Kentwood Historical Preservation Commission
Cora Bowen Stauffer
Edited Version #2, September 2002
Kentwood Historical Preservation Commission (KHPC) Oral History
Subject: Cora Stauffer Bowen
Interviewer: 2 Interviewers, Male and Female, Unknown
Date of Interview: August 1972
Place: In Cora’s Home
Transcribed by Lori Vander Stel, At Your Service, August 2002.
Cora Bowen Stauffer (CBS)
Male Interviewer Unknown (MIU)
Female Interviewer Unknown (FIU)
[ ]: refers to words/passages that transcriptionist cannot understand
Cora (CBS): Well no, uh, I’ve ….I’ve told you some of this, so I don’t want to repeat it
Interviewer Unknown, Male (MIU): Well, that would be alright, we can -
CBS: Well, I’ll, I’ll a just read it right, …..what I have written…..and it kind of takes it down to..well…uh…not quite…I’ll tell you one thing I didn’t put in here. I say ‘here you probably know that my Grandfather, Frahms A. Bowen, came from New York State in 1834, and purchased this farm. In 1836 he received the deed to this property signed by President Andrew Jackson. In 1856 he donated the land for the first Bowen school that was built near the corner of 44th Street and Kalamazoo Avenue where the Burger Chef Restaurant now is. I don’t know how long this building was used….but….last night our a…yes….last night I was invited out and they told me there that that school was…a…a…..log….built of logs. Same our …our house. I didn’t know that. And a….I don’t know how long this building was used but the next Bowen school was on the West side of Kalamazoo Avenue. That’s this school. On land purchased from the Davis family. This building burned in 1904 and a 2 room school was built in 1905 at the same location. And this I told you familiar’s 44th street was known as Bowen Road. My Grandfather sold a ‘right of way’ across the Bowen Farm what was then known as the Grand River Valley Railroad. And the first passenger train to run thru the farm was on January 17, 1870. A few years later the railroad became part of the Michigan Central Railroad system…and…a….I might add….well I guess I better tell you this first…the station for the railroad was erected on the property which lies west of the railroad, and it was from this that the area received the name Bowen Station,…and the Michigan Central Railroad now has been changed, …I think it merged….with the um…..Grand Central. Michigan Central is no more here, and of course there are no passengers.’ That’s all I have written.
MIU: Now, I’ve think I’ve read several places where it said that …uh…your Grandfather reluctantly sold the property…
CBS: Oh yes, he was
MIU: Why? Was he forced into it or..or, why did he sell it?
CBS: Well, you see, uh, the thing of it was, …uh….you know if you’ve ever lived on a farm that a railroad……….[long space]….and then,….uh…they cut the fields out, kitty corner, and uh, he said he’d never let it go. He’d sit out there he said with a shotgun and shoot the first man that come along.
MIU: That’s why I was wondering how he – [ ]
CBS: And, uh, finally, he ..uh….did give in. I suppose he knew they’d uh keep at him. And they did pay him a small sum of money. I don’t know how much. And a they said that they’d build a station and they did. And it was on that property across the railroad we always called that the station ground. And it was rather a nice small building and they would name the place ..uh…Bowen Station. That’s where…where that came from.
MIU: How….was that a passenger station? Or was it a Freight Station?
CBS: That was, yes, and uh, and they um, for years…we…our family before my father’s family, they uh, uh, took the train down here, and then uh when I grew up and our family, why, we all took the train in. And we went into the station in…at…Grand Rapids Union Station. And for a while there, you know it costs us just 13 cents.
MIU: To go from here down town -
CBS: To go down to down, and then –
MIU: So that’s how you got into town – I often wondered - because I didn’t know how good the roads were –
CBS: Well, you see uh, they always had, uh, horses at that time, and then as, come later why of course the cars would,…well, for quite a while we had a car. We always took the train, course they always had horses. But we could go down in the morning ‘bout 9 o’clock and uh come back at 4. So that made it real nice. When the men, sometimes, when we had men, we had… uh…. always had our men… they liked to go down and stay till midnight. And the midnight train would stop.
MIU: So they wouldn’t come back afternoon –
CBS: mm mm [affirmative]
CBS: And uh, this uh, now when that schoolhouse burned, of course we didn’t have anyplace to go to school so this man that owned a blacksmith shop was Wesley Brigg.
And he put a partition in this part of the shop, and uh, he would shoe horses in the one side, and we went to school on the other side. And a lot of people said ‘well wasn’t that awfully nice, we knew, we got used to it. We didn’t think anything about it.
MIU: I saw this picture before and I couldn’t figure out what this .. This little building is on the corner.
CBS: We couldn’t either, but I have a cousin and he says he thinks that was uh, uh, a road directions -
MIU: Oh, like signs for business or –
CBS: That’s what he said. I didn’t really know what that was, but he said he thought that was road directions.
MIU: The name sign I can barely read –
CBS: I have one but, I..I…I’ll give it to you, maybe –
MIU: Maybe I could.
CBS: Well I imagine if we’re all families, we had an elevator at Dutton –
MIU: Oh, you did take it to Dutton?
CBS: Well, we did later, I didn’t know anything about what they did at that time, but uh along with the name of Barkley. Mrs. Barkley run that store.
MIU: I don’t recall –
MFIU: [at this point the voice of another interviewer, female, comes on tape] Well where was that located?
CBS: That was right where the, uh, uh, Marathon uh gas station uh is now, on Kalamazoo Avenue right here on the corner.
MIU: Now, your father’s name was Bostwick.
CBS: Bostwick, yes.
MIU: Was his name taken from a mill that was in the area -
CBS: [Laugh] yes
MIU: Or was that a story that you made up?
CBS: Yes, …no no!….I’ll tell you about that! He was uh, he said he’ll never forget that they named him, they always called him Sonny. And I don’t mean like a Sunny disposition, but, he’s a ‘son’ Sonny. And uh, he says I was 5 years old, and um my Father come in the house and he said uh “I think it’s about time this boy had a name”, and my Grandmother said “Well? What do you wanna call ‘em?” So he says “I’d like to call him Bostwick” She said “Why I never heard such name in my life.”
CBS: And the, what uh,…he…was a man by the name of…um…Bostwick….that was his um surname…….that run a mill…..you know where the old Township Hall used to be on Plaster Creek?
MIU: Was that the one that the [ ] offices –
CBS: Right down there.
MIU: Oh yea.
CBS: Yes, well there was a mill in there. I think they uh said a Gristmill. And man by the name of Bostwick run it. And my Grandfather liked him. That’s how he got his name.
MIU: So he actually wasn’t named till he was 5 years old.
CBS: 5 years old, mm mm [affirmative].
MIU: So he wasn’t at that time Bostwick
CBS: No, no, they a….I …I….didn’t know if you’d be interested in that at all. That’s my…uh…brother. He died when he was 27, and that picture, that was in 1922. I think I took it some, probably, around that time. And uh….then that is this house. After our house burned that was in ..uh…1910.
MIU: This house was built in 1910?
CBS: No, the house burned here, that house …that that old picture there. That one right here. And uh…my father put a…um…steam engine in the woods. Now that was if you could see it, that old house is in the way, you can’t see it. That was our woods, and that’s all being [ ] now. There were nice houses and probably you know that. And…uh…he put a steam engine in there…with uh…..a…..saw that would cut big timber, and they cut uh…very nearly all of the uh…uh…finish in here.
MIU: All the sign and everything they cut –
CBS: Uh….some of the …I think that they…uh…well they cut it, but they had to buy some…I think….uh..trees….and uh…but they cut everything out there…uh…in the woods…and uh…they had this team of oxen….those East Jack and Dell that belonged to my brother that raised them from …uh…calves. My father said ‘my pair is such a mated pair’ he says ‘we ought to raise them’. So they uh….they did and he gave them to my brother. He was uh… at the time he built this house he was…that was uh…in 1912 we moved in here. But we were working at it for 2 years. And uh..they used the oxen out there in the woods to uh haul those big trees around and also had a team of horses too…out there….and I’ll tell you it was a big job. Had a lot of men and a if a if you wanna go in there anytime and look, that…those 2 front rooms are all finished in uh quarter sawed oak. One man come in here, you know what quarter sawed oak is….
MIU: Not really, no, I couldn’t say I – [laugh]
CBS: I thought everybody knew
MIU and MFIU: [laugh]
MIU: We don’t have any [cannot understand]…they don’t do that anymore –
MFIU: This is quarter cut
MIU: Perhaps that was your original …uh…-
CBS: That was a brought up….um…there was a little bit of it that was on that old…um…what do you call it? Log cabin house down there, but not much of it. Then they brought it up here and added some to it and built that for tenants..
MIU: Oh I see.
CBS: And for men who worked here….and had families…and uh…..that’s
what that was. Well we were glad it was there when we burned
up we wouldn’t have had anyplace to go. And it wasn’t in uh
just 2 wonderful [
] at that time, but I wanna tell you it beat nothing. And we lived
there 2 years. There was a lot of us. Course we had the hired
men, and uh…I had uh…a brother, a sister that was home here, had
one that was in town. She was working an office…those..girl….and
uh…then we..uh..took a boy, my Father and Mother did. Never adopted
him, but he lived here from the time he was just about 6 years old till
he was 17. [
He took over name too. And uh….then they had a hired men, and uh, all of those uh men that we had uh…uh…when we uh…had this house built, we boarded all of them. They didn’t stay here, but we….when there were here they would…we had….we…fed them. My Grandfather hired an awful lot of help. And uh…he uh…course at that time you know..um…he raised a lot of corn. And one man said to me he uh remembered at one time [can’t understand] 18 big corn feds of a….all crisp corn, and that was all hoed by hand. Mostly colored he hired. ‘Bout all he could get. And they hoed every bit of that land. And a….everything was hard. It wasn’t easy, he said he worked all night ..uh….when he was about..uh…13 years old. Big field there back by the woods they ..uh…uh…had the logs and he said that all night that he burned ‘em….burned…they just burned them all up. You didn’t know how to get rid of ‘em. Wasn’t that awful?
MIU: When you think of it now it is, but back then it -
CBS: We didn’t know what else…what else to do and uh….and I often wondered what he ever did with the stumps. And uh….I don’t know, he must have dropped them off a uh….um…winch. I don’t know what else because we didn’t even have a stump hauler I don’t believe. And we never, uh,… doesn’t like pine. They don’t make stumps like that for this kind of work. We had maple and beech and oak and –
MIU: They’ll rot.
CBS: And some ash. We had one, uh, room upstairs finished in ash.
MIU: Yea? Now your Father, how many sisters and brothers did he have?
CBS: He had, uh, lets see…uh…there were um, …4 girls and 3 boys.
MIU: 4 girls and 3 boys.
CBS: Uh hm [affirmative].
MIU: Now, that was in his family.
MIU: In your family –
CBS: 4 girls and 3 boys and my fathers.
MIU: Now in our family, there were just 4 of us. Um….my sister Jessie was the oldest. Then Ethel came, and Merv. 4 of us. And they’re….and they’re all gone but me. I’m the last one left. There isn’t another born.
MFIU: But you don’t live here all alone?
CBS: I, I, have uh….man that he’s lived here..uh…he worked here when he was a young man, and ..uh….thought I had his picture here….and um…then uh….after my Father died, he uh…came back here in uh……1939. He’s been here ever since. There he is. With uh……that’s uh………those were uh sheeps that had been raised uh….on a bottle that’s why they’re so uh……..tame.
MIU: That was in your backyard?
CBS: Yes, out in the back. And that’s John. With a…. sheep there. And that is who just a…kind of a pretty heifer he’s feeding her. And uh…..you care anything about these pictures of us?
MIU: Yea sure.
MFIU: These colors –
MIU: Yes, yes this is –
MFIU: Did you see that one of the house?
MIU: …a better shot than I could get myself
CBS: I took that with a…all of these uh…..ones here with a Brownne 2way.
MIU: [ ]
MFIU: [laugh] And you with all your fancy high price…what was it?
MIU: Two thousand five hundred dollars worth of equipment and this is a better shot.
CBS: I was uh –
MIU: We’ll have to try and duplicate your work. If you don’t mind. I will try to shoot one to get as good as you did.
CBS: Well……..I’ve got some uh……lots of pretty ones with cars we had and uh……you aren’t interested in them I don’t believe.
MIU: We are interested in anything.
MFIU: Did you always live here?
CBS: I was married and I lived, um….when I was married…uh…in that place. I lived on Burton. 1529 Burton.
MIU: 1529 Burton.
MFIU: Not very far away?
CBS: Yes, we um….let me see uh……it was uh…….uh….what is that?
MIU: What year was that?
CBS: I was married in 19 uh 30
CBS: And my husband died in 1946.
CBS: Was only married uh 15 years. Philadelphia. I was trying to think. I couldn’t think of that street. We were right at the corner of Philadelphia and Burton.
MIU: Near [can’t understand]
CBS: Well yes. Were on the uh North side. That ..uh..that house. I sold it to a doctor.
MIU: Did you know the people the name of Oakie that lived on [ ] and Burton?
[End of audio on Tape 1, side one, last 1/3rd of the tape ‘white noise’]
[Beginning Tape 1, side two]
CBS: That’s such a nice picture of my Fa – Mother and Father, that that’s one reason that I put, I didn’t know whether you could take the others off from there or not. There is –
MIU: Yes –
CBS: There is all of our family.
MIU: I could do both, and keep the whole family.
CBS: They I’ll tell you about these. Um, this is my father’s uh, youngest brother. Uncle [ ]. He always lived in Chicago. And uh…that’s his son, Clark. This is uh..his wife. Um…my uncle’s wife, Aunt Fanny. And uh, …this is Ethel. And uh…that is..uh…my cousin’s wife’s mother. She happened to be here with him. They came every summer. You know it is if you’ve got farm.
CBS And uh…we had em. And that’s me. And uh, this uh, is uh, Clark’s son. And he and I are the only ones that are alive. Rest are all gone.
MIU: What determined –
MFIU: You have a picture of your Grandfather.
MIU: No, that’s uh –
CBS: I don’t, …that’s uh…I thought of that this morning that I wish I did the only thing I’ve gots pictures like that. Now I don’t think these’d be any good to ya.
MFIU: There must be one around somewhere.
MIU: Pictures like –
Big pictures with [
CBS: Like that they’re a….they’re in a frame.
MIU: Oh [ ] uh…here’s what I thought. If maybe we can move here. You see this is our first time ever doing these. And it’s working pretty well. We’re quite amateurish at this, plus uh, we ran into tape trouble. I don’t know exactly where on the tape we had trouble. That’ the best machine money can by, and that tape is the best money can buy. And when we went to pick it up, there were 3 of them shipped in. And we’re checking them out and we got to the 3rd one before we found the one that works real well. Brand new merchandise. But – uh – I think that I should bring my setup and copy these. These pictures are too valuable for us to take outta here. It’s possible, and we can make another appointment, I will bring a stand, to put my camera on, and then we can do with these pictures anything that will help correlate with the story. For instance, we can take a picture of your parents, just your parents, and cut just about everything outta there. And then we can take a picture of the whole group.
CBS: Mm mm [affirmative] Why they look as if they could talk. Course that was taken you know, um..quite late in life, but they were both right in their prime. And uh…umm…my Father for years was uh….um…director…of course my Mother did almost all of the work. And there was quite a lot to it. And they came every month without a salary. And uh….then afterwards….she was director for good many years.
And uh…I know he was director at the time that uh…this man..uh..his name is Hendrick, and he was…he was a little relation to us. And he was a nice guy. But ….he got better money. And after he arrived, don’t think he got more than 2 months if he did that long. And uh…he had a chance to go somewhere else. And oh, my Father so broke. Whenever he says any more relation, I’m …I’ll never hire anybody else, any relation. So uh….
MFIU: On one of these was the story about you had a lamb that followed you to school?
CBS: That was Ethel!
MFIU: Oh –
CBS: That was Ethel, and um..uh…I s – I don’t know to this day uh…how uh….that lamb. He was a big lamb. And uh…that was the school right here. And those uh…those doors…uh that opened. There were 2 of them on uh…either side of the….one was the one on this side was the girls, and those were the boys. And you could look right thru when you’d uh…go by on the road. Well, uh somehow he got away from here. And uh, he walked right in that door. Evidently the door was open. Must’ve been warm weather. Walked right back and Ethel sat almost to the back of the room, went right to her seat and stopped right there. And uh…with the teacher, that wasn’t this uh, not him, that was a lady, Anita Baker. And uh…she uh…called uh…George Munchaw, he was a big boy. In fact he’s in that picture. That’s George Munchaw right there. That …. isn’t that a man I’m pointing to right there?
MIU: Yes, that’s a man.
CBS: That’s George Munchaw. And there was another one. I don’t see him there. Leonard [ ] just as big as that And she asked him if they’d go and take him out. So they…round there…why they pushed and they pulled….why they couldn’t budge him an inch. He was big. And he wouldn’t go. And the teacher said ‘well…uh…I guess you’ll have to take him out, so you just gotta follow the seats so just come on, move right along with him. And that dog. Did you ever have anything about the dog? And he was ours. His name was uh Toby. He was a pug.
MIU: [ ]
CBS: Yes, and he always went to school too. As long as he liked he went to school. Everyday he’d be there. And he sat right beside Ethel. She fed him. And uh, you know, he looked right outdoors and when he’d see the coons go by he’d run and he had kinda long nails. And they went ‘click click click’ as he run and uh barked and they’d often run him a ways and [ ]. And uh the teacher Miss Anita Baker…she [ ] and now she says that dog has been here everyday and he’s NOT gonna come to exercises.
CBS: And uh….so she say’s ‘there’s quite a few of us here really’ had to hire a girl and hired men and there was quite a lot of us and I think they walked down. Now she says ‘whoever’s last one out be sure that Toby is locked in, ‘cause he’s not gonna be there. I just wont have it’. I think she went down early and uh…the speaker was sitting on the roster…and we had a raised platform for him, and there was this speaker and Toby sittin’ right next to him. He was there. [Laugh]. He graduated. And these pictures are all, everyone of them, or something, it’s right here on the farm.
MIU; What determined uh which ones when your Father or 2 brothers took over the farm –
CBS: Well, um, my Father had, now you know there are a lot of different names, I almost think I must know, said something about 400 acres. But you know, I’m not gonna tell you how many acres does the Bowen’s have because I don’t know. All I know is that we had 240 acres, and our um…east line was right up there where a..that line of trees is you know where they used to have thee uh….thee uh…..oh um….. –
MIU: Directional –
CBS: Um..you know…thee uh….from the [ ]
MIU: Video Beam?
CBS: From the video beam.
Yes. That video beam. That’s our line up there. Well the
80 acres right East of that belonged to my Uncle Arthur. And uh,
he was older than my father. And uh, ..so that was uh…….[
MIU: [laugh] [
CBS: But uh…we always had that and uh we still got about 60 on the other road.
MIU: Was 60 in that area? –
CBS: There was more than that you know, but uh, they sold it off the uh corner right down there where those buildings all are. That was all ours. It went right straight thru to the corner. And also up to this other end where the…um….. library’s going to be. Our uh property there. I don’t think that one house……uh the oldest house there….it’s a pretty house, it’s an old one, been there ever since I can remember we always called it the [can’t understand] house. But I don’t think that property belongs to us. I believe it was just this side where the first house –
MFIU: The [ ] you think is [ ] is that the one your talking about the pretty house [ ] –
CBS: Yes, the white one.
MFIU: That is a pretty house.
CBS: It’s a…it’s an old one.
MFIU: It is an old one.
CBS: Oh yes.
MIU: Is it older than this house?
CBS: Oh yea, this house you see was only built in 19 uh 12, [can’t understand] be here. And that uh…been there ever since I can remember. So it be must be an awful old house I suppose they a kept it painted you know and I never been in it. I don’t think I was ever in it. Don’t have any idea what it looks like inside.
MIU: Now you mentioned something about that uh old Indian trail. [ ] actually in the area –
CBS: Well, you know they used to plow that field, they um…there was a big Elm tree uh uh you could see from here…and they uh…they said that it was so hard where they had traveled down thru there they couldn’t hardly plow. So uh…they came down uh…through there and I think our driveway didn’t used to run straight. My Father did that, my Mother said he spoiled that. She said it was just beautiful. It run kitty corner down that road. Who on earth would want a …any more fields with kitty corners on them. I couldn’t bring [ ] I –
MIU: They’re really running thru the woods [laugh]
CBS: Well it’s bad enough for the railroads. And uh, they uh, run right down to the corner…and then we used to have a place on um…uh…Kalamazoo Avenue. You know where um …um…the name place or Karel’s with the big pillars? On the east side of the road.
MIU: That mile down there –
CBS: Yes, that was a right across the road from our uh property and uh…one man that worked here said that Indian Trail went to there. To that farm too.
MIU: Oh did it?
CBS: He said you could uh…see the marks there. Into Grand Rapids. Course there wasn’t any Grand Rapids you know at that time it was just uh…Indians and rural uh…um…camps I suppose or whatever they lived in. And uh…I can remember um..my Father said that a Grandma Bowen never went to town very much….bout once a year. Imagine. And she did not go without a hundred dollars. Well a hundred dollars is quite a lot at that time, but she bought the stuff, the clothes, you know, and things for a whole year. I don’t see how she knew what to buy. I’ve often thought ‘how in the world’?
MIU: They didn’t make their own clothes then she did –
CBS: I…..uh…they must’ve. Uh….wondered, I don’t believe they had sewing machines uh…that early did they?
MIU: Don’t look at me. I’m not the history buff, I don’t remember – [laugh]
CBS: And then there were some Indians here on my Father’s oldest….uh…I don’t know that that was the oldest one or not. But she said she could remember one…that uh…an Indian…came…and uh…asked my Grandmother for um…pork. They uh…they got sick of Venison I suppose, and um..uh..she told him no. And uh….Aunt Lora say’s ‘I just got a hold of her [ ] and give it to him’ and ‘no’ she said ‘she didn’t have any [ ] so he was gonna scalp her. And a…[laugh] so she did give him…some pork I think…a slab probably.
MIU: Was there any area around here where they lived? or um –
CBS: Well they must have been here because uh…and I’m..I’m rather sorry now that I have given those away, I’d show them to you. Things that were found here on our farm. There was an old Indian ax. I suppose that’s something of a tomahawk isn’t it? About that long. And it um…..stone was kind of greeny color….and it had a place around here that uh..I guess they hooked on the handle that you could zip it like that and then it would uh…it…it uh….was smooth like that…and uh….then there was a skinny knife. That was about that long. That was [can’t understand]. And a um…I remember I told one man here last week to..to come and was talking to me. I said we had one…it was just as long as a ball. Pure white. And I said ‘I wondered what it was’. And he says ‘that was a … they played marble with them’. And I just imagined.
MFIU: How big was it?
CBS: About that big.
CBS: And uh…
MFIU: Did he grow up on the farm –
CBS: Yes, all on the farm here.
MIU: So there might have been one time then that –
CBS: There must have been, uh yes, I don’t think there were any great amount of them and uh..I’ve heard said that they didn’t stay too long. They…there were soon gone.
MIU: Well [ ]
CBS: And uh…but uh…..
CBS: But uh….that uh…pictures is uh…me with a uh…hey….I don’t know what I was gonna do with those 2 lambs, but I had to have had them cornered for something.
CBS: Was going somewhere with them.
MFIU: I love that picture there.
CBS: And uh…that was our [ ], she always had lambs. She’s
MIU: [can’t understand, talking while CBS is talking but quieter]
CBS: And uh, my Mother [ ] here with uh…with a uh…….that was my Father with a….a team….he died that very year. Well I..I think that’s uh…looks like the um…mowing machine. I don’t know.
MIU and MFIU: [can’t understand, talking while CBS is talking but quieter]
CBS: And here is a….that’s a binder. That these uh….were cutting wheat, cut trees with that boy just sit on there to have his uh…picture taken. So that’s me with uh…a pony that we had. You know she….well…that’s….that’s quiet a story about that a…pony.
MIU: I was wondering where they took –
CBS: That’s…that’s daisy. That’s daisy you see we had at that time. We a …we had quite a crop of a …sheep….now if you know anything about sheep….a….a sometimes they want old one. And then um….when they bring it to the house and whats big of it….there were 3 of us. Jesse was quite a big girl, and awe sometimes she had to feed mine because he punted so. I couldn’t hang on to that, the bottle..[laugh] and um…well we got to have quite a flock of sheep. [ ] never had any, he was younger. Why that [ ] interested in them at all. But anyway we got quite a flock of sheep. My Father said to Mother ‘well what am I gonna do? They won’t sell them, and uh… [ ] if you keep at it’…and uh…so he said uh…’would you a…give me your sheep if I uh…buy you a pony?’. And oh, of course we was all fed…and a….well…we looked all over. All places uh…ponies were advertised some with new some with old…and uh…we couldn’t find anything that was just suited us we…one day we were 3 of us in school….and they heard this [can’t understand] you ever heard. And the teacher said ‘you’re father’d like to see ya’. And we went out and there he bought this a…pony…an a…she was hitched to a….cart. And oh! She beautiful. She wasn’t very big, I think they said she a…she was called a….’chore’. I ah….I forgotten what she weighed, she didn’t weigh too much. And um…we didn’t find out until afterwards that uh…uh…the man that uh…..owned her…had a daughter. I think her name was uh…Hodges. Anita Hodges. And um…. he was ‘afraid she’d get killed with her because she uh….she was afraid, in perfectly. And she [ ], and we you couldn’t have her anything but a 2 wheel cart. She’s a pretty one. Kind of a back seat effect. And uh…so we always go over to that cart. And uh…so we always go over to that cart. I remember once uh….I think Jesse was driving her somewhere and uh…a flashing light come along. Of course you know most any horse scared to death of a flashing light it just a big outfit. And uh…there was a man with uh… uh not a man but a…a woman with a…horse, kind of an old pug Jesse said…and I…he took that one and another fellow and says well I’ll take this little fellow’ But of course the older one…wasn’t afraid of that. When...when he had all he could do that man said she’d give him the cuss eye. And he [ ] we’ll just take the little fellow. She was oh my how she could go, and the dog, that same dog. He was determined to go with us. And oh there was a flap come down over the uh seat…in the front, and uh he sat in the back. And uh, the 3 of us sat in the seat. Invariably we’d get started to go somewhere and there was [ ] girl lived across the road, she was here two thirds the time wanted to go with us….and uh once we got almost to Reeds lake and Toby stuck his neck, his nose out from under the seat here. There he was, we were going to Reeds Lake. We didn’t go very often.
MIU: [ ]
MFIU: Go over to the park?
MFIU: Did you go over to the park at Reeds Lake?
CBS: Yes, mm mm [affirmative].
MIU: How long did it take you to get there from here?
CBS: Well, I don’t know. I assume it took quite awhile. ‘Cause you know you can’t take a horse all the way there. [laugh] I have no recollection of it. We drove uh, uh East here and across.
MIU: [ ]
CBS: Around this way.
MIU: Oh, you didn’t take [ ] avenue?
CBS: No, no.
MIU: [ ]
CBS: Yes, and we used to call that Purgatory.
MIU: Purgatory road?
CBS: Yes, that was [ ] Oh those hills were so steep they’d come down. And I never will never forget once we uh had a, they had hired a uh, girl. Oh she’s a big fat a girl. Lived on that road, and uh,…I went with my Father to uh, to get her. And we uh, had a new horse. Oh she was just perfectly beautiful. They called her uh…Poosha. And um…we got uh…down into the bottom of it, that hill down there and she stood right up straight. Why I never saw a horse so straight in my life. And I thought she was gonna come right back out for us. Well, finally she did. [ ] again. Well we got a Mini home and I uh think right there my Father thought a…he couldn’t keep her. I don’t know where he did get her…in a trade somewhere maybe. And he uh had heard about he’s quite a trickster. He’d heard about a man out South of us in Gaines that uh his boy had run away. And he thought ‘well I don’t know what why he ran away.’ He almost knew. And uh…he had her…this horse. And uh he drove him down said the man’s face was ‘bout a mile long. He says ‘what’s a matter?’. Well he says ‘my boy run away’. He says ‘what was the matter?’. He says ‘he wanted a horse and I wouldn’t buy it for him.’ And ‘my goodness’ he says ‘why don’t you buy this one?’. And um…well a…he says a ‘you wanna sell it?’. ‘Yes, I’ll sell her’. And uh so a he said ‘I’ll take a horse in trade’. And uh so a… made…made the deal and the one that we got was a horse that had been used in town and his feet was sore on the pavement, that was all. Not another thing the matter with him. And um…he told him ‘bout that. ‘Now’ he says ‘I told you about my horse, now whats the matter with yours’. Well ‘he says a, ‘there isn’t anything ‘particular the matter with her but’ he says ‘there’s a boot strap under her back shoe.’ He says ‘does she need it?’. ‘I don’t know’ he says a ‘I…I always been afraid’. Said ‘you might better put it on’. [laugh] And I don’t know whether the boy came back or not. I –
MFIU: He must have got a horse.
CBS: So uh –
MFIU: But that was Purgatory.
MIU: [ ]
CBS: Yes sir, we always called that Purgatory. And I don’t know when they changed it to Breton. No idea. Now that road is going to go…they burned up my Uncle Arson’s house.
MIU: That’s what I was wondering yesterday. Well now that..that house they tore down. Was that –
CBS: They burned that.
MIU: That’s been there along time hasn’t it?
CBS: Oh yes, a –
MIU: [ ]
CBS: He bought a…he a…..had that built when he was first married. And that’s ..I don’t have any recollection of that.
MIU: That was your house?
CBS: Of course.
MIU: [ ]
MFIU: That was the one right at the end…right at the end of Breton there.
CBS: A yes.
MFIU: [ ]
MIU: Yes, that was the first house they tore down. That’s a beautiful home.
MFIU: Oh…. –
CBS: Well, and a… they a….I said to a fellow come in here. He hadn’t lived there. Uh, how’d ya getin’ to burn that house? ‘Oh’ he says ‘for practice’.
MIU: Oh they burned that house?
CBS: The they uh…fire department.
MIU: Well no, I didn’t know that they did –
CBS: And uh…I said uh..well…a…I suppose we should have this house burned over here. It’s such a wreck. But uh…oh it would spoil all those trees. And uh…
MIU: There probably some….did you have anything stored in there at all or –
CBS: Uh…no. Coons lived there.
MIU: Coons lived there.
MIU: I’d imagine they would.
CBS: Oh they’re such destructive things. And a few old beds in there that we left from the move over here. They tore them all to pieces. The mattresses.
MIU: How about the frames?
CBS: Oh uh…I don’t know if they’re still there are not.
MIU: Metal frames?
CBS: Yes sir, It’s not a safe to foot, walk in.
MIU: Isn’t it?
CBS: All the kids are terrible if they come here. We always warned them just stay away from there. There always want to go in, they think it’s hundred years old and then they want to see it. Well it isn’t that old.
MIU: Wasn’t that old is it?
CBS: Had no value, was – as [ ] Course, its…it’s old all right, but uh, not old enough to be of any great value.
MFIU: Now what other houses do you remember? You know, from being here long as you can remember. The Whitford house there and the Herald house there –
CBS: Well the Kettles is just two years older than this. There was a house across the road here. They burned that up and built that little Baptist church. And uh…thee uh…house…um….uh….let me see uh….it’s the first house when you uh cross the railroad tracks. There’s a …a….’member a big tall house there? Quite a big. Let me see, it’s white. I…I think it’s painted white now. And they uh –
MIU: Oh, it’s on the North side –
CBS: West…West side road. The Messengers built that. They were uh an old family here. And uh…there’s Messengers. Oh they’re uh Oast house lives there now. You know, that –
MIU: I got just one question, maybe you come help us out. I bought a house from a VanHolden. I guess they had a plot over on [ ] of 48th street. You remember anyone there?
CBS: Mm mm [non affirmative]. I don’t even remember that name. I didn’t know anybody by that name.
MFIU: What other name
do you remember out here that we might talk to?
CBS: I think that’s Carl isn’t it? Carl or did they call it Karel? I don’t know them at all.
It’s just I’ve heard that name. But I’ll tell you who does live right here in our neighborhood.
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