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Your Silent Neighbors: Frederick J. Hough

January 15, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Canton Town Historian 

Frederick J. Hough (1871-1952) was the classic Collins Company official of his era, long employed in the axe factory and civic minded.  He was born in Collinsville and spent his entire life here.  He worked for the Collins Company for 60 years, the last 30 as superintendent.  He represented Canton in the legislature for two terms, in 1927 and again in 1929.  He was a thirty-second degree Mason and the oldest past master of the Village Lodge, AF & FM.  Hough was also a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church.

A newspaper photo of Hough in his mid 30s shows a serious looking man with dark hair and a luxuriant mustache.  He’s formally dressed in a suit and tie with an upturned collar.  He died at home at age 80.

Frederick J. Hough is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net

Your Silent Neighbors: Caroline Konold

January 1, 2018 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Canton Town Historian  

At age ten, Caroline Konold (1844-1908) came to Collinsville from Germany with her parents, the youngest of ten children.  She married Ulrich Haury on February 14, 1864, two years after he emigrated from Germany.  He was employed by the Collins Company and later ran a very successful grocery store.  As a result, Caroline had many connections to the business life of Collinsville, which included many fellow immigrants.

Haury was a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church.  She had a son and a daughter.  One news report called her “a woman of strength of character and of a loveable disposition that endeared her to a large circle of friends.”

She underwent surgery at Hartford Hospital and died there after a month’s stay.  The pallbearers were six of her nephews.

Caroline Haury is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net.

Your Silent Neighbors: Walter L. Carlson, Eleven Year-Old Drowning Victim

December 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Staff Writer 

Along with his brothers Elmer and Carl, Walter Carlson (1908-1919) was crossing the Farmington River ice in February just below the stone piers where the upper railroad bridge then crossed. All three boys broke through the ice. Their cries could be heard on shore. Theodore Miller found a rope and carefully crawled out on the frozen river. He fastened the rope around both Elmer and Carl and pulled them to safety. Unfortunately, Walter was drawn under the ice. When his body was recovered later, rescuers attempted to revive him with a pulmotor, a respiratory apparatus for pumping oxygen or air into and out of the lungs.  Their efforts were unsuccessful. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Harlow A. Wheelock, Civil War Veteran, ‘Estimable Citizen’

December 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Harlow A. Wheelock (1842-1917) was born and raised in Monterey, Massachusetts where he started his working life as a rake maker.  He served for roughly a year during the Civil War with Company F of the Forty-ninth Massachusetts Regiment.

Around 1872, he came to Collinsville and lived on High Street for about nine years, afterward moving to Canton Street where he resided for thirty-six years.  He worked as a carpenter with his brother, John.  He was also employed in the knife handling department of the Collins Company for over three decades.  He was a member of the Collinsville Congregational Church and for many years he served on the Canton school board.

Wheelock was described in one newspaper account as “a man who to rare degree had the esteem of his fellow citizens.”  He died at his Canton Streethome after a year-long illness that ended his working career.  “He passed the years of a long life,” the paper reported, “without a word ever having been said against him as a man and citizen.” … Continue Reading

Our Silent Neighbors: Leslie Terry, 14 Year old Boy Killed by a Friend

November 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian  

At age 14 Leslie Terry (1907-1920) was accidentally shot and killed with a .32 caliber revolver by George Douglas, his friend of the same age, while the two were playing “wild west” in imitation of movies they had seen.  The bullet hit Terry in the heart and left lung and sent him crashing to the floor. Distraught at what he had done, Douglas later turned the gun on himself.

On July, 29, 1920, the boys were at the Main Street home of 18 year-old Kenneth Chapin with a third boy, Norman Wheeler. The four had intended to go on a berrying trip. When the other boys arrived at Chapin’s home he was busy with some chores so they hung out in a room on the second floor while waiting.  After a few minutes, a shot was heard and Wheeler ran downstairs to tell Chapin what had happened.

As Wheeler rushed off to get Dr. Kilbourn, Chapin went to a neighbor’s telephone in hope of hurrying a response. When he came back, Terry was on the first floor and had fallen between the dining room doors with Douglas beside him. Chapin went out again looking for the doctor and when he returned Douglas was on the stairs, but unseen. Dr. Kilbourn soon arrived and pronounced Terry dead. On hearing he had killed his friend, Douglasshot at his right temple and the bullet lodged between his eyes. A surprised Dr. Kilbourn and Chapin turned to see Douglas with the smoking gun.  Emergency medical attention was given and Douglas was rushed to St. Francis Hospital where he lay in “serious” condition. Physicians feared he might lose sight in one if not both eyes. Two days later, he was said to be resting comfortably.

Douglas had finished grammar school and was to enter Collinsville High School in September.  He had been carrying the gun for “some time,” though it was not clear where he got it.  The boy had acquired “a sudden mania . . . for wild west stunts, which resulted from attendance at movie shows,” according to the Hartford Courant. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: M. Stanley Neal, Collins Company Foreman

November 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

M. Stanley Neal (1856-1949) was employed by the Collins Company for 51 years beginning around 1879.  He was mostly with the forging department of which he became the longtime foreman.  Prior to coming to Collinsville he spent a year working for the Gilbert Clock Company in Winsted.  He retired in 1930 and ran an insurance business for 25 years.  Born in Paris, New York in Oneida County, he attended schools in that area.

Neal was active in community life.  He was chairman of the Canton Board of Education, an incorporator of the Collinsville Savings Society, and president of the Collinsville Cemetery Association.  Neal was a Mason and the senior member and senior past master of the Village Lodge, AF and FM as well as past master of the Hartford County Past Masters Association. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Frank E. Wilder, Collins Co. Chief Electrician

October 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

 

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Frank E. Wilder (1896-1948), chief electrician for the Collins Company, was killed in an explosion at age 52 while at work.  Wilder was standing in front of a newly installed boiler. He died instantly of head trauma when the heavy front plates blew off and struck him. Wilder was attempting to relight the oil burner after it had been turned off for about five minutes. “It is believed that oil fumes collected during the lapse in operation and were ignited when Mr. Wilder applied a torch to the lighting vent,” according to The Hartford Times. State Department of Labor investigators were called to the scene.  The factory sustained minimal damage although windows were shattered up to thirty feet away.  The explosion could be heard for some distance, perhaps by his family living on lower South Street.

… Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Fred R. Widen, Musician & Museum Curator

October 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

Fred R. Widen (1884-1952), a pattern maker for the Collins Company, had an interest in history and began collecting objects related to the factory and Canton. His collection grew rapidly. In the 1930s, he was given space to display his artifacts in the Company recreation hall that had once been a shed for assembling and painting plows. At the time, the building still contained a bowling alley on the second floor and a shooting gallery in the basement. Eventually, the collection filled three rooms in the south end of the first floor. Today the building is home to the Canton Historical Museum.

Widen’s museum contained a variety of Collins tools including axes, machetes, shovels, and hammers. He also displayed a blacksmith’s forge and tools, old fire trucks, a Victorian barber shop, and nineteenth century costumes. He collected and cataloged relevant articles about the Collins Company and the town.  In Widen’s time, the museum was rarely open to the public, and only on request. News reports indicate the collection received rave reviews and that people came from some distance to see it. … Continue Reading

Your Silent Neighbors: Arthur Olson, Selectman

September 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

Arthur Olson (1894-1958) was one of Canton’s most respected citizens when he died at age 64 at Hartford Hospital after a brief illness. Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, he served as a private in the army during World War I and was honorably discharged in June 1919, having spent his military career stateside. He lived in Canton for 45 years and served as second selectman and foreman of the highway department for 19 years.  Olson was also an ex-officio member of the Canton Planning Commission in his role as town engineer.

Olson “was the kind of man who made you proud to be a member of the human race,” wrote L. K. Porritt in a letter to the newspaper. “Few towns have ever been so fortunate to have had so tireless and conscientious a servant as he was.” This sentiment was echoed by John B. Wright who noted in the same paper that “with gay banter and cheerful industry he pursued his rounds. His Yankee good sense got things done and done right without fuss and feathers.” For Olson, Wright observed, “fellowship with all men of good will was as natural as breathing.” … Continue Reading

Friends, family, community honor the late Gordon Keller

August 21, 2017 Community No Comments

Above: Race participants and supporters honoring the late Gordon T. Keller gather for a group photo. Below, left: Alyson Keller, with Riley and Lily.

Photos by John Fitts

By John Fitts

There was a sea of red at the annual Lobster Loop in Canton Sunday as dozens of community members donned red “Flash” shirts in honor of the late Gordon T. Keller.

A long-time resident of Canton and native of Burlington, Keller, 42, was killed while riding his bicycle on Route 44 in New Hartford June 20.

Several dozen people wore lightning bolts T-shirts Sunday, Aug. 20 at the 26th annual Lobster Loop, which supports the Canton Middle School Parent Teacher Organization.

The shirts, with the nod to The Flash character, and “I Tri for Gordon” inscribed on the back, alluded to Keller’s athletic ability but his wife Alyson said it meant so much more. He always did his best, she said, in everything, whether it was being a father to their children Riley and Lily, making weekend breakfasts, solving technical issues or coaching other athletes.

“That’s who he was,” Alyson Keller said. “He wasn’t just a triathlete. He tried so hard at everything he did, everything.”

See more in this week’s Valley Press as well as a tribute story in the September issue of Valley Life.

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Have you ever wished you could continue to bowl without putting on bowling shoes or lugging a heavy ball?  You’re in LUCK!!  Join the Canton Senior Center Wii Bowling Team, The Canton Rollers.  Show off your bowling skills or learn new ones at the Senior Center.  Mondays at 1:30pm, Wednesdays ...