SILVERBAY-Ninety years ago on April 27, 1921, Ethel Andrus will tell you, "I was born and raised in Silver Bay on Watts Hill, the lovely knoll my father bought and cleared to build our homestead."
There she lived all the days of her life, not counting the months from June 1946 to May 1947. She had become the wife of Bill Andrus on June 1 and the newlyweds moved to Louisiana. But Ethel became so homesick that before the year was up, the couple returned to Watts Hill. Bill and Ethel fixed-up living quarters over the garage that had served as her father's office before his death in 1943. Captain Walter G. Watts had been known as one of the ablest surveyors in northern New York.
Ethel entered the world as the second youngest of the seven children of Ethel Mary Shattuck (for whom she's named) and Captain Walter G. Watts. She talks about her parents with pride.
"My mother, Ethel Shattuck, was 15 when she married my father. He was 35. My parents were a very independent couple. They had to be-it was subsistence living. What we couldn't grown, preserve, or make, we ordered from Montgomery Ward-parcel post." Her father, she told, "...would go across the lake by boat. In winter he'd carry his transit on his back and walk across on the ice to the opposite shore and go over the mountain all the way to Whitehall. Transportation was scarce in those days." Ethel's husband, Bill Andrus, when the couple returned to Silver Bay for good, went to work at Hague's Trout House Garage. Ethel became postmaster of Silver Bay in the little building on 9N at the head of Pudding Island Road, just a little north of Watts Hill. Many a resident, including some writers, became acquainted with Ethel at the post office. The well-read and knowledgeable Ethe helped document facts from fancies about her hometown.
Charles G. Gosselink, for one, thanks Ethel in his book on the Penfield family as one of the more accurate contributors in researching history, stating "Ethel Andrus has been very helpful in answering many questions and clarifying several mysteries."
Ethel served as historian of the town of Hague. Up to her 80s Ethel was active as president of the Hamilton-Warren County Council of Senior Citizens, as secretary of the Hague Senior Citizens Club, served on the board of the Hague Chronicle, volunteered at the Hague Volunteer Fire Department and at the Ticonderoga Black Watch Library to name just a few of her volunteer services. She took pleasure in delivering Meals on Wheels in her community, a project that she started and is still on-going here. At home, she adopted many a homeless cat and dog. She has always read, read, read books and newspapers.
These days Ethel still loves visiting the Black Watch Library or going out for ice-cream at the Wind Chill. She'll still answer questions about the past, but she'll surely ask you a question back: "What's new in Hague?"
Her 90th birthday was celebrated in the dining room with her niece, Jane Crammond, good friends, and fellow residents at the Adult Home in Moses Ludington April 27. She thanked everyone afterwards. Cards and letters will reach Ethel Andrus at Moses Ludington Hospital - Adult Home, Wicker Street, Ticonderoga, NY 12883. Calls are always welcome, too, at 585-4079.