The Origin of the Protagonists

Reality Can Be More Convenient Than Fiction





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McGrath Genealogy  |  Upperchurch Connections  |       Old Mattydale          |  What's New  |  Contact





The Origin of the Protagonists

Charles Amidon is the fictitious son of the late Edward Amidon. In September 1906 Edward Amidon died as the result of an accident on the Cicero Plank Road, when he was thrown from his horse drawn wagon, while hauling garbage to feed the pigs on the farm of Frank Matty. The family had lived on the Matty farm until the death of Edward Amidon. 


Clyde Fuller, Amidon's partner in crime, came about in a more circuitous route. Amidon needed a helper and I wanted them to have some connection from back in their childhood, to allow for a few discussions about "the good old days," that would bring in material about the Pre-Mattydale period. Their meeting place, in 1925, was going to be the then current reincarnation of the old Rural Inn, also known as Faatz's Hotel. Then I remembered that Faatz had been involved in an automobile accident while passing a trolley on Wolf Street. On September 29, 1919 Faatz had struck two young girls on their way back to school (Salina School) after lunch. Marguerite Fuller, age 8, was struck as she exited the trolley and died later at Crouse-Irving. The second girl, named Rounds lived in the same house as Fuller, at 311 7th North St, and was fortunate, in that she just bounced off Faatz's car and was not seriously injured. [1919-09-30]


This gave rise to the creation of a Fuller relative who sought revenge against Faatz for the death of Marguerite. This would give him a reason for being at the Rural Inn that night in 1925. Originally it was thought that he was looking for Theodore Faatz. This later became a fictitious older brother. An earlier attempt for revenge against Faatz had landed this fictitious Fuller in jail. Then after getting out of prison and cooling off for a while he decided to revisit the scene of the his offense and there he meets Amidon. Later it was decided to have Faatz drop the charges from the original confrontation and Fuller did not serve any time. The judge would simply warn him away from the Rural Inn. His visit in 1925 was out of curiosity and not for revenge - Fuller had mellowed over the years.


The name Clyde was in part reference to Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, who had yet to make his mark on the criminal world after growing up and meeting in Dallas, TX. I also had a former co-worker in Dallas by that name and it just seemed to roll off the tongue.


Another Roadhouse Connection

There was another, much older, connection of this family with the roadhouses of an earlier day. This was back in 1887, long before Faatz was in the picture. Clyde Fuller's father, Frederick, was the youngest of nine children. The second oldest sibling in Frederick's family was his sister Mary who had married a Walter St. John, sometime prior to 1873. Mary and Walter had two children: May, born in 1873 and William, born in 1875. May St. John proved to be a wild-child and at the age of 14 was arrested for being a resident of a house of ill-repute in the city of Syracuse. Apparently her mother had made the police aware of May's situation. While in police custody May began to tell her tale of woe that included sexual assaults on her by family members, relatives, friends and neighbors. It seemed that those who had not taken advantage of young May St. John were in the minority. When these accusations first hit the Syracuse newspapers a couple of May's uncles left town. [1887-09-30], [1887-10-01], [1887-10-02] Mr. and Mrs. William Meyer, a couple that had been the proprietors of the Watering Trough roadhouse on the Cicero Plank Road, just north of the railroad overpass, and who were then out on bail for other charges, jumped bail and left town when they heard that abduction had been added to the list of charges against them.


While the sudden urge to travel, displayed by May's uncles and the Meyers couple, would seem to lend some credence to her charges, the lack of any subsequent criminal or civil actions against these individuals would seem to indicate that May was making up the stories to get back at her mother, who had turned her in, in the first place.


Another minor connection comes from the fact that Theodore Faatz had also been the proprietor, from 1900 until about 1904, of the same Watering Trough Roadhouse that had been operated by the Meyers back in 1887.


The Old Salina School



This is a picture of the old Salina School as it appears today. It is no longer used as a school and has been made over into senior housing and renamed the Salina School Apartments. This was the school Charlie Amidon attended briefly before attending high school in the city. This was the school attended by the real Marguerite Fuller.


Childhood Connections


The original connection that had been built in, was to take place at the Salina School at 508 Center Street (now LeMoyne Ave.), just north east of Washington Square, in the center of the old village of Salina. Both Fuller, who was labeled "B" at the beginning of the project, and Amidon were to be forced into their attendance at Salina. In Fuller's case it was originally thought that the family's 7th North Street address assured that the children would normally have attended the Salina School. However, the Fuller's remained on Molloy Road after the Amidon's left in 1906. When the Fuller's finally did leave Molloy Road, sometime prior to 1918 they moved to Tipperary Hill to be near Mrs. Fuller's mother, whose was a Cavanaugh. After the death of his father, Amidon's mother moved in with relatives on Pine Street in the 17th Ward, so he would have to be forced to attend the Salina School by way of a fictitious First Ward address. In the end, the school connection at the Salina School was dropped but Amidon's First Ward address was retained.


Quite by accident it turned out that the real Amidon and Fuller families were living on Molloy Road in the early 1900s and some of them would have attended the old one-room schoolhouse, the original Salina District School No. 3. After that building was destroyed by fire in January 1902 it was replaced at the same location with another one room school house and both the Amidon and Fuller children would have also attended that school. Amidon's age had to be manipulated to place him in that older school house in 1901, with a young Kathie Molloy, before she left for high school in the city. Just by dumb luck the actual Fuller children would have also been in that schoolhouse at the same time.


Fiction's basic weakness is that it must appear probable, and usually logical, to the reader. Non-fiction is not bound by any such confining requirements. If an event actually happened, then it need not be subjected to any such probability or logical tests. Constraining the attendance of both Amidon and Fuller at the Salina School was not a real problem, but it was dropped to let the actual Fuller family trajectory take place. The earlier attendance of this pair at the Town of Salina District School No. 3 might have been interpreted as contrived, but reality stepped in and placed them both in that old schoolhouse and threw in Kathie Molloy for good measure. After the actual attendance of the real Amidon and Fuller children at the one room school house was discovered, that became the basis for the school days connection and the Salina school connection was dropped. The fictitious Amidon was placed on Center St. After Charlie Amidon "left home," in January 1925, his mother was placed at her then real address on East Washington Street, in the 17th Ward. 


Former location of the old one room schoolhouses of Salina School District No. 3



This image is from May 2012. The original lot that had contained both of the old wooden one room schoolhouses was located on the north side of what is now East Molloy Road, right at the top of McKinney Avenue. When the wing extensions were added to the brick school building in 1927-8 the old schoolhouse had to be removed. According to one version of Mattydale history, the old wooden building became a residence on Matty Ave., which runs parallel to East Molloy Road, right behind the brick school building.




[1887-09-30] - "Childhood On The Pave, The Fearful Story Told by a Girl of Fourteen at the Police Station," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Friday, September 30, 1887.

[1887-10-01] - "May St. John's Recital," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, October 1, 1887.

[1887-10-02] - "Perils Of The Streets," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, October 2, 1887.

[1919-09-30] - "Faatz Held Without Bail For Death of Little Girl; Charged With Manslaughter," The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, September 30, 1919.