Looking Back – February 2019

Village post office/store about 1890. pictured are Postmaster Mather Grimes, Mrs Grimes, daughter Mabel Grimes, Henry Stillson and editor W.R. Gildart

Stockbridge was a very different place 180 years ago when records listed the early settlement with a population of 657 and, in 1839, an assessed valuation of $78,497.00 with 104 resident taxpayers. The price of government land was fixed at $1.25 or 10 shillings per acre regardless of condition or fertility. Elias Clarke built and opened a gristmill on Main Street west of the brook. When he died, it was sold to Shep Cobb.

Beginning in 1838, mail was delivered to Stockbridge from Dexter, first by horseback and later by stage. The railroad replace both in 1883.

In 1849 Silas Beebe of Stockbridge reported on difficulties in constructing Dexter Trail from Mason to Dexter. The original sketch for the road showed it running southeasterly from Mason to Dansville, then South by east into Bunkerhill Township. From there it continued to Stockbridge Road, Williamsville, Unadilla, and Dexter. The route was an early state road project and still runs much the same.

In more recent times, February 1999 to be exact, Fox47 reported health code violations in the Stockbridge High School kitchen, but excluded the fact that the violations had been found and repaired in April of 1998. Also in 1999, the high school featured its second annual Evening of the Arts.

February 2009, the temperature “soared” to the 40s giving a brief reprieve from winter cold. A family home on Catholic Church Road was lost to fire. Later in that month Harvest Home Adult Foster Care closed. Nine-year-old Grace Schniers found a fossil trilobite (ancient sea creature) over 500 million years old on the school track after a class study on fossil history.

In 1989 Stockbridge School District 4th graders surpassed state MEAP averages in math, reading, and science while 7th graders were also high in reading and science but below average in math. The Board of Education reaffirmed the Student Code of Conduct.

In the same month Alltel made plans to improve telephone service to Fitchburg. A fire on the farm of Wayne Cummins led to the loss of 8 Arabian Show Horses.

Also in 1989 three middle school students were local area winners of the “America and Me” essay contest. Winners were: first Hien Dang, second Matt Williams and third Janeen Musselman. Stockbridge High School student Jon Jarrell served as a student/reserve police officer in Henrietta Township,

More recent papers included brief snippets from earlier times. Some of these interesting factoids are Norene Wesson, High School class valedictorian in 1939 received an award from Readers Digest. In 1909 W.J. Dancer was selling cloaks, shawls and furs and Mutual Telephone Co. held an annual meeting at the Stilson School in Stockbridge. Also  Foley’s Honey and Tea was advertised as a laxative cough remedy.

Diane Rockall serves on the Community News Board of Directors

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