Metuchen Edison History Features

Recollections of

Boyhood Days

In Old Metuchen


David Trumbull Marshall

Published by The Case Publishing Co., Flushing NY 1930

(Second Edition)- (c) 1930


A Fete Champetre.

Some time about 1880 my younger brother Bruyn was working at the Edison laboratory at Menlo Park, having charge of the small telephone exchange located on the second floor of the Laboratory.

One day he came home and announced that he was invited to attend a "fete champetre" at the Edison house.

This was a new one to us so we had to scurry round and find out what kind of an animal was a fete champetre.

After all it turned out to be a party held for the most part out of doors. I was not invited, not being acquainted with the Edison children.

The first group of Edison children comprised two boys and a girl.

The party was given in honor of the girl Dot, then a child of about eight or ten.

The children had a wonderful time.

Mr. Edison had his house wired for electric lights, the current being supplied from the Laboratory.

It was told as a most wonderful thing that after dark Mr. Edison sneaked in and threw the switch and for some minutes cut off the light. I did go to the Edison house some two or three years later to a party given by the Stillwell girls, sisters-in-law of Mr. Edison.

Mr. Edison was not there at the time.

The old platinum-clamp lamps were still attached to the fixtures but the current for lighting them was no longer supplied.

Even at that time the Stillwell girls pointed out the lamps as wonderful antiques.

I remember the Edison children at that party. The little boys were young enough to sit on my lap and were much interested to have someone tell them about the pictures in their books.

In those days Mrs. Edison used to drive around Menlo Park behind a big iron-gray horse by the name of Major.

About ten years afterward I had to drive Major around Morris County, N. J., going from one mining property to another.

As I remember Major was then pretty fat and heavy and withal did not have the lightness nor the pep suited to a buggy horse.

My friend and co-worker had an invariable adjuration which he made to that old horse: "Get up, Majority, or you will leave us in the minority."

It used to be said that Mr. Edison, in order to induce his wife to move out to Menlo Park, had told her that there was a lake out in front of the house.

That there was a lake about 800 yards in front of the house was strictly true and just so at times.

In the spring the low land way down in the valley in front of the Edison house was sometimes flooded, but the lake never lasted many days at a time.



Boyhood Days in Old Metuchen Title page

Thomas Alva Edison in Menlo Park page

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Lasted updated 6/8/99 by Jim Halpin.