Ethel May Jewell Sayles

Ethel May Jewell Sayles

1902 – 1992

Ethel May Jewell, 1920s. Courtesy of Franklin Pond.

Ethel May Jewell was the youngest child of John Henry Jewell (1867-1947) and Henrietta Maria Brownell (1869-1997).  Henrietta was the daughter of Cyrus Augustus Brownell (1832-1867) of Little Compton and Caroline Chase Brownell, of Fall River.  Ethel was born on Maple Avenue in Little Compton on May 15, 1902   She had two siblings: Florence Luella (1895-1977) and Willard Brownell (1899-1969). 

Ethel attended School Number 9 on Long Highway (just a 10 minute walk down William Sisson Road) during her early school years, switching to Number 8 on the Commons as she grew.  It was a bit farther but she and other Maple Ave. (called East Road then) children took advantage of the cart path through the woods on west part of  her family’s farm that her father used to take firewood to the school.  She attended Durfee High School in Fall River, graduating in 1920, then attending Rhode Island College of Education in Providence, graduating from their Junior course with a Teaching Certificate in 1924.  Always mischievous, she was known as a “hot sketch,” playing tricks on anyone when the mood struck her. 

She taught in Little Compton and Providence schools until she married Everett Sayles, Jr.  in 1929.

They lived in Providence where he was an insurance salesman.  In 1932 they moved to Cranston and in 1933 adopted a son, Alan.  They spent every summer in Little Compton, renting Edith Wordell’s mother’s house on Maple Avenue which they called “The Retreat.”  Ethel and her sister-in-law, Ann Jewell would spend time together while their husbands fished in Rhode Island Sound.

Everett died in 1953, and Ethel went back to work teaching at Woodbridge School in Cranston.  She still spent her summers in Little Compton enjoying Ann’s company, but lived in the old Brownell-Jewell house on Maple Avenue.

In 1984 she retired and moved back to Little Compton full time, living in the renovated cottage on the Jewell farm which her brother Willard’s family had lived in during their summer visits.

In 1991 she fell, breaking her hip.  Moving to St. Elizabeth Manor Nursing Home in Bristol, RI, she was never able to walk again and died on March 26, 1992.  She is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery in Tiverton with her father, mother, husband, brother and sister-in-law Ann.

Ethel May Jewell. Courtesy of Franklin Pond.

Franklin Pond

April 28, 2020

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