Newton Digital Collections

History resources digitized by the Newton Public Library

Ethel Hay Interview


Ethel Hay Interview


Newton, Kansas - History
Newton, Kansas - History - Oats & Hay Bottling Co.
Newton, Kansas - History - Santa Fe
Newton, Kansas - History - Ice Cream/Eskimo Pies


Mrs. Carl (Ethel) Hay talks about living in Newton. She also discusses her husband's ice cream business (with Eskimo Pies) and raising her family in Newton, KS.


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas


Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas




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Newton Public Library, Newton Kansas, “Ethel Hay Interview,” Newton Digital Collections, accessed April 21, 2024,

A.W. Holt


Ethel (Mrs. Carl) Hay


21. MAY, 1977
INTER.: We are in the home of Mrs. Ethel Hay. Mrs. Hay, where
were you born and when.
MRS. HAY: I was born in Osage City in 1893-
INTER.: What were your parents' names?
MRS. H.: My parents' names were, was Mr. and Mrs. George Kendall.
INTER.: And what did they do?
MRS. H.: My father worked for the Santa Fe. He was a foreman on
the Santa Fe. And my mother, my mother was just a housewife. My mother was born in England and my father was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. When she was four years old, she came to Kansas. And came on a boat or a ship. Took 'em, I think it took them about two months to arrive here. But they didn't come to Newton. They arrived at Osage City. That's as far as the Santa Fe came. They landed in New York and then came as far as the Santa Fe came.
INTER.: How soon did the Santa Fe come to Newton?
MRS. H.: Well, I just couldn't say, because you see she was four
years old when she was there and I wasn't born yet. So I wouldn't know when the Santa Fe arrived here.
INTER.: How did you meet your husband?
MRS. H.: Well, I just met him when I was in high school. He asked
me to go to a basketball game with him. And that's the way we met.
INTER.: Then when did you marry
MRS. H.: We were married in Newton in 1921. We move in this house
(1215 North Main).
INTER.: (l asked her about the ice cream business.)
SI- 3304
MRS.H.: He had the ice cream factory when we were married. And at
first he just had a small building on Oak Street and Fourth, East Fourth. And then he built the big brick building in, I think he must have built that after we were married, the first year after we were married. And he had a bottling, he went into the bottling business, too, when he built this new building. And at first, he had a partner, Oats Unruh. And so they put up a, on the front of the building, this small building, they put up on the front of it,
"Oats and Hay make good ice cream." And the people that came in on the Santa Fe, see it was right across the depot, and when the people came in on the Santa Fe they’d see the"0ats and Hay makes good ice cream." And, "Well how in the world can you make good ice cream from oats and hay?" That’s what some of them would remark. And then his partner moved to California, I think, soon after we were married, the first year, I think, and he sold out to my husband. No, he sold it (her husband sold the franchise) in 1929, just before the crash you know. He didn't want to sell it.
He was too young to retire. But these people wanted it because they thought it was, you know, wonderfu1 business. And he didn't have any competition when he was first in business. And he had, every store in Newton bought from him, you know, drugstores and restaurants and all those. And, but he, so he really didn't want to sell.
But they insisted. It was some fellows from Salina. And they bought all little ice cream places. Several in Kansas. And then after the crash hit, why it kept going down and it finally they had to give up.
So he was really fortunate to have sold out.
INTER.: How did the franchise for the Eskimo Pies come about?
MRS.H.: Well, I just don't know too much about it. See I had these
three little boys. These Eskimo Pies went over so big, but I really didn't pay much attention and I can't - I've tried to find some history, but I couldn't find it.
INTER.: Well, how did they make them?
MRS. H.: He bought the franchise and the ice cream, of course being
an ice cream maker, he made lots of molds, you know and different things. I know Christmas, we couldn't have any dessert but an ice cream Santa Claus. For years, that's all we had. They were really pretty. And, but we just had to have that. And we always had to have ice cream for dessert, some kind of fancy ice cream because that was his business. Well then, he made the Eskimo Pies. He took a little stick and made a square or oblong and he'd freeze that, freeze the stick in there like a sucker or something, you know. And then that would be hard. And then he had a little, a like machine, I called it, but it looked like a spinning wheel. And the wheel went around and turned the syrup, this chocolate in there. And then he had a girl who worked in the factory. She dipped those, after they'd been frozen. She dipped them and then they'd put them back in the freezer and freeze the chocolate part on there. You've?
INTER.: Yes, I've had them. (I next asked her what Carl Hay's parents were named*)
MRS.H.: His mother and father was Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Hay. And
they, his father was a bridge builder, before he, and a farmer.
He had a farm before he was married out here. He homesteaded his farm when he came and then he built bridges. He was always an engineer. And then, he moved to town and he was a county engineer,
Harvey County engineer. And he did all his own book work in the Harvey, up in the Courthouse and of course he had his office up there. And he didn't have any stenographer or any secretary. And he really did a lot of the work out, well, of course he was an overseer, but he did a lot of work, too. And now they, I think they have twenty employees or something he didn't have any! That was, of course there wasn't so many people and there wasn't so many bridges, you know, and there wasn't so much pavement. The Hays when they moved from the country, my husband was ten years old when they moved in town. He was born on Tenth Street. And then they moved out in the country. They lived on Tenth Street two years. And then, when he was ten, they moved back to town. And they bought a house on this corner, where Mid-Continent is. And there wasn't, this Main Street bridge wasn't here then. And you had to turn at Twelve and go across Twelfth Street bridge and then down along the creek and then back again to get on Main, see? But there was a road. That was the way, but it, none of it was paved. And there was a street, there was a house right in the middle of the street.
INTER.: It just kind of dipped?
MRS. H.: Yes. But it was in the middle of the street, the house was.
And a doctor lived there. I forget his name. They were young, must have been young then. I know there was one house back here that, her name was Miss Ainesworth. Her folks homesteaded that place, and they had to go past there and then down along the creek to get back on Main, see? See, they'd crossed the creek there, then they'd get back on Main, and go on out. Cobble and --they have a ranch up by Cedar Point. They still have it. But they're trying to make it into a lake. And their son he's been to Washington four times to fight it, so I don't know how it's coming out.
INTER.: Main Street bridge.
MRS. H.: But this is when Hays, I think there was one more house
in this block. And not many, it wasn't paved. When I came, the streetcar was here. Interurban, they called it. Came from Wichita and run out to Bethel and back.
INTER.: Pretty efficient, huh? It cut out going over the-
MRS. H.: Yes, well I never saw that when you couldn't get through
INTER.: Yes.
MRS. H.: I've gone to Wichita a lot of times. I don't know whether
It was seventy five cents or a dollar, I don't know now.
INTER.: Did it take very long? How long did it take to get to
MRS. H.: Well, not too long. I imagine maybe an hour. You can go faster now. Let's see, I must have been 16 or 18 when that Interurban first came to town. And we, the fellow that run the, oh he was good looking! So all we girls would try to get a ride to look at him.
INTER.: How long was it here before, when did they retire it?
MRS. H.: Well I can't remember. Well after the cars come in. You
see, when we first came to Newton, there wasn't any cars. Only a few. Now there was a few cars, you know, those electric ones and a few rich people had cars.
INTER.: So, most everybody used the streetcar or they walked, huh?
MRS. H.: Well, if we wanted to go to Bethel or Wichita.
INTER.: (Simultaneously) or Wichita.
MRS. H.: Just run up this street. Come in Fifth and just ran up here by-- you couldn't go on any other streets. But anyway, we were used to walking. 'Cause we'd always walked. We used to walk to Bethel and not think a thing about it. People fuss about it.
Going to school now, they all have to have a car. And I lived on Fifth Street, and we would go to, I was in the eighth grade then, and we'd go over to Southside, that's the only, there was three grades over there, just three eighth grades. We had to walk clear over there. All the kids in town had to go there, for that school is on First Street now. That's where we went to eighth grade. And we'd all walk. No matter where you lived, you walked. And we'd walk home for lunch. Oh these kids, oh they'd die now if they had to do that.
INTER.: (What were your son's names?)
MRS. H.: Jack, Keith and Kendall. Jack was born in 1923 and Keith
was born in 1928 and Kendall was born in 1933- And the boys was raised here in Newton, went to high school, and Jack went to Wentworth Military Academy for two years. And then the Army took him to Africa first and then to Rome, or to Italy in the war, the Second World War. And then Keith went to K.U., graduated from Kansas University. Then he went to Ft. Collins, Colorado, and received his Masters degree in conservation and wildlife. Then Kendall went to K.U. and graduated and then he got his Master's degree at K.U.
Kendall is in Wellington, Kansas. He's assistant superintendent at Wellington.
When we came to Newton I think it was in 1905, we came to Newton, we lived on East Sixth Street. And we lived the second door from Erma Suderman. And she and I have always been friends, ever since we arrived in Newton. And we went to high school together. And then Theresa Conkey went to school with us, but she lived out on Highway 50. And I think they are the only two that I can remember.
But I know, they were the first ones in Newton that were my friends. Theresa passed away in February of this year. She never had any children. Erma had one son. And he's in California. She married Bert Stuart. He was a teacher here a long time in the high school.

INTER.: Your father. He died in 1916
MRS. H.: He's been dead 57 years, I think, or something,
a long time.
INTER.: But he worked for the Santa Fe. He did work for the Santa
Fe when he got to Newton. Do you remember the roundhouse?
MRS. H.: Unhuh.
The next year he (Kendall) he had to go to kindergarten, he had to go to Cooper. And it was only two blocks or something there and he said, "No, I 'm not going, I 'm not going I'm going to wait. I get up in junior high and then I'm going across the street. We lived across the street, from the junior high.
INTER.: Kids are great.
MRS. H.: They say some of the cutest things, don't they!
INTER.: Yeah, they do, their thoughts are really interesting.
MRS. H.: The winters were much colder than they were now. And the
storms are different. Because I know we used to have cyclones.
We used to have cyclone caves and we'd have to run to those caves.
And we had one here on this place back here. But now, I know we went to Florida in the winters, my husband and I for six years after our boys had married. And we were down there one time, and a lady asked me where I was from, and she said Kansas. And she said, "Oh that terrible state!" And I said, "What's the matter with it?" And she said, "Oh, it has cyclones and tornadoes and they're terrible." And ! said, "Well you have all these old hurricanes that wash you away." And she said, "But we have warnings." And 1 said, "So do we." You can read in the paper where Florida has cyclones, one right after another, can't understand it. It's just changing all over the country.
INTER.: Shifting.
INTER.: What did you do for entertainment when the boys were growing up, usually?

MRS. H.: We had picnics, and the boys, one of them was interested in
the ball games. They had little ball games. And they played with the neighbor children and they, they would, my boys seemed like they could entertain their selves. They didn't have to be entertained.
But we didn't have any T.V.'s or radios.
INTER.: When you were growing up.
MRS. H.: And so, we didn't have colored T.V. till my boys were grown.
We had T.V., but anyway, they seemed to. It seemed like now they
have to go, they have to be going someplace. To a show or uptown
to Johnny's or some place. They have to be entertained. But our boys seemed to find entertainment at home and we'd--Sleigh riding, when I'd, and you know and had a lot of fun with the horses, but now when my, I know when Jack was four years old he, he would sit on the front porch and wait for the garbage man to come 'cause he drove a horse. And oh, he was just so interested in that horse.
And he'd just wait every time the garbage man would come and then, o
one day, he'd come in and, he was only four, he was just learning
to talk. And he said, "Hoah, hoah" "What'd you say?'* And he said, "Hoah, the man say "Hoah." He was so interested in the...So there wasn't cars, trucks then, to pick up your
INTER.: garbage.
MRS. H.: Reese's drugstore was, Mr. Reese the father had a drugstore,
and he had two sons, John and Walter. And when we first came, we would go to the drugstore to see Mr. Reese. Because the Indians had scalped his head and we wanted to see it. And sometimes, he'd raise up his toupee and show us. So we enjoyed that. Cause we were just interested in Indians, cause we were just children, you know. Then, they kept this drugstore all these years. And then John married and he had two children, a daughter and a son and
Royston then took it over. But John's still living. He and his wife are in Halstead nursing home. And now, and their home, they have the same home on First street and there's no one in it. But Royston, their son, lives near there. And he, and it's in the same place where it always was. Now, I don't know this,
I don't know his name in McPherson or Salina or some place. But anyway, then the other drugstore belonged to Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith run it years ago. And now it's changed hands twice. And Wilson's had it and now, now I can't tell you the name of the people who have it. Yes, they were both pharmacists. All the Reeses were.
Then, Anderson's Bookstore is an old store. And the Anderson family. They had, down by the Santa Fe depot, their store was, their first store.
INTER.: I hadn't read that.
MRS. H.: Oh no, that's been years ago. And, I imagine it was there
before the, I don't know whether it was there before Main Street was paved. Of course, Main Street was paved when I came. But that store was there. And their son Phillip took it over. And, he had two sons, Phillip and I can't think of this other son's name. But he moved to Washington or somewhere. And the mother, their mother used to help, but their father died, and their mother used to help in there. And then, I can't think when he moved, when they built the new Santa Fe depot, he moved. Because they tore those buildings down. He moved up on the corner where Anderson's Bookstore is. And now Phillip 11 runs it now and there's a Phillip III. His son works with him. I went to high school you know and in the summer I would--you know they sold school books.
INTER.: In Anderson's?
MRS. H. When they'd have the rush and all that, why, I worked in there some, and they never had any, the ice cream thing was gone. But this was still down there at the depot.
INTER.: About Fred Harvey's.
MRS. H.: They served such wonderful food and the girls that worked
for 'em were so, were always dressed alike and always you know, so just like waitresses. But he had to have he must have had to have different cooks. You know you can't keep the same cooks. They die or get hurt or something. Oh it was, and not only here, not only here, in Albuquerque it was just the same. Wherever he had a place it was just run like a………..

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