Great Grandad and the Christmas Seal

 I often talk about the thoughts, or dreams of having a pause button for moments in time. One that when looking back at great memories and times, I would have pushed that button, just to enjoy that small moment just a little longer. 

 Thinking back to memories while looking through old family photos with my Mother, it also spurs a child-like wish for a time travel button also. One that would give me the ability to go back in time, to meet ones that had passed before I was born. Just to have a few minutes to meet the ones behind the faded black and white photos. 

  One for sure would be to meet my Great Grandad “Henry M. Freyer”. Looking through just a few brief moments in time, captured by the then, blurry technology, etched into my mind. Even though I never had any time spent with him, I still place memories in my bank of what I imagine he was like, and the times he lived in. Carved into my thoughts by the treasured time captured images. Just small simple moments printed out in black and white give such an amazing window into family, where we came from, and who we are. 

Great Grandma holding the Christmas Seal poster, along with “Dick and Dime” and Great Grandad

   Great Grandad was born in 1884. Married Great Grandma “Emma Jane Johnson”, she was born in 1894. I would love a window in time to see them as they grew, and what brought them together. But I am thankful for the small pieces of time that I can look into. 

   Great Grandad was known all over for his oxen over the years, two different teams over the years named “Dick and Dime”. This team was used for all the work on the farm, as well as making appearances in parades, from Clearfield, State College, and even New York in 1954 when he took the oxen down “New York’s Fifth Avenue in the rain”, as he had the only oxen in Clearfield County, and two of the only ones in Pennsylvania. 

Stories of Grandad using Dick and Dime while working on the farm. From pulling logs, plows, and tending to the Maple Sugar Shack. And as mentioned in the progress article, during the severe winter of 1944-45, the snow was too deep for horses or tractors. But the Grandad led team of Oxen could get through delivering fuel and food to the snowbound Kerrmoor families. In a 1947 clipping, it ends by saying “It has been pointed out that the oxen hauling a load of Christmas trees on the seal pictorially depicts the importance of cooperation”

Great Grandad with Dick and Dime at one of the news article mentioned parades.

   A photograph was taken of Grandad and his team of oxen, joined together by his hand carved “Yoke”. Articles state this photograph was sent all over to Pennsylvania newspapers as being the official state photo. It was also given to the PA Governor “James H. Duff” and other state notables. In 1947 Grandad and his oxen “Dick and Dime” were selected to be the image for that year’s “Christmas Seal”. 

 I found a few pages of Grandad’s seals a few years ago on ebay and purchased a few pages for my family.

My framed “Full Sheet” display of the 1947 Christmas Seal

   I now also have copies of the original pictures that were referenced in the news articles of Grandad’s Awesome Oxen story. A story of events leading him, Dick, and Dime to be chosen to represent cooperation, gentleness, and small town values throughout Pennsylvania, and across the world in this small “Christmas Seal”. 

Eleven year old Aunt Elsie and eight year old Aunt Gloria holding a poster of the Christmas seal. Wearing their “babushkas” because it was windy at the farm Aunt Elsie told the Progress reporter. Dick and Dime were 14 yrs old when this photo was taken.

Such a small moment in time, printed off on a tiny glue backed piece of paper, yet a cosmic stamp of time. I am so thankful for handed down pictures, and historical found news articles of these events and the ones that created, and lived them. 

I hope you all enjoy this small glimpse back in time.

Tim Gallaher

“The Progress” Article about the Christmas Seal November 1st 1996
Great Grandad plowing
“The Progress” news article “90 years of Christmas Seals” December 19th 2008
Great Grandad with his grandkids.
This picture is the “Original Pair” Dick and Dime
My Mother and Uncles (Karen, Earl, a friend, and Bill)
Even a picture of my Grandfather (Wayne Freyer), and Brother-in-law (Great Uncle Oakley) driving the team.

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

Henry ford

7 thoughts on “Great Grandad and the Christmas Seal

  1. You did an awesome job with this blog Tim.. I had the privilege of living thru some of these times with my grandparents… I love reliving some of those times thru your blog.. We need to keep passing these memories along..❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Tim loved this true story of your heritage….I feel the same way as you on so many levels. Wanting to go back in time to visit our relatives we never got to meet. Living in those times would have been so awesome. Pride and hard work was what was important. Such a beautiful and historic summary. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Like your mom Tim, I remember both Grandma & Granddad. I just have memories of the last Dick and Dime, but the stories are fading. Please keep it alive for us old folks that miss those times and family!! Have pictures of Mom, Aunt Gloria with the Christmas seal on my dresser!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just loved this I’m related to Diana through the woods my mom was Gordy cousin! Hope I can share with my brother and cousins just loved about the oxen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a wonderful story about your family’s connection to Christmas Seals. The Seals were a simple and inexpensive way for everyone to participate in fighting tuberculosis, and it was probably one the best administered and most effective charities ever created. I still buy Seals from the American Lung Association.

    Liked by 1 person

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