The following is an account that I believe was published in the Valley News in 1939. I have researched the family and have added information to the story.
A visit with Mrs. Mary Gorman of 422 Clark Street, Waverly, is a delightful treat for anyone, but the one trouble your reporter found in interviewing Mrs. Gorman was her modesty about the little business she has built during many years.
“It was when my two girls were very young and my husband died,” said Mrs. Gorman, “that I started to bake bread to keep a roof over our heads and supply us with the food as needed..”
“It’s many years ago,” she continued. “too long for me to remember, but the last few years I have kept track of the number we have baked, and last year 1938, was our biggest year, when we baked 4,057 loaves of bread and 256 dozen rolls.”
Of course, said Mrs. Gorman, there were the turkeys and hams and other meats that people bring into me to roast for them, which all brings our income up a bit more.
When asked her age, Mrs. Gorman, with a very pleasant Irish smile, replied in a chuckle, “I tell everyone I am 101, hale and hearty.”
We tried to press Mrs. Gorman for her exact age, but always she insisted that she did not know. With our suggestion that this was typical of all women she simply smiled in her knowing way.
One of the amazing things of this baking record is that Mrs. Gorman, despite her age, uses no machinery of any kind, and the baking is done in a regular kitchen range.
Mrs. Gorman does not remember the exact year she came to this country, having been the oldest daughter of a large family, born in County Clare, Ireland.
She gets some assistance in her baking work from her two daughters who live with her.
She has lived in Waverly ever since she arrived in this country in her teens. She was married 62 years ago and has lived at her present address ever since.
Mrs. Gorman claims she can dance with the best of them, but she is no jitterbug and doesn’t care for modern swing music. She goes to the movies only when there is an exceptional picture.
She spends most of her evenings listening to the radio and likes Irish Jigs, Hill Billy music, Major Bowes and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.
When we suggested that she liked Charlie because his name was McCarthy, she gave us that smile with a twinkle in her eye.
Mrs. Gorman despite her unknown years age, is vigorous and wears glasses only for reading or threading a needle. She has never bought an Irish Sweepstake ticket and does not believe in that sort of business.
Rising at or before 5 a.m. Mrs. Gorman spends her day baking and cooking, many, customers calling at her home for their bread and a few stores taking their supply each day.
When asked if she didn’t get tired, she replied, “Work never hurt anyone, as long as it was the right kind of work, and anyone can live to a good age, working, as long as they don’t run around too much, but get to bed at a decent hour at night.”
Mary Gorman was born December 25, 1856 in Kilmurry, County Clare Ireland so she was 83 at the time this interview was conducted. She died November 20, 1942 just three years later. She was the daughter of John and Bridget Down Barrington. Mary married Edward Gorman in 1877, According to census records she states she had five children. Minnie M. born in 1882 married John C. Limerick of Ridgebury, Minnie died in 1909, Anna born in 1886, James P who died September 8, 1890 age 6 months, Nellie born in 1892 there is also a stone in the family plot for John J. who died as an child but the stone is worn and the information not legible. Her husband Edward Gorman was born in Ireland on June 10, 1853. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1869. Edward worked on the railroad and died because of a fall from a railroad car June 21, 1916. He died at the People’s Cooperative Hospital in Sayre as a result of a broken back.
The two daughters who lived with Mary were Anna and Nellie. Anna had worked as a stenographer in her early life but was later confined to a wheelchair and cared for by her sister Nellie. Anna died February 5, 1967. Ellen “Nellie” was an accomplished musician and conducted the Gorman School of Music in Waverly for over 50 years. Nellie was a graduate of the Elmira School of Music and at one time was affiliated with the Knapp School of Music in Elmira. Nellie once had 50 students under her direction. Phyllis Garfield of Waverly was a piano student of Nellie. The Garfield’s lived across the street from Nellie and Anna on Clark Street. Phyllis in reminiscing about Nellie told that she could play many instruments, Piano, Mandolin, Violin, Guitar and that she was very talented. Phyllis also told that her dad Philip Garfield delivered newspapers in his youth and that he loved the smell of fresh baked bread when delivering to the Gorman home. Phyllis became a very capable piano player and is well known around the valley for her ability so her training from The Gorman School paid off.
Mary Barrington Gorman had one sister living in Waverly when she died, Susan Hogan wife of Michael Hogan. They had a large family and resided on Clark Street as well.
Nellie Gorman died February 14, 1969 and that was the end of the line of Edward and Mary Barrington Gorman.
Henry Farley is a founding member and a current board member of the Sayre Historical Society. He is also president of the Bradford County Historical Society.