John B. Hinkley of Halcottsville

Hinckley farm auction 1917

This broadside for the auction of John B. Hin(c)kley’s dairy herd and equipment is in the Roxbury historian’s collection. It paints a good picture of what the average farm contained in 1917, and what the average farmer considered important. Top of the list was Mr. Hinkley’s “entire dairy of forty cows, all in good condition, young and A No. 1 dairy.” And his team of horses, weighing about 2,500 pounds, in their prime at eight years old, “true in all harness, good workers in any place.”

Up for auction were a rubber tired wagon, a lumber wagon, sulky plow, big pot ash kettle and more. Attendees were even treated to a free lunch!

John Burton Hinkley was 61 when he retired from farming on the back river road in Halcottsville. His wife Emily (Keator) had died just two years before. They had six children (Everett, Ella, Edward, Mae, Archie and Vertie). Archie was only 32 when he was killed in a blasting accident while dynamiting stumps with neighbor Arthur Miller in 1923. He left his young wife Elsie (Sanford) and two little girls, Hazel (Mead), 8, and Doris (Stahl), 5. Elsie was pregnant and delivered their third daughter, Emily (Schuman) a month after Archie’s death.

John B. Hinkley (who later married Prudence O’Connor and lived in Bragg Hollow) was one of eight children born to Edward (1830-1911) and Sarah Caroline Pulling Hinkley (1831-1894), a couple that saw more than their share of sorrow. Twins Ephraim and Abram, born Sept. 25, 1859, died within a week of each other the following February. Elmer, born in 1862, died at 14 months of age. Mary, born in 1865, was just nine when she passed away in 1875. And five years later, Everett died at age 12. Grant lived long enough to marry Ida Carroll, but was only 38 when he died in 1900.

John B. and his brother (Winfield) Scott Hinkley who lived in Meeker Hollow with wife Mary Cantwell, were the only siblings to live to old age. They died within weeks of each other in 1943. John was 87 and Scott was 72.