Sunday Series focused on
“The First Great Awakening — Fervor and Ferment“
In the 1730s, a wave of religious revivals, sponsored by the established clergy of the Reformed Churches, swept the Thirteen Colonies. The fervor disrupted the connection between church and state in New England. These revivals involved extreme emotional displays by the thousands of people who heard the sermons of Jonathan Edwards and various itinerant preachers. Though there was little lasting impact on the religious commitment of the colonies, the ideas presented probably moved the colonies closer to declaring independence from Great Britain.
“The First Great Awakening: Fervor and Ferment” was presented by the Kent Historical Society as part of its Sunday Series lectures in the Kent Town Hall Sunday, September 17, 2017.
Tom Key studied engineering, was a flight officer in the US Navy and retired as a Commander in the US Naval Reserves. His professional career was with an international engineering firm, designing and constructing nuclear and fossil power plants, steel mills, and chemical plants. He’s also had a career as a landscape painter exhibiting in over thirty galleries and invitational/juried shows from Delaware to Maine.
The lecture, as well as future Sunday Series events in 2017, helps give context to the Kent Historical Society’s exhibit in the summer of 2017, “The Founders of Kent,” on the emergence of one New England town in the 18th century. The 2017 Sunday Series events are sponsored by the Kent Barns and the Kent Lions Club.
The Kent Historical Society sponsors the Sunday Series every other month September through May. Free admission for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.
Sunday Series will focus on “Foods of our Founders”
In what promises to be a lively afternoon, self-proclaimed foodie Lola Chen will examine colonial cooking from the ground to the kitchen in mid-18th century Kent. She’ll examine what food was available in Kent in the founders’ era, what foods might have been borrowed from the Native Americans, and how everything would have been prepared. Salted cod, anyone?
“Foods of Our Founders” will be presented by the Kent Historical Society as part of its Sunday Series lectures in the Kent Town Hall Sunday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m.
Chen brings a global perspective to the subject. Educated in the UK and Hong Kong, Chen has traveled the globe and examined foodways and their history wherever she’s gone. She’s a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, and also the Museum Educator at the Wilton Historical Society. She brings an unusual blend of food and cooking excellence, along with a deep historical awareness of how cooking evolved over the years.
The lecture, as well as future Sunday Series events in 2017, helps give context to the Kent Historical Society’s upcoming exhibit in the summer of 2017, “The Founders of Kent,” on the emergence of one New England town in the 18th century. The 2017 Sunday Series events are sponsored by the Kent Barns and the Kent Lions Club.
The Kent Historical Society sponsors the Sunday Series every other month September through May. Free admission for members; $5 suggested donation for non-members.
Who Saved Otto Klug?
Investigating a 75-year-old mystery
By Peter M. Heimlich, copyright@2017
So-called “alternative facts” are nothing new. Here’s an intriguing example tied to a dramatic, high-profile event that happened about 75 years ago in Litchfield County.
It starts with an August 29, 1941 front page New York Times article, Children Escape in Train Wreck; 2 of Crew Killed, about a massive train wreck in Kent. Six cars carrying hundreds of campers derailed into Hatch Pond. Two trainmen were killed and a third had a leg amputated.
The article concluded with information provided by “Henry Heimlich, 21, of 30 West Ninetieth Street, a sailing counselor at Camp Mah-kee-nac and a pre-medical student at Cornell University, who was… the ‘hero’ of the accident.”
“I was riding in the next-to-the-last coach.” Heimlich related, “when suddenly there was a lurch…I ran forward and jumped out. I saw that the engine and the first car were almost submerged and that the fireman’s leg was caught under the steps of the second car which had overturned. He was lying in about four feet of water.
“He was floundering around, hysterical, and I ran toward him and held his head above the water…”
“He was all black and he was crying that he was afraid he’d lose his leg. Another counselor, Jack Handelsman, who is also a pre-medical student jumped into a boat nearby and rowed out to help me. Then a lot of people came and while I held the fireman up they started digging underneath with their hands, and later with shovels, to free his leg.”
A few months later, the Times published a follow-up item with a photo of the handsome 21-year-old pre-med student receiving an award for bravely saving the life of the train fireman.
The sailing counselor and apparent hero was my father, Henry J. Heimlich MD, who died a couple of months ago. If the name rings a bell, it’s probably because of a choking rescue treatment he first called “the Heimlich method” in the June 1974 medical journal Emergency Medicine. Only two years later, what had been re-named “the Heimlich maneuver” was incorporated into national first aid guidelines. Since then my family name became a household word and my father’s namesake treatment has been credited with saving the lives of thousands of choking victims.
Fast forward to Spring 2002 when my wife Karen and I began researching my father’s career. To our astonishment, we uncovered an unseen history of fraud throughout my father’s career. Most shocking, he’d used nonexistent or fraudulent data in order to promote a string of crackpot medical claims that resulted in serious injuries and deaths.
My dad was no slouch when it came to singing his own praises to anyone in earshot and I was no exception. Most of our time together consisted of him telling me about his achievements and awards, especially after he became famous.
And that was my first problem with the train wreck story – over the decades he never mentioned it to me. I only learned about in the early months of our research when Karen and I happened upon the 1941 New York Times articles.
My interest was piqued, so about 14 years ago, I decided to take a closer look.
Via public libraries in Connecticut, I obtained copies of every article I could find about the headline-making disaster. I also contacted Marge Smith at the Kent Historical Society who sent me some paperwork from their files and put me in touch with Emily Krizan, whose husband, Joseph Krizan Jr., reportedly participated in rescue efforts at the train wreck including helping the trapped fireman, whose name was Otto Klug.
Interestingly, none of the articles and none of the people with whom I communicated said anything about any camp counselor (or my father by name) being involved in the rescue.
Instead, they near-unanimously identified a local resident named Jack Bartovic as the person responsible for holding Klug’s head above water for hours. Local residents Charles Durcher Edwards and Philip Camp were also identified as participants in the rescue.
“Joseph Krizan, Jr., had seen the locomotive and cars topple off the track into Hatch Pond at South Kent yesterday as he was mowing the grass in front of his mother’s house, just off the South Kent Road.
He and a friend, Jack Bartovic, ran toward the accident as fast as they could…Krizan was the first person to reach the scene. Bartovic didn’t get into the car, because he saw a man half in and half out of the water, a short distance away at the other end of the car. It was the fireman, Otto Klug, of Seymour.
Bartovic waded in and held Klug’s head above water, for his leg was caught. Later they found it had been almost severed and a doctor wanted to cut it off and get Klug out of there, but Klug said, ‘My leg isn’t bad. I won’t let you cut if off. I’ll wait until the crane gets here and they lift the car off me.’
So Bartovic stayed with him for more than two hours, and the crane lifted the car and then Klug saw that his leg was hanging only by flesh.
Krizan and Bartovic told their stories as they watched the wrecking crew working on the derailed trains in the late afternoon sunlight that slated off the green quiet hills.”
In a March 25, 2003 e-mail, Marge Smith wrote me:
Emily Krizan stopped by here today with some thoughts for me to pass along to you…She got into a discussion with Marge Richards, who is sure HER husband was THE one to hold up Klug’s head. But we feel positive that several people had that task, as the poor man was in the water for many hours. Emily and her husband had a dear friend named Jack Bartovic (no longer alive), who also held up Klug’s head. Many years later, Klug knocked on Jack’s door and came in to thank him for helping to save his life. Jack said he remembered Klug begging them to save his leg because he could feel it.
At the time I also interviewed Jacob “Jack” Handelsman – the camp counselor my father told the Times reporter had “rowed out to help me.” Dr. Handelsman, then a prominent surgeon at Johns Hopkins, said he never heard anything about my father being involved in the rescue. He also didn’t remember anything about a rowboat. When I asked him about my father getting the award for bravery, he expressed surprise because my father never told him about it.
The mystery of the Hatch Pond train wreck resurfaced recently because a December 19 Wall Street Journal obituary about my father repeated the 1941 New York Times version about how my father “held up the head of one of the train workers until help was able to arrive.”
In the course of corresponding with the Journal about the apparent roles of Jack Bartovic and other area residents, I again reached out to the Kent Historical Society. That resulted in a gracious invitation to write this article which I hope generates more information from readers.
To get the ball rolling, I composed and uploaded this page to to my website that includes all articles and related information I’ve obtained: http://medfraud.info/OttoKlug.html
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS CAMPS BOOK TALK & SIGNING
Join the Kent Memorial Library and the Kent Historical Society as they welcome Martin Podskoch of East Hampton, Connecticut on Saturday, March 11, at 2:00 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall, 41 Kent Green Boulevard, Kent. He will discuss and sign copies of his newly published book, Connecticut Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy.
Connecticut Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy is the definitive book that records the CCC experience for the men who helped support their families during the Great Depression with days of hard work, Army discipline, and camaraderie.
This volume is the second state CCC project Marty has completed. New York State was the first. He learned from the first research effort the skills needed to complete such an all-encompassing history. He interviewed many old men whose fond memories of their youth in the CCC remained vivid. In his interviews Marty found that these men felt great pride in their work with the CCC, that it was a good time in their lives – – for some, the best. Most agree they learned how to get along with many types of people. As you read what each man said you will come to know something of the time, to reach into the past and know what it was to be in the CCC!
The CCC was a public works program that operated from 1933 to 1942, as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. It targeted young men and veterans in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression, providing unskilled manual labor related to environmental conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands.
Volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America, constructed more than 800 parks nationwide, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways. In nine years, 2.5 million young men participated in restoring morale and public appreciation of the outdoors.
These young men worked in 21 Connecticut CCC camps while some traveled to Western states to do conservation projects. These interviews and hundreds of marvelous photos of camp life capture the vitality of the young men who worked so hard to improve our forests, which had been ravaged by fires, lumbering, and storms. We must not forget their labors in the woodlands and state parks that continue to be enjoyed by millions today.
Podskoch’s book describes the history and projects of the 21 camps located throughout the state. Camps were located at Housatonic Meadow in Sharon; Stones Ranch in Niantic; Natchaug State Forest (SF) in Eastford; Nipmuck SF in Union; Squantz Pond in New Fairfield; Meshomasic SF in Cobalt and Portland; Pachaug SF in Voluntown; Black Rock SP in Thomaston; Tunxis SF in East Hartland; Mohawk SF in West Goshen; Burr Pond in Paugnut SF; American Legion SF in Barkhamsted; Salmon River SF in East Hampton; Wooster Mountain SF in Danbury; Shenipsit SF in Stafford Springs; Experiment Station Land in Poquonock; Macedonia Brook in Kent and three camps in Cockaponset SF in Killingworth, Haddam, and Madison.
Enrollees signed up for six months and worked a 40-hour week for $30/mo. The government sent $25 to the enrollee’s family and the enrollee received $5. The young men received good food, uniforms, and medical care. At first they lived in tents; later they lived in wooden buildings. These young men and special camps for war veterans were able to help their families and gain a sense of worth.
There are hundreds of pictures of the boys at work and at camp, sometimes laboring mightily, other times clowning around or playing on camp teams.
There are excerpts from camp newspapers of cartoons, poems, doggerel, and songs that will delight the reader for this unique window into their lives.
Since most of the boys quit school after 8th grade to help their families, the Army organized evening classes for those who wanted to get a GED, learn vocational skills or just hobbies like photography. In precise detail the reader will see what the boys studied in the education classes, a wide variety of classes from Accounting (practical) to Drawing and Music (entertainment), and life skills.
Scores of interviews with CCC veterans tell each man’s story from early life in a large family trying to help during the hard times. Angelo Alderuccio, from Bristol, worked at the Cobalt CCC camp in 1934. He said, “I was happy joining the CCCs because my mother was going to get some money, and it took me off the streets.”
CCC enrollee, Ed Kelly of Woodbury, said: “I was interested in the CCC because there were no jobs and I had cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes. There were eight children in my family and the money I earned helped my parents.”
You will follow boys from city and village as they learn of the CCC, enlist, travel away, and become the muscle and bone that built the state parks, water projects, planting trees, and so much more. Their stories continue, most often through WW II, a return home to begin to use what they’d learned. There are stories of their families and their professional lives. After reading one boy’s life journey it is clear how much the CCC helped each one develop the character and purpose they carried through life.
Marty Podskoch has authored six other books: Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore, Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts, Northern Districts and also Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and Adirondack Stories II:101 More Historical Sketches. His travel book, The Adirondack 102 Club: Your Passport & Guide to the North Country, was published in 2014.
This event is free & open to public. His book Connecticut Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy will be available for purchase & signing after the talk. Please register. For more information, call the Library, 860-927-3761; email email@example.com; stop by the Library; or visit the Library’s online calendar at kentmemoriallibrary.org.
The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, visit kenthistoricalsociety.org or call 860-927-4587.
The Kent Memorial Library’s mission is to enrich the lives of individuals and the community by providing materials, programs, and services to encourage reading, learning and imagination. The Kent Memorial Library is located at 32 North Main Street, Kent, Connecticut. Visit kentmemoriallibrary.org for more information.