Oral History Cover Sheet
Interviewee: Natalie Peabody Latimer
Place of Interview:Lila’s home on Bostwick Street (#63)
Date: June 12, 1983
Summary of talk: Recollections of Lakeville while she lived here. Her parents ran the Wononsco House. “The Holley Grove” , Timmins’ boat rental and the launch “Nina”, Holley Manufacturing building and new use, the Hub, the Dufour family, Doris died in 1973, Wake Robin Inn, Mr. Jones & Lakeville Journal, Randall House home of Tom Norton, Tokone Hills, Dr. Hern, Mike Flynn, Francis brothers, the swinging bridge.
Property of the oral History Project, The Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, Ct. 06068
Today is Sunday June 12, 1983. This is Lila Nash; I am at my home on Bostwick Hill. I have a visitor here who used to live in Lakeville, born and grew up there. She is Natalie Peabody Latimer, daughter of the late Eugene Lincoln Peabody and Alice Peabody. She is back today to visit the town. I am going to ask her some questions about what she finds after so many years away.
LN:Natalie, it is nice to see you again. Where are you staying?
NL:I am staying at the Interlaken.
LN:What did you find in Lakeville that is different from when you lived here before?
NL:I couldn’t find anything last night in the dark. At my age my vision is not very good.
LN:Well, you remember that your parents ran the Wononsco House. That was located up right
across from the Holley-Williams House now.
NL:Next door to it.
LN:The Wononsco House was a summer inn where you used to have people come up.
NL:It was year round; it never closed.
LN:You and your parents ran it and then you had a sister Inez and sister Doris. What did you find
today in Lakeville that was so different from your time?
LN:Everything is different.
NL:The lake was quite different, of course. I couldn’t believe the number of people thatwere there.
LN:It’s now called “The Holley Grove” and it is run by the town.
NL:I thought that they must have taken over part of the Holleywood property.
LN:They did; that’s the Grove. The Holley people gave that grove. Mrs. Ward Belcher,do you
remember Mrs. Ward Belcher?
NL:I remember the name: that’s all.
LN:Mr. & Mrs. Ward Belcher bought the grove and gave it to the town for recreation. (See also
tape #92 re William Barnett Ed.)
NL:I recognized my grandfather’s house on the corner. That was a death trap before; now with the
hedge down you can see around the corner. You’d have to peek around the corner before you dared go ahead. I remember as a child…
LN:Your grandfather had the boat rentals. (Mr. David Timmins ED.) He ran the launch.
NL:He ran the launch all my life that I can remember.2.
LN:He used to take people around the lake.
NL:I suddenly remembered that the launch was called “The Nina”. There was nobody in the family
by that name. We always wondered who on earth “Nina” was, but we never found out.
LN:It’s too bad he did not name it “The Natalie”.
NL:He was running the launch long before I came along. I was very fond of my grandfather.
LN:I remember him myself. What else did you see that was so different? Did you see the new
Holley Manufacturing Company building?
NL:Yes, I did. What is it now?
LN:The building has all been renovated and fixed over by a man named Ralph Schwaikert. He’s
President of the Babbo Company. On the second floor there is going to be a shop called “Settings” and on the main floor there is going to be a restaurant.
NL:That’ll be fine. I noticed that the Dufour’s place is gone.
LN:What was that called?
NL:The malt shop?
LN:The Hub Do you remember Ma Dufour?
NL:Yes, I remember her and the boys. There was one my age that I admired considerably, Leslie,
and I remember Sue who died very young.
LN:They’re all gone now, and their father was the barber up across from the Wononsco House.
NL:Leslie was my age. And I remember his older brother. What was his name?
LN:It was Ray and Lee.
NL:Who was the chauffeur for somebody? He was the oldest.
LN:I think it was Ray.
NL:I didn’t know him so well. I think it was the next one I remember. He was the town policeman,
wasn’t he at one time?
LN:Yes, he was.
NL:The last time I was here.
LN:Well, that must have been several years ago.
NL: I think the last time I was here was when Doris died.3.
LN: Yes, I remember you were outside; you had been to the cemetery. What year was that?
NL:1973, it’s hard to believe that that much time has gone by since she died.
LN:Yes, and that was the last time you were in Lakeville. Before that you hadn’t been here for
many years, is that right?
NL:I haven’t been here I think since I came home from Europe. I have never been up to Vermont.
I have never been to that part of Canada that is north of New York State, and I wanted to go and see it, so we headed up to the Adirondacks, but didn’t care much for it. I couldn’t see that it was such a big deal. I have been in prettier places. We went out to Canada, and it was such a surprise. Nobody spoke English in that part of the world. We couldn’t even ask for directions or get gas or anything, even at a gas station. I think they played dumb.
LN:They probably did.
NL:Funny foreigners. We came back on the other side of the lake down through Vermont and then
down to Lakeville. I don’t remember whether we stayed overnight or not.
NL:We could have. If we did, we stayed at the Wake Robin.
LN:Oh yes, I remember the Wake Robin. That was run by Mrs. Hunter. Do you remember Mrs.
NL:Oh yes, I remember her.
LN:They always said that Lady Churchill stayed at the Wake Robin. She had tea there.
LN:Who else do you remember in town?
NL:I remember most of the people in town. I remember Mr. Jones who used to run the Lakeville
Journal. Who was that man who used to work there? He had two girls and one of them was Doris’s friend.
NL:No. He was the printer, and Mr. Jones was the proprietor. I also remember Mr.
LN:He must have been in the buildings right across from the Holley-Williams House. That whole
area has changed.
NL:Yes. All I can tell you about him is that he was a plumber, and that was fine. His wife sent me a
card from the Methodist church. She was a pretty little blonde. Do you remember her?
NL:He had a man, who worked for him, and they had the contract to do over Randall House for the
Nortons, and when it was all done, Tom said it was the worst thing they could have done. The helper put his hand in some paint and put his fingerprints on the bathroom wall over the tub. I don’t know what he had in mind, but it was not a very nice thing to do.
LN:Did you go up the road to the farm you used to have?
NL:No does that go all the way up and around?
LN:Yes, that today is a regular superhighway! Do you remember it?
NL:Yes, I remember it used to wash out in the winter. I want to see the farm again, but we haven’t
done that yet.
LN:The farm is entirely gone now. There is a big development up there
LN:It is called Tokone Hills. The farm is entirely gone now except for the little farm house. It’s there
NL:It was built in the 1700’s or something like that. If we have time, I have a cousin in Winsted that
I remember as a small child, and I haven’t seen him since then, although I have kept in contact. When Tom was sick for so long and buried, and we first went to Crosstowns that was all I thought about and Parkinson’s disease. So far they have found nothing to cure it. I remember that mother brought roots of peonies from her mother’s home in New York and planted them down the side toward Nancy’s to the front door.
LN:Up at the farmhouse.
LN:The farmhouse was way up at the end of Reservoir Road which is now, as I say, practically a
NL:No it was at least a half a mile or a mile from the reservoir, from the Lakeville Reservoir. Did
they keep the brook?
LN:Somewhat, they made a big pond up there now. It is all entirely different. All the development
is quite big now.
NL:Is it a nice one?
LN:A lot of beautiful houses up there.
NL:Well there are beautiful houses all over. I think whoever gives them the permits to build has
taken some care to see that they build decent ones. I mean in keeping with the rest of the houses.
LN:Do you remember Dr. Hern? He lived across from the Wononsco House. That is an apartment
place now. It was later taken over by Terry Wyatt.
NL:He was a. Is he still living?
LN:No, he’s gone.
LN:Mike Flynn, he’s gone.
NL:And the girls? I thinkone was Katherine.
LN:Katherine and Greta.
NL:I remember -—had the house down the hill from the Flynns, and if there was a wind storm, he
used to take the clothes line and wrap it around the house and tie it to trees. Do you remember that?
LN:Yes, I do.
NL:I hope none of the children around here hear that.
LN:Do you remember the Francis boys?
NL:Oh yes. I often quote them.
NL:Their brother and wife were watchmen when they came home from World War One. You may
want to write that out.
LN:I have the recorder on.
NL:You may want to edit it out.
LN:There was Pete Francis. He worked with Bob Fowlkes? They used to work at the Wononsco
House. Bob Fowlkes was the cook, as you said.
NL:Of course he died when he…
LN:Then Peter Francis or Pete was, they all lived up on Belgo.
NL:Pete went through the woods once on the farm. He told the story about a rogue moose that
came after him, and the trouble he had getting across the road. His cows used to get out and come over to our barn at the farmhouse. I remember him coming to the door and saying, “My cow’s looose.” I wonder what that meant. I never heard that word before
LN:And you remember his sister Liz?
NL:I remember her as a little girl. I don’t know anything about her.
LN:Well, she had some kind or spells or fits, and the Bradley Homestead is up on Farmhouse Road.
(See tape #60 Wm. Bradley-Ed.)
NL:Is it still there?
LN:It is still there but that’s all been changed and renovated. It is beautiful now.
NL:It’s a nice location; you could see right down the valley.
LN:The Francis boys lived up above the William Bradley Homestead (corner of Ore Mine and Belgo
NL:Was that over the Millerton Road?
LN:Yes, that was over toward Millerton.
NL: lived in Falls Village. But don’t ask me any details.
LN:You’re down at the Crossroads in…
LN:In Kennett Square, PA
NL:That’s where the cross roads, it’s on a road – Crosslands is the name.
NL:It parallels Route 1.
LN:Kennett Square, PA, that’s where you are living now.
NL:That’s right, near the Longwood Gardens and the DuPont estate.I called up another cousin who
lives in Boston and said I have been down to Longwood Gardens twice.If I had known you were
there…She thought so too.
LN:You have just cousins left?
NL:Yes, I am the last leaf on the tree.
LN:I am too except for cousins.
NL:Of course Nancy has children.
LN:Is Nancy your daughter?
LN;Do you have other children?
NL:I have a son who lives in New York.
LN:It’s great to have descendants.
NL:I have four great grandchildren.
(There is another lady in the background who was never introduced and adds to the generalconversation from time to time, but the audio tape was so hard to transcribe that I left her out. Ed.)
LN:Oh the swinging bridge; oh yes, the old swinging bridge. They tore it down when Bill Barnett
was Selectman because it was a hazard. It was one of only 2 or 3 swinging bridges left in the UnitedStates. We were really sad about that.
NL:The boys used to come down from Hotchkiss and four or five of them would get on the bridge
and make it swing. I can remember my father going out from the house and yelling at them.
LN:Oh yes, that was quite a bridge.
NL:Where does Marcia live?
LN:She lives over on the lake shore over by Rt. 44 going toward Millerton. There is a little turn off
and she lived on the lake shore. There are houses all around the lake now.
NL:When I lived in Lakeville, there was no lakefront property for sale.
LN:Well, there was a lot of lakefront property, but nobody thought about buying it at that time.
NLK:Oh yes they did; everyone who was in the real estate business wanted to buy it. Mother used
to say they wanted one half an acre with a big roof on it and a in front.
LN:Oh the tennis courts; they are all gone now.
NL:Are there caves toward Millerton? I never knew about them.
LN:Not toward Millerton; oh over near New York state line; a very small cave probably over by