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Harris-Gorsch postcard Dec. 13,1905 postmark (click image for larger view)

This story is a result of a postcard that Karl Dubshinski, of Jefferson, lent to me.
It is a photo of Minekill Falls in North Blenheim, NY and addressed to Miss Helen Gorsch, Roxbury, NY.

Harris-Gorsch 1 Cent Postcard
By Karen Cuccinello 2-2019

My Dear Miss Gorsch – It is up to your boys to challenge us to a debate. The sentiment here is that your challenge will be accepted immediately. Sincerely, Charles M. Harris. It has post marks for Jefferson and Roxbury on the same day December 13, 1905. Debates were very common for the time period. Minekill Falls was often included in the advertising for nearby Boarding Houses as a sight to see while visiting.

Well I could not find this debate but I did find one from a year before, then added mini bios of the author and the recipient of this simple one cent post card.

January 12, 1905- Jefferson Courier- About ten students will accompany the debating team to Roxbury Friday afternoon to attend the debate between Jefferson and Roxbury High schools on that evening. The local debaters are Charles M. Harris, LaVerne Craft and Harrie A. Danforth. A very close and interesting debate is expected.

Charles M. Harris brought two skulls to the debate to make some kind of comparison. Hum, where did he get two skulls? The news clip closed with “It probably made some of the timid ladies in the audience see ghosts”.

In the 1905 Jefferson census Charles is living with his family: George W. Harris age 48 carpenter, Rosella (Lines) 48, Harold L. 20 poultry farmer, Charles M. 17, Dorothy 12 and Winifred 9 on Maple Ave. He had graduated valedictorian from the Jefferson Academy in May 1904.

The 1917-18 WWI Registration card- Charles Mortimer Harris age 29, of Philadephia, PA, born May 17, 1888 in Jefferson, NY, occupation stenographer at US Dept. of Agriculture, single, medium height, slender build, black eyes and hair.

He married Amanda Fiske Boyd of Philadelphia at some point before the 1920 census for Leonia, NJ. His eyes changed color in the 1942 WWII Registration card.

He's now living in East Pikeland Twp, PA, post office Kimberton, PA, age 53, still employed with the US Department of Agriculture and his description was: height 5'9”, 170lbs, blue eyes, brown hair, light complexion.

Charles died suddenly, May 18, 1943 at Kimberton, PA,. He was a veteran of the United States Army during the first World War and for 24 years he had been manager of the livestock division of the Philadelphia office of the federal bureau of markets. He was survived by his wife; one brother, Harold L. Harris, Jefferson; and two sisters, Miss Winifred Harris, Jefferson, and Miss Dorothy Harris, Oneonta.

He and his wife are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jefferson.

In the 1905 Roxbury census Helen Gorsch is with her family: Charles Gorsch age 37 undertaker, Hattie/Harriet (Stinson) 38, Helen 16, Irene 6, Charles 3 andk Rudolph 1. She also won 1st place in a speaking contest that same year. She graduated from Roxbury School in 1909 and Oneonta Normal School in 1912.

In 1915 Helen is a teacher in Hempstead LI, Nassau County and in 1918 she is living in Tappen Sloat/Sparkill hamlet of Orangetown, Rockland County and does something I never heard of before. She served with the YMCA during WWI, I believe from June 1918 to January 1919. I could not tell from her 1917-19 YMCA World Service Card if she went overseas or not.

Helen is in Orangetown listing as doing clerical work in the 1920 census and in 1925 she lists her occupation as statistician and her sister Miss Irene, a teacher, is with her. In 1933 she is in NYC and in 1939 her sister Irene is with her in East Nyack, NY. Then back to Orangetown with her sister in 1940. The enumerator for the 1940 census stated that the ladies would not give him any information other than their names. Throughout the years she visited her family in Roxbury often and seemed to keep a house there at times. She also went to St. Petersburg, FL with her mother in 1948.

It must have been quite a blow to Helen when her younger sister died 1967 in Nyack. Helen lived another 14 years and died October of 1981 in Nyack. She is buried in the Roxbury Cemetery.

More articles by Karen Cuccinello

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