Friday Flashback #310

Today’s Friday Flashback comes courtesy of Seth Schachter’s extensive postcard collection.

This 1909 scene looks vaguely familiar:

Is it the Gault house and barn on South Compo?

The only hint is that it belonged to Thomas Turner.

Here’s the back of the postcard:

“Passive-aggressive” may not have been coined 113 years ago, but the phrase is an apt description of the message:

Well, your [sic] a great one why don’t you answer every one of my postals. I sent  you two or three and you sent me one.

Went to Danbury yesterday to Pomona Grange.

And that’s that.

Except for these mysteries: Who was Mr. Archibald Freeborn, at P.O. Box R?

And why was someone in Westport writing to someone in Lombard, Montana?

(This is not a mystery: “06880” is fully reader-supported. Please click here to contribute.) 

13 responses to “Friday Flashback #310

  1. Pretty sure that’s the Gault house, especially because of the barn locations. I lived there with a number of friends, including my future wife, back in the early 1970s. A bay window and wrap around porch had been added. Chris, Staples ‘65.

  2. Dan, Let’s have a contest. Let’s put forth original ideas as to why someone is writing successive e-mails to someone in Montana in 1909! This ought to be entertaining.

  3. Kathy Herlihy-Paoli

    Who ever wrote it likely worked for the railroad. I live in MT and had never heard of the town so I looked it up. It’s now a ghost town, but was once a railroad hub.

    • Robert M Gerrity

      And that’s how George/Archie got to Portland — via the RR! If it’s a ghost now, what was happening there (just cattle or wheat?) when it was a thriving concern? Thanks for the looking up, Kathy.

  4. Kathy, maybe the recipient of the post card worked for the railroad, since that person was in a railroad town in Montana.

  5. Robert M Gerrity

    Likely the following fellow:

    A.) “Archa Freeborn”, 1900 US Federal Census, Easton, Fairfield, Connecticut, p. 8.
    Age: 14, Birth Date: Mar 1886, Birthplace: Connecticut [Easton, as father Edward Freeborn there in 1860-1870-1880 cenuses],
    Home in 1900: Easton, Fairfield, Connecticut, House Number: 2, Sheet Number: 8, Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 149, Family Number: 196, Race: White, Gender: Male, Relation to Head of House: Son, Marital Status: Single, Father’s Name: Edward A Freeborn, Father’s Birthplace: Connecticut, USA, Mother’s Name: Sarah W FreebornMother’s Birthplace: Connecticut, Occupation: At School, Can Read: Yes, Can Write: Yes, Can Speak English: Yes.
    Family [all born CT] are listed as:
    Edward A Freeborn, 57 Head
    Sarah W Freeborn 54 Wife
    Edward Freeborn 32 Son
    May Freeborn 22 Daughter,
    Archa Freeborn 14 Son

    Father Edward was variously a farm laborer and then a farmer in Easton. He and Sarah had other children. Son Edward later owned and managed the farm. Parents Edward and Sarah are buried at Center Street Cem., Easton. There were several Freeborn families in Easton during the mid-19th century, but no descendants have memorialized them, it seems, as part of an Ancestry Public Family tree. See for her link to her husband, her son Edward and to her natal family.

    B.) Likely the “George Archie Freeborn” who resided in Oregon fon 25 April 1942 [WWII Draft Registration at] and who died there on 4 November 1953 [Oregon, U.S., State Deaths, 1864-1968 database at Ancestry digitally showing the official paper record]. His middle name was given as “Archibald,” place of birth as Easton CT, date of birth as 19 March 1889, Never Married, parents’ names unknown, stated to be a WW1 veteran [so should be a military record at Ancestry] who had resided in Oregon for 44 years [i.e. since 1909]. Archie was working as a traffic manager for John Deere, residing at 1990 S.E. Mulberry St., Portland. He died of a heart attack. The body was brought back to Easton. He is very likely buried with his parents but may not have a headstone in the plot as he has no memorial though older brother Edward does.

    C.) By 18 April 1910, Archie as George was residing Portland where, aged 23, he was a lodger, working as a “stenographer” for a bakery, having worked full-time for the previous year [US Census 1910, Portland Ward 5, Multnomah Co., Oregon, page 5,at].

    D.) So — The Post Card.
    (1) It might have reached Archie or it might not have. I think the latter per the “you haven’t replied” joshing by his childhood buddy who was likely working in Westport at the least [note stamp TIME is 6 PM, after window closing hours, so likely dropped off by 5 PM — there were two rounds of mail processing and delivery each day; day of week needs to be determined]. The (next) Impossible Question: Who was the buddy?
    (2) As the postcard was mailed in January 1909, and it seems Archie as “George” was residing in Oregon from about April 1909 [see above], the card got dead-lettered in Montana. The other possibility is it was forwarded and he kept it until he died with his effects being sold in Portland if they were not returned to family in CT.

  6. Robert M Gerrity

    As to Ponoma Grange, see:

    Someone or institution might have membership records.

    The statement “yesterday” means Wednesday as Jan. 28 was a Thursday. [Thank ye, Miss Google.]

  7. Robert, You get an A+ for your in-depth analysis!

    • Agree Jack! Robert – impressive research and logic that helps paint the picture!

    • Robert M Gerrity

      I owe at lot, of course, to all the teachers I had at:
      BEDFORD EL (for instance, creating a scrapbook on a major world event — I chose the French-Algerian war with the Daily News and the NY Post as sources, likely 4th or 5th grade);
      BEDFORD JR (about 8th grade, I researched in primary documents and secondary sources about the “Great Swamp Fight” — the massacre is how I described it — which was the 1st time I utilized the Pequot Library holdings — Treasures There Be There), and at:
      STAPLES (1966) — Mr. Bennett advised me to think about the “bigger picture,” though he himself produced a wonderful “building-history-up-from-the sources” instructional program on the theme of “what really happened at Lexington & Concord,” which, alas, I no longer have. Much later, I became, and remain, a Licensed Tour Guide for the Town of Concord, Massachusetts. Living there, well, doing THAT was a no brainer.

      You know, the kind of WESTPORT EDUCATION families of all political stripes mortgage themselves beyond the hilt for their children’s sakes EVEN NOW. In which, CRITICAL THINKING is prized because one has to, after all, live in REALITY. (Perhaps I should apply for a trademark on that, like CRT.)

      As to your career, Jack, thanks for your dedication and supportive attitude toward your students. Keep up your certifications. You may be needed in Florida as a “Yankee Reconstructionist” to bulwark The TRUTH in its schools. (Slaves were immigrants?)

      In the meantime, keep speaking that truth here at Dan’s playground.

  8. Robert, I appreciate the kind words. Actually, I taught in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1976 and 1977. I had a high school homeroom and 8 of the students still keep in touch with me. The students are now 60-ish and there’s a reunion in September near Fort Lauderdale. I’m going to send Dan a letter one student sent to me for my 70th birthday, and I’ll ask him to pass it on to you. Again, thanks for the kind words.

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