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The speaker is a 79-year-old White woman with a high school education from Middletown, Rhode Island; she was recorded in 1969.



County: Newport
State: RI

Commentary:
Middletown???s name comes from its location between the town of Portsmouth and the city of Newport. Incorporated in 1743, Middletown was once known as the farming community of Acquidneck Island (the largest island in Narragansett Bay); by the late 1990s, it had become the island???s central business district. In this segment the speaker talks about seeing a small cyclone.
Inf: Well, one day, when we were out in the hayfield down in the lot below here, and the men were getting in the hay, and, uh, I happened to turn around. And I saw this grass going up in the air, like, like a little eddy or a little, um, um, cyclone. And it was such a strange feeling. And then all of a sudden it just dropped, and that???s all there was to it [FW: Hmm]. It was just like a little tornado, but just I happened to look at a certain time, and this hay went up in the???

FW: And what was it?

Inf: Well, it was just like a little tiny tornado, but it didn???t, it just raised up oh, maybe six or eight feet, and that???s all, just died right out again [FW: Hmm]. It was quite a sensation. Nobody else saw it but me [FW: Oh]. I just happened to look at the time that it was happening. And, uh, it was quite a sensation to see it. [Laughter]

FW: I thought that it had something to do with the bull.

Inf: No, no, the bulls used to, we???d turn the, uh, the cows out in the field to graze, and the neighboring farm would have a, this bull, and, uh, my father had one, too. And, ???course bulls weren???t very friendly if they got together, so they, one got over the wall, to ours, and begun fighting, tearing around the lot, you know, with their horns interlocked and so forth. And, uh, but finally the hired man that we had, they had to go out, pitchfork, and threw it into the bull, right into his hide.

FW: Which one? The one from???

Inf: I don???t know which one it was. I don???t know which one it was now, but try to stop them, you know. And finally they gave it up [FW: Hmm]. Quit. [Laughter]


The speaker is a 76-year-old White woman with a college education from Jamestown, Rhode Island; she was recorded in 1969.



County: Newport
State: RI

Commentary:
Incorporated in 1678, Jamestown was named after James, Duke of York, who became King James II in 1685. It occupies all of Conanicut Island, the second-largest island in Narragansett Bay. In 1728 the town, which had no source of running water to turn a mill, constructed a windmill for grinding corn. The original windmill was destroyed by the British during the Revolutionary War and rebuilt in 1787. Today the Jamestown Windmill is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been restored to working condition. In this segment the speaker reminisces about another local windmill???the windmill house on her grandparents??? farm.
Inf: My grandmother owned the far-, the farm [FW: Yeah], has the farm. And then my father worked there [FW: Yeah]. But then, uh, get so that it wasn???t quite as popular and, uh, the milk-, uh, just in the season, the summertime [FW: Mm-hmm] when they, when the cows gave milk, and the summer people here, they catered to them. And of course they did the farming. Other than that, they didn???t need all the help.

And so my father bought the windmill house, Father and Mother bought the windmill house and the windmill [FW: Mm-hmm], and he ran the mill.

FW: He ran the mill? [Inf: Yeah.] So it still ran as late as what, nineteen five, nineteen ten?

Inf: Oh, uh, somewhere near there [FW: Yeah]. Yes. Yes. Oh, I was in it about three years old. But, uh, before 1900 anyway. And, uh, it w-, it, at that time it???d just be getting to, people would, could go over in the country where they had water mills [FW: Mm]. And then, and so that was easy. Uh, at the windmill you could only grind the corn when wind blew.

FW: Right. And the water flows all the time [Inf: Yes]. Right. Right.

Inf: And uh, excepting the dry weather. But, uh, it was apparently a place for all the menfolks to congregate, the windy day. [Laughter] And help with the [Laughter], help with grinding the grain. They???d all come. And then it helped ???cause it needed, needed more than one to pull the, uh, arms around into the wind, and out of the wind if it was blowing so hard [FW: Uh-huh] that they had to shut it down. Otherwise it might???ve [Laughter] blown off. And lots of times, the horses were scared to death. And it, quite a lot of excitement [Laughter] when the, when the arms get to going fast.

FW: How many h-, rooms are there in that little windmill house?

Inf: Hmm. One, two, three, four. Four, and an attic.

FW: So it isn???t so small. It looks very small???

Inf: Five. Five, and the attic. Yes, counting the kitchen.

FW: It???s just one floor, isn???t it?

Inf: Well, uh, and a half [FW: Mm-hmm]. There???s one, uh, two windows in each end, and I don???t think there???s ever been divided or anything. We used that for a storeroom, attic. But you could look, uh, out of the east window and see the east bay, which was ver-, uh, and the west one see the west bay, which was very nice. Otherwise, you set down in the hole, and you couldn???t see a thing.

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