The sixth and youngest child of Ephraim Zug (1867 – 1934) and the former Barbara Longenecker (1877 – 1949), Miss Esther Mae Zug was born on December 20, 1915, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, nearly a year and a half before the United States entered the Great War.
Census records show she was raised in North Lebanon, and sometime in the 1940s she went to work as a teacher at Fredericksburg High School for several years before transferring to Myerstown High School, where a February 2, 1950 article in the Lebanon Daily News reports “Miss Esther Zug then led the first teen talk discussion entitled, ‘Do I Count?’” at a Tri-Hi-Y meeting.
In June, 1950, her former colleagues at Fredericksburg held a shower for her, as she was about to marry a man originally from the Island of Cyprus who was several years her senior. It was to be her first marriage, his second.
She quit her teaching job to devote herself full time to her marriage, and in September, 1951, her first son was born. The following year she gave birth to twin sons.
Then in July of 1958 tragedy struck. Her husband, Christopher Papson, co-owner of the Fireside Restaurant, was stricken by a heart attack and died in the Lebanon Sanatorium. His death made the front page of the Lebanon Daily News.
A brief word about Christopher, or Chris as he was apparently known. From what I can discover, his parents were Michael and Sunday Papson, British citizens living on the Island of Cyprus. Chris came to this country in 1926 at the age of 22, and by 1933 he was working at the Hershey Estates, and for several years he was part of Milton S. Hershey’s personal staff.
Chris’s first marriage was to Margaret C. Heim on September 14, 1940, and from the marriage application we learn that his father was the Postmaster on the Island of Cyprus. I can’t find any record of what happened to that first marriage, but there don’t seem to have been any offspring. In 1942 Chris joined the U.S. Air Force. In 1946 he and his brother George established the Fireside Restaurant along 422 east of Lebanon.
In September of the following year Mrs. Esther (Zug) Papson rejoined the faculty at Myerstown. Incidentally, that was Mr. Ronald Graybill’s first year at Myerstown. And of course, a few years after that, the Eastern Lebanon County (Elco) High School was built.
In May of 1965 tragedy struck once again, as Esther’s brother John L. Zug, owner of the the self-named feed mill in Richland, succumbed after a long illness to chronic pancreatitis. On a personal note, I had been a frequent visitor to Zug’s Feed Mill when I was young, as that’s where my grandfather did a lot of his business, bringing in the grain he had harvested and buying the seeds for the following year. Also, my father had gone to work for John Zug for a couple years after we moved from the farm.
Of course, Mrs. Papson needs no introduction to Elco’s Class of ’67. She was our Public Speaking teacher during our Junior year and our English teacher during our Senior year. I have many memories of Mrs. Papson, but there’s one in particular that try as I might, I cannot erase from my memory banks. It was in April, 1966, when she took 16 hand-picked members from her Public Speaking classes to form a speech choir to give a performance at a Woman’s Club in Myerstown…