Miss Edith maintained contact with the families who owned property adjacent to Topsmead and made many purchases of their property to add to her Topsmead holdings. They would visit and maintained casual, neighborly relations.
One neighbor was the Beirne family, who lived on the north side of East Litchfield Road where Jefferson Hill Road intersected, before Route 118 was built. There was Martin Beirne, his wife Mary, two daughters, Peggy and Eileen as well as Martin’s sister Winifred, who we called Winnie. I have an old photograph showing the two girls at my brother’s first birthday party in September of 1933 at Underhill. Miss Edith bought two pieces of land from Martin. The first, in 1926 was a 32 acre field south of Jefferson Hill where the butterfly garden and bird viewing blind are now located. A second piece was purchased in 1936 that was the old Beirne farm adjacent to their house and land; it was about 46 acres. It had a house and several barns and outbuildings. The house eventually became the gardener’s house occupied by Alec and Eva Derouin.
Another close neighbor was the Buell family. There was George and his wife, and his brother Phil. In 1927 Miss Edith bought a 46-acre farm from George Buell which became Topsmead Farm. In 1929 she bought an additional 36 acres from him which was adjacent the farm, and also a large piece along the east side of Jefferson Hill South Road. Finally in 1959 she bought from Phil Buell a 54-acre plot along the west side of Buell Road where Marsh Road intersects.
In that same area was the Catlin family. Miss Edith used to treat the children to ice cream cones in Litchfield Village during the summer.
The Hausmann family lived in several homes on the north side of East Litchfield Road. My father use to board with Jacob Hausmann before he married my mother in 1929. In 1937 Miss Edith bought Jacob’s home and land – about 3 acres. This was directly across East Litchfield Road from the Underhill entrance. Later in 1966, she bought Albert Hausmann’s house and land about 3 acres a little further down East Litchfield Road.
There were two local farming families who leased meadow land at Topsmead for haying. They were the Liepaka and Labaha families. They lived on what we called the Thomaston Road, now Route 254.
All these families were well known to Miss Edith and together formed a nice neighborly community that included Topsmead.
These conversations were conducted between Bob Orintas and Jenny Riggs.