Taped Conversation with Reuben Barrett by Mr.
and Mrs. Wilbur Connon, Mr.
and Mrs Duight Lord, and Mr. and Mrs. James Carver ( the latter his daughter and son-in-law): 17 September, 1978
Mrs. Lord: was Charles Barrett the one that.....
Reuben: Well, Charles was the one that was up in Appleton, and he had to have some one up there with him, that's what Appleton was named for, was this feller in there...(Oh)...and,er, the other Barrett, Reuben Barrett, came down from Concord, and, er, he started to Union, and came up the pond over there, and then they staid for a while and worked. They...'course there was more being settled earlier than that, and this was later, when they got there...But he worked with this old feller up there and some other men, and then finally he decided to take up some land. So he did, and it was over there..where the girls...well..they come summers there. Was a house there and they'd got there...and got settled some and he decided after a little while that he'd..this old feller had hired him and some of the others that had come down with him, and, my goodness, he decided to take up some land. So he looked around and he took up that land of my father's ...250 acres, and it was right in the woods. And he started in, and they built a log cabin, down across the road from the house, and it was,'course, rough land, but they built that cabin, there, and then ....they done that because they wanted to get enough..er..before the house built, besides the cabin, and..so they did. And so they built that house, and that was somewhere in the 1795...and..and..he..er.. took and got the house built. And it set - the front looking towards the South, that way. And so they thought that that was where the road was coming through, and so they got mistaken (laughter) so they....the road come up from Camden, and they thought it was coming from Union and the house set here, and the front door was here, and they thought it was comin' by that..but it was all right - that was a front door; but they also had the one that faced the road there, and they could come out there. And, er, I think he got a wife after that, and they had children, and I think it was pret' near 20 children; some of 'em had died. But I think it was over twelve, I d'know but more...'Twas - I guess 'twas 'bout eighteen children, and it was over twelve, lived to grow up... 'Course this was pretty well back, you know.
Mrs. Lord: Well that was quite a brood, wasn't
Reuben: Ayuh, well, that was the first Reuben. And then the next Reuben came right along, and took the other one's place, and had the place, and he had a lot of children. And they got the farm pretty well, Y'know, cut and round, seen to, and then that was the one that....the Reuben, y'know, cut and round, seen to, and then that was the one that.. the Reuben, er, the first Reuben's son, and er, he ---that was who-his grandfather there, was who he bought the place of.
And my father was-I donno's you ever saw him, didja? Well he'd been born in New York, by one of the sons, William, and got married, and that was one of the Barretts (part of Mt. Heald?) that, er, had the silk, and they- colored that silk, see, and that had been done before. And so they-he-was one of the head ones in that, and, he done the travelling, and was kinda goin ''round England, down South and other places, and, er, he got the advertisin's, you know (paid?).
So he was my father's father. And when he was born, my father was born his wife was sick, very sick, and she died, right off. Some nurse~ they say-I don't know for sure, but he-was dropped, and that out him outa shape, here,(back?)and he had ta-then his marm (aunt?), the one that died, her sister, took him, and brought him up, and he was a very good Doctor. And, so, he and another- he was a surgeon, and he and another (laughed) one, was a Doctor,(eye?) an so forth, In one thing and another - so the two of 'em made this steel trap, y'know, 'round, er, and he had to wear that all his life.
Mrs.Lord: That was your father?
Reuben: Ayuh, and of course he could do a lot of work, but the other heavy work he couldn't do. But he come here, y'know, down here, and it suited him better, sending him down, y'know, and, so he went, took and got married, over there, married my mother, uh, Wright. And the Wrights had come in about 10 years after he had, and had a cabin coming up the hill, there, over where Louise goes, and where Robert is now.
Mrs. Connon: Oh! Just down the road a little
Reuben: Ayuh - yes, it was 'bout half-way down the hill. And he married her, and then they had Ethel 'n' I, and....
Mrs. Lord: Just the two of you?
Reuben: Ayuh. And..but they..all of them..in..made the place more- y'know..
done improvements, and - William, now - that's Ethel's sons-er they've done more, very much more. But I helped my father get that;
he had to have-a-hired man, too. Reuben before him, the other Reuben, they'd clear land, cut hay with sythes, y'know, and rakes, they'd rake it up and get pitch forks, and haul it in, and pitch it up in the barn. There was two barns, and, that's the way she went.
Mrs Lord:That was a lot of work.
Reuben: Ayuh, ayuh, they done a lot. Well, then I got married, and that's Payson and one of 'em has married a Payson, so she was an aunt (laughed) . And that was built in 1825
Mrs Lord: That house where you are?
Reuben: Ayuh. And, er, the barn was built the next year, 1826. And then (.......?) this Charles was up there, and come down from Concord just the same, and he went up there, and I think he was the feller that laid out the canal, and got that. Then this fellow that come up with him was Appleton - er- they named him Appleton (laughed.)
Mrs Lord: How many aunts and uncles did you
Reuben: Oh there was - I think - well the aunts that I can remember, ('n then the sons?) I think there was twelve or more, women and men.
Uncle - well - Tileston, that was - lived down there in Nate's house....Nate...he was (?)
Mrs Lord: I remember hearing that name, hearing
my Dad talk about him.
Reuben: Ayuh. Well, Nate's father died, not very early after he was married (late?), and had some disease that killed him; and then his sister, Minnie, and she was a school teacher, and a DAMN GOOD one!(Group laughter) She's the best teacher that I ever went to school (to) and she done more for me. And then they lived in the house built a small house, and this house was right where we come down in here (Fire Rd #3 but changed to 137) Hope, Me. Ayuh, And they was right across the road from that road. Aunt Lizzie was the mother of ..she was quite a pretty good woman to git along, and, er.but- finally, them Minnie-Nate and Minnie decided to build that house there, where Teddy is now. 'Course Teddy Wilson (garbled).
Mrs Lord: Now was that all Barrett property?
-clear down there?
Reuben: Well, no, the Payson place 't I live on - that house was there...
but Nate - his father had died, he was, I think, 17 or 18 years and some of the other people around the Corner was going West, and so one of them had been out West, and come back. And so he was going back, again, y'know. Well Nate went back with him; he wasn't very old, and they went out to Butte, Montana, and of course that was pretty wild out there. But they was there, and he managed to git some work, and 'course he was pretty- I think he was 18 and he was quite a and so some of 'em would-sometimes they'd kinda try to do a little extry against him, and so when they did, why he simply took a - it was pretty cold out there - and he just took his gloves off, and he was all ready to take somebody's nose off (laughter)- and he could'a done it. 'Case he was quite a - well, he wa'nt very big, but he could git 'round.
Mrs.Lord: Now what about this, er, where Bill
Hardy has his blueberry factory now, did they always use that for blueberries,
Reuben: Well, the Barretts, one of them was Barretts - I think it was -I' d'know whether 'twas the second group (in?). Over there beyond where the schoolhouse is, had a store.
Mrs. Lord: Not where the store is now?
Reuben: Down that way. And they've got some of the old records,'nthen finally they got out. Well, where the canning fact'ry was - that was True's. And they'd come on up the line, and they took a store there.
Mrs. Lord: Did they really can there?
Reuben: Oh goodness yes~--And the boss, True, was Elmer's father, and he was the one that run the store, and the canning fact'ry-. a very good man and he was a very capable man, and he lived to be up in his 90'S. They started that canning factory with - well, wa'nt nuthin very alarmin'. Then it growed, and a lot of people got work...and they'd go in there, and they'd start in with,-well, p'raps it was peas;'n then they had this riggin' - I can:remember it - 'course it was long before my time, but they improved, you know. But they had that, and then they'd go from peas, they'd go to other things, other vegetables.
And when they come to the apples -'course there was quite a lot of apples bein' raised around there - and they'd take In' have these apple peelers, we had some over home, and they made them apples - canned them. Then they was other things that they had; they had corn, and they had a lot of corn, and they'd go 'round in the Spring, and ask the farmer if he would raise corn, and they'd take In' pay for it, y' know. Well, so then they'd go from corn to other ones. They'd go to --squashes; and they didn't think much of punkin, so they let that one go, first (laughter). And they had to go through quite a lot - oh they had to have somebody to wash 'em all good, and bad places in it they'd cut 'em out, and they'd git 'em all fixed up, and they'd can squash. Then they'd have a pile of punkins, 'bout's big as a barn, out there, and way it was there was kind of a place in the building so 'twould kinda shelter it. But they liked the squash better'n they did the punkin, but they cooked it. And then other vegetables, some, and the apple business, 'course, would go longer than - that 'n prob'ly go way into the winter. 'N then, as it goed, I c'n remember, Nate, there, he used to work in there, for 'em, and they'd have to be they'd put their apples in the can, then they had to weld that iron there-you know - solder it; and sometimes they'd burst, and then when they'd burst, why, they wan't no good.
Mrs. Connon: Now where was the school building
where you went to school?
Reuben: When I went to school?
Mrs. Connon: Ayuh.
Reuben: Right up there on my land, up there where the....
Mrs. Connon: Where that foundation is.
Reuben: ah no! Above my house, and up there where the road turns to go over to the hen house, the other-way over there. And it was on the side - it was made right where Robert's chicken - er- so- and the land; on this side th' road. So - and -er--'course there was quite a lot of scholars, and that was the red schoolhouse, there. Finally I
come (stopped to chuckle) to owning it, and, -but they didn't own the land - they owned the schoolhouse, but they didn't own the land for some reason or other, and other ones did. But then they got-so there wasn't so many scholars, and they'd have to p'raps hold back 'cause..not have any..so they kept it for quite awhile, and by'm by they got the schoolhouse.
Mrs. Lord: They didn't need it that much, I
Reuben: Oh no! - well, all of 'em was done so they took and ...somebody ...I had it there, and somebody wanted it, and I told 'em I didn't think that I wanted it.
Reuben: (after a break in taping to change reel) Well, but y'see that's... he lived to be 90, and that was quite different.. and then they put this new school...they thought 'twould be better to have the school right across the Corner; here 'twas the first time (gesturing), and here 'twas the next time. So finally somebody come along, and, er, but he bought it, or wanted to buy it, but he didn't; his wife was sick, and bad off, and so he decided he couldn't do it, y'know. He had to come up and tell me that he'd got to have his money back -so he did. And he (they?) told me when it was first sold that she was - badly - very sick. And then I kep it there, and I sold it to Libby, and he took and ....there's a little house down there to-that Nate bought, and he took and - there's a little house down there to ~ t.hat Nate had bought, and he took it and, er- he took that schoolhouse up there, and took it over to, er through the Corner, and went over to th' - up there beyond the church.
Mrs. Lord: Was that the only church that there
has ever been - church building?
Reuben: No, there was another church. It was up there where the church only it was across the road, I b'lieve. I don't know but I think it was. I know 'twas a church there, and it was up there, - well 'twant up s'far as Hardy's, but it was right down in.. and it was on the other side the road, there.
Mrs. Lord: Wnat about the Paysons? Have they
been here for just as long as everybody else?
Reuben: Ayuh, I guess so.
Mrs. Lord: And the Hobbs?
Reuben: Well, they 'bout all of 'em was down there - Hobbses, and lot of 'em
Paysons, ....and...Woosters, Healds.. That, er, where the sand plt is, was where the Healds went in there, down - just down b'low there; towards the house now. And that went over in there, and the house was way out in the woods It's -it's all woods out there now. And then they had the road out there to our, road, and he made another road 'at come out right over there where that feller lives on Wiley Hill, and comes right up, and what is his name?
Mrs. Connon: Is that the road where Bernice
Robbins lives? Are you talking about that road?
Reuben: Yes, he came up that road, but it was right on top th' hill, right where they got the new house, there.
Mrs. Connon?: Riches place?
Reuben: NO-O-O - right on top Wiley Hill.
Mrs. Carver: Oh, Obed's.
Reuben: yeah, and that road come right back up, only 'twas down t'that house that- 'fore you got to Obed's. And they had a mill down in there, and tnat was a Bartlett, that owned that; and they put in a slulce, there, and a dam, and they took and that sluice run from where they held the water back - pond, y'know - I guess it run - well, down there - that was up, y'know, I c'n remember it, I don't know as I've seen the mill run. But they - done - things.
Mrs. Lord: was it a lumber mill?
Reuben: Well, I don't know - I can't remember. I've been there, but that was where the road come out. Right there - that feller there - it was right there.
Mrs. Carver: wasn't a quarry down in there too?
Reuben: Yes, yes, some quarries, (Carver: in that cedar swamp?) They'd get out lime, I think, and they'd - and I don't know where they burnt it. Wes Bartlett, he and 'nother mill- cider mill - 'cross the road up there where that house is now. And he used to get he was a great feller - some of the Bartletts was pretty physicy;.they didn't like things (general laughter). Well he did; he'd take 'n' - he'd grind cider, In' I guess he done some carpenter work in there. But it'd been right 'cross the turn, where you made that turn, there. And the house was Wes', 'cross the road where they got the big henhouse, there. Oh they did all right.
Mrs. Connon: Did they ever harvest ice out of
the pond? (HObbs, in Hope)
Reuben: Oh yes. Everybody had an ice house -'most everybody, Nate had one right as you going, come out down here, and I've helped him dig ice there. Everybody'd get ice - most everybody.
Mrs. Connon: What's the thickest you've ever
seen the ice out here, Reuben?
Can you remember?
Reuben: (reflectively) Well, there's a good many stories.
ALL: GOOD ~ Tell 'em ~ Yes, tell 'em!
Reuben: Well, I guess 'bout thirty inches, or sump'n like that, I think.
Mrs. Connon: It'd be safe for snowmobiles.
Reuben: Yeah, oh yes; sometimes it wa'nt safe for 'em.
Mrs. Lord: Did they go sleigh riding in the
Reuben: Oh yes! They'd have a sleigh - just a little short back, but they was pretty good - and some of 'em got better, and they'd be nice and warm - they'd have 2 buffalo robes in there... I'd know if I've got one of them buf'lo robes now; we had 2, and Ethel had one and I think I had the other one. And Aunt Anna - that was the one that brought m'father -er- up, they sent these things down, when they got pretty old, and 'twas bare, and 'bout big as that (gestured), warm all right. And then the cape, from the bear was what we used to have to go down in the sleigh to Camden to school. But it was warm. And we'd start out with - er - well, up there tithe house with-these...box, you know; what was that? Soapstone!! And they had them all hot, and tEen the hoss's hay and that, and that was very nice people that we knew, down there, that was 'bout - just across the road from the schoolhouse, and we'd put our hoss in there. Some times if it rained, or stormed bad, why he'd put 'tin where his carriage had been. And he was an awful good feller, and his wife would always come out, if 'twas bad she'd always come out with them soapstones! (Chuckled)
Mrs. Lord: Did you ever meet any deer or bears?
Reuben: No bears, only bear I ever knew, was Henry Pendleton right over there, since I can remember, and Henry Pendleton went working down to Rockland. He got down to Balocovich's there, a little ways, and there was a watering tub, So he's goin' along and he had a hoss, y'know, and by goodness, there was a bear, went a the road. And, er, they wouldn't believe it, and he says, "Well, I can show 'em the tracks" and he did (laughter). Then they come on the other side of Bald, there-oh, what was his name over there? kept hens, up 'bove, -Wooster was in that house, but they was another one, and he had hens so he got to eating the stuff the hens ate, it was in the troughs. y'know. Well, finally he went up 'n took a lantern, and went up to see what he could do to Scare this animal off. So he got up there, and he see him; this bear did, and he fired at him, 'course he didn't hit him - I guess - but any rate, tne bear decided he'd leave, and he didn't even...he had-a-lot of hen wire, y'know, and a lot'a hens in there -oh prob'ly 2000, and, er, had all them 'n' my goodness, that old bear, he was in such a hurry, he didn't want to - didn't like to stay any longer, and he went right straight up through there and he took 10 - 12 rods of henwire, 'n made a hole big enough for him to go right straight through, he didn't stop! (Laughter) Ayuh, well, that was two pretty good hunters, there, and they took and decided that they'd - that if the snow come, and it was so that they could track him, - that they'd take 'n' come over and see if they couldn't git him. And he'd kept right on with the hens' food, y'know, Well sure enough, it come time for the hunters, so they went over there, 'n sure enough, there was his tracks, right up over the mountain, old Bald, and he was on the Walter Howe's side, y'know, and there's another person that was relation to us. Well, any rate, so, they went up over Bald, old Mr. Bear he kept right down over right up over - oh, what is the place? (Mt. Battie?) no, (Ragged?) yeah, Ragged, then he went over the other one, there, (pleasant?) No, that little one there - you used ta...can't think.. Crabtree - that was other people that was older. Then he went from there, down, 'n went across the stream between the two ponds, and went across there and went up on the Hedgehog, then, 'nother one, I guess there, that Hatchet. Well it decided up on Hatchet, it went from there up on Kimball 'n that's where it went. 'Well, when he got, er, up on Hatchet why there was a fox hunter up there and his dog was on the fox, and he was waitin' there - he was a good hunter, and a good shot, and a pretty good man, and he was standin' there, waitin' , easy y'know, cause that fox would come back 'bout where he went out, --so he got there, 'n he looked up, 'n he see this bear, standin' there, 'bout 40 yards from him, and he didn't do a thing, but he just looked, and the old bear dropped down and went on, up the mountain. And-er 'bout the next thing, he got out of sight, and these two hunters come along, and, they says to him, "Didn't you see that bear?" "Well, yes", he says. "Well why didn't you fire at it?" He had a double barrelled gun, and was a good shot, and "Gorry", he says, "I never thought of that." (Laughter)And it was so. Well he got him up. on that row of hills, up there, then they swung up and somebody up to Monroe, afterwards, they said that he had found the tracks, and had shot him.
Mrs. Connon: Have you ever heard of why they
named this mountain over here Hatchet?
Reuben: Have I? Yes I do. You? (No) Well, I'll make it up (laughter).
Well I will make it up, and it was so. Hatchet, up on top, there, had a pond, ayuh, a small pond up there, and, er, so the early very early people come in, and they was the ones that went up there, y'know, and the Indians was out here, 'n there was one Indian there was a Dunton down there by the pond, right where upper end of the pond, and, er, so then Indians had some trouble with 'em, and, er, so they wan't bad, but 'twas pretty old, then, and so they thought they'd, er, was havin' a pretty hard time of it, and they decided that it was a good idea to have a peace. So they went up on hatchet, and buried the Hatchet up there in that pond.
Mrs. Connon: Oh, that's interesting.
Reuben: Well, that's what they say. That's why they called it Hatchet;
the Indians throwed the hatchets in there. They didn't do any more trouble. Oh sometimes the Indian would come when I can remember, I was small, and they'd come and want to get the, er, ash, the black ash, for basket stuff.
Mrs. Connon: Oh, you saw the Indians, then?
Reuben: Oh, once in a while; my father took one way down here t' the pond, there by the brook, and there was ash down there - they'd make the basket. And the old feller come, wanted to know if we had any, my father said "yes", he told him I'll take you down and show you, and he was down there all day long, and long towards night he come up and he had all this bark wound 'round him.
Indians would come down t' the lake and stay, and he'd stay there all night. And he's smoke, his (peace?) pipe, and he'd sleep in the kitchen, and he'd talk with him and tell 'bout it, and I did know his name, but I forget, 'cause, course, that was a long --time ago.
How is Walter Howe a relation?
Reuben: Well, Wooster, over on North Haven, was over there, but he decided finally, that he'd stay out there, and he used a vessel, y' know, back In' forth, t' Camden and North Haven, and so he, er, decided to come home, I dunno, I guess that's his children (guess p'raps his?)(garbled) And so he took up and come over here, right down on the Camden line, he had a -'s all built up now with the graveyard down in there, it's still there, and they are buried there - and-he had a big family, and so, er, Wright married Martha Wooster (Margaret?). And they had, er, my mother, and Irvin, and Ed, for children.
Mrs. Lord: We haven't gotten to Walter yet;
how did he fit in?
Reuben: Well, Aunt Abby, Mr. Howe married Aunt Abby. And she was an awful good woman. She was! Yessir! And Wooster was an awful - 'course Walter, and Alica, and Oscar(?) (Foster?) were their family... but Aunt Abby was awful good (fondly). Her husband was an awful good worker. -----
Mrs. Connon: Now Walter Howe's never married.
Reuben: No, wan't either of 'em.
Mrs. Connon: Oh, his brother never married either?
Reuben: No, Alice was married...Merton, down here.
Mrs. Connon: Oh, Merton Johnson?
Reuben: Ayuh, his wife was, er...
Mrs. Connon: was one of Alice's children'?
Mrs. Connon: Now is Walter Howe's brother still
Reuben: Walter is, but he died. He was a tough feller, though rugged.
During the winter time, with his knapsack, with his shirt 'n' poke you know, and his hat on - had hands size of Bald there, p'raps he'd have sleeves rolled up t'here. (Laughter) They had oxen, y' know, and mebbe 6 - I think 6 yokes of oxen there. And they had the 2 good-good-well breg y'see, strong, and everything, and some more that they were breaking in; they'd put them small yokes on so the older ones would...er~.
Mrs. Lord: Lead them 'round?
Reuben: Ayuh. I've seen them - Walter-er-Oscar go down - we was up there choppin' wood, and I've seen him go down over, and he'd bridle all four runners, and held go down, and there'd be four feet of snow (chuckled) and he'd go down onto a place just about like that. My goodness! I wouldn't no more - couldn't have done it. But he'd go right down.
End of tape.
This gentle, genial man named for his grandfather, Reuben, graciously agreed to spend an evening with a group of friends, sharing his recollections of the early days of Hope Maine and it's settlers. Born in Hope 11 August, 1893, the son of William Pierre and Flora (Wright) Barrett, he had absorbed many family and friends names and relationships. When he was 11 he was in the third class in Payson School, at the corner of Seacoast and Barnstown roads where his cousin, Minnie Barrett, was a teacher.
Reuben married Marguerite Farnsworth of Camden
on 18 October, 1917. She was a relative of Lucy Farnsworth. They had, two
children, Quinton, and Barbara;
the latter married James Carver, and they are still residents of Hope.
The family lived on Barnstown Road. Reuben was a farmer and enjoyed the scenery from the hills, and also was fond of hunting. In the winter he cut ice on Hobbs Pond. He and others who cut ice used the Town Road to the Public Beach, to get on the pond. He and others stored their ice in an Ice House near the end of the present Fire Road 137. Later Reuben had an Ice House near his home. Reuben died December 15, 1950.
Reuben himself, and daughter Barbara, Hope Vital Records History of Hope Maine, by Anna Hardy and Priscilla Connon
Taped and transcribed by Elizabeth M. Lord.
Information acquired from Barbara (Barrett) Carver by Priscilla Connon.