I grabbed a wheel and got slowed down enough to get the horses head out of the back of the car. Mrs. Griswold went straight and got stopped for the train. As soon as the horses head was out of the car I could turn him toward Garland just making the corner. The road was very narrow and there was a hitching rail the length of the store. Every time Old Dick would slow down the buggy would hit him in the back of the legs and we would be off again. I finally got him stopped by the Beck house. I patched up the hold-back, delivered the milk and started for home. Neither of us boys had much to say on the way home but my dad had plenty when he heard what had happened.”

After we met on October 13, 1934, Chuck used to walk up home on Sundays, quite often going home to do chores and then walking back up for the evening. Occasionally if it was raining in the evening he would borrow a mare and hightop buggy from a neighbor. His dad had Black Jack and Brownie at that time and I don’t think either of them drove single. Anyway, that mare had her signals crossed. Whoa meant back-up, get-up meant stop and back-up meant go. I remember the night Clyde tried to drive her.

Ethel and Virginia had returned from the west and were here my first time over in the winter of ‘35. Clyde and I came over with the horse and cutter on Washington’s birthday and the cutter tipped over on the cross road dumping me into the snow.

It was in the fall of ‘35 that Chuck cut his leg while cutting corn. Don, who was 11 was here at the time and Chuck walked home with him. I remember his leg was bleeding pretty bad when they got there.

Another time Don and I had been down here and Chuck was walking me home one. afternoon. We stopped to go through the old Sears house, which was 3 stories high with a beautiful curved stairway clear to the top and big fireplaces. Don was in the basement and Chuck and I were upstairs. Chuck hollared into one of those big chimneys and Don came running out of the basement and said, “I almost heard a ghost!”