Sylvernale, Parker

Interviewer: J. Rand
Place of Interview:
Date of Interview:
File No: 3 A & B Cycle:
Summary: Col. Cleveland Lassing, Jim Selleck, various farms, Peter Arnoff, Howard Hughes, Rand & Warner Realty, Town Farm, Cannon family, Dr. Knight’s school, Ellen Emmett Rand, Roosevelt portrait, sawmills, quarries, E. w. Spurr Company,

Interview Transcript

Oral History Cover Sheet

Interviewee:J. Parker Sylvernale

Narrator:J. Rand

Tape #:3 A & B (damaged and hard to transcribe)

Place of Interview:


Summary of talk: purchase of old farms, 1) Selleck Hill Farm aka Book Hill Farm, Col. Cleveland Lassing, his wife and children, Peter Arnoff, Howard Hughes, children’s marriages and their children, land purchases: Hoyt and Beginti farm: 2) Howard Smithers and Over Book Farm, his death June 1918 by a bull: 3) Rocky Hill Farm (Milo Richardson), Kipp family: 4) Miner farm on Salmon Kill Road, Rev. Peckham: 5)Charlie Rogers farm called Town Farm, Rand & Warner Realtors, the Little farm, Miles siblings, George H. Mitchell & Harriet MacNeil, Jerry Devito, Mary Musiello: 6)Holmes Farm on Taconic Road: 7) Ward or Swan Farm on Weatogue Road (Stillwater Farm), herd of Aberdeen angus cows and a bull: 8) Town Farm, the Cannon family, Travor Farm, Bill Tolliver, Pete Turner, Col. Charles Ball and his dump on Farnam Road, list of homes and owners on Farnam Road, 2 stone quarries, 2 watering troughs Lakeville center & Wells Hill from that stone cut by John Garrity: end of side A


Property of the Oral History Project

Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Connecticut, 06068


J. Parker Sylvernale: Tape #3 (damaged and hard to transcribe, did not do middle portion of side A)

JR:I’m interested from a historical point of view in one aspect of the town history: that is that soon

after the war in the 1920s and just before the 20s, several people moved in here with quite a lot of money from out of town and took over some of the old farms, sometimes combining several little old farms into one big block of land. I am thinking first of the Lassings. They were the Lassings that bought up on Selleck Hill from Jim Selleck, right?


JR:That was in November, 1920. Jim Selleck sold to Cleveland C. Lassing and Abby Bell Lassing. Do

you remember them?

PS:Yeah, I remember Lenny Lassing, Livingston, and Timmy, the girl.

JR:And Billy, Do you remember thefather, Cleve?

PS:Mr. Lassing?

JR:Yes, Colonel Lassing.

PS:Colonel Lassing, yeah. Another thing I remember, too; when oh who was that rich fella who used

to come up here to see Timmy, and he used to get gas at our place?

JR:Peter Arnoff?


JR:She married Peter Arnoff you know. He was her first husband.

PS:No it was the one, oh the guy who had all the dough and lived down in Texas somewhere.

JR:Oh, Howard Hughes.

PS:That’s right. She was a girl of Howard Hughes

JR:He’d come up here?

PS:Oh yeah, he’d get gas at our place.

JR:He did, huh. That’s right she never married Howard Hughes.

PS:No, that’s when the old man Matheson was up there.

JR:Sandy Matheson

PS:Grew up in the back

JR:Worked the farm there.



JR:All of theMatheson kids grew up there, mostly.


JR:Col. Lassing was a fine guy, a nice man. He’d been a petty officer and colonel; I think he had

been a military attache to the Court of Spain. He had a lot of uniforms. He had a wonderful kind of a high tenor voice, a little bit shaky.

PS:Oh man

JR:He used to sing songs; he sang an old ballad called “The Wide Missouri” about the Missouri


PS:He was good too. He was tall.

JR:Yeah, very military


JR:She was a very pretty woman. She was Abbey Livingston from out in St. Paul, Minnesota.

PS:I think I’ve read somewhere where Timmy died not too long ago.

JR:Yes, she did. She died not too long ago from cancer.


JR:Three or four years ago. I saw her in her later years.

PS:I read it somewhere.

JR:She was married first to Peter Arnoff. That ended in divorce. I remember when they got married

in New York and there was a reception to be up here at, what do you call it, Book Hill Farm. Col. Lassing called it that up on Selleck Hill.

PS:Oh yeah

JR:They invited some friends for a reception for Timmy and Peter Arnoff after their marriage in

New York. They got there very late. We all sat around, and we were also having drinks, and they arrived very late. They left so late they had bought a brand new car for their honeymoon, and they had to go like hell to get up here and not be too late, and they wrecked the car. You know in those days you had to drive slowly for 1500 miles.




JR:They came right up at 60 mph. Used up the car totally right away. Then Billy Lassing was my age

when I was…

PS:I remember when Billy got killed.

JR:Yeah, he was a test pilot, a test pilot during the war. His name was Crawford Livingston Lassing.

He was a test pilot. He married Willa Joan, and had one boy, I think. He must be well grown up now in his 30’s or 40’s. Lenny, the oldest boy is up in Booneville, New York.

PS:He stopped in to see me a couple of years ago. Did he stop to see you?

JR:No, but I’ve seen him quite a bit.

PS:Have you?

JR:I saw him when Timmy died and was buried here. Timmy was buried here.

PS:What business was he in, insurance business or what? He tell you?

JR:He’s got a weather bureau up there in Booneville, a weather look-out, a weather reporting

station, a farm.

PS:Oh yeah.

JR:He married a girl named Edith from Lake Skaneateles, I think. She had several kids by him, and

then she died. They had a party, and late one night she went out swimming. She swam way out into the Lake Skaneateles right off her place; too far and too dark and never came in. She was drowned.

PS:Oh oh

JR:Then he married again, and had a little boy that they named Cleve after his father. He still goes

there. He still owns some land up in back. George Kiefer takes care of it. His father planted a lot of timber there, pine and stuff. George Kiefer takes care of it. They are great friends, George and Lenny.

Then it was in November of 1920 that the Lassings came, and in 1921 Phil Warner sold them another 20 acres on the other side of Selleck Hill Road. I get most of this stuff from the land records you see. In ’21 Salisbury Iron Corporation sold them two more parcels. Now that of course, they died in the 1940s.

PS:How about now where the Begintis were, there was some woman by the name of Hoyt whom I

can first remember owned that. Mr. Beginti, she let him run that farm and didn’t charge him any rent.

JR:I didn’t know about that, really. That went way back.


PS:That’s when Mr. Beginti was there. Then Louis Beginti, I remember he used to…. out his horse

and his boat, hooked them up together on a dump….Old Les Teddy he had oxen. I remember he had one young pair that he broke in, and he used to let us kids drive it: Ray Dufour, Les Dufour, Bill Ranson, my brother, and I.

JR:Is that right? What did you do walk on the ice?

PS:Hell, yes. That was nothing for us in those days. I can remember Elliot’s story; he got up one

morning, he was an early man; he went out to the barn and was letting the young stock out and he said, “As I was walking along, I had to take a,” well he said pee. And he says, “When I got to the door, the heifer…at the door, and there I stood in the door finishing my pee, and my wife came out to call me for breakfast. And you know I never stopped watching that calf.” ….circumstantial evidence.

JR:Without the pee?

PS:Without the pee. He got a lot of surveying, too.

JR:Yeah, he got William, no Everett, they call him Ev Pettee. Lincoln was a great surveyor wasn’t


PS:I don’t know.

JR:William Pettee, I think.

PS:Something to eat. I think so.

JR:something about the horse…studio… What’s that date on it? 74,1874

PS:Down in back of the drugstore.

JR:Back of the drugstore, horse sheds, George

PS:Horse sheds,

JR:He did a lot…He was a great surveyor. Now back to the farm owned by the Hewats during the

war. The Lassings died in 1940’s I think. …Lassing ran it for a few years and then Don Hewat bought it. They’ve still got it. They rent most of the houses, some houses he had. Ok that’s the Lassing place.

PS:Old Bert Clark’s place, that farm…

JR:I’ll come to that: I was going to do, well; do you remember the Howard Smithers?



JR:He came here with my… in the war in 1919, at the end of the war in the Remount Service,

Newport News, Florida and Howard Smithers…1st World War…went to Florida, and didn’t have any work,… George Washington Hotel. That’s going back to 1919.

PS:I stayed in Jacksonville, Florida. I went over to the …farm. They had an alligator farm across the

St John’s River… I hear there was a cavalry camp.

JR:Kent Cavalry Arena.

PS:I think, I went out there and saw it. 1919

JR:That right?


JR:Let’s talk about Howard Smithers and my father came up here. As you know he married…the

young who lives down there, and bought a farm down in the valley. Fields down to the coast, he called it Over Book Farm. You know…in a bad light He bought it from Jack… John Roebuck that farm.

PS:Did he, and he got killed by a bull….beside the brook

JR:On June 20, 1918, according to his death certificate, he died of a fractured vertebrae of the

spine and internal injuries and died four hours afterwards. It doesn’t say he was killed by a bull. He was listed…up at Holley?

PS:Holley. I think he was…

JR:But he ran a farm, too?

PS:Now I don’t think he did any forging. He had a lot of…butcher, forger, I think Lila Nash’s

grandfather was a forger.

JR:What was his name?

PS:He was a Knickerbocker; I think his name was Benjamin. Then there were houses…Albert Green,

remember Al Green at the Jigger Shop?

Skipped middle part of side A: too hard to transcribe due to damaged tape.

JR:Now I want to get into the Garlafella (?) place. He bought that, he came from Wassaic; I thought

he came from Amenia Union or somewhere out there, but it was Wassaic, in 1923, April, 1923, from the Kipp heirs. They were Charles Kipp’s children I guess. Caroline Kipp was his wife.

PS:Millard Kipp was one boy, and Ward was another.

JR:Ward who lived down in Wassaic. It was called Rocky Hill Farm 250 acres in three parcels. Now

it says in the land records that that came to Charles Kipp by executive estate of Milo B. Richardson in 1915. It might have been old Milo Richardson’s place.


PS: 1 didn’t know that.

JR:It was inherited by these four children from Charles Kipp. By the way, I can’t remember Millard

Kipp. He lived fairly lately in Lakeville, didn’t he?

PS: He lived in Lakeville. You know where Eddie Kipp lives now. He worked for A. F. Roberts Store.
JR: That was it. Ed’s his son, isn’t he?
PS: Yeah Ed married Rose Spurr.
JR: Ed is the one remaining Kipp in town, isn’t he?

PS:Yeah, Ward died. He married Annie Moyer; her father ran the town farm at one time. I went to

school with her. Annie Moyer, she only died last year. Annie Moyer Kipp it would be because she married Ward Kipp.

JR: Ward Kipp died quite a few years ago in Millerton, 1 guess.

PS:Millard went first. He worked at Robert’s Store. He was grocer there; he was on the grocery

team wagon.

JR: 1 always get him, Ed Kipp ask him a little bit about that place. He stayed on the farm ’til…
PS: ‘Til they moved up when that house was built on…
JR: That little house where they are now?
PS: On Pettee Street, the last house down
JR: He must have been down there when Johnnie Curtis was down at the Smithers farm.
PS: Yes. Oh yeah.
JR: And the Miners were on the other side. I think Mrs. Miner inherited that farm, didn’t she?
PS: Mrs. Fanny Miner? I don’t really know, but they were there ever since I was a little fellar.
JR: I think she inherited from a Rev. Peckham.
PS: Oh yeah?

JR:I wouldn’t be surprised if she was his daughter. George Miner told me that his family moved up

here from Salem, Conn.

PS:I didn’t know that, but Miners have always been there since I can recall even back when the

Kipps were there.


JR:I think Nort is too young to remember that much about that. He wasn’t in town; he was away at

school, college, Nort was.

PS:I don’t think he would remember that.

JR:I could ask Ed Kipp something about it. Well let’s get to this; well I’m going to switch around

now for the Town Farm, the Charlie Rogers place. They bought a lot of land from the Mileses up there where the Harrises are now.

PS:At Twin Lakes

JR:Charlie Rogers see my father had quite a lot to do with putting these places together for these

people from out of town with money because he and Don Warner were in the real estate business together, agents. Rand & Warner I found their books here… this office.

PS:When that Rogers place was built, a man by the name of Rogers built it at first because we done

all the wiring there and R.C. Muller done the plumbing at that time, and that goes way back.

JR:Yeah Charlie Roger bought pieces from the Mileses, oh William Miles and his wife and Ellen

PS:Ellen Miles?

JR:in 1919.

PS:1919, well that’s…

JR:Then he bought some more from Dick Miles, the brother. Dick Miles was the son and the

brother, Ellen’s brother, he was up in Vermont. He was up in Arlington, Vermont, and he had a lumber yard in Manchester there, lumber mill, lumber business in Manchester, Vermont. He was a great friend of my father’s.

PS:He was a brother of Emily Miles.

JR:Yeah, Emily and Helen. Then they bought it in 1919. Then they bought a piece; Charlie Rand

bought a piece from Caroline Little, down at the foot of the hill. You know the Little place?

PS:Oh yeah Oh yeah, yeah.

JR:About 83 acres, and125 acres

PS:That was a big house too.

JR:that Little place

PS:On the left


JR:Well that was put together from a lot of Miles’ tracts and Little tracts. My father got it all

together for Charlie Rogers. He built that house; then he sold to U.N. Jack Harris. Now do you remember George Mitchell up on the hill?

PS:Yeah, George H. Mitchell

JR:I think he built that house I guess with that big …view.

PS:He married one of the MacNeils.

JR:Yeah, that’s right he did.

PS:Harriet, I think. Harriet MacNeil

JR:He bought that land from Frederick Gillette, Canaan, in 1916, on both sides of the road.

Remember he had the little farm going down on the left?

PS:Yeah that little farmhouse now belongs to Harriet.

JR:Yeah he bought those two pieces from Gillette; one on either side of the road including that

farm. Now I know a little something about that because he had a farmer, a caretaker named DeVito, remember him? Jerry DeVito, Italian?

PS:Yeah Italian fellow

JR:He had a boy Pete. He lived there. He died. He was out coon hunting with Mr. Mitchell one

night and had a heart attack and died in 1924. His wife and son came to us. She came to cook for us Mrs. DeVito. She was a wonderful Italian cook when we were boys. Pete DeVito grew up with us for a few years her son. She made wonderful Italian spaghetti and sauce. She had been married to a guy named Musiello before that and had a daughter Mary Musiello. Mary Musiello worked in our house with Madeline Carol in the ’20’s. That’s how we got Mrs. DeVito for a cook I guess through her daughter Mary from her first marriage. Well, it turned out some years later that old Musiello had left a lot of real estate in Mount Vernon, New York, and it became very valuable. Mrs. DeVito was worth a lot more money than my mother and father were. She wanted to stay and be our cook, but she couldn’t. It didn’t seem right so she went back to Mt. Vernon to take up the property.

PS:The property down there


PS:That’s interesting.

JR:Then that farm on that side was bought because DeVito died and George Mitchell didn’t have a

farmer he sold it to Jack Harris, to U. N. Harris in 1931. That was later.


PS:I sold the Harrises a tractor in 1927 or 28, a Farm- all 20 with steel wheels with the lugs on it.

JR:You did huh, with lugs.

PS:Finally they changed it after later years I forgot they’ve changed it to rubber tires, wheels.

JR:Those things go around. So that’s the Rogers’ place now the Harris place; that plot of land was

all put together from a lot of different ones. Now let’s go up on the Taconic Road a place called the Holmes Farm where Whitridge is now. Remember a man named Arthur Fisk came in here about 1919 and bought that? Had a wife Lucille and three boys.

PS:Yeah, yeah. Was that after Luke Judd lived there? Remember Luke Judd lived there.

JR:I think it was.

PS:Was it afterwards, or…

JR:This was 1919. It was Clifford Boardman.

PS:Well then it must have been after Judd. Because Pierce came in after Judd, then I’m sure.

JR:Yeah, he did. Boardman sold to Fisk. He married a Holmes, Kate Holmes Boardman. No, his

mother was Kate Holmes Boardman; see it had been an old Holmes Farm. So Clifford Boardman sold it to Arthur Fisk who came from Hewlett, Long island. That’s where my father came from. He came up with a wife and three boys. He bought, it was called the Holmes Farm in the land records, 240 acres subject to the railroad and the highway, and both went through it. Then he bought a piece on the lake, 75 acres from the Havilands,….Haviland and Florence Daly, 75.6 acres between the highway and the lake. There is a cabin there. He must have built a cabin. Guest boys and we used to swim down there.

PS:Down by the lake.


PS:I think Williams finally got that place, Professor Williams.

JR:No, Whitridgehas it.

PS:Oh really?

JR:Next to Williams. Johnnie Fisk and we built a, we thought it a good surf board to pull behind an

outboard motor, but we found as we got near the front of it, it would go down under water. We tried to catch turtles down in there.

PS:That one you are speaking of Whitridge’s boathouse there must be to the south of Williams.

JR:That’s right. The Williams’ place is called North Meadow.


PS:North Meadow, right.

JR:The Whitridges is south and mostly in the woods.

PS:Professor Williams and his daughter married a guy by the name of Goshton, D. V. Goshton.

JR:She died, Betty Williams, Betty Goshton died just a few years ago too.

PS:I think last year or the year before.

JR:She lived in theShe had one daughter, married an army officer, lots of money.

PS:His name was Blackwell.

JR:Blackwell, that’s right.

PS:They have a daughter used to come to our house when Barry. She liked Barry quite a bit. She

married some guy.

JR:Cute girl

PS:They didn’t live together very long. I never liked that guy. He used to come along to the house,

too. Used to have drinking party there’d be beer and stuff. He was no guy for her; she needed somebody that had a little more life. He was a miserable cuss. They didn’t stay together long.

JR:He was the one who married the Goshton girl, granddaughter, Goshton’s granddaughter.

PS:Yup, I can’t think of her first name right now.

JR:They were related to Mac Craighead, you know McGruder Graighead. I saw them there at his

funeral and his burial. Anyway after Pierce died, and it went to Lucy Pierce, his wife, Lucy Enmen she had been. I know my mother knew her well. She sold it to Mrs. Whitridge who came from New York City in 1927. So that’s the history of that. It was still called the Holmes Farm then.

Now I want to jump around some more to the next to the last one of those. That’s the Swan Farm, Ward Andros.

PS:That used to be the Ward Farm, wasn’t it Ward?

JR:Yeah we always used to call it the Ward Farm. That was sold in 6 parcels to Joe Swan: Mary A.

Ward, Nellie J. Andros, I guess she married an Andros and Nathaniel Church Ward up in Massachusetts, and Preston Ward in Massachusetts. Did you know any of them?


JR:They sold Joe Swan 6 parcels on Weatogue Road it was called …in 1926.

PS:It must have been a continuation of Weatogue Road coming cross Route 44.


JR:Yeah it was spelled W-E-T-A-U-G.

PS:Oh yeah same road, of course

JR:Same road. Then he bought 4 parcels from Martin Goggin. Do you remember the Goggin Farm

just north of the Ward farm?

PS:I don’t think so. No.

JR:The barns are torn down now; they were right on the crest of the hill right next to the highway,

just up going towards Smith Hill from the big Ford place.

PS:No, I don’t think I can recall that.

JR:Martin Goggin, then there was a third farm with an old brick house that had fallen down up still

further north toward Smith Hill with some barns across the road. We worked the place that’s how I know. My father worked that farm and I did.

PS:You know when I first got in there, Swan was there. I can remember the Wards, but I remember

when Swan went there. He put up the green houses and stuff on the right hand side of the road going south. Then there were some barns over there and a tenant house there, too.

JR:There was a red barn and the greenhouses were attached to that.

PS:There was another…just going to Falls Village a big white house on the right. I have forgotten

who was in there, do you remember?

JR:Well when we ran the farm Grant…. that white house Grant Curtis lived in that one. He worked

for us. Bill Curtis worked there before too. They came down from Maine with their brother Hugh Curtis who worked for Ed Winters’…. farm. Then he moved over to Pine Plains in New York. Young Hugh lived there a lot longer, and then died. He married Lillian Sabin

PS:Sabin, right.

JR:We had a, Grant Curtis had 13 children, and about the last one was born the day Roosevelt was

elected, and he named it Franklin Roosevelt Curtis. We mostly worked that farm to make… we kept 2 or 3 family cars and supplied the Swans with milk and grain for his family and farmers, but mostly we moved the hay up to Hamlin Hill to supplement our hay supply in the winter up there. A few years later my father got a herd of Aberdeen Angus from Dan Cornell, and then he got a young bull, a young angus bull fromPine Plains, a big farm of breeding stock a strong young bull. He, without cows, he swam the river across the Canaan side towards Fails Village after cows I guess. We chased him over there across the river on that land for 2-3 days with horses. We tried to round him up and we couldn’t get him. Finally we got him into Harry 0. Lenox’s cows. Do you know?

PS:I know where the farm is.


You know where the farm is.


PS:At the railroad crossing, on the left

JR:a big handsome white house; that was Harry 0. Lenox. We got this bull in with his cows when

they came in for milking in the afternoon. We got a rope around him and then a chain around his neck and hooked him on the back of a platform truck, and pulled him back to the Swan farm, Stillwater Farm down by the iron bridge in Falls Village and then up. He was so strong he could raise his head with the chain on the truck; he could raise the hind wheels off the ground. Then the house burned down. You were remarking to me about the house. Then he moved to Farmington. He always said that he’d lost all his friends here; they had all died or moved away so he didn’t want to live here any longer after he rebuilt the house. Then it went to Russell Dench.

PS:It wasn’t long after that that Tracy moved out too. He was there.

JR:Oh yeah you were talking about Tracy.

PS:Oh yeah he was the one who ran the greenhouses, and he had those gladiolas, plenty of them

all colors.

JR:He had the Garvin farm house. That’s where the Garvin farm was. He lived there. Had a

daughter named Lucille. I was asking you if you knew a young woman named Ladella Humes.

PS:No, I remember the Humes name, but I can’t recall.

JR:She was somehow connected with the Goggins as I remember. I don’t know any more about it

than that. I remember young Ed Humes, but I don’t think she was direct family. That farm in between the war and afterwards was farmed by Floyd Ladd from Sharon and Hal Bine had it for a while who used to work for us. He went back to New Hampshire. So I guess that’s the end of that.

Now we’re going over to the Town Farm. The Cannons I knew them well because they rented our cottage, the grey cottage up on Hamlin Hill Road for 2-3 summers before they bought. They became great friends of my family. They came from Montclair just like Mrs. Belcher did,

PS:I was down in Montclair. One summer I worked for the Belchers, and they lived on Upper

Mountain Avenue in Montclair.

JR:You told me about that.

PS:The Benjamin Moore Company had that office on 505 Canal Street in New York, and that’s about

the time when the Belchers came up here to live up on Town Hill.

JR:Well we may get back to the Belcher place, the old Cleaveland place, soon but the Town Farm.

Well when Will Cannon bought that he bought it from Mrs. McLeish, Ada McLeish of Ashfield, Massachusetts. She was the wife of that famous man of letters, Archibald McLeish. Do you know anything about that?


PS:I don’t know about that. That was the Town Farm; I supposed that the town owned it. I can’t


JR:221 acres, exclusive of highways and was bounded normally by Miss Bergee, Marie Bergee, you


PS:Miss Bergee, yeah

JR:And by Alice Howell


JR:Yeah J.C. Howell, owned by Alice C. Howell and by the highway from Salisbury to Lime Rock and

by Fanny M. Miner’s farm, which was formally part of the Travor farm. Now we’re going to get to that; I want to get to that with you. That must be the part on the hill where Nort Miner lives that was part of the Travor farm.

PS:You know the house just below Cannons going toward Kipps?


PS:Well that was the Travor, Bill Travor farm.

JR:I’m going to get to that. Then William Tolliver; that was part of the Travor farm. Do you

remember Tolliver?

PS:Bill Tolliver he lived down the hill with the colored people if I recall.

JR:Which hill is that?

PS:Tolliver when I knew him lived with a group of colored people lived on top of that hill. Do you


know where Frank Matheson used to live?

JR:Do you mean on Farnam Road? Muck Alley?

PS:Yup. Muck Alley, Farnam Road.

JR:I thought Tolliver was in that farmhouse of Cannons, the Travor farmhouse.

PS:He could have been.

JR:Could Bill Travor have sold to Tolliver, and then moved into town?

PS:I don’t think that Tolliver ever bought that farm. He may have leased it, or rented it or


JR:Was this the same Bill Travor that was in the lumberyards business?


PS:His father. Bill Travor and he married Marsha, no Margaret Turner, Pete Turner’s daughter.

They lived on Pettee Street.

JR:Bill Travor

PS:No, Turners, Bill Travor, the boy, he worked for Community Service.

JR:He wasn’t a boy when I knew him. It was bounded by the highway from the Town Farm to Wells

Hill up Wells Hill, and by Kate B. Knight. They went up into Kate B. Knight’s land.

PS:That would be on the right going up Wells Hill.

JR:That would be the farm.

PS:Yup where Vaill was.

JR:Yeah where Vaill was. Then Charles Ball…

PS:Charlie Ball he was out where the town dump was way back when Charlie Ball; He was a Colonel

Ball, Col. Charlie Ball. He married, his offspring used to live up here, and he married a girl by the name of Van Dyke, Ethel Van Dyke. They had three, four kids I guess, one girl, one smart girl Maud. She lived down in Washington, D.C. Charlie Ball everybody took their tin cans and everything, and he used to sell all of that stuff.

JR:Where was that?

PS:Between Cannons coming down toward Lakeville on Farnam Road, just at the foot of that hill

there’s a gulley in there, then you come up to the next house where Frank Matheson lived. It’s where Red Parmalee last lived, the Parmalees.

JR:No, that’s Ernest Parmalee.

PS:No, his name was Red; yes, it could have been.

JR:Because I remember Red Parmalee.

PS:He married a girl from Waterbury.

JR:He was next to Charlie Ball. Let’s go on with a description of Charlie Ball and Red Parmalee and

the dump that Charlie Ball had.

PS:Well, there wasn’t much else in there at the time. You come on down over the hill from where I

told you that Bill Tolliver lived there was old Harry Jackson who was a slave. Harry Jackson, no his name was Daniel Jackson, the father. Harry was the son. Then the next house down were colored people the


William Branche family, and then you had, back in my day; Dick Wilson lived in that next house where Chavous live. Then come down over the hill…

JR:Was that Doug Wilson’s father?

PS:Doug Wilson’s son, he was a painter so was Dick for that matter. He finally married Mrs.

Winters, Witheringham, Well anyway coming down the hill toward Lakeville on the left is where old George Frank lived, and he farmed it there. He had a small acreage up in back; he also had a maple sugar house up in there in the maples. They used to do butchering, he and his son Gene, Gene Frank. Gene Frank eventually married Les Toms ‘mother. George Frank had three daughters; Ester Frank who was a school teacher, Sadie Frank who was a nurse, and Ada who married Ed Miller. Then you come down to the next house was O’Brien. Then there was old Steve Duvall. Way back in my day Steve Duvall where Hattie Thorpe lived, you know. You know where Hattie Thorpe lived, Johnnie Jordan?

JR:Yeah, yeah I know. I remember Johnnie Jordan’s place.

PS:Well way back in my day when I lived with Ian Sylvernale after my father died, that was old Steve

Duvall lived in there. Then across from that was my uncle’s garden, we called it” the swamp”, and what stuff that would raise in there. Then you go on down to hit a few houses through there Ian Sylvernale, Burt Miller, Ed Miller. Then you hit where Almar Cleaveland lived. “The Pines” they called it then.

JR:Holley Palmer’s…

PS:Holley Palmer’s, well it would be her….


PS:Well, let’s see. I don’t know. Her mother was…

JR:One of the Cleavelands

PS:Lucille Wilcox

JR:Oh that’s right

PS: Wilcox and her mother’s name was Elizabeth, I believe. There were two other women there. There was Mary Cleaveland and Anna Cleaveland and Albert. Well, then you’ve got Cleaveland Street which we…

JR:We’ve been over that on another.

PS:Over where the saw mill house was. We’ve talked about the saw mill house. Then there are also

the old stone quarries over in there. There are two of them, stone quarries where they used to get out stone. I believe that the watering trough here the one in Lakeville and the one on Wells Hill all came out of there. Old John Garrity used to chisel them out or whatever they used to call it.


JR:He used to chisel them out.

PS:Yeah, and he lived there at that time way back when he first came. He came down from

Sheffield, somewhere.

JR:That was John who was the…

PS:John Garrity, Charlie Garrity’s father…

JR:His father yeah

PS:Hard of hearing.

End of side A


Oral History Cover Sheet

Interviewee:J. Parker Sylvernale

Narrator:J. Rand

Tape #:3 A & B (damaged and hard to transcribe)

Place of Interview:


Summary of talk: purchase of old farms, 1) Selleck Hill Farm aka Book Hill Farm, Col. Cleveland Lassing, his wife and children, Peter Arnoff, Howard Hughes, children’s marriages and their children, land purchases: Hoyt and Beginti farm: 2) Howard Smithers and Over Book Farm, his death June 1918 by a bull: 3) Rocky Hill Farm (Milo Richardson), Kipp family: 4) Miner farm on Salmon Kill Road, Rev. Peckham: 5)Charlie Rogers farm called Town Farm, Rand & Warner Realtors, the Little farm, Miles siblings, George H. Mitchell & Harriet MacNeil, Jerry Devito, Mary Musiello: 6)Holmes Farm on Taconic Road: 7) Ward or Swan Farm on Weatogue Road (Stillwater Farm), herd of Aberdeen angus cows and a bull: 8) Town Farm, the Cannon family, Travor Farm, Bill Tolliver, Pete Turner, Col. Charles Ball and his dump on Farnam Road, list of homes and owners on Farnam Road, 2 stone quarries, 2 watering troughs Lakeville center & Wells Hill from that stone cut by John Garrity: end of side A

Side B Summary: more on boundaries of Town Farm, two buildings from Dr. Knight’s Institution and their new locations, various other houses and their occupants, more about splitting the Infirmary in two, and Institution’s relocation to Mansfield, Ct., sawmill on Cleaveland Street, E.W. Spurr Co., candle shop, Community fuel building, town dump, Col. Ball sold land to Cannon, Lila Nash received a letter in Jan. 1980 from daughter of Maud Ball about the sale of family home, and whereabouts of family possessions ,especially Col. Ball’s Union uniform, Town Farm, Cannon Farm, John Rand’s grandmother’s farm called Barak Matiff Farm, later it was sold to Miss Edith Scoville, Fox Hunter Spring Water, Ellen Emmett designed bottle labels, Roosevelt portrait, burning of Scoville mansion 1916, Dr. Knight’s School for Imbeciles, Rose Hill Farm, Farnam Tavern, “The Lincoln Greens”, Ingersoll Farm, Hamlin Hill Farm & where name came from, Charlie Hardesty, deer hunting, Gertrude Hardesty, Barnard Farm.

Date: after January, 1980

Property of the Oral History Project

Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury, Connecticut, 06068


Oral History tape 3B J. Parker Sylvernale (tape quality poor, indistinct and hard to transcribe)

JR:We left off in the middle of the boundaries of the old Town Farm which has just been bought by

Bill Clemens.

PS:That’s right.

JR:We got to where the north boundary with the Knights and the Thorne place and Charlie Ball

and…farm on the left just before the Red Farm.

PS:Red Farm, yeah.

JR:That’s by the highway leading from Salisbury to Canaan, that’s the Dark Hollow Road.


JR:And Tom W. Hotchkiss, he went across the tracks a little bit there over by the brook. Then

Howard Brockman and his wife, that’s where they built the house?


JR:They built the house where Mignonette Bohlman is now, right.

PS:Yeah. Then the other one up farther was half of the infirmary of Dr. Knight’s Institution cut in


JR:Oh it was?

PS:It was brought down by Shorty Judd, (Gene Green’s Real Estate building) and the other part of it

is on the corner as you go down to Community Service. That house is right there.

JR:Alec French’s house?

PS:No, no that other one on the corner where, this is 44 and this is Farnam Road, and there is a

house right on that crossroad.

JR:Oh where Rod Aller’s office is now.

PS:Yeah, that’s right.

JR:That was Chuck Tolliday’s house? Didn’t the Tollidays live there?

PS:They did at one time, upstairs. Tollidays lived upstairs and who the hell lived downstairs?

JR: Curtis

PS:Yeah, correct.

JR:I don’t know who owned at that time.


PS:I don’t either. Oh yeah, Lee Dufour

JR:He did?

PS:Yeah and Lee owned that house where Ben Hoyt used to live. Who lives there now is Barny,

Barny what the hell’s his last name? M…. He married one of the Duneen girls, right across from the Jigger Shop, that big yellow house. I’ll tell you who lives there Rodney, Rod Tooley.

JR:Yeah, isn’t that apartments, that house.


JR:I thoughtthe Bradleys lived in there.

PS:No, that’s the next one, that’s Mrs. Tupper’s.

JR:Oh didn’t Ray Crippen live there?

PS:Ray Crippen lived in the first one.

JR:Ray Crippen in the white.

PS:That’s where Tooley lives, on that same end where Crippen was.

JR:Right, what was his wife’s name, Molly?

PS:Molly Crippen.

JR:They are both dead now.

PS:Yeah, the last place they owned was on Pettee Street, the old just below May Bissell’s, the first

house along by May Bissell’s on the left.

JR:Oh is that right.

PS:Yeah, they bought that, and they lived there quite a while.

JR:Now going back to that half of the Knight Asylum.


JR:Infirmary, which is it? Where’s that? That’s the house…

PS:That’s the house that-lived in for some time; that’s half of it and the other half is down where I

told you on the corner of….

JR:Frank Rossiter put that up.



JR:Now where is that infirmary building of the Knight’s Asylum? Where abouts?

PS:Originally was?


PS:Up across from the Catholic Church; don’t you remember when Dr. Knight has an institution

there for feeble minded?

JR:Yeah, I know he did.

PS:Well it would be about opposite Milo Martin’s house down in. They used to have a road goes in

there like that.

JR:Between the two roads then.

PS:Yeah, on the lake side.

JR:Oh on the lake side of the road

PS:Yeah then after they, well I don’t know what the hell happened, somebody started I guess

complaining so that’s when they moved all those to Mansfield, Connecticut, in that…


PS:Yeah, then the buildings were sold, and Shorty Judd sawed that one right in two, and it came out

alright, too because of the rooms and everything. He moved it up from there up to where Rossiter lived here, and the other part Lee Dufour put down in that corner. He owned that property down there then.

JR:Now that’s enough for now. E. W. Spurr Company was there on the west side that we talked

about yesterday on that road, wasn’t it? Where you said there as a truck of cattle, what was in there?

PS:You mean on Cleaveland Street.

JR:Yeah, the end of Cleaveland Street.

PS:There was a sawmill as you drive up to that house there’s a big rock there, and to the right of

that is the old sawmill. I think the foundation of the well for the dam is there yet. There was a dam ahead of it, and there was a water wheel in there.

JR:Oh is that right? To power the sawmill?

PS:Yeah, I don’t think there is anything there now. I think it has all been done away with.

JR:That belonged to E. W. Spurr Company.


JR:Then I think it went through his daughter to Charlotte Reid’s mother.


PS:In the Halls

JR:The Halls, yes.

PS:Well, now at the same time, I’ve forgotten who lived there last that I knew, I think it was William

Matheson, Frank Matheson’s brother lived there, and he had two boys Carleton Matheson and William Matheson.

JR:Ralphlived there.

PS:Yeah, Ralph lived there quite a while.

JR:Then that French…bought that.

PS:I forgot what his name was. I think he went back to France.

JR:Yeah, he did.

PS:Then Doc …What his name was there. Grumand?

JR:Oh yeah something like that.

PS:He was down in Sharon Hospital, X-ray, something like that.

JR:Now somebody named Packer. Now you said something about a candle shop.

PS:Candle shop, geez I was going to drive over there this morning and I got interrupted to see if

that building was still there. Well, you know where Peter Wood is, he used to make candles in there too.

JR:You mean where that little brown…

PS:That little office building, where Community Service is. (Deano’s Pizza)

JR:Oh they did huh. Community Fuel

PS:That belongs to Community Service yet, and back in those days they made that into a living

quarters finally. John Curtis lived in there, too.

JR:Did he? Wow OK Charlie Ball was next door. We talked a little about him yesterday and the

heirs of George Frink. What did you say about them? Something about his funeral?

PS:Col. Ball, Col. Charles Ball, he got that on the…also he ran a dump there you know, the town

dump. As far as I know you didn’t have to pay anything; I don’t know how he did make a living, but he sorted that stuff all over and took out anything that was saleable like iron and that stuff. He made a pretty good living.

JR:Most dump people do that; they do that in the dump here up in back in Salisbury.

PS:Well, he made a living at that. After Cannon got there, didn’t Cannon buy the rest of that land?



Yeah he did. He sold out to Cannon 9 acres.

PS:Then his widow after Charlie died, Col Charles Ball’s widow, Ethel Van Dyke, she finally went out

to Winsted at the Salvation Army.

JR:Here’s a woman who wrote a letter, a woman wrote to Lila Nash from Washington, D.C. Jan.,

1980, Elsie T. Ward, daughter of Mort Cannon Ball Montrose.

PS:Maud, she was Maud Ball when she left here and went to Washington.

JR:Maud Ball

PS:I think she’s living, yet I’m not sure.

JR:The daughter is, Elsie T. Wardshe went toShe said

PS:Charlie Ball lived on Washinee Street.

JR:Yeah up near the footbridge.

PS:Hesold out to 2-3 years ago.

JR:He went to Florida. I think he sold to Bam Whitbeck, that littleold shack.

PS:He worked over in Canaan over where Fred Kent is. Fred likedhim very much.

JR;She says,” My Uncle Chuck,” she called him Uncle Chuck, “soldthe old houseshortly after my

grandmother Ethel Ball died, and didn’t let Uncle Harvey or my mom know.” Harvey Ball died too, remember? He lived in Winsted, and he died.” He didn’t let Uncle Harvey or my mom know until after he had sold it and moved to Florida, and squandered away the money he got from it.” I don’t believe that Charlie Ball squandered it. I don’t think there was a lot in that one.

PS:Not the one that lives up here?

JR:No, I don’t think so.

PS:He’s a pretty good guy.

JR:”Could you please tell me to whom the house was sold? What was the address of the house?

Near as I can figure out from the papers left by Uncle Harvey, it was on the Under Mountain road.”

PS:No, no, on Farnam Road. I don’t know if it was called Farnam Road then, it was Muck Alley.

JR:Oh that one. No I think she’s talking about the one that Charlie Ball sold up near the footbridge.

PS:Oh, oh

JR:The one owned by the family Vern Oakes.


PS:Vern Oakes, yeah.

JR:Who owns it now? “Was any of the possessions left at the house, and would the new owner

have it? Or did the possessions go to an antique store or was it auctioned off? Could you tell me whatever became of my grandfather Charles Ball’s Union uniform? If he was not buried in it in the Salisbury Cemetery, I would like to trace down that suit, and anything else that belonged to him and his ancestors before him. I would like to get a line on any possessions which might have belonged to my grandfather’s parents and my grandmother’s too. If I could find out what happened to the things Uncle Chuck sold, I would gladly pay for them if I could find out where they are.” I don’t think he had much to sell.

PS:There wasn’t much there anyway. When Col. Ball lived there, well it was a place to live and they

had a roof over their head, and that’s about it.

JR:As I recall it, Charlie McLane and his wife has a room or an apartment in that house, didn’t they.

PS:Down on Farnam Road?

JR:No, here

PS:I think somebody lived… yes.

JR:Charlotte McLanePickert’s mother and father

PS:Yeah Joe

JR:Charlie McLane

PS:Joe’s brother, I think so.

JR:He lived up there, then I think Doc Bennett’s wife lived, mother of the Grafton boys. She had a

room there. Now she’s gone down to this new housing, she’s got an apartment down there.

PS:I don’t know. I know Ball used to stop in and get his gas when he was working over in Canaan.

But he had some woman that was living there with him.

JR:It was Patty Latch.

PS:Patty Latch that just who it was.

JR:He married

PS:That’s just who it was.

JR:to get a pension, I think.

PS:Oh yeah


JR:He had some military benefits he could get with a wife, something like that. Then he died. Now

it says here that Charlie Ball sold the Cannons some months later after he bought the Town Farm and the 9 acres, and he was bounded westerly by land formerly of Silas A. Silvernale.

PS:Silas Silvernale lived on the top of the hill; the house going toward Lakeville from where Red

Parmalee lives. That was where Silas lived. He was a tall, slim legged guy.

JR:Charlie Ball got that from the estate of James H. Ball, from his mother, probably.

PS:Well, I wouldn’t know about that.

JR:Then going on to the Cannon farm a couple of months later he bought 2 parcels from William

Tolliver, and that I thought was the farm where…

PS:I never remember Tolliver living down on that farm where the Travors lived; where Bill Travois

father lived.

JR:It was 2 …parcels with buildings adjoining the road from Lakeville to Falls Village.

I was going to tell you about my grandmother who came here as Mrs. Hunter, Ellen Temple Hunter. She came here in 1903 before all these other people, who bought these big places. She rented at the beginning of Taconic or Twin Lakes Road; she called it Barak Matiff Farm. Miss Edith Scoville bought it from her later. Edith Scoville lived there for years with her mother and her sisters and her brother Rob, but my grandmother rented it in 1903 from Julia A. Fisk. It was a Fisk farm. She paid an annual rent of $250.00 for 80 acres, 2 dwelling houses, a barn and out buildings, and a lot of machinery; all for $250 a year. This did not include then the land across the road, east of Taconic or Twin Lakes Road leading up to what we call “Turnip Top”. Miss Edith Scoville must have acquired that later. It was bounded on the east by the highway from Barak Matiff to Chapinville, on the north by the Teeter place, which was later belonged to Adolf Baree, a friend of my father’s, and then it was Kent Fulton’s for a while, and then the McChesneys bought it and built on it.

PS:That was Colts Foot…

JR:Colt’s Foot Riding he called it. Then when they died, it was the Massey’s and now it’s Dankin, Al

Dankin, Al and Dorothy Dankin. That bounded my grandmother’s place on the north, and the south by Patrick Kane, a small lot with a house which I think is the house that Alec Coons later lived in, and by Mrs. Finnigan and Andy Fox, and it was bounded westerly by William F. Hutchinson. I think these were the lands of the late Ralph Fisk, and they were divided through his widow Julia Leonard to my grandmother, with an option to purchase in five years for $5000.00. Five years later she did buy it from Mrs. Fisk for $5000. She deeded it to my mother Ellen Emmett, subject to keeping a life use for herself, and later my mother deeded it back to her. By that time the Hutchinson’s land had becomethen my grandmother bought from Patrick Kane, or from his estate the 6 acres for $500 at the corner there where I think Alec Coons later lived. Patrick Kane had contracted to sell that to my grandmother in five


years if she wanted it. She didn’t want it, he then died, and I think it was his daughter Annie K. Pulver who sold it to my grandmother. Do you remember Annie K. Pulver?

PS:I knew Annie Pulver who lived up by the Catholic Church, do you know where William Keur lives



PS:Well that house just where you drive in on the right is where…

JR:The Kellogg place

PS:Annie Pulver lives there that I knew.

JR:Dan Kellogg lived there; fixed it up, before which John Garrity built.

PS:That’s right. Ann Pulver lived there until she died. I’m sure that’s the one.

JR:Do you think she was a Kane?

PS:Oh yes, she was a Kane, she was an old…

JR:She probably sold Alec Coon’s house to my grandmother then. Meanwhile the, when my

mother owned the property, she sold 8/10 of a rod to her mother, and it looks like it was down where the spring was. It looks like it was where my grandmother insisted on using that spring down in there to start a company. You remember the Fox Hunter Spring Water?

PS:Sure do.

JR:My grandmother thought it would be great to bottle that water and sell it in New York City. She

got a bottling works…

PS:You wouldn’t have one of those bottles they had, would you?

JR:I don’t have any, but they were around recently.

PS:I wouldn’t be surprised if someone dug around in that lot…

JR:There were some in a case in that barn, where they bottled it. That belongs to…

PS:They had a horse, a riding horse with a man with a red jacket and riding puttees and so forth

with a picture of a dog, a hunting dog. I can remember that.

JR:My mother did all that art work for her. My grandmother made her do it. She opened this

office in New York. My mother was earning money painting, but she didn’t have that kind of money to spend on that; she thought that would be foolishness. But her mother got her to do it.


PS:I saw the painting that your mother did of Roosevelt.

JR:Oh you did, recently?

PS:Not recently but back at the time that she was doing it.

JR:Back in the 30’s, yeah.

PS:I think your mother told me she got $25,000 for that.

JR:No, no she got more like $1,000.

PS:I don’t know where I got that idea.

JR:Well at any rate she helped her mother with the bottling work. It was called Fox Hunter because

Andy Fox, the land came from Andy Fox, and her name was Hunter.

PS:Good spring water, I remember Fox Hunter Spring Water.

JR:She had a picture of a huntsman with a pink coat, breeches and high boots with some hounds,

jumping a fence. It was a nice idea, but she was no kind of a business man.

PS:I bet if you could find one of those bottles today, you’d get some money forthem.

JR:I think it folded up. Years later I heard when Eddie Scoville bought the place, she had her

brother Rob had a test of it, sampled it. I think it was not very good water at all.

PS:I know when that was there; Edith Scoville’s place and I bet she used to get their water from

there. They had a motor there; finally got an electric motor there. I was at the brook one time has to do something with it. It was when Coons was there, Alec Coons. They pumped water for the barn, and a house and also I believe his house.

JR:Yeah, they all used that water and pump. John Forsythe used to have to keep that going in the

winter to keep it from freezing on them, Miss Scoville. Now the place was sold, I think the Scoville’s mansion up there in Taconic burned down in 1916 in the winter.


JR:The same night they had a barn dance up at her father’s barn, the new barn. It was cold weather

in 1916 and I can remember, I was up there, I was 19 years old.

JR:Grady told me this; Grady told me some of this. He must have worked for the Scovilles. I was

wondering where they went when the house burned down. I guess they went to New York City.

PS:I imagine so. It was idle for quite some time.


JR:Then in June, 1917 Miss Edith Scoville bought this place from my grandmother; this house up

here and the spring lot, 80 acres and the spring lot. I can remember now that my mother had bought that spring lot from Andy Fox, an extra 8/10 of an acre; 8 rods, 8 and 8/10th rods.

PS:That down in back of.possibly you mean?

JR:Yeah, right off, down belowthere.

PS:I wonder if that pump is boiling up there yet.

JR:Oh yeah it is. They no longer use it because it was too much trouble to keep it from freezing in

the winter if you got water from it. I think it belongs on the property Allen and Karen Bradley bought now, the old Edith Scoville place. You remember we were talking about the Lassings up on Selleck Hill there: Timmy Lassing and she was a girl friend of Howard Hughes?

PS:Back in my day, when we first built Community Service. He stopped to get gas.

JR:Yeah, I remember the story she told me two years ago before she died. I asked her why she

never married Howard Hughes. She said, “My father did not think he could take good enough care of me.”

PS:Oh dear.

JR:That’s just in passing. Could you tell us anything about that Knight’s hospital for Imbeciles in


PS:Well, what I remember as the Dr. Knight Institution. It was right across from the Catholic Church

on the lake side. There was quite a number of buildings there. There was one dormitory for girls, mostly feeble-minded, and boys. Dr. Knight lived in that house where that William what’s his name that lives there now that’s got that Japanese place? Gallery Imports, that’s where Dr. Knight lived,

JR:Closed in the summertime. Howard Scholle lived there in between.

PS:That’s right Howard Scholle and then this guy that had this Japanese place there. Well, anyway

they had quite a number working there; girls and fellows that would take care of this gang of imbeciles.

JR:They called them imbeciles.

PS:The Stanton, most all the Stanton girls worked there, and I think at one time Mike did, but I

don’t remember after that any of the other boys. Then Frank Ingram, he was the chauffeur for Mr. Knight, for George H. Knight. Then there was that fellow when they had horses, his name was Nelson a big fella, a big strapping guy. They had their own sewer system. The sewer system went down toward the lake; the overflow which is supposed to be nothing but water as it ran, but it did empty into the lake at that time. It always used to be weedy as hell out there, I remember that. I don’t know how they did come to move it out of there, but after a while the state moved all those out to Mansfield, Connecticut.


That’s where they last, well; they are there yet for that matter. At that time George Knight owned the farm, what you call Rose Hill Farm. He owned that, and after he died, he willed that to Yale College. I understand so.

JR:Someone named Loucks ran that for him?

PS:Walter Loucks, he had dairy there; he ran it for quite a number of years. He had a daughter

Mary Loucks, and he had a son Walter and a son William Loucks. Yeah, he was there for quite some time.

JR:There was a Bill Loucks down nearer my age; he’s probably descended from him.

PS:I would, yeah.

JR:There were some Loucks in Sharon though, too.

PS:The lot in Sharon I think were a different breed. He was a painter if I recall the one you’re

speaking of. Now that is about all I can remember of Dr. Knight’s Institution.

JR:What did he do sell the farm to Will Perry? Is that how Will Perry got it?

PS:I really don’t know. It might be that, but I can’t remember that.

JR:Will Perry owned the Farnam Tavern, and they had rooms there. I think he owned Rose Hill


PS:Also at that time he was a sheriff, but he owned that land from Perry Street, where Perry Street

is, he owned most all that land through there at that time.

JR:I think he owned that farm, and I think probably Frank Hale came in here working the farm for

him, and later he bought the farm when Will Perry died.

PS:Well,the ones I can remember being there were way back with a fella the name of Hike

Simmons. He had a son Harry Simmons. They were on there. Then there was Loucks. Then who? Then I guess Vaill.

JR:Yeah, I remember a little bit the Farnam Tavern when Will Perry had it, and that nice main room

with big round tables, and he had all his friends; he was friends with my father, and they had sort of a club called “The Lincoln Greens”. Did you ever hear of them?


JR:Malcolm Rudd, Don Warner, and my father Roger Rand, and Kent Fulton, Dick Landon, Will

Perry, and I think Willy Russell; they called themselves “The Lincoln Greens.”

PS:If I recall upstairs there’s a ball room.


JR:Yeah. I can remember these men sitting around one of those big round tables. They seemed to

have; I suppose just sort of a club and have a drink at the end of the day around this table.

PS:There used to be a barroom down cellar, downstairs there way back. There was one since then

too. Who did have it then? Yeah that was some time ago. Well that was the end of the Dr. Knight’s Institution.

JR:You told me in one of the other tapes about the buildingCharlie Hardesty had made an

agreement with the Butterlys, William G. and Margaret P. his wife or mother to buy that Butterly farm down there which has become the Ingersoll farm, as we knew it, at the bend of the road on the way to Lime Rock. Then for some reason my mother bought it from the Butterlys after Margaret Butterly had died, two years after Charlie Hardesty had engaged to buy it, agreed to buy it. The only reason I can think of that my mother did was that maybe Charlie Hardesty didn’t have the money. He didn’t have enough money to go through with it, and so my mother bought it in 1910, November. That was before she was married; then she got married in 1911 in May. In April of 1912 she sold the Butterly farm to Marie L. Harrison from New York City. That I believe was the, then became the wife of dad Ingersoll, Colin Ingersoll.

JR:In case that thing is not running right we’ll talk about where I grew up on Hamlin Hill. You

remember my mother Ellen Emmett was living down at what was later Edith Scoville’s place with her mother Ellen Temple Hunter. They had the spring water business and all that. My father came down from Williamstown, and he had a farm in Williamstown. He used to come and court my mother from Williamstown about 60 miles away. He’d stay overnight at Barak Matiff Farm. He and my mother were married in 1911, May, 1911. They then wanted the place that is now known as Hamlin Hill up on the hill there. It was owned by Karen M. Wood. She was either from New Jersey or Pennsylvania, I forget which. I suppose she just lived here summertime. She had fixed the place up. The price was too much so my father starting building a house out in one of the field down there at Barak Matiff Farm where his mother-in-law and his wife had lived. Mrs. Wood saw the building activity there right in her view, and she called up and said, “Come up and I think I can do a little better on the price.” So they went up, and she lowered the price enough. So they bought that. I always said probably he didn’t really intend to build, but he put these building materials out there and machinery so it looked like he was going to build and spoil her view.

PS:It kinda frightened her out unless she wanted to sell.

JR:That frightened her into selling and lowering the price probably because she figured it would be

worthless without any view.



JR:Anyway that’s just the way I heard it. So they lived up there, and the name Hamlin Hill wasn’t

from around here. They went on their honeymoon on horses over to Pomfret in the northeast corner of the state. It is 100 miles away. They did a lot of riding. There was a hill they rode up every day, named Hamlin Hill. It was very pretty, and they liked the name so…

PS:They named it Hamlin Hill.

JR:That’s how they named it Hamlin Hill.

PS:It’s always been that since I can remember it.

JR:Hamlin Hill in Pomfret but it is on Prospect Hill Road. We used to call it Prospect Hill Road: they

call it Prospect Mountain Road now. Prospect was the highest part of the mountain.

PS:They used to be a sign at this end of the road where it said Hamlin Hill.

JR:Yeah, I know it, and also Prospect Hill.

PS:Yeah, I think you’re right.

JR:Now it just says Prospect Mountain. Well, Charlie Hardesty went with them. I don’t know if he is

on that other tape. You remember Charlie Hardesty? Very well, I’m sure.

PS:Yeah, sure, I used to go hunting with him back in my day.

JR:He came over to my grandmother from over in Duchess County, Pulvers Corners I think.

PS:Somewhere over in that section; there’s other Hardestys in Smithfield, above DeLaverne Hill in

Amenia. There was Walter Hardesty over there and also Harry Hardesty.

JR:The brother that ran the Herman Price farm, do you remember the Herman place over in

Lithigow? Later, it was his brother. I think he was William Hardesty.

PS:The only two I knew were Harry and Walter.

JR:Charlie’s son was named Wally, must have been named after his brother.

PS:Yeah, Walter over there on Smithfield Road had a little store, and he sold gasoline. He had a gas

pump out in front. Harry lived this side of him just on top of DeLaverne Hill, and he used to do a little bootlegging on the side with cider brandy; back in those days with Prohibition.

JR:Charlie did a lot of bootlegging. He lived in this house you know that my aunt Mrs. Craig had

had. Remember he lived down there?


PS:Well, I can remember one time Harry had some cider brandy, and it had a little peculiar taste. So

he went somewhere, and he bought some gallons of grape juice and mixed it with it. It was good after that. I had some of that.

JR:When we were in college, we used to buy…Charlie had a cellar full down here in Salisbury. He

had a cellar full of kegs of cider brandy. We used to buy it by the gallon and take it back to Yale for weekends. We drank a lot of it down there. Charlie was quite a guy. He was great with horses. My grandmother Mrs. Hunter and my mother Ellen Emmett loved horses, and they had several there.

Charlie used to take good care of them. He liked horses. He was very good with them, but he was also quite a man with the ladies.

PS:Oh yes, one of the best.

JR:He had quite a large equipment for that.

PS:Oh did he?


PS:Well, that madehim popular.Hispedigree was what was his business.

JR:I’ll tell this but they might wipe it out, but he had quite a big equipment there, and we little

boys… He was taking a leak down in the barn, outside the barn, and we’d look at it, and he’d show it to us this great big thing. He called it Canada. My father had two stallions up there; my father used to breed Percheron horses up on Hamlin Hill, and he had two Percheron stallions. One of them was named Jacques after the Marshall in the First World War, and the other was named Canada. He was a big light grey stallion, and Charlie used to call his equipment Canada. So he would show it to us as he was taking a leak, he used to say, “Look at Canada.” We couldn’t get over it.

PS:That sounds just like him. He was something, I’m telling you.

JR:We were pitching hay one day; quite often up in the hay field women would come up to see

him. I remember one day clearly a woman came up in a car and stopped and must have made some kind of signal; we were pitching a load of hay on by hand from bunches of hay there in windrows; he left and went over to this woman and they went over quite a way off behind a rock. We went on pitching hay without him; we were kids. He came back after about fifteen minutes, and she went back to her car and drove off. He just took up his fork again and started pitching again. He used to tell my brother who was a little older that I was, Chris, how to get a woman. He said try to get their head down like in a wood chuck hole, it makes it better.

PS:He’d gain a little more grapple.


JR:That’s what he was telling us about the woman up there in the hayfield. She was getting her

woodchuck hole.

PS:Head them downhill. Good old Charlie.

JR:Yeah. He had a son who later became a state policeman, a state trooper, and then he worked

mostly for the ASPCA. He was in charge of that department of the state police department down in Watertown.

PS:Yeah, down in Watertown

JR:He had two children.

PS:Where did Gertrude go? Is she living yet?

JR:Gertrude married and then died.

PS:Oh, did she? I remember Gertrude; she and Harry Mulligan used to be great friends that’s how I

got in with Charlie. We used to go hunting together. We always used to go up in back of that Brocket farm. We used to get deer up there, too.

JR:Oh yeah, up on the mountain.

PS:I remember Charlie one Sunday; it was on a Sunday, there was Kerm, Charlie, Harry and I. He

had that Dodge car that looked like a mail truck with wire racks on it. By Jesus we got four deer that day. Oh yeah Howard Curtiss was with us, too. Two of them went up to the top of the mountain; came down through the brush; the rest of us set down by the pathway, the wood road. By God down the hill they come right down the road, I got two of them on my side, and I heard Kerm shoot over on the other side. When we got over there, they had two over there. Charlie shot one, and I think Howard got the other one. We brought them down to Charlie’s garage, that garage there where Mrs. Craighead lived.

JR:Where Mrs. Craighead lived. I remember one time when my father and Charlie Austin and a

couple of us kids take a pony down to Torrington; I think it was, in a Reo Speed wagon. Do you remember Reo Speed Wagon? I don’t think it belonged to us; I think it belonged to Horace Kelsey. Remember he had a Reo Speed Wagon?

PS:He delivered coal in it.

JR:So it was a half truck half station wagon, and we took the pony down to Torrington, one or two

of my brothers and I and Charlie Hardesty. On the way back he said,” I want to stop up at Weatogue Road.” We stopped at Lillian Menardy’s who had some boozer there.

PS:Yeah, she used to have it there.


JR:We came out back to the bottom of Smith Hill and started up Smith Hill, and the damn Reo

Speed Wagon caught on fire. I think the gas line busted, or something, and the gas spilled out on the hot pipe and it started a fire. Charlie Hardesty pulled over to the shoulder, had a can and threw it on it. The truck burned up. The whole truck was entirely destroyed. We were safe. We got out ok. I remember that very clearly.

Gertrude married. My mother was always in the studio painting in the summer many portraits and things. Charlie Hardesty used to be closely in touch with that and he came in and said,” You know that Gertrude got married.” My mother said, “How nice, Hardesty. How nice for Gertrude. Do you like him?” He said, “I guess so.” She said, “What’s his name?” He scratched his head and said, “I don’t remember.”

So he couldn’t remember the name of his new son-in-law. A few days later he came into the studio; she had forgotten all about it, and he said, “Kimball.” She said, “What do you mean, Kimball, Hardesty?” He said, “That’s his name.” My mother said, “What’s her name?” He said,” That’s the name of the man Gertrude married.”

I think later on Kimball died, and I know both she and Tina died. Both her mother and father…I just had the date put on. I saw the Hardesty stone, but it did not have any dates.

I think Hamlin Hill Farm was originally Alexander Surdam. He was a little old…The big house probably about 1770’sand the little old farm. I think Andrew Fox owned it later. Because I think Mrs. Wood bought it from Andy fox. It covered all that northern slope of that ridge back of Prospect.

PS:How did Craighead get in there?

JR:That was another separate place but it was joined up by Mrs. Wood, I think. When my father

bought that, it was in three parcels and probably one of them was that Craig cottage lot. But we talked about the Butterly place down the other side on the Lime Rock Road on that curve on the Lime Rock Road that my mother bought from the Butterly family, and then sold to Marie Ingersoll who was then Marie Harrison. In between the Butterly land and the Hamlin Hill land was the old Barnard Farm. It was Warren Croft then, but it had been the old Barnard Farm.

PS:Harry Willis, Charlie and I used to hunt on top of that old Butterly property. We go from there

over into Amesville.

JR:On the Sugar Hill Road. They called it the Sugar Hill Highway.