Of a Summer Evening

Next week we will be having a presentation on some of the prominent women of New Hartford.  Some of these women were closely associated with a group who lived in New Hartford during the summer, or whenever their work allowed, one of those was Clara Louise Kellogg.  This excerpt from the recollections of a life-long, summer, resident of the New Hartford, Lucy Creevey, gives a glimpse, a teaser:

(circa 1895?) “There is another picture in my mind, I have thought of it so often. Clara Louise Kellogg had come back to New Hartford and she and her husband built a lovely house on a hill near the village. She was having a house-warming, and of course the Esperanza house-party was invited. And of all the vehicles in the barn they chose to drive down in the two-wheeled ox-cart. Mr. Rood drove up to the mounting block with his immaculate team of oxen, Berry and Bright. The cart was painted a beautiful cerulean blue and scrubbed to the last inch. A framework had been built from which dangled a dozen Japanese lanterns, ready to light their homeward way. The Esperanza people (ed’s. note probably about 8) climbed in with much laughter. Mr. Rood flicked at the oxen and they pushed into their yokes and swung off. I remember that the little brass knobs on the ends of their horns reflected a quick gleam of light from the setting sun. I watched it all, spell-bound. The cart lumbered along with its unusual burden, and just as they disappeared over the brow of the hill I heard them singing. Always there has been singing.”

Some context, Esperanza was, and still is, a private home on the top of Town Hill.  The ox-cart (and its unusual burden) would have made its way down the hill to High Street and Fairview Ave.  Clara Louise Kellogg’s house, Elpstone has a commanding view (it was no doubt better with fewer trees) of the center of town.  Esperanza was routinely hosting not only the family of the Creevey and Ellsworths (never less than 6) but also their friends, mostly in the literary, musical, and art worlds of NYC, on any given weekend in the summer.  Lucy Creevey, the author of the above, was the daughter of William Webster Ellsworth and Helen Yale Smith, who was the daughter of Julie Palmer Smith, who will be part of next week’s presentation..  Mr. Rood ran the farm associated with Esperanza.

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