North Cornwall was never so much a concentrated settlement as a region. It was in large part the domain of various branches of the Scoville family, who traced their lineage back to early settlers of the town. The Second Congregational Church, with its well-known Christopher Wren-style steeple, was built here in 1826. Another building had multiple uses as a glove factory, store, schoolhouse, and chapel.
A memoir by Harriet Devan Soule recounts vivid childhood memories of the Scoville Farm in the 1890s. “Most mornings we rattled up to the farmhouse just as Cousin Sam and his helpers, crook-necked Joe and silent Dunny, came hustling out of the kitchen door to get on with their work. They had already milked all the cows by hand and turned them out to pasture. They had fetched water from the barn spring and washed down the head racks and stanchions where the cows had stood to be milked, … carried the tall, heavy milk cans into the milk room to cool, washed their hands and arms in the tin basin that, with towels, hung down beside the spring-water in a corner of the kitchen, and combed their hair before the cracked mirror that hung nearby.”
A Rogers family buggy passes the Second Congregational Church, about 1905
Harriet Soule’s Aunt Maria “was the undisputed ruler of the kitchen and the men’s cleanup routine was her ruling. Only after it had been carried out to her satisfaction would she heap their plates with meat, potato, and muffin breakfasts from the huge black stove.” When the men had left, “old Hungarian Mary, rough-tongued but warm and loyal of heart and indefatigable in work, took over. She scrubbed the table, filled plates for Aunt Maria, Lil and herself, and they all sat down to eat breakfast together.”
Harriet also recalled the neighborhood social life. “When we grew old enough, we went to the neighborhood Sunday night sings in the long front room of the farmhouse. All the chairs and the horsehair sofa were filled with women and girls, and the men and a few boys carried in their own from other rooms and sat together at the dining room end of the room. When all were seated, with Mrs. Hedden at the piano, the well-worn 1886 Gospel Hymns were passed around. People all over the room, children and all, called the numbers of the hymns they wanted.” Songs included Hold the Fort, for I am Coming and Pull for the Shore Sailor! Pull for the Shore! “How they did sing out! They might have been heard a mile away.”