HAZEL FROST
INTERVIEW
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW
September 9, 1980


(Names and other words that could not be transcribed are in italics. Unknown voices are referred to as “man” or “woman.” Comments, explanations, and additional names are in parentheses.)

Jane Dudley: It is Tuesday, September 9, 1980, and this is Jane Dudley of the Alexander-Crawford Historical Society visiting with Hazel Frost at her home on the Flatt Road in Alexander. Hazel, tell me about the Townsend House and the Townsend Road.

Hazel Frost: Well, the Townsend House had 21 rooms in it.

Jane Dudley: My goodness.

Hazel Frost: It was a double house. There was two pantries, two kitchens, two dining rooms, two living rooms, and then there was - up in the attic and down, there was eight bedrooms.

Jane Dudley: Was it built as a double house?

Hazel Frost: No.

Jane Dudley: It was one time a single house.

Hazel Frost: One time a single house, and two brothers bought it and they made it into a double house. They split the farm and they each one had half the farm.

Jane Dudley: How long before they bought it was the house built? Many years before they bought it?

Hazel Frost: They was a woman came to my house when I was there and she was in her eighties and she said her grandfather built the house.

Jane Dudley: Oh, my goodness, do you know what his name was?

Hazel Frost: No. I don’t know.

Jane Dudley: The two brothers’ name was Townsend?

Hazel Frost: Well, they always called it the Townsend House. And, of course we bought it from Charlie Brown.

Jane Dudley: What year did you buy it?

Hazel Frost: 1932.

Jane Dudley: 1932. Did Charlie Brown buy it from these two fellows? (Few mumbled words.)

Hazel Frost: I couldn’t answer that.

Jane Dudley: You don’t know that. And, you were just telling me a little while ago that the road from the church down to Route Nine which we call the Airline, was called the Townsend Hill.

Hazel Frost: Yes, that hill there was called the Townsend Hill.

Jane Dudley: It does sound likely that the house was built by people named Townsend, then.

Hazel Frost: Well, I suppose that’s why it was called the Townsend House.

Jane Dudley: Oh, ok, that makes sense.

Hazel Frost: And, the ones who lived in the north side of the house was McLeans. The old man’s name was Joe McLean. Now, Ernest McLean run for governor at one time here in Maine.

Jane Dudley: And, he was related to - -

Hazel Frost: He was born in that house.

Jane Dudley: Oh, really? And he ran for governor. Have you any idea about when, was it in the twenties or before?

Hazel Frost: It was in - - - it was about 38 years ago.

Jane Dudley: Thirty eight years ago. How many years did you live in that beautiful house?

Hazel Frost: Thirty nine years.

Jane Dudley: Thirty nine years. Did you have children?

Hazel Frost: There was three of my children. Two of ‘em was born in that house, and - - - I had three children while I lived in that house..

Jane Dudley: You did. Did you have children before you went to live there?

Hazel Frost: Yes, I had two.

Jane Dudley: So, how many children is that?

Hazel Frost: Five.

Jane Dudley: You had five children.

Hazel Frost: Three boys and two girls.

Jane Dudley: What was your husband’s name?

Hazel Frost: Lyston Frost.

Jane Dudley: How do you spell Lyston?

Hazel Frost: L-y-s-t-o-n.

Jane Dudley: That’s an unusual name.

Hazel Frost: I liked it, though.

Jane Dudley: Oh, I like it, too. What was your maiden name?

Hazel Frost: Cousins.

Jane Dudley: You were a Cousins. So, you are related to Orris Cousins.

Hazel Frost: Sister.

Jane Dudley: You’re Orris’ sister. I never knew that. And, you’re related to Harold Cousins?

Hazel Frost: Yes, sister to him, too.

Jane Dudley: Sister to Harold. Was Harold a - - - let’s see, Harold was a brother of Orris. See, I’m close to Orris so I - I think of him as the Cousins

Hazel Frost: There was 11 in our family at home.

Jane Dudley: Eleven. And, you were born on the Pocomoonshine Lake Road?

Hazel Frost: Right. In that little old house.

Jane Dudley: Is the house still there?

Hazel Frost: No. They tore it down just - - what is it - - three, four years ago.

Jane Dudley: Is that where they built the log cabin?

Hazel Frost: Right.

Jane Dudley: And, there are still flowers blooming in there that probably were in your garden.

Hazel Frost: In my mother’s garden, but nothing like she had it.

Jane Dudley: What was her garden like?

Hazel Frost: Oh, just beautiful. She had most anything in her garden.

Jane Dudley: Would you say she had a green thumb?

Hazel Frost: I should say so. She had roses, oh the most beautiful roses, and glads, and peonies, and -

Jane Dudley: Did she have wisteria by any chance, some of the old fashioned ones? I remember a house I used to live in had an old wisteria bush.

Hazel Frost: She had that yellow one that blossomed before it - - -

Jane Dudley: There’s one called Golden Glow that’s out there on that road.

Hazel Frost: Yes, she had that.

Jane Dudley: She did. That has the most beautiful, beautiful flower. I took a picture over - - of the Darling, is it, house on Route Nine, the Airline, that old house because it had Golden Glow against all those old boards and I think it’s going to be an awful pretty picture, with the contrast. Can you tell me about the kitchen you had in your house, the Townsend House?

Hazel Frost: Well, it was a large kitchen, and there a sideboard. My refrigerator set in the right hand corner by the dining room door. My stove which was a - what I used mostly was a wood stove. I didn’t have the electric stove at first. And, it was a big Kineo stove. King Kineo.

Jane Dudley: Kineo. Was it black?

Hazel Frost: Black with a polished top. You didn’t have to black the top of it.

Jane Dudley: Oh, you didn’t?

Hazel Frost: No, all you had to do was just clean it off.

Jane Dudley: Oh, that was nice.

Hazel Frost: And, that was practically all there was, the sink and the sideboard in that big kitchen.

Jane Dudley: What did you - you made pies and bread, and you rolled your pie dough out. Did you have a table somewhere in there?

Hazel Frost: Yes. It had a pantry.

Jane Dudley: What was the pantry like?

Hazel Frost: The pantry had a big sideboard in it and it had shelves in one end of it and up one - partway up one side and then there was a big cupboard for your dishes. That’s the end of the side - end of the kitchen - end of the pantry. We used to take and keep all of our tin dishes, cooking dishes and things like that in there. Under the sideboard there was a barrel that we kept flour in that was on trucks so all you had to do was take hold of it and it would roll right out to you.

Jane Dudley: Oh.

Hazel Frost: And, I had a board that stood in by there that I cooked on. And the sugar barrel was the same way.

Jane Dudley: Was that a large barrel?

Hazel Frost: Un huh. A flour barrel, just like a flour barrel. It was lined with paper and that - we used to have that - fill that with sugar in the fall. And, that too was on a truck. It would roll out to you.

Jane Dudley: Wasn’t that good. I’ve not heard of barrels on wheels.

Hazel Frost: And, then they was two shelves beyond that - from there to the corner where I kept my bake tins and there was a big crock where I kept bread.

Jane Dudley: When you say you kept bread, was it like you used it as a bread box or did you use it for your dough - like a starter?

Hazel Frost: No. After - like a bread box. Usually I had two crocks - six gallon crocks.
 

Jane Dudley: Un-huh. Where did the flour come from?
 

Hazel Frost: We usually picked it up at Woodland.
 

Jane Dudley: At a store?

 

Hazel Frost: Yes.


 

Jane Dudley: And this was - how many years ago would this be? What years were they like - in the thirties or where?
 

Hazel Frost: Yes. It would be in the thirties.
 

Jane Dudley: In the thirties. I was wondering if they had the refined flour then or if most of it was - we have so many different kinds of flours, now, but so many people are going back to what it was.


Hazel Frost: At that time I used mostly Mother Hubbard’s.


Jane Dudley: Mother Hubbard’s? Do they still sell that?

Hazel Frost: They did at that time. I used that for a long time, and then I got to Robin Hood, and I’ve used Pillsbury’s Best.


Jane Dudley: How many loaves of bread did you bake a week?


Hazel Frost: I baked eight to a time, and I baked on Saturdays, and if it was just the average people around there, I would bake Wednesdays. At harvest time when I had extra help in I would bake Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, so that would be twenty four loaves of bread a week at times.


Jane Dudley: Your oven could take eight loaves at a time. This would be the wood oven, and how did you regulate the heat?

 

Hazel Frost: There was a big timer on the oven, you know a register, and you built your heat up until it was 300 and I baked my bread at 300.


Jane Dudley: And kept it at that. You didn’t have to put in your hand and guess what it was, like - - -

 

Hazel Frost: No, There was a little dial on the oven door with the temperature gauge on it.


Jane Dudley: That must have been a wonderful oven.

 

Hazel Frost: It was. And a big tank on the end for hot water, but I had a hot water tank. There was a hot water font in the stove, and when I built the - had the fire I had hot water.

 

Jane Dudley: With such a large family you did a lot of washing. You needed that hot water.

 

Hazel Frost: I sure did. And, my churning.

 

Jane Dudley: Oh, and churning. Tell me about the churning.


Hazel Frost: The churn, I think is still in the attic. One day I churned 125 pounds of butter.

 

Jane Dudley: Oh, my word!

 

Hazel Frost: Of course, we churned it by gasoline engine, and this churn - you had to take the butter out, weigh it, and find out how much salt, and I used to put a little sugar in my butter, too. Find out how much you needed, put it back in the churn and the churn worked it. You put it into a different gear and it would work there. Of course you drained off your buttermilk and washed your butter and weighed all that butter and put it back in and then started the churn going again and it would run your - work your butter so all you had to do was print it. My husband used to help me print the butter because - - -

 

Jane Dudley: How do you print the butter?


Hazel Frost: We printed it into two pound prints.

Jane Dudley: Those are wooden?


Hazel Frost: Wooden prints.

 

Jane Dudley: Did they have a picture on them usually?

 

Hazel Frost: Yes.

 

Jane Dudley: And mark it?

 

Hazel Frost: Yes, fancy ones in each corner, in each quarter.


Jane Dudley: And then do you take it out of that or do you leave it in the mold?


Hazel Frost: Oh, no, he would print it, press it into the print and then he would dump it onto a wet paper and I would do them up and stack them and we had wooden slats that would just take the height of the butter and we’d stack them one on top of the other. And then we’d put them into an ice - - -

 

Jane Dudley: Where would you put them?

 

Hazel Frost: Put them into an ice - - -


Jane Dudley: The ice house?

 

Hazel Frost: Not into the ice house, but we had a big chest that we put ice blocks, blocks of ice in, and we’d set them in one end.


Jane Dudley: Like a freezer.


Hazel Frost: Oh, yes. We didn’t have big freezers, you see, at that time.


Jane Dudley: Did you have to keep putting ice in your ice chest?


Hazel Frost: Oh, yes.


Jane Dudley: How often?


Hazel Frost: Well, probably every three days.

 

Jane Dudley: Un-huh. It was like an ice box that you didn’t open all the time.


Hazel Frost: It was a great big chest - box like that, and that’s where the cream stayed.

 

Jane Dudley: Oh my! It sounds like an awful lot of work but it sounds like you really have to have a lot of know-how to be able to do all that.

 

Hazel Frost: Yes, it kept me busy, let me tell you.

 

Jane Dudley: I guess so. How many eggs did you use a week? Did you have to have lots?

 

Hazel Frost: We had our own hens.


Jane Dudley: Did you have your own cow?


Hazel Frost: We sure did.


Jane Dudley: That’s where all that milk and cream and butter came from.


Hazel Frost: Yes, we had the milk from all of those cows.


Jane Dudley: How many?


Hazel Frost: We had as high as 30 some that was milking. I think at one time we had 40 head that was milking.

 

Jane Dudley: You and your husband - - -

 

Hazel Frost: Well, at one time we had two hired men before the boys got big enough and then the boys took over and it helped too until they got so they wanted to go out and work out and get ahead by themselves. Well, that’s - - -

 

Jane Dudley: So, you had a lot of chickens?


Hazel Frost: We used to buy 100 chickens just as they was hatched and you’d have about 50 - 50. Fifty roosters and 50 pullets. Then I could kill the roosters in the fall and it would kind of pay - well it would pay us for bringing up the pullets, and we’d have pullets all ready to lay. We had a double hen house, you know partitioned off so we could keep them.

 

Jane Dudley: Now, did you sell your milk with all those cows?

 

Hazel Frost: We didn’t at first. At first I made butter.


Jane Dudley: And, did you sell the butter?


Hazel Frost: Yes.


Jane Dudley: Oh, I see. I didn’t understand that.


Hazel Frost: Lyston would go to Woodland on - or Calais on Tuesdays and Woodland on Fridays and we sold butter, eggs, cream and buttermilk.


Jane Dudley: Did he sell this directly to the stores?


Hazel Frost: He sold it to customers.


Jane Dudley: Customers ordered from you. Weren’t they lucky - wouldn’t it be great, Hazel, if there was something like that going on now and we could get butter from him? Wouldn’t that be great?

 

Hazel Frost: Well, yes, but - - -

 

Jane Dudley: Maybe Ellie’ll get going sometime with - - -

 

Hazel Frost: I don’t know how that would be now. See, we had a truck and he’d load that truck up -

 

Jane Dudley: And, he’d go around delivering. And, the truck, was it a car or was it a horse?

 

Hazel Frost: No, it was a car, but it was a truck with just the top over it, but he had side curtains that he could put on for it.

 

Jane Dudley: If it rained.


Hazel Frost: If it rained he had the side curtains.


Jane Dudley: He had protection, yes. Let’s see, tell me about herbs - herbs in your life - your mother’s garden?

 

Hazel Frost: Mother had an herb garden back of the house. She used to grow sage and summer savory, chives, and I don’t know what else. I was small at that time.


Jane Dudley: Yes, and you didn’t pay too much attention to it. My father had a lovely flower garden and I never even learned the names of the flowers, and I think now, wasn’t that a shame.


Hazel Frost: That’s the way we do, though, don’t think it’s important at that time.


Jane Dudley: Yes, just take it so casually. It must have given your mother a lot of pleasure to have the herb garden.

 

Hazel Frost: Yes, you know she used to dry those herbs, and use them, too.


Jane Dudley: Did she hang them in the attic or where would she hang them?


Hazel Frost: She’d hang them upstairs in what - well, there was one room, we called it the ell chamber. And, it wasn’t finished, and it was just, you know, like this, but it had a floor in it and we’d hang things up in there. That was a nice drying place because the chimney went right up through there.


Jane Dudley: And, it was right part of the house. On the third floor or second?

Hazel Frost: No, second.


Jane Dudley: On the second. That would be nice to have now, really. People are putting back root cellars in houses now. It would be nice to have a drying room like that. Ok, when you were a little girl, what games did you play? Do you remember any of the games?


Hazel Frost: Well, we played what they called duck on the rock. We played baseball. We played tag.


Jane Dudley: Duck on the rock. What was that?


Hazel Frost: What, tag?


Jane Dudley: No, duck on the rock.


Hazel Frost: Well, we used to put a tin can on something and they’d all go hide. We’d all have a stick and we’d run out and flip this - we used to call it the duck - and see if we could get back hid before that goal tender would get that back and if he touched that can why - - -


Jane Dudley: Then you were caught.


Hazel Frost: We were caught.


Jane Dudley: That sounds like quite a game. How about toys? Did you have a doll when you were a little girl?


Hazel Frost: A doll? Well, yes, I had a doll. My mother made the body for it and it was a china head.


Jane Dudley: Was it a baby doll or a little girl?


Hazel Frost: No, it was a little girl. I remember she had black hair.


Jane Dudley: Was it real hair, or was it - - -


Hazel Frost: No.


Jane Dudley: Painted on?

 

Hazel Frost: Painted on the head.

 

Jane Dudley: The eyes didn’t work, then. They were - - -


Hazel Frost: No, but they was beautiful, we thought.


Jane Dudley: Oh yes. Would this be like the old dolls we see today, they call grandmother dolls, on those. They have shiny sort of wavy hair.

Hazel Frost: Yes, that would be it.

 

Jane Dudley: You think that would be them?


Hazel Frost: That would be them.

 

Jane Dudley: How about that? Let’s see what else I have here. When you were growing up, you said how many children were in the family?


Hazel Frost: They was eleven all together, but there was one little girl died when she was two years old. I don’t remember her.

 

Jane Dudley: And, she would have been one of the eleven.

 

Hazel Frost: Yes. They was ten of us grew up.


Jane Dudley: Ten of you grew up. Where are your mother and father buried.


Hazel Frost: Out here in the cemetery.


Jane Dudley: In Alexander. Did you go to the school at the four corners?

 

Hazel Frost: I did.


Jane Dudley: Who was your teacher.


Hazel Frost: There was a lot of them. My first teacher was Etta Crosby. She’s a relation to Dyer (Dyer Crosby), somewhere. I went to True Varnum. I went to Bert Legacy, and I went to Bert Flood.

 

Jane Dudley: All in the same school.

 

Hazel Frost: Yes, and Marcia, my sister - I don’t know - yes, I think I did go to Marcia.


Jane Dudley: Did they have nine grades then?

 

Hazel Frost: Yes.


Jane Dudley: All the way through.


Hazel Frost: Yes.

 

Jane Dudley: What year did you graduate?


Hazel Frost: I can’t remember.


Jane Dudley: Do you mind telling me when you were born?


Hazel Frost: No, I was born May 11, 1902.


Jane Dudley: 1902. You’re just a little older than Jack. And, you’ve lived - have you ever lived outside of Alexander?

 

Hazel Frost: Yes, I lived in Winslow.

 

Jane Dudley: Winslow, Maine?


Hazel Frost: Um-hum.

 

Jane Dudley: How long were you down there?


Hazel Frost: Oh, down there a year.


Jane Dudley: Were you married at that time?

 

Hazel Frost: Had one child.

 

Jane Dudley: And, you went down there - - -


Hazel Frost: Lyston worked there on a farm, on a jersey farm.

 

Jane Dudley: Was this the very early years of your marriage?

 

Hazel Frost: Well, Lawrence was a year old. I think we’d been married three or four years.

 

Jane Dudley: I see. And, then you wanted to come home evidently, both of you.


Hazel Frost: Yes, he wanted to come home. He said that he - that the work was too heavy for him because he was running a single cross-cut saw and he wasn’t strong enough to do that. But, he learned a lot on that farm because those was registered jerseys and I think that is where he got interested in running a farm and taking good care of cattle.

 

Jane Dudley: That was very good experience for him then, wasn’t it.


Hazel Frost: Yes, it was. It was.

 

Jane Dudley: Well, I think that this has just been lovely and I wonder if you’d like to go out in the car with me for a while and show me some houses I could take pictures of.

 

Hazel Frost: Just as soon as not.

 

Jane Dudley: I want to take a picture of your old home over here, of the Townsend house, and by the way, did you make the lamp shade over there out of patchwork?

 

Hazel Frost: I did. I did that.

 

Jane Dudley: Isn’t that pretty. And, thank you Hazel. Maybe we’ll get back on tape, but I want you to hear this, if not today, some other time when you have time, ok.


(Recording stops and starts again.)


This is Jane Dudley recording the day after the interview with Hazel Frost. On the 1861 map, I find a Mrs. M. B. Townsend recorded as the resident of the house of which Hazel has been describing. And on the 1881 map a J. McLean (Joseph McLean) and a S. P. Goltel (actually is Shephert Cottel or Cottle) are indicated as co-owners. I’ll spell the name Goltel because I’m not certain it’s spelled correctly. The printing is very fancy. G-o-l-t-e-l. We also have noted on this 1881 map a few misspellings of other names and this may be one to question.


(Recording stops and starts again.)

 

Jane Dudley: September 16, 1980. We’re at a board meeting of the Alexander-Crawford Historical Society at the Dudley Cabin on Pocomoonshine Lake. Here is Hazel Frost and Ellie Sanford to talk about the Townsend house and ghost stories. Hazel, will you tell your story?

 

Hazel Frost: Well, one night, Roy Carlow was boarding with me and we was sitting in the kitchen. I was knitting. I was sitting by the back kitchen door and he was by the pantry door, and all at once we saw the door knob turning that went out in the entry. It turned very slow. The door opened about a foot and stopped. I got up and I asked them to come in, and I set a chair and asked them to have a chair. I said, “It’s cold out tonight. Would you like a cup of hot tea?” I said, “Are you walking?” Of course there was no answer. Roy, he was as white as a sheet and he says, “Will you shut up?” That’s my ghost story.

 

Jane Dudley: That’s a pretty good ghost story. Ellie is going to tell one about her friend who lived over there in the house for what - about three years?

 

Helen: It wasn’t that long even, was it?

 

Jane Dudley: What was her name, Ellie?


Ellie: It was Carlene and Bob Anthony.

 

Jane Dudley: Who did they buy the house from?


llie: Keerock Rook. He was the one who bought it from you, Hazel, wasn’t it?


 

Hazel Frost: No, bought it from Carleton Davis.

Ellie: Ok, Carleton got in the middle there. Let’s see, Bob Anthony worked in New Hampshire during the week and came home on weekends, and that left Carlene and her two children there all week long


Jane Dudley: In that great big house.

 

Ellie: In that great huge house and they only lived downstairs to keep warm in the winter, there. And, at 4:30 in the morning every morning, they heard footsteps coming across the upstairs hall, down through the stairs and the door opening at the foot of the stairs. They thought it was probably the farmer that had been in the habit of coming out every morning and getting the cows milked.

 

Jane Dudley: Yes. What do you think of that, Hazel?

 

Hazel Frost: Used to happen when I was there.


Jane Dudley: It did? Did it really? Maybe it was Mr. Townsend.


Hazel Frost: You know, I heard Aunt Lizzie tell that one time she was sitting to the dining room table, and she and Edie Brown, and I think Mary Browning, May Browning, was sitting there, too. And, they heard three raps very hard between the living room and the dining room and two weeks after that, Mr. Brown got killed. (Harry Brown died in 1925, age 50. His wife was Edie. Lizzie was Charlie Brown’s wife. Harry and Charlie were brothers.)

 

Jane Dudley: Have you heard the footsteps, too, when you lived there?

 

Hazel Frost: I heard the doors open.


Jane Dudley: You head the doors open.


Hazel Frost: Yes, and I stayed there two years all soul alone.

 

Jane Dudley: Oh boy, you were brave.


Hazel Frost: (Chuckle) As I said, I never hurt anybody that was ever in that house. Nobody would be wanting to hurt me, and there was plenty of room for them to live there with me.

 

Jane Dudley: Oh great. That’s just great.

 

(Recording stops and starts again.)

 

Jane Dudley: This is the interviewer’s corrections. I mispronounced McLean’s name. It is (pronounced) “McLain.” M-c-L-e-a-n. Also when Hazel came to our board meeting today, she brought me a little note and the lady who had called on her who was 80 years old who had told her that her father had built that house, the lady’s name was Mrs. David Gramling, G-r-a-m-l-i-n-g, who lived on Woodland Road in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hazel does not remember the name of Mrs. Gramling’s father. Possibly it was Mr. Townsend.