Putting Down Roots: Concetta Alessi McIntosh

According to the 1930 census of the Town of Lloyd, Rosa DeLena Alessi, head of household, lived with five of her seven surviving children. Joseph, Concetta, Mary, Anna, and Rose. Two, others, John and Frank, lived elsewhere. All the children were born in the United States, but Rosa and her husband, who had died in 1926, were born in Italy.

Concetta, who celebrated her 93rd birthday in January, was born on Prince Street, in Manhattan. Her earliest memory was moving to the farm in 1919, into the 1817 Deyo stone house on No. Eltings Corners Road, in Lloyd. She said the truck bearing the furniture got stuck at the bottom of the hill, and that made it memorable. She was four.

Down the road, west of the Alessi farm was the Plutarch School taught by Miss Kolb, and later by Miss Frances Rosa. Concetta recalls they once had a male teacher. Finishing the eighth grade, and just starting High School, Concetta, like so many children of that era, quit to work to help make ends meet at home. She went to work at the Rathgeb Knitting mill in Highland. It was a “huge operation,” and Concetta sewed dresses.

Most farm children learn to drive before legal driving age. Concetta was caught driving by a policeman who told her to get into the orchard if she wanted to drive. Her friend, Tommy Roberts , actually taught her to drive on the road.

Another vivid memory was the accidental burning of the peat bog which fill the wetland between North Elting and Plutarch Road. Once the bogs caught fire, there was no putting them out. Concetta stood on her front porch watching the fire move nearer and fearing the loss of her home if the fire jumped across North Eltings. It didn’t. That reminded her of the “fire bell” that had stood near the Plutarch School. The large round ring would be struck with a hammer and it alerted the fire brigade to action. Someone stole it. “Perhaps for scrap iron,” she thought.

Concetta recalls her mother going to NYC to work. She came home on weekends. She once brought home a case of Bosco, chocolate to flavor milk and put on ice cream. What a treat.

The Alessi’s had a dog. When the dog catcher said they had to buy a license, they took the dog to Poughkeepsie hoping someone there would adopt the stray. The dog found his way home and they decided to keep him, anyway, license or no.

With mother in NYC, Anna and Concetta had to take care of young Rose. They hated brushing her long red hair, so they just cut it off. It was much easier.

Concetta recalls the animals on the farm, especially a particular cow who would break out and run off to find the neighbor’s bull “way down N. Eltings.”

One job Concetta had was short-lived. She was a waitress at the Fresh Air Club, the nudist colony north of her farm. She said they dressed for dinner. Whew.

In 1950, Concetta met and later married NYS DEC Trapper, John McIntosh who was from Gardiner. John mainly trapped fox and raccoons, and he raised prize beagles. The McIntoshes lived on N. Manheim Boulevard in New Paltz.

Their daughter Rosalie was born there. Concetta now lives with Rosalie and her husband Bruce on Plutarch Road, on land that had been part of the Alessi family farm. Concetta’s sister, Rosalie (Liuini) with the short red hair, lives across the street.


1817 Deyo House with Concetta and friend and neighbor, Mike Yess, chatting on the lawn. 1946. Standing -- Concetta, John, Mary, Frank, Anna, and Joseph, kneeling is Rose, at the farm, 1954.

Photo, above left: 1817 Deyo House with Concetta and friend and neighbor, Mike Yess, chatting on the lawn. 1946.

Photo, above right, left to right: Standing — Concetta, John, Mary, Frank, Anna, and Joseph, kneeling is Rose, at the farm, 1954.