April 8 – Happy Birthday Donald Setchell

setchell2The Setchell’s were a bedrock family in the lower East Main St/Cranesville section of the pre WWII Amsterdam community. The father Ed was an accomplished mason and he and his wife Dora were active members of the Cranesville Reformed Church that still stands proudly in its highly visible location just east of our city. They had two children, a daughter Margaret and a son Donald and whenever they could, the family would leave their home at 577 East Main Street and escape to the cottage camp Ed had built on Caroga Lake. Between the four of them, the Setchell name appeared week after week in the “Cranesville Notes” column that was a regular feature of the Amsterdam Recorder back then.

Young Donald had been born on this date in 1924. He graduated from Lynch High School in 1942 and like hundreds of Amsterdam teenagers back then, it must have been difficult for him to plan or even think about a future with this country and pretty much the entire world engulfed in such a horrific war. Still, he tried. He enrolled in the Dawson School of Technology in Newark, New Jersey but sure enough, his education was put on hold when he was drafted and inducted into the Army on February 10, 1943, eventually getting assigned to the Combat Engineers…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam hero in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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