August 15, 2005
Family Farm on Dutcher Street
On August 8, in a small ceremony at the Little Red Shop, Mass Turnpike Authority Chairman Matt
Amorello presented a $10,000 Turnpike Tourism grant to the Hopedale Historical Commission. In a
related matter, this week a request for proposals has been sent out for an architect for the Red Shop
The following paragraph from an email is for those of you who remember Winogene Noyes. “I am
currently a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, and my senior thesis for film is actually going to be
making a documentary about Hopedale, MA, through my Great-Grandmother's eyes. She, Winogene
Noyes, has been dubbed the "unofficial historian" of Hopedale, and when she died, she left behind an
unbelievable amount of super8 footage, tape recordings, newspaper clippings, and journals.”
If you would like to help out Winogene’s great-granddaughter, EmilyKate McDonough, by passing
some of your memories on to her, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.
Jay Appel has put pictures of the ABC My Kind of Town tryouts on his Hopedale Fire Department
website. It’s at www.hopedalefire.com/
As I mentioned last time, I recently received an account of the Henry family farm, written by Muriel
(Henry) Tinkham. And now, here it is.
Parkside Dairy Farm
The farm at 200 Dutcher Street started as simply a small home farm of very little acreage. My
grandparents, J. Charles and Nettie M. Henry bought the land from grandpa’s uncle, John S. Mead of
Milford and in 1895 built a house and barn. There they lived with their three children, Ruth, Willard and
Norman (my Dad), Grandma’s mother, Sarah Olira Cummings, and cousin Anna Chapin. They had
one or two cows and a horse for their personal use.
Dad went to UNH for a two-year agricultural course and graduated in 1911 or ’12, I think. However, I
don’t know how much farming he did until after World War I. He was in the army. After that he worked
at the YMCA in Brockton, Mass. It was there he met my mother.
Ill health brought Dad back to Hopedale in about 1921. It was then he built a greenhouse and started
a nursery/truck farm business. After several years plus the arrival of three children, he moved from
growing plants to developing a dairy farm. He enlarged the barn and had a herd of twelve to eighteen
or so cows and established a milk route in Hopedale and Milford. There were a few small farms in
South Hopedale (Spindleville) such as Pete Gaskill’s, now the site of Rosenfeld’s Sand & Gravel and
Wilcox’s, not far from the Green Store, but in Hopedale we were the only farm in the factory town.
Sometime in the late 1930s, the task of delivering milk fell to Richard, Muriel and Phyllis. Richard
drove our little red pick-up truck every day while the girls alternated weeks. I well remember those
years. Talk about service!! There was one house where I had to put the milk in the refrigerator, and
there were some where the bottles were taken into the house. We had to coast down the hill on
Dennett Street because the noise of the truck and bottles disturbed someone’s sleep. We would start
around six and get back just in time for breakfast. Then Dad drove us to high school. As we went down
the street we picked up 10, 12 + kids who were hoping we’d come along. Many times the last bell was
ringing as we arrived.
When Richard graduated and went on to a two-year course at Stockbridge, Dad drove the truck and we
girls delivered. Then I graduated and Charles and Phil delivered. After she left, it was up to Dad and
Haying was a big part of summer. We all pitched. For many years Dad, Grandpa and the hired man,
Linwood or Elmer Hammond – later Freemie or Lowell Hammond and still later, Bob Hammond,
scythed and later cut with an iron wheeled tractor, did the mowing, teddering, raking and bringing in
the hay. My job was to build the load so it wouldn’t all slide off.
Some of the fields we hayed were in Upton but the main hayfield was across the road at George
Schultz’s. It went right up to Route 140. Our pastures went behind the barn and house, right down to
the Parklands. Dad rented land next to our house, down to the Driftway. He bought the land including
the Driftway that went as far as what was then Millers, then Kalpagians. This also went back to the
Parklands. The pastures were curtailed when Draper Corporation sold house lots to Tommy Eckles,
John Ackerley and Otis Rose. Drapers had rented this to us for years.
By now Wayne Patenaude was working after school at the farm. Eventually he lived there too.
At about 5 P.M. it was time to bring the cows in for milking. They were often right at the gate waiting, but
sometimes one or two of us kids would have to go looking for some laggards. Sometimes we’d find a
cow that had just calved. In good weather, mothers would bring toddlers or little kids in strollers to see
the cows come home.
Another attraction was a huge chestnut tree that grew near the road but inside the fence of the calf
pasture. When the chestnuts started to fall, all the kids in the neighborhood would show up to pick
them up. Dad had some rules. 1. You can’t climb on the fence or get into the pasture. 2. You can’t
climb the tree. 3. You can’t shake or try to hit the branches.
Things changed after World War II. In the fall of 1941, Richard went to Stockbridge where he studied
poultry. I think in his second year he did a work-study at Mayo’s Duck Farm in Orleans. He then joined
the Air Force. After the war, he came back to Hopedale where his interest was poultry, not cows.
In 1946, Dad sold the milk route to Arnold VanderSluis of Mendon and the milk we produced was sold
to Lowell’s. Richard started his poultry and egg business. He, with the help of Gilbert Beal and
Charles, still in high school, had a chicken range down back, but built a 4-story hen house where a
small apple orchard had been. Capons were his specialty. Up near the road he installed his Egg-o-
mat, the first of its kind in the area.
I was married and away by this time so I don’t remember many of the details. I remember the egg
candler in the cellar that kept my folks busy. On Fridays, sometimes Thursday too, things were hectic;
killing, de-feathering and cleaning chickens and capons ordered for the weekend.
This phase ended in about 1957 when Richard stopped this and raised chickens on contract for a big
poultry business. Farming was over for the Henrys. My parents moved to Mendon. Richard became a
CPA and moved to Westminster. Bill and Claire Larson bought the farm and it became their private
home. Muriel E. Tinkham, July 24, 2005
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