Significant Portville Women of the 20th Century
|The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
|17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
Portville, New York
Beatrice Lucille Hatch was born on May 28, 1892, in Portville, the daughter of Wilson and Lillian
Lowrey Hatch. Bea graduated from Portville High School in 1910 and later from the Westbrook
Commercial Academy in Olean. She married Everett Eldridge in 1916. He was a co-owner of the
Portville Broom Factory. He died in 1948.
Bea became Publisher of the Portville Review and continued as Publisher and Editor until 1952
when the paper was discontinued. She also published the Eldred Eagle and served as a
correspondent for the Buffalo Evening News for 25 years. During World War II, Bea sent issues
of the Portville Review to all local servicemen and women and published the letters they wrote in
return, expressing their gratitude for news of home. In the days of limited travel and “pre-TV,”
the Review was the primary means of communicating Portville news.
Bea Eldridge served as Town Historian for 37 years. She was a life member of the First
Presbyterian Church; a charter member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 814, serving as its
first President; and a fifty year active member of the Republican Party.
Bea and Everett Eldridge had two children, both of whom died tragically. Their son, Merl, was
killed in a powder plant explosion near Eldred in 1939, a few days before his planned wedding.
Daughter Edna (Trask) died at age 40 in Roswell Park Hospital, Buffalo, leaving three young
Bea died in Olean on December 21, 1975. Her granddaughter, Karen Frisbee, writes that the many
notes received after Bea’s death “… attested to what a good and faithful friend she was to those
who knew her and of her kindness and generosity to those whose lives she touched.”
Madaline Parish was born in Olean on April 26, 1904, the daughter of Frank and Lucille Bosler
Marshall. She was graduated from Portville High School and was a member of the first graduating
class of Keuka College in 1925.
In 1930, she married David Parish, a co-owner of Parish Hardware in Portville, who died in 1992.
During World War II, she was a plane spotter on the Lillibridge Road and phoned Buffalo with the
information she had about the planes flying overhead. When many teachers left Portville to serve
in the Army and Navy, she was asked to teach Latin and French at Portville High School. She had
one condition: She wanted to have her schedule arranged so that she could go home at noon to
get her husband’s lunch.
Madaline became a Camp Fire Girls leader and served on the Olean and National Board of the
Camp Fire Girls. She was a member of the Portville Central School Board of Education and the
Portville Free Library Board. She was a Board Member of the Cattaraugus County Health
Association and an escort and host for many years with the Fresh Air Program.
Madaline died on October 10, 1993, in Windsor, Vermont. Her daughter, Cordelia Merritt,
remembers her as a very wise mother and wonderful homemaker.
Marie Page Dusenbury was born in Olean, New York, on March 7, 1887. She was the daughter
of Mr. And Mrs. Wilson R. Page. In 1906, she married Donald Dusenbury. They lived in
Portville at 65 Temple Street in the house in which many Dusenbury generations had resided.
Marie and Donald had one son, named John.
Throughout her life, Marie Dusenbury was active in the organization and direction of many
welfare and health groups. She served as an officer and trustee of the Cattaraugus County Health
Association and was awarded the Silver Order of the Double Barred Cross for more than 25 years
of service to the anti-tuberculosis and public health movement in this county. She also aided in
the establishment and served as an officer of the County Mental Health Society.
During World War II, she organized the surgical dressing unit of the Portville branch of the Red
Cross. The unit met in her home throughout the war and made surgical dressings and knit socks
During the 1942 flood, she and her husband opened their home to families driven from their
homes by the high water.
Marie served on the Portville School Board, was an active member of the County Women’s
Republican Club, and served as director of the Olean High School Alumni Association for many
years. Organizing and serving as the first President of the St. Francis Hospital Guild, she was also
a member of the Olean General Hospital Auxiliary.
In the 1930's, Marie was the Treasurer of the Portville Fund For the Needy. She was a member
of the First Presbyterian Church of Portville and chaired the Busy Bee Organization’s committee
that published Forty Years of Famous Foods in 1940.
Marie Dusenbury died in Olean on June 25, 1958.
Mary J. Warden was born in 1850 in Portville to Adam T. and Elizabeth Warden, who immigrated
in 1848. Mary's older brother was John H. Warden who learned the blacksmith trade from his
father and later became a harness maker. He also ran a furniture store with their father, as well as
an undertaking business in a large building near the post office on Temple Street.
In 1875, Mary married Frank J. Tyler, who ran the mill at Gordon's, across the river from Steam
Valley. Frank and Mary had two children, a daughter, Gertrude, born in 1876, and a son, Frank
E., Jr., born in 1888, who married Frances Rowley. They lived for many years at a beautiful
home at 35 Temple Street in Portville until Frank Sr. died in 1925 and Mary in 1927.
When she died in 1927, she was honorary past supreme commander of the L.O.T.M., Ladies of
the Macabees, past district deputy grand matron of Cattaraugus District, Order of the Eastern star,
the founder in 1893, charter member and first matron of the Tyler Chapter No. 97 of the Order of
the Eastern Star, for whom the chapter was named, and past commander of the Women’s Benefit
Association. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Portville and a member of the
Women’s Christian Temperance Union. According to a clipping published at her death, she was
“… known to all the children of Portville as ‘Mother Tyler’ because she was always planning
various parties for them.”
The circumstances of her death were tragic. On the evening of September 14, 1927, Mrs. Tyler
was being entertained and honored by the members of the Tyler Chapter in the Masonic Lodge
rooms. Following dinner and just before the business session was to be held, she was missed. It
was thought that she had gone home. During a search of the Masonic Temple she was found at
the foot of the cellar stairs, dead, with a broken neck. It was thought that she had suffered a
stroke and fell the entire length of the stairs. She was 77 years old.
|BEA HATCH ELDRIDGE
(1892 - 1975)
(1904 - 1993)
|MARIE PAGE DUSENBURY
(1887 - 1958)
|MARY J. TYLER
(1850 - 1927)