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Branchville Memories

Peter Pearson  

I was born in 1941 and grew up in a two family house on Wantage Avenue in Branchville across the street from what was then the Tanis Farm grain and coal storage buildings where the Sussex Branch ended. The tracks went to two of the Tanis buildings and the Roy Company. Further toward Broad Street the tracks converged to the single track that passed between the siding for the Borden creamery and the train station. In warmer months when we slept with the windows open, we would hear the trucks bringing the cans of milk from area farms to the creamery very early in the morning.

They would deliver the cans to a track with rollers that led into the creamery. They would whack the underside of the can lid with a hammer to loosen them before they entered the creamery. That was our alarm clock. The trucks would then pull forward to another track with rollers that the cans exited the creamery on. They would load the cans back on the trucks and deliver them back to the farmers. I know of a few people that had trucks that picked up and delivered the cans for several farmers in their area. That was how they made their living.

On the other side of Broad Street, heading towards Newton, there was a siding on the left to the GLF (Agway) store, now Montague Tool, and to the right, first for the Decker and Simmons Co. a coal and lumber dealer, and then another siding at Hoos and Fletcher, another coal and lumber dealer.

I can remember the steam trains in the forties and fifties, especially on cold winter mornings when the steam would hiss and freeze in the air. I can remember as a very small child, driving with my Dad when he took my Uncle to the station where my Uncle boarded the train on the first leg of his journey as a Marine to serve in the Pacific.

I also remember the damage to the tracks after the hurricane in 1955. The hurricane was in the week of the Sussex County Fair in August and the track wasn't opened until October.

I also remember riding the train to Newton with my younger brother and our Mother followed in our car. She was at the crossing at Becker's creamery when the train passed and she was at the Newton station when the train arrived. She did not have a lead foot, the train had to change milk cars at Beckers and had to go through Lafayette.

Peter Pearson