Aunt Kate Wicks & "Saratoga Potato Chips" (1917)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Apr 26 09:44:31 UTC 2003

   The WASHINGTON POST copy was probably "Wicks," not "Wieks."  It was hard
to read.  But it was definitely not "Weeks," as some have given her name.
   Mary O'Donnell of Saratoga has kindly looked up a local obituary, and it
has "Wicks."  Presumably, that was current and reliable.
   Plenty of mysteries remain.  If Kate Wicks was at Ballston Spa and didn't
come to Saratoga until 1861, how did she invent "Saratoga chips" at Moon's in
Saratoga in 1853?

Subj:   Aunt Kate
Date:   4/25/2003 1:41:15 PM Eastern Standard Time
From:   <A HREF="mailto:modonnel at">modonnel at</A>
To: <A HREF="mailto:Bapopik at">Bapopik at</A>, <A HREF="mailto:modonnel at">modonnel at</A>
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Went to the SSPL yesterday and found the obituary for Catherine A.
Wicks.  I'll send you a copy - but here is what it said -  Front page
"The Saratogian" Friday, May 18, 1917
Mrs. Wicks dies at age of 102

Catherine A. Wicks, who could in truth remember when "Broadway was a
prairie" died early this morning at her home, 6 Union Street, at the
advanced age of one hundred and two years, five months and one day.
Mrs. Wicks , who was twice married and the mother of a large family, was
born in Ballston Spa on December 17, 1814, the daughter of Abraham and
Catherine Speck.  She was a sister of the late George Speck (Crum),
pioneer road house proprietor and cook of Saratoga Lake, who died
several years ago, and was herself well known as a cook in the early
days of Saratoga Lake's civilized history.
It was as a cook at Moon's Lake house many years ago that "Aunt Kate",
as she was generally known, conceived the idea of slicing potatoes to a
tissue paper thinness and frying them in deep fat, thus being the
"inventor" of Saratoga chips.  Before going to the Lake to cook, Mrs.
Wicks was for fourteen years the cook at the San Souci hotel in Ballston
Spa.  She was first married in 1846 and came to Saratoga in 1861.
As a centarian, she came honestly by her long life, her father dying at
the age of ninety-nine, while her mother is said to have reached the age
of 111.
Her survivors include seven children, Mrs. Caroline Stewart of this
city, Richard Adkins of Syracuse, William Adkins of this city, Albert
Adkins of Plainfield, N.J., Mrs. Jennie Golden, Edward Adkins and
Frederick Wicks all of this city; seven grandchildren, Mrs. Dolly
Freeman, Mrs. Kate Freeman, Hattie, Albert, John and Weed Stewart and
Major Wicks; and the following great grandchildren: Mary Stewart,
Kathleen Freeman, Gilbert Freeman, Stewart Freeman, Jane Freeman and
Ralph Freeman.
In an interview with a Saratogian reported more than fifteen years ago,
Mrs. Wicks is quoted as saying:
"I can remember when there wasn't any railroad here.  They ran stages
from Ballston to Saratoga when I came here.  In those days all over on
that side of Broadway (indicating the east side) was frog pond and all
of this side was blow sand."
Funeral services will be held Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the
late residence and 2:30 o'clock from the A. M. E. Zion church.  Burial
will be in Greenridge Cemetery.


n:O'Donnell;Mary K.
tel;work:518-580-5000 x 4171
org:Skidmore College;Lucy Scribner Library
adr:;;North Broadway;Saratoga Springs,;NY;12866;
email;internet:modonnel at
fn:Mary K. O'Donnell

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