Grandma and Grandpa Page

By Charles E. Page, written for my children & grandchildren, in year 2001

Because Grandpa died before we were born [1894 age 34] we don’t know as much about him and his short life as we do about the Jones side of the family. Here, I will try to put down what we do know. Of course he was born over in Jewell, one of the children of Edson and Polly Marsden Page. Ora and Bertha was from Edson’s second wife, Eliza Davis. [See my write-up on the "Pages of Jewell".]

About the next we know of Grandpa was when he bought lots in Oneida and started building houses. He built the house where I and, my sister Alyce, were born [217 E.Walnut St] He also built the house next door [219] to sell to help pay for the building of his own house.

While he was building his own house he was taken ill. It was consumption [TB]. He had a hard time finishing it before he died in April 1894. [See letters he wrote to sister, Laura]. His wife, Alice, and two- year old son, Clayton, were left alone. Apparently he had been a hard worker and ambitious young man. Besides the two houses he built, we found evidence that he had bought at least one more lot somewhere in Oneida. In his earlier years, he apparently was in partnership with a man named Myron F. Felch and had an office at #35 Main St. on the third floor over Dyer’s drug store. His business card said "Builders and Architects". We still have his big tool- box with his initials on the front, and we have the small metal tool that he used to stamp his initials on his tool handles. I have used it to sign my wood- carvings.

"Grandpa Page's Tool Box"

"Grandpa's initials (C.E.P.)Tool Stamp and the Key to the Box"

The key to the tool box was lost, so by taking the lock apart to see what how it worked, I was able to make a replacement key.

Several of the Pages were builders or carpenters, the knowledge and skills being passed down from father to son through the generations. Most people in the rural areas in those times built their own buildings, Pages, Stowells, Joneses , and all our ancestors.

It must have been a sad time for Grandma. Even thirty or forty years later she "puddled up" when she talked about "Charlie’s" death. She supported herself and son by dressmaking for a time and later moved to Bouckville and lived with her brother, Chet Stowell. His farm was on the road leading from Rt. 20 to Pecksport, south of the village of Bouckville. Living there enabled her to rent out the house in Oneida and thus get some income. As Clayton grew older he helped with the dairy, the haying, and the hop yards, and for a time worked in a sawmill. He attended Madison High School, where he met my mother, Erma Jones.

When Clayton was grown and on his own, Grandma married her second husband, Morton Lewis. And so in our time we called her "Grandma Lewis". It was a "marriage of convenience". He needed a wife and she needed a husband. She always referred to him as "Mr. Lewis". I remember seeing him once or twice. Once when he was winding the Ithaca Calendar Clock that we now have in our dining room. I guess it was a nightly ritual, winding the clock, before he went to bed. They lived in Madison village on the street leading to Solsville. Grandpa Lewis died in the mid-1920’s, so Grandma was again alone.

We frequently visited Grandma, my father looking after her in many ways. She later came to our house in Oneida and stayed about 3 or 4 months during the worst of each winter, and then returned to the house in Madison in the spring. It was not very easy for my mother to have her mother-in-law in the house so much, because Grandma would sometimes be critical of the way my mother ran the house. It was not usually open verbal criticism, but some silent indication of disapproval. In fact I never even knew about it until I was told in later years. We kids enjoyed her coming. She would play checkers with me, but it was a relief for Erma when spring came. Grandma kept busy most of the time crocheting baby clothes, which she sold through some mail order company for a few cents for each sweater, etc. I will attach a picture showing her the way I remember her most, sitting in the rocking chair crocheting.

Grandma Lewis crocheting

"Alice G. Page Lewis"

Once after we received a new Sears-Roebuck catalog, she and I were looking at picture of baby chicks you could order. She said something like "Now you see you could get an incubator, hatch some eggs, and raise chickens." This fired my imagination. I imagine my parents thought "Oh, Oh," It was probably like saying to a kid "I think your parents ought to buy you a pony". But it was to have an influence on my future.

When I was attending Morrisville College I stayed winters with Grandma in Madison and drove my 1930 Model A Ford back and forth. In that way I didn’t have so far to drive and at the same time I could make myself useful to her by taking care of her stoves and running her errands, as well as being company for her. For a couple summers I planted and grew potatoes between the trees in the orchard behind her house.

I now realize how lonesome she got and how she enjoyed a neighbor or anyone else’s stopping in to visit. My father and our family lived in her house in Oneida and paid her rent. When we visited her, my father would give her what money she needed at the time, and at the end of each year they would "settle up" figuring whether he owed her additional money to cover the rent.

Clayton died of a heart attack in 1940, age 48. After I bought the farm at Butler’s Corners, Grandma rented out the Oneida house. She continued to stay with us for a few winters and then, using the money from the sale of the Oneida house, entered a nursing home in Waterville, where she died Oct. 17, 1944 at age 80.

As for the house in Madison, Mr. Lewis had left her "life use", and at her death it reverted to some other member of his family. I plan to attach some pictures related to this tale as well as two letters he wrote to his sister Laura while he was struggling with TB. C.E.P. December 2, 2001



[Charles E. Page to Laura Page]

[note by Charles Page, Grandson, 2001] typed by Lynn Case from faded original. Letter written by Grandpa about 3 months before he died of consumption.


Jan. 25 ‘94

Dear sister and all

Received your letter but have neglected to answer. it is hard work for me to get at it. We are all well as usal. wish this will find you allthe same. My new medicine is helping me and I feel Very much encouraged-don't cough near as much as I did but of course it will take a good whileto cure me. but I feel as if it would do the business. We shall be on the hill about a week longer if we don't have to stay longer on account of the roads. Sorry we want at home when father was there. tell him when we get home we want him to come and stay a week and look around the town and have a good time. Laura,where did you leave the umbrella so I will know where to look for it when we get back. Suppose you are having a great time skating about [line illegible]. is Lena getting along allright.I hope. Well there is no news here and that the worst part of it, or probably would 6tay longer. Have sent to Oneida today for a mess of pike. Expect to have some for dinner tomorrow. Clay he has a great time with the Kitties and apples and cider I tell you.

Now I will leave the rest to Alice to finish, Maybe she can tell you some news.

Yours C.E.P.

I guess Charlie has written all the news. I will write next time. Is cold here this morning, but no sleighing.

My folks have just got here. They have been away a week.

Love Alice

[note - probably they were staying at the Stowell Farm while Charlie and Melissa were away]



(Charles E. Page to Laura Page]

[note by Grandson, Charles E. Page year 2001] Written by Grandpa a month before he died of consumption. We have the original faded letter. Lynn Case typed it off for easier reading. It is sad. He still hopes he will get better and is trying to finish the house. He built that one [217] and the one next door at 219 E. Walnut St.

Oneida Mar 14th 1894

Dear sister and all

I felt kind of good today and thought I could write a letter, or Ithought I could write you one as I Just got out of whole wheat flour for cakes and potatoes so how is the chance of getting some more this week. That flour puts meat on my ribs. We get all the sour milk we want for 2 cts per qt. Tell Lena how we wish we could see that baby [Howard] We talk about him most every day but we will see him when it comes warmer weather. I suppose you are making maple sugar now. Would like to be out and help you. Tell Father he will get his pay for the stuff I got sometime if I can get on my feet again.

But I do like the Potatoes so much better than those we get here. Flour we cant get at all. Maybe if he sent about 10 bushels or so I could sell them for him at a good fair price to the neighbors around. Can do as he thinks best. We are well as usal. Have rented room upstairs room Have got stairs built and back room plastered and Alice is papering the other rooms- will have them done some time next week- No news I guess

answer soon.

Your Bro. C. E. P.

Copyright©2001 Charles E. Page