As I Remember Decker Hatch and his son Franklin. c. 1947 to 1961

As long as I can remember, my Mom and Dad would go to shop in Rockland or Brockton. We would cross town to Pine Street then turn onto Union Street. As we slowed or stopped at the end of Pine Street, my Dad would always point and say, “That’s the oldest saw mill around these parts still working.”

Hatch’s Mill. Photo by Ray Freden.

I never saw Mr. Hatch that I remember, until my Dad went to buy some lumber in
the summer of 1947. When my Dad was in the yard selecting the lumber he needed, I wandered into
the shed where the saw was. I saw someone pitching sawdust out from under the machinery.

I said, “Hi.”

He responded with a “Hi.”

“I’ll never get all of this out!” he exclaimed.

He crawled out, brushed himself off and said, “Wanna see it run?”

“Yep,” I responded.

He told me to stand there and don’t move. I did, and didn’t move.

He disappeared into the other room and then the saw started to move, . . . then faster.

He returned and climbed over the machine, then pulled a lever, and the whole machine moved toward me with a huge log on it. It then suddenly returned and a large board fell to the side. It amazed me how easily the saw cut through the log.


My father returned and we left with boards tied to the top of the car. That was my first meeting with Franklin Hatch, Decker’s son. Little did I know that I would be working for Franklin nine years from then.

After WW2,  when we passed Decker Hatch’s house, the front lawn was filled with lawn ornaments and whirlygigs. These were the products of Franklin Hatch, Decker’s son. He developed woodworking skills and was making lawn ornaments in his Dad’s cellar. He also supplemented his income by trapping the North River for muskrat, mink, otter, beaver, fox and anything legal to trap.

In 1947, Franklin got married and moved into a small home two houses up the street from his parents. While Franklin was still working for his dad, he started making picnic sets. in his cellar shop. The demand grew to the point that he needed a larger shop, and working at the mill wasn’t going to support a new family.

His Dad gave him a piece of land across Pine Street, where Frank built a new shop. The picnic furniture grew and whirlygigs declined. Soon there came a demand for inside furniture, and new products were developed.

Franklin’s furniture business grew to the point that he needed help. I would stop in to his shop many times because of my interest in woodworking. I had gotten laid off from a carpentry job in December of 1955. I mentioned this to Frank. He asked if I wanted a job?

“Sure do,” I said. I started work on January 2nd, 1956.


Coming next, part 2 . . . when Decker would show up at Franklin’s shop—-

by Ray Freden
Marshfield resident 70 years

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