Josephine Webster Dallam, volunteer

February 25, 2010|By Jacques Kelly

Josephine Webster Dallam, a community volunteer who was named a Harford County Living Treasure, died in her sleep Feb. 14 at Broom's Bloom Farm, where she had lived all her life. She was 95.

Born on that farm, she was a 1931 Bel Air High School graduate. Family members said she could recall the end of World War I in 1918 and Armistice bunting draped around the Bel Air courthouse's iron fence.

Her home on the farm was called North Point, after the Battle of North Point in which her great-grandfather, John Adams Webster, played a role in defeating the British during the War of 1812.

She was a Red Cross volunteer for more than 70 years. During the 1940s, she drove Harford countians to and from medical appointments in Baltimore.

Miss Dallam, who often spoke to students, told of farm life before electricity and automation. She learned to use an iron heated on a woodstove, she made her sausage from hogs her brother butchered, and smoked hams and bacon. She also sold eggs and butter she had churned and did canning and preserving. Her corn wine recipe appeared in The Sun in 1959.

She did demonstrations at Steppingstone Museum, where she was a founding board member. Miss Dallam made pancakes on a woodstove and churned butter by hand so visitors could learn about farm life.

According to family members, she often said she and her mother thought nothing of hitching up the horse and buggy to drive anywhere within a 10-mile radius to visit family and friends or perform errands.

"Her early life reflected a self-sufficiency once common on Harford County farms and almost unimaginable now," said a niece, Katy Dallam of Bel Air.

She recalled her aunt as a "gracious hostess" who entertained guests at tea parties featuring well-ironed damask linens, bone china and homemade sweets.

"My aunt was a conversationalist who delighted in making newcomers feel at home. She was an interested listener, as well as a convivial responder whose turn of phrase was reminiscent of her Victorian parents. She was tactful and generous in spirit, but she was also forthright," said the niece.

Miss Dallam sold children's clothing at The Kiddie Shop on Main Street in Bel Air for nearly 20 years until the store closed in the 1970s.

She also delivered for Meals on Wheels.

Services were held Saturday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Emmorton, where she had been a life member and vestry secretary.

Survivors also include an additional niece, Ariel D. Taxdal of Bel Air; and two nephews, William Dallam V of Tully, N.Y., and David H. Dallam of Bel Air.

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