Hopedale History
    August 15, 2006
    No. 66
    Milk Wagons

    Charles Stewart update. Last time, I asked if anyone knew why Charles Stewart, killed in action in
    1944, according to a Milford News article at the time, wasn’t listed on the veterans’ monument at
    Hopedale Village Cemetery. It turns out that the report of Stewart’s death was greatly exaggerated. After
    several phone calls, I found out from Tracey Liberatore that Stewart is alive, well and living in
    Shrewsbury. (Tracey’s mother-in-law is Stewart’s foster sister.) I called him and here’s a bit of what he
    told me. He was a turret gunner and engineer on a B-24 in September 1944 when his plane was shot
    down near the border of Germany and Czechoslovakia. He parachuted out and very shortly after landing
    was taken in by partisans in the area. He was with them during the rest of the war and never ended up
    in a POW camp. Evidently, lists of prisoners were being exchanged, but since he wasn’t on them, the
    War Department eventually concluded that he must have been killed and notified his foster parents, the
    McVittys. I hope to have a bit more on him soon. More on Stewart.  

    Recent deaths of Hopedale and former Hopedale people: Clarence “Kip” Lapworth, 87, Curville Cox,
    97, John Donley, 58, and Jack Haringa, 61, (teacher, HHS, 1966 – 1978)

    Don McGrath’s article about the Freedom Street neighborhood, near the five corners, inspired Al
    Marzetta to write about the Maple Street area, back in the 1940s and 1950s. It tells of the Curley, Izzo,
    Marzetta and Scalzi families who lived in that neighborhood.

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                       Milk Wagons of Mendon, Hopedale and Milford

    When my father was a kid, back around 1920, he delivered milk in Milford. One thing he told about the
    job that seems amazing now, is that the customer would leave an open container out on the front
    steps. The milkman (or, in this case, milkboy) would bring the milk to it and pour in a quart or two or
    whatever the customer had ordered. Don McGrath has been interested in milk wagons for much of his
    life. I received the following account of them in the area from him in the mail last week.

    When we first started going up to Mendon, in the summer of 1931, I think Maple Farm had been
    recently sold to Arnold VanderSluis, a middle-aged single man from Whitinsville, who had gotten tired
    of his monotonous job in the Whitin Machine Works, that included watching the clock. VanderSluis had
    a sister who took care of the house. Arnold was a rather strict Christian, who wouldn’t do haying on
    Sunday, regardless of the weather forecast.

    Probably about 1930, Leonard E. Taft had passed away and his widow, Minnie Taft moved up the street
    two or three houses. Like Walter Beal, they had a similar mild wagon, and sold cream, and, I suppose,
    milk too, or at least, so I recall. I don’t think Len Taft went on the milk route. Raymond Barrows took care
    of that chore and they only went about four days a week. I can remember seeing the horse and milk
    wagon trotting along Dutcher Street and making the turn to Freedom Street, heading back to Mendon
    when we’d be out at recess at about 10:30 at the Dutcher Street School. The milk wagon was in good
    repair then and the Tafts had a spare wagon to use if the regular one was in the paint shop.

    Walter Beal used to hire that wagon if need be. The fee was twenty-five cents a day. That wagon said
    “Milford Town Farm” on it, and I think Herbert Austin’s name might have been on it as “Farm Mgr.”

    Mrs. Austin ran a pig farm at the corner of Asylum and West streets. That included a second farm
    further along Asylum Street, toward the town farm. Long-time game warden, Bill Prentiss had a small
    house on that section of Asylum Street.

    But to get back to the milk wagons, Arnold VanderSluis continued to use it for a short while, but he
    rather soon switched to a truck.

    Later Tim Cronan had it toward the end of his milk route days and it finally landed with Dan Glennon,
    the wearer out of so many of the old milk wagons. Don McGrath, August 5, 2006.

    Here's a response from Phil Roberts. -  I remember my Dad telling me that he tried to get milk from A.
    VanDerSluis on a Sunday, once.  Mr. V., true to his convictions, refused to sell it--gave him a quart for
    free.

              Cheers,
              Phil

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