St. Helena Hospitality

St. Helena was host to many a traveler, and its people were kind to the unfortunate. One figure familiar in the town was “Aunt Eban Noddy,” somewhat demented but entirely harmless. She made annual pilgrimages over the country on foot, dressed in fanciful attire. She was the mother of “Sol Noddy” who made his home at St. Helena and Castile for more than forty years. He, like his mother, made trips over the countryside and was given shelter by many good people when he needed it. Sol died July 2, 1895, at the Wyoming County Home at Varysburg. His mother, Mrs. Eva Nichols, “Aunt Eban,” died February 21, 1879. It is thought one of the unidentified remains from the St. Helena cemetery was that of Mrs. Nichols.

The Castilian of February 23, 1884, stated that “Tuesday evening of that week, Mrs. McKay entertained about fifty invited guests at the home of her son-in-law, Samuel Agar, below St. Helena. Mrs. McKay was a splendid hostess and understood the art of making her guests feel at home as well as keeping them entertained. A fine supper was served to which the company did ample justice. Later in the evening they departed, feeling they had spent a most enjoyable time. Mrs. McKay spent most of her rime in Rochester, but during the two or three months of winter, she was with her daughter, Mrs. Agar. . . . ’

On March 16, 1894, the Castilian said, “A very large number of young people of Castile, Mt. Morris, Nunda, and also friends from Buffalo, were very highly entertained at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Piper and family of St. Helena, Thursday. During the evening refreshments were served by the able hostess, Mrs. Piper, who knew so well how to entertain. Music and games were indulged in until the wee small hours. Came time for parting and with a warm grasp of the hand, goodbyes were spoken with many wishes for the welfare and prosperity of the family.”

Source: Anderson, Mildred L. H, and Marian P. Willey. St. Helena, Ghost Town of the Genesee, 1797-1954. Castile, N.Y, 1954. Print.

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