Plainfield Garden Club

Member: Miner, Mrs. Thomas M. (Mary Elizabeth Shoemaker) '69

1970 - 1990 Address: 1716 Sleepy Hollow Lane

1984 - 1992: Active
1993 - 1996: Affiliate
1997 - 1998: Resigned

Mrs. Thomas M. (Mary Elizabeth Shoemaker) Miner '69 is the daughter of Plainfield Garden Club member Mrs. J. Rex (Cora Barry) Shoemaker '42

Mrs. J. Rex Shoemaker Address:

1942: 821 Kensington Ave, Plainfield
1958: 821 Kensington Ave.
1980: 925 West 7th (1980)

1992: Thomas Miner Enterprises, 134 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

1998: 86 Greenbush Rd, Charlotte, VT 05445

Mrs. Thomas M. (Mary Elizabeth Shoemaker) Miner '69 was also related to Plainfield Garden Club member Mrs. Ellery B. Shoemaker '20. Her address was also 821 Kensington Ave, Plainfield (1922) – we think she may have been Mrs. Miner's grandmother.

Frank Courtright Miner obituary -- brother to Thomas M. Miner

June 26, 2006

MINER, FRANK COURTRIGHT Frank Courtright Miner, 82, passed away peacefully on June 16, 2006. He was born in 1924 in Plainfield, NJ to parents Ann Louise Matlack Miner and Joshua Lewis Miner, Jr. He attended Hotchkiss School and Princeton University. He served in the Navy during World War II. In 1946, he married Ethelyn Heinrich and September would have marked their 60th anniversary. He managed several farms until 1953, when he and his family moved to Denver, where Frank sold irrigation equipment. In 1966, he began working for Coors Porcelain Company and later formed Frank Miner Realty Company, specializing in commercial real estate. Ever a farmer at heart, he supplied neighbors and friends with produce from his abundant garden. Frank was creative and enjoyed any projects involving building, refinishing, designing or cultivating. He loved animals. He enjoyed making wine, drinking it, and sharing it. Music was an important part of his life and he was accomplished on several instruments. Frank was intelligent, had strong opinions, and enjoyed spirited debates around the dinner table. He is survived by his wife, Lynne; his four children, Court, Clare, Henry and Anne; their spouses; eleven grandchildren; two great grandchildren; and his dog, Jasper. Preceded in death by his brothers Joshua L. Miner III and Thomas M. Miner. He will be missed by all.

from the Corrsponding Secretary file

postmark Feb 4 1998

from the Corresponding Secretary file

From the Corresponding Secretary file

Dear Janie –

Do I have to write the Board a formal letter of resignation to the Garden Club?

It's a hurt to decide this, but my life is so complicated and if ever there's an opportunity to be around for a meeting or a picnic/perhaps they will let me "sneak in" to say hello –

Do let me know how you feel about a special letter or can you announce this at a meeting –

Love to everyone –

Mary L.

February 3, 1998

From the Corresponding Secretary file

From the Corresponding Secretary file

Dear Anne –

Enclosed is the check for dues – It's very obvious that I have to change my status and it was only because of house sale – moving, and (not legible) that it didn't happen before the dead line –

I'll write a letter to Elisabeth and see what's the best for my lousy situation. Had hope to be in Plainfield by now, but Tom's therapy has been extended. It keeps him busy in a way, but he still needs constant companionship, so my freedom is really non-existant –

Do hope you have a great summer, and I'll hope to make a meeting or some thing in the fall –

My best to everyone –

Fondly, Mary L

Address mailing change to:
Thomas Miner Enterprises
134 Franklin Corner Rd
Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648

from the Corresponding Secretary file

arrived Dec 17, 1993

Dear Board Members

It is with great regret that I'm forced to change my membership status from active to a affiliate one –

I'm sure most of you understand the difficulties when I am in Plainfield – and hope that you know also how much pleasure has come my way from the association with a dedicated special group of friends and gardeners –

It's hard to make this formal, so I'll just say instead of sincerely or yours truly –


Mary L. Miner

November 15, 1993

from the Corresponding Secretary file

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report May 15, 1998

Corresponding Secretary Annual Report May 9, 1994

From Anne Shepherd's memorabilia collection

February 13, 2011

Anne shared this note she received which is not dated. Looking back through the files, Mary L. Miner was Corresponding Secretary in 1984 so it is presumed that the note dates from this year. Anne's mother had resigned a few years prior and it was joked that Anne was left wide open to the board's criticism. Undoubtedly, Anne was preoccupied with raising her three sons, all of whom "turned out" wonderfully. By saving the note, it illustrates Anne's self confidence and sly sense of humor.

Dear Anne -

The membership committee feels it is necessary to remind all active members that attendance is expected at scheduled meetings of the Garden Club.

Dates, times and places are published before the year begins, and meetings are usually on the third Wednesday of the month. Of course – trips, illness and major problems are understandable excuses!

We do urge you however, to remember that the Program Committee works hard to present an informative agenda, as do the hostesses to give a congenial, happy time. Participation is important!


Mary L. Miner


Star Ledger July 25, 1982

Members of the Plainfield Garden Club spruce up the Shakespeare Gardens, which includes introducing a new patch of greenery, right.

February 23, 2011: Jane Burner believes the woman on the left in the left-side photo may be Mrs. Miner.

Another member identified the woman opposite as possibly being Barbara Sandford.

In the right-side photo, it is believed that the woman in the skirt with the handbag is Bev Reid, standing next to her is Betty Hackman and the woman opposite with the rake or hoe is Peggy Tyler.

$599,900 1716 Sleepy Hollow Lane, Plainfield NJ 07060

May 24, 2011 listing

Price: $599,900 • Mortgage payments • Rent vs Buy $40,000 on 03/31/11
Est. payment: $3,527/moING DIRECT Mortgages
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2˝
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: –
Lot: –
Price/sqft: –
Year built: 1941
Added on Trulia: 139 days ago
Total views: 94 (as of 5/24/11)
MLS/ID: 2823509
Nearby School: Frederic W Cook… Nearby schools
Zip: 07060
Provided by:

March 29, 1962

Teenage Tea Dance
Set for Tomorrow

Invitations have been sent to many teenager in the Piainfleld
area und surrounding communities for a spring tea dance to be held
tomorrow evening. This dance, which is being sponsored by the Junior League of Plainfteld, will be held at the Monday Afternoon Club in Piainfleld from 5 to 9 p.m. Supper will be served to all guests. Music for the dance will be supplied by "Ths Adelphia" from the Westfield High School. Chaperoning at the dance will be: Dr. and Mrs. Theodore. Loizeaux, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M, Miner, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Henderson, Mr. and Mrs. Asger P. Langlykke and Mr. and Mrs. Richard N. Sheble, all of Plainfield.

The chairman of the dance is Mrs. Theodore Loizeaux and working on her committee are: Mesdames John T. 'Moniani, Richard N. Sheble, Richard H. McMahon, Charles E. Loizeaux, James H. Darnhill and Asger F. Langlykke.

December 11, 2011 Memories of Mrs. Miner from Phyllis Alexander

I remember Mary Miner; she was my next door neighbor here in Plainfield. I met her the first day we moved in (1992). We thought there was a fence around our backyard, not too secure but a fence of sorts. I let our two Airedales Beep and Teddy out in the backyard. Beep was the naughty one and she led Teddy through an opening in the fence. Teddy took off (Beep came back by herself) and I chased him, yelling through the backyards. Teddy ran up to Miner's front door and Mr. and Mrs. Miner came out to meet me. I did not make a very good first impression, sweaty and discheveled. Teddy wouldn't let them catch him either, and I finally caught him when I yelled "sit"on Watchung Ave. Miners sold their house about a year later and I never did get to meet them again. I later heard that Mrs. Miner was known for wearing immaculate white pants for weeding in the Shakespeare garden.

April 24 - May 30, 1988 Cedar Brook Farm Designer Showhouse

Many PGC members were also members of the Muhlenberg Auxiliary that staged amazing designer homes in Plainfield in an effort to raise money for the hospital.

In 1988, the designer showcased home was Cedar Brook Farm which had also been the home of a PGC member, Mrs. Robert F. (Carolyn Waring) MacLeod '55, PGC President 1958 - 1960

To see the progam and learn the history of the house, click these links:

1988 Cedar Brook Farm Designer Showcase Program Cover to Page 25

1988 Cedar Brook Farm Designer Showcase Program Pages 26 to 50

1988 Cedar Brook Farm Designer Showcase Program Pages 51 to 75

1988 Cedar Brook Farm Designer Showcase Program Pages 76 to End

from Anne Shepherd's memorabilia

Nina (Weil) - for exhibitors page 1

September 24, 2012 NOTE: This document was found in a folder in one of the "President Boxes." Also in the folder were job descriptions. Some were dated 1992 and 1996. Many had no date at all, like this document. In addition, this document had been photo copied and the last lines on each page are missing.

It is very nice to have an assistant to help you if possible & she can take over after 2 years for you.

The exhibitions committee tries to get girls to go into flower shows doing arrangements. You will find this is the hardest part of your job. it is lack of confidence in their ability & also they are scared that they won't do well.

The best help of all is flower arranging workshops, in club fower shows & the Polly Heely memorial fund for 3 girls to do quick flower arrangement at the meetings. To criticize pick Elis Loizeaux, Evie Madsen, Betty Hackman, M.L. Miner, Bernice Swain & myself. Hopefully you will acquire more commentator in time. Always check with the President if she wants you to do the Polly Heely fund arrangements at the next meeting. They may not have the time but it is such a good practice for everyone – the cards are in one of the bags & get Sally Booth, choose 3 girls every time. Then you fill out the year on their card so they will not be called again this year

[faded bottom of the first page]

There are 2 size containers so change each time & by flowers for the small or large ones. (I always love to go there if you forgotten how to go)

You must be at every board meeting or your assistant. Usually the Monday before the 3rd Wednesday meeting. Good flower shows in other towns should be announced at least a month ahead so members can make plans to attend. There are some flower shows we are required to enter – the Zone Meeting. You must enter two classes, start getting 2 girls lined up for this as early as possible so they can pick their class instead of being left with the dregs!

Encourage girls to go with you to the flower show – this helps them to interpret the schedules & range to imagination of the the flower arrangers. Good flower show – all N.J. G.C., & clubs, Philadelphia, Green Fingers in Greenwich & Greenwich G.C.

Also, if any of our members enter a flower show, it is your kindness to them to take them over there. It's a pain to drive & have things go to pieces in the car. And be sure to announce at the club meeting any ribbons won to encourage participation

[Last line faded.]

Nina (Weil) - for exhibitors page 2

1973-1974 PGC Directory

1974-1975 Directory

May 14, 1983 Centennial The Wardlaw Hartridge School

1985-1986 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1989-1990 Year Book of the Plainfield Garden Club

1988-1989 Year Book for the Plainfield Garden Club

Frances M. Miner Dies at 94; Tended to Young Gardeners

Published: January 23, 2000

Frances Messersmith Miner, who for 43 years nurtured tulips, radishes and children at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, died Monday in Utica, N.Y., her brother said. She was 94 and lived in a nursing home in nearby Clinton.

Miss Miner learned of the Brooklyn children's garden, the first to be included within a scientific botanic garden, as a freshman at Smith College when her botany professor mentioned it. She made a note that that was ''something I'd like to do.''

Seven years later, in 1930, she began working at the children's garden under the tutelage of its founder, Ellen Eddy Shaw, who began it in 1914 on a single acre of the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Miss Miner, tall, slender and less frail than she seemed, looked as if she belonged in a garden: she favored straw hats and print dresses.

She relished getting down on her hands and knees to weed at a time when not many women did. Her title was curator of instruction, but she was called ''the botanic lady'' by generations of youngsters, some of whom were inspired to become influential gardeners as adults.

''To me, she seemed to know everything,'' said Helen Mattin, who almost seven decades ago began crossing Washington Avenue as an 8-year-old to take classes and is now a major benefactor to the garden. ''It was great to be with someone who just poured out love to me.''

Scott Appell, who started gardening at 9 in 1963 and is now educational director at the Horticultural Society of New York, emphasized that Miss Miner provided much more than engaging baby-sitting. There were written tests, badges and medals for high achievement. Well-kept children's plots were marked with signs with a white star on a green background; those needing work got a sign with a blue question mark.

''When we went to class on Saturday, it was just like being in school,'' he said. ''It was not informal at all. It was very hard. We were taught a sense of responsibility.''

A tangible example of the responsibility Miss Miner demanded was the care of gardening tools. Hoes, rakes and trowels dating back more than 80 years can be seen gleaming on the racks of the Children's Garden House, which last year was refurbished and named for Miss Miner.

Once, when tomato stakes needed painting, she bought green paint and asked the children to do it. Naturally, everybody went home green, but ''she knew that if the children painted the stakes, they would take better care of them,'' said Daphne Welch Day, a longtime colleague.

Miss Miner summed up her approach in a publication for the Brooklyn garden. ''I believe that students, especially beginners in this adventure, should be participants rather than spectators,'' she wrote. ''A feeling of ownership and a sense of responsibility for the care of a plant 'pet' elicit an entirely different kind of response than viewing displays of plants, no matter how spectacular.''

Miss Miner was born in Plainfield, N.J., and grew up in Oriskany Falls, N.Y. After graduating from Smith, she worked briefly with the Girl Scouts in Elmira, N.Y., then accepted a post at the Brooklyn garden as an educational assistant.

Friends quickly came to appreciate her sometimes quirky approach. She liked to be known by her initials, FMM. Each day she would jot notes on the subway to and from her home on 110th Street in Manhattan. They would be daily distributed to ''DW,'' ''AB,'' and her other colleagues.

She is survived by her brother Charles of Oriskany Falls.

In addition to writing about botanical topics for publications like the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society in England, she wrote a 95-page children's book called ''The Adventure Book of Growing Plants.''

Her joy was seeing a child learn a lesson about plants. She wrote of a boy named Johnny who despaired because his plants were thriving and healthy but lacked tomatoes. It turned out that Johnny was meticulously picking off the blossoms, which he called ''old yellow flowers.''

''Johnny learned the hard way that a blossom is necessary to fruit production and that fruits lead to seed which in turn lead to new plants and more flowers,'' she wrote. ''Johnny took home more than tomatoes.''

Photo: Known by children at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as ''the botanic lady,'' Frances Messersmith Miner taught generations of youngsters. (Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

January 17, 1962 The Express from Lock Haven, PA

Deaths J. Rex Shoemaker J. Rex Shoemaker of Plainfield, N. J., died there suddenly yesterday noon, of a heart attack. He was a native of Lock Haven, son of the late Ellery B. and Elizabeth Reed Shoemaker. He is survived by his wife, a daughter, Mrs. Thomas Miner and two grandchildren, all Plainfield. Burial will be in Plain field.