Fenn Hill Farm
Susan Fenn McClen

My grandfather had bought the farm I grew up on in the very early 1900's. Frederick Fenn's farm was called "Clearview Farm" and "Fenn Hill Farm" was farther up Woodchuck Lane. That had been bought in 1836 by Joseph Fenn. The farm had passed from Joseph, to his son Ambrose and then to a daughter Fannie who was married to William Hooper.

Getting back to Fred's farm, that land was originally owned apparently by Daniel Messenger and a later owner was Orange Hubbell. Orange's had a daughter Cornelia who married Lewis "Lute" Fenn. They lived in the house across from the airport. Lewis was the son of Lewis and Dianthia Fenn and I believe they lived at Bree Gurin's, or at least around the area. Lewis, the father, was another son of Jospeh Fenn. (Lewis and Ambrose were half brothers.)

Getting back to Fred's farm - when he bought the property, he lived in a building that had been Orange Hubbell's store, later used as the hired man's house and that was Merton Plaskett. This building later became the home of Aunt Ethel Lindblom. Apparently, there was nothing across the road, so Fred at some point built the barn (which is now falling down) and then dragged down part of Ethel's house to build into his new house. The "new" house was the first on Woodchuck Lane to have electricity. I'm very glad my grandfather was this progressive as his brother Seeley had a house just over the New Hartford border that did not have electricity and Lute's house was passed to Fred's sister Miss Libbie Fenn (I had two generations of "Aunt Libbie" - one was Ambrose's siter Libbie Fenn Catlin, wife of Sheldon, and the other was Ambrose's daughter Miss Libbie Fenn.) and Aunt Libbie's had no electricity. I remember well being at both Seeley's and Libbie's in the mid 1960's and they had no electricity.

My grandfather used horses on his farm to do the labor and was going to switch over to machine, but WWII came along and as he was elderly, the farm went to his last child Everett (who bought out his siblings) and he was more than happy to switch over to machine.

Back in the 1960's, we had a party line for telephone usage. The one I remember was between Grandma Fenn's, our house and Aunt Ethel's. A party line meant that when you got a phone call, everyone knew about it and could pick up and listen in. Which can be a bad thing. If you had a "talker" that was on the phone all day, you could not get a call thru because the line was busy. I think we got out of the party line first. This is the party line membership that I remember; it could have had more members at an earlier time.

Newspapers - we had no home delivery when I was little, so someone went to Haas's store (the current Citgo station) and picked up the newspapers for themselves and neighbors. Most families had only one car.

Dear - hunting. At a HHS meeting years ago, Alva Reynolds said that when she started teaching in Harwinton, Lewis Mills told her "no deer hunting." She didn't know what that meant. I knew what it meant.

The Four corner's School house was where Seeley and Fred went looking for wives. When Mabel Hall taught there, Fred was on his way there when he found out Seeley was already there. Seeley eventually married her. Fred dated another teacher, and almost married her - Spencer Reynolds's mother. The last teacher he dated, was Bessie Newbury whom he married. According to Aunt Ethel, Fred's mother had also been a teacher, but I have not been able to research it yet.

Tornado - Back in June of 1962, a tornado went thru Harwinton. My mother had a dentist appointment and took me to her mother's in Torrington. Meanwhile, my mother's father was up in Harwinton working on his garden near Dad's barn. The TV was on at my grandmother's and the warning of a tornado came over. Being about 4, the only thing I know about tornados was from the movie "The Wizard of Oz," so my grandmother had a panicing child on her hands. Nothing happened in Torrington, but back on the farm the sky had darkened and things had gotten, weather wise like something was going to happen, but my father and grandfather did not know what. So they went into the cement-block built milk house and got behind the bulk milk tank and the tornado when thru. The silo attached to the barn was knocked down. My grandfather's garden by the road, looked like a lawnmower had gone thru it. At the house, a window had been left up at the top of the stairs. My doll carriage was by it and was full of water, for that matter, water (rain) had flowed down the stairs. Nearby in Burlington, Morris Hogan had the lawnmower thing happen to his strawberries and there was damage at the airport.

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