Windham Life and Times – January 19, 2017

Edward Searles and Angelo


“Pine Lodge. Methuen, Mass. July 22, 1916

Mr. Dear Ellison,

Your little note received; glad to hear from you and that you were well this very hot weather. I have not been able to find a cook for the castle, although I have answered several advertisements. I was in Boston yesterday trying to find someone but did not succeed. I think I shall be obliged to try for a Japanese.

I hope we shall be able to find someone soon as I am anxious to have you back again.

Yours truly,

E.F.S. “

“Pine Lodge. Methuen Mass. July 24, 1916

As soon as I hear from the cook, at what time he will arrive, I will send you word so you can come on at once, which I hope will be the last of this week,

I got your clothes from the tailor and have taken them to Windham.

Hoping we shall soon be able to get settled at the castle, I remain,

Very truly yours,


“Pine Lodge. Methuen, Mass. Sept. 29, 1917

My Dear Ange,

Just a line to let you know that I received your two letters this morning and hasten to tell you how glad I was to hear from you.

If you got to New York today I am sorry that I cannot be there. I was obliged to come to Methuen to attend to many things, but I will be in New York next Saturday and Sunday.

If you can get away I will be waiting for you at the Murray Hill.

I hope you will soon get your uniform as I am afraid you will be cold in your thin clothes.

If you get hungry buy something outside, if you can get it, and don’t mind spending the money for you can have more. If I don’t come to New York next Saturday I shall go out to Allentown to see you on Monday or Tuesday following.

Do the best to take care of yourself and be a good soldier and believe me, as ever,

Faithfully yours,


“Pine Lodge. Methuen, Mass. Oct. 4, 1917


My dear Soldier Boy,

In your new uniform is not warm enough you must get some new under clothing. Don’t spare the money to make yourself comfortable. I don’t think I will be able to go to New York again until after the fifteenth of this month; if I do I will telegram you.

Hope you are well and take good care of yourself, and believe me as ever the same.



“Pine Lodge. Methuen, Mass. October 7, 1917

My dear Soldier Boy,

Oh how sorry I am that I was not at the hotel to welcome you. I was obliged to come home, to be on time for payday the first of the month.

I went up to the castle today and closed it up. I think of you every day and night and wonder if you are warm and comfortable. I miss you very much, my life is only half a life without my dear boy.

God bless and keep you from harm is my prayer.

With much love from your old guardian,


P.S.—This is all the paper I can get tonight; the Pine Lodge paper is in Miss Littlefield’s desk and she has gone to bed. 11:45 P.M. Good Night”

October 10, 1917

My dear Boy,

I leave tonight at 12 M. I could not get ready for the five o’clock train.

I went to the Studio to see your pictures and I took three of them. They are fine. I had one taken of myself for you. Will  send on to you next week if I get them.

I now must get ready and pack my bags. I miss you my Boy.



“Pine Lodge. Methuen, Mass. June 3, 1918

My dear Ange,

Yours of the 29th received and I was very happy to hear from you, and wish you could be here sitting under the pine trees. I think you would like the odor of the pines better than the smell of gasoline and oil, but we cannot do anything now-a-days that we want to do.

I have been up to Windham two or three times, but the castle looks lonesome without you and Sammy rolling on the grass. Sammy has grown to be a fine big dog.

Yours as ever, the same old, loving Dad”


“Pine Lodge  Methuen, Mass. July 5, 1918

My dear lonesome boy Ange,

I was very glad to hear from you; it seems as though I have been away a month, although it is only a week.

Yesterday I celebrated the Fourth by going up to Windham with Miss Littlefield and paid a visit to Morrison lodge and the Castle on the hill.

We got caught in a thunder shower so we had to wait in Morrison Lodge until the rain was over. Seavey and the men were at work in the field until the rain came on; then they had to give it up.

Take good care of yourself and sleep well at the Murry Hill and forget that you are lonesome.

Faithfully yours,

Your loving old Dad is lonesome without you, Dad”



Windham Life and Times – January 12, 2018

Edward Searles and Angelo

Tiffany& Company wine cooler, whose design was attributed to Charles Grossjean, from the Hopkins- Searles silver service, recently sold at Christies for $50,000.

After the Death of Mr. Searles

“When I arrived at Pine Lodge they had Mr. Searles’ casket in the big hall, and in the hallway, before you go into the hall, were the officers from the businesses he owned; the people from his railroads and coal mines in Pennsylvania. Those were the people I had met when the old gentleman took me on tours of his properties. They recognized me coming in and they all stood up! I believe that they though I was going to be his heir! I was at Pine Lodge for the funeral, and was there when they read the will. He was put in the tomb he built for himself, and for his wife and parents; he built four places there. That tomb is like a small church, and I was at Pine Lodge when they were building it…”

“When they started to read the will I found that I was to get $10,000. I spoke with Arthur Walker, and he said that Mr. Searles never told him that I was to get any more than that. He said he would give me money each month until I could find a job. I wasn’t getting any other information from him, and I was so disappointed that I left Pine Lodge and went to New York to stay with a friend. Before I left, Miss Littlefield gave me some pictures of myself that Mr. Searles had in his rooms in Methuen. She was a wonderful woman; she was good to me there. It was the picture I had taken while I was at camp at Allentown, Pennsylvania. I have another of it because I also took the one from his room at the Murray Hill apartment. There was another one in his room up in the castle in New Hampshire, but I left that one in his memory. Mr. Searles had that photograph of me enlarged from the small one that I sent him. I didn’t know that until he told me later. He kept my pictures in his room all the time, which proves what he thought of me. He always treated me like a son!”

“After I left Pine Lodge, and went back to New York, I moved out of the apartment at the Murray Hill Hotel and went to stay with a friend. I didn’t know it but a detective hired by Mr. Searles’ nephew was looking for me. That nephew was an alcoholic; he was not a good man. I only found that out later!  His lawyers wanted to find me. They must have been talking to the people at the Murray Hill because they knew that was where Mr. Searles was living. I told them that I didn’t think Walker was treating me very good; that I had letters from Mr. Searles, and that he wrote to me and treated me like a son. I was still speaking to Walker at the time. I would visit the office and Walker told me that after a certain date I would be on my own. When the nephew’s lawyers approached me they convinced me that they would have a strong case against Walker because they needed me to go against him; so I cooperated with them. They told me that they could use my information to help them win, and that I would get quite a lot out of it. I made a mistake there; I made a few mistakes now that I look back on it. Later I found out they were just using me! The nephew settled with Walker for four million dollars, and I didn’t get anything out of it once they got their money. That’s why I went against Walker on my own later. When I started that court action it was at the advice of other lawyers. They approached me and convinced me that Walker would settle with us; like with the case of Mr. Searles’ nephew. We had one of Mr. Searles’ best friends, Dr. Bowker, from Lawrence, to come testify in my favor. He knew that the old gentleman thought of me as his son. Walker said he never knew of that. Maybe Mr. Searles never told him. I believe now that he made a mistake not telling him. Miss Littlefield didn’t seem to know that either, because she testified that he liked me, and helped me out, but that I was his valet.”

“Dana Seavey, who ran the farm in Windham, testified for Walker’s side. Seavey inherited thousands of dollars by Mr. Searles’s will, and he didn’t tell the truth in court; the first thing he said wasn’t the truth! When his step-daughter, Emma Richter, heard about it she told him, ‘You lied!’ Walker’s lawyers tried to discredit Mr. Searles; imagine that! They wanted control of his money but didn’t care about his memory; and the old gentleman was the kindest man you could know. He did so many things for people, and he never asked for any publicity about it.”

“…The judge told the jury, before they came to their decision, that the letters Mr. Searles wrote to me were personal but did not prove that he considered me his son, but that I must prove that Walker influenced Mr. Searles against me when he made those wills. It was up to me to prove fraud, and I couldn’t prove it.”

“After the trial Arthur Walker came up to me to say that he didn’t want there to be any hard feelings between between us, but I was so upset that I didn’t want to bother with him. Maybe that was another mistake; maybe I should have had a talk with him. I was very upset that they bought in people to say that Mr. Searles was not in his right mind! That’s what they testified in court! But those lawyers contradicted themselves, because during the same time that they were saying Mr. Searles was not in his right mind, he made out those wills in Walker’s favor; and when he made out those wills they claimed he was in his right mind…I often wondered why he approached me like that; maybe his conscience was bothering him. He won his case but didn’t live to enjoy the money. Just five months after the trial he was up at the castle in New Hampshire and he died from a stroke; right in front of the big fireplace. That’s where I heard they found him.”

In 1927, after the will trial, Ellison was offered a job at a Studebaker dealership in Manhattan. He went on to work for a large movie theater chain and other car dealerships. He then worked for various car dealerships in Yonkers New York, eventually becoming a partner in an Oldsmobile dealership there. He owned various used car dealerships and then owned a Kaiser-Frazer franchise. In the 1950’s he worked as a sales manager for one of the largest Chevrolet dealerships in the country. By this time he had changed his name to help shield him from the controversy with Searles and his will.

On reflecting on the whole Searles saga, Andy Ellison had this say: “Mr. Searles told me that he wanted to adopt me as his son but his advisors in New York influenced him against it. They told him it would bring negative publicity if he adopted ‘an immigrant Greek;”

…I married in 1935, and my son Peter was born in 1942, and my daughter in 1944….Sometimes I think the Good Lord made all this happen, because it might of changed my personality if I had some of those millions of dollars; it might of turned my head, and I might of gone crazy of something. Just five months after Walker got his money he was in front of the fireplace in Windham and had a stroke…” As for Andy Ellison, he became a respected businessman in the New York area. He passed away January 6, 1988 at the age of Ninety-Three. Taken from: Andrew “Angy” Ellison – The Unheard Witness. 1979-1987.


Windham Life and Times – January 5, 2018

Edward Searles and Angelo

Anglo’s last trip with Mr. Searles to the Canadian Rockies.

Travels and Mr. Searles Passing

“Mr. Searles loved to travel and had been planning a trip to Europe; to go after the war was finished.  But I was released too late, in 1919, so we went across Canada to Vancouver, instead that year. We went to Lake Louise, in Alberta, and we didn’t stay in the big hotel, but in one of the cottages on the lake. While we were there the manager found out who he was, and that he owned a railroad. Those big hotels in Canada were owned by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, so they treated him like the owner of a railroad would be treated! I wanted to hire a couple of horses and go riding with him, up the mountain. He laughed, and told me to go and enjoy myself. So I went alone; all the way up! You reach a point where you would put your horses, and then you would walk up the rest of the way; five hundred feet further up. There was a tea house up there and, and if you wanted they would let you carve your name in the wood. There were names there from all over the world, and I carved my name there…After we left Lake Louise we went to Vancouver, then to Seattle and then to San Francisco, where we stayed in a big hotel on Nob Hill. After that we went to Chicago, then to Buffalo, where we had to spend a few days because I was sick. He arranged for me to see a specialist there. We went all over. When we returned to Methuen, Pine Lodge wasn’t ready, so we stayed at the Red Tavern. We used to stay there, or stopped in for lunch a few times myself, when I was working for Mr. Searles. I knew the manager, Mrs. Barnes, very well! When we were back at Pine Lodge I was talking, one day, to Arthur Brown’s daughter. He was a kind of butler there, and helped Miss Littlefield run the place. His daughter was a nice girl; pretty, but kind of pudgy. We were just walking on the grounds, shooting the breeze, and the old gentleman must have seen us because he spoke to me about it the same day. He said, ‘Don’t get serious with her, I want you to marry a princess, not just any girl!’ He thought I was something special. I was special to him; he thought of me as his own son. Well, later, during the will trial, Art Brown, and others testified that they didn’t know that the old gentleman thought of me as special; I was surprised! Well, when we took that trip Mr. Searles was feeling all right, and he was in good spirits because he was travelling again. A few weeks later we were back in New York, at the Murray Hill apartment. And one night he called for me because he couldn’t pass urine and was in pain; he had a prostate gland condition and had been treated for that before. I was scared so I went down to the desk and asked them to call his doctor; Dr. McCarthy. He came in and after he spoke with Mr. Searles the doctor started to bleed him. In those days they thought that would relieve the pressure, so that he could pass urine. I saw the blood and I fainted, and when I fell I hit the radiator! When I came to Mr. Searles helped the doctor to get me up, and was telling the doctor to forget about himself, for the moment, and take care of me first! That’s how he was; but I told them I was all right. He was treated for that, while we were in New York, and afterwards he felt all right again.”

“Later that year I received news that my mother had died and that my family there could use my help. Mr. Searles had his New York office book passage for me on a steamer, so that I could return to Greece. The trip took twenty-three days! I was away for about five months because I was arranging to bring my whole family over; Mr. Searles gave me enough money to do that, and when I was there he sent me another Thousand dollars! He was very good to me and I wasn’t able to thank him enough for what he did for me and my family.”

“During the time I was gone he took sick again, in New York, and I never knew about it; he didn’t want me to worry about it. When I returned to New York he was at the Murray Hill apartment, and that was when I found out he had been sick, and Walter Glidden, from Pine Lodge, was taking care of him. He hugged me, and cried; he was so happy to see me again! After that, when we were back in Methuen, Mr. Searles was talking to me and said that since he was going to rest at Pine Lodge until he felt well enough to travel again, that I should get an education and that he would ask Arthur Walker to find a good school for me. I went to school in New York, but the course was too difficult for me to understand; it was a language problem. At the same time I was nervous about the old gentleman because I wasn’t in contact with him. I went to see Walker, I always called him ‘Arthur’, and he said I should get away and unwind. He persuaded me that Mr. Searles wasn’t that bad and that I should take a vacation. So I went to the Catskills because I knew someone up there. While I was there the old gentleman was dying in Methuen, but I didn’t know it.  Seavey’s step-daughter, Emma, back in New Hampshire, was writing to me at the Murray Hill Hotel in New York, That’s where she though I was. She was saying that Mr. Searles was dangerously ill and that I should get back to Methuen because he would want to see me. Well, I received a telegram from Arthur Walker, at where I was staying in the Catskills, because he knew where I was. He informed me that the old gentleman had died, and to come back to Methuen for the services. I went back to New York and while I was waiting for the next train to Boston I walked to the hotel to get some things from my room, and that’s when I found two or three letters from Emma Richter saying ‘Angy, where are you? Why don’t you answer me? Mr. Searles is very sick, and you should come back right away!’ That was my mistake, going on that vacation. If I had been in New Hampshire, at the castle, or in New York, I would have heard about it, and would have gone back to Methuen in time to see him again.”


Windham Life and Times – December 29, 2017

Edward Searles and Angelo

Camp Crane, Allenstown, PA Army Ambulance Training

In New York and the Army

“After I began to work for Mr. Searles he rented a suite at the Murray Hill Hotel, on Park Avenue. It was an old-fashioned hotel, and he liked it because it was just one block from Grand Central Terminal. It was a family hotel, and we had an apartment there. He could take a cab or the subway to his office down on Broadway, near Wall Street. Arthur Walker ran the office for him. Mr. Searles would meet there with businessmen who came to see him about his properties…”

“He liked to travel and visit his properties. I went on trips to those railroads and coal fields he owned in Pennsylvania. He would always arrange to travel in a private railroad car for those trips. He was treated like a dignitary because he owned a railroad himself; the Pittsburg and Shamut. We each had our own rooms, and a parlor; half the car in those days! On those business trips he would always call me ‘his boy’! He would introduce me to those officials, who ran the railroad and coal fields, with ‘I want you to meet my boy, Angy.’ After I was introduced I would go off to the side, so I wouldn’t interrupt their business, but I could hear him speak about me like I was his own son! One time we stayed in Philadelphia, and he was going to see the Rowlands. I asked him who they were, and he told me they were cousins; he said, ‘I try to help them.’ One time he took me to see the castle he owned in Great Barrington. I was only there once with him. But I knew he went there himself, from time to time. We stayed there, in the castle. There was furniture in it; but it was a big place! He told me he had built it for his wife. Some of the furniture in Pine Lodge, and the castle in Windham, came from there.

“While in New York we would go all over town. It was on one of those walks that he told me he was buying a place in upstate New York, for Arthur Walker; as a place for him to retire. One day the old gentleman and I were in front of one of his buildings and I said that maybe I could have an office in it! He said, ‘Don’t bother with that building; I’m getting rid of it! It’s too old-fashioned. Not up to date at all; besides, you’re going to have a lot of buildings some day!’ At that time New York was his legal residence, but at some time in the future he planned to make Massachusetts his legal residence again. He said he was selling off his New York property. It was at this time he told me that I would have the castle in Windham someday. I was surprised, and asked him how I would be able to afford to keep it up! He told me I would also be getting enough money to keep it up. I knew he was telling me the truth because I felt that he would do anything for me. He used to give me spending money, and he bought me a gold watch at Tiffany’s. Another time we stopped there and he bough me a gold ring, with a big green stone in it, for a thousand dollars; he picked it out for me… Mr. Searles would have me go to his tailor, and all my clothes were made special for me. On Sundays, in New York, we always went to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Mr. Searles gave money for some of the work there because his architect, Henry Vaughn, designed a few of the chapels. Inside you see those lanterns; he spoke to me about them. They are beautiful and I think he gave those to the cathedral. He built many churches and gave money to the National Cathedral. We went to Washington to see it, he and I, and they were building it at that time. His architect, Henry Vaughn, designed it, and after Vaughn died he was buried there, right at the cathedral.”

“In 1917 I went into the Army; I wasn’t drafted, I enlisted. Afterwards, I realized that Mr. Searles was pulling strings for me behind the scenes, to keep me from going to Europe. All my pals went over but the old gentleman had me transferred from camp in Allentown, Pennsylvania to New Jersey so he could see me more often. (Camp Crane) When my pals went over to Europe, and I stayed behind, I cried like a baby. I was in the Army for two and a half years. During the winter I was in Allentown, where there was a training camp for the ambulance corps. I knew how to drive; it wasn’t everybody who could drive at that time. Some of those boys had never been in a car before, let alone drive one! They had me teach the men how to drive ambulances and trucks. All the while I was in at Allentown, Mr. Searles used to come out to visit me every week. He gave me spending money so I could eat out anytime, because the Army food was poor; just beans and beef stew. Later when I was stationed in New Jersey I really ate good! I don’t think I ate regular Army food more than twenty times in all. That’s what I was doing when a truck backed into my arm and broke it. I couldn’t drive anymore, then, because you had to use a clutch and a big floor shift.  So I was transferred to Hoboken, New Jersey, where I was a dispatcher. It was right across the river from New York City and when I was not on duty I could go into the city and stay at the Murray Hill apartment. I’m sure Mr. Searles used his influence to get me transferred there.   When my arm was better I was assigned as driver for a General Shanks; later they named a camp for him. Camp Shanks, up in New York. He was a rough guy; he wanted me to run down people in the streets! People would be walking and I would have to just crawl. He said, ‘What are you doing? You’re crawling! Get going; they’ll get out of your way!’  Well I spoke with my officer there, he was a nice guy and he told me that he would get me another duty. So I became a driver for a Navy captain that planned ship movements from New York harbor; it was a security operation. Only he knew when they would sail; and I knew too because I was stationed in his office. I would drive him out to Staten island, or Long Island: all over!… I was still driving for him when the war ended in 1918. It was almost the middle of 1919 and I was still assigned, and the old gentleman was as mad as the devil! He wanted me out! I think he went to his friend, Major General Edwards, to get me out, and he did.”


Windham Life and Times – December 22, 2017

Edward Searles and Angelo

Cats and Dogs in Front of Fireplace at Pine Lodge

The Life and Kindness of Mr. Searles

“Well, Stanton Harcourt was a big place; about two thousand acres. Mr. Searles really loved that castle there; he built it to give himself something to do, but his real home was at Pine Lodge. Up at the castle he would take his stick and use it to show the men how he wanted things done. He always carried a cane. In those days all the gentlemen had walking sticks, and when he wanted something done he would make a plan with his cane, right on the ground, and draw just what he wanted. He would say, ‘You make it like this, here; and do it like that over there!’ He never made the whole design at one time. When the men were finished he would come back and look at it and say it was all right, and make another plan so they could continue. Sometimes it wasn’t the way he thought it would look, or he would think of something better, and he would tell them to take it down and rebuild it a different way. If he was having a wall built and there was a tree in the way he would have the wall built around the tree! He loved beautiful trees! I remember meeting his architect up there, Vaughan; he was a very nice man. He and the old gentleman got along well because both of them were designers, and understood each other. It was Mr. Searles, though, who planned the walls, and changes to other houses that he owned. We used to walk all around his properties in Methuen, and New Hampshire. He enjoyed looking at everything he made; he loved to do that. Mr. Searles never really finished anything he did; he was always changing or adding something. At the castle there was one part that was just a shell. He was going to put a big room there for the organ from Barrington. He was teaching me how to play on the organ at Pine Lodge, and I think that was why, because he told me that the castle would be mine someday. Pine Lodge was never finished either. When I was with him he was talking to an architect in New York, about something for Pine Lodge; that was later after his architect Vaughn had died. I met Vaughn a few times. He was an Englishman, and Mr. Searles loved everything English. The furniture for the castle in New Hampshire came from Barrington and Pine Lodge; they were moving it inside when I was living up there. The old gentleman bought a fireplace from France and had it put in the castle; another fireplace came from Europe and he had the whole thing rebuilt and put in Pine Lodge. Mr. Searles loved the castle, but he loved Pine Lodge most of all because he was born there; right there in the old house. It was really his home.”

“Pine Lodge was full of every kind of treasure you can think of; statues, paintings, and all kinds of beautiful things that came from Europe and Asia…Mr. Searles had his own bedroom in the house there, and Miss Littlefield had another; all the rest was for his art collection. After I started to work for him he arranged for me to have a room in the house also; everyone else, like Art Brown, the butler, lived in other houses on the property. When Arthr Walker, or other men from his businesses came, they stayed at the Red Tavern; that was his guest house. When Mr. Searles was in Methuen people were coming to see him on business. There was a little office there, at Pine Lodge, near the house, where he would meet those businessmen; Walker worked in there too, when he came to town. Mr. Searles and Miss Littlefield had an office in Pine Lodge, that he used for his personal business. Edith Littlefield was his cousin and she ran the house for him because he was always going away on business, or traveling; he loved to travel! She had a big checkbook and paid all the bills, and took care of his correspondence for him. Some people would write to say they knew of someone who needed help; lots of people asked for some kind of help. Miss Littlefield would always reply that they would receive an answer when Mr. Searles returned to town. That would give him time to check if a request was from someone really in need. He owned all kinds of property there, all kinds of houses. One day, when I was at Pine Lodge, a man came to tell him that someone could not pay their rent, and Mr. Searles said to forget about it! Many times he didn’t make any money on his properties. He told me, himself, that he didn’t make enough to pay the taxes on some of his property! He didn’t care; he did that to help out people. Mr. Searles was always doing things like that. He built all kinds of churches, all over. In New Hampshire a church burnt down and I was told that he built one to take its place. I remember him speaking to Miss Littlefield and telling her to make sure that everybody who worked for him was paid all year long. He made sure that they were paid every week, or every month. He had a crew of carpenters, and a crew of stonemasons, and kept them on the payroll even if the weather was bad and they couldn’t work for a few days, or  few weeks! He always had men building walls, or a new addition somewhere. He had lots of men out cutting trees, to clear land and have enough wood for all the fireplaces at Pine Lodge and Stillwater, and the castle in Windham. He would give the extra firewood away to people who couldn’t afford to heat their houses. Lots of poor people were helped out like that, and only he and Miss Littlefield knew of it! In those days you were either rich or poor; you didn’t have the big middle class like you have today.”

“I remember Miss Littlefield well. I would go into her office to talk with her; I would kid with her and make her laugh. She had a sense of humor, and Mr. Searles had a sense of humor too! People didn’t think so, but his friends who knew him well knew that! Dr. Bowker, from Lawrence, was a good friend of his, and he was always coming to Pine Lodge for visits. The old gentleman had lots of close friends; not like what was said in the newspapers; that he didn’t bother with anybody. If anybody said that they really didn’t know him at all. He wasn’t in ‘The Four Hundred’; he didn’t want to be part of ‘Society’. He just wanted his treasures around him and his friends…”


Windham Life and Times – December 15, 2017

Edward Searles and Angelo

Searles and Junior


“I started to work for Mr. Searles in 1915, and Stanton Harcourt was the first place he brought me. We came to Methuen, Mr. Searles and I, and we stayed at the Red Tavern. We didn’t go to Pine Lodge because it was too late, and he didn’t want to bother Miss Littlefield. There were no rooms for guests at Pine Lodge, there were only two bedrooms; the rest was his museum. Carrie Barnes was the manager at the Red Tavern. She ran the place for him, and he sent her a telegram to let her know we would be arriving on a late train and to get rooms ready for us. The next day she fixed breakfast for us, and after that we went up to see the castle.  At that time people were working inside; they still had some woodwork to fix, and the kitchen was not finished yet.  Everything there had to be made in Boston; Vaughan was his architect. After the kitchen was finished he brought in a nice couple to take care of the place for him. He arranged for me to live with the Seavey family. Seavey was in charge of the estate. The place in Windham was called ‘Searles Castle’ or ‘Searles Folly’. I always called it ‘the castle’ myself. We had over two thousand acres there, and at Stillwater we had about one thousand acres! We had our own sheep, and cows, hogs, chickens, and horses; everything we used there. I had a room in the farm house; that was on the road before you go up the hill to the castle. Seavey’s wife would take care of my room and I would have my meals there. I became friends with her daughter, Emma Richter. She was Seavey’s step-daughter, and her husband worked there on the farm. Emma liked me, and she named her daughter after me; ‘Angie’. I’m the girl’s godfather! Whenever I was up there, in Windham, Mr. Searles would come to visit every day to watch them finish the work inside. Later, when the rooms in the castle were ready, he would sometimes stay overnight and go back to Pine Lodge in the morning, but he would come up again later in the day, to see me. Most of the time though he would go back to Pine Lodge for the night. My room in the castle was on the second floor overlooking the lakes; the old gentleman had his room upstairs.

“One of the towers of the castle was unfinished and I had my workshop there. I asked Mr. Searles if I could have a flagpole made for that tower, and he wanted to know why. I said that every English castle has a flagpole on the tower, so I put one up there! I had a crew move a small house from Rockingham Park up to the estate. Mr. Searles owned land at Rockingham Park at that time, so he had the house moved to Windham and I had my shop there. (It’s still there at the base  of the driveway to the castle.) He bought me a boat to use on Canobie Lake. The motor that came with it was not that good so I asked Mr. Searles if he could get me a better one. I heard him tell Arthur Walker to order one. When it came, I went all over the lake in that boat; I had a lot of fun there, and I learned to skate on Canobie Lake. In the winter they used to cut ice on the lakes for the icehouse on the estate. I remember blocks were fourteen inches thick! We put them in the icehouse, and covered them with some kind of straw, to keep it cool; the icehouse was in the shade anyways. In the summer we used the ice up to the castle, and on the farm. We had dogs there; I had three dogs myself! Mr. Searles had a dog named ‘Junior’, that would follow him around Pine Lodge without a leash.”


I first learned to drive in 1915, up in Windham. Mr. Searles had two Studebaker trucks, and I was shown how to drive; up and down the hill. After I learned the old gentleman bought a Studebaker car for me to use, and later his chauffeur gave me a few lessons on the big Pierce-Arrow. When we came back from trips to New York the driver would meet us in Boston, at the train, and take us to Methuen. I was with Mr. Searles, and the driver, when they went down to the Boston showroom to buy another one; in those days Pierce-Arrows were the best cars made in America, those and Packards. The big Pierce-Arrow  was a limousine, with a glass between the driver and the passengers; you could slide the glass to talk to the driver. The newer one he bought that day was a passenger car. He would use that car sometimes, but he never drove himself; he had his chauffeur. I think he bought that smaller car for me because it was the one that I used in Methuen. One day I asked him if I could use it to go visit a friend in Lewiston, Maine, and he said it was all right. On the way I had an accident. In those days they had big water wagons to use on the roads to keep the dust down, and I hit one and damaged the fender on the car. There weren’t body shops back then, so I went to a blacksmith and he did a good job repairing it. When I got back to Methuen, I spoke with Mr. Searles about the accident, and the only thing he was interested to know about was if I had been hurt! All he asked me was, ‘Are you hurt?’ ‘No?’ ‘All right don’t worry about it, as long as your were not hurt.’ That was the way he was. He didn’t care about the car or the money, as long as I was all right”


Windham Life and Times – December 8, 2017

Edward Searles and Angelo

Angelo Ellison in his elevator operators uniform.


Ray Fremmer says of Searles that, “with age came loneliness and even the frequent change of surroundings he effected by going to New York periodically became of little use to enliven his spirits. In 1914, when he was seventy-three, he was in the habit of busying himself as best he could around Methuen for several months by visiting his different property holdings, and then he would go to New York for a week or two. He had an office at 71 Broadway, in the firm of Thomas Hubbard who managed Searles millions. After a few hours at the office he would go to his hotel, the Biltmore, and begin to wonder what was going on in Methuen right about that time. It was obvious, even to the elevator operator at the Biltmore, that Searles was a very lonely man. His name was Angelo M. Ellison, and he remembers to this day that the white-mustached old gentleman never tipped as did some of his other passengers. The lad, Angy as he was called, was somewhat of a loner himself. He had just recently arrived from Greece and although it was easy to adopt a name more easy to pronounce than his real one, it was not so easy to master the English language. This difficulty, together with the necessity of earning a living, made it very hard for him to associate with boys his own age.”

“Usually, Searles greeted the elevator boy with a polite ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ each time he entered the elevator. Gradually, however, he began to take a kindly interest in the seventeen year-old boy’s home country, his parents, and his difficulties in mastering a new language. Shortly, in Angy’s own words, ‘He started to tell me a few things about himself’, and asked Angy if he would like to work as his personal companion. Naturally, tired of travelling up and down the Biltmore Hotel all day, every day, Angy accepted the new job at once. In the moths that followed, each time Searles came to New York, he and Angy would go for long walks along Fifth Avenue and occasionally go the Metropolitan Opera House. When Searles went on inspection trips of his holdings, such as the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad coal pits, he was always accompanied by Angy. In Philadelphia they stopped to visit Searles’ aunts, the Smith sisters. And back in New York on Sundays they usually went to the Cathedral of Saint John the Devine, the organ of which Searles was quite fond. By this time Searles legal address was the Murray Hill Hotel— rooms 646 and 647; his legal residence as a citizen of the state of New York. He made New York his legal residence to protest the heavy taxes imposed on him by Massachusetts.”

Murray Hill Hotel where Searles had two suites

Angy tells the story of his meeting with Searles this way, “My name was Angelo, and my family name was Eliopoulos. After I came to America I wanted to become part of this country, so I changed my name to Ellison, because I was told that that was the American version. ‘Eli’ comes from the Greek word for the sun god, ‘Helios’, and ‘opoulos’ means son of’; son of the sun! I changed my name to Andrew after the will trial because reporters were trying to take advantage of me, and I was so disappointed in the way it ended that I didn’t want to be bothered anymore. I just wanted to get on with my life.”

“Before I met Mr. Searles, I was working at the Biltmore Hotel. It was across the street from Grand Central Terminal. That hotel and the other one they built on the other side of Grand Central, the Commodore Hotel, all belonged to the New York Central Railroad. All that was built about the same time and was new when I worked there. It was like a city underneath the station; there were all kinds of shops there, and you could enter the hotel from the passenger station underneath. I started as a bellboy, and they advanced me to operate the elevators. The manager told me that I would have a good future there; working for the organization. He was going to give me a better job but I left to work for Mr. Searles; but it wasn’t like work at all. He got to know me and asked if I wanted to work for him as his assistant; to help him when he went on his business trips, or just around town. We would go walking all over town; he liked to look at buildings and talk about architecture. He would like to go to the opera, or the theater; never a movie! We would have dinners at one of the big restaurants, or at a big hotel; The Plaza, or the old Waldorf Astoria on Fifth Avenue or someplace else. He would stop at Tiffany’s, and that is where he bought me a gold watch and later a beautiful ring with a green stone in it!