Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Conger, Harold Henry

Harold Henry Conger


My dad [Harold Henry Conger] was born in 1890 so was one of the young men taken up by the advent of the automobile. He became a mechanic at a very early age and soon had his own garage. I think it was about 1914 at Keeseville, NY. He later had more garages in more metropolitan cities such as Schenectady. He wasn't a good business man but he became widely known for his tool making ability.

Among the people he worked for was Thomas Edison. In 1917 he built an engine for Henry Ford. It was the first six cylinder motor in America and it was tested in 1918 with a car my dad built for Ford.

Ford, Edison, Stimety and Firestone took an Adirondack vacation in this car in 1918. My father drove the men all over the Adirondacks. Mr. Ford didn't want the engine but he sold the design to the Dodge family. So we Congers never drive Fords!

My mother taught in rural schools and never got more than $4 a day -- and sometimes a lot less. Her family were Finneys and they apparently were merchants for century after century.

My grandfather, Earl Allan Conger, 1856, was a mountain man that my mother thought was lazy. He was fire warden for a PA-Co. ... moonshine mountain for a great many years. He loved to hunt and supplied the road crews and line men for the first power lines in [the] mountains with deer meat.

His big farm was at Port Kent on Lake Champlain. Teams of oxen and horses drew hugh loads of logs across the lake to Burlington, VT on winter ice. It was a trip of thirteen miles. My grandpa, being a mountain man, was a great storyteller too.

My younger brother, Robert, died at the age of 59. He was a tool maker and mechanic. He had a good service record in World War II.

My brother, Walter, owned a bottled gas plant which, incidentally, my dad invented the regulator for in the 1930's. Walter was responsible for hundreds of volunteer fire departments in New York State and is a good local civic citizen.

My older sister, Vera, had a son who died and a daughter who has a large family. Vera worked at many things and was a baker for the state of New York. She is just one fine person.

My sister, Dorothy, had one son and is now a retired school teacher. She is another of what I perceive to be a Conger trait; steadfast citizen, more Republican than Democrat; more Dutch Reformed Church than Catholic.

Looking back at Conger families is looking back at America being built into a great nation. The great many steadfast citizens are truly the building blocks. Each one is adding a little to each community in which they lived. None of them is taking away anything but each is leaving a piece of themselves.

The world is changing, but your pulling the floating and scattered families together may be the greatest contribution of all!

Sometimes when one looks at an old and lonesome graveyard, we say, "Look at all the forgotten people." Well, we can just look over at the nice hospitals, the town hall, the school and the business community and "then" you know that only these dead ancestors did this by staying in the community until they died.

[Note: On 25 March 2008 I searched the entire Conger file and could not find this family. Where do they fit into the Conger family tree? Richard E. Henthorn)

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