Wolcott Historical Society News - September 2010
By Florence Goodman
In this edition I will conclude the discussion of farms in the South West District of the town, which includes farmland found in the Woodtick Road/Frisbie School area and west on Wolcott Road. These farms are the Willow Brook Dairy, C.F. Munson Farm, Harvey W.Coe Farm, A.H. Norton Farm and Sills Farm, MacCormack's Cider Mill, Yuskis Farm, and the Hock/Smith Farm.
The Willow Brook Dairy was located on Tosun Road and established in 1941 by Dave, Rip and Sam Tosun. The Tosun farmhouse was located up on the hill and the barn and the dairy operations were down below close to where Ultimate Services greenhouses are located today. The Tosun brothers had about 100 dairy cows on the farm from which they collected, pasteurized and bottled their milk. They delivered milk door-to-door in Wolcott and surrounding towns. They also delivered milk to the schools in Wolcott for the lunch program. The Dairy was in operation until 1963.
The Munson Farm covered a large parcel of land on parts of Wolf Hill and Munson Roads, and Kreger Drive out to Wolcott Road. The large colonial revival style house that was located on Munson Road was demolished several years ago because it had fallen into disrepair. The house was built circa 1825 for Ephriam Hall who sold the house and over 200 acres of land to William A. Munson in 1861.
Frank Webber, who was born in the house, stated that the front door on the left led into a room that was used for funerals or weddings and that the original structure consisted of one room, but over time rooms were added or eliminated changing its appearance. The MunsonŐs raised vegetables on the farm and for many years they recruited orphan boys from Europe to live and work on the farm. Frank Webber stated in an interview with Greg Nolan in 1989 that, "A historical fact of interest is that across the street from the house was a barn and carriage stable with a secret cellar that was used to hide runaway slaves before the Civil War"
Harvey W. Coe owned a large tract of land from Bound Line Road down Coe Road to Munson and Fairclough Roads. When the Woodtick Reservoir was constructed, Fairclough Road and much of the properties along the road were covered by water. A land deed from Harvey W. Coe dated April 12, 1912, stated, "Mr. Coe reserves the rights for himself and his heirs to use one rowboat on waters of the lake proposed to be formed by the erection of the dam, to fish in the waters of said lake, and to take ice from the surface of such lake for personal and domestic uses only, and to use any portion of the land not flooded, up to the water line for cutting grass and for pasturing purposes."
As the Coe family grew, members acquired parcels of land, which they farmed. They tilled the soil and built their homes on the property. Flax was one of the crops raised on the Coe Farms by Harvey, Warren and Mary Basset Coe. The Coe house located at 61 Coe Road was built by Elmer and Gertrude Coe in 1885 on seventeen acres of land. That house and land were taken over by their son, Albert, who lived there with his wife and four children for many years. That property was sold in 1986 for residential real estate development.
A.H. Norton Farm was located on Wolcott Road across from Munson Road. This multi-acreage farm consisted of a house and large barn built into the hill where Sunrise Road is today. Later the Sills family owned the farm.
William MacCormack's Cider Mill was located in the house on the corner of Potuccos Ring Road and Wolcott Road next to Bill and Sam's Diner. The mill was in operation each fall and everyone waited patiently to taste the wonderful cider that he produced. Bill MacCormack, who came to Wolcott in 1890, was known as the "cider king." He owned a very large tract of land along Potuccos Ring Road where he raised apples for cider production.
Yuskis Farm was found on Wolcott Road where the Rite Aid is located today. The barn was across the street where Dunkin Donuts is found. The Yuskis family raised pigs on their farm. In 1934, there was a shooting at the farm; John Crowe shot and killed Clarence Yuskis and his farmhand, Julius Karbauskas. Mr. Crowe was never found and the motive for the murders was speculated, but never known.
The 300-acre Hock/Smith Farm was located on Chestnut Hill/Grilley Road across from Mahan's Lakeview and was built in the 1930s. Originally Peter Hock's family only lived on this vegetable farm in the summer in cottages that were built on the land. They worked the farm all summer and then left for the winter. Eventually a permanent house was built in 1934 and the family worked the farm year round. The property consisted of the house and a large barn that housed a horse, three cows, a bull, and hundreds of chickens. There were also many orchards and gardens. The road was originally called Chestnut Hill, but was later changed to Grilley Road after a landowner in the area.
Across the street from the Hock/Smith farm was the Joseph Padula 200-acre farm. Padula's Farm was a dairy farm and Alma Smith stated that, "Émany times his cows would get loose and neighbors would have to chase them back to the grazing area."
This concludes the section on the farms found in the South West District of Wolcott, but it doe not mean these were the only farms located in the district. Next month I will begin to discuss farms found in the West District of town
(Information for this article was taken from The History of Wolcott, Connecticut from 1731 to 1874 by Samuel Orcutt, 1986 Historic Resources Inventory by Paul Loether, an interview with Elaine King by Laura Brenes, 1989, an interview with Alma Smith by Brittany Kilfeather, 1990s, an interview with Frank Webber by Greg Nolan, 1989, an interview with Marlene Tosun by Flo Goodman, July 2010.)
Our Schoolhouse Museum is open by appointment only during the winter, spring, and summer months. Anyone interested in visiting the Museum, please call Loretta Leonard at 203-879-4310 or Flo Goodman 203-879-9818. Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at the Old Stone School on Nichols Road at 6:30 PM.
Willow Brook Dairy bottle cap.
-The Munson Family in 1894; (left to right) Lena Munson Cole, Frank Munson with Grace Webber on his lap, unidentified housekeeper, Miss Edna Mix, boarder and teacher at old stone school, Mrs. Avalena Frisbie Munson, and two hired hands.
Munson house, built circa 1825, photo circa 1989.
Elmer Coe house built in 1885.
A. H. Norton farm on Wolcott Road.
Yuskis house in 1934.
Yuskis barn, garage and hog pens in 1934.
Hock/Smith house on Grilley Road in 1936.
Conrad Hock plowing fields in 1934.
1935 view of Chestnut Hill Reservoir or Lyman's Pond.
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