Saturday, August 18, 2012

Meet William P. Child: Smoke Rise Map Creator

William P.Child, a long time former Smoke Rise resident, is the creator of the Smoke Rise Map described in Support St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise!

He reached out to us after that article was published and shared wonderful details about the map, growing up in Smoke Rise and his love of art and music.

I'm pleased to share those details with you here.

William P. Child writes,

Growing Up in Smoke Rise

I was born and lived a few years on Long Island, N.Y., but for most of my young life I grew up in Smoke Rise, living at the same residence, 445 Pepperidge Tree Lane, for over 20 years - with my family, parents Ernest (Jim) Child Jr. and Elizabeth (Betty) Child, brother Jim and sister Susan - from 1955 to 1975/76? when we moved to Lake Mohawk, in Sparta to have a lake access residence for our family deep keel sailboat and small water ski runabout.

I am proud to say I am from Smoke Rise, and have many fond memories of life there.  My dad could never beat Mr. Ray Edwards in sailing back in the day, though he tried every Sunday, so his name might not be on the sailfish winners plaque (though it might be for second place?).

I went to Kiel, Stonybrook, junior 7th and 8th grades and the first year of high school at KHS, before transferring to Avon Old Farms in Avon, Ct (same school Pete Seeger graduated from in 1936 and Kristian Bush of Sugarland graduated from in 1988 - Bush's family is renown for the Bush Beans famous product, the one with the dog on the commercial that might give out the family recipe if allowed). 

I was in one of the first "rock" bands, The Aztecs, that played for Kinnelon Junior and High School dances back in the mid 60s and am friends on Facebook with an original member of the Aztecs and Smoke Rise neighbor, Gregory Applegate Edwards. (I'm friends on Facebook with several old friends from Smoke Rise and Kinnelon.)

I have myself written over 135 original songs (copyrighted 31) and am in the Jefferson Township Community Chorus, which performs on Jefferson Day (super nice fireworks display at night too!), including a song I wrote in 2005 "My Sweet Home Jefferson," that we have sung there the last 5 years. Music and art, and Nature are major aspects of my makeup and it all started in Smoke Rise during my youth.

For fun you can hear some of my songs on Youtube or at

The Smoke Rise Map

I extensively hiked the terrain, trails, etc. of beautiful and misty at times Smoke Rise on many short hikes (many off-trail) several times a week for many years, keeping written logs and rough sketches of all springs, rivulets, interesting rock formations (Sacred Mesa is one discovered? and shown on my map just west of Hawks Wing - my given name to Green Hill just south of Pine Tree). All of the Indian (Lenape or Delaware) names, as stated in the Legend on the map itself, were derived from various books mostly those of Herbert Kraft and M.R. Harrington

Other interesting names were derived from my investigation/knowledge/creativity. It was a long painstaking process (you should see my normal handwriting.. ugh) to get all the details onto the board with quill pen and nib and ink, and brush on the water color layers for elevation visual aid -- all with no major uncorrectable or cover up for "mistakes".

I finished the map original and, it being the country's bi-centennial in 1976, thought it might be great to have copies made and sell them door to door, framed or unframed (interesting that many of the frames were obtained at the present frame shop in Sparta before I was the resident framer as I am presently). I went to The Fairfield Press in Fairfield, N.J. and agreed to pay for 400 copies (a mere start and about 30 second run, then stop the 4 color separation offset litho process large machine).

The original map (in my attic) had a much darker blue to the ponds and lakes but the artists at the Fairfield Press colored them in with the blue you see on the copies now. I still have some of the original copy run in my back porch. I recently sold one to Ms. Karin Rohrer who lives in New Hampshire now (if I remember correctly).

I signed the map in the lower right hand corner with my then abbreviation "logo" C (wrapping around wp) Child/William Phillips. After obtaining a Master Arts degree in Painting, from Long Island University in Greenvale, N.Y., I decided it was better on new projects to spell out, clearly, my name for future clarification of the true artist.

St. Hubert's Chapel

I wish you all good luck with the fund raising program for a very worthy continued preservation of St. Hubert's Chapel (I've rowed and sailed there many times). It's a GEM of a structure like a jewel in a "jewel of a lake" as well. Check out the structure's (reddish stone Old English Cotswold (name of Smoke Rise Mansion, too) style and symbolism of Avon Old Farms, funded and designed by the first woman, Theodate Pope Riddle, architect licensed in Connecticut, who was a survivor of the Luisitania (refusing to take up room in a lifeboat that more needy needed, grabbed a life jacket and jumped overboard). She vowed if she survived to use any power or monies her family had to make a school for young men, that they might make a better world for all (students actually worked the farm in the early years).

I actually found out about Avon Old Farms School through a good friend, Bob MacGinnis (sp?), back in the day who attended Avon as well. His parents may still live in Smoke Rise (I haven't been in touch with Bob for years). See how influential Smoke Rise was to my life! The map was pretty much a labor of love.

Thank goodness beautiful and historic Smoke Rise is still going and I hope doing well in these tough times.

Sincerely and flattered,
William P. Child

Thank you, Bill!

Do you have memories of life in Kinnelon and Smoke Rise? Which were your favorite haunts? Let me know!


Mary Beth said...

Wow, what an interesting life William has led and one quite full of achievements. I think the lake community of Lake Mohawk is a gem. The architecture of the houses make it feels like you have left the U.S. and stepped into a German or Swiss village. I will be listening to some of his tunes once I'm done leaving a comment.

CB Whittemore said...

Mary Beth, what a great description of Lake Mohawk! Thanks for your comment.


Anonymous said...

Hello William,

Not sure we ever met. My parent built a house in 54/55 at 628 Mtn Rd and lived there 41 years. I was six then and Smoke Rise was unreal wonderful. I have written several blogs with pictures here, maybe you have read. Ref. your Dad, I do understand his frustration attempting to beat Ray Edwards, in Sailfish races. Neither could I. Here is something I remember about Mr. Jim Childs.....understand he was 25 or 30 years older than us. As your Dad and two of us tried to round a buoy, he would yell....."TRI PAR TIE OVERLAP AND I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY!".....heck he was an adult and we did not know if be was bluffing or not. We did not want to get disqualified. William, I am being truthful, this is one of many memories I hold growing up in SR. I hiked the trails just like you. Also, I know Karin Rohrer, her husband Jim is a best friend and the God Father to our daughter/Jenny. CB with her blog,and a glass of wine at the INN, knows the lifetime magic of Smoke Rise remains in my blood forever. Take care.

Herb Fisher Jr.

CB Whittemore said...

Thanks, HOF! As usual, you are the tops with amazing stories.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Mary Beth, and you should check out the architecture of the school I went to, Avon Old Farms School in Avon Ct. (in it's location, design and symbolism, built for young men that they might change the world for the better) Theodate Pope Riddle was the "soul" of the whole project. Check out her biography too. I'm just 3/4 way through "Dearest of Genius's" and while I went to the school I don't think I knew a speck of the whole picture of her drive and determination to make a lovely difference in mostly a man's world of business and power back in those times.

Between Smoke Rise and Avon (both with Cotswold influences) and Lake Mohawk with it's magical aura I couldn't be happier with where my roots have been nourished and given wings.

Oh yes, and I do remember you Herb and have read your histories and such in this blog and I can certainly imagine my dad not giving an inch of bouy room to any other sailor, if he had the right of way. He never LET me win at ping pong though I did a few times in the hundreds of games we played. A true and honest competitor in all aspects of his life. So glad you responded and look forward to hearing more about all of the above!

Bill Child

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