Another excerpt from Canterbury Connecticut Characters of the 20th Century, this time about my grandfather, Malcolm Wibberley, with a new picture that recently surfaced.
When Malcolm graduated from high school in 1910, he was awarded a scholarship to Yale University in New Haven to study electrical engineering. His scholarship money was only enough for three years, so he accelerated his courses and graduated in 1913 (graduation picture on right) before his money ran out, an indication of his strength of character.
He took a job in Pittsburgh working for Westinghouse corporation, but was not happy in the big city, so after a year left and returned to Connecticut and farming.
He married Jessie Sage of Norwich, bought Echoland Farm in Canterbury from his father and settled into the old farmhouse there.
The farm was very rocky with limited fields available for raising hay. The pasture land across the road from the farm buildings had so many rocks that you could (and still can) easily cross it without ever having to step on the grass.
While busy in farming, he also took time for a number of other pursuits. One was electricity. Canterbury, as a whole, didn’t have electricity until the 1940s (the Green area had it in 1929), but being an electrical engineer, by 1920 Grandpa was able to build his own electrical system.
He made a generator powered by a model T engine and supplemented it with batteries he made from large jars and lead plates, giving the family lights to work and read by.
He also had a keen interest in music and taught himself how to play thirteen different wind and percussion instruments, including trumpet, clarinet, saxophone, baritone, trombone and drums. He then taught at least one of these to each of his five children, to many of his 22 grandchildren, as well as to neighbor children. Grandpa then formed a band that played for the Fourth of July celebration, grange meetings and other town events.
In the picture below, taken about 1938, Grandpa is feeding corn, cut by hand, into the chopper-blower, powered by his 1936 John Deere tractor (the photographer incorrectly tinted it red rather than John Deere green!). The chopped corn was blown up up into the silos. What a lot of hand labor!