Belter, Cora

Interviewer: Bob Steck
Place of Interview: White Hollow Rd, Lime Rock
Date of Interview:
File No: 43 A Cycle:
Summary: St. Mary’s convent School, Wells family, Lakeville High Schoo,l Lime Rock 1930, Dard Hunter paper Industry, Lime Rock Race Track 1956, Hezekiah Goodwin

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript

Oral History Cover Sheet

Interviewee: Cora Belter

Narrator:Bob Steck

Tape #: 43A

Place of Interview: Cora Belter’s house on white Hollow road in Lime Rock, Ct.

Date: April 2, 1986

Summary of talk: parents, the Wells family, Mr. Thorn, St. Mary’s Convent School, early play time, church, father’s several occupations, St. Mary’s School, play time, Roberts Building, Stuart Theater, illness, grandparents, Lakeville High School, working, marriage, Lime Rock in 1930, iron business, ethnic groups, Dard Hunter Paper Industry, Lime Rock Race track, 1956, 2 children: a son(John) and a daughter, school house, Girlie Eldrid’s dress shop, farm sold 1968 to Tom Light, Hezekiah Goodwin, death of Lawrence, transportation, Grove meals, social activities, grandchildren (DJ & Scott), changes in Salisbury and Lakeville, and life changes due to the Great Depression and World War 11.

Date: April 2, 1986

Property of the Oral History Project

Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Connecticut, 06068


Tape 43A Cora Belter

BS:First your name, you can just speak normally.

CB:Cora Belter

BS:Cora Belter, is that B-e-l-t-e-r? I notice you have a middle initial.

CB:Yes, it is Marion.


CB:Cora Marion Belter.

BS:Could you spell Marion?


BS:Your maiden name was?


BS:I beg pardon?




BS:Thank you. Where wereyou born?

CB:Wells Hill

BS:Wells Hill, right here, oh. So you have lived your entire life in this area.

CB:Oh, yes, I’ve lived my entire lifehere.

BS:When were you born?

CB:September 19, 1902.

BS:So you really know this area very, very good. Your parents were here then, were they also born


CB:My father came from Chatham, New York. My mother came from Copake, New York.

BS:That’s quite close by.



CB:Yes. They came to Wells Hill to live after they were married in Lakeville.

BS:They were married in Lakeville.

CB:In Lakeville. They met wherever they worked somewhere, and they met there.

BS:What kind of work didthey do?

CB:My mother was a cook, and my father was a caretaker at the Wells’ place.

BS:At Wells?

CB:Yeah, at Wells Hill.

BS:So they worked for the Wells?

CB:Yes, he was caretaker, and she was cook for the family, C. R. Wells.

BS:The Wells family, the name is the hill, the street, named after them?

CB:Well, the hill is named after them. Certainly they owned most of the land in that area on Wells


BS:Were they a well-known family here?

CB:They were from Chicago, and they made shoes, the Wells shoes, and sold them in Chicago. They

build the home here on Wells Hill and came here summers and then went back to Chicago in the winter.

BSLThat’s quite close to home for me. I’m fromRock Island, Illinois.

CB:Really, yes.

BS:They eventually lived here all the time? Didthey retire here?

CB:No, they came back east in the summer andreturned to Chicago for the winter months.

BS:Then your parents worked for them here.

CB:Yes, until…my mother didn’t work after she was married. They found a little house to live in, and

I was born in that home on Wells Hill. That house is still standing, a very good one.

BS:Oh, which house is it?

CB:I don’t know who lives there now. It is not too far from the main road in Wells Hill. It is not on

the road where they had homes. It is a little distance from where my father worked, where they lived.

BS:You go to the top of the hill from here, from route 112 and is it further on?


CB:I can’t say. Funny I can’t tell you just where the location is.3.

BS:And your parents…So your father continued to work there. Did he ever…

CB; Yes, he did. He continued to work there until they sold their home to another man from New York, a Mr. Thorn.

BS:Mr. Thorn? T-H-O-R-N?

CB:Yes, my father continued to work for him after that. He kept him on as caretaker. But in the

meantime, I should tell you, as soon as I was old enough to go to school; my father decided that we had better move to Lakeville. He decided that because well, I was too young to walk a distance. I guess it was a mile and a half or something like that. So we moved to Lakeville then. I went to the parochial school.

BS:The parochial school? What was the name of it?

CB:Parochial school, St. Mary’s.

BS:Oh, St. Mary’s

CB:They had nuns there at that time. We lived right next to it in a house.

BS:Right next to it, would that be where the dentist is now?

CB:No, it is down the road on Montgomery Street (now Sharon Road). It is on the left going down

the hill, and now it’s been bought and sold and made into apartments, the convent school and the convent, very attractive.

BS:Indeed. Do you happen to know…

CB:The nuns left there years ago.

BS:Can you place the year that the school went out of business?



BS:Alright, we’ll follow thatinaminute.

CB:I was an adult I know atthe time.

BS:Oh, you were already an adult when that….

CB:When they left.


BS:Oh, I see.4.

CB:When they closed the school.

BS:Let’s go back, so you lived on Wells Hill, and had your first 5 or 6 years there, I take it?

CB:Six years.

BS:Six years onWells Hill.Whatwas it like growing up there? Did you have playmates in the area?

CB:No, very few homes, very few houses, we had no playmates.

BS:So what did you do with your time?

CB:Well, I did things that they wouldn’t think of doing today, making mud pies, and making believe

that I was playing house, and playing with my dolls. We did many times take picnics, my parents and 1.1 had one sister older than I, and we went in the woods and had a picnic. You know that for us was great. In our day we enjoyed all those little things, you know. It meant a great deal to us. Then I started church young, too. My father, we walked to church; we were little. He’d carry one of us for a while, and then he’d carry the other. He was determined that we’d know church, I guess. He was very that way. When it came school time, you see no buses picked children up in that day and age. He felt that….

BS:Oh, there were no buses; you had to make it on your own.

CB:You had to make it on your own, but he continued to work for Mr. Thorn until he sold out. Then

he didn’t continue to work for the next party that bought the place, some doctor Casper, I think.

BS:Casper? Dr. Casper bought it.

CB:Yes, Dr. Casper bought it, but he didn’t continue to work there.

BS:What did he do after that?

CB:He became a clerk that is a mail carrier in Lakeville at the Post Office. Then he gradually was

promoted into the Post Office as clerk inside after he was mail clerk, or mail carrier like they are today. Then eventually he became Postmaster, but that was sometime later.

BS:Is your older sister still living?

CB:Yes, she’s at Noble Horizons.

BS:You started parochial school at about six. What kind of a school was it? Was it a one room

school house?

CB:Two rooms and two nuns to teach.


BS:How many hours a day did you go?5.

CB:9 to 3

BS:9 to 3 and one nun taught everything.

CB:One nun taught in one room and had let’s say four grades; one nun and four grades, and in the

: room they had the other four grades – eight.

BS:I see eight grades.

CB:It was very hard to stay warm, you see we only had one warm room, and they didn’t even have

water in the school at that time.

BS:They had no water. They had out houses?

CB:Yes outhouses, yeah that’s right.

BS:What about food, did you bring your own lunch.

CB:Well, you see I lived next door. I went right home for lunch. The other children, some of them

walked home too. They were in that same area that went to school with me.

BS:What did you learn? What kind of learning went on?

CB:The same.

BS:Arithmetic, writing; reading writing and arithmetic and of course our religion, Catholic religion

which the nuns taught. We had a lesson every day before school started. That was the first thing they gave us. You would have to learn that lesson for the next day, or know the answers to it, the catechism.

BS:The catechism. Now there were four grades in the same room.


BS:What happened three of them would be studying while one would be reciting?

CB:Yes, that’s right.

BS:What about discipline?Was that aproblem?

CB:No, that’s one thing about the nuns, very strict. Oh well the boys sometimes were a little bit

unruly, but that’s normal. Girls can be that way too, very strict and very orderly really. You didn’t really try to be anything different with those nuns. They had a way with them. There was something about a nun that you paid attention to her. I don’t know if it was the way she was dressed or just the way she could get it across. There are nuns that aren’t likable either; we found that out

BS:People are people.


CB:Yeah, they are only people. They had a temper too just the same as any normal person has. Well

sometimes they gave a slap on the hand with a ruler which they can’t do today, as you know. I never had it done to me, but I know friends that did. But that’s beside the point.

BS:That was the most extreme thing that…6.

CB:Yes, that was the most extreme thing, but all of the nuns, the teachers didn’t all do that. There

was one teacher first grade I went to, in the first grade versus fourth grade. She was very, a little bit too much, but the parents didn’t protest so….

BS:When you say she was a little too much.

CB:I mean hitting with that ruler.

BS:A lot of hitting, using the ruler a lot.

CB:As I look backI thought so.

BS:But there were other nuns who were well liked.


BS:What did youdo after school from 3 o’clock on?

CB:I came home.This is another thing totell you.We had a certain dress we wore to school, and

when we came home, we got into another dress.

BS:Oh did everybody wear….

CB:No we didn’t have uniforms. We could wear anything we wanted. Some of the schools did have

uniforms, but this didn’t. I suppose we played.

BS:Any chores? Did you have to do any chores?

CB:Yes, feed the chickens when it was time to feed them and water them.

BS:Did you have anything besides chickens? Did you raise anything else?

CB:No we didn’t. We didn’t have a dog or a cat in the village. We did have on Wells Hill, but not in

the village. Yeah I had chores; I helped my mother a great deal.

BS:What kind of work, laundry?

CB:No, she didn’t have us do anything like that, but we did the dishes always after the three meals,

wash and dry the dishes. I have kinda forgotten. Maybe we went to neighbor’s house because there



were young people on that street our own age? They’d come over to our house, or we’d go over there and play, you know. We were great at making believe. We liked to make believe that we were, had a store and selling items, and we’d take pieces of paper and make little discs of money and things like that, big imagination, but it was fun. Oh yes and we used safety pins for money.

BS:You used safety pins for money?

CB:Because we had no money. That’s one thing; we didn’t get any money to use that way.

BS:What about weekends?

CB:Well about the same thing, I guess. I went to the convent a great deal.

BS:What was down there?

CB:I liked kids very much, I like children very much, or my companions, so I would go over there and

play with them out in the yard. We had games like they used to play. Drop the Handkerchief was one and some others.


CB:Tag, yeah. Oh yeah we did that at home, too with the neighbor’s children. We’d play tag and

hide behind the trees. I had a very happy childhood.

BS:Was there a movie house or anything like that?

CB:Not at that time. But in later years we had 2 movie houses when I was 16 years old.

BS:In Lakeville?

CB:Yes, Mr. Roberts, Bert Roberts had a movie, he had a big building it was a store and he rented

the….and he had a beautiful dance hall and a stage where you could have a play. Graduation took place there.

BS:Is that building still there?

CB:No it burned down many years ago. But that was something, ten cents to go to a movie.

BS:The good old days.

CB:Yeah and of course silent movies and they always had someone playing the piano, a piano player

playing the piano.

BS:Do you remember any of the movies you saw?




CB:”Pocahontas and John Alden” was the first movie I saw. Then another movie house opened up,

Stuart Movie House that was called. Mr. Stuart had a movie house, but that was on a street, are you familiar where the old station is in Lakeville? (Ethan Allen Street)

BS:Oh yes.

CB:Well it was opposite that.

BS:Where the pizza house is?

CB:Yes, right, right in that area, but that burned down too in later years after the Roberts building.

Of course they were old wooden buildings and if a fire got started, although we had volunteers. All the fire company was volunteer people, but they had to be called out with the siren blown at the fire house. They had to find out where the fire was sometimes, and these people would be a t work. If it happened in the night, it was very difficult to get people there on time to save a building. Of course the story was that Mr. Stuart, he didn’t own it then he had sold it to some people. That they did it to get the insurance and they didn’t intend. They never built again. But that was a story; we don’t know how true that was. We were pretty fortunate two movie houses in the town Lakeville.

BS:Did you finish all eight grades at the parochial school?

CB:No I didn’t.

BS:You left?

CB:Yes at sixth grade. I’ll tell you why this happened. I was a child that whenever illness came along

at the convent school with the convent children, see they boarded children girls from cities like Bridgeport, Waterbury, or Hartford: their parents may have been a single parent, like a mother and she would put them there until they were educated eighth grade or I guess maybe later than that. When they were 18, she came and took them back with her. My father said, “I don’t know why but anything that those city children bring in, you know they come in and the first thing you know they come down with some disease like measles or chicken pox, and the worst was diphtheria. Of course I caught it from the child who had it there at the convent. So he said, “Well, I may offend my parish priest and the nuns,” but he said,” I’m taking you out of school, and I’m sending you to private, down to the public school.” after I became well. Diphtheria I had the most dangerous kind; if I had died, I’d have been buried at night. I was so sick.

BS:Why buried at night.

CB:Well it was the worst kind they called it “The Black”. I don’t know if I was black or not because I

was so sick, but anyway he took me out of that school and put me into public school.



Why did they have to bury a person with the black disease at night?



CB:Well it was so contagious, we were quarantined. My father even had to out and live somewhere

else board and room in order to work at his job.

BS:So you went on to public school in Lakeville.

CB:In Lakeville the public school, yeah.

BS:What was that school like?

CB:It had all the grades and high school; it was all combined.

BS:How did it compare with the parochial school?

CB:I didn’t do as well. It wasn’t because of the school or the teachers, it was myself. I had had such

high temperatures that my brain wasn’t quite as good to think as quick. Before that I was very quick to learn, but after that, I’ve read that since or heard it since, I forgot which, the high temperature can damage your brain. So you are not as alert as you were before. I find that to be true because I didn’t learn as fast, but I too though it was because making a change where I had been so happy and doing so well, and then go into another school. I had to repeat the sixth grade. But that would be normal anyway.

BS:Very often that happens. Who was your doctor at that time?

CB:Dr. Bissell

BS:Bissell? How did he spell his name?

CB:B-l-S-S-E-L-L. There were 2 Dr. Bissells, the older gentleman, but they had both had the same

name, William Bissell. We had the older doctor first when I was born up on Wells Hill. We had the older doctor; then he retired. He had a young son William who took his place. We had him for our doctor.

BS:Let me just go back here a minute. Your parents came from Copake and Chatham. Can you trace

your family history beyond that? Did you know your grandparents?


BS:Were they living in the areathere?


BS:Do you know where they camefrom?

CB:Well, my grandparents the Egans came from Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. The grandparents on my

mother’s side were Kineson and Sheltus, but they were born in this country. They had the background of Scotch people. That is the Kinesons that was a Scotch name. My grandfather Sheltus was Dutch.

BS:Scotch, Dutch and Irish.




BS:Do you have any idea when they came to this country? On either side? How early?

CB:No. I was sorry I did that too because I had Grampy Egan’s birth certificate, and I threw it away

after my father died. That was a stupid thing to do but you do these things unintentionally. Then you wished you hadn’t done it. But they came to this country; I think they knew each other my grandfather and my grandmother Egan in the old country. They came to this country married, and she was 20, 1 know.

BS:Were they farmers?

CB:Yes, farmers, most of my grandparents were farmers.

BS:Let’s see that would take them back at least to the Civil War? They would have been here during

the Civil War.

CB:Oh yes.

BS:Revolutionary War?

CB:Civil anyway.

BS:Do you know whether they participated in any way in…

CB:No, they didn’t.

BS:Which grade did you complete in school? How high did you go?

CB:I went to high school three years. I completed my eighth grade, graduated from eighth grade at

the school in the village, public school. Then I went three years to the high school, but I didn’t finish.

BS:Was the high school in the same school?

CB:Same building, upstairs was high school, downstairs was all eight grades.

BS:In the high school years did they still have one teacher teaching everything or did you…?

CB: One teacher for each subject.

BS:Oh for each subject; they’d change. Did you go to work after that?

CB:Well, let me see. I worked in a store; 1 worked in Mr. Robert’s store. I was an extra clerk, what I

mean is I didn’t work steady for him. Then eventually I did work every week walked down to the store wasn’t far from where we lived. I got the foolish notion I didn’t want to go back to school senior year which was a mistake. My mother wanted me to, but I didn’t. I was earning some money and I thought this is great. I was a person who could save my money so my parents didn’t question my not going back.



They shouldn’t ever have let me decide that for myself, but they did. Well it doesn’t matter now. I always had a desire to be a seamstress. From little up I always took an interest in sewing. I love to sew. I learned a great deal from my mother that way, so as soon as I, I think I was 18, my father fixed up one of the rooms in our home for dressmaking. That’s all I had in there was everything I needed. He put me in business I should say. He set me up in business, got everything I needed and didn’t charge me any rent for the room. But I was home you see, and I could help my mother too when I wasn’t sewing. That to me meant a great deal. I did not get rich on it, but I enjoyed it very, very much. I am still doing a little sewing off and on now, but not much. I had a very happy childhood and a very happy adulthood. In fact I’ve been happy all my life more or less. I married a farmer.

BSYou married a farmer, from here?

CB:Up here, right in that house, up there they lived.

BS:The next house?

CB:The next house

BS:on White Hollow Road?

CB:Yeah, right up here.

BS:What was his name?

CB:Belter, Lawrence Belter. His father’s name was Lawrence Belter Sr. I have lived on this White

Hollow Road 56 years.


CB:56 year.

BS:So that would take us back to roughly about 1930


BS:What was Lime Rock like when you first camehere?

CB:Oh we had a store, we had a post office: we had everythinghere.It was just anicelittle village.

We had a barber shop; we didn’t have a theater then,but at onetimeMr. Stuartusedtobringmovies

down here from Lakeville.

BS:Where did he show them?

CB:Are you familiar with that red, pretty, beautiful red casino (now white)?




CB:Well that’s where the movies were shown.

BS: On 112?

CB:Yes, on 112 of course I do not know who owns that now.

BS:I think it’s the Wallies.

CB:Oh yeah that’s right, that’s the name. The store was where; do you know Mr. Cohen, the

antique dealer?

BS:No I don’t.

CB:No, well, he has a store, but of course he fixed it all over. I guess he lives in the back part, but

that’s where we went for our mail and our, well they carried some groceries, the store man did that ranthe post office, Philo. Lyons. If you needed a quart of milk or a loaf of bread, he had it. And children, hehad candy for children and ice cream.

BS:Did you do all your shopping there? Or did you have to go…

CB:No, we went to Lakeville. Saturday nights we went to Lakeville and did our main shopping. But if

we needed a loaf of bread you could always get it down here.

BS:Was the ore business still here then or was it already gone?

CB:Already gone.

BS:What kind of people lived in, you know in terms of ethnic background lived in Lime Rock at that


CB:Very nice people, do you mean when I came here?

BS:Yes, when you came here.

CB: They were very nice people.

BS:Were there, at one point there were a lot of Italian and Polish people, I have been told. Did that

change by the time you came here?

CB:There were quite a few Italians here, but I do not know about the Polish people so much.

BS:They were already gone, but they used to work in the ore mines.

CB:Yes, you see and also this factory that they had here.

BS:What factory was that? (Barnum & Richardson foundry)

CB:Where they brought the ore to be melted down to make the wheels for engines on trains, train

cars too. They were a class of Irish people, most of them that worked in that foundry.



BS:Was that still working when you were here. No that was…Was the factory still there?

CB:The factory was still there and there was a paper mill. Some Englishman came here and

established a paper mill, but it wasn’t a success. It was too expensive; it was something that didn’t appeal to a normal person or people. It closed. (Dard Hunter Handmade Paper)

BS:Where was the factory exactly? (“The B&R foundry was located where route 112 goes over the

Salmon Kill in Lime Rock. The foundry buildings were actually located underneath the present day bridge {2010}. Route 112 was straightened after the 1955 flood [which precipitated demolition of the foundry buildings] and now passes right through the center of the foundry site.” Dick Paddock)

CB:Do you know where the falls is? Well it was in that area, right in that area.

BS:In other words where the Inn is?

CB:No, across the road. In fact the falls and where that stood of course they used the falls for water

supply, so it is a little difficult to tell you just where that was at that time. It was quite a good sized factory.

BS:There’s nothing left of it?

CB:Nothing left of it, and that is sad too, but it had to be I guess. It’s gradually fallen down, and

finally our selectmen, Mr. William Barnett, decided why not take it all down, and he did. So you can hardly visualize where it was, but I can because I remember it.

BS:Does the noise of the race track come your way?

CB:Sure. I like it.

BS:When did the race track come in?

CB:Thirty years ago, my son was 16, and he helped to lay that track. He worked down there, and

he’s 46.1 can remember that ’cause he’s forty-six now. It’s been there 30 years this year.

BS:Did you have a vote in bringing it here?

CB:My husband was very much involved. He bought stock in it, but it didn’t amount to anything,


BS:It never took off?

CB:It never paid off.

BS:How many children did you have?

CB:I had one daughter married in New York and my son here.


BS:Oh your son liveshere.

CB:Yes, he lives here14.

BS:Right near here?

CB:Right over the hill, right hand side shingled house. He works for the state highway.

BS:Is there anything that you remember that I haven’t asked you about Lime Rock at that time?

CB:I don’t think so.

BS:How would you compare it with now?

CB:The little school house became a dress shop. Girlie Eldrid had a dress shop.

BS:Who was that?

CB:Girlie Eldrid, she’s gone a long time ago.

BS:How do you spell that last name?

CB:E-L-D-R-l-D I think, Girlie Eldrid. She turned it onto a dress shop; it was very popular, but it was

high class. You had to be rich to buy something there. At least I couldn’t buy anything there. But she did a good business.

BS:Was the school house functioning when you come, or was it already…

CB:Oh yeah.

BS:It was still functioning.

CB:My daughter went there until they closed it. You have to have so many children or something

like that. There was only one teacher. She was there five years. Then she took the bus to Lakeville to go to Salisbury Central. She walked there from the farm down there believe it or not, except in bad weather her father would take her.

BS:When you moved to Lime Rock, did you move into this house or no, you had another house first.

CB:That big house.

BS:Oh the big house was yours.

CB:That was my father and mother in law’s, and my husband and I moved right in, and we lived

with them all my married life. I lived there and my children were born in Sharon. My husband became too ill to continue to be a farmer. That’s why he sold. We had wonderful neighbors, the Lights, Tom Light.

BS:How do you spell that?



BS:Oh yes, they are still there?15.

CB:Oh yes. They have three nice children, and they are already teenagers. We sold to them in 1968.

BS:That’s when you got this house?

CB:My husband had built this house intending when he retired to live here nearby, but of course he

had to have the understanding when he sold the farm that we were to keep this house, and we would live here. The Lights were agreeable to that. They didn’t mind if we kept this little house. We didn’t sell it to them, so I have 2 acres.

BS:You came here in 1968?

CB:I came here in 1967. They bought the place in 1968. It was already on the market before I

moved here, but they were the first ones to have money enough to pay for it.

BS:When your husband gave up farming, did he retire or did he…

CB:He retired.

BS:is your husband living?


BS:How long agodid he pass away?

CB:He’s been gone 15 years in December. He had cancer. We knew he couldn’t continue to work

any longer on the farm. That broke his heart, because he really loved to be a farmer. He was a dedicated farmer, but things do happen.

BS:Did you and your husband participate in the town hall activities?

CB:Not too much. No, we really didn’t.

BS:What was your community involvement? How were you involved with any of the community

activities or goings on?

CB:Not too much.

BS:Church activities?

CB:No, not too much, just went to church.

BS:So what did you do with your time when you weren’t working?



CB:Well, he enjoyed going places, driving places in his car and taking friends. Hezekiah Goodwin

was a great friend of my husband. They took off; I didn’t go with them, I stayed here. My mother-in-law was ill for 20 years, and I took care of her.

BS:You took care of her?

CB:Up there and down here; she came with us. She lived several years after we came here. She

had heart. My husband could never get away from the farm for any length of time. Well you know farming, well they do it today, but he wasn’t that kind. So he enjoyed going on trips with Hezekiah Goodwin and some other friends of his. They took off and went…of course Hezzy never was a dedicated farmer so it didn’t bother him to leave the farm. He had someone work for him. They went to the Amish, is it Amish?

BS:Oh in Pennsylvania?

CB:Yes, they went there, and they took a boat ride and trips down the Connecticut River one time.

Up north, somewhere in Vermont. He did enjoy those things. I was glad for him. I wasn’t a person who went much anyway. I was more or less content to stay home. I didn’t drive. I never drove. I never learned to drive a car.

BS:Oh, how did you get around, no buses here or…

CB:I know. I had to depend on someone to take me. I was contented that way. I always had

someone to take me. I had my son as soon as he got his license and Lawrence usually. We went places.

BS:How is your life today here; you don’t drive.

CB:I am very lucky to have Dial a Ride from Noble Horizons. You’ve heard of that.

BS:I certainly have.

CB:I go twice a week over to the Grove to dinner. I like that very much.

BS:Thelma Young has told me about that.

CB:Yes, oh she’s a nice person. I like her so much. She was here yesterday and sat at our table

where I am now. We play cards; I have two women who play cards, but there wasn’t enough here yesterday to play cards. We play bridge.

BS:Yes, she likes bridge.

CB:I like the social side, too. I have met some nice people.





CB:Over there at the Grove, and I’ve met people I once knew and had associations in Lakeville when

I was living there. I’ve met them now back here and over to the Grove. They go there for meals. It is such a nice social event to get out and met people. I always liked that anyway as a kid. I always did. I have one sister but we were never close as sisters. She never liked what I liked, but that’s normal. She’s an individual; she had a nice life but different from mine. So that’s why from childhood up I enjoyed other kids and playing with them and having friends. I got hurt sometimes, but that’s normal. You know how kids are. I’ve lost a lot of them at my age. But I get out whenever I get a chance. My son is good to take me. We go to church together. He’s married.

BS:Children? Do you havegrandchildren?

CB:Two grandsons (DJ andScott)

BS:How old are they?

CB:23 and 22

BS:Do they live in the area or have they left the area?

CB:One has left; he’s in Florida, the oldest one. The other one is here Scott; he takes care of the

animals on the Salisbury Lime Rock Road, Mr. Robinson’s animals. He has 8 horses. Scott always liked animals, and he works there. It’s not big money but he likes it.

BS:How do you find life here in terms of the changes in Lakeville, Salisbury?

CB:There are an awful lot of changes. I can’t quite figure out how Lakeville has become so, well you

shouldn’t say dead compared to what it was once because we had stores two or three stores there. Lime Rock is only residential really which is alright but I don’t meet many of the new people because I am not out and I am the older generation. Naturally I wouldn’t because they are all the younger generation now. But I am glad to say that there are some here who have families around now. It is nice for the children on this road. When my daughter was growing up, she had no companions. There were no children her age, until she got going to high school and grammar school in Lakeville, and then of course she had companions, visitors. Salisbury is the same way, but it’s not quite so bad. But there are too many changes.

BS:You came here about the time of the Great Depression.

CB:I did. We got married in the Depression.

BS:How did the Depression affect you?

CB:Well, my father-in-law was paying my husband’s salary, but he had to stop that. They went into

partnership together. The milk was what brought in the money. But even to this day farmers are not



paid what they really deserve, but they can’t strike because they have perishable item milk. You can’t dump it down over the bank and…

BS:You said they can’t strike, is that what you said?

CB:They can’t strike; they don’t belong to a union anyway. They never had a union.

BS:Aren’t there farm organizations of some kind? Like the Grange?

CB:Well, the Grange and there is something else.

BS:Farmers of America?

CB:Yeah, Farmers of America, and something else we used to belong to, but I’ve forgotten. They

belonged to that, but they never got very far. They had lean years, but they didn’t seem to get too much for the farmer.

BS:Then came the Second World War, right. Do you remember that? Did that affect your family and

life in any way?

CB:No being a farmer they weren’t taken into service. They were farmers. They had to go to the

town hall and have an interview someway and told them… (ringing telephone)





Cora Belter 43B tape

Narrator: Cora Belter

Interviewee: Bob Steck

Place: Mrs. Belter’s home on White Hollow Road, Lime Rock, Ct.

Date: April 2, 1986

Summary of side B: Her sister in Noble Horizons, lack of work for young people now, high cost of living, factory houses of Lime Rock in 1930’s, Barnum & Richardson families, Belter family, brother-in-law’s house.



Cora Belter Tape 43 side B

CB:She usually calls me in the morning from Noble Horizons.19.

BS:Oh good. How much older is she?

CB:14 months

BS:Like my brother and I. Is it good for her up there at Noble?

CB:She’s not happy.

BS:How long has shebeen there?

CB:Three years this month. Money’s gone. Her money’s gone. Now she has to have help. That’s


BS:How does that work? When you go into Noble you have to leave your money with them?

CB:Well, no you have a bank account of course, and each month you give them a check out of your

banking account. She does have a good telephone pension. She worked for the telephone company, and she does have good social security. So those two combined pay half of what she has to pay up there. The state is helping her I am sorry to say, but it came to that point. Your money doesn’t last long the way they charge, but she has great care. I mean she has nurses around the clock, and good food, and good care; everything taken care of food and everything you know, but she isn’t happy there. But my sister isn’t the type to be too happy a person anyway. So we won’t go into that.

BS:What are your hopes for the future of this area? What do you think you’d like to see develop in

this area if anything; in terms of your experience?

CB:I don’t think I gave it much thought. I guess I am too contented as I am as a person, not

thinking, but what I do wish which will never happen, the young people had a better chance; they have to leave here in order to get a good job.

BS:Why is that?

CB:There is nothing here for them.

BS:You mean no work?

CB:No work really, you see the way it is they never want any manufacturing companies in here.

They don’t want anything that would be a benefit to the young people. It’s not here. So if they go to school, well if they go to school in Torrington and take up a trade, that’s alright. I mean they can become a plumber, or a carpenter, or a painter, or something in that line, but they have to go off if they




want to learn to be a machinist; they have to go to school someplace to take that up. There are some construction work going on here for people, but in the winter you don’t have that even as a rule. My grandson is very fortunate, the oldest one. He likes construction work so he did have jobs, two or three of them around here, but that too; one went out of business, so he’s in Florida on construction. There’s quite a bit now there in a certain area.

BS:It’s difficult to find places to live.

CB:That’s it. We’re destitute, that’s one thing you mentioned. People are destitute; they can’t find

the rent. That too is very high. You know people they haven’t got any savings to buy a place or put down a down payment even if they wanted to buy a home here. They’re awful high around here, what’s being sold I mean. There are at least two houses on this road here, the corner house that big Victorian house. It took a long time to sell that, and they didn’t get the money they were asking for it, I don’t think. They are putting a lot into it.

BS:What did a house cost; let’s say in 1930 around this area roughly? Do you have any idea?

CB:I can’t remember.

BS:Or let’s say do you remember the cost of food at that time?

CB:The cost of food was on the same average as your wages. What I mean is you didn’t make big

money, but you didn’t have to pay too high for your groceries. It levels off. Like every time now everything is high, but the wages are high. Everything is high that you buy because it goes with the times. I don’t remember. You’ll never believe this but when I came here to live, there were three houses on that side of the road …on the right. They were being, someone could have bought those three houses for $1,000.

BS:The three.

CB:The three. They were factory houses, and they had been left. See when the factory was no

longer operated, all those people went to Torrington to work in the factories that were employed here. So that left empty houses.

BS:It would have been a good time to buy.

CB:Yeah, right, right; my father-in-law he wouldn’t buy them. His son tried to get him, but he

wouldn’t. He said, “Dad, that’s a bargain.” Of course they needed fixing; they had no running water, no bathrooms just like in the olden days.

BS:They had belonged to the ore factory.



CB:Yeah, they belonged to them.

BS:I see what they called company houses.

CB:Yes, company houses, and they had a number on those houses. Each house had its own number

on it, the factories.

BS:Did a worker living in a house have to pay rent?

CB:No, they got that. That was one benefit. See that’s where I was telling you the war time it was

such a booming little village; it wasn’t a town of course but part of the town of Salisbury. Then alongcame the ghost town; we were called that was called a ghost town because so many people had lefthere, except the rich who already had their money anyway. They didn’t stay here; Barnums andRichardsons they could stay here of course. They had beautiful houses. But all the factory houses wereall empty. So they called it the ghost town. Then Mr. and Mrs. Albert Stone came in here, real estatepeople. They sold most of those houses to somebody. They had good luck selling them, not too highprices I imagine. I don’t remember just what they were. That was before I came here.

BS:The Richardsons and Barnums lived in Lime Rock?

CB:Yeah, they had beautiful houses.

BS:Right on 112, those big houses there I suppose.

CB:Umum, that corner house is a Richardson’ house.

BS:Oh this one on this corner; right on the corner of 112 and White Hollow Road.

CB: The parents lived there many, many years ago, the father and mother of the Richardsons. Therewere two brothers. I can’t think of their names. It was once a booming little village, as I recall it for I hadrelatives here. I had an uncle who worked in the factory.

BS:An uncle on your mother’s side?

CB:My mother’s side.

BS:You’re part of the whole Belter family in the area, right? Henry Belter and…

CB:Henry was my husband’s first cousin. Their fathers were brothers, and they owned two farms

just alike. My father-in-law owned this, and Garwood, Henry’s father, owned the one on Salisbury Road,where they had such a bad fire.

BS:He’s such a nice guy. I met a Mr. Belter who winters in Florida, but rides a bike past our house.

CB:My brother-in-law.

BS:That’s you brother-in-law? Does he live in this area?


CB: He lives in those little houses.22.


BS:Oh up the road here.

CB:The middle house, where I was telling you they were all empty. He bought that for $3,000.00 at

that time.

BS:Very good.

CB:Someone had owned it before him, and she had fixed it up. She was a New York person.

Goodwin her name was. She had put a lot on money into it. She got married to somebody, and she wanted to get rid of it. He got it for $3,000.00; it was a good buy.

BS:Oh yes indeed. Is there anything that you can think of that I haven’t asked you or that you can

add? You have done so well, I must say.

CCB:Well, I wish I could. I don’t think of anything.