A Year in the Life of the Observer Trivia

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1. In June 1999, Lester Smith wrote an article on Kent Place, the magnificent mansion on Mountain Road near Sheldon Street. Which of the following are correct?

a. Polo fields were part of the property, north of Mountain Road.
b. The original front door faced east onto Taintor Street.
c. It was the summer home of the Kent family who last resided in the house in 1986.

2. Mary Anne Zak wrote an article in February 2000 about Ministry Meadow. In its early history, the town owned this parcel of land located near Taintor Hill which is off of Taintor Street. What was the derivation of the meadow’s name?

a.  It was the location of the first church in the town.
b. The income from hay harvested from the meadow maintained the minister and his family.
c. It was where Native Americans were converted into Christians.

3. Joanne Nielson often wrote about tobacco farming. Which statement is correct?

a. Tobacco thrives during very rainy weather.
b. Tobacco damp is when, during curing, the leaves are soft and pliable.
c. Tobacco leaves are sorted for quality as soon as they are picked from the field.

4. Chester “Chet” Madey, the fourth owner of the Suffield Pharmacy wrote about the store in the July/August 2000 issue. Chet was the pharmacist for 12 years when Howard “Doc” Caldwell was the owner. In 1959, Chet bought the store, selling it after 13 years in 1972. In the article Chet wrote of a tragedy which occurred on Bridge Street. What happened?

a. A late winter snowstorm produced heavy snow which collapsed the roof of a house on the street, killing its inhabitants.
b. A drunk driver drove his car into the First National Bank, killing a patron.
c. A massive gas explosion at Doc Caldwell’s house killed his wife.

5. According to an article written by Lester Smith in September 2000, around 4,200 Convention troops marched through Suffield in 1778 whose officers treated the ladies of Suffield to a ball. What were Convention Troops?

a. French soldiers who loved to dance, who came to the aid of the colonists in the Revolutionary War.
b. The Convention Troops were used for intelligence work. They wore uniforms similar to conventional British troops.
c. They were prisoners of war, about half of them Hessian mercenaries, captured after the Battle of Saratoga.

6. Marcella Galetta was the subject of Mary Anne Zak’s article in October 2000. She was born in Lithuania but came to Connecticut when she was two. When she wed Angelo Galetta, the son of Italian immigrants, their wedding followed Lithuanian traditions. Which of the following statements concerning Lithuanian wedding traditions are true.

a. Wedding festivities last two weeks.
b. Weddings occur on Mondays.
c. In the second week of festivities, the women who prepared the wedding feast become the guests and the wedding party serves them.

7. Name at least two of the five Presidents who have been to Suffield.

8. Gayle Demko wrote often about local wild life and recipes. She did both in an article published in September 2000 about a fish that was on a course to become extinct as 1,000 dams located on the Connecticut River blocked the fish from migrating upriver to spawn. Fish ladders enable the fish to migrate and survive. What is the fish?

a. Shad
b. Walleye
c. Northern Pike

9. In December 2000, Mary Anne Zak wrote about Polish immigrants who came to town bringing their Christmas traditions, the richest of which was celebrated on Christmas Eve. On that day, some of the celebrations included placing a symbolic manger on the family table, writing the initials of the Three Wise Men over the doorways to protect the family from misfortune and lighting a candle in a window symbolizing hope that the Christ child would come in the guise of a stranger who would be welcomed to share in the feast. Adults fasted until the first star appeared in the night sky and the family sat down to special food and oplatek, a thin wafer imprinted with religious symbols. What is the name of this Christmas Eve tradition?

a. Vigilia
b. Wielkanoc
c. Majowka

10. There was a large celebration and ball at the end of December 1999. What did it celebrate?

a. New Year’s Eve
b. President Obama’s second term
c. The Millennium


1. All are correct. When Stella Kent bought three acres on the east side of Taintor Street in 1903, she changed what street her front door faced. At the same time, she arranged for the town to move the end of Taintor Street 300 feet to the east, to enlarge the yard on that side. Her front door then faced Sheldon Street.
2. b. The income from hay harvested from the meadow maintained the minister and his family. In 1716, the plot was enlarged to 13 acres. The plot was transferred to the Second Ecclesiastical Society (ultimately the West Suffield Congregational Church) in 1799.
3. b. Tobacco damp is when, during curing, the leaves are soft and pliable, having lost enough moisture so that the leaves are not wet, but retain enough moisture so the leaves are not brittle. Tobacco likes neither very dry or very wet seasons. Tobacco leaves are sorted after hanging in a shed and stripped of the stalk.
4. c. A massive gas explosion at Doc Caldwell’s house killed his wife.
5. c. They were prisoners of war who loved to dance. It is believed that the ball took place in the Austin Tavern, to which even the minister’s wife attended.
6. All are correct.
7. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. George Washington came here twice. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison visited here before they became presidents. Richard Nixon is the only president who slept here. He stayed at Meade Alcorn’s house on Russell Avenue.
8. a. Shad
9. a. Vigilia
10. The answers are a. and c. The celebration was for the Millennium and New Year’s Eve, as it took place on December 31.

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