One-Room School House (updated)

Nova Scotia School, 22 Deforest Street, Watertown CT (2016)

My grandmother Mabel Black Gould (1893-1996) attended the small white-clapboard Nova Scotia School in Watertown CT as a young girl around the turn of the 20th century. Along with her siblings, she walked or road a horse from her home at Birch Farm on Northfield Road to the schoolhouse that was at the corner of Fern Hill Road and Route 6.

Mabel Gould and her brother Ray with their horses, Maude and Molly.
Mabel Black Gould’s childhood home
The Brick House at Birch Farm, Northfield Road, Watertown CT (2016)

The tiny school house was just one room with wooden desks. It held 28 elementary school-aged students. Mabel was an avid reader but the school only had a few books, and they were kept on a high shelf. She read all the books many times, she told me. Later in life, she would go the Ridgewood Public Library every week to borrow books.

My mother recalls Mabel telling the story of her black stockings. Every day, she wore black stockings to school. One morning, her stockings were torn, and she had no others. So her mother, Grandma Black, used a black marker to hide the hole.

I don’t know the name of her teacher, but Miss Jessie Wheeler was teaching in the school house in 1898, around the time when Mabel might have started school at the age of five.

Waterbury Evening Democrat April 19, 1898

The school was active in the community of Watertown. As this undated newspaper clipping shows, the Nova Scotia teacher organized a picnic with a program that included recitations by Mabel and her siblings.

On another occasion, the whole school went to Mabel’s home at Birch Farm to have a picnic.

E.M. Black was Mabel Black Gould’s father, Elnathan Mitchell Black.
Waterbury Evening Democrat June 27, 1903

Mabel went on to graduate from high school in Watertown. In another post, I will tell you about Mabel’s teacher-training and career as a teacher before her marriage to J. Howard Gould.

Mabel Black Gould walking to school across a field in Watertown CT,
circa 1908.

The Nova Scotia School closed in 1929. In 2009, the building was moved 22 Deforest Street in the center Watertown. (Interestingly, DeForest is a family name. Mabel’s great-grandmother was Anna Eliza DeForest). The school house is maintained by the Watertown Historical Society.

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Uncle Aaron

Aaron Treadwell Gould

My favorite great uncle was Aaron Treadwell Gould (1883-1973), named after his grandfather and uncle, both Aaron Treadwell. I would often see him at my grandparents’ house at 92 Monte Vista Avenue in Ridgewood. He lived in the village and came over to join us in a game of croquet on the back lawn followed by lemonade on the porch. With snow white hair and twinkling blue eyes, Aaron was quiet and soft-spoken, always interested in what others had to say, and had a quick smile.

Born in Bayonne, he was one of seven children of George Henry and Selina (Treadwell) Gould. He grew up in a large house on Avenue C. His father was a banker and his mother was active in the Methodist Church up the street.

Nellie, Elsie (top row)
Aaron, Harry, Howard (l to r)
Russell and Marjorie hadn’t been born yet

The family valued education, because Aaron and several siblings attended The Hasbrouk Institute in Jersey City, a challenging private school.

Hasbrouk Institute, Jersey City, NJ

My mother gave me several medals that Aaron earned at The Hasbrouk Institute, class of 1898. An article in the Jersey City News on 14 June 1898, reported he had the top grades in his graduating class.

Aaron graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1903. He was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity.

Amherst College, Amherst MA

After graduation, he returned to Bayonne. As the Chi PSi Purple and Gold Vol 19 reports: “Aaron T. Gould is in the grocery business in Bayonne NJ.”

Soon he joined his father in banking. Aaron worked as assistant treasurer at the Fifth Ward Savings Bank, in Jersey City. Aaron took over his father’s position as treasurer after his death in 1940.

Advertisement in the Jersey Journal, January 16, 1928

On Sept. 18 1909, he married Dorothea Lathbury (1885-1955) in East Norwich, Long Island. They had met in Bayonne, where Dorothea was a teacher. Her adoptive father, Reverend Albert Lathbury, married them in the Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 20 Sep. 1909, the newlyweds took the evening train to Washington DC for a honeymoon.

Dorothea Lathbury Gould

The couple lived in Bayonne, and then settled at 35 Woodside Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ, in 1930. They had one daughter, Louise Gould Gray. Louise would go on to graduate from Mount Holyoke College, work in publishing in New York City, and then follow the family footsteps to become a banker in NJ.

Aaron and daughter Louise, possibly in Watertown at Birch Farm
Dorothea, Aaron, Louise with George H. Gould
Aaron and Dorothea Gould with their collie

Dorothea died in 1955. Aaron moved into the nice yellow house at 386 Glenwood Road with Louise and her husband, Bill Gray.

But during the 1940s and 1950s, he was a leader in the men’s club at the Westside Presbyterian Church in Ridgewood, also attended by his brother J.H. Gould’s family. Aaron and his family sometimes summered in Asbury Park.

For several years, after Louise left home, Aaron and Dorothea wintered in Manhattan. The winter of 1940, they spent at the Gramercy Park Hotel, an elegant building in the heart of the city. When the 1940 census takers came knocking, Aaron was listed as a tenant at the hotel.

I imagine he and Dorothea had a wonderful winter in the city.

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Julia’s Wedding Box

This beautiful wooden wedding box was made by brothers William “Henry” and George Burr as a wedding gift for their older sister, Julia Burr Gould (1821-1907), my second great grandmother. Handmade wedding boxes were a popular tradition in the mid-19th century.

This label was found inside the box, which was given to me by my mother, Doris Malaspina.
It is possibly my grandmother Mabel Gould’s handwriting.

The box is sturdy and well put together. The dark wood is engraved with Julia’s initials “J B.” Graceful designs decorate the top and sides. 

Gold painted engraving covers Julia’s wedding box.

Inside the box is a photograph of one of the brothers, “Uncle Henry Burr,” a dark-haired young man. 

William Henry Burr (1831-1907)

Julia, who grew up in Redding Ridge CT, married Daniel B. Gould (1818-1858), who was born in Fairfield, the son of a farmer. The Bridgeport newspaper, The Republican Farmer, posted a brief notice on Oct. 10, 1848. Apparently Julia had been living across the Long Island Sound in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) NY at the time.

Daniel started off in the carriage making business in Bridgeport. Julia and Daniel had their only child, George Henry (named after her two brothers), in 1849.  The 1850 census shows that George and Henry, then age 19 and 21, lived with Julia and Daniel in Bridgeport. Henry worked in carriage manufacturing and George was a painter.

Later, Henry Burr married and returned to Redding Ridge, where he owned Ridgeside Farm (or Ridge Side Farm).   Ads for farm produce can be found in the local newspaper, The Newtown Bee, in the 1890s.

He also managed a large cattle and oxen stock. On Jan. 5, 1893, he posted a notice in “Country Gentleman” magazine that he was selling off his cattle “as I can no longer care for them.” The farmhouse still stands at 102 Black Rock Turnpike and was recently on the market. . 

Ridgeside Farm, Black Rock Turnpike, Redding CT, once owned by Julia’s brother William “Henry” Burr

Three of Henry’s children died of typhoid fever within days of each other in January 1877.  Only one of his children, Marcus Burr, survived into adulthood.

George Burr (1829-1915) moved to New York City in the 1870s.  He married three times and had five children, settling in Maspeth, Long Island.  He worked in manufacturing and was active in civic life. On his death, the local Brooklyn Times Union, June 3, 1915, recounted his contributions. “Mr Burr took an active interest in politics being prominently identified with the Republican Party. He at one time filled the position of Justice of the Peace in the old town of Newtown. He was for a number of years Tax Collector for School District 5 and also was a charter member of Hook and Ladder Co 5 of the old Volunteer fire dept. He was a member of Elmhurst (Newtown) Presbyterian Church and highly esteemed throughout the community where he lived. His many friends will greatly deplore his death and his familure face will be missed by everyone.”

As for my great great grandmother, Julia, her husband Daniel became an investor and banker in Bridgeport.  They lived in a house in the center of the city, but he must have taken some financial risks. When he died young, at the age of 39, she was left bankrupt and the house and contents, including a piano, were put up for sale. With her child, George, she returned to her parents’ house in Redding.

Julia never remarried.  She spent her final days in her son George’s home in Bayonne NJ, where she died at 85 on January 21, 1907. Her wedding box became a family treasure, carefully kept for over 100 years.  I’m still looking for a photograph of Julia Burr Gould.

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WWI Army Sergeant

Russell Lowell Gould

The last time I saw my great uncle, Russell Lowell Gould, was in the early 1980s. He was living in a cottage on a hill along a busy road in Bridgewater, CT. The son of George and Lina Gould, he was in his nineties and a widower, and a housekeeper was taking care of him. I stopped by with my mother, grandmother, and cousin, while on a day trip to Watertown. We didn’t stay long. Recently I asked my mother, his niece, what Russell was like, and she said he was quiet and a little stern, but also very nice.

Russell Gould and his sister Marjorie.

My favorite picture of him is with his younger sister Marjorie in the 1910s. He doesn’t seem at all stern. Growing up in Bayonne NJ, he had a busy social life, according to local newspapers that covered events like house parties, school events, and visits from friends and family. According to “The Heritage of Industrial Psychology,” by Leonard Ferguson, a book about his future field: “As would seem natural, Gould worked during summers and vacation periods and after school hours in his father’s bank.”

Russell graduated from Bayonne High School in 1909 and attended Wesleyan University like his brother, J. Howard and uncle Aaron Treadwell. He went on to Columbia University, where he earned an M.A. degree in Psychology in 1916. While a student, he was a fellow at the Bureau of Salesmanship Research at Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. His specialty was industrial psychology.

Wesleyan University yearbook
Wesleyan University yearbook 1910s

He worked in Pittsburgh as a researcher in psychology for Carnegie Tech for a short time, before joining in the Army on 20 Nov. 1917. He was the only one of four brothers to serve in World War I.

He entered as a private and left as a sergeant. In this photo, he is visiting his family in Bayonne. The girl is probably his niece Louise Gould.

While he was away, his sister Marjorie died in the flu epidemic of 1918. Meanwhile, Russell’s unit, Headquarters Detachment Third Division, was in the thick of the war in France. According to “At midnight on 14 July 1918, the division earned lasting distinction. Engaged in the Aisne-Marne Offensive as a member of the American Expeditionary Force to Europe, the division was protecting Paris with a position on the banks of the Marne River. The 7th Machine Gun Battalion of the 3rd Division rushed to Château-Thierry amid retreating French troops and held the Germans back at the Marne River. While surrounding units retreated, the 3rd Infantry Division, including the 30th and 38th Infantry Regiments, remained rock solid and earned its reputation in the Second Battle of the Marne as the “Rock of the Marne”.[3]” His unit suffered over 3,000 casualties.

Pennsylvania military record for Russell Gould

Russell sailed from Brest, France on 14 August 1919 to return home. He married Winifred Gertrude Sills on 3 May 1925. They lived in Westchester County, settling in Larchmont.

Russell Gould in front of his home in Larchmont NY

By 1940, according to the U.S. Census, Russell was a trust investor. On his 1942 draft registration card, his employer is the City Bank Farmers Trust Company located in a landmark Art Deco building in Manhattan.

City Bank Farmers Trust

In his later years, Russell moved to Bridgewater, CT, where he joined St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and served as the church’s auditor. He was active in other church affairs. He visited family, including a trip to California in 1967.

Russell with his niece, Janet Gould DeFelice,
and her family, 1967.

Russell died at the age of 97. He and Winifred are buried with her family in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

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Parcel Post?

Aaron Benedict Mead

Union Soldier. Abolitionist. Entrepreneur. Industrialist.

Aaron Benedict Mead, my 3rd great uncle and sister of my 3rd great grandmother Lois Mead Treadwell, was born in 1838 in Franklinville, New York. His father Merlin (my 4th great grandfather) was a teacher and abolitionist whose house was used for the Underground Railroad. Aaron moved to Waterbury, Connecticut, to attend high school and later work as a clerk in a dry goods store. When the Civil War broke out, he joined the First Connecticut Heavy Artillery in May 1861. He served for almost a year in forts around Washington DC, when a bout of pneumonia sent him home.

Aaron moved to Chicago, where he began working in real estate. His first pay of $2 he donated to Fisk University, a new college founded to educate freed slaves after the war.

Fisk University, Nashville TN, founded in 1866

Aaron became a prominent real estate investor in the Chicago. He joined partner Albert Coe to start Mead & Coe in 1868.

Daily Inter Ocean, Jan. 1, 1886

Aaron was also active in civic affairs, served as a deacon in the First Congregational Church, and had five children with his wife Mary Packard Mead.

According to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Aaron invented the parcel post to deliver packages to soldiers at war. But other sources say that it was his father Merlin who sought to send packages to soldiers during the Civil War, which would make more sense chronologically. I’ll keep trying to pin this down.

Northwest Arkansas Times, Jan. 28, 1972
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Farm for Sale

Redding cattle farmer Aaron Treadwell (1828-1896)

After the death of my great great grandfather Aaron Treadwell on Jan. 8, 1896 at the age of 67, the following notice appeared in the Newtown Bee on March 6:

“FARM FOR SALE- The farm of the late Aaron Treadwell consisting of 125 acres of good and productive land; large house and convenient barns and other outbuildings, 1 1/2 miles north of Redding Center, very near to Putnam Park. Good markets in Bethel and Danbury. About 80 acres meadow, producing good crops of hay. This farm is considered one of the best in town. For sale with the above if desired or separate; 135 acres pasture land known as the Jarvis farm, lying about one mile from homestead; also 92 acres of woodland east of Couch Hill, adjacent to the Newtown road, 16 acres woodland near the residence of Theron E. Platt. This is an opportunity to get a very desireable home at a reasonable price.”

Newtown Bee, March 6, 1896, p. 1.
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Tennis Champ

J. Howard Gould in his backyard in Ridgewood, circa 1962

When I knew my grandfather, J. Howard Gould, MD, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he was often working in his fruit and vegetable garden behind his house at 92 Monte Vista Avenue in Ridgewood NJ. He grew raspberries, corn, tomatoes, and other crops. As a family doctor, he still took care of a few patients, seeing them in the “library,” a room off the front hall of the house. And he loved ice cream, bringing home gallons of vanilla ice cream from Terwilligers & Wakefields.

More recently, I discovered that “Baba,” as his grandchildren called him, was a tennis champ as a young man.

J.Howard Gould (1887-1963)

 He was the college champion at Wesleyan University in CT, which he attended in the footsteps of his older brother Russell and his uncle Aaron. He stayed at Wesleyan for only one year before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania to study medicine.

Wesleyan University Yearbook 1905

As a young father starting his medical practice in Bayonne, Howard, as he was known to his family, found time to play tennis at the Bayonne Y.M.C.A. For at least three years he competed in the Tennis Finals. In 1913, he was the winner, as reported in the Jersey Journal.

Jersey Journal, 9-29-1913
Jersey Journal, 8-24-1914

Sadly, in 1915, the newspapers reported that he lost. “This match was long drawn out, rallies being the rule rather than the exception.”

Jersey Journal, 9-20-1915
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