Parkside Dairy Farm
                                                  By Muriel (Henry) Tinkham
                                                                July 24, 2005

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, 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.

My parents anniversary was the same as my aunt and uncle’s – August 1. Every year we’d celebrate with a picnic in the Parklands. There would be about seven or eight adults and a dozen or so children. My father would pick different places for the picnic. I remember one being at Maroney’s Grove, and one year my father borrowed a rowboat and we had our celebration at Fisherman’s Island.

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 Phillis delivered. After Phil left, it was up to Dad and Charles.

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.

           Milk Wagons and Routes of the Area     Horse Stuck in Mud at the Henry Farm   

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The Henry house is at the center of this 2010 satellite view. Most of this area and more was once part of the Parkside Farm.

During our high school years, my classmates, Leigh Allen and Craig Travers worked at Parkside Farm. Here are Craig’s memories of that.

At some point when we were living on Dutcher Street, I started working at Henry’s chicken farm, just a little way up the street. Leigh Allen worked there also. We got jobs there because Leigh’s father had worked there. Because I lived so close to the farm, one of my jobs was to go there in the morning and check the four floors of the chicken house, when we were raising capons.

There was a track feeder in there, that was something like a model train. It had chicken feed in trays in it, and the chickens could eat from it. It was about 18 inches off the floor, and it would run around the perimeter of the room. I’d go to make sure none of the chickens had gotten caught in it, and to see if any chickens had gotten spooked during the night. Evidently because of what they were being fed, they were apt to get spooked very easily. When they did, they’d fly and hit a wall. A whole bunch could pile up that way and die.

The biggest and worst job we had at the farm would come about every 16 weeks. At that point the capons had been raised and it was time to start on a new batch of them. We had to paint all the walls and everything with a creosote mix. The purpose of that was to kill any bacteria or anything else that could be a problem with the next batch. It would burn your skin.

There were times when a tractor-trailer coming down the street would blow the horn, and that would spook the chickens. If we were there when it happened, we would go after them, grab them by the legs and throw them back out of the pile so that they wouldn’t suffocate.

In addition to her memories of the farm, Muriel also wrote about life in town during World War II.

During World War II, the top half of car headlights had to be painted black. We had practice air raid drills. Air raid wardens would walk around the neighborhood and let you know if any light was showing from your house. My father had put a couple of pails of sand in our attic, which had been recommended, in case of an attack by incendiary bombs.

On days that ration stamps were issued, school would be dismissed at noon. Our teachers, Miss Cresey, Miss Gover, Miss Crowell and others helped us register for the stamp books. Since my father was a farmer, he could get more gas than many other people.

Some of the kids would go to the Mendon airport to watch for planes for the Civil Air Patrol. I don’t remember how they got over there.

When I graduated from high school in 1943 (there were only about six boys still in our class by then), we stayed out most of the night. I don’t think we did much. There was no gas to go anywhere and nothing was open. The next day, my mother woke me up around noon. Drapers had called. They were hiring for war work. I got down there by one and went to work, without a day off after graduation. One summer I worked there, spray painting magnetos, which was one of their “war jobs.” Another summer I worked in the shipping room. Orders would come in for parts and we’d get them out of bins. They weren’t making looms during the war, but there would be orders for shuttles, bobbins and various parts.

After I graduated from high school, I went to Bates College. When I’d come home for a vacation, I’d take a bus to Portland and the train to North Station. Sometimes the train would have to pull over on a siding to let a troop train go by. We’d wonder where they were going and what would happen to them.

When the milkweed pods were ripe, we’d pick them and put them in paper grocery bags. I think they were used as insulation in vests and jackets.. My father must have passed them on to whomever was in charge of dealing with such things.

I was working at Drapers again in the summer of ’45 when the war ended. On VJ Day, Howard Kinsley and Marion Billings came roaring up the street in a roadster, yelling that the war was over. Drapers closed for the day. People were all over the streets; it was like a parade. There was nothing organized, but I remember that there was lots of activity, and people were excited and happy. Muriel Tinkham, October 12, 2007

Then a few years later, Muriel sent these memories.

The Hurricane of ’38 and The Worcester Tornado

It was raining hard that day,, so my father sent the hired man, I think it was Linwood Hammond at that time, to school to pick up my sister Phyllis, Mary Elizabeth Burnham, and me.

When we got to the Nutter place where the Burnham’s lived, we got out with Mary Elizabeth. We noticed that the wind was getting stronger. They had a big hammock on the wraparound porch there, and, as we often did, we got in and began to swing it. We’d be told “No” when we were seen doing that. That day, however, it was the wind that was making it go back and forth.

Mary Elizabeth’s mother told us to come inside. Before long we saw that the wind had blown the hammock off the hooks and out onto the lawn between their house and ours. As time went on, the wind became stronger. The lights went out. Mary Elizabeth’s mother had lived in Florida and knew what hurricanes were like. She had us go down into the finished cellar. She was afraid of what could happen, but we weren’t.

At about seven or so, my mother came over from our house because she and my father wanted us to come home. On our way, we saw that branches and wires were down everywhere. Some of the wires were live, so we had to be careful of where we stepped.

We had a shed down back where some of the older farm equipment was kept. Father went down there to try to keep it from being blown down, but he wasn’t successful. The corn crib was blown down also. It wasn’t devastating, but it was unfortunate that we lost them.

A while after the storm, a temporary sawmill was set up in the vicinity of the Rustic Bridge. Cutting the trees that had come down in the Parklands kept it busy for several months. I don’t recall if they floated logs on Hopedale Pond, but they did that on some ponds in the area.

When we got back to school several days later, we learned that Mr. McNamara, the father of one of my classmates, had been killed during the storm. The McNamaras lived at 61 Bancroft Park, and the children’s grandparents lived a couple of houses away. When the two McNamara girls returned from school that day, instead of going home, they went to their grandparents’ house. As the storm got worse, their parents decided that their girls should be at home. Mr. McNamara went to get them, but as he left the house, the chimney blew off and the bricks came down and killed him. (61 Bancroft Park is the same address where the destined to be famous Joe Perry lived, until his family moved to Mill Street)

I also remember the Worcester tornado of 1953. I was married and living on Highland Street at the time. I was teaching at Hopedale High School that year. After school on the day of the tornado (June 9) all the teachers were in one room and we were working on the report cards. It got very dark and windy, but at the time, it didn’t seem to be that unusual. On the way home, I was listening to the radio in the car and that’s when I heard about the tornado. It  seemed so strange that all that devastation and death had been going on while we had been sitting there working on report cards just a few miles away.

Some time later we went up Route 140 to Shrewsbury. We saw trees there that were twisted and looked like a towel that had been wrung out. One of the Tinkham cousins, who lived in Shrewsbury, had MS. There was a woman who stayed with her during the day. She’d leave around five, and Don, the husband, would arrive home shortly after that. On the day of the tornado, it struck between the time the lady had left and Don had returned home. The tornado came down the street and knocked down every house except, fortunately, the Tinkham home. Muriel (Henry) Tinkham, September 2013

The Hurricane of 1938 – Wikipedia            The Worcester Tornado – Wikipedia  

                                        Muriel Henry Tinkham, Age 94
Springfield, New Hampshire

Muriel (Henry) Tinkham, 94, formerly of Philbrick Hill Road, died Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at Lebanon Center Genesis.

She was born in Milford, MA on December 28, 1924 the daughter of Norman S. and Marjorie E. (Ouderkirk) Henry. She graduated from Hopedale, MA High School and then from Bates College, Lewiston, ME magna cum laude in 1947. Muriel was a member of two honor societies-Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Sigma Iota. In 1948 she married Wesley L. Tinkham.

She had been a high school teacher teaching in Wrentham, MA, Nipmuc Regional High School in Mendon/Upton and Shrewsbury, MA High School retiring in 1980. She had lived in Westboro, MA for 13 years and was on the board of directors of Inman Rehabilitation Center while there.

Church was important to Muriel and she was active in churches where she lived including Upton, MA, Hopedale, MA and Westboro, MA. She moved to Springfield, NH in 1980 and was a member of The First Baptist Church of New London, the Baptist Women’s Fellowship and former treasurer, and one of the only remaining members of the Women’ s Mission Circle. Active in civic affairs, Muriel helped organize the Springfield Historical Museum, the pictorial directory for the Museum and had been a trustee at the Libby Cass Library. For many years she was an active tutor in the GED program working through the Newport Office. She had also been on the Board of Directors at Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association. Muriel enjoyed handwork including crewel and counted cross stitch, gardening and reading. She and her late husband, Wesley L. Tinkham who died in 2007, enjoyed traveling together.

Members of her family surviving include two sons and their wives, David W. and Mary Tinkham of West Lebanon, NH and James L. and Rhonda Tinkham of Springfield, NH; seven grandchildren, Andrew, Marc, Kathryn, Amber, Sara, Tamara and Jonathan; ten great grandchildren; one great great granddaughter; one brother, Charles E. Henry of Washington, PA; nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. in Pleasant View Cemetery, Springfield, NH. A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 15, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. at The First Baptist Church, 461 Main Street, New London, NH.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 336, New London, NH 03257 or Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association, P.O. Box 2209, New London, NH 03257.  Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 26, 2019