Memories stirred as potpie is served

September 07, 2004|by Alicia Notarianni

WOLFSVILLE - A potpie supper at the park can stir up memories.

The Wolfsville Ruritan fund-raising event Saturday at the Laurence E. Keller Memorial Pavilion at Wolfsville Ruritan Club Park did just that.

Ralph W. Morgan, 86, of Middletown, Md., who attended the event, said he has a deep connection to the Wolfsville Ruritan Club Park.

Morgan, 86, said his great-grandfather, James Wesley Morgan, bought the piece of land that now is home to the park on Brandenburg Hollow Road in 1864. His great-grandfather constructed a building that served as a furniture shop on one side and a home on the other. That building still stands today.


Eventually, Morgan's grandfather, Irving R. Morgan, took over the business, adding a lumber mill. Officially called I.R. Morgan and Sons, the business was better known as Morgan Millwork.

Morgan's uncle, Leslie Morgan, went on to administer the business and his father, Ralph E. Morgan, worked at the mill. Morgan said he labored at the lumber mill until he started his own business in 1955. In 1966, Ralph E. Morgan died, as did the long-standing family business.

"The heirs decided to go out of business," Morgan said.

At that time, the Wolfsville Ruritan - a community service group of which Morgan is a charter member - purchased the land, tore down all the millwork buildings except the original one and began constructing what still stands today as the Wolfsville Ruritan Club Park.

"It was a good use for the ground," Morgan said. "It was good for the community."

Morgan's cousins, Miriam Buhrman, 84, and Martha Spangler, 76, both of Wolfsville, also attended the potpie fund-raiser. The sisters reminisced about their family, the business and the land.

"President Roosevelt got the lumber to build Camp David here. It was printed in Life magazine," Spangler said proudly.

Spangler, like Morgan, said she is happy with the Ruritan's use of the land.

"The community needed a park like that," Spangler said. "I think it's filled almost every weekend one year to the next."

The Morgan descendants weren't the only nostalgic diners.

Mary Mindel, 54, of Towson, Md., who was in Wolfsville visiting her father, Robert Leatherman, 78, said the potpie supper took her back to her childhood, when her aunts in Wolfsville made potpies. Mindel said the pies were the "slippery" kind, with homemade squares of dough dropped and cooked in a thick broth.

"When I moved to the Baltimore area, I saw people making potpies with crust and I said, 'What is that?'" Mindel said. "Slippery potpie is unique to this area."

Bob Condon, 62, vice president of the Wolfsville Ruritan, said club members served around 285 chicken and ham potpie meals at Saturday's fund-raiser, bringing in more than $800.

Condon said proceeds will go toward maintenance of the park, which offers rental space for a variety of social activities, including weddings, family reunions, birthday parties and fund-raising events. The Wolfsville Ruritan Club also provides scholarships for area high school graduates, sponsors Little League teams and contributes to other local charities.

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