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Oral Histories Index 

Date of Interview: 

Interviewer(s): 

Full Inteview

AALTO John and Dorothy Silva

Date of Interview: 

Oct 2, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

James Gould & David Martin

Echo Farm

Before it was a Golf Course or Fairgrounds its was a 103 acre Echo Farm owned by the Aalto family. Learn how the Barnstable Fair got started on the farm with pony and donkey rides and a track for sulkey races,

BODEN, Maryjo

Date of Interview: 

Jan 1, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

David Martin

Memories of summers at Camp Alpine

Maryjo was the daughter of the Head Counselor at the camp and went there each summer from 1947 to 1955

CHILDS, Lena

Date of Interview: 

Nov 9, 2009

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Downtown Marstons Mills in the 1920's from the daughter of the owner of what is now the Cash Market

Lena Jones Childs, nicknamed Peanut, lived in a house on the back of the Cash market her father owned. At that time it was set up with a soda fountain and marble counters. She recalled an airplane refueling there around 1930. She talked of locals like the Pinas and Perrys, Ted Hamblin Gideon Lovell etc.

CROCKER, Charlie

Date of Interview: 

Nov 30, 2009

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Bogs on or around Charlie's grandfather's 500 ares

information about the 8-10 Crocker bogs in Marstons Mills including Uncle Fred's Bog. Also information about the home on 256 Bog Road built in 1814 by Jedidiah Jones

CUNNINGHAM Joanne Budd

Date of Interview: 

Mar 30, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

Camp Alpine stories from the daught of its operator

Joanne's parents, Mark and Lillian Budd, operated Camp Alpine for years. The interview details how the property was purchased out of foreclosure in 1938 for $7000. She recalls the "Miracle of Mystic Lakes" where a womans parachute failed to open when she parachuted from a plane over the lake in 1960.

CUSHING, Vivian

Date of Interview: 

Jul 1, 2015

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Vivian Cushing (née Melix) , one of the founders of the Marstons Mills Historical Society tells her story

Vivian's father worked as a lobsterman in Cape Cod Bay for 40 years. She spent much of her youth in Sandwich, one of nine siblings. She met Wilbur Cushing who lived on River Road in Marstons Mills in 1946 and married a year later. She still lives in the house on Cedar Tree Neck Road in the Mills that Wilbur built. In her interview Vivian talked about various historic Mills individuals.

DAVENPORT, Sue

Date of Interview: 

Nov 10, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould and David Martin

The Gifford Farm, The Childen's House pre-school and the Thew Farm on Shubael's Pond

Sue is a former president of the Marstons Mills Historical Society after it was "reborn" around 1982. She and her husband Bill purchased a 26 acre farm on Shubael Pond from William Thew in 1948 for $13000. At its peak they raised 8,000 chickens (which were sold at the Cash Market at one point). The old Roseland Dance Hall was part of the farm, and the back area of the farm was used for army maneuvers. (combined with oral history from Sue Davenport.

DAVIS Joel

Date of Interview: 

Feb 11, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

Joel's father bought the 250 acre Seapuit Company with golf course and hotel.

Joel talks about their property and farm, and his father's fondness for breeding Arab and Morgan horses, as well as Percherons. He loved to drive out each afternoon in his Victoria.

DAVIS, Hobrook

Date of Interview: 

Oct 15, 2020

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Septuit Golf Course

DICK, Kay & Larry

Date of Interview: 

Jan 7, 2017

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould and David Martin

The Dicks, the Weeks House at 90 Hilltop Drive, and the County Fair

Kay worked for Loring Jones Jr. at the Cash Market for 16 years. Frank was at Otis Air Force Base. They owned the Weeks house which was originally thought to have been built in 1838 however the original house may have dated back to 1770. They were involved with the County Fair for more than 30 years. Their son, Larry Dick, recently donated a trove of posters and memorabilia to the Historic Society

DUCHESNEY, Audrey

Date of Interview: 

Feb 23, 2015

Interviewer(s): 

David Martin

Life in the Mills in the mid 20th century

Audrey, neé Lapham, and her 5 siblings grew up in Marstons Mills in the 1960's. Her oral history describes our Village as the place no one wants to leave.

FULLER, Barbara

Date of Interview: 

Aug 6, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

JIm Gould and David Martin

Memories of life in the village and on the Indian Ponds in the early 20th century

Meetings with whist parties, dances, and clambakes at the Santuit Grange, rides on a neighbor's farm tractor, milking cows, making ice cream and dandelion wine.

FULLER, Orin

Date of Interview: 

Jul 12, 1978

Interviewer(s): 

Tales of Cape Cod

A interview filled with vignettes of local life in the early 1900's

Orrin grew up on Fuller Farm on Rte. 149. His father was a farmer. They mainly grew produce for their own use. They stored milk in a bucket down a 20 foot well to keep it cold. His father also had a contract to drive a horse drawn school bus that accomodated about 18 students and only had curtained windows - no glass. Orin's sister played the piano for silent movies at the theaters in Cotuit and Osterville.

Stories of driving over to Wianno at Thanksgiving in a horse and carriage to see the fireworks and community Christmas celebrations at Libery Hall. Well worth the read!

GIFFORD, George Thomas

Date of Interview: 

Apr 1, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

Another Charming interview of life in the early 1900's and work at the Gifford farm

Read about drumers, called that because they tried to drum up trade, or coopers who made wooden casks or slaughtering cows if they'd "go farrow", selling the meat for 10 cents a pound, or making grappling hooks during prohibition by welding with a farrier's tongs and hammer. When the Coast Guard got too close the boatman would drop the liquor over the side in a burlap bag for pick up later.

GIFFORD, George Thomas Jr. #1

Date of Interview: 

Sep 1, 2006

Interviewer(s): 

Autobiographical narrative

Local life in and around the Gifford Farm

The Gifford farm was a gathering spot for family and friends. The fire Station now stands on its summer pasture. Thom recalls a very noisy Clear Lake Duck farm and speaks of the history of Indian Lake Estates on what was then called Run Pond . Other tidbits: moving the General Store and a car crash at the post office building.

GIFFORD, George Thomas Jr. #2

Date of Interview: 

Sep 14, 2017

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould and David Martin

Vignettes on local life in the early 1900's

This interview is filled with charming vignettes about local life in the early 1900's: driving over to Wianno at Thanksgiving in a horse and carriage to see the fireworks, community Christmas celebrations at Libery Hall. Well worth the read!

GIFFORD, Nora Pierce

Date of Interview: 

Feb 1, 1972

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

More local memories from the early 1900’s

Nora Pierce Gifford grew up in the village near the noisy grist mill. When it was in operation the pond water lowered and got muddy, leading to altercations. Nora married Lorenzo Gifford and had 11 children. They bought the Gifford farm in 1919. She was the village postmaster from 1926 to 1941. Nora shares memories of the sinking of the Portland in 1890, husking bees, quilting bees, minstrel show and lessons she taught her son when he stole an unripe watermelon. She also spoke of the Osterville funeral of murdered 18 year old Lizzie Coleman in 1895.

GOULD, James

Date of Interview: 

Feb 15, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Dianne Kavanagh Potter & David Martin

A Summary of Jim's research on the Mills

Jim's chairmanship and membership in the Town of Barnstable Historical Commission resulted in active interest in preservation of endangered historic sites in Marstons Mills. When in 1995 Marstons Mills Historical Society was on the point of disoolution Jim took a lead in its rejuvenation. His protests saved the Burgess House from demolition in 1995. Jim began serious scholarly work on Marston's Mills history in 2000 as an extension of his inventory of historic houses in the Newtown (northern) section of Cotuit, which included genealogies of Portuguese Azorean families on both sides of the line. In 2001 he completed a history of the western side of Marstons Mills, also known as Newtown. This included National Register recording of 30 newly recorded historic houses dating back to 1790, and several archaeological sites.

HADLEY, Thomas W.

Date of Interview: 

Nov 5, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

Dianne Potter & Nancy Wong

The Clearwater Duck Farm on Hamblin Pond

Hadley's father established the farm on Clear Lake (now Hamblin Pond) where they raised peking ducks and turkeys, deliverying them to grocery stores throughout the Cape and Islands sometimes having someone ride shotgun to prevent hijackings.

HAMBLIN Charles

Date of Interview: 

Nov 5, 2009

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

A builder a socialist, a nudist

He worked on cranberry bogs his father started; ice cutting on Long Pond; Mystic Lake Band Concerts in the 1930's on the army field across from the Cape Airport. Bits of local life

HAMBLIN Mary Rogers

Date of Interview: 

May 1, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

Her strict family emigrated from the Azores

Mary Rogers Hamblin: writes extensively about her family’s emigration from the Azores, growing with a strict father who did not allow her to go out of the house or to high school, and who chose her husband Charles for her. Charles wanted to be a carpenter, but his father wanted him to have a cranberry bog. The barn by their home housed a fancy hearse with wheels detached. She also writes about the Terrible flu epidemic of 1919.

HAMBLIN, Forest

Date of Interview: 

Oct 10, 1977

Interviewer(s): 

Tales of Cape Cod

Kettling and the oyster business in Prince Cove

An interesting write up on local trade in the early 1900’s including kettling all over the Cape, the oyster business his family had on Prince Cove where two-masted sailing schooners traveled back and forth to Long Island. They would deliver vegetables from their market garden by boating pier to pier to the summer homes of tourists, Descriptions of the local schools, driving wagons in the dark, putting on plays that moved from town to town, and much more.

HAMBLIN, John F.

Date of Interview: 

Feb 8, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & Diane Kavanagh Potter

All about the different Hamblin cranberry bogs

If you are interested in details about different types of cranberries, changes in technology throughout the years, and the many bogs and their owners of our village, this is a must read.

HIGGINS, Priscilla

Date of Interview: 

Apr 1, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Unknown

Daughter of Dr. Higgins, born in 1902, Priscilla talks of her father’s practice and life in the Mills.

Her father was a practicing doctor in Marstons Mills in1894, having taken over the local practice from a Dr. Pierce. He went to see patients day and night in a car or with three high-stepping horses, charging $2 for a house call and $1 for an office visit toward the end of his career. His son later continued the practice. Her father had the first car on the Cape which was delivered unassembled! He later owned a Model T and a Model A. She talks of big sings in the Village Hall, traveling shows with snake oil salesmen, gypsies camping by the pond, and daily life in the Mills in the 1920's. The picture, taken in 1895, is of Dr. James Higgins and his family piled into a gas powered substitute for his Stanley Steamer which would freeze up in winter.

HILL Barbara

Date of Interview: 

Nov 25, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

David Martin

Growth in Marstons Mils and more

The past president of MMHS and librarian conducted numerous oral history interviews with Mills residents and talked of the rapid growth of the town from the 60's to 80's.

HILL, Barbara #2

Date of Interview: 

Mar 1, 2017

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Origins of the Historic Society; Many of the local folk

Barbara explains the origins of MMHS and its early members including Ted Pierce, a born raconteur who drove the village store delivery truck taking in gossip all the way. Also of one of the first cars on the Cape, the Hord Farm, and many locals.

HINCKLEY Maurice Cop

Date of Interview: 

Jul 1, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara HIll

Local anecdotes from a colorful 30 year cop born in 1915

Growing up in the mills in the 1930's. Talks about the Army Air Corps that camped out where the airport is today, of prohibition and bootlegging. A colorful raconteur, Maurice grew up without electiricity until he was about 10, and with no indoor toilet, or running water. His recollections about his youth and years as a policeman include tidbits about different properties, events (including a suicide), and local grievances. Expect a few chuckles. He does not appear to have been a man who held back.

HINCKLEY, Trafton

Date of Interview: 

Aug 1, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Dianne Kavanagh and Jim Gould

Memories of a trapper, commercial shellfisherman

Hinckley was a trapper and did commercial shellfishing on the Marston Mills River. He spoke of the river as being chock full of herrings. They raked quahogs from a boat. He worked several years for the Cotuit Oyster company.

HORD, Hannah Bergstrom

Date of Interview: 

Interviewer(s): 

Unknown

Undated recollection of a Swedish Immigrants family learning to dairy farm in early 1900's

Stories of her life in Sweden before they emigrated and her papa learning how to raise cows

KNOWLTON, Joan

Date of Interview: 

Nov 10, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Duck farm on Shubael Pond; female v. male doctors

Bill Knowles was known as the "Mayor of Marstons Mills" because he didn't hesitate to ask for things from the selectmen at the Town Hall, which met at the Hyannis movie theater at that time (apartments are there today). They lived across Route 149 from the entrance to Camp Alpine and could hear the bugle calls and PA system announcement during the summer months. They raised 8,000 chickens at their Thew Farm on Shubael pond. She spoke about Dr. Burgess as a female doctor in that time. Mills". (Combined with oral history from Sue Davenport.

LEACH, Susan

Date of Interview: 

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould

Daughter of the first Veteranarian of Cape Cod

Her father became the first veterinarian on Cape Cod in 1938. He established a large practice at Race Lane and Osterville-W. Barnstable Rd. After working the morning at his practice, he'd make house calls in a stationwagon with "Cape Cod Animal Hospital" lettered on the side.

LEWIS, Beryl

Date of Interview: 

Dec 10, 2010

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould

Living opposite from the Burgess family

Beryl, née Torrey, talks more about the Burgess family than she does about her own. They moved to the Mills when her 3 daughters were teenagers and lived at 588 Cotuit Road, across from the Burgess house.

MCCLUSKY, Robert & Judith McClusky Mikols

Date of Interview: 

Mar 8, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Dianne Kavanagh Potter & David Martin

Stories from mid-20th century from the son of one of the owners of the Cash Market

They grew up in the Revilo Benson house.

MCPHEE, Maureen

Date of Interview: 

Nov 3, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Swimming in Long Pond, the nudist camp, granddaughter of the owner of the Cash Market.

Growing up in the Mills in the 1950's. She graduated HS in 1961. Her father owned the land where the Quonset Hut was built for the Marstons Mills Athletic and Civic Club that later ran Liberty Hall.

MELIX, Claire & Robert Parker

Date of Interview: 

Oct 1, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Memorable characters in the Mills; Camp Edwards in WWII; School Days

Growing up during WWII when Camp Edwards was very busy with soldiers. The end of the depression, the still at Sebatia Farm.

MENDES, Leonard

Date of Interview: 

Feb 28, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

Nancy Wong and Jim Gould

Cape Verdean families in Marstons Mills

Going to St. Jude's in Santuit, St. Anthony's festival in June for 75-100 guests with the women bringing corn soup, fish, and Jag (ric and beans). Homemade wine, Cape Verdean Music.

MEYER, Edith & John

Date of Interview: 

Aug 11, 2010

Interviewer(s): 

The revival of th Barnstable County Fair

They started planning for the revival of the Barnstable County Fair in 1953. He was an advance agent for small circuses and loved animals. Despite hurricanes and fear of the polio epidemic the Fair continued until 1973 when the Agricultural Society bought the land on Rt 151 where it is still held. Their sons were sulkey drivers on the Fair's racetrack. Cow milking, pie eating, cooking, horse pull sulkey racing, petting zoo, band concerts, fireworks, and Elephants! Must have been grand!

NICKERSON Janice Lapham

Date of Interview: 

Aug 16, 2017

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould and David Martin

The two room school house; growing up in the plains neighborhood

Delightful bits about living in the Mills in the 1940's and beyond. She attended elementary school in the 2-room school house where the gas station now is. You had to be able to tie and untie a ribbon on your finger to get into 1st grade. Growing up in the Plains neighborhood.

PARKER, Jean Gifford

Date of Interview: 

Jan 1, 1985

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

Informative and detailed description of life during the depression in Marstons MIlls

Growing up self-sustaining in the 1920's. Her dad delivered milk from their cows, first in a horse and wagon, then a Model T Ford. Watching silent films at Freedom Hall in Cotuit. She details how the windmill behind the house provided indoor running water. They got electricity when she was 17. Quilting frames, plum porridge, ducks priced at $.10/duck. Public Assistance distributing food at the Post Office during the depression. Early years at the general store (Cash Market)

PERRY, Loyse

Date of Interview: 

Nov 4, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

The amazing Cape Verdean entrepreneur Manuel Moniz

While it's not clear what the relationship is between Loyse Perry and Manuel Moniz, this oral history details how Moniz emigrated to the U.S. in 1912 from Brava, Cape Verde, then progressed from stevedore to chef and on to become a major builder in Marstons Mills and East Osterville.

PIERCE, Edwin Raymond

Date of Interview: 

Jan 21, 1965

Interviewer(s): 

Barbara Hill

A good read about life in the early 20th centuries with colorful characters and funny tales.

Born in 1905, his father had a cobbler's shop down by the pond where he mended harnesses, rubber boots, shoes, and belts for motorcycles, which were belt-driven in those days. The colorful characters who came into the store where he worked, a great story of Barnard Hinckley selling his sailboat and buying it back. Definitely worth a read.

POTTER, Dianne Kavanagh

Date of Interview: 

Apr 2, 2012

Interviewer(s): 

David Martin and Nancy Wong

Growing up spending summers in her family's house on Mistic Drive.

Dianne grew up spending summers in her parents' summer house on Mistic Drive. She details people and events in the 1950's and beyond as well as the stores in Osterville. Dianne remembers the Burgess House was on the front cover of the Boston Globe every year as the quintessential Cape Cod house.

RODERICK, Manuel

Date of Interview: 

May 5, 2014

Interviewer(s): 

Claire Melix & David Martin

The son of a Cape Verdean immigrant rose to establish his own construction company

Born on River Road, Manny founded Roderick Construction in 1981 doing waterworks and drainage, including the entire waterworks for New Seabury. He worked extensively with young people as a Cubmaster, Little League, baseball, and youth basket ball coach.

SMITH, Jane Pittendreigh

Date of Interview: 

May 1, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

The Houses on Rosa Lane

Jane describes the history of the home her family lived in from 1905-1948, 109 Rosa Lane, which her family tradition says was built before 1800. One ancester claimed it was built in 1749. She also describes 70 Rosa Lane, which is listed in the Village's Historic Structures (1838). She describes the Rosa, Weymouth, Sinnett, and Pittendreigh families.

SUTHERLAND, Lester

Date of Interview: 

Feb 1, 2020

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Marin

Septuit then and now

Lester describes the transformation of Seapuit to a housing development following its closing after the hurricane of 1944

THEW, Edward

Date of Interview: 

Dec 1, 2021

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Roseland Dance Hall & Race Lane races

Thew's father bought the Roselad Dancehall property He lived in a home opposite Fuller farm.

THIFAULT, Arthur

Date of Interview: 

Mar 4, 2011

Interviewer(s): 

James Gould, Claire Melix, David Martin

Rural postman rom 1958 to 1978

Arthur spent his teenage years in the Mills from 1938. He describes his family, and some of the local characters like the man who would tell his mother where fresh flowers had been placed in the cemetary which she'd then take off the grave.

THIFAULT, Charlie

Date of Interview: 

Oct 30, 2016

Interviewer(s): 

James Gould & David Martin

The Cash Market was where it was "happening" in the 1940-50's

Working at the Cash Market which was THE SPOT - the center of town where gossip spread. He describes some characters like the homeless long-haired hippy Tiger Watson who lived in a boat behind the Haydens -- until someone set the boat on fire.

VAN LEEUWEN, Kay

Date of Interview: 

Nov 16, 2010

Interviewer(s): 

Jim Gould & David Martin

Summer camp at Fair Acres in the 1950's

Living on Flint Street, Kay worked at Fair Acres Summer Camp. She described Schubael Pond at that time.

VERKADE, Kathy

Date of Interview: 

Feb 17, 2023

Interviewer(s): 

David Martin

A resident of the Mills since the 1960's

She talks about the development of Wakeby and Santuit-Newtown roads.

Transcripts of the following interviews are available offline by appointment

Bob Childs Larry Dick, Doris Crocker Easter, Arlene Fair, Ron Gifford, Norman Hord, Adele Pond Jones & Loring Jones Jr, Ben Perry, Jr., JoAnn & Charles Pina, Sebastian Pina, Taisto Ranta, Sheila O'Brien Sherman , and Eileen McCook Syzmanski

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