Windham Life and Times: October – November

100 Years Ago in Windham

The Cochran Family Home on Lowell Road, Windham NH.

The Cochran Family Home on Lowell Road, Windham NH.

Olin Cochran’s Diary

Olin Cochran kept a diary for many years. 1915 is a particularly interesting year because it was a time when modern technology was coming to the forefront even in a rural place like Windham. The people in Windham at the time were buying automobiles for the first time, were looking at tractors to work in the fields, and were installing modern pumps to deliver water directly into their homes. World War One was also raging in the background but in Windham, it was the technology that had people’s interest, and that included Olin Cochran.

FRI-OCT. 1: 65-Wind W– Cloudy. Not much doing this forenoon. Pa and I took the engine in the shop apart. __ auto parts not right. Pa went to Boston after and changed them. I worked soldering the crack in the cylinder of the engine this afternoon. Gas man came, brought a new tank, 60 gal. left 170 gal. gas. Pigs got out. Pa got home a 4:30. Cloudy, Looks like rain tomorrow.
SAT-OCT. 2: 60-Wind E– Rain. Rained all day. Pa and I worked on the auto. We got it put together and cleaned out the shock absorbers. Large job. Glad the thing is in running order now. Nothing stirring. Still raining.
SUN-OCT. 3: 60-Wind W-Cloudy. Pa went to church today. Senter preached. Not much doing. Made some peach ice cream. Went after a paper this afternoon. Mr. ___ and wife came down for a few minutes. Took the auto out and over by J Park’s ____engine missed some. Got back on our own power. Wonderful! Cloudy and damp all day.
MON-OCT. 4: 70-Wind W-Fair. Worked digging a hole for a new ___ by the bee hived this forenoon. Going to put in a ___ frame 4’x8’ x 2 1/2’ deep. This afternoon we got the hole nearly dug. Pitched dirt on the road. I finished mowing the second crop. Ma went to W.W. after grains. Did not get home until late. Nice day. Warm.
TUE-OCT. 5: 65-Wind S-Rainy. Not much doing forenoon. J. Ridge of the Swift Morse Co. came here and we ordered a new water pump of him. He was up to Nesmith’s and helped him fix his engine. We made a trip to the Depot in the Stude and took him up. We worked in the shop cleaning the engine. This afternoon got a coat of paint over most of it. Some job. Ma went to grange tonight, Warm and damp.
WED-OCT. 6: 65-Wind W-Cloudy. Pa and I went up to the Depot this morning in the car, ran on 1 cylinder; adjusted carb and it ran fine. We went to Lawrence and got home around 1:15 Good trip. No trouble. This afternoon Ma went to a Woman’s Club. meeting at Proctor’s. Pa and I worked on the engine in the shop. Went after Ma in the car. Getting ready for the garage. Fair tomorrow.
THUR-OCT 7: 65-Wind E-Cloudy. Went down to the Big Windham Grange Fair today. Great show. Had a lot of stuff here. We took down a tree of ____. 1st premium. Some woodwork, potatoes, peas and jelly. Rufe Baily came up and drew Junior and G. Armstrong. Cloudy all day.
FRI-OCT 8: 63-Wind E– Rainy. Nothing doing this forenoon. Rained. Pa and I worked in the shop. This afternoon it stopped raining. Pa and Ma went to Derry. Got home at 6:30. I got most of the chores done. Cloudy and damp this afternoon.
SAT-OCT 9: 60-Wind W-Fair. Nothing doing this forenoon. Pa and I worked around the shop making a new frame for a window in the ___. Found a piece of pipe in the well rusted through leaking. We took the pump out. Pa and I went to Derry this afternoon in the car. Car ran fine. Did not shift gears going or coming. Got home and put in the pipe. Took the car and took Ma down to Mrs. Hills. Mr. and Mrs. Gross came down to spend the evening. Cold tonight.
SUN-OCT 10: 60-Wind W-Fair. Ma and I went to the Depot in the car to get a paper. Pa and Ma went to church. This afternoon Frank Bradford came up in a Hupmobile. After he went home we took the car up to see a wrecked auto. It was on the hill beyond Nat Esty’s place. Rambler, big 4 cylinder car. Got afire about 2 o’clock last night. Nobody knows anything about it. The number plates were gone. The body is burnt completely off. The engine is badly damaged. 3 good tires. Presto tank. Almost a 12 ___. Good car. Some of the things have been taken. Could be fixed over into a truck.


What’s interesting about the diary entries is that it shows how the Cochran’s and others in Windham are adapting to new technology in 1915, including cars and gasoline water pumps. Truly “modern” times in Windham.

MON-OCT. 11: 60-Wind W– Fair. Pa and Ma did the washing this forenoon. I worked on the new hotshed (?) this afternoon. I raked up the 2nd crop and Pa and I finished making the hotshed forms. Ma went to WW after grain. Good white frost this morning.
TUES-OCT. 12: 70-Wind W– Fair. Tellis (the mail carrier) couldn’t start his Ford this morning. Telephoned for me . I went around the route with him and got back around 10:15. Car ran fine. Got home and Pa and I got a load of sand and some crushed stone up to the crusher. This afternoon Ma went to the WWC (Woman’s Club) at Mrs. Austin’s. Pa and I got in the second __ 2 small loads. After that we mixed some cement and started on the Hotshed Nice day, Warm! Great. This finishes our haying for this year.
WED-OCT. 13: 70-Wind W– Fair. Pa and I worked on the hotshed this forenoon. We took the car and met Everett the insurance inspector. I took him to the old Prescott place and then to Pelham. (John Cochran was an insurance agent.) Bob Jackson came over. We finished the hotshed, worked pretty late. It took 4 1/2 bags of cement @ .55 and two loads of sand and 1 of crushed stone. Warm. Extra good weather. Got a pair of work shoes from S.R. & Co.
THURS-OCT. 14: 68-Wind S– Cloudy. Not much doing today I was sick last night. Pa and I went up to the Depot this forenoon. The 11:14 train from Rochester ran into an auto at Palmers Crossing. Mr. Thomas Howard and wife of Derry. Killed the woman and the man is not expected to live. Auto destroyed. We got in two loads of corn this afternoon. Warm and sultry…looks like rain.
FRI-OCT. 15: 65-Wind E- Raining. Rained this forenoon. Pa and I husked corn awhile. We went up to the Depot to see an agent for the J.M. Co. (John Mansville?) Asbestos shingles. He figured about the same as the K&M agents. This afternoon we had some company and husked some corn. We got 6 bushels husked, good corn, not much pig stuff. Almost 2 shocks to the ___. Cloudy tonight.
SAT-OCT. 16: 70-Wind W- Fair. Not much doing today. Pa and I started to pick apples, got about 2 1/2 bushels picked. My stomach went bad and I came in and went to sleep. Slept 3 hours and woke up better. Warm this afternoon.
SUN-OCT 17: 68-Wind W– Fair. Great old day. Warm and nice. We took the Stude and went to Malden to see Herbert and Mabel in their new house. They have got some house! Large and Nice. We started at 10:30 and got there at 12:30. Left at 4 and got home ay 6:15. Made 69.5 miles. Used 5.5 gallons of gas. Car ran extra well. Never saw it pull better. Went up Andover Hill at 25 MPH “Everything on high.” Nice roads. Great trip. Got S tubes fixed at Andover. Lizzie came home with us. She gave me Warren’s watch and fob. He bought it when he was 21 $50.                                           MON-OCT. 18: 60-Wind E– Fair. Took the car and went around the Range this forenoon. Took Lizzie to Canobie Lake Station and she went home. This afternoon, not much doing. Took the car tonight up to the Depot and got J. Gagnon and took him back. Car ran fine. Filled it up on oil and gas tonight and got it ready for another run. Pa picked a few apples. Nice day.
TUES-OCT. 19: 60-Wind SE– Cloudy. We took the Stude and Mary Ellen and J Park and went down to Hampton Falls to Apple Crest Farms. They had a demonstration of tractors there today. A “bull” and a Bates Steel Mule also had a “Big 4” of his own tearing up a new piece of land. They had a dynamite demonstration and also showed of the hen plant. That is a real farm. Had to shift tires while there. The old front Goodyear went flat. Then we went down to Hampton beach and over the long bridge home. Stopped at Whittier’s Birthplace on the way. Made about 75 miles, car ran extra fine. We got home about dark. Ma has gone to the Grange tonight.

From left to right: The Big 4, the Steel Mule, and the Big Bull.

From left to right: The Big 4, the Steel Mule, and the Big Bull.

The Big 4 was introduced in 1912 in Minneapolis MN. The company later merged with JI Case. The “Steel Mule” was a product of the Joliet Oil Tractor Co. They were one of dozens of small companies vying for a place in the lucrative small tractor market. One of its key selling features was that a farmer could use it to pull his horse drawn equipment. The Bull Tractor Company began business in 1913, also in Minneapolis. In 1915, they introduced the “Big Bull,” which had a 25 HP twin cylinder engine. When Ford entered the tractor market in 1917 it was the downfall for many small manufactures of tractors.

WED-OCT. 20: 68-Wind SE– Rain. Pa and I went over to Dan Roy’s this forenoon. Staid till noon. This afternoon we husked corn. 9 bushels. Ma and I went to Gross’s after milk tonight. Rained all day. Got my pay for carrying the wood. $48.39.
THURS-OCT. 21: 75-Wind W-Fair. Went around the route with Tellis today. “Henry Ford” has gone bad again. The old Stude went right along. Got in about 10:45. Pa fixed up the spare tire and picked apples. This afternoon worked around the shop. Pa picked apples. Nice and warm today. Cleared of last night.
FRI-OCT. 22: 60-Wind W-Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. J.W.M. came up with a job of soldering. Started to pick apples and Charles Woodman came along. This afternoon we took the car and went up to the Depot. Got our pump and an order from Sear Roebuck & Co. Picked apples and got in the pumpkins. Tonight we went over to Bert Farmer’s house warming. Big crowd there. They gave him a dinner set, a table cloth and napkins, one set of knives, forks and spoons, 6 plates, glass dish, 3 chairs. Great time! Home about 11:15 (You’ll remember that Farmer’s house was burnt to the ground by a passing train and was replaced ay a new Aladdin home.)
SAT-OCT. 23: 55-Wind NW-Fair. Cold today, windy. Pa and I picked apples this forenoon. This afternoon we went up to Rufe Bailey’s to draw a special Juror, got Fred Webster and went over to notify him. Ma and I went to the Depot tonight and got some grahams. The Rev. had 2 men come this afternoon. Took them down to Point A in Salem (trolley stop?) tonight. Started at 8 and got back about 9. Good trip.
SUN-OCT. 24: 50-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper. (Does anybody buy the Sunday paper anymore? It used be a highlight of the week.) We went at 6 o’clock. Not much doing. Rather cold.
MON-OCT. 25 60-Wind w-Fair. We went up to Harold Barker’s to see J. Ridge. Harold has just got a new 8 HP sawing rig. Not much doing. This afternoon Ma went to W.W. after grain. Pa and I picked the big russet tree. ( a golden apple tree.) Tonight J. Gagnon came down and we took him up to the train.
TUES-OCT. 26: 65-Wind S-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot this morning. Took J. Gagnon and 2 men over to the Goodwin place. Picked apples the rest of the forenoon. This afternoon picked apples and finished them up. Clouded up and looks like rain. Tonight we went up to Berry’s with the “bonds” cow. Thundering tonight.
WED-OCT. 27: 63– Wind W– Fair. Foggy this morning but cleared off fine and warm. Mr. French of the J.M. Company (John Mansville?) was here this morning with a roofing proposition. Pa & I dug potatoes awhile this afternoon. Ma went to Derry to get the horse shod. Pa and I dug potatoes. We got about 9 bushels dug. They have rotted some, about half the crop. What there is are good and sound.

Out, Out

Published by Robert Frost in 1916.

“Out Out” tells the story of a young boy who dies after his hand is severed by a “buzz-saw”. The poem focuses on people’s reactions to death, as well as the death itself, one of the main ideas being that life goes on. The boy lost his hand to a buzz saw and bled so profusely that he went into shock, dying in spite of his doctor’s efforts. Frost uses personification to great effect throughout the poem. The buzz saw, although technically an inanimate object, is described as a cognizant being — “snarling” and “rattling” repeatedly, as well as “leaping” out at the boy’s hand in excitement. Frost concentrates on the apparent innocence and passivity of the boy — which is relevant to the time period — as Frost was forced to move back to America due to war in Britain just a year before the poem was written. Bearing this in mind, the poem can be read as a critique as to how warfare can force innocent, young boys to leave their childhood behind, and ultimately be destroyed by circumstances created by the ‘responsible’ adult. The title of the poem alludes to William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth (“Out, out, brief candle …”Wikipedia

Buzz-saw from 1915 like the one seen by Olin Cochran.

Buzz-saw from 1915 like the one seen by Olin Cochran.

The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside him in her apron
To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

WED-OCT. 28: 60-Wind W– Fair. Pa and I dug potatoes awhile in the forenoon. Dug about 7 1/2 bushels. This afternoon we took the Stude and went over to the Range to Dan Roy’s. Got home and picked up the potatoes. Tonight we went over to Hudson to the Grange meeting. Neighbor’s night. Big crowd, around 302, 45 from Windham, 40 from Pelham. Great time. Took the Rev. and Mary Burnham at 50 cents per person. Got home around 12:30. Good trip.
FRI-OCT. 29: 58-Wind S– Changeable. Not much doing today. We carried Ma and Nettie and Chilla Webber over to Jewitt’s to a Ladies’ Aid Meeting. Went after her at night. We did not do much. Got some stuff from the stone crusher. Cloudy, rain and fair today. Had to put the auto top up.
SAT-OCT. 30: 55-Wind W– Fair. The men came and sorted the apples this morning. Will Dinsmoor brought them at 2:25. Pa and I dug the rest of the potatoes this forenoon. 21 bushels in all. Awful windy today. This afternoon I worked on the car putting on a leather cover for the _______. Did not get quiet through.
SUN-OCT 31: 60-Windham S.W.-Fair. Not much doing this today. Pa and Ma went to the Depot and helped another auto out of the sand on the new road. They went to church. I did not go. Ma and I went for a walk in Arthurs’ pasture this afternoon. Windy today.
MON-NOV. 1: 60-Wind S.W.-Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. Pa and Ma washed. Finished up work on the auto. This afternoon Ma came out and we picked up the cider apples. All picked, russets and all. Nice and warm today. Great weather.
TUE-NOV. 2: 55-Wind W-Fair. Ma went to Manchester this forenoon. Took her up in the car and went after her. She got a $5 hat free. Pa and I went up to the mill with cider apples. Had 35 bushels @ 30 per 100 lbs. Counting the russets we must have picked about 50 bushels yesterday afternoon. Thunder shower came up and we got some wet coming home. Pa and I worked on the new shop the rest of the day. Got along pretty well. Jewett and wife came down this evening then Ma went to the Grange.
WED-NOV. 3: 50-Wind W-Changeable. All kinds of weather today. Nice this morning. Rained before noon, then cleared off cold this afternoon. Pa and I worked on the new shop today. Got the forge and the anvil out there and the doors on. Took Ma and a load down to Mrs. Smith’s to a W.W.C. meeting. (Woman’s Club) Pa and I went to Arthur’s to look over his pump.
THURS-NOV. 4: 65-Wind S.W.– Fair. Pa and I worked on the shop today. We finished the outside of the new shop and began to shingle the end of the old shop by the saw. Will Dinsmoor came and headed the apples this forenoon. Pa and I went up to the Depot in the Stude this afternoon.          FRI-NOV. 5: 45-Wind E.– Rain. Rained in good shape this forenoon. Pa took the apples up to the car. I worked in the blacksmith shop. This afternoon Pa and I worked in the dug well tearing out the old pump and putting a foundation for the new pump. Cold and rain today. Not much doing. Got a book on blacksmithing from L.R. & co.
SAT-NOV. 6: 55-Wind W-Fair. Selectmen meeting all day at the hall. I worked around the shop awhile this forenoon and shingled some more on the side. This afternoon I took the Selectmen up to the stone crusher in the car. Ma and I went to W.W. (West Windham) after grain. Pa and I went up to see Hutchinson’s tonight about painting the inside of the town house. Car ran well. Cold today.
SUN-NOV. 6: 50-Wind W.-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper this morning. Then we went to church. Ma did not go. This afternoon we went down to Haverhill and took the River road to Lawrence and came home on the Turnpike. Took J. Park and Mary Ellen with us. Good trip. Car ran fine. Rather cool today. This is the first morning that the ground stiffened and water skimmed over in good shape.
MON-NOV. 8: 55-Wind S-Fair. Nice weather today. Pa and Ma washed this forenoon. We worked on the shop awhile. This afternoon we finished shingling the end of the main shop, this completes the outside. Pa and I husked the rest of the corn that was on the floor and got in another load. Warm today.
TUE-NOV. 9: 60-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I worked awhile on the pump this morning. Got it in place. Pa went down to the hall with a man to see about fixing the inside of it. This afternoon Pa and I took the Stude and went to Derry. We took nearly 15 bushels of russets up to the mill. Got the car weighed—2,705 lbs. There was a ___ which would make the car about 2,700 lbs. Got some pipe fittings. Paid 40 cents per 100 for the apples. Great day. Warm and nice.
WED-NOV. 10: 50-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I husked corn all the forenoon. We husked 8 bushels. This afternoon we put the husks up with the hayfork. Then we worked the rest of the time on the shop trying to loop a… Ma went down to Worledges to a meeting of the Ladies’ Aid afternoon and evening. Great time. Windy today.
THURS-NOV. 11: 55-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I husked out the rest of the corn that was on the floor. 5 bushels and got two loads more. Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain came over and had dinner. This afternoon we started to paint the shop, got to the end next to the road. Red and white trimmings. Bill Armstrong died this afternoon? There was a fire at Crowley’s the old Prescott place about 2 o’clock this morning. Caught from a chimney. No great damage done. Nice day today.

Advertisement for a 1915 Chalmers

Advertisement for a 1915 Chalmers

FRI-NOV. 12: 60-Wind W–Cloudy. Pa and I put away the mowing machine, horse rake, sulky plow ___. Then we killed 8 cats. Have 3 left now. We husked corn awhile. 2 bushels. This afternoon Ma went to West Windham after grain. Will Dinsmore came down in his Chalmers 6 and took Pa and I down to Lowell. Some ride! He averaged about 30 m.p.h and once down in Dracut he got going 50 m.p.h. We came back through the village at 43 and at Worledges Hill the car sailed up off the ground and came down with some bumps. Sprinkled a little tonight.
SAT-NOV. 13: 55-Wind W-Fair. Pa and I went down to the Warren place with Everett Griffin this morning. Then we worked painting the shop. Got along pretty well. Late in the afternoon Ma and I went up to Derry in the Stude. Car ran slick. We went down to the library tonight. Windy today and rather cold.
SUN-NOV. 14: 58-Wind SW-Fair. Pa and I went up to the Depot and got a paper. Then we all went to church. This afternoon we went up to Bill Armstrong’s funeral. 2 o’clock. Pa was a bearer. I went down to the Cemetery with Worledge and helped lower the box and fill in the grave. Clouded up tonight. Feels like snow.
MON-NOV. 15: 60-Wind W-Raining. Not much doing today. Pa and I worked in the shop. This afternoon Ma came out and we all husked corn. Did not rain much this afternoon. Grown very cold and windy tonight.
TUE-NOV. 16: 50-Wind W– Fair. Not much doing this forenoon. I worked around the shop and Pa and Ma washed. Pa and I went up to the 10:43 train and met Everett. Then went down to see about the fire at Crowley’s. Then took him to Pelham and met Gagnon and some men to look over Mrs. Stuart’s woodlot. Then we carried him up to the Depot and then went down to Crowley’s again. Went about 28 miles with the car. Roads some muddy. Pa and Ma went to the Grange tonight. Red___ ___ last night.
WED-NOV. 17: 50-Wind W– Fair. Ma was sick all day today. Not much doing. I went down to Gilson’s and got his pipe ____. Worked on the new pump and piping the engine. Cold today. Pa and I went to the Depot this noon.
THU-NOV. 18: 55-Windh W– Fair. Fine day. Ma and the bunch went to Derry to a WWC meeting. Worledge carried them up and Pa and I went after them tonight. Came down the Turnpike over the new road. Pa went down to Crowley’s this forenoon. Worked in the shop. Got the pump and engine pretty well piped.
FRI-NOV. 19: 58-Wind E– Rain. Pa went up to the lot and got a load of wood this morning. We started to run it up and the engine blew a hole in the piston. Began to rain so we went to work on the engine. Took out the piston and fixed it. Rained hard all day and cleared off to moonlight this evening. Never saw it rain much harder or clear off quicker. This afternoon we husked corn. 5 bushels. Not much doing.
SAT-NOV. 20: 50-Wind SW-Fair. Went around the R.F.D. route with Tellis today. “Henry Ford” has gone bad again. Got in by 11. Then Pa and I sawed up the 1/2 cord of wood for the Hall and took it down. The paint looks fine. They will be through in about a week. This afternoon Ma went to the Depot and got some grain. Cloudy. Pa got 1/2 cord of wood and sawed it up for Lizzy. Engine ran fine after we got it started. Took the car and went down to Crowley’s tonight.
SUN-NOV. 21: 53-Wind S. Cloudy. Ma and I went up to the Depot in the car and got a paper. Car ran fine. Then we all went to church. Nothing much doing. Nason’s folks came over this afternoon. Had a haircut. Dark and Cloudy. Curious weather.
MON-NOV. 22: 55-Wind W-Fair. Nice day. Went around the route with Tellis. Had good luck and go home about 11. Repaired the hitching post. Pa went down to Lizzy’s with a load of wood this afternoon. We got in one load of corn. Clear and cold tonight. The Gilson family came up this evening. Some men from Derry are at work painting the church.
TUE-NOV. 23: 50-Wind S-Fair. Tried to start the car to take Tellis around this morning and nothing doing. Went up to the depot in the team. Tellis took his horse for the first half of his route. I worked on the car, points and carburetor and got it running. Took Tellis around the last half and then he came and got his horse. We then took the car and went to Derry and got some Russet cider. Got home about 6. Car ran pretty well. (Neither the Ford or the Dodge were as reliable as a horse.)

Hunter's in Windham Shoot a horse.

Hunter’s in Windham Shoot a horse.

WED-NOV. 24: 50-Wind E-Cloudy. “First Snow” About an inch of snow on the ground this morning. Melted before night but was cloudy with snow squalls this afternoon. Not much doing. Worked around the shop. This afternoon Ma went to West Windham after grain. Pa and I husked corn.
THU-NOV. 25: 53-Wind N-Fair. “Thanksgiving” Pa and I went up to the Depot and got the mail this morning. J. Park and Mary Ellen came over and spent the day. Nice day. Good time. We started the engine and ran the new pump a few minutes. Got about 20 lbs. of pressure. About dark an auto ran off the road on Minister’s Hill, (Thompson’s) and took a pole out at the edge of the gravel pit. Made 4 pieces out of the telephone pole and pulled out the stump, twisted the lines, then they went along, zigging and ran into the wall by the side of the meadow. They did not stop and nobody knows who it was. Worledge, Pa and I fixed the line so it is working tonight.
FRI-NOV. 26: 54-Wind none-Fair. Spent the day fighting the crowds at the Black Friday sales. (Only kidding.) Not much doing this forenoon. Pa went up to the Depot. I worked in the shop. Put more aluminum paint on the engine pipes. Got the floor fixed on the ___. This afternoon we finished painting the shop, all but the trimmings on the end next to the saw. The gas man came and left 200 gallons of gas @ 20 cents and 25 gallons of kerosene @ .09 cents. Tonight we went down as far as Messenger’s after ___. Great weather today. Warm and nice.
SAT-NOV. 27: 60-Wind E-Fair. Nice day. Warm. This forenoon we started the engine and pumped some water. Ran about an hour and got the tank 1/2 full. Must be a leak somewhere. Charles Esty came down. Ran the lathe awhile. This afternoon Pa went down to the hall to a selectman’s meeting. I worked around the shop. Cloudy today.
SUN-NOV. 28: 58-Wind W-Fair. Nice day. Warm. Pa and I went up and got a paper. Pa went to church. Ma and I did not go. This afternoon got the car and found the gasoline pipe leaking. Got that fixed and went down to see F. Hadley. Got home about dark. Car ran well.
MON-NOV. 29: 60-Wind E.-Rain. Foggy and damp this morning. We dug up a water pipe leading from the well to the shop. The union on the suction pipe leaked and that was the reason the pump did not work faster. Began to rain and we gave it up. This afternoon I worked in the shop, put a circuit breaker on the engine. Ma came out and husked corn. Got about 15 bushels husked. Cleared off and is starlight tonight. The painters have got through painting the inside of the hall.
TUE-NOV. 30: 55-Wind W– Fair. Worledge broke his windshield hinge and Pa and I fixed that this forenoon. This afternoon Ma went down to the Hall to help decorate. Pa and I worked on the water pipe. Started the engine and ran about a 1/2 hour. Pumped better. The circuit breaker worked fine. Engine finally stopped as the battery gave out. Started about 4 o’clock and went to West Windham after grain. Got back around 5:30.
WED-DEC. 1: 50-Wind W-Fair. We took the Stude and went to Lawrence this forenoon. Got down there by 9 and left about noon. Court business. Car ran well. This afternoon there was a big Windham Woman’s Club meeting at the Hall. Ma went down. The neighboring clubs came, federation officers. Pa and I worked on the water pipe, put on a new union and I think we have it tight. Put some new batteries in the engine and it ran slick. Belts slipped some. Some fellows from Lawrence shot a horse accidentally, while deer hunting at Butterfield’s Rock on the Dracut road. Deer Season begins today and lasts until the 15th.

After writing this I received an e-mail from Tom Tufts. He povided photographs and more information about the Applecrest Tractor Demonstration that Olin Cochran talks about in his diary…He says, “No way to be sure if these attached pictures are from Applecrest or the tractor demo you mention in your blog post/diary entry. My grandfather’s negative envelope said 1915-1916 so the time is right. My grandfather James A Tufts II bought our farm on High Street in Exeter in 1923 but he was an ag. student at NHC (UNH) near this time also. Our farm was right on the corner of High street and rte 88 in Exeter which is the road to Applecrest.”

Here are his photographs for your enjoyment.




He has a blog dedicated to Tufts family genealogy.

Windham Life and Times – September 17, 2015

100 Years Ago in Windham- W.S. Harris

“WINDHAM, September 14.— Frank Smith, who had worked several years past for G.W. Johnson and previously for other farmers on the Range, died suddenly Saturday, perhaps from the effects of drinking too much ice water during the hot days of last week. He complained of being unwell Saturday noon, and about four o’clock he was found lying on the hay in the barn with life extinct. He had a married son living in Andover, Mass., and the burial was there.”

York, Maine 1915

York, Maine 1915

“William C. Landis, of Lakeport, spoke at the church here Sunday evening, recounting in an interesting way some of his experiences as a missionary of the American Sunday School Union. He showed the need for such work in the rural sections of New Hampshire and some of the encouraging results. In the afternoon he had been at Canobie Lake helping reorganize the Sunday School at the Searles Chapel.”

“Mrs. Worledge and children are at home after their summer at Hampton Beach. The Worledge and Cochran families had a pleasant auto trip to York Beach on Friday.”

Miss Clyde's Dahlias

Miss Clyde’s Dahlias

“Miss M. Esther Clyde, sister of our postmaster, living half mile from Windham Depot in Derry, has a truly wonderful display of dahlias, having over one hundred distinct varieties.” (It must have been the cow manure that made them grow so tall. I have never seen dahlias growing at such a height as in the photograph at right.)
“Henry Earl Gilson, one of our bright boys, and son of Henry Y. Gilson. Goes tomorrow to Durham to enter the State College. He was graduated from Pinkerton last June.”

The Gilson Place, Windham, NH

The Gilson Place, Windham, NH

“From Salem Depot one can go to Lawrence by train, trolley, or jitney bus. From Windham Depot a passenger wishing to be taken to the Center, a distance of less than three miles over a good road, interviewed an owner of an auto who lived near. He wanted $1.50 for the job. He didn’t get the job.”

Windham Life and Times – September 10, 2015

100 Years Ago in Windham NH – W.S. Harris in the Exeter Newsletter

The Nesmith Homestead Windham NH during the period of this article.

The Nesmith Homestead Windham NH during the period of this article. Still standing on North Lowell Road

WINDHAM, September 7.— Mr. & Mrs. Horace Berry, as usual, attended the annual forestry meetings in the White Mountains, held this year at the Profile House.
James Upham has returned to his father’s cottage here, after serving through July and August as information clerk at the Profile House. He visited the summit of Mount Washington recently and found in the ashes of the Tip-Top House a spoon and fork which he values as souvenirs.

Mrs. Elizabeth C. (Smith) Nesmith, widow of Jacob Alpheus Nesmith passed her 84th birthday on September 3. She is one of our most esteemed and deserving old ladies, always having a genial smile and hearty handclasp for her friends. Flowers and other simple gifts helped to make the day a pleasant one. Her only son Arthur Nesmith, with his wife, lives in the other part of the house and tills the ancestral acres.
The three “Armstrong sisters” crossed Cobbett’s Pond one fine afternoon of last week to visit friends on the North Shore. This trip was a special delight to Miss Mary, who has been a partial invalid since 1877, and in all the years since, although living near the pond, has not been upon its waters. Passionately fond of nature, the beauties of the day and locality were deeply enjoyed by her.

The fiftieth wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Caleb B. Clark was fittingly and pleasantly observed on Monday afternoon by a reception at their home in the Depot district. Relatives and friends to the number of about sixty attended, giving evidence of their regard for this worthy couple. Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Demeritt, of Houston, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Otis Clark of Schenectady N.Y., and others from West Medford, Haverhill, Mass., Derry and elsewhere. The fact that the observance fell upon Labor Day doubtless prevented some from attending. The house was decorated with golden rod and with choice flowers sent by friends. The customary refreshments were served. Letters from friends not present were read by Mrs., A.L. Dunton, and a presentation was made by Rev. Mr. Dunton of goodly sums in gold, contributed by many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Clark in town. Other valuable gifts were received.

Caleb Clark was born in this town March 6, 1841, and has always lived here. He is a substantial farmer and highly respected citizen, one faithful to every trust and duty. Besides holding minor offices, he has served the town as Selectman seven years, 1887-90 and 1912-14. For many years he has been among the most constant members and attendants of the Presbyterian Church at the Center, of which he was made a ruling elder in 1899. Elder Clark is descended from Samuel Clark, who with his brother George settled in Windham when it was a wilderness, coming from Londonderry, where their father, James Clark, was an early settler and elder of the church. His wife, whom he married September 6, 1865, was Nancy Ballou of Derry, a descendant of Rev. James MacGregor, the first minister in Londonderry. They have three children….” W.S.H.

Windham Life and Times – July 16, 2015

A Tribute to the “Common” Day Lily


Well, they’re here again, and I really can’t go another year without giving a big shout out to the magnificent orange glow that appears in July and always makes me smile, even on the busiest of summer days. You can spot them virtually everywhere; blooms held high, along the roads, beside stone walls, reaching out along the lake shore or in front of a great old antique home. These aren’t the stuck up high-breds with there fantastic pallets, ruffled edges and giant blossoms. No these are the dependable, sturdy, gritty, ancient, and beloved Tawny Day lily (H.fulva).

Day-lilies arrived in Europe from China, Japan, Korea and Eastern Siberia, during the 16th century, and by the 17th century had crossed the Atlantic to North America. It is also supposed that America sea-captains involved with the Asian trade brought them home with them. Hemerocallis is Greek and roughly translates at “beautiful for a day. “Crude homesteads being carved out of the forests in the America were beautified by transplants from the Old Country and Asia. They were the carefree choice of pioneers who had no time to spend fussing with ornamentals. The appeal of the daylily with its vigor and rock hardiness, along with its ease in propagating, made it the perfect perennial. The plant also multiplies well and is seldom bothered by insects or disease and spread into large clumps.” Best of all, you can dig some out of the clump and they easily grow in their new locations. They are without question the “easy” of the flower world but just because their easy, doesn’t mean they’re not beautiful.


Of the dozen plus Hemerocallis wild species, two were definite favorites: the Tawny Daylily (H.fulva) and the Lemon Day lily (H.lilasphodelus). Both were treasured possessions at the turn of this century. Many escaped from abandoned homesteads and old cemeteries, naturalizing themselves with ease and are seen by some as weeds or an “invasive” threat. They grow in both full sun and in shaded areas happily opening in the morning, each blossom lasting for a day.

The writer of the “River Bliss” blog captures their nature, “Daylilies take full advantage of their day in the sun by remaining in bloom for the duration, whereas delicate chicory flowers close around mid-day when the sun is most intense. I stopped in my tracks to listen to the advice the day-blooming flowers offered about making the most of a brief existence. They said:

Quick! Dry your eyes!
There’s so much living to do.
Get to it!
The day is young,
and the day is short.

Wake up and engage it.
Don’t waste a moment
Wallowing in longing or regret.
You have this one day to work with
the material of Here and Now
So make the most of it.

“How interesting that the Chinese name for the daylily, xuan-cao, can be translated as “forget-worry herb” or “the plant of forgetfulness” because it was believed to alleviate worries by causing one to forget. When I stopped to connect with the essence of the day-lilies, I forgot mine!”


So join me for the next few days and enjoy the humble yet noble Tawny Day-lilies, as they freely bloom for your sole enjoyment. Each bloom, shining brightly in crimson orange, for just one day. Day-lilies are also a reminder that it is approaching mid-summer and that its time to enjoy what’s left of New England’s fleeting warmth while it lasts.


Windham Life and Times – May 28, 2015

Canonbie, Canobie, Cannobie

Pictured above in Gilnockie Tower, located 2.3 miles north of Canonbie Scotland, built by Johnnie Armstrong, around 1520. The Lochinvar, made his escape through Cannobie in Sir Walter Scott’s poem

Pictured above is Gilnockie Tower, located 2.3 miles north of Canonbie Scotland, built by Johnnie Armstrong, around 1520. The Lochinvar, made his escape through Cannobie in Sir Walter Scott’s poem

Part 1: My Apologies to Leonard Morrison

I’ve written about how the name “Canobie” Lake came to be, several times in this column, and I’ve always assumed the Leonard Morrison made a mistake with the spelling. In fact, this town in the borders lands of Scotland is now known as Canonbie, however, I’ve recently discovered that this was not always the case. I found an old postcard on which it said that the view was of Canobie, Scotland. This prompted me to do some research to see if there was more than one “Canobie.” This is what I discovered:

Canonbie is a small village in Dumfriesshire within the District Council Region of Dumfries and Galloway in south west Scotland, six miles south of Langholm and two miles north of the Anglo-Scottish border. It is on the A7 road from Carlisle to Edinburgh, and the River Esk flows through it. There are frequent references in older documents to it as Canobie. (Miller, Hugh (1871). Leading Articles on Various Subjects. p. 245.) So there it is, our beloved and accurate, Windham historian, Leonard Morrison, did not make a mistake. Canonbie was known as Canobie in the 19th century, when, the Boston & Maine Railway station was built and Policy Pond was renamed. So Mr. Morrison, I apologize for not trusting in you.

Canonbie Parish had an Austin (Augustinian) priory at Hallgreen, dating back to about 1165. The priory was destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII after the Battle of Solway Moss in 1542. A grassy mound in a field near the present day church is believed to be the only remnant of the ruins. “The priory is important in that it is the source of the name Canobie. CANOBIE, or CANONBIE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries. An ancient priory here is supposed to have given the name to this place, Canobie being probably derived from the Saxon Bie, or By, signifying “a station,” and thus interpreting the word “the residence of the canons.”

Remains of a Roman signal station can be found on rising ground near the old Gilnockie station; and ruins of famous mediaeval strongholds are at Hollows and Harelaw; remains of other mediaeval strengths are at Mumbyhirst, Auchenrivock, Hallgreen, Woodhouselees, and Stark.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll know the whole story of Canobie. You’ll hear how this town on the Scottish borders was immortalized in a poem by Sir Walter Scott, “There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,” and you’ll learn about the exploits of Johnnie Armstrong, the laird of Gilnockie. There really is much more to the name Canobie, than you’ve ever imagined and is it a very appropriate name for the beautiful lake shared by Windham and Salem.

The Canonbie church was built around 1820, near the site of the original priory from which Canonbie took its name.

The Canonbie church was built around 1820, near the site of the original priory from which Canonbie took its name.

Windham Life and Times – April 9, 2015


Simpson Mill 1

Simpson Mill as it looked in about 1898.

The photographs above and below were taken in 1898 and shows Simpson’s Mill. Joseph Simpson, “a fine carpenter and millwright being very ingenious” built a mill here in 1788-89 which was owned by shareholders. Thomas W. Simpson, who was no relation to Joseph, operated a grist-mill, saw-mill and lumber-mill here for much of the 19th century. He improved and added to the buildings. When the Simpsons operated the mill, the pond was known by the name of Simpson’s Pond.

As most of you know, the Deer Leap conservation land abuts this pond. According to Morrison, ”Deer Ledge lies north of J.W. Simpson’s pond, and is situated on the high, romantic, and precipitous sides of the hill of ledges. Its name is derived from the traditional fact, that an Indian drove a deer over the precipitous sides of this ledge into the water. The pond was called Deer-ledge Pond. I don’t know how the name morphed from Deer Ledge to DeerSimpson Mill3 Leap but it did at some point.

“The pond and island were sold to John Drinan in 1894. The right to cut and carry away all wood and timber on the island was reserved to the past owner, Thomas W. Simpson. When the pond and land were sold to the Moeckel family, the name of the pond changed once again to Moeckel Pond. There is an ongoing effort to rebuild the dam. Tax deductible donations marked for “Moeckel Pond” can be sent to Windham Endowment, PO Box 4315, Windham, NH or donate via Check out all the Friends of Moeckel Pond information on Facebook at  https://www.facebook./friendsofmoeckelpond

The foundation of Simpson's Mill with Mill-Stones in  water.

The foundation of Simpson’s Mill with Mill-Stones in water.