Alice Blossom was interviewed by Dorothy Gifford in 1976. She spoke about her family and work on the farm, and described some of her photographs.
LISTEN TO ALICE BLOSSOM
Interviewer – You’re Alice Blossom and the old Blossom homestead was right opposite your house, which was at 181 Blossom Road.
They tore down the house and built a barn and my father had a plow and he did a lot of farming. The farm went clear down to Watuppa Lake. That’s a lot of acreage. I don’t know how many acres he had. The cemetery is right along the road here with a wall around it. It should always be here, but they do have trouble with those cemeteries sometimes don’t they?
The stamp is hard to read, some of it I can’t quite make out. It’s been here all my life and I’m 95. Mr. Sherman was up here and I think he would have sold it, but I thought I’d save something for the—for you people. I think his wife collects that kind of silver.
In the original old house the rooms were big. Upstairs they didn’t put any doors on. They had fireplaces and she said the Indians (from the Indian Reservation here) used to go down and dig clams at night and come in and cook clams and eat what they wanted and leave some and then they’d go on down to Indian Town.
I suppose they left the doors off to let the heat circulate better, perhaps.
Dr. Bill and two or three others were up on the Reservation when I was little. He’d drink a little, and with his long white beard that shook, I used to be afraid of him a little. He’d gather all kinds of herbs and make medicine. My father didn’t hear well and I guess he talked to Dr. Bill, and he brought him some medicine for him to take. I don’t know whether he ever did.
A woman lived up here whom they said was a beautiful writer (calligrapher). I don’t remember her name.
She wrote the documents and anything that had to be especially good, I heard. I don’t know whether she’s living here or not. (Note: According to Marion Reed’s tape, her name was Violet Perry.)
Indian Town School House was on Blossom Road just before you get to Indian Town Road. There’s a fork up here and to stay on Blossom Road, you veer to the left and the schoolhouse is off to the right. They tore that down. My sister was up there and I don’t know whether they gave it to her or what, but I know it came from the Indian Town School. Isn’t it interesting? (A bell with a lovely sound).
I was secretary to Mr. Anson Berryman’s Company until I was 70 years old, and then I got a pension.
The Sharples didn’t live on Blossom Road, but they used to come to our church. When I was young, I heard a lot about Mr. Sharples. He was lost in the swamp, I think. Here’s a clipping about him. It says he was 78, a former whaling captain. His body was found floating in the water one mile off Round Hill, South Dartmouth.
(Looking at pictures) – Here’s Ernest Pelley, my brother-in-law. Course, he’s gone now. Here’s the whole family when they were younger. This one was lost in the war, took him over there and shot him.
Our present minister lives in Mattapoisett. He’s not a native here. He was retired and he was a Chaplain in the Masons. His name is Hayes. This picture is of a horse drawn threshing machine. It went from farm to farm to thresh the grain. I went to school at first, where the Grange Hall is now. Then I went down to ______ Street to the school down there. Then I went to business college and then I went to work in the city.
(Still looking at pictures) That’s Mrs. Waldo Sherman. She was my oldest sister. Her name was Mary Ella. My mother’s name was Ella.
This is Victor Pequot Perry and he was the last male Wapanoag Indian living in the Indian Reservation. His official Indian name was Pequot Pelowanquo. Charles T.B. Young was my mother’s brother and Ella Blossom was my mother. This is Waldo’s mother; she died in 1934.
The New Haven-Hartford (Railroad) used to go all the way through Westport and into New Bedford. When I was a little girl, and went to Sunday school, we used to go down Sanford Road and get on the train and go to Beulah. We’d think it was the funniest thing to go just that little way. There was one station down here at Sanford Road (North Westport) and the next place to get off was Beulah and they used to have camp meetings down to Beulah, you know. Some would have tents and stay down there. I was too young to go beyond Beulah and I don’t know what the next one (station) was—maybe Hemlock Station.
And, in the night, they heard him and they went out and there was a wire fence around him…the man that was stealing the turkeys. And, Harry Coop, they called him and he came over with his revolver, and they caught the Portuguese that was stealing turkeys—Manuel Caballo of Little Compton. I don’t think they got any turkeys. The turkeys began to make such a racket that they probably woke up the whole neighborhood.
Here’s Annett Pettey, who died after drinking a solution of nicotine sulphate. Her brother had been using it and he put it away in the cellar, she went down and thought she was drinking something else.
The road, Blossom Road, got its name from the original Blossom family. I don’t know when they came.
I was born in this house and when I was old enough, I went into school. I was born in this house and I never lived anywhere else. We used to walk if we couldn’t catch a ride. It was quite a long way. They did have streetcars then—electric cars—open in the front. They were electric. I do remember seeing horse cars, but I don’t remember that I ever rode on them. The men used to have to stand out in the open. They used to wear big heavy winter coats. They had stoves in some of the streetcars.
What did you have for heat?
Stoves. Now we have a furnace in the cellar. My mother was a good cook. She cooked a lot. She was a better cook than I am. I’m not a good cook or good housekeeper either for that mater. She used to cook great big pans of beans, you know, and she used to make cookies and doughnuts and oh! Everything. She was a Westporter. Her people lived right over there. She was a Young. Ella Young. It’s not the same house now. One time they lived down at South Westport and I think it was my mother’s sister who got some sort of lung trouble and they wanted to get away from the salt water.
Down on Sanford Road they say there used to be some charcoal makers. Do you remember anything about them? They burned the wood in conical ovens and the men who worked there go so dirty and black, that nobody wanted them around.
That was all before my time.
I used to drive horseback to hoist the hay. I did that a lot and in the end, there were automobiles, but father was about through with that kind of work. I used to top turnips (Macomber turnips) and I used to ride the hay rake. I didn’t cut the hay. I didn’t help much else on the farm. We had a vegetable garden. I’d go out and pick peas for lunch. Mother canned a lot of things and we had a lot of cows, sometimes the kittens would come around and you’d squirt the milk. They’d open their mouths and they’d catch it. I got kicked one time doing that. The cow didn’t like me doing that. We had a whole row of cows—more than a dozen, but not two dozen. We’d bring a lot of hay in the barn, and we’d go up to get it and sometimes we’d find a lot of kittens and we’d bring the kittens in and there were so many cats around under foot.
We raised corn too—just for the family and the cows. We made silage. They chopped the corn up very fine and put it in the silo. I don’t remember my father ever adding anything to it.
We used to have a strawberry bed and Alice Wordell Sampson and I would fix up a basket and get twenty-five cents a basket.
And, down on the farm, we had a ‘boiling spring,’ always cold, always boiling up. Don’t know how it happened to be there.
I didn’t have any brothers, so my father had to hire help. We always had hired men. He had one that stayed here. In the summer, they’d stay in the barn, and in the winter, they’d come in and they slept I the attic.
I remember, we had one Portuguese. He couldn’t speak English and I remember we used to come from school and try to teach him a little bit. He was interested, but of course, he didn’t have much time. Our help wasn’t all Portuguese. There was one – two, I can’t think of their names now—but, they were never in the house. They used to sleep in the attic because it was warm up there in the winter.
My oldest sister was the only one of us born over in the old house. There’s her picture at the gate with my mother.