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Georgetown Remembered- Oral History Project  

In 1975, Mrs. Phyllis Kroll had a dream...4 years later it was accomlished. 45 students (7th & 8th graders) achieved the goal of recording the first town history booklet since Todd's History of Redding second edition of 1906. Redding Remembered is a record of people and events- and the oral history students that cared enough to capture the past, the present, the famous and not-so-famous. 25 years later this amazing body of work enters the "cyber-world" and I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I do. Submit your ideas or articles to bcolley@snet.net and please consider donating to the History of Redding so I can continue to provide updates to this web site.

Below are Articles Relating to Georgetown, Connecticut.

Little Boston
Harold IIes

Redding is calculated to be 190 miles from Boston, Massachusetts. How then did the geographical designation "Little Boston" come into being? Harold Iles, a knowledgeable man, who has lived in Redding most of his life, provided us with an answer.

"Little Boston is really quite famous and Redding people don't realize it. The Boston Post Road went thru Redding, upto Danbury and on to Boston. The reason the Boston Post Road went this far inland was that there were not any bridges along the coast. When the stagecoaches went over the road carrying the mail from New York City to Boston they passed thru what is now Georgetown. It was quite a joke among the drivers to say 'We're coming into Boston' to the passengers, long before they actually were coming into Boston. Passengers had been shaken up so much by the trip from New York that they figured it was about time for them to be coming into Boston. So, Mr. Iles concluded, they started calling that corner 'Little Boston'.

Near where Peaceable St. and Umpawaug Rd. meet in Georgetown, there is an area still called 'Little Boston'. And all because of a stagecoach driver's little joke there is even a road which is called Little Boston Lane.

Eric Peterson

Kids today look forward to getting a new pair of sneakers but when Harry Colley was young new sneakers was a much more significant event. "I think one of my most memorable experiences as I was growing up was getting new sneakers. I was allowed one pair of sneakers a year. I knew I was going to get the sneakers but at least four weeks before I'd start asking my mother for them. She'd always say, "Next week, next week," because they had to last me all summer and into the fall. But in Connery's Store (Corner of Rt. 57 & Old Mill Rd.) back then, they used to give a bat to everyone who purchased a pair of sneakers. Can you imagine that? This was just fantastic! And the bats always used to come in early. Every day I would go down to Connery's and swing a bat to see if it was the right weight, the right size, and the right color. I even looked at the grain in those days though I didn't know much about it...and when I found one that was just my size and everything, I would ask them to put my name on it and they would put it in the back room. Other children did the same, I wasn't the only one who did this. And then my day came to get my sneakers and to claim my bat at the same time. Let me tell you it was a great experience.

The Peanut Lady
Andrew Casey

Ebba Anderson is a true native Yankee- she is also one of Redding's most knowledgeable historians. Involved in town affairs for many years, she has just recently retired from her post as Assistant Town Clerk. This remarkable woman who presently lives in the same home she was born in, knows many stories of Redding's past, and the "Peanut Lady" is one of them.

When asked if she might remember the "Peanut Lady" a warm happy glow flashed for an instant across Ebba Anderson's face as she told us "Oh, do I ever! Mamma Joe was her name, Mamma Joe. She would walk up from Georgetown, with bags of peanuts; intent on selling, she would continue walking all the way to the Ridge."

"Mamma Joe was the wife of the proprietor of the peanut-roasting machine. This machine stood in a little fruit and vegetable store on the Main St. of Georgetown. The father and mother who ran the store were typical old-world Italians. They were the nicest people you would ever meet."

"These people had wonderful vegetables and lovely roasted peanuts. The Peanut Lady would come up to our house on a horse and rap on the windows yelling, 'Eh, Peanuts! Peanuts!' Then mother would come to the door and buy some!"

Miss Anderson went on to tell us, "People thought she was sort of crazy, absent in the head and the like, Maybe she wasn't playing 'It's a Beautiful Day,' but Mamma Joe was a harmless, lovely old lady; she really was, and I liked her very much."

"The Peanut Lady was awful nice to us kids, when we came home from school. She'd give us an apple that perhaps we didn't have to pay for. But if you laughed at her or made sport of her, I don't think she'd give you an apple. Yet, wouldn't that be true of you?"

And with this, her story ended. With a warm, radiant smile spreading across her face, she left us feeling quite good about ourselves, this remarkable woman, and the stories of Redding's past.

Percy St. John's "Home Remedies"
Bryan Kelly

Percy St. John is a true "old timer," probably one of Redding's oldest residents. A very active person, Mr. St. John is a man of many talents.

Throughout the interview, he had a special knack for sharing the unique knowledge gained during his long lifetime. He was delighted when he got a chance to speak of the "home remedies" he had picked up while fishing with an old doctor.

He confessed that in not smoking, not drinking alcohol, going to bed at 10:00pm every night and drinking a lot of milk, his home remedies had helped to carry him through his ninety-three years. He explained that he was not a doctor, but he could cure many ailments.

Living above the Georgetown Saloon, Mr. St. John gets many opportunites to "prescribe" his remedies to the saloon's customers and employees. When asked if he could tell about some of his remedies, a smile came across his face.

High Blood Pressure
"A fellow next door to me had high blood pressure," he recalled, "and called me in so I went and looked at him. I came right back here to my room, went to the ice box, chopped up some ice and put it in a thin towel (a heavy one's no good). I put the ice around his neck- it's got a cord there. You take the cord and push on it just a little, and in five minutes his high blood pressure was gone."

Thumbs and Steel Keys
"I sat down not too long ago," Mr. St. John went on. "A girl had a hiccupping spell. She sat at a table and I asked her, 'You want me to stop it?' She says, 'How you gonna stop it?' 'Do what I tell you,' I said. 'Take your two hands and put them about ten inches apart- no more. Make a fist with your thumbs up and focus one eye on the right thumb, and one eye on the left tumb, and gradually bring'em together- not too fast. When you get 'em together work them slowly outwards. I guarantee your hiccups will be gone.'

"Another night I was down there and another woman had a coughin' spell. So I took two keys (they've got to be steel) and I took those keys and put one on the right side of her neck and another on the left side of her neck and I just pressed them- not too hard- and it stopped her coughin'. If you have a nose bleed the steel keys will stop that too."

More Redding Remembered Articles will be added soon. Check back for updates.

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History of Redding is a not a business or an organization..It's one person working to promote the history of his hometown
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