My Memories of the Sebille House
by Lois Fitts
Arthur Peter Sebille was brother to my father's sister, and therefore his uncle. My father, Frederick Arthur Eldridge was born in the front upstairs dormer room, and his sister, Sadie Etta was also born the house, I presume, in the same room.
Dad tells of helping to cut ice off the pond to fill the big icehouse that stood beside it. They cut the pond twice to fill the house, and had some kind of motorized belt to get it into the house. (Dad can describe it much better than I). I was about 5 at the time the ice house burned to the ground on May 1, 1948 and just remember a huge, (to a 5 year-old) black, building right beside the road.
Dad also said that someone always fell in the pond when ice was being cut, and Sadie, Arthur's wife, had many changes of clothes on hand, and a fire in the kitchen stove to warm the unlucky man.
Sadie was known for her knowledge of horses, and kept one until she was well into her 70's. After a stroke, she had to give them up. I remember going for a buggy ride when I was about 3. The horse's name was 'Babe', and it was quite a thrill for me.
Arthur sold ice, coal and wood, and had a good number of customers. He was well known and liked in Centerdale, Greenville, and the area between.
Visitors seldom ventured further than the kitchen or the parlor. The kitchen had a big wood range and a long dark sink. The sink could have been soapstone, I don't know for sure...The parlor had an enormous fireplace that pretty well took up one wall, and was tall enough for a small adult to stand in. Sadie said the center chimney was 10 foot square at the base, and was the anchor for the house. I remember going into the house on a hot, humid summer day, and it was always cool and pleasant inside.
At the base of the ramp going up to the big barn were 2 enormous trees-1 maple and 1 horse chestnut. One hot, humid days, you would almost need a light jacket on to sit on the bench between them and be comfortable.
Dad remembers kitchen dances held at his home on Sidney Windsor Rd. when he was growing up. His father played a 'right-handed fiddle, left-handed' and did the calling, while Uncle Arthur played the piano and sometimes the harmonica.
In my pre-teens, I remember going ice skating on the pond. One time, it was new ice when my friend and I got there, and it was like looking through a window pane..you could see to the pond bottom, at least near the shore. It was a weird feeling, and we didn't venture too far out, tho the ice was quite safe. It was favorite spot for lots of people, and there would be 2 or 3 hockey games at various areas of the pond. The pond was large enough that no one got in anyone's way. The Smithfield Rod & Gun Club used to stock the pond every spring.
Route 44 Drive-In was across Rt 44 for several years, until Interstate 295 came through. The house and barn were both burned.