24 Freedom Street
June 18, 2007
I thought you might be interested to see this page from one of the
early 1900s Milford Business Directories.
It shows about the same type of wagon I've got. And of course, the
wagon I've got comes from about the same era.
It used to say "Elm Hill Farm," over the door, and "Upton" on the back.
It came from the Carroll Farm in East Upton, where your father's sister
and her husband, John Byrne lived for awhile, about 1933 - 34 or
Milk Wagons of Mendon, Hopedale and Milford
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 recently.
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 milk 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.
After Phil Roberts read the story above, he sent me the following memory.
I remember my Dad telling me that he tried to get milk from A. VanDerSluis on a Sunday, once.
Back then, milk customers would leave a container out on their porch or steps. It could be a bowl or a jar or a pitcher.
We'd pour the milk from five gallon cans into smaller bottles and we'd empty these into the customer's container. I
wasn't paid in cash for the job. Instead, the family was supplied with milk.
Thanks to Mendon historian Dick Grady
for sending the Davenport photos.