Stories from Jon Stidworthy

My first memory of Kingswood is in the late 1960’s. Several young families from Warwick would come up on Memorial Day weekend. Most of us had pop-up or tent campers, and we would set up in a circle across from the farmhouse. This was long before there was a parking lot in that spot.

One weekend, I remember we had a campfire going, and one of my daughters was sitting on my lap. Some of you may know that Kingswood has a variety of rocks that when they get heated up, will explode. Well you can probably guess the rest of the story. Yup! A rock got too hot and blew hot coals over my little girl and me. Thank the Lord, we escaped unharmed.

Another experience about the same timeframe: Same folks, same circle with a campfire in the middle (different year than before). When we went to bed, our fire was a bed of hot coals. During the night, something woke me up, and there were flames in the circle. I jumped out of bed yelling “fire, fire.” Lawton’s fly had fallen, and a corner of it fell into the fit pit and over time it caught fire. I pulled it out of the fire and stomped it out. The next morning I couldn’t remember having put on shoes, yet the soles of my feet were fine. Once again, the good Lord was watching over us.

This story took place around 1980, in the winter. Back then the Town of Tompkins did not do a very good job on our end of the road. Bob Porter and I were at Kingswood with my daughter Cheryl (Winship) and my son Bruce. I don’t remember who else may have been there. We said “How about it we tow you two kids to the top of the town road on your sleds and let you sled back down on the icy, snow covered road?” Boy, did they jump at the opportunity! Up the road we towed them with Harry, gray tractor (Kingswood got Harry 50 years ago with the purchase of the farm). At the top, where the mailboxes are today, we let them go. As I remember the experience, Bruce got down around T&T and “bailed out.” He couldn’t take the speed! Cheryl kept on her sled past the farmhouse, down through the woods, and stopped on the flats near the Barney Smith farmhouse (now owned by John Hurley). Note: never did it again.

One more and I’ll quit!

As I remember…the old faithful tractor, Harry, needed a major repair. This story happened in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

Some of our younger works had Harry down in the field across from the farmhouse when something snapped in the rear end of the tractor. We towed Harry to the barn and did some checking and determined the problem was the ring gear or pinion gear. I did some research to see if we could get parts for such an old tractor. We found we could get new or used parts from a couple of different places. During the winter months Bob Green, Bob Porter’s brother-in-law, and I separated the tractor into two pieces and pulled the rear wheels and axles so we could get to the ring and pinion. The pinion gear had snapped into two pieces, the ring gear was ok. Ordered the parts and put it back together all in the barn, in the winter, with no heat. Oh, what we do and call it fun!

Written in June 2009 for From Hathaway Farm to Kingswood Campsite, the book of stories compiled for Kingswood’s 50th anniversary.