Who is E. G. Cate?

Written by Willard E. Flanders in 1912, Grandson of Josiah Flanders

Erwin G. Cate was a Civil War veteran. He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg. After a partial recovery, he was discharged from the army and came to Boscawen and purchased a farm from Josiah Flanders, another veteran he may have met while in the service. This home was a Cape Cod house with a long ell which contained a woodshed, workshop and carriage house. The barn just beyond was about 30ft. by 50ft. as well as several hen houses, a hog house and a sheep barn. There were about 36 acres in the plot with the house, including a woodlot at the rear, and in the side of the hill in the woodlot about one quarter of a mile from the house was a well, which was piped to the house and connected to a barrel at the end of the sink with a faucet in it. The pressure was supplied by gravity and as the stream was small the faucet was only open when the barrel needed filling. On the opposite side of the street were two pastures running parallel, one for cows and one for sheep. An apple orchard in one of the pasture below the pastures was a 16 acre field which was bounded by the B&M Rail Road.

Erwin Cate married a woman from Minnesota. He had one daughter Alice, who married Ira Colby of Canterbury. The four lived and labored together as they produced butter, cheese, poultry and eggs. They always dressed off two hogs in the fall which usually weighed 400 lbs or more, one for market and one for the family. The hams and bacon were smoked and other parts were corned to keep them for the coming summer.
After shearing the sheep in the spring the wool would be sent to a woolen mill to be cleaned, carded and prepared for spinning. Mrs. Cate was an expert at spinning and one of the few to follow this art. The writer always enjoyed watching her spin as she was the only one I ever knew who did it. After the spinning she would dye the yarn and from there on would be busy knitting stockings and mittens for the men. They were hard working people and uncomplaining. They were Methodist by faith and Mr. Cate always sat down after breakfast and read from the Scriptures and prayed before entering upon his days work. He always attended the Memorial Day exercises at school and often would tell of his experiences in during the war. He never fully recovered from his abdominal wound and was constantly under the care of Dr. Graves, who always went away with several pounds of butter for his pay.
About 1916 a chimney fire caused the loss of their buildings and belongings. Their lives were all that were saved. They have all passed on now and the memory of a truly good family is all that remains. The fields and pastures have all grown up to woodland as has been the case with many other old farms. This information may be of interest in years to come as there are no descendants.