Barbara Eddy Crandell
9-5-08 at Beech-Hurst in
John & Charlaine Shack
Barbara was waiting on the porch for our
appointment as we arrived and graciously introduced us to her family’s historic
home and archives. Her appearance,
energy and mental acuity belied her 85 years.
She had several legal pad sheets prepared for our interview which she
used sparingly. With candor and humor
Barbara shared an outline of her family history and a tour of the Beech
Scott Eddy, Barbara’s grandfather, was born
in 1843 in upstate
At the time Lillian was teaching and later
served as principal of the high school in
During an economic depression the upper
floor of the general store was used as a private school where Lillian taught
some Ganges high school graduates who could not afford to go to college because
of the economic hard times, including Eugene Brunson, Lee and Harrison
Hutchins, and Neil Goodrich all three of whom went on to achieve notoriety. In
1906, after Scott retired, and sold the store to Orin Wolbrink
(see Janet Wolbrink’s story), they purchased a
parcel of land in
Between 1911 and 1933 when Lillian retired,
Beech-Hurst was primarily a summer home for the Eddy family. In 1913 Lillian
moved with her two boys to
In 1933 Lillian had the beech trees on her Beech-Hurst property evaluated and treated to strengthen their survival. She was not a homemaker but rather a scholar who read voraciously, wrote manuscripts (two published) and introduced her grandchildren to literature by reading Charles Dickens’s works among others to them around the cottage fireplace. Beech-Hurst house was, and still is, filled with books and interesting historical artifacts. Despite its present museum appearance, the house has a very warm and inviting feel. Barbara described the numerous ways in which Grandmother Lillian had influenced the lives of two generations of children directly and indirectly especially with her interest in natural history, classical literature, and as a model of achievement, independence and common-sense.
Meanwhile, Benjamin and Raymond married
sisters, Esther and Barbara Paton of
When Lillian died in 1955, Esther and
Benjamin Eddy took over the management of the Beech-Hurst property from their
--Elizabeth who married Louis Plummer in 1946; children Louis, Elizabeth, Andrew
--Barbara who married John S. Crandell in 1944; children John, Joan
--Joan who married Richard Brigham in 1947; children Ann (d.1978), David, Richard
--Joyce who married
In 2006, six generations of this branch of
the very large Eddy family celebrated 100 years of family ownership of
Beech-Hurst. They shared years of photos and stories. It’s typical for extended family members to
converge on Beech
Over the years Ester and Benjamin’s
children and grandchildren moved back to the Saugatuck-Douglas area, purchasing
property of their own. Barbara estimates
that the extended family currently own nine properties in the Saugatuck-Douglas
area, many along
Barbara took us on a detailed tour of the house pointing out furniture and objects of interest. The house “library” contains an amazing number of artifacts from and about the Eddy family including several historical accounts. Sister Joan Brigham’s son David compiled a bound six volume set of family stories and history. Nearby is the Beech-Hurst Heritage Cookbook created for the 100 years of ownership Beech-Hurst family celebration, a compendium of old family recipes with a second volume in preparation. This room also contains much of Grandmother Lillian’s book collection including some signed copies, century old elementary school reading and math texts. Many old family photos told the story of some of the family roots. Especially interesting among the displayed photos were those of Grandfather Scott and his brother taken during the Civil War as well as Scott’s postwar Federal Army discharge certificate.
Next we visited “Grandma” Eddy’s dark wood
paneled bedroom (referred to as the “Civil War Room”). It’s a tiny room by
today’s bedroom standards with a small fireplace, her rocking chair and
numerous other artifacts of interest, such as the rocking chair used by
Grandmother Lillian and her original flax spinning wheel. An old horsehair trunk near the fireplace
Upstairs are two cozy bedrooms containing
very old twin-sized spindle beds, one of which is reputed to have been slept in
by Al Capone, but presumably not at Beech
Barbara took us for a walk outside to see the barn, which provided sleeping rooms on the second floor, housed old machinery. Mostly she described the very old and beautiful stand of beech trees around the property. Grandmother Lillian had these trees serviced by foresters in the 1930s to help keep them healthy. Since then high winds, lightening strikes and boring insects have taken their toll on some of the trees, but the stand is largely still intact.
INTERVIEW WITH THE EDDY SISTERS (9/16/08)
is a Synopsis of the video and audio record of the Eddy sisters’and
first cousin Patricia Woods’ early recollections of summer life on the Beech
Elizabeth (Betsy) Eddy Plummer was unable to attend.
The setting for this animated conversation
between three Eddy sisters and their first cousin, Pat, was the dining room of
Pat Paton Woods
began the introductions by explaining that she is the only first cousin of the
Eddy sisters who has spent 78 summers in Douglas, with most of her early years
spent at Beech
Barbara Eddy Crandell
is the second oldest of the surviving Eddy sisters and counts 85 years of
summering at Beech
Joan Eddy Brigham, the third sister, had
the next highest record of 84 years spent in the area. She spoke of how her summers at Beech
Joyce Eddy Plummer counts
summering at Beech
It became clear that the sisters share a friendly sibling rivalry with humor and in-family quips. It also became evident that all four women are independent and sharp-witted thinkers who had a very special attachment to each other, this place and the adults who significantly helped to shape their identities.
Joan reported her earliest recollection of
Barbara described hikes to
Pat recalled swinging on the old “Indian
Rope” over a sandy blowout on the south side of
Recalling the Bekkan
family farm across the street from Beech
Most interesting was the group’s discussion of life during the Great Depression of 1929 when their mother was able to support them on the five dollars a week she received from teaching Sunday school and a small pension of their father’s. Despite periods when they ate three meals of oatmeal or potatoes, life never seemed desperate.
The question was raised about the
“Underground Railroad” hidden floor legend about the Beech
The Pavilion was central to the Eddy’s teenage summers. They recalled the rows of pleasure boats rafted along the river side of the building and the many bands which played there.
The family’s Pierce- Arrow convertible, named the “Green Hornet”, with a straight 8 aluminum engine, and wing side windows. The girls, when reaching age 14, were able to drive this car around the area and attract the attention of local boys.
A musical aunt who was a choir director taught the girls to sing and apparently arranged and taught them to sing Sibelius’s “Finlandia”. Our session ended with the group singing a few bars of this music together. There is no question that another good and memorable time was had by the four Eddy “sisters” who really know how to enjoy themselves.
(See the two videos of this event. The digital version captures the final part of the session where the Eddy sisters sing and a short second file where they each name and describe their own children and grandchildren)
These pictures are part of the Eddy sister
piece. I'll send the manuscript next. The first two shots are from
left: Pat Woods (1st cousin of the Eddys), Barbara
Eddy Crandell, Joan Eddy Brigham, Joyce
Eddy Plummer... taken in the Beech
I have two video recordings of the event. I used the new digital for the first time and backed it with the DV Cam. The digital worked better and allowed me to record for over 70 minutes to the end of the session. It works like a charm, once the process is learned. I'll do a few more video sessions and then bring in the card...are we ready for loading videos?