Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Lynch



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I was born Feb. 3, 1917 at 7th and Holland in Erie, Pa during a horrible blizzard.  The house was on north-east corner, a  flat, and we lived upstairs.  The house is no longer there.  I had a sister Jean who was 3 yrs. old at the time.







My parents made clothes for customers in shops they set up in the attic.  My father was a tailor and my mother a dressmaker.  She would make the long wool skirts and my father made the jackets for the Victorian women.




When I was 9 mo. old, the moved to East 6th and Wayne and my father went to work for Ewing and Forsythe on State St (9 or 10 hundred block).  They were a men’s store selling haberdashery suits, etc.  When I was 1 ˝ years old, they bought the house at 217 East 8th Street for $3,000.  My mother’s Uncle John of Dunkirk, NY gave her $2,000 of her inheritance[ii] [to help them buy the house].



Text Box: Dunkirk, Mch 18/18
Dear Niece,
I have your letter note and in reply will say the Bank would not take long term notes.  So, as long as they would not do it I wish to say that I will try and be up to see you about April 1/18 and as you cant get the house before means I expect to have some money in by that time and I may be able to let you have the $1,000 – Myself, and take a second mortgage When I see you we’ll arrange matters and I will see the place you are after.








Things we did for fun that cost money


  1. Movies (Lots of them)
  2. Waldameer
  3. Circus
  4. Hill-Mill Dairy (across from 217)[iii]
  5. Trolley ride to cemetery out West Eight Street[iv]
  6. Watching parades at granddad’s (Lynch) store on State St. 
  7. Ice Cream Sodas at Adams & Streubers
  8. Rides to farms with Aunt Alice and O’Brien Grandparents[v]
  9. Rides to French Creek with Uncle Frank Lanagan
  10. Peninsula
  11. Train ride to Dunkirk
  12. Boston Store[vi]
  13. Chaconas Candy Store
  14. Pulakos[vii]
  15. Kraus’ Department Store[viii]
  16. Mrs. Schultz’s Bakery – 7th & Parade
  17. Mrs. Eddy’s candy









Games we played

  1. Hop scotch
  2. Jump rope
  3. Jacks
  4. Ring around the Rosie
  5. Roller skating
  6. Hide & seek
  7. Kitty in the corner[ix]
  8. Paper dolls
  9. Dolls – dressing, etc.
  10. Making mud-pies
  11. Pet chickens[x]
  12. Swinging under pergola and tire in A. J. Denny’s yard
  13. Doing handstands – somersaults and gymnastics on hill in J. Gorman’s back yard
  14. Making angles in snow
  15. Sliding down hill next door at Mr. Osborne’s shop



I was tutored by Mary Purtle, 5th grade teacher at Jones School[xi] at 7th and Holland until I entered 3rd grade.




1st – Miss Sheridan (NA)

2nd – Ellen Purtle (NA)

3rd – Miss Calabrese

4-1  Mrs. Lachensky

4-2  Mrs. Slocum (awful)

5-1  Miss Shannahan (English)  We now rotated between four teachers

5-2  Mary Purtle (Math)

6-1  Miss Runser (Geography)

6-2  Miss Hecker (History)


Principal – Miss O’Day, sister of Dr. O’Day who delivered me.


Students in my class whom I remember




  1. Dorothy Shank (best friend)
  2. Jean Cage (prettiest)
  3. Etta Krel (2nd prettiest)
  4. Dorothy Beemer
  5. Lottie Lambos (Greek)
  6. Angline Castianis (Greek)
  7. Lois Smith
  8. Ann ?? (Russian girl – much older than us)
  9. Ester Anderson
  10. Betty Krimmel (Dr. Krimmel’s daughter – 6th & Parade)
  11. Irma ? (had perfect attendance all 6 grades)




  1. Richard Stancliff (blind)
  2. Joseph O’Hara
  3. Joseph Glennon (policeman)
  4. Bill Fowler (newsman)
  5. Grayton Peek (epileptic)
  6. Paul Ricart (music teacher)
  7. Ivan ? (Russian boy who told entire Tarzan story in 5th grade)
  8. Jewish boy who never talked
  9. Polish boy who never talked
  10. Russian boy who smelled of garlic, teased me all the time, he sat in front of me
  11. Johnny Denny (speech problem, wet his pants, etc!! Sorry)



[i] History is undated but estimated to have been written in the late 1980s to early 1990s

[ii] In the text box is a letter dated March 18, 1918 from John O’Brien to his niece, Jennie O’Brien Lynch about giving her the money to buy the house.

[iii] Hill-Mill Dairy container from an eBay auction

[iv] Trolleys operated in Erie by the Erie Electric Motor Company starting in 1891.  The company reorganized with the Buffalo and Lake Erie Traction Company in 1906.  The company folded in 1935 when Betty was 18 years old.  The Waldameer Trolley would also serve as transit to Trinity Cemetery, where the Lynches and O’Briens are buried, on West 8th and Peninsula Drive.  Information from “Greater Erie Trolleys” by Kenneth C. Springirth.  Trolley photos from Helen Kaufman.

[v] See O’Brien Family History by Mary E. Lynch Gray for more about the family farms, etc.

[vi] The Boston Store closed in 1979, the building is now apartments and office space

[vii] Pulakos Chocolates are still in business at 26th & Parade Streets

[viii] Kraus’ Department Store is still operating at 7th and Parade

[ix] Kitty in the corner is a classic children`s game. 4 to 6 players stand at corners of the playing area, one player in the middle. 2 players try to make eye contact, and then switch places, while the middle player tries to capture a corner.  Source:  improvencyclopedia[dot]com

[x] Photo of Betty and Eileen with chickens from Barry Gray’s Picasa web page

[xi] Jones School is now an office building.  Photo from Google Street View

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