Oral History Cover Sheet
|Interviewee:||Howard Clayton Morey|
|Tape#:||88 A & B|
Place of Interview:
Mr. Hewat’s home on Selleck Hill
Date of Interview:
April 25, 1993
Summary of talk:
charcoal pit description, types of fencing, Sellecks & Selleck Hill, the White School, food and meals,,Salisbury Town Fair, baseball.
Family background, fishing, topography, Charlie Ball, opium, Clark Hill Farm,
Side B: George Frink, Judge Warner, Middle and West road, cider mills & presses, games, swimming hole, deviltry i.e. stealing potatoes, murder, games animals, Fred Marston-blacksmith, trucking coal to Salisbury School and Hotchkiss, town jail, story about deer hunting.
Property of the Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, Ct. 06068
Donald Hewat recording H. Clayton Morey, Sunday April 25, 1993
DH:Tell me a little bit about your biographical info. Tell me about your grandparents and parents.
Where and when were you born?
HM: I was born August 27, 1908. I was born in Torrington, CT.
DH:Did your family live there?
HM: Yup. They went from here to Torrington. They lived about three or four months, then they
moved back to Salisbury. I guess they didn’t like it. My father worked in Union Hardware. It was
different. My mother was a country person. Her father William Frink was one of Bill Frink, George
Frink, Emory Frink. There was four or five boys. They were all in the army together.
HM: Yup. A lieutenant or whatever that’s how I heard it anyway said, “What is this outfit, all
Frinks?” My father was born in Norwich, NY. but they were married right here in Salisbury. My birth
certificate, I was born in Torrington. We didn’t live there, but a few months, and they move right back
up here in Salisbury.
DH:I don’t blame them.
HM: No. So it’s on record down there. I went down there when I went after a job or something. They had it down there, and I got it. They lived here the rest of their lives. They never moved out of Salisbury.
DH:Where did they live?
HM: They lived right in the old homestead of my grandfather’s. Not right away. My father went to work for Judge Warner down here in Salisbury. Donald T. Warner. They always went Donald T., Donald J. My father went there for a good many years. Run a farm. He had a farm down here. You know where it is down across the track in Salisbury on the Lime Rock Road. That first house you cross when you cross the old railroad track bed. That first house you cross when you cross the old railroad track bed. That house on the right. We lived there. That was a farm house. He used to have to walk across the track up to the barns and things. That land all except down when the track there used to be that little pond there on the right. That was a brook run right straight through and run into the brook. We called the name of that brook was the Riley Brook. Always the name of that brook was the Riley Brook because you got the least bit that brook would get riley, Riley Brook from Lakeville. There was another stream that ran in it which doubled it up. Where it doubled up was just up south of Dark Hollow. You know where Dark Hollow is there in the Dark Hollow Road. Weil anyway, we lived there for years and my brother and sister lived there, Art and Nettie. We lived there for years and my brother and sister were born there: Art and Nettie, my brother and sister. My brother I think was born in Norfolk, and they moved right back to Salisbury, and we lived in Salisbury al! the rest of our life.
DH:Do you remember your grandparents?
HM: Oh, yes. I remember Phil Frink. Yup, they were “as a matter of fact”. I got a picture of those old soldiers standing in front of the white church on Decoration Day. I knew some of them. I didn’t know a lot of them because they came from Lakeville and probably Taconic and I didn’t know them. I knew old Charlie Ball and of course, my grandfather.
DH:What was he like? Do you remember?
HM: Yup. He had a lot of medals on him that he got while he was in the army.
DH:This must have been WWI.
HM: Oh, before that, before that. The War between the North and the South.
DH: Oh, that’s going back isn’t it?
HM: Yup and so he was quite an old gent. He used to come down to the house and see my mother and father, and I used to go up on weekends a lot and stay with him and my grandmother.
DH:Where was that?
HM: That was right up Locust Avenue. Locust Avenue is right where the hanging rock is. That’s the name of that street. That’s Locust Avenue. He used to walk along like this with his hand behind him, put his finger out there like that, and I used to grab his finger, and he used to walk along, and I’d hang on to his finger.
DH:How old do you think you were?
HM: Oh, I was probably 5 or 6, very small little fellow. My hair was just as white as snow, whiter than it is now. Ha ha. We were quite the bunch. We used to go with our father and a man by the name of Ed Ostrander. They used to go fishing before dark. There was a big hole up the brook. I can’t think of
the name. Anyway, they owned that property, and Mr. Pope owns it now up in there. We used to fish in that hole, and they’d used to catch trout till after dark. That’s when the browns would bite anyway.
DH:The best time. How did they fish? Did they fish with flies?
HM: No, just worms. They had steel rods. The name of the rod was Bristol, Bristol rod. They were three-piece rods, Bristol rods. I had a pole that my father would cut in the wood. It was ash. It was ash a little bit bigger than around your finger. He took these things you hang pictures with. Eyes, you know. He screwed them in the bottom. A little hole and screwed them in the bottom: then one just about a quarter of an inch from the tip. I can remember fishing with that. Jessie and I. Earl was no fisherman. Art and Nettie wasn’t old enough to fish then. They were born right here. I don’t know how many years they lived there. When they were born of course, I was a little fella but I can remember when we moved out of there which I didn’t want to do.
DH:You didn’t want to move. Why?
HM: Well my father went to work for the Willard, the Willard farm.
DH:Where is that?
HM: You know where you are going to Canaan. You cross the brook, right there in there where all that big development and all them houses is built. That was the old Willard Farm. Of course all that ground and that side hill and all that was all open land. That was pasture.
DH:That’s what I hear all the time.
HM: It was all open land and down where I live now where those woods are is all open land. 1 can see from my house right down to where Matt Kiefer lives now. Easy to see that farm. It was beautiful
you know. It had the Moore Brook. It ran right down by Indian Cave. Then you had the brook. They call the Lakeville Brook. Now I guess they don’t call it the Riga Brook do they?
DH:I still call it the Riga Brook.
HM: Then there was Frink Brook. They always named some of these brooks from some of the farms they run through. That’s how they got their name. Good fishing. They never stocked. They had brookies this long.
DH:That’s about 22 inches you got out there.
HM: It was big as a brown trout.
DH:You don’t see those much anymore.
HM: Oh, no. No, no, no. You don’t see them at all. There was a bridge and everybody walked that trail down by the Indian Cave which now the guys that bought that land tore that bridge out.
DH:That used to go to that road on the other side where it ran, down to the Lime Rock Road
HM: It came right down by I don’t know the people that live there, but when you go across the bridge, the first bridge you come to going down the Lime Rock Road, no the second bridge. The first bridge is right there where the Lakeville Brook runs. The second bridge then it’s the big place there tucked back in the corner. That was a farm. That road came right in through there, and it came from Falls Village. They used to come over that road and you see there was a drugstore in Salisbury. I remember when that drug store was run by a man by the name of Dickinson. That was before Sam Whitbeck or any of them owned it. They used to come over the mountain to get their opium. It would come in a chunk like that.
DH:What did they use it for?
DH:It was an early Salisbury drug trade.
HM: It wasn’t really dope: it was a medicine that doctors subscribed for him that he used to have consumption or some kind of a sickness. They’d get that, and they’d put it into a little round flat can like Copenhagen snuff comes in. They roll it in little pills. Then every once in a while when they got to feeling kinda bad and things, they’d take one of them. I don’t know if they swallowed it, hold it under their tongue or what. I had an old fella, Phil Warner asked me and my wife if we would take a man by the name of Jake Liego. I lived upon the mountain above Erikson’s that old place up there. That was an old I’ll tell you in a minute…
DH:Is the house still there?
HM: Yup. There was two brothers. That was the old Clark place. Now Burt Clark’s father owned that place where Erickson’s is. I think his name was Bill Clark.
DH:That’s right. It was called Clark Hill Farm.
HM: Yup, Clark Hill Farm. His brother owned the place up where I lived. That was another farm. I can tell you an instance that happened. I didn’t see it, but they talked about it, and I know all about it, and I don’t believe anybody else knew it around Salisbury. They didn’t speak. They had a cow barn right close to the fence of Burt Clark’s father down there where Erickson’s is. Now close to the fence line.
When they cleaned the cow barn, they’d throw it out of the back window drop it over the fence over the line. I don’t know if there was a fence there. I imagine there was. Well come fall or spring Burt Clark’s father took a couple teams of horses and go drive up there and draws it away and put it on his
property. There was an awful commotion about it, but it was on his property. I can remember hearing about that you know.
DH:That was the only manure they had around then. There wasn’t like going to Millerton and
HM: No. They didn’t have fertilizer and stuff like that of course. Burt Clark’s people had a farm too. They had their own manure plus his brother because they didn’t speak. I think one was Bill Clark. There was another fellow that lived with him. They used to call him “Puzzle”. He would walk around with a bucksaw on his back, tied on his back, and he’d go around to different people with that bucksaw and saw wood for people. They used to call him “Puzzle Clark”. I can remember him ’bout this tall.
That’s about 4 1/2 ft. a little guy.
Yup, a little fellow I remember the last time I’d seen him was at George Senior’s. Do you
HM: Well, you know where Echo Street is?
DH:Yes, right under the hill down here.
HM: Yup, that come up. He lived there. That’s the last time I seen him. I used to take that path and go up there because we lived up there then in my grandfather’s house. He died, and my father bought that place. I remember him sawing up that wood with that bucksaw.
DH:He walked around most of the day with it on his back.
HM: All day. He went one place to the other.
DH:He was working on firewood them.
HM: Yup. They didn’t have no gasoline saws or anything like that them days. But that was quite a chore. I guess I remember all that stuff.
DH:What did the landscape look like? You talked about open land. Can you tell me more about the
whole area? What was open then?
HM: This was all open land.
DH:Selleck Hill was all open?
HM: Yup. This was all open farmland. There was Mike Satori’s father lived up here on the end of the road where just before you go in the woods again up there. There was a house in there.
DH:This little road that runs right up past our house.
HM: Yup. It goes right straight through up to the end. There was a house up there and Mike Satori’s father used to live up there. They used to work in the woods. There was probably five or six Italian fellows worked for him. They chopped wood on the Mt. Raggy side. Cut that cord wood. They used to take it and load it in box cars. They used to burn charcoal too. All those places on the side of these mountains that you see is yellow and yellow spots is charcoal pit bottoms.
DH:I picked a lot of those out and I know where they are. You can still find the charcoal.
HM: It was all coal pit bottoms. They used to send charcoal, I don’t know, probably New York. The train run to Millerton. Whether they had a turntable in Millerton or whatever, I don’t know. Anyway, they probably would send it to New Haven because the train runs through.
DH:What did it look like here? Fires smoking all the time?
HM: No. You’d see very little smoke from them charcoal pit.
DH:It is because of what they were doing was really drying out and taking the moisture out of the
HM:They were all sodded in and it was built up in tiers, and that was all closed in and just a little
vent out of the top. That land right in there and charred. They used to have men at night. They’d have a little shanty. They call them shanties which it was, a shanty. Nothing but a little bit… They stayed right in there and they checked them charcoal pits burning every hour because if they burnt a hole out in the bottom that would burn up their charcoal.
DH:I bet it would if they get enough air in there. You saw very little smoke. The land was open.
How about fences and things? What kind offences were there?
HM: Right down here when you cross the brook, they had a stump fence. They’d take a team of horses and pull out stumps and piled them up in between the fields to keep the cattle from going there. Then they had the wooden rail fences. The way you build a wooden rail fence, they put a stone there and a stone here, a flat stone, the length of the pole. They split the rails like that. Then they took a crossbeam just like that and stuck them in the ground and put a reel on that, see, and then went up with it so that the fence would be this high. They had all wooden rail fences. There wasn’t much barbed wire as I know of.
DH:The fence itself was not even but was zigzag because it gave greater strength that way 1 guess.
HM:Oh yes. Them cattle couldn’t lean it, push it over. If they had something straight. Yes, they did
have barbed wire, but it was something unusual. They put one strand of wire. It was a different looking barbed wire than it is now. I know a fella that lives in Salisbury. I’m not gonna mention any names because probably he don’t want to name me. His face is cut like this. He’s got a scar. Right on your
land up here on the place where I told you the house was. They had what you called a pig sticker. It was a sled. It had two runners on it. They cut a stick with a groove in the bottom of it, and then flattened the end, and they nailed it up here like that, and the runner in the middle and they curled the back in and put a platform on there. Then put another partition here, and they used to make what you call rippers.
. They used to slide on them. They’d take 10 to 12 people. You’d just start right up here and go on through here.
DH:Right down Selleck Hill Road.
HM: Boy, I’m telling you, they’d run off there in Scribner’s Bridge. Boy, they got hurt! l can remember the day they got hurt. Young fellas, kids. Well anyway, they had that and one of those workmen that cut cordwood from Mike Satori’s father put Mike and his brother on this toboggan and we had snow that high, and it was all crust.
DH: About three feet of it.
HM: Yea. You get a rain freeze: it will hold a team of horses on it. They put him on one of them. The pigstickers come apart you know, and put ’em on that. They had fence down there. They went into that fence, and it tore Mike’s face all up. That’s how poor Mike got that scar. Yup, I can remember because I asked Mike a couple of years ago about that and that’s how it happened.
DH:You never knew until a couple years ago?
HM: No. Never knew until a couple years ago and Mike was an awful quiet fella. When he went to school, he would come down to White School House down there which is on the end of Echo Street there, and he’d stand on that porch, and watch the other kids play, but he hardly ever get into it. Very quiet. That was all open all down through there.
DH:That was where this was owned by the Sellecks.
HM: There was Jim Selleck. I knew a few years back, but my memory is going now.
DH: Oh, come on, your memory’s terrific.
HM: Jim Selleck. Burt Selleck is the one that moved up Factory Street, and he run a grist mill right there and George Selleck and Howard Selleck was his son. They went to college. I don’t believe George went to college. Howard went to college. Yale. Course they’re both dead now, all of them. Up here on the end of your land in back of Mike’s where Mike lived, that was all open and they had a great big peach orchard.
DH:Who had the peach orchard?
HM: Satori’s, Mike’s father. I know because we used to go up and steal peaches. To tell you the truth, us kids go up and we’d get in them trees and steal us a paper bag full of peaches or something. That was a big peach orchard. Down on that slant where your field is now, it goes down like that: there was a great big boiling spring. That water was just as cold as ice.
DH:That’s the spring that feeds the brook that comes out at George Kiefer’s.
HM:George Kiefer’s, Yup. That road went right down, it come right down where Matt Marshall
lived, right by his house. It come right up through to there, and ended up at the edge of these fields.
DH:If you could tell me what one of your days was like from when you got up in the morning? Say
when you were younger: when you were still in elementary school or something. What was family life like? What time did you get up? Did an alarm clock go off? What happened?
HM: No. My father, he worked on the farm like I told you down to the Willard farm. Shortly after that course we went to school in the White School house which is down by Echo Street. There was a third, fourth, and fifth grade there downstairs and the 6th, 7th, 8th grade was upstairs. There was two different schools in there. From there, they went to high school down in Lakeville.
DH:What was it like just getting up in the morning? Did you have breakfast early? Did you have a
HM: Oh yea. We had a cooked breakfast. My mother cooked breakfast. She always had pannycakes or something. She had one of them long griddles. There was Jesse, Earl, me, and Art, and Nettie. Four boys and a girl and we’d have pannycakes. For supper, she would have boiled potatoes and things like that. My father if he didn’t raise them, he used to buy about 30 bushels of potatoes and put them in the cellar.
DH: So you would have them….
HM: All winter. She would boil these potatoes. They were great cooks. They would have baked beans, potatoes, apple pies, and everything very good.
DH:What other foods were preserved? You must have kept apples.
HM: We had apples, had Greenings, Russets, Macintosh, Spauldings like that and the pig nose. That’s what they always called them, pig nose. Kept them for winter. Drilled some holes about that big around in a barrel. Had three or four barrels of apples.
DH:Now wait a minute. You drilled three or four holes in the barrel? What was that for?
HM: Air. Don’t want to have them too tight otherwise they would stay most of the night on a cool cellar. Oh yes they would and we would have just a dirt cellar. It wasn’t cement cellars like they are
now. You’d have to watch them pretty close. We used to have a lot of rats in different places in them days.
DH:Did your family put up preserves?
HM: Oh my mother canned, my mother canned. Jesse & I picked 2-12 quarts of blueberries. He’d pick two of them, and we would walk off of that mountain and my mother would can them. What she would do she would boil them and put them in the cans and seal them. See? Glass cans. We’d have about 300 cans of canned stuff. 400 cans of stuff. Anything you could can. Everybody lived good.
DH:It always sounded so good to hear but someone had to do a lot of work to get that. Oh yes.
Women worked, boy. My mother weighed 111 lbs. She was a little woman. She trained us boys, Jesse, and I, my oldest brother, we would trap. Get up in the morning and go look at them traps. A muskrat would probably pay 35 cents-40 cents. We used to sell them over to Hiram Beebe in Canaan. A mink would probably pay five dollars. What we used to do is take the 6 o’clock train over to Canaan, and we would come back on the eight. Very few people had cars. Sam Whitbeck used to have a one? He would go down to the station and get the mail and different things for the drugstore and for the post office. He’d bring up the mailbags you know. Us kids… I remember Gene Doty. He used to always jump up on the back of that thing. Sam didn’t really want us to ride on that, but I remember we did. It would go putt, putt, putt. Gene Doty got off between the town hall and the drug store, and he jumped off backwards. Of course it was all dirt road. Boy, he rolled just like a barrel. It was a different looking country.
DH:Probably wouldn’t recognize it.
HM: Oh no. I’ll tell you you’d take a field. It grows up so fast. It grows up so fast. Right where I live now was a fairground. Salisbury Town Fair. It used to be right where I live now, and the baseball diamond.
DH:I thought there was a baseball diamond down near Lakeville right along the river. Is that right?
Are we talking about the same one?
HM: There was a baseball diamond. They called it the Canes Field. That was, well you know, when you cross that brook, you know where Park Sylvernale was in there? You cross that brook and go up that hill. You know where the whatcha call it girls live? I’ll tell you in a minute. Bob whatcha call it sisters live in that house right there. That road went right in there right by it down on a flat there. That was the Canaan baseball diamond. Now it’s a swamp.
DH:Who played baseball? Was there a town team?
HM: Town team, yup. Lakeville had a town team. Salisbury had a town team. All these small towns had a team.
DH:How often did they play?
HM: Every weekend every Sunday. They played Millerton, Sharon, Amenia, Canaan. Pretty near every time there would be a fight.
DH:Do you remember some of those?
HM: Oh yes. They’d get a fighting you know. Something happened to the umpire. The umpire used to stand behind the pitcher, if he called a ball wrong, boy he better straighten that out. Yes. But not always was there a fight, you know.
DH:Were there a lot of people that attended?
DH:A couple hundred?
HM: Yup a lot of people. Well that was the only recreation that they had was going to them ballgames then going up to Barrington Fair when that opened up. They had a little kind of a fair and things going on Salisbury that they used to take. A man would stick his head through a canvas, and they’d have a softball.
DH:I’ve heard about those things.
HM: The Dodgers they called them. I’m not gonna…. They’d have some colored man. He’d stick his head through that thing there. Hit the colored man in the head, and they’d get a 5 cents cigar. He’d get in and he’d shake his head just like that. Ayah. They used to take a pig that weighed about 50-60 lbs. and they’d grease him with pork grease. Then these people would all form a ring, and they’d let that pig loose in there. He’d run around, and he wouldn’t know where to go. Maybe they had low wiring there, I kinda forget. The one that caught the greased pig could keep it. You remember Burt Clark?
HM: Burt Clark boy, oh, Burt knew what to do. He would run right alongside of that pig, and then he’d jump right into him with his shoulder and knock him right over and grab him.
HM: My mother lived for a while on Mt. Riga. My uncle George Frink, that’s on my mother’s side.
She was a Frink. He was the last old timer that lived up there.
DH:Is that so?
HM: Yea. He owned two yoke of oxen. He was a big man. He was probably a foot taller than you. He was about that thick, and he was about this wide. He had a pair of lungs that you can’t… He could holler. Gee haw. He could be heard off of the mountain on the right day. Yes sir. He was one of the nicest old men was in this country. He lived, do you know where John Vasinni used to live up there?
HM: Well John Vasinni moved up there, and he worked I guess for the Warners- The Association. He moved in there, but he didn’t farm it. I guess he had a couple of cows or something like that. But Uncle George used to have cows, and he furnished them with milk and took care of the camps.
DH:For the Warners?
HM: Yup, for the Warners. That’s when Old Judge Warner was alive. There’s another one of the nicest men that ever walked. A real nice —not like Don Warner down here. Well, I mean you know he was a big man, and Don Warner of course down here, he never talked much you know. Old Judge Warner was a judge in Hartford. What do you call them?
DH:I don’t know.
HM: High judge. Don Warner down here was a lawyer. Then Uncle George moved down to Lakeville.
Now in them days they didn’t call it Farnam Street down by the Community Service. They called in Muck
Alley. That was the name of it. It was swampy all down through there on the flat. Then when it went up the hill in the house on the right, my Uncle George had a little farm there. He had two or three cows.
He didn’t have any children as I know of. He was something. He used to go in the woods with those…
At that time they used to cut telephone poles and things like that.
DH:There must have been a lot of evergreens then.
HM: Oh, big trees, a lot of… yes. He used to cut them. George Ostrander lived in a house right where they got a park now. They got a little park in there. That would be north of the dam where George Ostrander lives. On the right hand side of the dam you go up there, and little ways and George
Ostrander was the last one up there, but he didn’t do anything like that. He just lived up there as far as I know.
DH:Is that when the Middle Road was used?
HM: The Middle Road, and the West Road.
DH:The Middle Road and the West Road over near the reservoir coming up.
HM: Yup this here road.
DH:How did they get on this? Was Lincoln City for instance, was that in existence?
HM: Yup and this here road run right into it.
DH:Was there a lot of traffic that way.
HM: Yea, horses and oxen. They could use both roads see. The West Road, they hadn’t built it. They had people living where the Raggy Road didn’t. I can remember going up the West Road with my father once with a team of horses. There was two places that he stopped and talked. There was an old woman come out on the porch. It was just like steps going into the house, a little landing, just one. I can remember him talking with her. That could have been a Rossiter. There was a lot of Rossiters up there. Then when you go up that West Road, you go up, and you come to a bunch of hemlocks on both sides of the road. You go down. You’d see a wall or there used to be a kind of a barn foundation on the left hand side, a big one. I think you and I went up there once.
DH:We poked around in that area.
HM: Yup. Over cross that brook was a hole there and then there is a foundation in there. I used to hunt for bottles. I found two or three old bottles. I found a bottle where they took it off whatcha call it? They must have put their thumb in it.
DH:The print was right in….
HM:Right in the bottle.
DH:There were other people that lived along that road. There were two or three houses along that
HM: Yes, there were two or three houses along that road. Up as far as we are, you break into the cleared land, there was two or three houses. Oh yes. My mother’s cousin, Freddie Boudaleer, his name is. My father made the first watering kettle up there. up that road out of a leg. Cut the tree, chopped that out, and made a kettle for the horses. That’s when he worked for Don Warner. Then he made the second one. He and Richie Parsons run into a log down at the foot of the ski jump. My father said,
“Richie, you know what we ought to do? That old kettle is gone up there. We ought to better hollow that out.” Of course you had a chain saw in them days. Not the first one, but when Richie helped, and they cut that out and drawed that up there and put that there. But where those hemlock trees are you go down in between them, and you’ll see a third spot in there. You go across the brook. You’ll see an old foundation across that brook. Now I think that you own it.
DH:You think that’s the piece….
HM: I think that’s the piece, what is it, 15 or….
DH: Yea 22 acres.
HM: 22 acres. I think that’s the piece that you own.
DH:That I’ve never been able to find.
HM: Yup. That’s the piece that you haven’t been able to find.
DH:That would have been a place for some kind of farm.
HM: Yup probably had a bridge across that brook. Otherwise I don’t know where in the heck anyone could have built upon that road because it is so steep. I think that’s just exactly where because I used to hunt there. I’d go up there, and I’d turn there, go across that brook, go up in there. There is a big flat up in there. I’d wait. I was hunting deer, and I shot a lot of deer there.
DH:How about this other road? The one that was the West Road we were talking about? How
about the Middle Road? Were there building or houses on that?
HM: Yup. There was one just above your road. Maybe you do own it. Your land runs like that and it goes up like that and over like that. Little piece that runs in there. There is an old foundation just above there. You must have seen that?
HM:I think there is one on top there. You go through there and up where that laurel is and on that
flat. I think there is another place up there. I used to cross all them things because when you’re trapping, you take shortcuts. I used to run on to them. Mainly, that7s mostly how I learned all these woods. You never could lose me in these wood/mountains.
DH:No, I bet even though they’ve changed, you seem to know. You mentioned I think on the other
tapes about wood being sawed up and I don’t know where the saw mills were. You talked also about apples being pressed, and I didn’t know where the cider mills were. Can you remember?
HM: Well George Barton had a cider mill where he pressed the apples.
DH:Where was that?
HM: You go up the Under Mountain Road. Which one was that, 41? I think Paine lives there now. I think that’s where George Barton lived, and he had a saw mill in there, a cider mill I mean.
DH:Do you recall there is this cider press that we have up here? Was that ever used as you recall?
HM: Oh, you mean over on the right hand side? Yes. I know that there was a cider mill there. I think I was up there just once as 1 recollect. It used to be kind of a little cider mill. Whether they’ve done it for everybody or just for themselves, I don’t know.
DH:It’s a pretty big press so I thought.
HM:Well if it’s a big press probably they did press for people.
DH:More than a barrel of apples they could press at least two barrels at a time.
HM: Well then that was a cider mill, but I don’t remember when that was going at all. I think there’s quite a few things on this property that people have never seen like that second foundation up there by the twin maples. I call them twin maples. I don’t remember any building being there. I used to be up around here but that probably disappeared before I
DH:I don’t know who that belonged to. Do you remember when you were very young the kind of
games you mentioned baseball. Did people play other games, stick games?
HM: Down here in the academy building. It used to be a kindergarten. There were iron things. I think they called it shuffle board. It’s slide down that thing there and see how close you can come to the one thing that’s set down there. There used to be one of them.
DH:How long was it? Did it have a flat surface? Was it outside or inside?
HM: Inside. Oh, that shuffle board was I’d say about as long as this room. It was about this wide, a shuffle board. It also had a trough just like a bowling alley it would drop in there.
DH:That wasn’t what it was supposed to do.
HM: Yea. That was a shuffle board.
DH:Were there outdoor things which kids played?
HM: Well there wasn’t too much, only baseball.
DH:How did the kids get into trouble? What did they do to get into trouble? Do you know?
HM: Well yea if they stole something like that.
DH:It wasn’t like swiping peaches or something.
HM: I never heard of any kids getting into trouble when I was a kid. They got into deviltry. They’d go through a fence and steal tomatoes out of a garden. I remember once there was about 8 or 10 of us. We used to have a swimming hole. We called it the willow hole because there was a big willow tree. We used to get up in that willow tree and dive off into the brook. The hole was as deep as this room.
DH:Where was it?
HM: Down on Reid’s property. That’s where Matt Kiefer lives now. That belonged to Baldwin Reid’s father. What’s his name? Fred Reid then up this side right where Pope owns now where that lettuce place is. There was three stucco houses. They had a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, and the toilet was right off the kitchen, just a toilet. They lived there then old Bill Lamson. He owned a place down on the corner which the house is gone from there now. Right down the foot of Dark Hollow. Down below that. You know where that stucco house is on the corner? That used to belong to Egbert Howell. Well down on the corner old Bill Lamson used to live. They used to take them kids. Phil Lamson and Bill Lamson used to get the wood. Old Fred got a couple of wagon tires. He says “you boys go up there. I’ve got two tires in there and you pack that full of wood.” Gee whiz, the tire was bigger round than this or was bigger anyway. They packed that full of wood and it was way up. That was steep. They rolled that down that mountain and it went right through the house. Ha ha Old Bill Lamson told that was the father. He was dumb. It went right through that house. It must have been half a cord of wood stuck in it. Now you see, I’ve wandered off.
DH:We were talking about the deviltry that people might have gotten in to.
HM: Oh, we used to go swimming down at that willow hole where my house is now. Used to go across that lot down there and there was another lot. Then there was a little patch of woods down in there. We used to go down there us boys. Oh, there’d be eight or ten. We used to go swimming naked you know. There was a fellow that worked on the section. His name was George Plant. He was a Frenchman. Geez he had a big patch of potatoes bout as wide as these two rooms and long. A couple of us got on our hands and knees was digging potatoes then we set the tops back. Old George, he found out. He looked in there and be no potatoes. Somebody dug them. So he said I’ll bet you them kids that go swimming down there is digging my potatoes. Remember Jimmy Dubois?
HM: Jimmy and them and I, Jesse. Oh, five or six of us was down there swimming. We made a fire. Then we took the potatoes one day, put them in the coals and let them bake. Jim Dubois was over here on this side.
DH:Oh, you’re right.
HM: Yes. In order to come down to us, George Plant had to come down from this way because he lived up there. So John didn’t see him right away. He didn’t see him till he was about there. He didn’t dare to say anything or do anything. Jesse said, “Here’s a potato Jim”. “No, I don’t want a potato”. “Such a damn fool.” What the hell’s the matter with you? He said take that potato.” “No, I don’t want it.” George says, “You might as well just take it Jim.” They all run. Every one of them run. I was there and jumped right in that big hole in that brook. Of course we had to get out cause our clothes was there. George says, “Boys come out here. I ain’t mad at you, I want to tell you. He says, “But for God’s sake”, he says, “ don’t dig the new potatoes of mine. I’ve got two barrels of old potatoes I have left over
from last year. I’ll have the old woman give you all you want so you can bake them. Well we used to go over there and she used to give us a paper bag full.”
DH:Isn’t that great.
HM:Yup. That’s about as much deviltry we got into. Things like that.
DH:If you think of all the police reports today. Was there any kind of crime of any kind that you can
HM: I can remember a crime. Well there was a colored fellow. He worked at the White Hart Inn. His name was I was just thinking of it the other morning. He was one of the nicest acting colored fellows there ever was. I’ll tell you what his name is when it comes to me. There was an old lady worked there. She used to wash. Do washing. Pick up the clothes and do the washing and worked at the White Hart. So this colored man, he used to take her home. What was his name? Well anyway, we lived up in the Roaring Oaks, up by the hanging rock. That’s where my grandfather lived. Oh, his name was Bill Banks. We seen him coming down with his pickup truck with these clothes just a’flying out of the thing and going at full blast. He used to be talkative. He would stop and visit with you, and he never stopped. He went like heck. Well, the next morning about 6:30, Mike Satori’s father used to go on wood jobs. When he went down on this wood job, he seen this body laying… You know where the grist mill is down here, now where the grist mill is. He went down that back road which comes out on 41. There laid that body, and he looked and it was Jen Neediman. She’d been murdered, and Bill Banks disappeared. They never found him. He’d pounded her to death.
DH:Assuming it was he who did it.
HM: He had to. My mother seen him with her just before dark with that washing. He worked at the White Hart Inn. He went to the White Hart Inn and he had a car. He was married too, her name was Ella Banks. He just disappeared just like that. They never heard hide nor hair of him.
DH:How about larceny, stealing things? Was there any of it that you recall?
HM: You mean breaking in houses and things like that? No.
DH:It’s a different world.
HM:It’s altogether different.
DH:With the animals that were shot, how much was eaten?
HM: Them days there was lots of jack rabbits. They were that high. Big, big, jack rabbits. We used to hunt jack rabbits. Jessie and I used to go up here on your property. This was a lot of jack rabbits here.
DH:Here on Selleck Hill?
HM: Here on Selleck Hill and you know where the town dump is now? As you go down that hill and the lots on the other side of that was full of jack rabbits. We used to have a part bull dog and probably collie or something like that. He was mixed up. He’d strike a jack rabbit track but he wouldn’t bark. He would squeal. We was always rifle hunters. Never hunted with shot guns but we were good shots, real good shots, and we’d shoot the jack rabbits and we’d skin ’em, clean them nice and eat them. Then when we didn’t want them, there was a family that lived right up here by the name of Brighentis. That
was a farm too that joined this one.
DH:Was that before Pettee was up there?
HM: Oh yea. That was before Pettee got there. We’d come down across that lot. Have two or three jack rabbits and we’d stop there and give old man Brighenti them. He pastured that pasture of yours this way up north there. There was only two or three trees in that whole thing there at that time, and that was all pasture. We used to give them to him. Once in a while he’d give us half a dollar. That was quite a lot. We was thankful to get it. We never shot many deer around then. There wasn’t many coon around then. There was jack rabbit, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, lots of pheasants.
DH:Were all those used for eating?
HM: Yup. Their hide/fur was no good. The only furs was any good was muskrat, mink, fox, there was a lot of red fox. Quite a few wood’s gray. Them wood’s grey were more of a hazard on killing chickens, catching people’s chickens than red foxes.
DH:Can you tell me about blacksmith?
HM: Well, Fred Marston. He used to have a blacksmith. You know where they keep the ambulance now and things there? There used to be a little bit of a building to the north of it. They used to have a blacksmith stop in there for a while, used to shoe horses and things like that. He moved down on Library Street where I live. Well you know where Frank lives? He moved in that house there. Then he had out back towards the brook, he had a blacksmith shop in there. He used to shoe horses and fix them. He could pound out iron and things like that, add an anvil and things.
DH:Did you get a chance to stand around and watch him?
HM: Oh yes. I used to always watch him pound down a horse shoe. Take a thing like that he’d pound that. He’d put it on the heat, heat it up a little bit, and put it in there, pound that thing. It would be red hot and he’d poured it out. Then when he got done, he’d stick it into a tub of water.
DH:It would sizzle.
HM: Yup. I used to watch him.
DH:Were there other things like the blacksmiths? 1 was trying to think of other trades there might
have been. There were shopkeepers.
HDM: Well Salisbury School was heated with coal, chestnut coal. He used to draw coal with a ton truck, chain drive up there. You’d shovel it in a chute. I used to help this fellow during the summer vacation. His name was Hubert Scott. I used to help him and my mother used to give me heck. I’d come home all dirty. Pushing it in the back because you’d have to start in the back you know. They draw it in the summertime. That coal bin was as long as these rooms together. About as wide as that.
DH: About 30 ft. and about 12-14 ft. wide.
HM: Yup. He used to fill that right with pea coal. The train used to back right in there just like that and then they’d open up these things and dump it in this pocket. They had a gasoline motor. They used to have a gasoline lawn mower too up to Salisbury School. I worked up to Salisbury School a good many years. I used to mow the football diamonds and all that. Take care of all the lawns and everything.
There used to be a thing would a lot of buckets. Take it up in them big bins and go around and dump it.
DH:This was right in the railroad yards.
HM: It was just a little bit of yard about as wide as this room. The train would back right in there and they’d start unloading that coal. That’s all you had to do was just watch it. Start that motor. If it was an awful dry coal, lots of dust in it, they used to have a hose over the edge of the car running in on it to settle that dust. They have a place where you run a truck right straight through the building. Then you
stoop underneath this thing, and you pull down this chute and put it in the truck and then pull this lever like that. That coal would come and fill that truck. I’ve done that lots of times.
DH:I bet it was pretty dusty dirty.
HM: Oh yea, it would be dusty dirty. The smallest coal they had was Birdseye coal. That would be smaller than pea coal. Then pea coal, then chestnut coal then egg coal. Egg coal was the biggest, chunks like that. Hotchkiss School used to burn egg coal. There was a lot of things like that. Used to have a jail down here. It was brick. Once in a while, some of them old timers get drunk something there and they’d take them up and put them there overnight.
DH:Let them cool off.
HM: Cool off. Yup. They wasn’t selling no kind of booze in the town of Salisbury. It was sold in Millerton. They’d go over on the 7 o’clock train and come back on the 8. That train would be right full of men and women, some women that drank. Yup.
DH:What else did they use the jail for? They didn’t have anything else going on here?
HM:Well unless somebody stole something, you know, a small thing in a house or something. There
was thieves around. I was a young kid, and I didn’t, you know. Horace Kelsey was the sheriff. He lived right there where they got that television place there. Where you go to pay for your television bills. That was the sheriff’s. Then they had a scale. That’s where the coal place was too. You’d drive your truck right on there, and it was about as wide as that. Get on the truck, then the big scale was in the window. Mrs. Kelsey would weigh it and she’d say go on and she’d give you a slip.
DH:I’m interrupting once again. I just came to know Skeet because we spend a lot of time leaning
over a pickup truck in the backyard. He talks about his area, but in addition, he had a number of stories
he’d like to tell. Some of them were a little exaggerated, but maybe he’ll tell us one now. Perhaps one of his hunting stories about the one he shot 3 deer with one bullet or one arrow. You got a story Skeet?
HM: What’s that?
DH:Any wild story. You told me a lot of stories that I didn’t quite believe and that’s the kind of
unbelievable thing I want.
HM: Well I’ll tell you if you didn’t believe them, I didn’t lie. I didn’t lie. I’ve seen things around here that you wouldn’t believe.
DH:There’s a story about shooting 3 deer or something with one bullet.
HM: Not me. It must have been somebody else.
DH:It must have been somebody else.
HM: I never shot 3 deer with one bullet but I know once upon a time on Monument Mountain, I was hunting and there was 2 buck deer fighting, pushing. They had their front legs and head down. The banks on the road was about this high. I could just see over them. I had Frank with me. I said, “Frank don’t you shoot them deer because you ain’t going to hit them. I’m going up the road where it gets thinner, and I’m gonna shoot with the heads and get both of them. Well I get just ready to shoot, and he shot and hit one leg, and that ended that. He crippled it, but I shot that deer afterwards because I saw where the wounded deer had been traveling, and I went there and Earl Dean scared him out of this patch of laurel. He was coming trotting out on 3 legs, and this leg was just a wobbling. I shot it so I was glad I shot it.