Daboll, H. Davis

Interviewer: William Doolittle
Place of Interview: Scoville Library
Date of Interview:
File No: 5A Cycle:
Summary: Ensign farm, Daboll family, Julie Pettee, Historical Society, Salisbury Association, Oral History Project

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript




Transcript of a taped, interview.

Narrator: H. Davis Daboll.

Tape #: 5A.

Date: October 1, 1981.

Interviewer: William Doolittle.

Mr. Daboll has been a resident of Lakeville since 1965. His father’s family lived in the Canaan-Salisbury area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He has a more than casual interest in genealogy and in the history of the Town of Salisbury. He is chairman of the Historical Committee of the Salisbury Association, and works actively with the Oral History Project.


Property/of the Oral History Project, Salisbury Association and Scoville Memorial Library.

Salisbury, Connecticut O6O68.



This is an interview. My name is Bill Doolittle. It’s

done at the Scoville Library on October 1, 1981. The narrator is Dave Daboll and I will let him start off telling us, if he will, when he came to Salisbury and how he became interested- in historical work in general in this area.

D.D. I moved to Salisbury or more properly, Lakeville, on Wells Hill in 1965• Quite by accident because we had been looking for a place to live in Maine, but we came to this area to attend a wedding and all of a sudden we found the house we liked. Although this is not my first visit to the area, because as a child I came with my parents to visit Miss Ellen

and Miss Hattie Ensign who lived on Dugway Road where Hezekiah Goodwin now lives. They ran a large dairy farm with hired men and my first recollections of the area is riding behind the team to take the milk from this farm to the Lime Rock Station where the large creamery was located. That involved crossing a bridge near where the gas station is at the end of Route 112 and somewhat southeasterly of the present Route 7 bridge over the Housatonic.

Even before that I had roots here, or in this area, as my great-grandfather Henry was born in Canaan in 1812, the son of Jonathan who moved there in 1810 with his wife from Preston, Conn. His father had moved to this area in 1796, after selling out his property in Windsor. So, I go back great-great-great grandfather Jonathan being on the Canaan-Sheffield line in 1796. This Henry, who was born in Canaan, lived with his bride, formerly Charlotte Goodwin, who lived in that Ensign house before the Ensigns on Dugway Road and they were married and moved to Central New York in 1842 so that my accent is central New York rather than New England.



Davis Daboil.

W.D. That certainly is a strong background in the area and would you tell us, after you came here in 196, what particularly got you interested in the historical work and what lead up to your work at the present time with the Oral History Committee?

D.D. Well, when we came here in 1965, my cousin by marriage, Julia Pettee, was active in historical work of the town and Marguerite Bourdon and her sister, Mildred, had become the Historical Committee of the Salisbury Association as well as working with the special collections in the Scoville Library. Miss Bourdon needed some help in the establishment of the exhibit at the Academy for the fall Salisbury Fair and I volunteered to help her. Through the combination of Julia Pettee’s historical interest and the Bourdon girls, that led me into enjoying the Historical Committee. Additionally, my wife and I have both worked for about thirty years doing genealogy of our own families and it got so people would write to the town and if Lila Nash had too much work she would ask us to hunt up the answers to incoming letters on genealogical matters.

W.D. I know that you’ve been extremely active in the Salisbury Association and the Historical Committee there. Would you tell us more or less what you’ve done and what the Salisbury Association has done in connection with the founding of this Oral History Committee?

D.D. The Salisbury Association has been the recipient of many gifts of family papers and photographs and other pieces of memorabilia and that entailed labeling and preserving and finding a place to store these artifacts and the whole thing- just seems to have grown with encouragement from Ben Belcher and other Salisbury Association people, till now we have a lot


Davis Daboil


of material that we have not had time to properly catalogue and index and sort out to a point where they’d be generally useful to people who wanted to do research on these artifacts. Later, after some talk with and the encouragement of Bob Estabrook of the Lakeville Journal and others who were interested, it was thought that an Oral History Committee should be formed and quite a lot of enthusiasm was shown by a few people. The committee has been working now for about six months and some tapes have been made. Actually, I am not a native son so that my tape would not really be part of Oral History of the town.

W.D. I know Marguerite Bourdon, we were on the Library Committee together when she started, and she had made a tremendous collection of pictures both of this area and of pictures from all sorts of magazines with the hopes that they could be used in the schools and otherwise around town. I had a couple of exhibits of them at Indian Mountain School and the children liked them very much. Where are these pictures now and are they going to be used? Are they part of the Salisbury Association collection?

D.D. The pictures are undoubtedly right here in the library and there are really two collections. One is the one that the Bourdons made as part of the library collection and the other is the collection that they have mounted and is part of the Salisbury Association collection. And that collection is not only houses and business places, but pictures of individuals and groups and activities and Salisbury Fairs, railroads, iron industry and many other classifications all connected with the town rather than pictures taken of general interest, things from magazines.


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Some people do not have a great deal of interest in history or genealogy but it is astonishing the interest that other people show. For instance, right now there is a woman here from the state of Washington whose ancestors were born here and she has not only worked on her genealogy from her home in Washington, but she has been to Washington, D.C. National Archives, she has worked at the Salt Lake City Library, the Church of the Latter Day Saints, the Mormons. She has worked in the Hartford State Library and our town records and has gone to a lot of work trying to figure out her genealogy. Some people can open an already published genealogy and find all about their family, although they should check to make sure that what has been printed in the past is accurate, by going to the original town or state records. Many things can be found through the land records, through probate records, through vital records of births, deaths and marriages. It’s a great task and a very enjoyable one for people who have the time to devote to it.

I hope that in the future we can call on townspeople, particularly those with roots in this area, to give to the Salisbury Association a genealogical record of their own ancestry, perhaps back three or four generations or as far as they can trace it, because this becomes a record that is valuable to people doing the same research in the future. It is very difficult for some time periods to obtain this information and many times the most difficult part is the most recent, as people may not know the maiden name of their grandmother or who their grandfather’s mother was, and if that information is lost, for instance, Henry Jones married Mary.


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Well, who was Mary? So, it would be very helpful if everyone in town could do this for the record.

W.D. Well, thank you very much, Dave. I’ve certainly seen you working hard here all the time. I think very few people appreciate the tremendous effort you’ve put into making this room a complete and useful one. And thanks a lot for telling us how you got started on it.