Bella Vista Beach
Swimming and picnicking at BELLA VISTA BEACH Located at Cobbett’s Pond. Range Road.—Route 111A Windham New Hampshire
Harvesting Ice in 1944 in Windham NH
I was sad to hear that one of Windham’s long time residents had passed away recently. Mary Glance was very kind to me, in providing photographs of her family’s farm on Castle Hill Road for my book. I thought with the sub-freezing temperatures it was appropriate to show a ice harvesting scene from the Markewich farm from 1944. The men sport a great L.L. Bean look. Ice harvesting was an important part of rural life. The farmers harvested ice to keep their milk cold until it could be delivered. Ice was harvested on Cobbett’s Pond and Canobie Lake and there were ice houses along the shore of both lakes. Even after the advent of electric refrigerators, many camps on the lakes and ponds still used ice. For those of you who are interested, they have an ice harvesting day, using the old ice harvesting machinery every winter on Squam Lake. https://www.squamlakes.org/news/annual-ice-harvest-squaw-cove Also found something else that was interesting. The public can rent canoes and kayaks from the Squam Lake Association Center, 534 US Route 3, Holderness, NH. …No not in the winter! Every year, there are fewer and fewer “old-timers” left… you know who you are
Mattie Clarke was one of those independent woman who grew up in Windham in the nineteenth century and flourished both locally and in the wider world. Woman like Mary Bradish Titcomb, Margaret Hughes Berry, Julia Baker and many others. Mattie Clark had a demanding career both on the Summit of Mount Washington and in Ormond, Florida. Any many very successful men trusted her and sought her out for her managerial skills. She used those skills and improvised a flourishing hotel in the rustic “Tip-Top House,” after the first Summit House burned in 1908. She was there again to manage the New Summit House when it opened in 1915.
Not only did Mattie Smith have and interesting career but she also invested her money well, no doubt gaining insight from the many leading businessmen she dealt with and served as guests. “She was on her way north from Ormond, Florida in 1933 when sickness overtook her while in the Buttonswood Beach section of Warwick, Rhode Island and she died at 81.”
Tim Lewis in his research provided information regarding her will. “Clarke bequeathed her farm in Windham; a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee Cottage;” stock from American Telephone and Telegraph, Swift and Co., Libby; Liberty Loan Bonds; Over $11-thousand dollars to friends; a thousand dollars to both the Ormond Union Church and the Colored Library of Ormond, the latter to be invested to provide money for purchasing books. Two thousand dollars to the Windham Cemetery to be invested for perpetual care of the family plot. The Windham Library, Presbyterian Church, the New Hampshire Orphans Home in Franklin, the White Orphans Asylum in Jacksonville, Florida and the Nashua Protestant Home for Aged Women all received money from Miss Clarke.”
Eugene Armstrong was I believe, a cousin of Mattie Clarke, her mother being Deborah Armstrong. The Armstrong and the Clarke families lived on adjoining farms on Londonderry Road, in Windham. You may notice that I have changed the spelling of Clarke by adding an “e” to the end as carved on the family gravestone, not as spelled in Morrison’s History of Windham which eliminated the “e.”
Eugene Armstrong owned the store at Windham Depot for a number of years. In an Exeter Newsletter column written by William Harris . October 1, 1915, it says, “Eugene C. True of Derry, has bought of Eugene W. Armstrong the store, property and business at the Depot which the latter has conducted for a few years past. It is the stand formerly for a long period occupied by the late Edwin N. Stickney. Mr. True has been employed for some years in the furniture store of L.H. Pillsbury & Son, in Derry and is highly spoken of by those who know him.”
We also learn in The News-Letter, in November of 1912 that, “Fred S. Webster, Republican, was chosen representative by 60 votes to 41 for Eugene W. Armstrong, Democrat. Not known to me, was that Eugene Armstrong was also an engineer on the Cog Railway on Mount Washington. He was born in Windham on December 23, 1865. Tim “Jitney Jr.” Lewis says that he worked on Mount Washington from 1885 through 1908. “Eugene Armstrong is noted as a Mount Washington Railway engineer in 1907. ‘Engine No. 4 of the Mount Washington Railway, which has been in the shops at the Base for repairs, came up with freight on Saturday (August 17, 1907) for its trial trip and was put in regular service the same night, in charge of Engineer Armstrong.’ ” He was 12 years younger than his neighbor (cousin) Mattie Clarke. He worked twenty-four summers on the Mount Washington Railway and spent six winters working for Anderson and Price at the Ormond Hotel in Florida. He purchased the store in the Depot in 1910. He passed away on August 24, 1925 in Windham.
…Still looking for photographs of Mattie Clarke and Eugene Armstrong for Tim Lewis.
Mattie Clark’s employment at the Summit House on Mount Washington only lasted through the summer months. In the winter she was employed at to Hotel Ormond in Ormond Florida. Mattie Clark’s ties to Ormond, Florida, were through John Anderson. Anderson was of Scots-Irish descent as was Clark. Anderson’s family were pioneers in Wiscasset and later at Windham, Maine starting in the late 1600’s. John Anderson’s youth involved many adventures in and around the White Mountains…” “As mentioned earlier, John Anderson’s father (Samuel) was the organizer and leader of the movement resulting in the building of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad through the heart of the White Mountains. This was previously considered an incredible feat until accomplished by his father’s brother, John Farwell Anderson, Chief engineer (John’s uncle). General Samuel Anderson was president of this road up to the time of his death, in 1905.”
John Anderson was an early settler in Ormond, Florida where he owned and developed citrus plantations and later with his business partner Joseph Price, railroads and hotels. The connection with Mattie Clark must have begun with Anderson’s hotels and railroad in the White Mountains. “By this time, Anderson and Price had formed a partnership and were planning activities in New Hampshire during the summer season and in Florida during the winter months. The Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad was nearing completion in 1875 through the Crawford notch. Consequently, several hotels in the area were being designed and built, or expanded to accommodate rapidly increasing tourism in the White Mountains. The tourist activity in the White Mountains continued and by the mid 1880’s certainly inspired Anderson and Price to look into the possibility of a North-South railroad through Volusia County, Florida, and consideration for a hotel to accommodate guests during Florida’s mild winter months. The caveat was that Anderson and Price would be almost guaranteed year-round patronage by owning and managing hotels in both the north and the south… The first section of “The Ormond” hotel was constructed in the summer of 1887. Eventually Henry Flagler would purchase the hotel.
Of course, Mattie Clark was a manager at this hotel. She also owned a cottage on Orchard Lane in Ormond Beach known as the “Coacoochee” Cottage in the Santa Lucia Plantation. A brochure describes it this way; “Heavily laden with oranges and grapefruit, Santa Lucia Grove is in plain view from the veranda or front windows of the Hotel Ormond…The shell walk under the grape arbor upon the high river bank along the front of the orange grove an easy and most enjoyable stroll, particularly in the morning, when the red birds, mocking birds and blue jays are making merry a mong the orange trees, and in the dense foliage of the glossy green bays, and squirrels are chasing through the tops of oaks. The vine arbor is the scuppernong grape, the wine grape of Florida…On the walk you encircle the orange grove, passing when nearly back to the hotel, the luxurious log camp, ‘Coacooche’ pronounced Coa-coo-chee, the Indian name of the ‘Little Wild Cat,’ the great Seminole chief who lived, loved and made savage war along the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers.” At his death, John Anderson left Mattie Clark $500 in his will, stating that, “I give and bequeath to Miss Clark – Mattie A. Clark, of Windham Depot, N. H. – to whose never-flagging interest and untiring efforts is due much of the success I have had in my hotel business, $500, and I would also have sent to her the knitted afghan which she has made for me and in the possession of which I have had much comfort and satisfaction.” John Anderson, His Life and Times in Ormand Florida. Ronald L. Howell.