Cowles, Sidney

Interviewer: Jack Rogers
Place of Interview: Rogers’ home in Lakeville
Date of Interview:
File No: 14 A&B Cycle:
Summary: Lakeville 1896-1982, Ore Hill Mines, President of Community Service (formerly E. W. Spurr

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript




Transcript of a taped interview.

Narrator: Sidney 0. Cowles.

Tape: #14 A&B.

Date: June 1 1,1982.

Place of interview: Mr. John Rogers’ home in Lakeville, CT.

Interviewer: John Rogers (with occasional questions by Shirley Rogers.)

Sidney Cowles was born in Lakeville in 1896 and speaks of his activities as a young boy and of the various jobs he held – lighting the gas lights in town; at the age of sixteen serving as chauffeur and mechanic for one of the first automobiles in town; later on, installing electric lights in the mine at Ore Hill. These and other remembrances provide a glimpse of the town in the first decades of the 20th century. He was the president of Community Service, a business he started after purchasing the E.W. Spurr Company.

N.B. – this interview was conducted as they were enjoying dinner in the Rogers’ home. As a result there are frequent background noises.


Property of the Oral History Project.Salisbury Association at Scoville Memorial Library.

Salisbury, CT 06068.



Sidney Cowles – 1

SC: I was born there because the Judds lived on the other side of me. Harry Judd, and his father and mother, that’s all toward Salisbury,

JR: On the other side of the road?

SC: No, the same side of the road. They were our next door neighbors.

JR: Where the funeral home is now?

SC: Yes, that’s the place.

JR: Well, that was a different house then, wasn’t it? I mean it wasn’t the house that’s there now?

SC: No, that’s the same house.

JR: Oh, really.

SC: The house this side of thewhere the people that you just mentioned.

JR: The funeral home.

SC: That house was up there. We didn’t build it. I think somebody built that house then they didn’t have money enough to quite finish it. Then my father bought it and we lived there most of, well, all of my life.

SR: Where had they lived before they came to that house? Your family? In town or ….

SC: I don’t know because I was born there.

SR: You don’t remember before that.

JR: Did you continue to live in that house when you were going away to Hotchkiss? When you went to Hotchkiss you went as a day student, I take it.

SC: Yes, I was living there when I went to Hotchkiss.

JR: Then when you went away to Yale, you were still living there?

SC: I used to have a lot of fun there, on that big tree on the slope.

JR: On the slope of the land up there.

SC: On the slope. Oh, it was pretty near fifty feet, not quite. I guess that’s stretched a little bit. I used to go up there when I was a kid. Go up and crawl up there, hand over hand.

JR: There was a rope hanging there?

SC: There was a rope to get up there and when somebody be coming, mostly with a horse and buggy because cars were Just coming in then, would pass the house – somebody in automobile but first off it was just the horse and buggy.I would holler like hell for

them to look and I’d turn over, go down the hill. I had this darn harness to hang upside down two ropes on the I’d go down. I used to put on the brake with my foot I used to hang upside down and they used to think that I was killing myself. It’s a wonder I didn’t.

SR: It’s a wonder you didn’t kill them too.

SC: I put on the brake with my foot on the way down. What if it didn’t hold? What if I didn’t push it hard enough? Oh God, I used to scare the people.

JR: How about the horses? Did you scare the horses?


Sidney Cowles – 2

SC:No, because they were pretty far off away from the tree.

JR:Where was the next place you lived, after that?

SC:The next place we lived? Well, it was on the road to Salisbury, on

the right hand side, right across from the old Raynesfordhouse.

JR: Let me see. I know where the old Raynesford house…

SC: It’s right across from there. A little bit towards Salisbury on the right hand side toward Salisbury. We lived in there most of the time or I lived. That’s when I was with Mrs. Washburn. She lived there and I lived where she was.

SR You rented a room there or something didn’t you, at the Washburn’s?

SC: Naturally I had to be there to run the car. She had the first car.

JR: That’s right. You were a chauffeur or something.

SC: Sure, she had a car. She was almost the first person to have a car in Lakeville.

JR: Do you remember what kind of car it was?

SC: Yes, made down in Bridgeport.

JR: Do you know the name of it?

SC: Yes, if I can only think of it. What the hell is the name of that company?

JR: You used to live in with her and drive the car.

SC: Yes, she took me down there, when they got this car, so that I could see how they made the car. I was only a kid really.

JR: How did you learn to drive?

SC: I think somebody took us down with their car.

JR: That was quite a trip in those days, I guess, to Bridgeport.

SC: Oh, yes, it was.

JR: Who taught you how to drive?

SC: A Locomobile.

JR: A Locomobile.

SC: That Locomobile that was the first car in town.

JR: And it was owned by Mrs. Washburn.

SC: That’s exactly right.

JR: Now, is she related to the Hotchkisses?

SC: Oh, yeah. her, not father, her mother, her mother was a Hotchkiss….No, not a Hotchkiss, she married a Hotchkiss.

SR: It’s Sis’s grandmother.

SC: Um. Sis’s grandmother?

SR: Grandmother, right.

JR: Was that your first paying Job, Sid?

SC: First Job I ever had. Well, I don’t know. I think… I can’t remember anything else.

SR: How old were you then? Would you have to be sixteen to drive?

SC: Twelve or fourteen, just about twelve. I was just inside the age that you were allowed to run a car.

JR: When was it that you were lighting the gas, the street lights? Do you remember that?


Sidney Cowles – 3

SC: That was farther along. That must have been about nineteen… I was born in 1890. I was about twelve years old, I should say.

JR: About 1902.

SC: I don’t know whether that’s the time they put the lights in or not.

JR: I think that’s about the time. I’ve read something….

SC:-I had the job of lighting the gas lights at night. I had a

thing that I bought in New York. I don’t know if they still make them or not. It had a battery in it with a little stub out on the end and a little thing with gas in it. It was about that long. I used to ride a bicycle.

JR: It made a little spark or lit up?

SC: When I got up to the post, they had a valve on these lights on the street because they were acetylene lights to turn the gas on. And I could go along with the bicycle, hit that part of the lighter that started the gas going. Had a little battery up in each one of the things that had a chain that went down like that. I could go through, pull the chain and not stop and light the light. —

The most fun I had along the road toward Millerton along where the Rudd house is, down near the lake. A stone wall was along there. Did you ever sit on it? A lot of people did. And they did other things.

JR: You mean there was a little sparking going on behind the wall?

SC: Yes, and I used to light the lights up there.

SR: You weren’t very popular, were you?

SC: No, no. I saw some sights!

SR: That’s why you liked the job so much.

JR: That was part of your education, Sid. Now, did you have to go around and shut them off later at night?

SC: Yes.

JR: Did you go twice?

SC: No, I had to go around lighting them. You did the gas lighting them.

JR: You did that when it got dark?

SR: When did they go off? Morning?

SC: About 11:00.

JR: Eleven at night?

SC: I had to go around and shut every one of them off. They had chains on them. I could ride a bicycle and go along and pull that chain and shut them off without stopping. But of course, lighting them you had to stop. It wasn’t too bad.

SR: How many years did you do that?

JR: Do that for a long time?

SC: I did that probably for ten or fifteen years.

SR: No kidding! That’s a long time.

JR: You told me once that you were in charge of some kind of a motor at the knife factory.

SC: Yes. They ran out of water power, one of those dry summers and they had to have gasoline engines. They didn’t have anybody who


Sidney Cowles – 4

could run an engine. I was the only one who knew enough to run an engine.

JR: So you got the job.

SC: I got the Job to sit there and watch that thing running. I didn’t get much money. My father was the only one that ever worked for the Holley Manufacturing Company selling knives. One time he was gone for three years. He went way out to California selling knives.

SR: That would take three years.

JR: He was their traveling salesman?

SC: He went by railroad, of course. When he got to the place, he hired a horse and went around to places where he had to go.

SR: That made it hard on the family back home having him gone all the while.

SC: He was gone three years, way out west, way out in California. For years he was the only one on the road for the whole country selling knives and there was only, I think, one other company in the United States beside the Holley Company. There was another company but I’ve forgotten the name of it. The Holley Company was the better one.

JR: They made the best knives, right?

SC: Right. They were good knives.

JR: Were the blades for those knives forged here out of Salisbury iron?

SC: Yes, across the road from the old shop, the forge shop, all done by hand.

SR: I wonder how many of those are around this area any more. Knives.

SC: They were all hand forged.

SR: You ought to have one mounted somewhere.

SC: I think I got one down home somewhere. I seen some great sights when I went around turning them lights on, where the Holley place is now, not the factory, —all along there.

JR: It was called Holleywood.

SC: Holleywood. I used to be on the bicycle. Of course, I had to ride on the sidewalk and I saw a lot of funny sights around there.

JR: When did you and Park Sylvernale go into business together?

SC: Well, that was after I built the place up in Salisbury. That place is there now.

SR: You built that first?

SC: Yes, I forgot the name of that company

JR: Do you know what you called yourself? When you were in business? That was electrical work wasn’t it?

SC: I had a name for it. Can’t think of it.

SR: That was Community Service? I’ve always known that store as Community Service Store.

SC: Yes, Community Service Store. That was it.

JR: Then you bought the E.W. Spurr Company after that?

SR: I thought it was the other way around. I thought you bought the main store and built the one in Salisbury after that.


Sidney Cowles – 5

SC: No.

SR: It was the other way around?

SC: Let’s see. How did that work out? We built that store first.

SR: You built the one in Salisbury first.

SR: Before you owned the Spurr Company.

SC: That’s what we did.

JR: How did you happen to go in business with Park Sylvernale?

SC: Well, I really don’t know how it started. I guess he just asked for a job and I gave him a job.

JR: He‘s lived there ever since you built that place, hasn’t he?: He’s the only person that’s ever lived upstairs.

SC: He lived right there in the shop, right near the shop.

JR: I remember a few years ago you could always go down there, no matter how early in the morning it was Park was always there in the store. He used to open that place up about 5 o’clock in the morning, I think.

SC: Well, he lived upstairs.

JR: Yup, I guess he liked to get up early.

SC: He was quite a guy, Park. He was quite a salesman. He was honest as can be.

SR: He could fix almost anything, too, couldn’t he?

SC: Yes. You never knew Olean, did you? Olean Sylvernale.

JR: No, was that Park’s brother, father? How was he related to Park?

SC: He was related to him. He was an uncle, I guess.

JR: Olean. That’s a funny name.

SC: He used to sell vegetables, had a garden down Lakeville there, down where the store is, only farther down. He was quite a guy. Of course, in a horse and buggy he went around selling vegetables. You could hear him five miles away. He was something. Oh, he was Park’s uncle.

JR: Well now, in those days there were grocery stores weren’t there? But he just sold fresh stuff in the summertime?

SC: He’d grow them himself. I can’t think of what it was he used to say. He went along the street hollering.

JR: That’s the way he’d let the women know he was coming

SC: He’d holler these things out -“Corn, corn, potatoes and a few small peas.”

SR: I wonder what he said when he ran out of peas.

SC: You didn’t know him, did you?

JR: Well, I guess, in those days there were a lot of people who peddled things around in horse and wagon.

SC: They had to, that was the way you could get around.

JR: I remember when I was a kid in New Jersey a guy came around every few months and sharpened scissors and knives. He had a wagon, horse-drawn wagon. He had a grinding stone in there and all sorts of grinders. He would come along every six months and sharpen your knives and your scissors.

SC: Was that from the Holley Manufacturing Company…?


Sidney Cowles – 6

JR: This was in New Jersey. I assume there were people like that around here.

SC: Were you born in New Jersey?

JR: Yes,

SC: Oh, were you? How’d you come to come up here?

JR: Because of John and Elizabeth Percy. They were my grandparents. They owned Interlaken, so I used to come up summers when I was on school vacation.

SC: I guess you helped around.

SR: That’s right. His grandfather put him right to work.

JR: That’s how I got introduced to Lakeville.

JR: You used to tell about the fellows who used to haul the ore out of the Davis Ore Bed. They quit mining out of that ore bed back around 1900, didn’t they?

SC: I think it was before 1900.

JR: You used to hide in the bushes there and shoot your BB gun at those poor guys who were pushing those little carts. That must have been before 1900. You and Charley Schleiforth.

SC: Yah, yah. He was just my age, the same age as I was.

JR: You two guys were getting in trouble.

SC: He had an air rifle. Of course, I didn’t have any money to buy one. Who was the fellow, I can’t think of who it was. Every time he’d bend over

JR: You told me some guy who was pushing the ore carts; coming out of the Davis Ore Bed they were pushing them on the tracks.

SC: Yes, that’s right. They had these carts.

JR: Every time they’d bend over you guys used to shoot ’em with an air rifle

SC: For a long time they thought it was a bee biting them. Just one shot. They didn’t see anything.

JR: I wonder what other kind of trouble you and Charley Schleiforth used to get into?

SC: I don’t know, that was about the only thing, I guess. He had money. He could get air rifles. We were the first ones to have one of those carts and all. Pony carts. They had money.

JR: What did his father do?

SC: He was on the road all the time. I forgot what they made.

JR: Whatever it was made him some money, I take it.

SC: I can’t think of what was sold on the road.

JR: He was a salesman like your father.

SR: How many children were there in that family?

SC: Golly, I don’t know. I don’t remember.

JR: They all left town, I guess.

SC: They lived almost across from us. I guess they lived next door to us. Then later on the judge bought that. Old Tom Norton was over there. On the east side of the road there wasn’t any house on there at all when our house was there.


Sidney Cowles – 7

JR: Oh, really.

SC: No, no house was there, right down to Lakeville.

JR: That was before the Kane subdivision was built on, I guess. Well,didn’t William Kane build a house right across from you?

SC: I was there long before that.

JR: Before the house was built?

SC: Oh yes. Schleiforths built a house there.

JR: That was probably where Dr. Geer is now.

SC: Who?

JR: Well, there’s a dentist in there called Dr. Geer.

SR: Horace Hotchkiss used to live there.

JR: Horace Hotchkiss lived there for a while, on the corner. That wasa big house.

SC: Oh, yes. That was a big house.

JR: I wonder whatever happened to Charley Schleiforth and his family.They all left, I guess, didn’t they? There are no Schleiforths aroundnow so they must have left town.

SC: Well, let’s see. Their house is there yet. They used to live nextdoor. They are all dead and gone. Most of the people are dead andgone that I knew.

JR: Did you ever have anything to do with the railroad when it was intown? There used to be a few more trains going through when youwere a young fellow, weren’t there?

SC: I think the railroad was built a little bit before I was born. – I

used to go down and sit on the rail when a train would come alongand see how long I could sit there before she got there.

JR: It’s a wonder you didn’t get run over. You told me once, I think,

you used to shag a ride over to Millerton.

SC: Well, that was later on.

JR: You’d hop on the freight trains and ride over to Millerton.

SC:The people who used to work in the knife shop, after

hours, they’d go to Millerton—


JR: You showed me one day, Sid, a ticket you had for the railroad from Lakeville to Salisbury – ten cents.

SC: Ten cents! I don’t remember that.

JR: I don’t know what you did with it but you found it somewhere in your house. You said it was a ticket…

SC: Probably had it in the junk I got there now.

JR: Imagine that. You could get a train from Lakeville to Salisbury for ten cents or back. I guess there were a number of trains that went through every day weren’t there

SC: Oh yes, except Sunday. No trains on Sunday except once in a while they allowed freight trains to come through. But not very often, not very often for a long time. I don’t think they had any passenger trains on Sunday at any time.


Sidney Cowles – 8

JR: Was that because the engineers didn’t believe in working on the Sabbath?

SC: I guess so. There weren’t what do you call it in those days. What do you call it on the trains?

JR: Automobiles?

SC: No, I meancan’t think of the word.

JR: Unions.

SC: No.

JR: Am I getting close?

SC: No. Can’t think of the word.

JR: It had something to do with the fact that the railroads were not running on Sundays?

SC: No railroads on Sundays. Never any passengers on Sundays. The freight trains but not very often.

JR: Could you take a train from Lakeville to New York City?

SC:No, you had to go to Millerton to get the train to New York.

JR: But you could take a train from Lakeville to Millerton and change there.

SC: You had to walk from up the hill and down.

JR: Oh, the stations were separated?

SC: The CNE station was up in back of the store…

JR: J. B. Reed?

SC: It was on the right hand side as you go that way up on the hill.

JR; Oh, I didn’t realize that.

SC: The other one was down where it is now.

JR: So you had to walk between the two.

SC: The CNE and the other was about I’d say an eighth of a mile apart.

(sounds of eating and comments)

JR: Do you remember when the first movies came to town?shown up in Roberts Hall.

SC: I was the first one to run it. I’ve forgottenthe fellow came up

here with the He showed me how to put the things on, pull

the stubs, the whole business and I was the first one who could run it.

JR: You were the general handy mechanical man around town, I guess.

SC: I was more electrical than mechanical.

JR: That was up at Roberts Hall? Were you ever the projectionist at the Stuart Theater?

SC: What was that now?

JR: Did you ever run films at the Stuart Theater?

SC: Oh yes, after they started it. Of course, that was pretty much done on itself. That was mechanical. But the early ones you had to do everything, these rollers would come I can’t think of the words.

JR: Film?

SC: Yes.


Sidney Cowles – 9

JR: Do you remember the fire that burned Roberts down?

SC: Yes. I’ve forgotten how that started. They had two fires there.

JR: Oh, they did? You mean two different times?

SC: Umhum. One didn’t amount to much. One was quite a bad fire. I don’t think they ever knew how it got started.

JR: Well, when the Stuart Theater burned down they never found out what started that either.

SC: No. I don’t think they ever found out.

JR: Did you know that Tri-State is going to close up. Tri-State is closing its doors.

SC: Oh, no, are they? They’re all done then. Let’s see that’s the one that I was in wasn’t it? There couldn’t have been many left anyway.

JR: Do you remember Don Genung? He’s still there. He’s about the only one. What made me think of it was that we’ve been talking about the railroad. Of course, when the railroad went out of Salisbury there really wasn’t much sense in that Tri-State Reserve Supply any more because the stuff was brought in by truck anyhow. When the railroad used to come in there you could get carload lots of building materials.

SC: Who was it that started that? What was their name, remember? They’re all gone now.

JR: That was before my time.

SC: You don’t even remember old man Schleiforth, do you?

JR: Nope. He was long gone before I came out here.

SC: He was on the road all the time but I can’t think what he sold. He was gone most of the time, Long distances. Tobacco!

SR: Oh, no wonder they were wealthy.

(comments about food)

JR: What was the story about the string that Charley Schleiforth tied around….?

SC: I’ll tell you about that.

JR: I’ve forgotten what that was all about.

SC: I was used to getting up early all my life for that matter. But Charley Schleiforth, he couldn’t wake up. I said we’ll fix that. When the time came along – what was it?? Some special time I’ve forgotten.

SR: Daylight saving, or.

SC: Something of that kind, I Just can’t think. I used to go around to Charley Schleiforth. He was a little older than I was but not much. He didn’t know how to fight these lights. Let’s see.

JR: Has that got something to do with tying a string around his big toe?

SC: Yes, that’s the one. I supposed to go pull that string and wake him up. I think I forgot to do it. Well, I can’t think what happened after that. It was something. Oh, I know. He took the string off from his toe and tied it to the bed. Of course I couldn’t get him up that way because it wasn’t on his toe.


Sidney Cowles – 10

That was when old lady Perkins was taking borders. Remember that?

JR: Well, I know Charley was Betty Haas’ father, right?

SC: Her grandfather.

JR: Her grandfather? Would it be? Charley Perkins!

SC: Well, let’s see now. Charley was the first son of the original Perkins.

SR: What was her father’s name then? What was Betty’s father’s name then? Cause her name was Perkins.

JR: Naw, it had to be Betty’s father. She’s probably

SC: Seventy, I think she’s more than that.

JR: Eighty?

SC: Yes.

JR: She’s not all that much younger than you are.

SC: Almost my age.

JR: So if you knew Charley Perkins. It had to be her father or her uncle.

SC: Might be her uncle.

JR: And they ran a boarding house there where she lives now. Right?

SC: And my mother used to take in boarders when there was an overflow. There always was an overflow.

(chat about dinner)

JR: Well, there were lots of things that went on in those days.

SC: I can’t remember them all now. I used to be able to.

JR: You told me once that you kept score. You kept the score board for the baseball team? SC: Oh, yes. I was.

JR: Did you ever play baseball?

SC: Not very much. I knew how to score –scorekeeper. I used to go wherever they went. They went in a horse and wagon.

JR: That’s the way the team went in a horse and wagon?

SC: Most of them, yeah. That’s when they had that first league, in different towns. I forget I think Canaan was in there. I don’t think Norfolk was. That was too far away. I think Sharon was on it, Ore Hill was on it. Millerton was on it.

SR: It would take all day to play a game like that. You’d have to travel by wagon there….

SC: Yeah, there wasn’t any automobiles then. You remember the first automobiles that were made? The first ones that I ever saw was a Buckboard. A fellow up at Hotchkiss school bought it He bought the first machine that was on the road and it was a Buckboard.

JR: It was like a horse less carriage.

SC: Oh, yes. Nothing closed in. All open, seat and everything.

JR: Didn’t you steer it with a lever or something?

SC: And you had to get out and push it up the hill. He’d get out and help it up the hill.

JR: It must have caused quite a sensation if it was the first one in town.


Sidney Cowles – 11

SC: It was the first one in town.

JR: The first horse less carriage.

SC: There was a special name for it. It was a Buckboard and there was a name ahead of that. I can’t think of it. It didn’t have any reverse in it. When you turned it around, you got out of the seat and went right around and picked up the front end and walked around with it, an Orient Buckboard.

JR: Oh, that was the name of it?

SC: They were the about the first to make automobiles here in the United States and I think it was old Doc Knight that had the institution. You never knew him either, did you? You ought to know about him.

JR: Doc. Knight. You used to tell stories about him. He used to play the organ up at the church. He used to have one of his patients to pump the organ for him.

SC: That’s right. What was his name – Arthur, Arthur something and he came from Hartford. He was a funny little fellow and he was the only one who knew how to pump the organ up in the church. Dr. Knight had a horse and had to take him up there. Dr. Knight didn’t play the organ unless he was there to pump the organ. I guess I told you this before, didn’t I?

JR: I think you did about the Sunday when the organ stopped. Tell that again.

SC: When they would go to these different places after church, people would tell Dr. Knight how wonderful his music was. Arthur

wasn’t getting any credit. And this one time after church they were telling how nice the music was —now how the hell did that go-

JR: You told me that he stopped pumping and the music died down.

SC: Yes he did and he came out. I guess that’s what I wanted to tell you. He heard enough people, people after church, telling Dr. Knight the music was wonderful. He didn’t get anything – pumping the organ. This one time, he got mad and the next Sunday after that right in the middle of the hymn he stopped pumping. Doc Knight of course got off his stool and went down under there. Halfway down in the cellar, he got halfway up and Doc got halfway down and was mad cause he stopped pumping the organ. He said, “Who’s playing the organ now, Doc – you or me?” He stopped pumping. He was one of the imbeciles but he was one of the good ones, see. He was from a very wealthy family out in Hartford. He was sent out there. He was one of the inmates from the state, a state inmate. They had money. They could pay. They could pay for it.

JR: Most of those people were confined inside of Doctor Knight’s place.

SC: All of them were.

JR: Was there a fence around it?

SC: Most of it was all grown up with shrubs and trees. I don’t remember having anything else.


Sidney Cowles – 12

JR: Did they ever have people escape from there?

SC: Oh yes. They’d get some far away but they’d get them back. Somebody’d telephone. It was sad to see them really, poor things. They didn’t know anything.

JR: All that occurred before my time I don’t know when that place closed up. They tore the whole thing down, didn’t they? They tore all the buildings except the one house that’s up there now where Doctor Knight lived. That’s still there.

SC: All torn down.

JR: The house where he lived is still there.

SC: Yeah, the old Knight house.

JR: The old Knight house is still right there on the corner.

SC: That belongs to- It’s a nice house, well built. Burrell built it.

JR: Oh, George Burrell.

SC: He was down in the village. He was one of the men who got the thing going to move the lake house, put it somewhere else.

JR: Somebody told me once when they tore those buildings down they threw all the stuff right in the lake – old plumbing. I remember when I was young seeing over in that area pipes and things in the bottom of the lake. They apparently just threw it all out in the lake.

SC: I think that was the first institution of that kind in the United States.

JR: Well, Salisbury has quite a few firsts. We have the first free public library.

SC: Yes, that came along pretty soon after that.

JR: Scoville Library was built probably in 1900, I think.

SC: Well, I think it was built a little bit before that, before 1900. (1894 Ed.)

JR: Do you remember it being built? Or was it up—

SC: Oh I was only a kid.

JR:Cause if you were born in 1890, I think it was built in 1895. (dedicated in 1895)

SC: 1890, 1890’s.

JR: That’s a few years ago.

SC: You bet! I thought it was wonderful when I lighted those street fights and then I’d come out about 11 o’clock and turn them off. I saw a lot of sights along that old wall up there. They thought I was spying on them. I didn’t ask any questions.

JR: Was Ore Hill in operation when you were younger?

SC: Oh, yes.

JR: Did you ever get down in those shafts?

SC: Yes.

JR: You never worked there, did you?

SC: Yes, I worked some. I did all the electric work in them. They used lanterns. They didn’t know about electricity. There wasn’t any.

JR: So they electrified it and you went down and installed the electricity in the shafts.

SC: Yes.

JR: Installed lights in the shafts down there.


Sidney Cowles -13

SC: Yeah.

JR: So, you went down in some of those places.

SC: Oh yes. I had a little electric thing of my own fastened on my coat.

JR: That’s what you used to see your way around when you were down there?


JR: The ore mine flooded, finally, didn’t it? They must have struck water and it filled up with water, didn’t it?

SC: The Davis Bed.

JR: But also the Ore Bed.

SC: Now wait a minute, the Davis Ore Bed I don’t think was underground at all. That was open. Another one that was open…There was one up in Ore Hill. The Ore Hill one was mostly underground. There was one up in Scoville. Right. (on Scoville Ore Mine Road Ed.)

JR: How about the one over in Deep Lake Farm? Wasn’t there an ore bed, too? (Chatfield Mine Ed.). It’s now a lake. I think they were taking ore out of there too.


JR: Those mines over at Ore Hill were quite deep in the ground, weren’t they? About six or seven hundred feet?

SC: All of them underground. Well, I don’t think quite as deep.