Maria Appleby Obituary – 1959

From the Woonsocket Call, November 5, 1959.

Click on images to enlarge.

Maria Appleby

The Stillwater Country Club

The Stillwater Country Club

(Click on images to enlarge.)

 

A scorecard from the
Stillwater Country Club.
Donated by Charles Letocha, 2018.

     Golf enthusiasts might be interested to know that Smithfield once had a golf course where Interstate 295 and Stillwater Road intersect.  Furthermore, the golf course was maintained and operated, not by a staff of greens-keepers, but solely by its owner, Maria C. Appleby, (born, 1888 – died, 1959).       

     Maria came to Smithfield in 1905 with her father and two aunts to live in the Smith-Appleby House, which is today the Smith-Appleby House Museum located at 220 Stillwater road.           

     Today the property surrounding the Smith-Appleby House consists of several acres, but in 1905 the property was much larger.  The area where Route 295 passes today was still part of the Appleby farm, used primarily for grazing livestock.  At some point in the early 1920s Maria decided to turn that portion of the property into a six-hole golf course, and thus established the Stillwater Country Club. 

     Maria was a hardy and industrious woman, and she did most of the work of building and maintaining the golf course by herself. 

     The fairways required lots of watering, which was done through a piping system using water drawn from the nearby Woonasquatucket River. 

     Grass mowing was originally accomplished by attaching a mowing machine to a horse, but later an old automobile was utilized.

     The tee-off areas also needed constant attention.

     The country club had a clubhouse, which consisted of a barn on Stillwater Road across from the Smith-Appleby House.  The barn reportedly burned down in the 1950s.     

Stillwater Country Club
Scorecard, Reverse Side

     During the winter months Maria took college courses in business and agriculture to gain more knowledge in running a golf course.

     The Stillwater Country Club was a success, with a membership list that included 75 dues-paying members.      

     At some point the golf course was expanded from six to nine holes.  One version puts the year of expansion at 1933, but others tell how the expansion didn’t come until after Maria sold the property in 1959. 

     The property of was sold in early 1959 to a couple from Attleboro, Massachusetts, for the sum of $40,000.  Maria passed away at her home just a few months later on November 3, 1959, and is buried in the family cemetery on the Smith-Appleby House property.    

 

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