My grandmother, Rachel Sumner, used to keep her cameras and boxes of
pictures in a closet in her dining room. After she died I inherited the
whole collection and I scanned the pictures, about 3000 of them, around
1995. I still have the originals in piles of boxes, in acid-free Ziploc
Where possible I prepended a year to my original filenames so these are
sorted chronologically. Some photos were grouped by a processor's batch
number or worse yet loose with no markings.
Choose a background color:
Heath Center in 1926
1934: My Uncle, Ted Burrington, was a bit of an inventor. This is the first
of 2 documented models of a cranberry picker he built, the second was about
1942. I've never heard of cranberries being grown around here, maybe this
was just an excuse to hang out on Cape Cod for testing.
1934: The early cranberry picker from the front. This was built around a bicycle,
the later one around a motorcycle. I've heard neither actually worked all
1939: Ruth, Dot, Dick, Ralph, Bob Sumner
1940: Bob, Dick, Dot, Ruth Sumner. Notice the impish look on Dick's face.
1940: Dot, Bob, Grandma Sumner, Dick, Ruth Sumner
1940: A stuck snowplow by the looks. My grandfather, Ralph Sumner, drove
snowplow for the town I've heard. This was 14 years before I was born.
This looks like it's at the farm which my father later sold to Doug Stetson.
Heath center would be just over the mountain in the center, that upper
clearing on the hillside would be the Dickinson farm. That strange
apparition at the left is a light leak in the camera.
1940: Stuck again, a little farther on. Notice that the barn on the right
and trees across the road are still in the same places, only the plows
moved. There's a second truck behind the first.
1940: This seems to be looking at the farm from beyond where the plows were
stuck after they'd gotten by.
1940: Part of the farm, the main barn's across the road behind the camera.
The entrance to Schoolhouse Road is right about in the center of this
picture, apparently they didn't plow it in the winter.
1940: Somewhere in the snow. I don't see any landmarks and I don't know
whose car that is. Somebody wanna run that plate?
1940: I think this is a different day of plowing, and the next picture
actually belongs before this one.
1940: This may be a pass by the plow to clean out some drifting after the
road was already open, or widening the road. There aren't people standing
aroud with shovels in either of these.
1942: The second model of the cranberry picker. I don't know who these
1942: Cranberry picker #2. I can barely remember Uncle Ted as an old man who
died when I was at Branch Elementary School (1960-1963). I remember being
impressed that the flag flew at half mast for someone in my family.
1945: This looks like a stuck or broken down plow again. Whoever that is
leaning against the telephone pole seems to be wearing just a sweater so
maybe it's spring or she's been shoveling and she's hot. The mountain in the
background looks different than in the 1940 picture, I'm not sure where this
is. Notice the insulators on the telephone pole: they don't put them on
that way around here (no crossarms), this looks like near the end of the
1945: This looks to be south of the farm but I don't know what's going on.
It looks like they're looking for something rather than just shoveling.
There also seems to be a road at the left which is way out of line with the
telephone poles and the truck parked in the road just right of center. It
could go to the barnyard. That seems to be what was Galipo's on the right.
1945: Once again I can't reliably guess where this is but I think it's the
same car as in 1940. War years, rationing, etc. A lean-to or chicken house
on the right, a house built at right angles to the road on the left. Maybe
in North Heath somewhere.
1945: This looks a little like the south of the farm one 2 pictures back.
I've heard of being able to stand on the snowbanks and touch the telephone
wires, and I've seen snowbanks that high in recent years, but only in North
Heath, not around here.
1945: Stuck again, judging by the guy standing on the snowbank to the left.
No crossarms on the telephone poles again.
1950: Henry Stetson and his wife's 60th anniversary. Love how they never
mention her first name at all.
1958: I've got 3 pictures here of what I think of as my grandparents' house
although they didn't live there until I was about 6 (1960). It was known as the
Maxwell place and was a mess when they bought it.
1958: Same place, the asbestos siding in place by winter.
1958: Actually a picture I just took 11/9/2013 to show the place now. It's
not in the family any more, I don't know these people. My grandfather tore
down the old shed and built a new workshop about 1971, in between digging
down the driveway so it's more level. The solar panels were added by the new
owner. I remember playing in those lilac bushes at the right, there was a
place you could walk in and sit down on a horizontal branch and be hidden.
1969: The house that my father sold to Doug Stetson when he quit
farming/logging and went back to college (UMass) with teaching in mind.
1969: Not far from where the 1940 stuck plow pictures were taken but looking
the opposite direction back toward the house and barn.
1971: An early Mohawk graduating class and the people from my class (1972)
leading it. Donna March fiddling with her shoulder at left, behind her
Marsha Stetson then Monica Sheridan. The near colum is Bonnie Stanley, then
somebody from Colrain, then Debra Bergstrom. Carolyn Bobetsky is in pink.
At the right is my father (Ron Corey) with his coat over
1971: After the ceremony, anonymous graduates walking away. My father in the
background with his raincoat.
1975: The reception for my wedding which was a Justice of the Peace wedding
in Greenfield 12/24/1975 because we wanted to get married Christmas Eve.
With his back to the camera is Bill Thane, me, Jennifer, Alan Otico, Cindy
1975: At my parents' house probably at Christmas. Dawn, me, Jennifer.
1976: Family Christmas at my grandparents' (these were usually in January),
Jennifer and me.
1976: My grandfather, Ralph Sumner in his recliner.
1977: Jennifer, me, my father: Ron Corey
1979: Dawn, Jennifer, me at Christmas.
1981: Me at Amherst College in the electronics shop I had for 10 years.
Ralph's Model T Ford: There are a couple later pictures of this in it's old
age as a stripped-down doodlebug used for pulling trailers of hay. I
remember being allowed to play on it and one day I ran outside to jump up in
the seat, which was unusually cold. When I looked down I discovered I'd run
out in my underpants. This is natural fading of the print, no sepia toning.
This was a farm in North Heath where my mother grew up. This barn is long
gone, but the stonework still stands. My cousin Eric Sumner owns it now.
There's a painting of this done by Robert Woodward and it's sort of legend
in the family. The barn actually spans the road for putting hay into the
upstairs, because the ground on the other side slopes down too much.
That's my grandmother, the child at the left with glasses. That's probably
Uncle Ted (Burrington), the boy at the right. The others I don't know, or
when or where this is.
That's me as a ringbearer at my aunt's wedding. The flower girl is someone
named Cheryl something from near Fitchburg, I haven't seen her since.
Me on the beach with shovel, bucket, and sand.
I think this is Oscar and Ava Sumner in this car. They lived in NYC and I
didn't see them often. Oscar was my grandfather's brother. Ava in later
years was a chemist working for Pfizer, it seems like he was a chemist
A pair of coon hunters, I don't know who they were.
Doug Stetson married my father's sister Nada, this was from a Christmas card
they sent out.
Me in overalls, I think about 1955 or 6.
A cousin of mine who was a Headmaster at Charlemont Academy.
A Sumner family portrait: Ralph, Dot, Bob, Dick, Rachel, Ruth.
I'm not sure who these people are, or where, but that's my grandmother,
Rachel Sumner as a girl in front.
Many years ago before I was born a neighbor, Wil Rainville, used to have a
pet bear. I think this was in the 1940s. I'd heard about it but never saw
I don't want to think about what life was like for the bear, chained up like
a dog with a doghouse.
Some more recent (1968 & 1971) pictures that I'm in. I was reluctant to
put these on the web before but they are fuzzy, 40+ years old, and I'm only
using first names. 1968 (B&W) are from Hermit Island Campground in
Maine, 1971 are from Sandwich, MA on the cape.
I'm not sure what's going on here. The girls look downcast like they just
got yelled at, Brian looks defiant, I look concerned. Marcia did get in
trouble for wandering off to the public bathroom up the road by herself
without even telling anyone sometime on this trip. She was the youngest of
us, Kevin was born while we were up here. Marcia, Brian, Linda, me. I'm
about 4 years older than Linda, I don't remember their exact ages but she's
Putting up the tent. This got to be old hat eventually but in 1968 we hadn't
had it many years. Along the sides of it were grommeted holes at the top
and loops at the bottom. The poles which Marcia's holding onto were dowels
about 6 feet long with a nail sticking out at the top. You put the nail
through the grommeted hole, pushed up, then the bottom of the pole through
the loop. Then you looped a rope over the nail and hitched the other end to
a tent stake and tightened it (Gramp's doing that). It worked best with a
team on each side. Once the sides were up you put the ridge pole together
and put it in, on taller poles, with more ropes and stakes. 4 adults and 4
kids slept in there this trip, we had some cots that stacked like bunk beds.
Nobody slept on the ground. Gramp, Marcia, Dad.
All of us at the beach. Not all the tent sites were near the water, most of
us had to walk a little ways. Mom, Brian, me, Gramp, Linda, Dad, Marcia. In
those days you just didn't go into somebody else's campsite without being
invited. You can't lock a tent but nobody ever stole anything, you could go
off for a day and everything would be fine. Maybe you didn't leave something
like a camera or radio sitting out in plain sight on the picnic table but
buried away in the tent it would be fine.
Getting ready to eat. Dad's standing at the Coleman stove cooking, beyond
that on the folding table is the "camp kitchen". That was a handy
plywood box with compartments that held pots & pans, plates, silverware,
cereal bowls, condiments, napkins. It had handles and weighed about 50
pounds fully loaded but everything you needed for cooking and eating were in
there. I remember buying sets of stacking dishes and planning the
compartments to fit them took months. There wasn't much extra space in there.
That's probably Marcia at the end of the picnic table, Brian's washing his
hands, I'm waiting. At most campgrounds you had to carry your own water so
everybody washed their hands in that plastic bowl before that water got
Almost every summer my grandparents would rent this cottage on the beach for
a week or two. There was a normal driveway and road on the other side, this
was the side facing the beach. The front 5 first floor windows were screened
and on a porch, which is where I slept. Sleeping bag on a cot and I listened
to the ocean all night. Lots of family members would come stay for a few
days, I don't remember how many bedrooms there were, I always got the porch
which suited me fine. I think that's Kevin at the end of the boardwalk in
the plastic sunglasses. 1971, he'd have been about 3.
This is as close as I ever got to being on a sailboat at sea. My father (in
back) understood what he was doing, my job was to duck every time that boom
needed to go over me. My father sailed when he was a kid, this was my only
time. 1971, I was a junior in high school.
My father's bent over doing something to the sailboat. I'm in the far inner
tube watching, Linda and Brian are in the near one. Linda was always
gorgeous. I don't remember if it was this trip or not but one time we had a
bushel basket in one of the inner tubes and pulled it around while we waded
and dug clams that we tossed into the basket. We made chowder out of them.
Christmas 1970, all the grandkids. From the back, l-r: me, Linda, Brian,
next row: Marcia, Eric, Todd, Kevin, and in front is Ree. I had braces
and glasses then. I want to rescan these, maybe this winter.