We begin with the Seymour family
having just acquired a new dog, Mutt.

Father thought from the rope about his neck, which had a chewed end, that someone had tied him to a tree and left him to die.  We lived in the last house on the road to Riverton in Colebrook River; not another house for four miles, so people often abandoned unwanted cats and dogs on this road.

The next day Charles and mother cleaned and brushed his coat, and never again was this necessary, as Mutt took baths in the river and rolled on the grass and sand to dry and keep his unlovely coat shiny clean.

Mutt took over the Seymour family; he was a wonderful watch dog.  He, too, kept the farm free from woodchucks, and such a cow dog!  Every night and morning when the cows were out in the pasture, at the right time, without a word from Father, Mutt went to the pasture, rounded up the cows and drove them to the barn.  He never barked at the cows and controlled them with a growl if they tried to dally.  Mutt always had them all, they couldn’t hide from him.

He knew when it was time for Doris and Charles to come from school, and took up his watch for them from the driveway.  He would watch for Father and Mother to return home, too.  How we all grieved when he ate some spoiled meat used for trap bait by a neighbor.  He was so ill, and no treatment seemed to help.  Finally he could no longer walk and Charles carried him to the barn to his bed in the hay.  He slept himself into dog heaven.  One grand pet and friend was Mutt, king of mongrel dogs.

Then we had Rex; not much good, but to be loved and to help Father round up the cows.  He was Father’s last dog, and he tried to train him to drive the cows.  Rex brought them home, but barked at their heads instead of their heels.  The cows really chased him to the barn.  Rex walked many a mile with me when I was first home from the hospital.  He and I grew to be fast friends.  He was much loved by us all even with his many short comings.

After Rex was put to sleep and Mother and I were alone on the farm, Mitzie became our dog.  Like Rex, she was a pet to be loved.  She was everyone’s friend, but would bark and so did make strangers wary.  Mitzie couldn’t be broken of the habit of chasing cars, or trained as a cow dog as most collie-shepherd dogs can.  Ten years later when Mother and I moved to Winsted, we had her put to sleep as we didn’t want her to be uncared for, or hurt.

Our last summer at the farm, Pete guarded us.  He came from the Hartford Humane Society Dog Pound.  He was another mongrel; very lovable and very grateful for a home, food and care.  I’m so glad we had so many dog friends to grow up with us, as there is so much gained from dog companionship.

Grandfather and his heifer, Ruth

Grandfather Seymour lived on the farm next to us.  He had been a carpenter until he was about 60 -- too old to climb ladders, he felt.  He retired to a small farm.  He didn’t enjoy farming very much, and became quite out of sorts if his animals strayed from the pasture.

"Ruth" was a lively heifer who had been made to wear a poke to keep her from jumping fences.  She broke this one day and had a fine time frisking about in our cow pasture.  Grandfather came for her late one afternoon.  Father offered to take the lively heifer home for him later, after he finished his milking, as Grandfather had a rupture and shouldn’t be pulled about by a cow.  Grandfather said "no" and tied the rope around her neck and impatiently started out for home.  Ruth sensed she could be boss, and began pulling and twitching Grandfather about the driveway.  She fairly danced around in circles, stopping now and again to switch her tail and usually hit Grandfather in the face.  He was so angry that Father tried to help, but Grandfather shouted "no, I’ll take her home if it takes all night", so Father went back to milking.  Just as we were becoming frightened that Grandfather would be hurt, Art Wilbur, a young man, 6 feet tall and a neighbor, came into the yard with his gun.  He was returning from squirrel hunting in our woods.  He had a wonderful laugh and we loved to hear him.  He laughed now.  The heifer started running, first towards the barn, then down the driveway; Father came from the barn.  Poor Grandfather could hardly keep his feet, his hat came off and his hair stood straight up.  Art handed Father his gun, rushed up and took the rope from Grandfather and said "Now run, if you want to", and run she did up the road towards home with Art shouting with laughter.  She was so frightened she didn’t dare stop.  Grandmother saw them coming and said to her daughter, Ruth, "Here comes your father, running like a sixteen year old.  I think he has taken leave of his senses.  His rupture will burst.  Oh Dear!"  Aunt Ruth took a look and said, "It is Art Wilbur and the heifer; Dad is all right."

When Art came for his gun, he kept us laughing while he told us about Grandfather.  He said he was so angry he wouldn’t speak to anyone.  Grandmother was awakened in the night to find the bed shaking.  She shook Grandfather and said, "Sid, Sid, wake up. We are having an earthquake".  Then she realized it was Grandfather, laughing so hard that he shook the bed.  His experience was funny to him, too -- then.


Today nearly everyone has a telephone, but I was ten years old before we had a phone at the farm.  Oh, yes, the village center had service, but we were a half-mile off the main road and until Father, Uncle Charlie Gray, and Grandfather signed for phones, cut, and placed the poles by the roadside, the company wouldn’t give us service.  It was 1907 in July, before everything was finished and we made our first calls. We made all local calls on our line in Colebrook River for several years.  Our new line was the 261 one, the old was 237.

Just before our phone was installed, Father needed grain, so he gave Mother the list and she sent Charles and Ella, six and eight years old, to my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Victor Quail’s home to ask her to phone the Leonard Grain Company in Winsted to send up the order.  On the way, Ella stopped at Welch’s to ask Mable Welch, the granddaughter, to go with them, and on they went.  Just before reaching the farm, they met Uncle Victor taking his cows to the pasture accompanied by his bulldog.  The dog followed the children back to the house.  They knocked and knocked, but Aunt Ruth didn’t come, so Ella decided to go next door to the Baxters.  On the way out the driveway, Charles ran to look at some baby chicks in a "run".  Just as he leaned over, the bulldog grabbed Charles in the far part of the thigh.  How they screamed!  The dog let go and ran off.  Charles was bleeding so, the girls hurried him out of the yard and up to the Baxters.

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