Volunteering on the Farm


Marjorie Gould (left) and friend with tennis rackets










In honor of Veteran’s Day, I’d like to share that my great-aunt Marjorie Gould joined the Land Army during World War I. This was an effort by young educated women to fill in on the farms while the men who normally worked in agriculture went off to war.

“Miss Marjorie Gould of Avenue C and Thirty-second Street is one of the Land Army Units made up of Bayonne girls and is spending several weeks at Bedford Farms, N.Y.” — Jersey Journal, Sept. 24, 1918


Land Army volunteers in Bedford NY, 1917/1918

Groups of young women, mostly students and recent college graduates, worked at the Women’s Agricultural Camp in Bedford, where they wore blue shirts, overalls,  and straw hats and planted the fields of Northern Westchester, as Elaine Weiss describes in her book Fruits of Victory.  Many were also suffragettes.

Marjorie had graduated from Syracuse University in 1917, and was active in the Red Cross, the Methodist Church, the YMCA, and other organizations in Bayonne, where she grew up. Farming for the war effort must have been one more good cause and also an adventure for her. Her brother, Russell, was serving in the Army in France.  Unfortunately, it is not known whether Marjorie’s stint on the farm caused her to fall victim to the flu pandemic that had swept the country and had hit Bayonne hard that fall. Or if she had been volunteering with flu victims in Bayonne in the meantime.  However she caught the deadly virus, Marjorie died suddenly, not a month later, on Oct. 22.

Family.LandArmy.BedfordFamily.LandArmy.Fruits of Victory

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Organist at Disneyland

DeForest “Dee” Fisher (1920-1965) was the organist at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, and later at Sea World in San Diego.  Dee fisherHe was the son of Ida (Black) Fisher and her husband Orville Fisher.  Born in LA, the talented Dee was the photography editor of the yearbook at University High School and conductor of the UCLA band.  Ida was my grandmother Mabel Black Gould’s sister. Born in Watertown CT and trained as a nurse, she lived from 1891 to 1989. Dee fisher 2

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Stagecoach Driver

The Spinning Wheel Inn, Route 58, Tel. Redding 67 Redding Ridge, CT

The Spinning Wheel Inn, Route 58, Tel. Redding 67 Redding Ridge, CT

Spinning Wheel image

Spinning Wheel, Redding CT restaurant (current photo)

Today, the house on Route 58 (Black Rock Tpke) in Redding CT, where my fourth great grandfather Bradley Burr once lived, is The Spinning Wheel, a popular restaurant.

Bradley Burr was born in nearby Weston in 1794.  His father, John, died at sea when Bradley was ten.  On Dec. 20, 1820, he married Sallie Wheeler (1804-1860), of Easton, at the Redding Congregational Church.  They had eight children, including my third-great grandmother Julia Burr.  Burr was later active in the Methodist Church in Redding.


1860 federal census, Bradley Burr, Redding




Burr bought the property on Route 58 and lived in the white house with black shutters for many years. Burr had his hand in several businesses. The 1850 census lists him as a farmer. In 1860, at age 64, Burr is listed as a mail deliverer. Earlier censuses do not list an occupation, but do note that he has a black servant. According to some reports, the house was a stagecoach stop. Burr drove a four-horse stagecoach and delivered mail and merchandise between Danbury and Norwalk three times a week.  He also ran a boot and shoe business, possibly.

Family.Bradley Burr will

Bradley Burr’s Will, 1868


Bradley and Sally Burr, Redding Ridge Cemetery







Burr died at age 74 in 1868 and is buried in the Redding Ridge Cemetery in Redding. His will, which shows that he owned several properties, is now accessible on ancestry.com.

In 1925, the house was bought by Elaine Tottle, who opened a restaurant, the Spinning House Inn, which was  popular for locals and travelers. (See the map below). For a long time, a painting of Bradley Burr hung on the wall. In 1948, there was a fire and substantial renovation.  The inn eventually closed but reopened in the past several years with a new owners and new renovation. Business looks good and the Spinning Wheel is on my itinerary for my next trip to Connecticut.
spinning wheel inn 3

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Goulds and Treadwells

Lina and George Gould

Lina and George Gould









It’s always fascinating to learn how people met. I was looking at the 1870 Census and noticed that Deborah Burr (1826-1919) lived five houses away from cattle farmer and CT state representative Aaron Treadwell (1828-1896) in Redding CT. Deborah Burr was the sister of Julia Burr (1821-1907), George Henry Gould’s mother. No wonder that George Henry Gould (1849-1940) met Aaron Treadwell’s daughter, Lina Treadwell. They married 7 October 1873 and had seven children.


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92 Monte Vista

mama'shouse 001

In June 2015, I spotted an ad for the sale of 97 Heights Road in Ridgewood NJ.  This is the same house lot as 92 Monte Vista, owned by Mabel and J.H. Gould. After Mabel Gould’s death in 1994, the house was sold and subsequently mostly torn down and rebuilt.  The new house has only vague similarities to the original house designed and built by Mabel and J.H. Gould on a double empty lot in 194o’s.  Perhaps one of the pine trees in the back yard, planted by J.H. Gould, was left standing.  Maybe some of the sandstones on the side of the house remained.  Whatever!  The house in 2015 was on the market for a whopping $2,998,000, one of the highest prices in Ridgewood.  It now includes a pool (where Mama played croquet and Baba planted corn and raspberries) and pool house (there used to be a red woodshed).   Rob has been in the new house — and said it is unrecognizable.  High ceilings, a pool table room, a fancy kitchen.  (Remember Mama’s blue linoleum floor?)

I plan to do more research on the house’s history for a future posting.

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Grandma Black’s 80th Birthday

Town Times: An Oakville-Watertown Weekly, September 17, 1848

“Octogenarian Feted”Family.GrandmaBlack2

“Open house for Mrs. E.M. Black was held on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11, to celebrate her 80th birthday, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Deitz, Jr., of Northfield Road.  Mrs. Black wore a beautiful orchid telegraphed by her son, Lieut. Col. Ira Black and his wife from Camp Breckenridge, Ky. when he found he was unable to attend. A large bouquet of flowers from friends decorated her house. Telegrams and small gifts arrived often. Light refreshments were served. The party was given by her children, Mrs. F. N. Barlow and Mr. and Mrs. R.J. Black.”



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John Black’s barn

Family.JohnM.Black barn on Blackville Road

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