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Edna DeGraw Schuh
(Interview taped 10/6/1970)
I was born in Teaneck at corner of DeGraw Ave. and Teaneck Rd. My father John DeGraw, son of William and my mother a Demarest. Grandfather DeGraw's farm is several hundred acres extended south of Ft. Lee Rd-- west to Bogota line and east almost to Leonia. My grandfather gave land for the turnabout of the trolley in the meadows. He had DeGraw Ave. paved and planted a long line of maple trees.
The Brinkerhoff-Demareat house is the oldest in Teaneck, built in 1728-29 and has been occupied continuously by members of the families ever since. It was given as a wedding present by Brinkerhoff when his son married Miss Demarest. Now has 11 rooms, wide hall, front and back parlors, dining rooms, kitchen on first floor, Dutch doors north and south sides. There were three in kitchen until 1899 when grandfather thought he'ld like more modern doors. Back parlor has a Franklin stove, better heat than a fire place. Walls were over 18 inches thick, hand made nails, original oak floors. Bulls eye glass in doors leading to parlor and dining room.
Gables added to north and south side of house in 1912. In 1940 town cut off half of their kitchen when Teaneck Road was widened. In so doing removed the huge fireplace and the Dutch oven. Nothing could be done about it. They could have widened the road on the west side where there was no building. Change brought the kitchen window within 5 feet of the sidewalk.
My aunt Miss Saretta Demarest was very active in the SPCA and vice president of Constitutional society. I was past regent of Red Mill Charter, D.A.R. American Legion was my pet project. I became a member after World War I.
I started and finished in the little old school on Fort Lee Road. Miss Emily Howland the teacher, later became principal of Longfellow school. Never had any other teacher except a substitute when Miss Howland got scarlet fever and lost her hair. When she came back she wore a wig. I graduated from the school in 1906--never went to the new school. Lily Thiede was in my class, 2 other girls and 4 boys. About 40 children in whole school.
Went to Hackensack High by trolley. Up to 1900 trolley only went to River St., Hackensack. Later went on to Paterson.
After high school I went into nurses training at Hackensack Hospital, became an army nurse stationed at Lakewood where they had 19000 patients. During flu epidemic called for volunteers to open a hospital at Camp Humphries at Fort Belvoir, Va. I was discharged in May.1919 and then did private duty in Hackensack and Englewood hospitals.
When I was a child there were no stores in Teaneck. We shopped in Leonia. My grandfather had 8 or 10 teams of horses. My sister Rae and I had a shetland pony and cart. Used to go across the meadows to get the mail. The post office was in the general store.
My husband and I have a son, Dr. Frederic DeGraw Schuh, a plastic surgeon in Charleston, S.C. He has three children--2 sons and a little girl who is to be christened next week.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410