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(Regular meetings third Monday at 7:30 PM) 


Volume III, Number 12  - January 1973


IN THE BEGINNING there were merely seventeen of us; now there are nearly 200. In the beginning we met first in folks' homes, then in the single basement room of the public library now we are at home in the spacious Lucius Clapp Memorial. In the beginning we were a Society dedicated to preserving for the future all those things so pertinent to the history of our town; now we are still dedicated to that purpose but to a greater degree. So, thinking on these few items, we can look back on a steady improvement in every respect. In the New Year just beginning let us put forth an even greater effort to grow, not only in numbers, but in our service to our Town; and let us begin this effort by cooperating fully with those who are already working at making our "home" a pleasant, presentable place for our fellow citizens to come and learn of Stoughton's heritage.

LADY FORTUNE Smiled upon us once again in December and brought fair weather for our meeting date which was made all the more pleasant by the presentation of Mrs. Evelyn Sawyer, whose subject was "Bells, Bells, Bells". Mrs. Sawyer displayed a great variety of bells from her vast collection and explained the different use and histories of each. Her program included the reading of some appropriate verses by prominent poets and she led our gathering in the singing of "Jingle Bells". (During the meeting the carillon music from the new steeple of the First Parish Universalist Church, our neighbor, provided a pleasing background- and at eight o'clock the old bell struck the hour which served to introduce Mrs. Sawyer's presentation. We are extremely grateful to the board of directors of the Church for their cooperation in this regard and owe special thanks to Virginia Field who provided the carillon carols and manually struck the hour for us.) After her talk Mrs. Sawyer very graciously remained at the front of the Jones Poem to answer inquiries concerning her bells.

OUR THANKS to the Chamber of Commerce for the lighting of the huge evergreen on the lawn of the Lucius Clapp Memorial at holiday time.

GUESTS at the December meeting were: Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Penard, Agnes Hedberg, Helga Peterson (all from the Norwood Historical Society); also Gertrude Buschenfeldt and James and Isabella O'Connell. The latter two became members before the meeting ended.

DONATIONS came from Gus Winroth, Carl L. Smith, Carl and Ruth Pistor, Ed Meserve, Howard Hansen, Evelyn Sawyer (our Speaker), and from some who have not identified themselves. We like to give credit when and where it is due and would like to know these other donors.

SERVING from the nicely decorated holiday table were Hospitality Hostesses Frances Podgurski, Angeline McEachern and assistance was given by some of our gentlemen. Contributing to the table, also, was Amy Terrell though she was confined by illness to her home.

A MOTION to have our By-Laws rewritten into more modern language and to have them incorporate all changes made since our founding was made by Past President Gustav Winroth. The motion passed and Gus will chair a committee consisting of Bob Benson and Fred Kelleher with President Ed Meserve as ex-officio. The rewritten By-Laws will be presented for consideration at the annual meeting in May.

WE HAVE ASSISTED, through our correspondence and further guidance, a young college student in the preparation of her term paper at the University of Illinois. She is Karen Sweeney, a graduate of Stoughton High, class of 1971, and we are pleased to learn that she received a vary favorable grade on that term paper. Such help as this is part of our responsibility to the community. ... 

AND, SPEAKING OF HELP. . . we can use you if you can type, even one finger typists are acceptable (ye ol' Ed is one). . we can use you if you can dust and polish. . .we can use you if you can frame pictures and documents:. . . we can use you if you can sew well enough to make simple curtains for the Jones Room...WE CAN USE YOU.. .

JANUARY BIRTHDAYS are shared by Evelyn Healy, Carl L. Smith, Bernice Handy, Elsie Hughes, Hank Herbowy, Clyde Holmes; and they share their birth month with such other notables as Millard Fillmore, Richard Nixon, Alexander Hamilton, Lucius Clapp, Ben Franklin, Daniel Webster, Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur, Mozart, William McKinley, and F.D.R. In January, too, Alaska, Utah, New Mexico, Connecticut, Michigan and Kansas were admitted to the Union. '

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO.. . .(from the Annual Report). . . the fire department consisted of 167 members and six engineers... there were only four firers reported for the entire year; three in Hay and one in January ... apparently, from the budget in another section of the report, the 167 men each received annual payment of about three dollars; and that was dependent upon their being called to a fire. Under "printing and stationery" are to be found such items as: 700 liquor seizure blanks and 100 blank warrants for destroying liquors, 1250 Town Reports arid express. The Smith School house, completed at this time, cost $1,511. 81 and this included the "door stone" for $8.00... Lucius Clapp received $8.83 for wood supplied for heat;.. and Bradford Holmes received $16.70 for sawing wood. The Auditors of Stoughton's finances called attention to the need of keeping Town records in a more careful and efficient manner...While the tax list shows the average payments, aside from the minimum poll tax of $2.00,. amounted to about thirty to forty dollars annually the same list from 100 years ago shows those assessed the highest and paying the largest amounts were James Atherton ($778.63) and Nathaniel Morton ($664.15). (These are the quaint and interesting things you will come across when you volunteer to help with the cataloguing and indexing of our great store, of Stoughton papers and artifacts. Add to this the sociability of those with whom you will spend your time in our pleasant, well-lighted rooms.)


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