by Laura Andrews
Ruth Morrow’s great grandfather built the brick house on the corner of Irish Hill Road and Spear Street after obtaining the property from his uncle. The name of the road comes from Ruth’s maiden name, Irish. Built in 1849, the house is now 163 years old. Ruth, a true Vermonter through and through, married Fred Morrow, of Charlotte, and raised her three children right where she grew up in Shelburne. Her maternal ancestry can be traced back to the Mayflower, but her relatives came more directly from Fairfax, Vt. Her great grandfather also built the house directly south of the brick one, where his son, Ruth’s grandfather, raised his own children. Although the house is no longer yellow, she still affectionately refers to it as “the yellow house.” Ruth and her family moved into the brick house when her father died, and the house has been handed down from parent to child for eight generations. The apple orchard east of the brick house was cultivated and maintained by the family along with caring for a few cows, which was the norm for most Shelburne families of that generation. The brick house on the corner had a big bell that the women would ring to call the men in from the fields for dinner.
These farming days are a distant memory for life-long Shelburne residents like Ruth, who have seen the town revolutionized over the last 50 or so years. Ruth attended the Old Palmer School on Dorset Street in Shelburne, which went through eighth grade. When Ruth entered seventh grade, the New Palmer School was built, which she said was exciting because of the indoor facilities, as the outhouses were cold during the winter. She graduated from Shelburne High School, in the building that now houses the Shelburne Police station. Growing up, Ruth knew everyone in Shelburne and she can attest to the immense growth Shelburne has experienced. Over the generations, the Morrow family has played an active role in the community of Shelburne. Ruth has helped with both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, Shelburne’s 4-H program, and was Champlain Valley Union High School’s first treasurer from 1964 to 1984.
Ruth remembers her first office job in Schenectady where she was a designated “country bumpkin.” She laughed, recalling the way her boss introduced her on her first day, “If you see her walking funny, don’t be alarmed, there’s nothing wrong, she’s just used to those side-hill paths where the cows walk.” Ruth and other Shelburne residents who have been “walking funny” their whole lives are an integral part of this town and it is an honor to be “walking funny” along with them.
Laura Andrews, a Shelburne resident, and senior at CVU, has researched, interviewed, and written about a few of the many multi-generational families of the Town as part of her Grad Challenge Project. The Shelburne News is pleased to be able to share these stories with our readers.