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Country Walks

 in Many Fields

 

 

Being Certain Choice Annals

 

Of the

 

Paterson Rambling Club

 

 

By JOSEPH RYDING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1934

 

 

 

Copyright 1935 The Call Publishing Company

Paterson, New Jersey

 

 


 

 

 

DEDICATION

____

 

This Book Comprising the Writings of

 

JOSEPH RYDINGS

 

Compiled by

 

CARL F. SCHONDORF

 

 is Respectfully Dedicated to

 

PHILMER EVES

 


 


 

 

Preface

 

 

Here is one of those rare books that, like a fragrant flower seen by the wayside, has found its way out of its obscuring surroundings, and thus has not "wasted its sweetness on the desert air." The people of Paterson and the State of New Jersey have been enlightened and delighted, during many years, by the printing, in The Paterson Morning Call, of the precious treasures of information and delight from the voluminous writings of Joseph Rydings. Carl Schondorf has republished many of them in his popular weekly column on "Country Walks in Many Fields." Thus, those reproduced have been read and admired, and have benefited thousands of readers. Some of them and many other gems of "Rydings' Writings" have been collected for this historic, volume.

 

What an heirloom Joseph Rydings, the "leader" of the Paterson Rambling Club, founded in 1904, has left to this city and to this state! This book will enrich our literature, and thousands of people, nature students, botanists and others interested in our city's beautiful rural surroundings, who read these delightful and instructive pages will feet grateful, that this humble and revered man and great naturalist has lived in our midst.

Philmer Eves.

 



 

CONTENTS

 

 

 

  • The Paterson Rambling Club
  • Inspecting Art Treasures
  • Anarchy in America
  • Mr. Rydings in Reminiscent Mood
  • Ramblers at Spring of Dunkerhook
  • Ramblers at Haledon
  • A Pilgrimage to the Place Where Hamilton Fell
  • Thanksgiving in the Woods
  • Ramblers' First Hike of the Spring Season
  • Some Recollections of Madison Avenue
  • An Historic Dundee Ford
  • T he Beauties of the Notch
  • Woods Are Beautiful
  • The Ramblers at Caldwell
  • The Ramblers Visit Suffern
  • Ramblers at Oakland
  • Historic Old Stone Church at Paramus
  • Springtime Journey to the Glacial Roc
  • Spring Flowers Greet Ramblers: at Sicomac
  • Rambling Club at Glen Rock
  • Experiences Along Beaten Paths
  • The Passaic Falls Years Ago and Now
  • A Trip to High Mountain
  • A Ramble to Deep Brook Glen
  • Ramble to Squaw Brook ValleyHow Joseph Rydings Spent a Rainy Day 
  • Beauties of the Ramapos
  • The Charms of Cherry Hill
  • Ramblers at Green Pond
  • Another Old Paterson Landmark To Go
  • A Ramble Over the Haledon Mountains
  • Ramblers in the Ramapo Mountains
  • Ramblers at Cedar Grove
  • Mortuary Tributes Old Settlers at Wyckoff, N.J.
  • A Ramble By Squaw Brook
  • Winter Scenes Along An Old Waterway
  • Camp Rusticate at Pompton Lakes
  • Rogers' Woods of Today and Yesterday
  • A Summer's Day Spent at Old Dundee Lake
  • A Day in the Heart of the Preakness Mountains
  • "Wetting" a New Estate On a "Dry" Saturday
  • A Ramble Along the Tow path
  • A Trip to Garret Mountain
  • From Jitneys to Old Indian Traits
  • The Canal Tow path in the Wintertime
  • Reminiscences of a Popular Orchestra
  • Prehistoric Paterson, Passaic Valley and The Remains of a
           Vanished Race
  • Evolution of the Warping Machine
  • Days of the Old Hand Loom and Bobbin wheel  Recalled
  • Paterson, the Nature Lovers' Home

 



 

 

Ode of Welcome

 

By Philmer Eves.

 

 

 

Rural ramble, by the bramble,

   O'er the mountain, by the brook,

Through the fairy woods we'll scramble,

   In the field or shady nook.

 Fragrant flowers, the fields adorning,

   Dewdrops glitt'ring on each spray,

 Whisper  in the breeze "Good morning,

   Hither come each summer day."

Leave behind all toil or sorrow,

   Nature's sweets shall banish care,

With the sunshine come tomorrow

   Health is free as mountain air.

 

 Babbling streams then sing your greeting,

   Crimson leaves bestrew our way.

 Merry men and maidens meeting,

   Welcome to our club today.

 

 

 

  Offlcial Song of the Paterson Rambling Club.



The Paterson Rambling Club

 

 

t HE Paterson Rambling Club, which has now become such a popular organization, was formed September 15th, 1904, when a meeting was convened by Philmer Eves to talk over the proposition. The idea had its inception in the spring of that year, when a number of interesting and most enjoyable outings were taken with Joseph Rydings, by a few friends, including Mr. Eves, in the mountains and woods around Paterson.

 

Joseph Rydings, whose delightful articles are so much enjoyed, was an ardent lover of Nature, interested in botany, entomology and other pleasant subjects, and be rendered those few earlier spring walks very attractive and popular. His breezy and cheery articles in the public papers bad long been enjoyed by all classes of readers.

 

Mr. Rydings: was one of the ablest pioneers who could have been found for the position which be held as the Club's leader, and the founder of the Club, Philmer Eves, had bad years of experience as leader of a similar club in the old country. It was Mr. Eves who originated the idea in Paterson and who called the first meeting to adopt measures for the formation of a rambling club.. The idea was decided upon in his mind while taking a winter morning's ramble, or rather a very early spring morning's ramble in the Notch mountains with Mr. Rydings and John Hartmeier, Jr., editor of the "Patersonian." It was on that same day that the dilapidated but or hermitage of old Nicholas Murphy was discovered in the lonely recesses of the cedar and pine woods, far from all human habitations, where the poor old jilted lover had nursed his sorrows for the long period of forty years all alone. He bad, only two days before that time, been removed from his wet and cheerless arbor, suffering from pneumonia and was taken by some friends to the Passaic County Almshouse.

 

His readers will remember the description given by Miss Susan Contesse in one of her articles, about the rude haunt of poor old Murphy and about the romantic history of this remarkable recluse. It may be remarked in passing that subsequent visits by the Ramblers to this secluded dell showed the long used cooking utensils and a part of the clothing of the solitary hermit scattered in all directions around the ruins of the almost obliterated but.

 

An account of the pleasant outings enjoyed by the Club since September, 1904, when the Club was formally organized, would fill several volumes of deeply interesting reading, as it would deal with delightful descriptions of the enchanting rural rambles over High Mountain. along the mountain range extending over to Preakness, and in the woods and fields and beautiful scenes of various part of Passaic and Bergen Counties. It would take in comprehensive dissertation on the native flowers. shrub and plants which grow in such lovely and fragrant pro fusion on every band around our city, and would give much interesting information and detail regarding the geology and the ornithology of the neighborhood. The members have discovered and brought to light many a old and almost forgotten homestead or landmark, and they have been warmly and cordially welcomed in the woo or pastures or the mountains of landowners in all dim tions to the cheering delight of the farmers and bum residents of the various localities visited.

 

There is another happy feature connected with the Club's purposes. It is at times when members are surrounded by the glory of the scenery or resting in some lovely and flowery spot in the woods where the beauties of the autumnal foliage inspire a feeling of delight and poetry that appropriate recitations from Shakespeare are heard, and where other poetry of a pastoral nature is recited. It is also on occasions such as these that music is enjoyed and happy choruses are sung by the Club.

 

On each of the journeys the members study the woodland flowers and foliage, pick up specimens of fossil rock, revel in the scenery and in the grandeur of the autumn woods. On each occasion the "Ode of Welcome," composed by the founder, is sung, and altogether the weekly meetings are greatly enjoyed.

 

The first ramble to High Mountain took place under the most favorable weather conditions. Mr. Buscbmann accompanied the party and generously brought a carriage which conveyed the refreshments to the top of the mountain, where a memorable meeting was held in the woods. The woodland scenery of High Mountain was greatly enjoyed, and the flowers and plants which grew along the footpaths were explained by Joseph Rydings. Recitations from Shakespeare and other poetry was given, and altogether a most delightful time was shared by all the members.

 

The second ramble took place on Saturday, September 24th, when by the kind invitation of Catholina Lambert, the owner of "Belle Vista," the Club visited the castle on Garret Mountain. Mr. Lambert personally met the party and conducted them through the Italian gardens, and afterwards through the picture galleries and private rooms of the mansion, describing the art treasures and curiosities of his vast and magnificent collection. At his invitation, the Club members joined in singing the "Ode of Welcome," and a copy was presented to Mr. Lambert as a poetic symbol of the Club's appreciation and gratitude for the great privilege extended to the Club.

 

On October 2nd, a ramble was taken to the lovely woods 'around Arcola, and was also greatly enjoyed on account of the beauty of the autumn foliage, which on this day was in full glory. Many fine specimens of botany were discovered and brought away, and a number of flowers and plants unknown to some of the members were revealed and explained by the able and deeply respected leader, Mr. Rydings.

 

The Club then held another meeting on October 5th; the brief rules which the founder bad drawn up for consideration were adopted, and the tenor of these rules is fittingly expressed in the concluding paragraph, which provides that "the leader's suggestions be respected at all times, and members of the Club will add to the general enjoyment and benefits of the rambles by keeping together, following the chosen paths and acting cheerily in accordance with the general arrangements, always remembering that the highest pleasure consists in making each other happy." The object of the Club, is the healthful and delightful study during rural rambles, of botany, geology and kindred subjects. The idea was promulgated by Philmer Eves, who has always taken a deep interest in Nature studies and in country walks.

 

The suburbs of Paterson are so famous for their beautiful scenery, both mountainous and woodland, that it is surprising that more of Paterson's citizens do not avail themselves of the proximity of these lovely places to enjoy more frequently the beauties and charms of Nature, but it is felt that the Rambling Club is doing much good, not only to its individual members, but in a way of attracting attention to outdoor recreation and country walks generally.

 

Two pretty poems have been composed by Mr. Eves, an "Ode of Welcome" was first sung by William Buschmann at the Club's memorable meeting under the large chestnut tree on, top of High Mountain, when he so enthusiastically introduced Haydn's "Hymn to the Emperor": to the words of the Ode. This melody has been adopted ever since and is a great favorite with the members.

 

The doings of the Paterson Rambling Club after its inauguration, bad been followed with so much interest by the public that a resume of the Club's meetings during the first season must certainly be chronicled.

 

 One of the Club's most delightful and memorable outings was enjoyed on October 30th, 1904, when about forty members took a ramble over the Notch Mountain. On the way they called at the beautiful residence of William B. Gourley, where the party was photographed on the picturesque lawn. The "Ode of Welcome" was sung, and Mr. Gourley cordially welcomed the Ramblers and extended his good wishes. It was a glorious day of sunshine, and as the party journeyed through the dense cedar woods in the neighborhood of the Notch reservoir they came across the remains of the hermitage or hut of old Nicholas Murphy, the recluse who had lived in that secluded woods alone for forty years. The history of this remarkable character bad attracted considerable attention on account of the love romance attached to the story, and the Ramblers saw all that was left of the old man's rude and dilapidated habitation. 0n this delightful ramble the witch hazel was at its best, and Mr. Rydings, the esteemed leader, explained the uses and the medicinal virtues of the beautiful tree. Lunch was taken on the top of the precipitous and romantic cliff known as Washington's Rock, and the members will never forget the glorious view as seen from that elevated spot in the clear and bracing atmosphere.

 

Another red letter day was November 1st, when over fifty of the members enjoyed the hospitality and the cordial welcome of the Pica Club, the local press club, in its handsome rooms in the Colt building. Here a social evening was spent, and refreshments, music and dancing made a delightful time.

 

One of the pleasant features of the evening was the reading by Philmer Eves of a sketch prepared by him, containing the history of the Club. Mr. Eves read as follows:

 

"The short history of the Paterson Rambling Club is a history of success, popularity and delightful rambles. Two days ago thirty seven members of our club shared the never to be forgotten ramble over the mountains and Washington's Rock to the Great Notch and Little Falls. As we sat on the summit of those elevated cliffs and looked down upon the fertile valley of Richfield, and then away beyond over the surrounding country which was bathed in the glorious sunshine of one of the last of October's brightest days, we felt the inspiring influence of the thrilling charms surrounding us.

 

"It was when taking a romantic ramble in the same beautiful region, when the ice and snow of a hard winter was being gradually replaced by the genial sunshine and the budding trees of early spring accompanied as we were by our esteemed friend and leader, Mr. Rydings, and John Hartmeier, Jr., that the idea was developed in my mind regarding the formation of a rambling club for Paterson. We advisedly allowed the warm summer months to go by and the annual vacations to be all ended before we took steps to convene the preliminary meeting. You all remember that happy first meeting on September 15th, of the present autumn, when Mr. Rydings genially accepted the leadership, and when our respected fellow member, William Buschmann, gladdened us at the outset by giving us the freedom of his High Mountain territories, and by offering to escort the members of our Club on the first ramble.

 

"And who of us meeting here tonight, who reveled in that glorious outing and meeting in the woods of High Mountain, will ever forget the joyful feeling of healthy exhilaration and delight as we listened to recitations of appropriate poetry from the immortal Shakespeare, or as the sparkling embers of our Gypsy fire crackled a merry accompaniment to the first singing of our 'Ode of Welcome,' or as we gazed upon the magnificent panorama from the mountain top. We realized indeed that it was good to be members of the Rambling Club, and that henceforth we should be able to look back with a fond recollection of a happy day and enjoy the cheering prospect of other happy outings to come. And who among us will ever be able, even if we desired to do so, to erase from the memory the enchanting experience and impressions of the wonders of Lambert's Castle? We felt the poet's comparison of art and nature, so beautifully expressed by Cowper in 'The Task,' where he says:

 

'Lovely indeed the mimic works of art; And Nature's works far lovelier. I admire, None more admires, the painter's magic skill, Who shows me that which I shall never see, Conveys a distant country into mine, And throws Italian light on our walls; Yet imitative strokes can do no more Than please the eye sweet Nature's every sense, The air salubrious of her lofty hills, 'The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales. And music of her woods no works of man May rival these, these all bespeak a power Peculiar, and exclusively her own Beneath the open sun she spreads the feast; 'Tis free to all 'tis every day renewed; Who scorns; it starves deservedly, at home.'

 

"Thus in the very early period of our second ramble had it been our happy lot as a young club to enjoy both the beauties of art and the glories of Nature.

 

"Another short week of happy recollection and eager expectation brought us all together in the autumn woods of Arcola, where the splendor of the gorgeous sweet gum trees and 'the loveliness of the blue gentian flowers are still so fresh and delightful to one's memory.

 

"And let me ask the small and enthusiastic few who, after an early morning of threatening rain, went out to Little Falls and felt the inspiration of Nature's charms as we saw the variegated tintings of the foliage illuminated in the unexpected. sunshine and glorified by the sparkling of the myriads of dewdrops glittering on each spray is it not very pleasant indeed to recall that charming ramble and that beautiful morning along the Passaic River?

 

The sweet recollection of the giant tree and the luscious spring of Dunkerhook, and the ramble home along the country lanes in the golden gloaming of a lovely Saturday, is still and will ever be to those, who were there, 'A thing of beauty and a joy forever.'

 

"And 'old men and maidens, young men and children' will often think in the time to come, of the clear October skies, the bracing atmosphere and the romantic scenery around Indian Rock, and of the fairy like and lovely glen where we all formed in a ring and sang, so heartily the song of our Club. There are those among us who have, on more than one occasion, expressed the delight which they have realized in our rambles, and who have felt that their lives were brighter and their health better, because they have been connected with our merry party whose object is to enjoy country walks together, and to study the charms of Nature as presented in the Flowers and the trees, the mountains and the valleys, the by ways and fields surrounding this good old town of Paterson.

 

I will close these few reminiscences by saying, that I hope we shall long be spared individually and as a Club, that we may enjoy the benefits and pleasures of these delightful country outings and happy meetings for many years to come."

 

Among the members who joined the Club at its meeting on November 28th, were the Mayor of Paterson, William H. Belcher, ex Mayor John Hinchliffe, and Miss Jeanette Vermorel, the talented young violinist.

 

A few honorary members were also elected at that meeting, namely: Mrs. Edwin Simonton, Miss Marion T. Meagher, Catholina Lambert, William Meagher, Congressman Hughes and Colonel W. H. Rogers.

 

The principal event in connection with the doings of the Club during the first season was the most successful banquet held at Brunner's, on December 15th, 1904, when over one hundred members and guests partook of an excellent dinner and enjoyed one of the merriest evenings ever spent by the Club. The floral and electrical decorations were elaborate and very beautiful. Philmer Eves, the president of the Rambling Club, was surprised during the merriment of the evening by being presented with a handsome gold locket, containing the photographs of himself and Mrs. Eves and their Youngest son, thus showing be evident Popularity of the Club and its founder.

 

Stirring addresses were given by Dr. Pbin, Colonel Rogers, Judge Kerr, William Buscbmann, Alfred Neuberger and others, and song and music kept the Ramblers happy until midnight.

 

The "Ode of Welcome" and the "Parting Song" never sounded more harmonious or inspiring than on that festive occasion.

 

Joseph Rydings, the Club's veteran leader, entertained the company by an encouraging and delightful address.

 

Some of the guests bad come long distances in order to show their appreciation of the objects of the Rambling Club, and Mayor Belcher and Cath

olina Lambert and others sent letters expressive of their regret at being unable to be present.

 

The last meeting of the Club, for the season 1904, was held in the Mayor's office, in the City Hall, on kind invitation of Mayor Belcher. The "Ode of Welcome" was sung heartily, and the president outlined the Club's intentions for the spring season.

 

The special feature of the meeting that will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it, was the presentation to the Club of a new "spring song" by Miss Marion M. Henderson, who is known in Paterson as the poetic "Scottish Lassie." Miss Henderson, dressed in her Scotch plaid, addressed the meeting and personally recited the beautiful words of the song and gave some other poetry of her own composition.

 

A number of the members addressed the meeting. Fred Campbell, one of the charter members, gave a vivid description of a lonely visit which be had made to the top of Garret Mountain at night to see the glorious effects of the moonlight at full moon. It must have been a sight worth witnessing, and this shows the growing interest which is being taken in studying and enjoying the wonders and beauties of Nature.

 

Among the new members enrolled was Max Schrabisch, the able and interesting writer and student of geology. The acquisition of such a valuable new member as Mr. Schrabisch was appreciated, and a hearty welcome was accorded our local and talented geologist.


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