Margaret Gage Hale Powell

Mrs. Powell, 97 Funeral Conducted

(September 15, 1868-October 24, 1965)


Norwood - Margaret Gage Hale Powell, widow of Frank Frost Powell, 29 Prospect St., Norwood, and second oldest resident of Norwood, died Sunday evening Oct. 24. Her 97th birthday was celebrated in September. Services were held at the Buck Funeral Home, Norwood at 3 o'clock Wednesday, Oct. 27 conducted by the Rev. Harry Myers, pastor of the Norwood United Church of Christ of which she had been a member for more than 75 years. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery.


Margaret Hale Powell was born Sept. 15, 1868, at Valley Farm on the Norfolk-Knapps Station Road, owned by her parents, Oscar H. and Margaret (Gage) Hale and purchased in 1823 by her grandparents, Ira and Amelia Judson Hale, from John Constable, a large land holder of the early towns of Stockholm and Norfolk.


Both Ira Hale and his son Oscar were successful farmers, building up Valley Farm to some 600 acres. Both were town supervisors and active in many public and church activities. Oscar H. Hale was Master of the New York State Grange, Chaplain and Overseer of the National Grange.


The Hale line traces to Samuel Hale in Glastonbury, Conn., with a stay of two generations in Rutland and Georgia, Vt., to the 1823 settlement by Ira in a log cabin on 13 acres of land in the "wilderness" now called Norfolk.


Mrs. Powell's mother's line came from Gages, Sears, Benjamins, Paddocks and Aldens of Plymouth Plantation (including Cape Cod) with a migration trail to old Dutchess County, N.Y. to Fairfield, Herkimer County, N.Y., and in 1840 to a small farm in Norfolk.


Margaret Hale was one of four daughters on Valley Farm. Esther married Willis J. Fletcher, a lawyer; Louise married George Harris, a Norwood insurance agent, and both families were residents of Norwood for many years. Gertrude married Earl B. Clark, a Potsdam farmer.


First Regents


Margaret Hale attended the district school at Hale's corners and then the Union Free School in Norwood which stood opposite the park where St. Andrew's Catholic Church now stands and which was alter moved across the park and used for a Firemen's Hall.


At the completion, about 1885, of the brick school on Prospect Street, she, with her class moved there and took the first Regents Examination given in Norwood and was one of the 10 members of the first graduating class in June 1888. She was the oldest living alumna.


After a business course in Albany she worked in the offices of George Harris and Willis J. Fletcher until her marriage to Frank Frost Powell Dec. 29, 1897.


Mr. Powell was a business man and the couple lived in Madrid and at Valley Farm before moving to Norwood in 1906, where they lived until going to their daughter's home in Hempstead, L.I. about 1924.


They were the parents of three daughters, Dorothy Louise (Mrs. George P.) Flint, Hempstead, a 4-H Agent for Nassau County; Esther Hale, who died in 1939; and Zenia Margaret (Mrs. Cecil J.) Folmar who died in 1942. Mr. Powell died in 1935.


Her brick residence at 29 Prospect St., Norwood, one of the village's century-old houses, was leased for some 20 years to the School board to provide room for crowded first and second grades.


When the building of the Norwood-Norfolk Central School cancelled this need in 1953, Mrs. Powell returned to Norwood, and at 85 years of age, rented two apartments in her house besides managing her own. Early village plans show "Railroad Avenue" continued over the tracks to Prospect Street.


The early builder of Mrs. Powell's house faced his dwelling on this prospected "Railroad Avenue" which was never put through. The house still faces east instead of north.


Century of Change


Mrs. Powell's long life of 97 years has witnessed a century of great change. She was two and half when the founder of Norwood, Benjamin G. Baldwin, died and she recalled the big Baldwin house when occupied by Mrs. Baldwin and her sister.


She remembered the building of the of the R.W. & O. railroad across Valley Farm to Massena. The Italians who built the road gathered in the evening and sang, accompanied by accordions.


She remembered the two separate passenger depots, one on Depot Street, and the other on Railroad Avenue.


She was active in the "Ladies Aid Society" of the Norwood Congregational Church and the Women's Fellowship of Christ First Presbyterian Church of Hempstead, especially on sewing and mission projects. For years a member of the Congregational choir she could sit at her piano these last years and play old songs.


She was a promoter of the "Tanawadeh" Camp Fire Girls in Norwood 1912-18, and on Long Island she was a 4-H leader, taught cooking projects, and became a faithful attendant of the 4-H Camps.


During her Hempstead years and following the death, in 1942, of her daughter, Zenis Folmar, Mrs. Powell was "Home Guard" for four very young grandsons, George Flint, and Jack, Roger, and Raymond Folmar.


Mrs. Powell's survivors are her daughter, Dorothy (Mrs. George P.) Flint of Hempstead, N.Y.; two nieces, Louise Fletcher (Mrs. Carroll L.) Chase and Margaret Fletcher (Mrs. Harry J.) Worthing, both of Norwood, and Cambridge, Mass.; a great niece, Barbara Hale (Mrs. John J.) Robinson of Canton; four grandsons, George Powell Flint, an insurance adjuster, Hempstead,; Dr. C. John Folmar, General Hospital, Los Angeles; Roger Folmar, mechanical engineer, San Jose, Calif.; and Raymond Folmar, a senior in the Medical College of George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and two Folmar great-grandsons.


(From the Potsdam Courier & Freeman, October 28, 1965, page 8. Obituary provided by Valerie Roulo)