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A Native of Winby
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Information about the Byfleet Poor-house.

    Robert Weidknecht of Holliston, Massachusetts believes that the Byfleet Poor-house in "The Flight of Betsey Lane," is modeled after the South Berwick Poor Farm.  The farm and remaining buildings are now owned by his sister.

Below is a photograph taken in 1978.
     Following the photograph are details about the current site supplied by Mr. Weidknecht.
 


This view is from Knights Pond Road looking North; the Pond is over the hill behind the house.
 

Selections from notes supplied by Mr. Weidknecht.

I don't know how big the farm was initially; it is intact since my sister purchased it in about 1976. It fronts on Knights Pond Road, rises up a hill and then slopes down to Knight's Pond. The trees have grown up since I lived there in the 1980's, so you don't get the clear view of the pond that Jewett describes. Practically all woods in New England were cleared in the 1800's. The open views are now being closed in by successional forest. The railroad is gone, but the railbed is still intact. My sister owns the property going down to the railbed and a small piece on the other side.
    [Norma Keim and Wendy Pirsig of the Old Berwick Historical Society add that the nearest train station would have been the Agamenticus Station which is was a rural stop northeast of the village of South Berwick on Agamenticus Road.]

Shed Chamber - I believe that the shed chamber may have gone out the back of the house toward the north. It was gone before my sister bought the house but I have seen evidence of a filled-in foundation toward the north.

Dandelions -  There are still plenty.

Winding Sandy Road - now called Knights Pond Road ...only sandy in the winter.

Barn - The barn was gone before my sister bought the house. It may have been on the rise where her vegetable garden is now. Years ago I found old locks and barn items while turning over the soil.

Foot of the stair that led up from the shed - There remains an enclosed stair on the back of the house (north side). It is very steep and rickety. If it is the former stair from the shed, the elderly must have been rugged. I always avoided using those stairs.

Long table in the kitchen - When my sister bought the house there were two kitchens, upstairs and downstairs.

Young Maples and Walnut Trees - I don't remember any walnut trees. They are long gone. My sister has one of the largest maple trees in the area though.

Great nut tree on the boundary - Long gone.

Woods about the fields and their (deciduous) leaves - Most of the woods to the north toward the pond are mature pines now.

Stairs creaking - They still creak.

Station about two miles away - I don't know where the station is or whether it still exists.

Low shore and the fresh mown grass - The shore around the pond is almost entirely wooded now. Another owner has a field up to the pond.

Dark Pine woods - They are still there and very mature.

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A Native of Winby