More Memories of
The Aisle of Pines
Margaret Hallett Lang
Mrs . Howard Warren
4 Dec., 1968
Dear Mrs. Warren,
Your friendly letter warmed the very cockles of my heart. Wayne has always been dear to me, but like most treasures, as perceived, the memories [are] mixed pleasure and pain.
At one time my grandmother Hallett wrote my mother who was then living in Chicago that if she would come and look after her until she died she would leave the house and contents to her. Father thought that mother should do so and so mother, my brother Robert, my sister Louise, and I went to stay there. Father went, too, hoping to get something to do in Bath or Hammondsport. My family have always been much influenced by English Tradition and the place was entailed to pass to the oldest son, my father. Father found that there was no position to be had around Wayne so returned to Chicago where he opened up an Engravers Office. We children grew up in an abnormal environment. Grandmother and grandfather had been introduced at the courts of Europe and we dwelt in that atmosphere. The house and grounds were very beautiful at that time, the furnishing of the house were of the best that Europe and America could afford, though as the years passed, absolute cash was getting lower and lower, though I did not realize it. We lived in past grandeur. Grandmother Hallett had put grandfather's money into the hands of a man who meant well but had no business acumen, so that eventually the place had to be sold for a mortgage of $1500.00. My Uncle Irving bought it at that price and he and mother bought in a lot of furniture, oil paintings etc. Mother and we children lived there three years, later when my mother died and we children (in the meantime my little brother Sam, who was eight had been born and Robert was in college in the School of Mines at Rolla, Missouri; were sent to live with my Uncle Irving and Aunt Julia to Aspen, Colorado, to live where my uncle managed the Smuggler Mines. My uncle had told us children that whenever one could pay him $1500.00 (the value of the mortgage) could have the Wayne house. When I married, Mr. Lang offered to buy it but my uncle was in Mexico and aunt (Julia) refused to sell it. A little later Berg [sp?, Birge] took it over and wrecked the interior of it from an architectural standpoint. When we lived there, there was a balustrade all around the roof which added much to the beauty and carried out its artistic architectural lines.
My husband was a genius but died from intensive assiduity to work because of his love for it, when he was forty-eight and the children were 17, 15, and 10 respectively. It is difficult to bring up children alone but Ray had been successful financially and we have always lived nicely. We have never been afraid of work, all three went to college, but only one daughter had any children so I have only two grandchildren, but they are very satisfactory in an age that is difficult to bring up children.
Of all the names you mentioned only one sounds familiar—Swarthout. Mr. Gleason wrote me a very nice letter which I answered.
I was ten when I left Wayne in 1896 so generations have passed. I can remember Wayne when there were two grocery stores there, one on either side of the street. A woman ran the grocery store. I think her name was DuBois and she had two little boys, Lem and Harry. I just realized DuBois was not her name. It was Lewis. I think a Mr. and Mrs. DuBois had another store..
I have always admired anyone who could run a store, all [the] more so since the government has required so much red tape. I am glad Wayne can support two stores again and that there is a Lake Development. When I was a little girl Ed Wixson used to have an ice boat which he ran for himself in the winter. I think it ran by sail power just as a summer sailboat. There were two a Wixson families in the country then.
At one time my great uncle, John Mitchell, ran a store at the top of the hill coming down from the four corners to Wayne. I remember the family [that] lived in it and it was a long two story building with columns in front and was painted white. The "Mitchell Girls" Carrie and Elizabeth lived there and they also did very hard work.
I remember an Ed Bailey and his wife Lettie, a Mr. and Mrs. Bliss of whom I was very fond, a Mrs. Martin whose husband was a Baptist minister and their two daughters, Lillian and Della. Della taught piano lessons. My great aunt Maria Louise Craine lived in a lovely white house on Juanita Lake.
I have always remembered Eva Warren at various holiday seasons of the year and send you a check for $5.00 for which I hope you send to Eva Warren Rumsey some candy, dates, figs, oranges and grapefruit—anything to make her happy and feel that it is a holiday time—"way back when." There was a Mrs. Maria Simmons whom I dearly loved, her husband George, brought two sweet potatoes and he and I shared them in the kitchen at Hallett house.
Mother who died of cancer was in the hospital almost all of the time the last three years of her life. She was a lovely person and all who knew her loved her.
One fall when she was away in the hospital Mr. and Mrs. Dan Warren who took care of us during that period, went to Wayne one night. It was a beautiful moonlight Saturday night and there was always a lot of traffic past the house then. Louise and I wrapped ourselves in sheets and walked on top of the fence which had a broad board top and I would call out out, "Sam, Sam Hallett, Come to me," and my sister would call out, "I will Ann Eliza, I'm coming." Evidently it frightened the passersby who would see us and slap the reins and the horses would run by. I have often wondered if that was not one of the rumors that the house was supposed to be haunted.
I have run on ridiculously but there is no one now to talk to about these long ago times and I hope you forgive me for boring you.
If you or yours ever find yourselves in this vicinity I hope you will do me the honor of visiting me.
Margaret Hallett Lang
This letter is from the files of Donald A. Rowland, Historian for the Town of Wayne.