Sunday, April 24, 2011: Granby and Salmon Brook

It was my last day on this trip and in New England.  Sigh!  I had really enjoyed myself.  I had a good trip with very few problems except for the holidays and a little blip at Bristol.  On the whole I had a good time!

The chore today was packing my suitcases.  Having several breakfasts and lots of coffee.  The packing went remarkably well.  I was done in no time.  The biggest chore was taking it all downstairs.  Fortunately I was now down to two suitcase, my computer case, and my photo bag.  A lot better than when I came in.  Checkout was easy and quick. 

It was sunny outside.  Can you believe it.  After all that rain the day before it was actually nice weather. So that means I can be outside without a problem.  Therefore, I will revisit the cemetery and the historical society.

I started taking my possessions down the stairs and the lady who I believe was the head host offered to help with the big suitcase.  She grabbed on end and walked it down.  They really don’t have valet service so you may have to ask for help?  No elevator.  She helped me check out.  I gave her a brochure of my trip.  My stay at the Simsbury 1820 House was very pleasant. 

There is a brochure:  Hopmeadow Walk.  Mine is from the last time I visited so you might have to check out the Town of Simsbury website and the Farmington Valley Tourism for additional information.

Off I went in my Aveo first to the historical society to revisit it.  I parked in the circular drive and studied the help center.  The tree had been removed.  I walked up and peered into the windows and it was certainly filled with boxes and things scattered everywhere and not ready for any visitors.  Definitely closed.  I could see damage on the gutter area and probably more inside on the roof. 

Simsbury Historical Society Center

So I decided to walk the historical building area.  I had not done that before.  There were quite a few buildings with signs on them explaining what they were.  I peered in a few windows and noticed carriages and other displays.  They are at the end of Railroad St. but watch out some of the streets are one way so you need to look for others to access this area. I turned onto Wilcox and drove a block.  That seemed to work. You do pass Plan B.  They have all their hardware stores in this area.

Historical Society buildings to the left of the center and up on the small hill

Off to the cemetery to see if this time with the weather being much nicer find the Viets individuals I was seeking. 

This cemetery photo was from Phelps St?  This is the Simsbury Cemetery.  Someone at Find A Grave had it under the title Hopmeadow Cemetery.

I entered again at the left side were the road was and parked the car.  I headed over to section B and started looking again.  I found them right there in about the 3-4 the row.  Silly me!

Dedication plaque

Another plaque



John Viets on the right and Catherine his wife on the left.

John Viets b. 1675 Germany, d. Nov. 18, 1723 Simsbury, CT. on the right, Dr. John Viets
Catherine Meyers Viets b. 1679 New York, d. Mar. 6, 1734 Simsbury, CT. Tombstone says Catron Vets.

Paul H. Goss and Edith Blake Bartlett Sumner got in a big controversy over the marriage of Philip Goss IV (1724 to 1778).  There was a Mary Viets who married a Goffe in the records.  The website I give as a highlight of John Viet’s name has for one of this couples children a Mary Viets.  If you click on it you see that this Mary Viets married an Ephraim Goff and the whole genealogy of this Mary goes in a totally different direction. Another source is the Genealogy of the Viets Family at Internet Archive and on page 20 it shows that Mary Viets married a Goff.  I found this absolutely fascinating!  Ms. Sumner apparently was reaching.

I drove up the hill at the cemetery and over to the street and low and behold I discovered another cemetery on the top of the hill.  The sign said Simsbury Cemetery.  So what was the name of the one near the main road?  

Simsbury Cemetery, top of the hill off Plank Hill Road

My next goal was to find Wolcott Street which was in the north area of Simsbury.  I did get curious when I saw a catholic church with people gathered.  It was Easter Day.

Sites of Simsbury, CT

Is this the town hall??

This building looks like a castle.  I could not tell if it was the town hall there was a sign for a school on it. There was a sign out front about governmental buildings.  According to Google Images it is!
Off I went on highway 202/10 north passed the Iron Horse Inn which was very modern looking. I passed the Tariffville road and came to Wolcott Rd. 

Was Simon Wolcott’s land nearby???

I traveled down the road a ways and pulled into an area called Wolcott Woods.  It was either apartments or condos.  I was trying to figure things out when a car came up behind so I took off to get out of the way.  I came to Hopmeadow and stopped and was carefully checking the road an not paying attention to the light.  I got honked at.  So I turned onto Hopmeadow and pulled over to let him buy.  He flipped the bird at me and honked.  I admit was in the wrong but this is stupid.  He was down the road in a second a good distance from me.  Scarry drivers!

If you keep going on Hwy 202/10 you eventually come into Granby and the road’s name changes to Salmon Brook St.  The Salmon Brook Historical Society is just past Elmwood Ct. and at the next turn called Meadow Gate Road.  You can’t miss it for there is an historical sign out front.  If you pass the entrance to Salmon Brook Park you have gone to far. 

Now I have visited the Salmon Brook Historical Society on my first trip to this area.  I had made an appointment with Carol Laun the curator.  When I arrived they were gathering volunteers to do clean up or other chores, so frankly I think she was diverted.  I did get some leads from her on church records which are at the Family History Library and she had missed other information in the film?  I did get idea from the deeds I had for Philip Goss where his land might be. There was another man there who was knowledgeable about the area.  He helped a lot with the deeds.  This was a situation in which you need to be really clear and specific about what you need.  I know there are more treasures in this archive.

I did purchase the new history book: Tempest in a Small Town and found the first part of the book interesting. 



Granby Sign!



Entrance to the research area unless it is now in the new red building?

This is their new archive building to house their treasures.

This time I was just going to enjoy the buildings and take some photographs.  I peered in the window of this one but didn’t see anything except for a meeting room.  Darn!  On their website they do have a list of genealogies. 

Now my next destination was North Granby.  I found this online Self Guided Tour done by the Salmon Brook Historical Society that is really cool.  It has a map and then it gives descriptions of the numbers on the map of historical sites in Granby, North Granby and West Granby plus other areas.  Doesn’t do East Granby. Don’t forget to get the map by clicking at the top.

As I was heading up Hwy 202/10 I came to the familiar intersection of 189/202/10 and 20.  I turned to the left and headed up Hwy 189 and immediately spotted the Granby Cemetery.  I just had to take a quick trip through.  It is out on the flat and open area.  There is a lovely chapel in the back.  The roads are gravel like but easy to drive on.  This cemetery is at Find A Grave and also in published book form through the Salmon Brook Historical Society.  No Goss are buried here!

I continued up Hwy 189 and began to realize that I had used this highway before.  I had driven down it from Granville, MA when I visited the area before.  The road becomes N. Granby Road.  Side streets read Mechanicsville Rd., Creamery Rd.

North Granby is an intersection at Mountain Road, Hwy 189 which is still the N. Granby Rd. but once it crosses Mountain Road is becomes the Granville Rd. On the other side of Mountain Rd is East St. If you drive it you come to Cooley Rd. on the left.  The highway sign reads Granville 6 miles. HA!

So if Philip Goss’s land was in this area west of Cragg Mount which is on the east of Hwy 189 and north of East St.  This is according to the descriptions in the Simsbury deeds that Paul H. Goss discusses in his manuscripts.  Now I need to get more specific but I wanted to get a general idea of the land in this area. 

The land next to Hwy 189 on the east side after Mountain/East Rd. is a ravine with a creek running through it.  I drove up to Silver St. and tried to get off the road and away for this truck but he turned right with me.  Darn!  There was a bridge and all of a sudden there was another car taking this road. 

These photos won’t mean much but I tried to get a little bit of what North Granby looks like. 

Frederick H. Cossitte Library, North Granby, recently remodeled on the southeast corner

A Farm on the northwest corner. I was parked in the post office parkign lot on the southwest corner

Looking north on Hwy 189 the Granville Road

Looking south on N. Granby Road

The intersection of Mt Rd, East, Hwy 189

The stream and the gorge along Cragg Mt.

In order to understand the area better I think we need to study Google Earth.  Give me a little time to do that. 

Now I can’t let this go but go to a map and study the location of Barkhamsted, North Granby, Granville and Becket and then you see that the Goss family was not that far from each other.  Add Otis and Peru and the geography gets interesting.  Now granted it took them longer to get to each other than a modern road and car?  Ponder, ponder! 

Time to head to the airport!

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Saturday, April 23, 2011: Simsbury

The Simsbury 1820 House is very elegant.  Reminds me of the Inn at Biltmore in Asheville, NC but on a smaller scale.  Breakfast was delicious but more Continental style with cereal, bagels, pastries, some fruit, and coffee!!! It was from 7 to 10 am.  They do provided coffee on the first floor throughout the day and wine at the front desk.  These are small bottles of wine about 2 glasses.  They were not bad.

You descend the stairs and turn the corner and go down a hallway (there are signs) and down more stairs into the lower area of the Simsbury House.  There are tables with white table cloths and soft chairs.  Food is arranged on a bar area and table area.  Easy to pick and choose what you like.  The walls are brick and their is a fireplace.  Very intimidate area. 

It was pouring rain.  I could see the rain bouncing off the railing outside my window as I worked on my computer.  It was not letting up.  One of the hostess said it didn’t look good for the whole day!  Hmmm….?

So, I stayed in my room organizing my papers and getting my stuff ready to repack for my flight out the next day.  It took most of the morning.  Still it was raining.  So I had several breakfasts and lots of coffee. 

The Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library was just north of the hotel on the corner.  So I grabbed an umbrella that was complimentary in the lobby area and headed out.  I had tried to call them but I was not getting an answers.  I was happy to see that a car was parked in the parking lot.  The door opened and I was inside the familiar rooms.

There website has since improved from the last time I was there.  It has lots of great links and information so go explore and have fund.  They are also known as the Simsbury Free Library as opposed to the public library which is south of them in Simsbury.  I was impressed with the links which included the Simsbury Public Library http://www.simsburylibrary.info/ancestors.htm  You might be interested in the Simsbury Vital Records and Genealogy database.

Allison the director was sitting in her seat and I approached and chatted.  I reintroduced myself and she said she remembered me.  I was glad to see Allison.  Things had been a little uncertain and she was brand new the last time I had visited. 

I wandered around studying the titles of books, and remembering the layout which had not changed.  They have their book stacks and it is a nice collection. This is small library but they had a good mix of books, periodicals and even pamphlets of interest for the area.  They have titles for of course Simsbury, Granby and other towns in the area.  They have Connecticut titles, Massachusetts titles and other books even Ohio.  There is microfilm of the New York newspaper and Hartford papers.  They also have connection to the Internet and Allison can get you on to access various things that you have to be a library member in Connecticut to do so.  It was difficult not to dally on some of the book titles.

Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library

The interior is beautiful as you enter first a sort of museum area.  The library is in the back area.  Lovely building.  The other important fact is that it is right next door to the Simsbury Cemetery.  Go to there website that I gave above and take a look at the photos of the interior. 

They have a booklet about the Simsbury Cemetery Vol. I but it lists the interments and more.  So I studied that compilation very thoroughly.  I was looking for the Viets family. 

They have a very nice brochure that you can pick up “Simsbury Free Library.”  I found my copy at the CHS.

I found several interesting items:
First Church Records of Simsbury 1682-1930?, A Sense of Place, Thomas D. Ayres, Simsbury Historical Society, 2009.  I did not find any Haskell’s, Gibbons, Sewards or Goss listed. 

Connecticut Cemeteries Vols. 1-4 and 5-9, New York, 1914.  Mostly the eastern part of Connecticut. Some man in New York had done this burial listing of cemeteries. 

Back in my room, I did more organizing of my papers and decided that I needed to ship some books and brochures home.  Just no way I could stuff all this into my luggage without it weighing tons.  So I found a UPS store in south Simsbury and went off in search of it.  I always try to figure out the closest shipping source like Office Depot or something like that or UPS or a mailing center. 

I found the UPS at 542 Hopmeadow St. and it was open.  The nice man inside was chatty and we discussed the weather and cats!  He took my money and when I said that was a good price because it usually is not cheap, he jokingly said he had tried to charge me more but just couldn’t.  Books weigh a lot!  I could expect my treasures on Monday May 2, 2011.  Wow, May is almost here?

Next stop was the Simsbury Cemetery.  You can enter it from the Main St. in Simsbury for there is a paved road to the far left.  The big gate is in the middle and you might be able to drive through but it is soft grassy and it was very wet.  It is a big cemetery. 

Simsbury Cemetery, Simsbury, CT.

There are some awesome tombstones in this cemetery on the hill toward the back.  I drove around studying them.  There are at least 4-5 Crypts up at the back top of the hill. 

Usually you see one or two but 4-5 or more?

These two are amazing.  Like the spire!

I was looking for John Viets and Catherine Viets.  I had my page of information and walked Section B.  The book I looked at had maps of the cemetery.  No luck.  I had the row number, no luck.  It was raining and cold so I gave up for now.

Time for lunch/dinner.  I thought of Meto Bis sounded delicious.  However, I decided on Plan B Burger Bar on Railroad Street.  Now you are probably thinking it means an alternative plan for a restaurant but no it means Burgers, Beef and Beer! 

Plan B Burger Bar, Simsbury, CT

This place was hoping.  You enter and there is the bar ahead of you.  Downstairs is another restaurant but I was seated at a tall table and chair – I mean I climbed up.  There are booths and tables but I was on my own and it was very busy.  The bar is to the left and there were these big handle bars of different beers.  I liked my seat because I could see what was going on and do some serious people watching. 

The young man ahead of me at a similar table had a Tony the Tiger on his sweat shirt.  I noticed Tony was separating.  Now this is a major treasure this Tony emblem.  When he left I stopped him an inquired if he knew he had a problem and he did.  He told me he had been too busy to fix it.  A friend had made it for him years ago.  He assured me he would take care of it.  Touched my shoulder and thanked me for my concern.  He was probably late 20’s early 30’s. 

Now I was studying the decor and was puzzling over the lights which were hanging from a track.  I asked one of the waiters about them and he said they were ice hooks.  I had observed that they had twisted wires around them and these bare light bulbs were hanging from them in two pair or four pair.  Very clever! They were wonderful no glare. 

My hamburger was delicious and served on a rectangular white plate like a gourmet dinner? Sort of like Red Robin but actually better.  My waitress was friendly and pleasant.  They were playing old Beattle’s music.  So I felt right at home.  As I ate my dinner the place filled up even more.  Two men at the bar were playing with their fancy phones.  I am beginning to get jealous of these types of phones that you just take your finger and push the items along.  Being a visual person it is very enticing. 

A recent arrival came over to the bar and was intent on choosing the perfect beer to go with his dinner.  This was a fun place!  The food was very good. 

My goal this time was to go to the Simsbury Historical Society but a tree fell on them. There website has a picture of the tree on the center. Ouch!

Plan B was right next door so I just drove a little ways into the historical societies parking lot.  I had been here before but they had just moved into their visitor center and had not opened the archives yet.  So once again I was not going to be able to access this archive.  I am not really sure they have anything for me.  Still I am curious. 

Simsbury Historical Society Center. The tree is gone now!

It had stopped raining but it was cold and wet. When you enter the Simsbury House you come into the foyer and there is a real area like a old hotel were the receptionist sits behind working on their computer.  Makes you feel like an old hotel.  There is an entrance from the Main St. and a long drive through a grassy area up a incline to the parking lot.  This is the photo that you see on their website.  The Simsbury 1820 House is part of a group of hotels in the area.  There are other rooms on the main floor that you can explore a little. All lovely.

You enter through the area of the two columns up the steps through the porch into the foyer.  I had asked that the maid not clean my room because I had made a mess and put all my papers on the bed.  So I also told the main desk so she would not get into trouble.  She had not cleaned my room so I was pleased.

I was enjoying my room and I just relaxed for the night.