Hollis "Smokey" Scales was born in New London on 26 February 1894, the son of John W. and Susan Scales. He grew up in New London and spent his whole life here in the village. All of his schooling was in the New London Schools. He and Paul White were good friends when they were growing up together.
Probably Smokey's first love, next to whiskey, was baseball. He was a good ball player and in his later years was an umpire at all the games held at Recreation Park here.
He was a very good violin player in his younger years. I don't remember ever hearing him play the fiddle but all the old timers say he was good at it! I have no idea whre the nickname "Smokey" came from but imagine it was probably from some prankish thing he did when still a kid!
He was a fixture on the streets of New London for many years. He did odd jobs for all the merchants downtown and could be seen uptown most anytime. Smokey was a veteran of World War One and served in the 161st Depot Brigade. He lived in his mothers house on Third St., but after she died in 1940, Smokey soon lost the house and from then on he pretty much lived uptown wherever he could get out of the weather.
I don't think there was a person in New London that didn't know who Smokey was! The 1923 directory of New London shows Mrs. John Scales living at 81 Third St. with one son, Hollis, a musician.
After he became sick he was taken to the Veterans Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio on January 1st, 1967. On Janury 13th, 1967 he passed away. He was 72 years old. My memory of Smokey is seeing him in his large heavy coat which he wore for many years. I remember seeing him asleep in front of Ross Seiler's barber shop on East Main St. with a broom still in his hand. Smokey is buried in the Grove Street Cemetery here in New London. No history of New London would be complete without mentioning Smokey Scales!