January Girls mark 65th birthday

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:20

Goshen — The January Girls are a group of ladies of all ages and backgrounds that meet for lunch on a Saturday each January to celebrate their January birthdays. In 1946 Mrs. Jennie Sears, a lifetime resident of Blooming Grove, extended invitations to four of her friends: Mrs. August Wood, Mrs. Thomas Ferguson (former Mrs. Fred Girard), Miss Clara Hudson and Miss Mary L. Hulse, to a Saturday luncheon to celebrate their January birthdays. They enjoyed their lunch so much that they decided to meet again the following year. As time went by there were always new guests, so the luncheon became Dutch-treat, each person paying for her own meal. Today the January Girls have more than 125 members and the number keeps growing every year. One of the original four that Sears invited to her first luncheon, Mrs. Clara Townsend Hudson, was related to the Dutch explorer Henry Hudson. Her pioneer family was among the earliest setters in Orange County, when Blooming Grove was still a part of Goshen, in 1764. Mrs. Hudson’s hobby was to make dresses for Bisque and China dolls with pre-Civil War era fabrics. Today her dolls are on display and admired by many at the Blooming Grove Historical Society at the Moffat Library. She was 103 when she died in 2002. Do you remember the girl on the Standing Liberty Quarter with her right breast exposed? That was Mrs. Irene MacDowell, one more of the January Girls. Though Jennie Sears, Clara Townsend and Irene MacDowell have passed away, there are still many who remember them kindly. Today there is a January Girl who has been coming to this luncheon since 1956. She is Mrs. Jane Steeves of Washingtonville, a teacher who used to bring her 6th-grade January babies to the luncheon. Currently Steeves volunteers her time, along with her grandchildren, knitting hats for children who suffer from AIDS. There is also Mrs. Mary Jane Gisselbrecht, the group’s record keeper, who has been coming to this luncheon since 1962. The January Girls hope to continue the tradition of gathering every January for many years to come.