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The Aseltons of Massachusetts: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Updated October 27, 2003

About Our Family Research


I have been researching our father's family for about two years now and have come across some amazing information on our roots. As children our dad told us our name was originally Van Esselstein but,since he was a great kidder, we never really took this seriously. Well much to our surprise we learned that not only was this true, but other stories he told us have also proved to be true: a relative was hung as a horse thief--stole a horse on his way home from the Civil War (he got tired of walking and this horse was just standing there in the field--not doing anything--so.......). Another relative walked through or fought in about 7 states during Civil War wearing out _?_ pairs of shoes. How foolish we were not to have listened and asked more--what we might have learned.

The origin of our family is German-Dutch, possibly from the Dutch settlement around Kinderhook New York, moving to Canada and then Vermont. Our Grandfather, Melvin Peter Aselton Sr. (1878-1947)was born in Alburg Springs, Vermont, a border checkpoint town between Canada and Vermont. His father Henry J (?)Asseltine may have been born in Michigan when the family traveled there to visit cousins in the 1800's. returning to Swanton, Vermont after about a year. Henry married Eliza Minkler and, that is where I hit my brick wall. Supposedly Henry's father was Peter--not confirmed.

In 1921 our grandfather, Melvin P. Aselton, Sr., lived in Worcester and began operating sedans carrying passengers regionally, quickly building a line which stretched from Haverhill (pronounced "hay-ver-rell"), Massachusetts through Worcester to Hartford and New York City, where Blueway sedans or stretchouts used the Hotel Cadillac at 43rd and Broadway as their terminal. New England in the 1920's was active bus scene, with many operations beginning. One of the most noteworthy was begun by William Vanderbilt in 1925 and became known as The Short Line. Vanderbilt expanded all over the region, including a route from Haverhill through Gardner to Springfield and New York City. He soon discontinued the Short Line route through Springfield, quite likely because it went far west of his primary operating area, and when he dropped the route, Pilgrim Stage Lines took over. Pilgrim's founders were Roy Hodges of Framingham and Frank Kenney of Brockton. Both of these men had been connected with the B&W Lines, Hodges as Vice President and General Manager. Hodges and Kenney operated Pilgrim until the late 20's when Hodges sold his interest to Frank Kenney. Kenney only operated Pilgrim for a short time when he sold out to the Aseltons at Blueway Lines. By the early 30's, Melvin Aselton's two sons, Gordon and Lionel, were both involved with Blueway. All three often drove, worked on the buses, called on agents or promoted the company and at night, would discuss strategies across the kitchen table. A 1932 timetable shows a Blueway sedan on the cover and details 9 round trips a day from Northampton through Springfield to Hartford and New York City, a 6 hour trip. By this time, the office was located at 90 Worthington Street in Springfield, which also served as Blueway's terminal there.
In 1933, increased passenger loads and passenger demands for heavier full sized buses instead of sedans and stretchouts pushed Blueway to buy their first buses. A year later, Blueway began using the new Midtown Bus Terminal in New York City and on April 27th, 1934, Blueway 40, a 1933 ACF P-216 was one of the first departures from the spanking new terminal. Also, in 1935, Melvin Aselton, Jr., our dad, with our mother, Doris (McBride) developed a wayside inn in Norwalk, Connecticut called "Dutchland," and Blueway buses promptly began using and promoting it as a clean, first class rest stop for passengers.
It was during this period that Blueway began operating from Boston's Park Square to Worcester, Hartford and New York City. The earliest reference found to these operations is in 1935 and Carl Aselton is lis

 
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