Odds & ends

Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email knotz69@gmail.com

What I call odds & ends are little tidbits of history that by themselves don’t make a story. Here are a few of those tidbits. The Chester Advertiser was a newspaper published in Chester by A.N. Chandler. The historical society has The Chester Advertiser from the 1890s into the early 1900s.

Chester Advertiser May 20th, 1899

Aid Steamer Fire Company is the stone building on School Street, near the footbridge.

“The members of Aid Steamer Fire Company are arranging for a lawn party to be given in front of the engine house next Wednesday evening, May 24. Ice cream and cake will be served from 7 to 10 o’clock, and in addition, a literary program will be presented consisting of vocal and instrumental music, reading, etc. It is hoped that the people will turn out and thus show their appreciation for the organization. Remember the date, Wednesday, May 24.”

The Cheese factory on North Street. Photo provided by Chester Historical Society
The Cheese factory on North Street. Photo provided by Chester Historical Society

  Chester Advertiser July 27th, 1906

“The large Chester cheese factory which was erected in 1870 was destroyed by fire last week Thursday night about twelve o’clock together with contents which is said to include about $600 worth of cheese. The fire started in the north end of the building and on account of lack of water the fire department could do but very little work. The building was two stories high and large hall was on the second floor which was used many years ago for dancing, parties etc. A tenement was in the south end and the occupants lost nearly all they had. The Factory and contents were partially covered by insurance. The cause is still unknown.”

The photo with this article is the cheese factory. The large room upstairs was where they aged their cheese.

  Chester Advertiser August 11th, 1906

“Last Saturday afternoon lightning struck the house at the Henry farm now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding and one room upstairs was completely riddled, the lightning tearing the lath and plaster entirely off. The most peculiar part of the circumstance was that Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding did not know of the damage done until they were about to retire for the night, although they realized that the lightning struck near at the time. Another peculiar thing as well as fortunate was that no fire started.”

  Lucy Harris’s Diary – 1910

“Monday, March 8th Chimney fire in front room burned out. Edward Spaulding and Cliff Carlisle came up with chemical wagon, worked an hour putting out fire and cleaning chimney.”

Sisters Mary and Lucy Harris lived where Bill Dakin’s law office is today. Ed Spaulding would have been 17 years old. You may recall I recently submitted an article written by Ed Kendall where he recalled Yosemite’s early days. Kendall mentioned Yosemite taking in boys as members. Ed Spaulding was one of those boys.

  Newfane flea market

Years ago I used to sell antiques I bought during the week at the Newfane flea market. Every Sunday I was there about 8 a.m. Most dealers were there by 6 a.m. I had a plan. I would arrive after the early birds were set up. Mixed in were a few retail buyers looking for a bargain.

When I pulled in, my truck was piled high with tables and chairs like the Beverly Hillbillies. People would run alongside the truck asking how much a certain table or chair was on top of the load. When I got to my space and climbed up into the truck to unload, hands were reaching up everywhere to help unload. I would stand in the bed of truck barking out prices.

There was always someone who asked a price that knew if he didn’t take it the person behind him would. Greed set in. As it did, I raised my prices. It was a selling frenzy for about 30 minutes.

One time I had two hog scraper candlesticks. I was in the truck bed when a man held them up and asked, ”How much?” “$35 each.” “Can you do any better? “Yeah $75.” He bought both.

  Grafton store

Ted Spaulding told me a story, told to him, about the man who owned the Grafton store years ago. An accountant or tax assessor came in the store and announced he was there to see the owner’s assets. The storeowner pointed to an upper shelf with bedpans and chamber pots, “There,” he said.

  This week’s old saying is from a reader: “Willow wood is so bad that you can burn it in the summer to cool off.”

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