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Oral Histories and Memoirs

A Few Items of Interest of High Ridge
by Paul and Evelyn Howe

Editor's Note: Links in the text are to related items on our website and/or the Internet. A Map for orientation

A once small farming section of Conn. located about 9 miles from the center of Stamford, Conn.

A country store, a Methodist church, a community of individuals who mostly were self supporting.

The country store run by Elbert Jones for at least 60 years or more. He was 81 yrs. old when the Village gave him a Ruralite Party of over 200 attending.

This store was built by a Jones at Civil War time. Boys going to war had drinks and eats here on their way to enlist in Civil War. I left here to go to W.W.2.

From here two some say (3) Jones boys went to Philadelphia, Penn. Peddled groceries by hand baskets, from this small start they started the Grand Union Tea Co., a chain of groceries that ran until a few years ago. We had one in Manchester, N.H. until about 4 years ago.

In the second storey of the store a shirt factory was run. Ladies took the shirts home at night to work on them.

Next to the store is a house now remodeled that a Tory was shot trying to escape the town patriots. A Mr. Revere lived here in my time.

In the village there were several basket makers using ash & hickory trees.

Rollo Waters, son of Rezo Waters, they both were basket makers and Henry Bouton and a Scofield all had little shops on their property. Rollo used the cellar of his home with a huge fire place for heat, the others had iron stoves.

Rollo lived across from the store. Henry had a little shop in back of his home that was the second house on left from Mayapple Road. Henry also worked at Mayapple Farm for Paul Barrows. There were more basket makers at Scotts Corner just over the state line at the end of Trinity Pass.

The poor farm for poor people on the left about 2 houses from the store going up Jones Hill towards NY state line (Pound Ridge). The last ones living then I knew were the Averys.

On the right side of [the] hill stands the Jones homestead, at one time overlooking acres of farm land and the village. When I was a boy a large barn and a carriage house were on the farm. Leslie Waterbury plowed these acres with oxen many years. Now all this is spoiled by the building of modern homes.

____ Philo ran a blacksmith shop for years in a shop on the left just before Mayapple Rd., later Lawyer Barretts home. I remember when the valley was flooded to make Laurel Lakes. The water covered many farms and cemeteries.

I went to Willard School by school bus (picture enclosed), horse drawn and driver was Mr. Heinz, later a Ford ice truck driven by Fred Hoth (teacher picture enclosed).

Martha Hoyt (Principal), her husband was a butcher. Mrs. Hoyt taught her husband, and after her marriage she taught her children. If she had taught one more year she would have taught her first grandchild.

There used to be a butcher or meat peddler from Long Ridge that came from door to door every week. The butcher wagon now is at the Shelburn Museum in VT.

E.J. Lobdell built a large home on Mayapple farm land next to the farm house we lived in. My mother & dad and sister and grandmother (now all gone). This land was owned by Paul Barrows, son in law of Lobdell. The maids and cook in the Lobdell house all came from Ireland, the days of inexpensive domestic help.

Lobdell was in the business of steering for cars, boats, etc. He steered the world. Dort know much about what it meant. My dad Leroy Howe was Supt. of Mayapple farm.

When I first lived in H. Ridge the road to Pound Ridge was dirt and deep mud in spring. You put the old Dodge & Reo truck in low gear and plowed through it.

Jones store had the H. Ridge Post Office in it. At mail time all the neighbors came to get the mail and pass along the news of the day.

At one time E. Jones sold 20 BBLS of flour for $2.00 a BBL. A few days after it went up to $11. 00 a BBL. The store sold groceries, hog grain, meat, dry goods, cloth, books, shoes, drugs. You name it they had it. When I read now of things like this I know what it was like. Carters little liver pills were sold out of the jacket pocket of the salesman. Lydia Pinham was a good seller. Also we had Penny candy, tobbacco etc.

We boys drove the Reo & Dodge and Ford after Uncle Elbert got rid of his horses and high seated wagons. We carted feed from box car from New Canaan to H. Ridge. Had to bag it at N. Canaan then load it to come home. We drove for a long time without a license.

Every Mon & Tues Uncle Elbert Jones went to Sellecks Corner and the east route and other parts of the village taking grocery orders and we put them up in the P.M. Then the orders were delivered the next day. I helped deliver groceries etc. during the 1938 hurricane.

After Jones Hill was paved it made wonderful sledding in the winter. We had 2 bob sleds holding about 8 people each. Someone stayed at the foot of the hill to stop any traffic until we got to the bottom, if good sledding we could get nearly to Mayapple Rd.

The largest fire we had was Carleton Water Garage, lost two busses and his car. He drove bus to and from Stamford a few times a day.

There was H. Ridge school house next to the church now a hall for the church. My wife and I after 41 yrs went back last spring and nothing is the same. It was hard to locate anything, the only person I met was Stanley Raymond of North Stamford. We went to school together. It does not pay to go back in life some times.

I could go on for hours telling you about the good and bad times of Old H. Ridge. We used to have square dances most every Sat. nights either in a home or the school house next the church. A violin and a violin was the music. Mr Clark was the fiddler. One night in the middle of the evening, some one came running out to Mr Clark, his home was on fire. It burned to the ground. Those were the days the fire ____ saved the cellar.

I can remember driving old Babe the white horse up Snake Hill as the sun was coming up. We sure had fun, also sadness, if anyone died it was us young fellows that were pallbearers. My mother (Ida Howe) is in H. Ridge Cemetery. My sister is buried in Putney VT. My dad in Orange Cal. We all started out in Putney VT. Mother died while I was overseas. Dad remarried a few years later a lady from Cal.

My wife Evelyn and I are the Historians of Hooksett N.H. We took on a big job about 19 yrs. ago, but its fun. We do hours researching and have now a collection of over 900 photos and 400 slides. We give talks and show to schools and any civic group. The town gave us the old library for our building. People have been very good to the Society.

Hope this note will be of some help. If I think of more I'll add to is. Memory not too good at 78 yrs.

When I was a boy our mailman came in a little closed buggy. I forget his name, after that Frank Hall with a big Franklin car. He used to pick up eggs and butter on his route for the store and at church supper times he would bring pies, cakes, beans, etc. for the supper from the people on his way.

H. Ridge had a good baseball team for a long time. We played against Long Ridge, Pound Ridge and others, also Turn of River. Bud Horton was our pitcher.

When in the boy scouts I walked to Long Ridge and back to meetings over the dark lonely road. then we had a troop in North Stamford in a building in the rear of the church. I was Ast. Scout Master (picture enclosed).

After Rezo Waters died I was given his basket making wooden shave horse and tools. I gave them to Frank Bogardus when I went into the army. I suppose they are all lost by now.

Howard Barlow, Conductor of the [Firestone Hour] years ago lived near Searles Corner, foot of Snake Hill.

My wife's brother lives in Stamford Conn. If we ever get down again I'II try to see you or some one then.

Hope you can read this. Hope to hear from you again. Our best to you and your Soc.

Paul and Evelyn Howe
Hooksett, N.H.

Oral Histories & Memoirs