Narrator: Bob Steck
Tape# 67A & B
Place of interview: Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, CT
Date: August 8, 1988
Summary of talk: Lois Paine speaks of the Revolutionary War and Thomas Paine and her relationship to him. She talks about her heritage going back 5 generations. She remembers life in Salisbury growing up as a child talking about school, work, games played and various buildings in town.
Date: August 8, 1988
Property of the Oral History Project
Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library
Salisbury, CT 06068
LP: My name is Lois Sherwood Paine, and I was born here in Salisbury, Ct on Conklin Street in a little brown house that still stands there, that sits over in back, now owned by my brother, Frank Sherwood. My family came here, the Sherwood’s came from Ancramdale. There was Jessie Sherwood and he married Sarah Witworth and the Witworths lived at the bottom of the mountain. My great-grandfather worked up in the mines.
BS: So, not only you were born here, but your parents were born here?
LP: My dad was. He was born in the little house that they tore down when they put in the addition to St. John’s church. There was a little building out there in back. My mother was born in Hyburness, NY. They moved here a little while after that. She met my dad, of course, and they were 19 when they were married.
BS: Your dad was a Sherwood, and your Mom’s name was?
LP: She was a Webb. Her family pedigree is the Webbs, the Bradleys and the Everetts. She is to do with the Methodist Church and the Homestead up on Belgo. There was a farm there at the time which is gone now. The farm was set over in back, and my mother was telling me one day that they used to peddle the milk that my uncle Ed used to go from house to house peddling the milk in a wagon. They just loved it there. Then they moved down to where the Millerton Road, right across from Indian Mountain School Road. The Appleyards live there now. That was their home there. The farm that is there where all the houses are built and the old barn, which Horseman’s, I don’t know who owns it now, Horsemans owned and they remodeled it into a home. That’s on the left hand side going towards Millerton. That used to be my Grandfather’s farm yard. Marvin Reed who lived in the house where I think Wrights live now, he owned all the land and my grandfather worked it.
BS: Was Marvin Reed related to Charlotte Reid or was it a different family?
LP: No, it was a different family, -ee instead of-ie.
BS: Who were the Everetts and Horsemans?
LP: The Horsemans were just a family who moved into town and bought property and made it into a home. The Everetts were traced back to my family and Jacob Webb and Edgar Webb.
BS: This is an ancestral chart we are looking at. How many generations?
LP: I’ve gone back quite a few generations. On Mom’s side I have done very well with help from my cousin .
BS: Were your grandparents born here?
LP: No, none were born here. They all came here to work. I don’t know why my Grandpa Webb came here. I don’t know what the reason was, whether it was because of the farm, for somebody to run the farm at the time. The sad part of this is that you never think of these things until you are in your 60’s and your family can’t remember because they are too old.
BS: That is right, that’s true. Let me see if 1 have this straight. Your parents came from Ancramdale?
LP: Jessie Sherwood.
BS: Jessie Sherwood.
LP: He married Sarah Witworth.
BS: Was that your grandparents?
BS: Oh, your great-grandparents.
LP: The Sacketts, on my daddy’s side, the Sacketts were, my Great-grandmother was a Sackett. She married Charles Sherwood. She had several children. He died of, I think, blood poisoning or something like that. She married——- Surdam, who is Flave Surdam Dody’s father who is still living and she is up
on Washinee Street.
BS: How do you spell that?
BS: What is her last name?
LP: That is her last name. Her first name is Flavia.
BS: Flavia. Flavia Dody
LP: I was brought up with those children and I guess he got tired of bringing up children and he took off one day. I enjoy talking with her. What I do is I talk to her and I plant a seed and she’ll call me back two days later and say “I remember”, or “I’ve been trying to”.
BS: Let me just come back a moment. The first Sherwoods that came to Salisbury?
LP: Would be Jessie.
BS: Would be Jessie, and Jessie is your great-grandparent?
LP: No, 5 generations
BS: Oh, 5 generations ago, so that 5 generations of Sherwoods have been here in Salisbury. Per chance do you know what brought Jessie here?
LP: The iron.
BS: Oh, the iron.
LP: Up on the mountain. He was up on Mt. Riga.
BS: In other words, he was an iron worker? Where did he come from?
LP: He came from Ancram, NY.
BS: If you go back further than that, do you know where they came from?
LP: No. I haven’t got back. I got back to Stephen and Brook, but I have no knowledge of where they came from.
BS: Let me ask this. What ethnic background are they?
LP: Those were more English.
BS: English. So, originally, they must have come from England.
LP: Yes, they are an English side, Sherwood, but mother’s side is Dutch and German. Because they started out as Silvernagel and ended up as Silvernail.
LP: And then as they were married, the names have changed.
BS: Any relationship to the Silvernails that lived in this area?
LP: Yes, there are some.
BS: Is there any knowledge as to their participation in any of the major events in American History. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, Abolition, Shay’s Rebellion?
LP: I doubt the Shay’s Rebellion, but I sure wished I had. On mother’s side, I have Nathaniel Everetts and he was in the Revolutionary War. We got back that far.
BS: I didn’t quite understand what you said about Shay’s Rebellion.
LP: I said I wished I could trace them to Shay’s Rebellion.
BS: Oh, right. So you don’t know of any relationship to Shay’s or any relationship to the War of 1812 or the Civil War or Abolition?
LP: Civil War, I had my great-grandfather, John Wentworth Sherwood was in the Civil War, John and Ambrose Sackett, which was my other great-grandfather and Marvin Sackett. The three of them joined up in New Haven, I think it was.
BS: So they were with the Connecticut Volunteers, so they fought with the Union side.
LP: We branch off to the Moore’s too, but I haven’t dug into that too much. Of course, the Moore’s used to own where the House of Herbs is. That is not the original house. But the original house across the street where Russell Carroll is, that is still standing in good shape. That’s the original and I don’t think they added on or anything to it.
BS: Before we leave your antecedents, you mentioned that they were Raggies?
LP: Oh, yeah. So am I.
BS: What is a “Raggie”?
LP: A “Raggie “to me is somebody that was born and brought up in the town of Salisbury.
BS: Now, that doesn’t mean that they lived up on the Mountain or anything like that; any place in the town of Salisbury.
LP: You have to be born here. There is myself and my twin brothers were both born on the house on Conklin Street, so I consider us true “Raggies”. Now, my other brothers and sisters are “Raggies”, but not as true as we are.
BS: Now how did that term originate? First of all, how is it spelled?
BS: R-a-g-g-i-e. Now, do you know how that term came into being?
LP: I think, myself, it came with the ones that were working up on the Riga Mountain. As they came down to the Valley, they were distinguished by well, this one’s a “Raggie” and this one’s an outsider. This is how you knew who you were and what you were in those days.
BS: So, the original inhabitants of Salisbury were “Raggies”?
LP: Were “Raggies”. There aren’t too many of us left.
BS: Are there people on the mountain who own, you know, who are part of the ownership of the places up there, are they original people?
LP: There are a couple up there. Ginger Smithers.
BS: Is that Ginger Gilman?
LP: Gilman. She lived down here. Her mother was a Warner.
BS: Donald Warner? I talked to Donald Warner.
LP: You should talk to Ginger too. She could tell you some good tales. She is a very good person to talk to.
BS: Are you acquainted with, 1 suppose, I’ve heard but don’t know whether it’s true or not, the relationship of the Hessian soldiers who originally settled up there. Do you know that story?
LP: No I don’t.
BS: Oh, you don’t know that story. There is a story.
LP: I have read so many stories about Raggie Mountain and some of them sound really far out and I’m not quite sure.
BS: Well, this one is the same one exists, by the way, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Is there anything else that you know about your Grandparents or Great-grandparents that we haven’t covered?
LP: No, I don’t think so. I will think of a million things after we are through talking.
BS: In terms of your parents, what were they involved with in town. What did they do here?
LP: Mom was a housewife, of course. I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters.
BS: Would that be considered a large family at that time or just average? Probably average.
LP: I should think average back in those days which was during the depression. Of course, there was a long time between some of the children. We age from 68 to 45.
BS: When were you born?
LP: 1 was born June 8, 1926. Daddy, he worked down in Lime Rock, in the mill that they tore down. He was a lathe operator. Then, during the depression, he was down in Torrington in one of the brass mills.
BS: He commuted from here?
LP: They stayed there. There was a group of them that went down there that stayed there and they came home on the weekends.
BS: Are you acquainted with, I picked this up by interviewing some people in Lime Rock, that there were French and Italians that lived along the river there in tents? Do you know anything about that?
BS: Your father then was, for most of the time, employed by the mill.
LP: In later years he worked for the State of Connecticut.
BS: Are all your brothers and sisters living in the area?
LP: No, I have one brother, George, the oldest boy, he lives in Oregon. Then one of the twins, Roy’s brother, lives in California. Then I have a sister who lives in Winsted and one who lives in Ridgefield and the rest of us are here, Roy, myself, Butch and Stubby we all live here in Salisbury.
BS: You were born here and were born prior to the Depression, although you were very young during the Depression. Do you remember anything about the Depression?
LP: My Granddaughter wrote me a letter asking me about that for school. I told her, we were poor people, but living in the town of Salisbury, your lifestyle went on as usual. It never changed. We always had a meal on the table, and most people in the town of Salisbury did. There was always work because you had the rich people that were living here: the Scovilles, the Coffings, the Warners and so on. There was always something to do. You had the farms, Grasslands Farm, which my son and his wife own now.
BS: And you farmed yourself.
LP: And everybody farmed. You always had your own little garden. I can remember ours.
BS: Did you have any participants in WW1 in your family that you know of?
LP: No, only my uncle.
BS: A resident of Salisbury?
LP: No, my great-uncle. WW2 of course, there was my brother George, Stubby and of course, my husband. He was over in Germany for 4 years. Then Vietnam War, my brother Butch, that was Frank Sherwood, we call him Butch. Then my son Howard Jr. was in the Vietnam War.
BS: Where did you go to school?
LP: I went to school at the Grove School up here in Salisbury. Wally McCone was my teacher and Alice Eggleston.
BS: Was that a private school?
LP: No, it was regular. They tore it down because it was condemned later on. My oldest boy, Howard Jr., he went there to kindergarten. You see it was there for quite a few years.
BS: Where was the school?
LP: Right up here in the parking lot right across from where Salmon Builders are right on the Main Street on 41, right next to Grove Street.
BS: How many grades were there?
LP: Now let’s see, if I recall it was one to third or fourth grade. From there we went down to the school in Lakeville which is where the post office is now.
BS: The Lakeville Post Office.
LP: I went there until the 6th grade. Then they tore the building down and put the post office there. Then we went up to the Salisbury Central School where the old high school building is, which is still there.
BS: Where presently the central school is.
LP: Yeah, the lower building we call it. I went to school there 7th& 8th grade and then went to the Regional School.
BS: Oh, the Regional School was up then?
LP: Yes, my brother, George, was one of the first to graduate from the Regional School. So that’s a few years back.
BS: Can you remember anything before you were school age. Do you have any memories at all?
Who did you play with or what kind of games you played?
LP: Oh, yes! We used to play, there was Rosabel Moss and Barbara and Delores Fitting Bushnell. She was my best friend in the whole world. When she died part of me died too. There was Betty Curtis and we used to play, and Rose Dempsey and Anna Whitbeck. We used to play dress up, we all had our little suitcases and we would go to rummage sales and buy fancy evening gowns and the high heels and we would have a grand time. Then we played games, this sounds weird, but our parents would only let us play in the cemetery because it was the safest place to play. So, we used to play hide and seek over there and tag or giant steps or this and that, any game there was in those days.
BS: What is “giant steps”?
LP: Simon Says. We did that in giant steps and you would say “May I take a step?” and they would “yes, how many” and then they would say “one giant step” or sometimes they might say “two giant steps” so you would take as long as you could, step, and the one that got up there first was the winner. I almost forgot about that. Then we used to walk to the movies. You could get into the movies for a nickel or a dime.
BS: That was in Lakeville?
LP: Yes, the Stuart Theatre. We would go to the Jigger Shop which is where the laundry mat is now. Owned by Hayne, Hines? It was Francis? Jeepers, I can’t remember, isn’t that terrible? (Hamm, Ed.)
BS: Was that an ice cream place?
LP: Ice Cream place, we could sit there. Then there was Bessie’s lunch which was down underneath the building they tore down right next to the park where they have the Gulf station? Aunt Bessie’s Lunch.
BS: Where the Patco store is now.
LP: Where the park was, Bessie’s lunch was down underneath and on top was Paul Argali’s barber shop, and Western Union and Isabelle Artisian’s, Decker’s, father used to have a shoe shop there.
BS: Isabelle Decker? Is that the laundry?
LP: No, she was married to John Decker. She lives down here in the back somewhere.
BS: So there was whole…
LP: There was a little commune right there by itself.
BS: Why did they tear it down?
LP: I could never understand it.
BS: Where was the Stuart Movie?
LP: The Stuart Movie was where the pizza house is.
BS: Oh, right there on the way to the lake.
LP: In the summertime, mother would pack us all up and go to Winsted, to Highland Lake.
BS: To Winsted?
LP: Yes, we weren’t here much in the summertime.
BS: So, Highland Lake, you had a cabin there?
LP: Yes, we had a cottage. Aunt Grace. Well, we wouldn’t have survived as well as we did if it hadn’t been for my Aunt Grace Sherwood. She was my Great-Aunt and she lived with us. She made sure we were alwaysshe did laundry for the Scovilles and the Firuskis and down on the farm on the River Road. The big farm, I don’t remember the name. We had a good life. (Stillwater Farm – Ed.)
BS: Do you remember any of the movies you saw?
LP: Oh, yes! Shirley Temple mostly and the musicals with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and that type of movies.
BS: And they are still great.
LP: Oh, they are still great in fact they are more than great! They are better than anything they make nowadays.
BS: I agree with you.
LP: When Tommy comes home with videos I almost scared to go and watch them. We had good times.
BS: Were you responsible for any chores at home?
LP: Oh yes. My sister and I, my third sister wasn’t born until we were pretty grown – up. So, Betty and I, one week I would have to clean the downstairs and she would have the up and then next week she would have the up and I would have the down. We had to do those chores.
LP: Cleaning and we helped with dinner and we took turns washing and drying dishes.
BS: Let’s see if we can outline what a typical day would be like when you were of school age, a younger school age, when you were going to the Grove School. What time did you get up?
LP: I would say around 7, maybe earlier. I would say mostly 7. Mother would have breakfast ready.
BS: What was breakfast?
LP: Usually oatmeal, toast and cocoa on the weekdays. Weekends, she would go all out, an old- fashioned farmer’s breakfast we would have. That’s why I’m so chubby, I think.
BS: Meat and eggs and potatoes?
LP: Oh, fried potatoes, eggs, bacon and ham and biscuits. Cocoa we would have and they would have coffee or tea which ever they wished. But then, the boys and my sister would get dressed, but, see, I always had ringlets. My mother would spend….I would have to have extra time because I had to have ringlets. She would do it on her finger with her brush and if I moved she would wack me on the head, you know. I can remember Delores saying “Gee, isn’t your head sore?” She used to wack so much, cuz Dee used to come up and meet me to go to school and then we used to have to walk…
BS: Now, who is Dee?
LP: Delores Bushnell.
BS: Oh, yes.
LP: We had some great times.
BS: So, you walked to school?
LP: We walked to school.
BS: How long did that take?
LP: Well, when we went to the Grove school, of course, it wasn’t too long. Then we walked down to Salisbury to take the bus to Lakeville. Then the Regional, when we went to the Regional, we had to walk down to Amen Corners. Get the bus there.
BS: So, you had breakfast and then you walked to school. You and Dee generally going together. What was your day in school like?
LP: Well, your day in school you started off with your morning prayer, which I think is very nice and your Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and then you have your studies, then you would have recess and of course play the games. We used to call it Russia.
LP: Russia. You had a tennis ball and you would do these different things, I can’t recall them all, but you throw around your back and it would have to hit the wall and you have to catch the ball and you had to do it so many times; underneath your leg and you had to hit the ball.
BS: I never heard of that. Russia it was called.
LP: It was called Russia.
BS: No reason for it.
LP: Not to my knowledge, I don’t even know how it even started with that name.
BS: That’s interesting.
LP: I didn’t even know what Russia was at that time.
BS: Were there different religions in town?
LP: No, just basic what you have to this day.
BS: The same, Catholic.
LP: Yes, Congregational.
BS: Episcopalian and so on.
LP: Right, and your Methodists. You still have the same churches now as I did when I was a child.
BS: So, you started with the morning prayer, and then what happened?
LP: And then we would have our studies.
BS: What did you study?
LP: We studied our English, we had drawing, we had music, we had history.
BS: The same teacher for every subject?
LP: Yes, you never left the classroom in those days. When I was at the Grove Street School, of course, you had 3 classes in one because the upstairs was condemned, so nobody go upstairs anymore, so they had all the classes in one room downstairs.
BS: With three different teachers?
LP: No, one teacher.
BS: One teacher, some were studying.
LP: Teaching three studies, right.
BS: Grove school, reading and writing
LP: Yes, you had one teacher to one classroom then.
BS: The old-time school.
LP: Yes, the old-time school.
BS: Do you remember the books you had to use by any chance?
LP: No, I can’t remember, the only thing I can remember is that I had to read “Marco Polo”, and I liked that.
BS: Now, that was in lower school?
LP: That was in the lower grades.
BS: And when you got to high school, do you remember any subjects that you covered?
LP: “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears.” “A Tale of Two Cities”.
BS: Oh, yes.
LP: That was hard. Both books, I loved them, but they were hard for me to read. They are not hard for a lot of people to read. I think they are easier for children now-a-days because they are used to television and hearing this on television, and of course your public television is marvelous for that.
BS: Yes, that’s right. It certainly shows how television can be helpful.
LP: Oh, it can be! Even at my age I learn every day from certain things.
BS: School started at what time?
LP: 9 o’clock till 3.
BS: Now, let’s think in terms of lower grade school, 9 to 3. After school what did you do?
LP: We would go home and I would either stop at Delores’s house or she would come up to mine and we would have milk and cookies or cake or a piece of pie or something. Then we would play until dinner time.
BS: Where did you have lunch, at school?
LP: Yes, you took your lunch. They did have in the 7th and 8th grade, 1 can remember, they had a lunch room which is where the art place, where Bob Kofsuske’s art class is now in the lower building. They had a lunch room there at that time, but that was something new.
BS: What would be a typical lunch?
LP: I can remember grapefruit for some reason.
LP: Toasted cheese sandwich, I can remember that. The beverage, I presume, would be milk because most schools, that’s what you get.
BS: So, after school you played until supper?
LP: Until dinner.
BS: Until dinnertime. What was a typical dinner?
LP: Oh, at my house we always had big meals, good lord. I would say a roasted beef, when you have that many children around, you know; you have to have good straight food. We would have a roast and we’d have potatoes and vegetables. Now, in those days we didn’t have salads like salads are now-a- days. I mean every meal you practically have a salad, but in those days I only remember potato salad or macaroni salad.
BS: No vegetables?
LP: Yeah, always had vegetables.
LP: Cooked vegetables.
BS: Rather than…
LP: Never raw, never heard of it.
BS: Isn’t that interesting.
LP: Yeah, never heard of raw vegetables. We lived like, well you know, mama would cook like, well, she was on the farm you know, the way her mom did.
BS: Right. And, after supper…
LP: After supper we would listen to the radio. I had one up in my room, my sister and I we shared a room.
BS: Do you remember any programs that you would listen to?
LP: The one I remember, Saturdays 1 can remember laying up there Saturday mornings listening to Fairy Tales. I love fairy tales and I still do this day.
BS: Don’t we all!
LP: I think they are great! I do remember the “War of the World”. I’ll never forget that the longest day I live. And then, Pearl Harbor. I remember that.
BS: What were you doing?
LP: Everybody kept saying it was the same thing as the “War of the Worlds”, they just thought it was Orson Wells at it again. I was down to Delores’s. She was sick, and I went down to see her. I heard it come over the radio, this was on a Sunday afternoon. I ran home, I lived just a house up from her. My Uncle and Aunt and their children were up from New Canaan and I said “Turn on the radio, turn on the radio, Pearl Harbor is being bombed”! And they said, “Naw, it’s just another one”. I said, “No, this is real, this is real”, and it was!
BS: It certainly was.
LP: I will always remember that.
BS: What was the reaction here in terms of Franklin Roosevelt who was one of our great Presidents? What was the reaction generally here?
LP: I can’t honestly answer you that too well because I don’t remember.
BS: You don’t remember that.
LP: That’s another thing that politics and getting older and paying attention, I know more what’s going on. Care more of what’s going on.
BS: Of course you were very young when Roosevelt was elected.
LP: Yes, I can remember him talking, I always loved his voice.
BS: Who’s the first president you voted for? I don’t mean voted for, but election, which election year do you remember?
LP: I would say mid-forties.
BS: Truman and Dewey, that election.
LP: I think that’s the time I signed up to be a registered voter.
BS: I skipped one thing I wanted to ask you before. I’m going to put it in here. You mentioned the Sacketts. Were they by any chance part of the Sackett family that Louis L’Amour writes so much about? Are you acquainted with that?
LP: No, I’m not acquainted with that.
BS: He writes a good deal about the Sackett family, out west.
LP: Oh yes, 1 know now who you are talking about. Yes, he wrote quite a series of books.
BS: You don’t know whether they were part of it.
LP: No. I doubt it. My Sacketts were more Raggie type Sacketts rather than Western-type Sacketts.
BS: Now, that was dinner, after dinner what did you do?
LP: We’d listen to the radio.
BS: Oh, you said that.
LP: We’d listen to the radio and then we’d do our studies.
BS: Bed time was when?
BS: How early?
BS: 7, sure.
LP: See, we had dinner about 5. Which I always said when I got married, that would not be. It’s too early.
BS: After high school, what did you do when you graduated?
LP: I didn’t graduate. I quit in my third year and went to work, it was a big deal. I’m sorry now, but I went to work in a war factory down in Hartford. I lived in Winsted with my sister: she was married at the time. Her husband was in the service so I stayed with her, and I worked in the war factory.
BS: How old were you when you went to work?
LP: I must have been about 17.
BS: What kind of war factory was it?
LP: It was machine. Hartford machine was nuts and bolts; I think they called it, something like that.
BS: How long did you work there?
LP: I worked for about a year or two.
BS: Did you come back here?
LP: Oh, yes!
BS: You came back after that year or two.
LP: You can’t stay away from Salisbury, good Lord!
BS: Did you meet your husband here?
LP: I met him in Millerton.
BS: In Millerton.
LP: Later on I got a room over there in Millerton and I worked in the GE factory over in Millerton because there wasn’t anything here to work. Plus, you know, you are at the age where you wanted to be alone.
BS: So, you lived in Millerton.
LP: I lived in Millerton. I didn’t drive and you didn’t have cars like you do now-a-days, everybody has a car. I met Howard over there through a mutual friend: he had just come back from the war.
BS: That was World War II.
LP: World War II.
BS: Right, so you got married after World War II.
LP: Yeah, we got married in ’47.
BS: He was a resident of Millerton?
LP: Yes, it was funny he was born in Ancram, also and then they moved to Millerton. His father worked for Steve Kimball.
BS: How much of his family history do you know?
LP: I haven’t got into it. I have to go down and see his cousin down in Ridgefield because he’s been doing it. I thought if I got down there it would help me out and I wouldn’t have to research. Because it’s so hard when you research and you go from one to another, I mean you get so engrossed and the first thing you pick up a name and then you, “Oh, gee, I have to look up this one”.
BS: To what extent, to what knowledge do you have in the relationship to Thomas Paine; whatever you have, or even if it isn’t valid, what do you know.
LP: Well, it wouldn’t be valid, of course. According to Howard’s Aunt, he was, on his father’s side, her father’s side and then it would go back to England before he came to America. It’s a shame that they destroyed all those papers.
BS: Yes, that is a shame.
LP: When I do and when I ever do get to prove it is….of course, I have a son named Thomas Paine.
BS: Does he have any knowledge of relationship?
LP: Oh, he has, a lot. Ginny gave him some, well, you saw the books.
BS: Yes, yes, I did.
LP: She gave those to Tommy and I’m going to have them rebound.
LP: Yes, we really should. There are a lot of things I would like to tell you about. The garage on the corner of Conklin Street.
BS: Just before we get to that, without leaving Thomas Paine for a moment. I am an enthusiast of Thomas Paine. I have read probably everything.
LP: No kidding!
BS: One of the people who have written so much about Thomas Paine is Joseph Lewis, which, generally, is not so well known. He was an enthusiast. When I was a young person, I was a member of the Tom Paine Society.
LP: Oh, how wonderful. I didn’t know there was a Tom Paine Society.
BS: There was a Tom Paine, I don’t know if it still exists or not. Is there any other information you have anything that would…
LP: No, not really. I will make a point of getting in touch with his cousin and see if he has done anything. I got back as far as the Stokes and Paine of England, but…
BS: Who were the Stokes?
LP: The Stokes married, I think it was William Paine.
BS: Oh, good.
LP: I can call you up too and see if it’s anything worth talking about.
BS: Please do. You wanted to talk about the garage?
LP: Oh yeah, up on Conklin Street. The garage burnt. My grandmother, Lois Andrews, lived up over the top of it when she was young and married. Then that burned down and we used to….Marsh McLain, old Marsh, Sr., used to have it as a ….not when I was a kid, but I can remember Mars when I ….that’s not so interesting.
BS: Yes it is, oh, yes, definitely.
LP: We used to go down there and have our sodas and everything.
BS: You are saying at the garage? You mean there was a soda place there too?
LP: Yes. He had a soda machine. Not a machine, I don’t know what they used to call them: it used open up, like a chest type.
BS: Where is Conklin Street?
LP: The street after the White Hart. It’s the center street going from 44 to 41.
BS: It’s not there, it burnt down?
LP: It burnt down and then Mrs. Fish turned it into apartments.
BS: Do you know what year that fire was?
BS: I have listed here that there was a fire in 1903 and a fire in 1913. Could that be as early as that?
LP: Yes, it could have been.
BS: And then there was the Interlaken Fire in 1971.
BS: So, then that garage then burned down. Who owned that garage?
LP: Marsh McLain, Sr.
BS: That was a place you went to?
LP: Yes, we used to go down to get sodas.
BS: Why does that stick in your memory?
LP: I don’t know. I find that little things, and then I can associate. I will have smells or tastes or look at something and it will remind me of when I was a child and I’ll say “Gee, I forgot all about that!” Things that I will recall which I think is great because especially at my age.
BS: I think that is wonderful. I wish I had that facility. Is there anything else about that garage? Are there any other memories of your childhood that we haven’t covered?
LP: This may sound weird to you, but as I told you before, when we used to play, there was Buzz Barton, who was Joe Jr. and there was Dick Barton and there was Betty McLaine, who was Curtis, Barbara and Rosabel Moss. We used to play, as I said, over in the cemetery. Delores, of course, and Rose Dempsey. We played hide and seek. Over in the center of the cemetery is the Warner plot. In that plot is a mother and her child buried together. The mother died at childbirth and the child also died. That has always been my favorite spot. For years and years, still do, even at this age go over and read it. One day we were playing over there, hide and seek. I was hiding behind one of the trees. I looked out and there was an angel standing on that tombstone. I ran home and that’s all I can remember, but there it was and it was real!
BS: To you it was real.
LP: It was very real.
BS: Did you notice how the angel was dressed?
LP: White, all white, white wings.
BS: That is interesting, very good.
LP: There is another thing when 1 was young. Barbara Lewis and Rosabel, they were twins. They lived… I lived here and the cemetery is here and they lived right over there. Her grandfather lived in the front of the house. My brother and I, Stubby, we used to go over there every once in a while, we called him Pa Nellis. He would eat peas with his knife. We would go over there every night to see if they were having peas so we could see him eat peas.
BS: With a knife!
LP: Yeah, he would roll them right down: I never saw anything like it. We were fascinated by that! Now that’s something that you never see now-a-days. But he had it right down to perfection! Now, let’s see, once in a while we used to go swimming in Moore’s brook, but then they found out it wasn’t too healthy.
BS: Where is it?
LP: Moore’s brook, right on 44, the brook that runs by House of Herbs and that new Salisbury, no it’s not the Salisbury Glen, it’s Lion’s Head, I think it is now- the housing project?
LP: Moore’s Brook, I don’t know if they call it Moore’s brook, they change everything so I can’t keep up with them.
BS: Yes, that’s where Penny and Frank live.
LP: Yes, right.
BS: Any others? Don’t hesitate? In terms of work experiences, you mentioned two, the one in Millerton and Hartford, have you had any other work experiences?
LP: Well, when I was real young, I started out as a bus girl at the Ragamont Inn for Joe Sharp and McLean when they had it back in, that’s when the old days…that’s when I was young.
BS: What did you get paid?
LP: Quarter an hour.
BS: Quarter an hour.
LP: Yes, I got a quarter an hour. That was good pay.
BS: Was there tipping too?
LP: No, once in a while the girls would give you a quarter or something for helping clear their tables or something, but busgirls aren’t. They called them busboys in those days.
BS: That was during the Second World War?
BS: Do you recall, for instance, what bread cost at that time, just to get an idea of what a quarter meant.
LP: Oh, I could tell you going to the movie theatre was 10 cents.
BS: 10 cents for the movies, right.
LP: A nickel for an ice cream cone.
BS: Right, just to get an idea.
LP: 5 cents for a candy bar.
BS: So, you were a bus girl.
LP: Well, they changed the law and you had to have working papers, but they still let me work as long as I didn’t say anything, plus I looked 16. Then I went to the White Hart. L worked there summers when I went to school.
LP: No, I worked as a waitress there. I think anything like that is so good for a person. You learn to cope with people. I love people.
BS: I get that feeling.
LP: I just love people. I’ve always worked with the public as much as I could. I worked, when I was married, I worked to the Lime Rock Lodge. My husband had to tend to the children, so I used to have walk home from Lime Rock Lodge. Can you imagine that, 11:30 at night, walking home after waiting home on tables?
BS: That’s a good 5-6 miles.
LP: At least. I used to walk home all by myself. I wouldn’t do it now. I couldn’t do it now. I think I would do it….
BS: You would feel safe enough, wouldn’t you?
LP: I would feel safe enough, but I’m more scared of the world around me now than I was in those days. That makes the difference.
BS: You do volunteer work too, don’t you?
LP: Oh, yes. I help with the Red Cross, if they need any help they always call me, I do their envelopes and things like that. I work down here at the Library with Ginny Moskowitz. I love that, doing genealogy. The things she doesn’t like to do, I love to do, so it works out very well. The things she does, of course, is beyond me sometimes.
BS: Did you attend Town Hall meetings when you were growing up? No? Was there generally an interest, let’s say on the part of your family?
LP: I would say there was. I went to them once or twice. I didn’t think it made that much difference if I went or not. I had that feeling. The way I felt it didn’t make any difference. It’s still that way, I still have that feeling.
BS: Was your family and other families in the area religious?
LP: Oh, yes, I think so, very much so because this was your Sunday, and you started your day off by going to church. Then you would come home from Church and you would have your dinner. You always had company. You don’t have company much anymore. Nobody has time to go see anybody: they are always busy doing something else. But we always had family, we always had company. Mother, poor woman, she spent all of her time in the kitchen. Then, of course, my brothers were ski jumpers. My brother, Roy, was world champion. He was in the Olympics.
BS: I remember Bill mentioning that one day in a meeting of the oral history group. He organized the skiing and he was talking of Roy.
LP: Roy. My brother, George, went to war and he never took it back up when he came home.
BS: Are you acquainted with what apparently is known as the Screamers of Ancram or Ancram Screamers? Some kind of competition?
LP: No, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that.
BS: I don’t know very much about it, just trying toIn terms of growing up, you or Dee or otherpeople, young people in the area; who were their heroes in American history? Were there any inspirations, did they every talk about people?
LP: I don’t think so. Not like there is now-a-days. Now every child has one, I swear. In those days I don’t think we were knowledgeable about famous people.
BS: Who did you look up to in town? Were there any people in town you looked up to?
LP: I used to love the elderly people. I used to go visit Mrs. Wengert who lives where For the Birds is. I have two glasses that she gave me, I still have them. I have them in my dollhouse room. I used go see her, she was a darling. And then Lois Warner that lived down here in whereI don’t know who lives there now. They change houses so often lately. It’s the second one next to Dr. Smith’s.
BS: Oh yes, I know the house you mean.
LP: It had a porch on it. We used to sit on the porch. I loved to rock. I still love to rock. There used to be, I can’t remember her last name, she used to live next to the White Hart there in that little house that Is sort of decaying.
BS: Oh, yeah. The Chappell girl lives there now, married to somebody. I know which one you meant.
LP: She used to teach my sister and I to make chemical gardens.
BS: Chemical gardens?
LP: You take coal and put ammonia on them, they crystalize, and it’s the most gorgeous thing you ever saw.
BS: And that was part of the garden?
LP: You put it in a barrel and put coal in the bottom and put ammonia on top of it and it would build up crystals.
BS: Isn’t that interesting, and that was for decorative purposes in the garden. Is that still done?
LP: I doubt it. Now you can buy kits. Everything is in a kit now-a-days.
BS: You mentioned that you have a doll house room.
LP: Yes, I have a doll house room.
BS: Was that a popular kind of hobby?
LP: I will never grow up! I will always love dolls.
BS: You know who has the most beautiful doll house and she was still working on it, was Estelle Staber.
LP: I didn’t know that!
BS: Oh, my! And she still was working on it before she passed away. She kept adding to it and she was putting a new roof on it.
LP: Well, you are always taking them apart. Mine’s apart right now because I decided to put partitions in it. I wanted a hallway, so mine’s all apart and I want to electrify it. But I have about 400-500 Dollies Some that were mine that I kept from when I was a kid. I love dolls.
BS: What major differences do you see in town now as compared to what it was like when you were growing up?
LP: The most, to me, is that I can’t walk down-street and say hello to many people. Whereas before my husband because I spent all my time talking. I think that’s the most. What I miss is that the IGA used to be where the Connecticut Yankee Is. That was a nice grocery store. The Whites, Mr. White, he was a barber.
BS: Where was he?
LP: Al White, he was in where the flower shop is. There was a dry goods store where the bank is, and of course, the drug store has always been there, I can’t remember.
BS: In other words, the Whitbecks were there when you were….
LP: And before that was Beard or something. I have it in my history. I can’t remember everything, I wished I could.
BS: What building…was the post office a new building?
LP: Yes, that was a new building.
BS: The Rand little building.
LP: That was there. Of course, the academy. My father went to school there, the academy.
BS: Oh, that was the school house?
LP: Yes, that was the school house.
BS: That’s the Rand….
LP: No that’s where the courthouse is.
BS: That’s called the Academy?
LP: Used to be, I don’t know what they call it.
BS: That was the school?
LP: That was the school. Then later on when I was older, it was the American Legion Hall. Then they were going to tear it down and Mr. Hamilton saved that, made it into what is today which is a lovely building.
BS: On the other side of the street? There was the Bushnell Tavern.
LP: The Bushnell Tavern.
BS: And then the Town Hall.
LP: Then the Town Hall and next was the house that is up in back was down in front and it had a porch all the way around it and that was the Warner, a different Warner. They donated the land for the…
BS: You mean where the memorial is?
LP: Yes. I can’t think of it right now. They donated that land. We found the deed to it, here somewhere. I don’t know if anyone knows it’s around.
BS: Oh, probably.
LP: Most of it’s the same.
BS: In other words those stores, that line of stores, Trotta’s and so on, that was all there?
LP: Yes, uh, Trotta’s wasn’t there, of course, the house was down there and they moved the house up in back when Trotta built that, but the Kimberley’s had their grocery store there.
BS: Oh, so you had the IGA on one side and the Kimberley’s on the other side.
LP: The IGA on one side and the Kimberley’s on the other and the liquor store was in the middle, or on this end and the grocery store was on this end which went in and then around. It had a gas station in front. Two gas pumps in front. Can you imagine that now-a-days, Lord, we’d be blowing up…
BS: That’s quite a different kind of scene, isn’t it?
LP: Oh, yes!
BS: When you visualize that street when you are out there. St. John’s of course, was there, the Ragamont was there, the White Hart.
LP: The Ragamont hasn’t changed. The other little houses are about the same. On this side, up in back, was a garage but they turned it into a two family house, but you don’t notice that too much because the characteristic is still nice and appealing to the eye, and the little house on the corner and the next house which was Grace Stanton’s, they built that next to the garage, the ambulance garage. But there has been additions and things, but basically as I look up the road, even on 44, houses haven’t really changed that much. Where young Donnie Reid lives now, there was an old house that was in front of that and
they ripped it down when they built that one, but otherwiseI have found a list I made to try to remember the houses who lived in I was young. They said I did it wrong because I went from here to across the street when I should have gone up one side and down the other.
BS: Did you make use of the Library when you were young?
LP: Yes! We used to come in here. They had glass floors.
BS: They had glass floors?
LP: Yeah! upstairs. You walked upstairs. We loved those glass floors.
BS: What did you read? What did you take out?
LP: I can’t even remember.
BS: Any magazines?
LP: No, no magazines. I don’t even remember any magazines even being here. They may have been.
BS: Any books you took out? Do you remember any authors or any titles?
LP: No, I’m sorry.
BS: Was there a newspaper in town?
LP: There was always the Lakeville Journal.
BS: The Lakeville Journal was already…when you were growing up the Lakeville Journal was here, right. Are there any other differences that you recall, then and now kind of thing?
LP: No, mostly with the houses what happened those that had porches, they took the porches off. Of course, all houses were white in those days unless they were shingled and then they were brown.
BS: White was customary.
LP: Yes, I mean you just never….
BS: ….everybody painted white.
LP: Oh, I can remember one thing though! On 44 where Pat Ongley lives now, her grandfather, George Parsons used to live and his wife was named Bedelia. We used to call her Aunt Bird. He used to sell fireworks out in front of his house. Every year he would set up tables like this and have them full of fireworks. Then they changed the law where you couldn’t sell them anymore. I used to be so afraid of fireworks. I stayed in the house all the time.
BS: You didn’t celebrate the July 4th?
LP: No, they used to torment the daylights out of me, my brothers and all the kids. I hated them. I still do.
BS: When you were growing up were there bathrooms in the house or were there outhouses?
LP: When we lived down in Salisbury there were outhouses on Conklin Street. We moved into what was Tessie and Jim Malvin’s house which used to be the carriage house to Warner’s; Bushnell Tavern over there. They turned it into a house. When we moved up there, we had it inside.
BS: What did you do on Halloween?
LP: Oh, my goodness! On Halloween my mother would dress us all up! Anything we had. We never had a bought costume because I don’t think they even made them in those days. She used to take old clothes and rig us all up, and oh, gosh, we had a marvelous time!
BS: Did you soap windows?
BS: Nothing like that?
LP: I was never a destructive child.
BS: Was there much of that at all? Bullies?
LP: Yes, the older boys, the teenagers, they did their things. In fact, one morning we came down through to go to school, and there was wagon up on top of the Town Hall.
BS: There was a wagon on the TOP of the Town Hall?
LP: Yes. Eddie Fitting and John Decker and probably Harrison Lamson. Christmas was always special, and still is.
BS: What did you do on Christmas?
LP: Oh, we had, of course, I believed in Santa Clause until I was 55,1 think!
BS: Was he good to you?
LP: He certainly was! The best in the world! He brought me a doll. Even to this day I get a doll for Christmas, one way or the other. You can imagine with all those children. We used to hang our stockings up. Also, Smithers, Mrs. Smithers, Ginger Gilman’s mother used to always invite us down to her house, and she had a tree with real candles on it. We used to go down there and sing. She had a little present for each one of us children, and we’d have a little party afterwards, and the same with Reverend Reed. Later on in years, when Mrs. Smithers couldn’t do it any more, the Reverend Reed would have us up there to his house.
BS: Which church was he, Congregational?
LP: He was Congregational. He would have a little gift for each of us children, and we would have our cookies and punch.
BS: So there was great friendliness and a great community.
LP: Christmas was a. You know it’s funny, I’ve let flow over to my children too, and they are
all just as enthusiastic as I am, all except Tom. I think Tom has to get married.
BS: Was this kind of friendliness and community spirit always around when you were young?
LP: Always, always!
BS: Always. Were there any squabbles, any fights?
LP: I never can remember. You might have found it more down on Factory Street with the Raggie- Raggies.
BS: But, in general…
LP: In general, we never….we all had a good time, we all enjoyed everybody, and everybody enjoyed us as far as I can see.
BS: The kind of division that exists today was unknown then.
LP: Oh, unknown.
BS: Now, Lakeville, of course, got the tourists, but Salisbury….
LP: I was saying to Ginny that when I was growing up I knew Salisbury, but I didn’t know Lakeville.
BS: It was too far away.
LP: Truly, it was. You didn’t know the children that much. You went to school with them, but basically your friends were the ones that lived around you.
BS: When you say you knew Salisbury, did that include Taconic and Lime Rock? Or just specifically Salisbury?
LP: No, just Salisbury. Because you know we never went in the car and went for a ride like you do now- a-days. Or, you don’t do it so much now-a-days but 10 years back you did. You learned all about what was going on. That’s why I said each town should have a person describe what the town was like that they grew up in because the guy next door didn’t know what was going on.
BS: What kind of advice would you give to young people growing up in Salisbury?
LP: I would say enjoy it. You have a wealth of history here. So many don’t know there is a wealth of history right in this room that we are talking in. There are people that are willing to help and stay away from drugs.
BS: Do you sense that there is a problem in town?
LP: Not so much. But you know I can’t really tell in as Ginny says “you’re so naive”.
BS: I don’t see, I know at the schools
LP: Well, the schools you have it but you pray that …I don’t know…the way that I brought mine up. Of course, Tom was in drugs really. I don’t know how in the Lord’s name that anyone is going to combat it. I taught children to enjoy themselves and don’t settle down for a long time. Go out and enjoy yourselves, see the world, I mean there isn’t anything you can’t do now-a-days. It’s right at your fingertips.
BS: It’s much easier.
LP: Oh, it is! And it’s so open
BS: What else would you add, what are some of the other things you would add?
LP: Well, on Sundays, we were talking before about Sundays, and we would go to church. Every once in a while Daddy would take us down to West Point to watch the Cadets march. We would have a picnic lunch. This was even when I was older that we did this. That’s another thing that is a shame that we don’t do things like that anymore. Traveling.
BS: You have a special interest in Tom Paine. Do you find that young people have any relationship to American Revolutionary history?
BS: You don’t think so, see no signs of it?
LP: The only thing you hear about is Vietnam. That’s all you hear, it’s a shame that it’s that way because all wars are the same. They are all senseless. There is no rhyme or reason to them. I wasn’t too happy that my son went especially to Vietnam. 1 think more because it was over there in the Orient, and I can remember what the Japanese did to our boys. Germany was bad, but I think that was even more wicked.
BS: I agree with you, all wars are senseless.
LP: They are senseless. Nobody wins.
BS: They never solve anything. Is there anything else, Lois that you had in mind that we haven’t covered?
End of tape