THE Cornwall Elementary School COMMUNITY HISTORY PROJECT:
RALPH RODNEY ROBBINS (1870 – 1958) AND ANNA SALOME JAMES ROBBINS (1876 – 1940)
Ralph Rodney Robbins was born on December 1, 1870, to Henry H. Robbins and Agnes Orcutt. Ralph had one brother, Herbert Robbins, and one sister, Jennie Robbins. He grew up on a Merino Sheep Farm. Ralph married Anna Salome James, who was born April 15, 1876. Ralph and Anna had two children, E. (Eben) “Rodney” and Catherine Robbins. Ralph spent his entire life in Cornwall, Vermont. He raised merino sheep. Ralph died on November 23, 1958 and Anna died April 1, 1940.
FIRST PHONES IN CORNWALL
When phones first came to Cornwall there were no private lines, just party lines. (A party line was a single phone line that was shared with two, three, or four families.) Party lines were often shared with neighbors, but this was not acceptable to Anna. Anna knew that people who were on party lines with one another often listened in on one another’s phone conversations. Anna insisted on being on a party line with only her sisters. Anna wanted no part of any nosy neighbor listening in on her conversation!
CAR FOR SALE!
One day a car salesman came to Cornwall. He tried to talk Ralph into buying a car. Ralph was hesitant but decided he would try driving the car, so off they went with Ralph driving and the salesman riding shotgun. Ralph had no previous experience with any mechanical mode of transportation, and he had no idea that the driver of a vehicle needed to be in control. The ride was wild as Ralph waved to his friends along the way. Several times, Ralph almost drove off the road. The salesman was never so terrified. Needless to say, the salesman was happy when that trip came to an end. Ralph did not buy the car.
Stories told to the Fourth Grade class by Elizabeth Sears, granddaughter of Ralph Rodney Robbins.