The Loss Of A Local Icon, Community Member

It was with profound sadness I read of the recent passing of Sadie Oag, (The Post-Journal, July 8.) Her quick sweet smile, bright eyes and excellent insights will be long remembered and sorely missed.

Sadie and her husband Hugh were icons within Chautauqua County’s dairy farm community. They were personable, intelligent people, both as individuals and as a couple. Their public face was always bright and cheerful, always exhibiting a quiet, upbeat confidence in the face of life’s difficulties, albeit as dairy farmers they certainly faced their share.

Natives of Scotland and childhood sweethearts, they had to face the fact their economic opportunities in post-war Scotland were severely limited and if they were to better themselves they had to find the courage to emigrate, leaving all they had ever known behind. Hugh left first to work as a herdsman in Canada in 1951, then returning to Scotland to bring Sadie to their new home in 1953. They then pulled-up stakes for the U.S. in 1960, settling here in Chautauqua County in another herdsman position until they eventually bought a farm they dubbed “Dalmore Holsteins” in Towerville in 1972. There they centered their lives around the breeding, care and management of the Holstein cow. Through daunting hard work, shrewd, frugal management and untold gallons of hot coffee they made a good farm an excellent one, while skillfully breeding a top herd of Holstein cattle.

Farm life came as second nature to Hugh, a born farm boy, but Sadie was “town raised”, so along with adapting to a new land and culture she also had to adapt to a new lifestyle. With Hugh’s expert guidance and her own diligence she rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion, becoming as well versed in her new situation as the best of farm girls. In the doing she became not merely a helpmate, but a full partner to Hugh in every sense of the word. In what has has to be seen as a serious understatement, she modestly dismissed this entire accomplishment by saying: “It wasn’t difficult, we did it together.”

In reflecting on the Oags, those who knew them will most remember their friendliness, work ethic, pursuit of excellence and willingness to contribute to their piers and community. As far as human nature allows, Hugh and Sadie were the equal halves of a perfect whole.

Those who morbidly fear what immigrants might potentially bring to our shores would do well to reflect on what the Oags brought to Chautauqua County. A wise man once reflected Scotch Whiskey was Scotland’s second most important gift to the world; her most important contribution being her courageous and talented sons and daughters.

The Oags are a perfect example of that observation. They came here wanting to be good farmers – in the pursuit of that goal they also became excellent Americans.

May this extraordinary lady forever rest in peace next to the extraordinary man she shared a life long love with, under the sod of their adopted homeland.

Nate Wilson is a Sinclairville resident.


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