History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Lou D. MacWethy
Former Publisher of the Enterprise and News
Lou D. MacWethy, 90, widely known former publisher of the Enterprise and News, during the first half of the 20th century, died early Monday evening (March 5, 1962) at St. Mary's Hospital in Amsterdam, where he had been a patient for six days.
He had been retired from the publishing business since selling the Enterprise and News, in 1941. His home was at 9 John Street, St. Johnsville.
Mr. MacWethy, one of the village's strongest boosters, was born at York, Livingston co., on May 3, 1871, a son of Albert and Elizabeth Leet MacWethy, but moved with his parents, when one year old to a farm home near Perry in Wyoming County where he grew up and attended school. At the age of 19 he went to Michigan's upper peninsula and learned the printing trade at Cairo, Michigan, later being employed as a printer at Lake City, Michigan. He returned to Wyoming County, worked briefly in various locations and married a childhood acquaintance, Minnie R. Van Allen, who died about 15 years ago. He worked briefly as a salesman for the Inland Type Company and while working as a salesman learned that the St. Johnsville Enterprise was for sale. He purchased the paper in 1907 and published it (except for a period of about one year) until July 17, 1941 when eh sold it to the late John O. Boyd. In 1910 he had turned the paper over briefly to a Mr. Horton, who in turn sold his interest to George I. Smith, then owner of the Dolgeville Republican. Mr. MacWethy took over the Enterprise again soon after this. In 1918 he bought the St. Johnsville News, merging the two papers into the Enterprise and News.
Being an ardent baseball fan in his early years, he helped in 1910 to organize and serve as secretary for a St. Johnsville baseball team, which for a time dominated Mohawk Valley competition.
Mr. MacWethy's main contributions were in the areas of community building, genealogy and history (in which he excelled), and public speaking, especially as toastmaster, in which latter field his ready wit and clever phrasing, made him a sought after practitioner. He also gained fame as a feature writer. During his retirement years he worked on family coats of arms, and once supplied one for the "Robert Montgomery Presents" program on television.
In the field of genealogy, columns of which he carried in the Enterprise, he published a number of pamphlets and books especially on the Helmer, Wagner and Dievendorf families.
In 1925 his "Old Palatine Church" was first published, later running to several editions, and in 1933 his most important work, "The Book of Names," was published, serving as a guide for genealogists the world over.
Mr. MacWethy's knowledge of old books served him well as a dealer in same, a sideline business which he once conducted at the old schoolhouse building at Fort Klock. The many new events he covered during his 35 years as publisher included the dedication of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library in 1909, the first street paving in 1911, the burning of the Whyland Opera House in September, 1914, completion of the Masonic Temple in 1916, the building of the junior high school in 1925, a disastrous sleet storm in February 1910, dedication of Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park on October 27, 1921, and dedication of the Community House, gift of Mr. & Mrs. Joseph H. Reaney on February 13, 1935.
He played a large part in getting the Soldiers and Sailors Park for St. Johnsville and planned the tree planting for future generations of children. He always insisted that the Battle of Klock's Field was fought at the easterly edge of what is now the village of St. Johnsville and cited documentary evidence to prove it.
After the sale of his newspaper, Mr. MacWethy served for a time as an editor of the Little Falls Evening Times and later as editor of the Palatine Dyeing Co.'s "Palatiner."
He was married again in 1942, this time to Mrs. Zeola Evans Munk, who survives him. Also surviving are two sons, and a daughter by his first marriage; Albert MacWethy of Ithaca; and Ralph MacWethy of Johnstown, and Mrs. William C. Lenz of this village, one granddaughter, Mrs. Howard Bruce of Cocoa, Fla., (now Mrs. John Davis) and two great-grandchildren.
The funeral will be held today at 2 P.M. from the Lull Funeral Home. Rev. Robert Geddes, pastor of St. John's Reformed Church will officiate, and burial will be made their spring in St. Johnsville Cemetery. Mr. MacWethy's death occurred three days after the death of his sister, Mrs. David McMaster, 86 of Batavia.
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