Did you notice the new stile in town?
Don’t know what a stile is?
Neither did I until my cousin, Ralph Millard, Jr., talked about building one and installing it during our family reunion.
A stile is a step/platform/bridge placed over a barbed wire fence that allows you to cross over the barbed wire safely.
On Aug. 9, the Millard family, who are descendents of Charles Millard and Horace Irish, gathered in Essex for a family reunion. There were 16 present and represented from near and far: Georgia, Long Island, New York City, Tennessee, Indiana and Kansas.
After first paying respects at the Essex Cemetery to our grandparents, Viola and Charles Milliard, along with numerous aunts, uncles and other family members buried there, we replaced the stile by the old Essex School. My grandfather, Charles Millard (1891-1960), was a carpenter and built the original stile (1930) to allow the Essex children to cross the field to attend school and cross over the barbed wire safely. Ralph Millard, Jr. (grandson to Charles) remembers attending the Essex School and crossing the field, walking over the stile daily to get to and from school.
On a recent trip to Essex, Ralph noticed that the old stile was barely there so he went home, designed and built the present stile, loaded it on his truck and brought it to Essex from Kansas. The new stile has a plaque attached dedicating it to Charles Millard.
After the dedication we visited with Katherine Cross who shared fond memories and great stories of the old stile with us.
For those of you who attended Essex School, go ahead and take a trip down memory lane and see if you can find the new stile.