Stoughton Historical Society Newsletter  

July - August - September 2007


President’s Report    It has been a busy three months:

     On May 8, a number of us were honored to attend the festivities at Town Hall on “Helen Hansen Day.”  Helen, an institution in this town, after all, she already has a school named after her, has been a loyal, dependable member of our Society for many years and is well-deserving of all the accolades.

   On May 13, the Old Stoughton Musical Society gave a spirited and entertaining concert at the Lucius Clapp Memorial Building , which all of us who attended, greatly enjoyed.  It is great to have our Society and the OSMS back together again!

     In the middle of May we began our transition from the Stoughton in WWI exhibit to the Rededication of the Civil War flag and the publication of the Alfred Edward Waldo diaries and letters.  David Lambert scanned into a computer file the version of the diaries typed by Ruth Hansen many years ago and inserted in italics at the appropriate dates the files of the letters we had obtained from various sources.  I wrote an introduction, chose the title, “I never knew there was so many people in the world,” printed out the 147 pages on the computer, and took them to Copy Inks, which had them ready for our Civil War Flag Rededication Ceremonies.  Ten copies of this book have been sent to the high school and paid for by the Cultural Council grant.  Future editions will be proofed for some remaining errors and possibly indexed.  If you would like to order a copy by mail, send 15.00, (10.00 for a member’s first copy) plus 4.00 for postage and handling (5.00 for first class) to Stoughton Historical Society, Box 542, Stoughton, MA  02072

    Archivist Jack Sidebottom  found the framed tributes to the Stoughton Civil War Regiments, the 12th, the 4th, and the 35th, which were displayed beside the old flag at Town Hall.  These descriptions were written by a Daniel L. Sullivan “Historian of this Work” for Veteran’s Day 1955.  We have not been able to learn anything of Daniel L Sullivan.   The Town Directory for 1955 lists a number of Daniel Sullivans, but no Daniel L.  We could also find no mention of these works in the November, 1955, Stoughton News Sentinels. If anyone can tell us more about Daniel L Sullivan, please let us know.  Jacob Tapper and Mark Nickerson, members of the 12th Regiment Company I visited the Society and inspected our Civil War firearms, which Hank had retrieved from storage.  Jacob spent several hours studying the guns with his firearms guides and gave us detailed notes, which resulted in the printed captions accompanying the guns for the flag rededication.

      On Sunday, May 20, we had a full day of activities at the Society.  Some of the re-enactors began to arrive before 8:00am and set up their tents on the lawn in front of the Universalist Church .  Vice President Brian Daley opened the building early and  from 9:00 on, there was always a ceremonial honor guard from the re-enactors or the VFW standing watch in front of the flag.  Extra exhibits from the participating units were set up inside the Society and we entertained many visitors between 10:00 and 2:00 . At 2:00 , we had all our seats filled and another thirty people standing.  The re-enactors fired a volley from our front steps and the Rededication began. The Old Stoughton Musical Society sang several moving and patriotic songs.  Mark Nickerson read the roll of all the Soldiers who served in the 12th  Massachusetts , the Webster Regiment, and the unit whose survivors donated the flag to the Town of Stoughton in 1904.  I gave a few remarks on the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the GAR.  We closed with another song from the OSMS

      Many thanks to the Re-enactors, the Old Stoughton Musical Society, our loyal and reliable volunteers, and everyone else who helped make this such a special event.


    On June 4, we installed our officers at the Annual Spring Meeting and Dinner at Foley’s Backstreet Grille.  We had an enjoyable evening.  Special thank you’s to the Nominating Committee of former Presidents Joan O’Hare and Candi Cerri.  The officers for 2007-8: .   President – Dwight Mac Kerron: Vice-President – Brian Daly;  Treasurer – Joan Bryant;  Secretary  - Evelyn  Callinan.  Mary Kelliher is passing on the reins of the mailing of the newsletter to me and whomever I can get to help me, but she will remain in the position of membership secretary.  Now that I realize what a job it is to get all the newsletters mailed out, I have a much greater appreciation for all the work that Mary and her daughter have done for the past several years

   On June 16, we had another successful yard sale.  Jeanne DeVito had been tagging items for months before the event and on the 16th, plenty of volunteers appeared to help carry out the many items and set up, or appeared later to help with the sales including the following individuals:  Brian Daley, Paul and Adeline Carter, Gerry and Patrick Mc Donald, Four Boy Scouts and Explorers  Joan, Danielle, and Jacob Bryant, Donna Hodges,  Hank and Gloria Herbowy, Joe and Jeanne DeVito, Joe Mokrisky (with the fire truck), Denise Peterson, Pam Pollilio,  Evelyn Callinan, Ann Klim, John Walsh, John Boulanger, When the smoke had cleared, we made over $1300 and signed up several new members as well.  Many thanks to all who donated items, bought items, and especially those above, most notable Jeanne DeVito, who went out with a blaze of glory. Donna Hodges has agreed to take over for Jeanne to organize our future yard sales.  We plan to have a holiday yard sale, tentatively October 13th. which will include items for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If you have such items, or whatever is available, send them our way.

   On July 19th, a small group from the Society visited the Slater Mill in Pawtucket Rhode.  We had an energetic and personable guide, and although the water was not high enough to run their water wheel (a condition which brought all those mills to a halt back in the early 1800’s) we learned a lot about the various machines and processes of the Slater operation, many of which were being carried on at the Gay Cotton Manufacturing Company in Stoughton, beginning in 1813.  I was disappointed that they have no records on site, so  we were unable to trace any of the Stoughton manufacturers back to ever having worked for Slater.  Part of the problem with the low water level at the mill was caused by a couple logs blocking a narrow inlet through a sand bar, but the staff seemed clueless, or at least motivationless to do anything about it.  We agreed that if such a situation were affecting our Society, we would unleash our sixty-seventy-eighty-year-old staff and those logs would get moved. 

     On July 24th, the Society entertained three guests from Stoughton , Wisconsin .  Helen Hansen put together an exhibit on the students from Stoughton , Wisconsin , who had visited in 1976, complete with pictures of the parades they were in, their host parents, and the full range of activities in which they participated.  Our guests arrived at 3:00 pm , which made for a long day for our volunteers, many of whom had been at the Society since 10:00 in the morning.  The guests appreciated our  building and the exhibits and we learned about Stoughton , Wisconsin , which was founded by Vermonter Luke Stoughton in the 1840’s.  We have not yet been able to connect the lineage of the Vermont Stoughtons, with our namesake, William Stoughton, but a young man with the last name of Stoughton from Guilford Vermont, has since visited the Society, accompanied by his aunt and he claimed that his grandfather, another Vermont Stoughton, had been able to establish the connection between the Massachusetts and Vermont Stoughtons.   

     Since the last Newsletter we have received a considerable bequest from the estate of Past President William Chestnutt and a generous gift from Douglas Bird of Aptos , California , in honor of his father Kenneth Bird and his Aunt Dorothy  (Bird) Williams.  Mr Bird also gave us copies of a letter his father had written to his son (Kenneth’s grandson) on his eleventh birthday describing Kenneth’s activities when he was eleven in Stoughton in 1919, including his piano lessons and boy scout activities with an un-named, but much-admired scoutmaster, (whom we know to be Reuben Willis).  Doug’s Uncle, Forrest Bird, the octogenarian, Stoughton-born aviator, respirator-innovator, founder of Inventone Industries will be featured on 60 Minutes with Morley Safer on some Sunday evening in September.

    We have just reprinted seventy copies of  A Stoughton Sampler in the same binding and clear plastic cover as the Waldo Journals. This wonderful compilation of so many aspects of Stoughton history sold out quickly when it was published some years ago.   We will use the Cultural Council Grant to send a number of copies to third grade elementary teachers and social studies teachers in the Stoughton schools. The remainder will be available for purchase for 10.00 for members, 15.00 for non-members.

    As of the middle of August, the Grant from the Stoughton Cultural Council has supplied to various levels of the Stoughton Public Schools: twenty Maps of the Twelve Divisions, twenty Maps of the Twenty-five Divisions, sixteen copies of “Snippets of Stoughton History” ten copies of “I never knew there was so many people in the world,” five copies of “The Culture of Samuel Hodges Store; 1811-1812, ”  and thirty-five copies of the Stoughton Sampler.

 Welcome to New Members: Betty Maraglia, Al Lipkind, Patricia Souza, Patrick McDonald, Julia Winslow,  Helen Lewis, and  Maureen & James. Gibbons,

     For our meetings in the fall and winter we are working on getting speakers on Stoughton post cards, Mary Baker Eddy in Stoughton , and the history and preservation of stone walls.  We hope to have some announcements by the Harvest dinner and will place an ad in the Stoughton Pennysaver when speakers and dates have been determined.  We we also notify all members whose email addresses we have.  Please email us at if we do not have your email address AND let us know if we can send you the newsletter via email. 

 PAYMENT OF DUES    We have included as an insert in this newsletter, a separate note to members who are in arrears on their dues.  Please let us know if your records differ.  Any members who are more than one year in arrears and have not paid by October will not receive our next newsletter and be removed from the membership list.

 Archivist’s Report – We have spent considerable time cataloguing the Hodges-Belcher photographs and documents.  A scrapbook kept by Alice Belcher Hodges was found to contain a picture of the cornerstone of our building being laid in 1903.  We are having the picture enlarged and reproduced and you will be seeing a framed copy of it at the Society, soon.

   We collected information for the visit of the citizens of Stoughton ,  Wisconsin ; reproduced by request two pictures of groups of Stoughton firemen from ninety and 125 years ago; and searched for pictures of downtown Stoughton which will be reproduced for the renovated Super Stop & Shop.  Our student volunteers continue to transcribe all the entries in our card catalogue to the Past Perfect program on the computer.  Joe DeVito and Brian Daly have done yeoman’s service with the old cobblestones which were dug up in the driveway of the Universalist Church , dumped behind our building by Town workers.  The stones were lugged to the front by Brian and placed along the edges of the flower beds by master mason Joe Devito, with much of this work taking place during the hottest, most humid days of the summer.  When not setting cobblestones, Joe Devito has been cataloguing photos of parades and other town events from 1970 to the present.

Jack Sidebottom

Curator’s Report – We have finished our inventory of the downstairs storage area and have begun to take on the museum area upstairs. During the fall we should complete the inventory and have everything marked and catalogued on our computer.  We are grateful for all our donations to the society and listed below are our newest acquisitions. Thanks to everyone who thinks of us first.

            Donation                                                                     Donator

Patents, cloth samples, and  spools from Draper Mills                Wayne Legge

Two dresses, early 20th century, one is a wedding dress            Denise Peterson

1 Gasoline Blowtorch, and two alcohol blowtorches, early 20th century          Jack Sidebottom

Wooden molding plane                                                             Jack Sidebottom

Corcoran’s Paratrooper boots and boot polish                          purchased on ebay

Stoughton HS 2007 yearbook and memorabilia                         Denise Peterson           

- Hank Herbowy


Clothing Curators

The girls are in the process of restoring a garment from the late 1800's. Lace and buttons are replaced as close as possible to the originals. Hand sewing throughout being used as was the original. Sewing panels for a three way screen is in process as are protectors for the quilts we have. Emily Guertin also contributed a wonderful display for the Civil War exhibit from her family’s collection.    Emily, Ruth and Joan


    David Lambert emailed me a long list of materials posted on his wonderful (and continually expanding) website. Here are a few excerpts:


Material available on  the website created by David Allen Lambert

 Biographies of Stoughton residents from the 18th Century to the 21st Century.

 Stoughton Families (Genealogical sketches), and Stoughton Ancestors

 Historical material about Stoughton 's namesake -  Lt. Gov. William Stoughton (1631-1701)

A Stoughton Time Line – featuring important Stoughton Historical Events to the present

 Stoughton Tax List from the year 1727

History of the Stoughton Police Department

 History of the Stoughton Fire Department

 Old Stoughton Taverns

 Stoughton Probate Records - Transcriptions of some Stoughton Probate cases to 1900

 A transcription and image of the 1754 Massachusetts Slave Census of Stoughton.

 Stoughton Veteran's Roll of Honor Memorial to fallen soldiers at Faxon Park in Stoughton.  In honor of Stoughton veteran's from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.

 Some early African American Families in 18th & 19th century Stoughton.

 Stoughton Clergymen from the 18th Century and some from 1792 to 1955.

 Rising Star Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Stoughton - List of Past Masters since 1799.

 Letters from Stoughton in the 19th century.

 1800 U.S. Census for Stoughton

 Letter from Samuel Hodges, Jr. of Stoughton to future U.S. President John Quincy Adams in 1817.  This is a letter of introduction from Hodges regarding the position as Consul to Cape Verde.  He would later serve in this role until his death in 1827.

 Mt. Zion Royal Arch Chapter of Stoughton - Lists of Past High Priests since 1820.

 Stoughton Pensioners from the 1840 U.S. Census.

 Stoughton's Oddfellows Lodge # 72 (I.O.O.F.) 1845-2005

 Naturalized Voters from Stoughton from the 1865 Massachusetts  State Census. This transcription lists the name, age, place of birth, and occupation.

 Residents of the Stoughton Poor Farm 1850-1880. 

 Early Stoughton  High School Graduates 1867-1895.

 Some Stoughton Doctors before the year 1853.

 A list of names from an autograph Album of Stoughton High School Students 1882-1884 owned by Frank I. Capen from Stoughton.

 Biography of Frank Monk the well know Dairy Farmer from of Dry Pond.

 Updated webpage on Francis Mortimer Lamb - Now including all the paintings of  at the Stoughton Public Library.

 Stoughton Centenarians - Mary Ann (McNamara) Boylan (1854-1955).

 STOUGHTON CIVIL WAR DRAFT REGISTER FOR 1863 - Transcribed from the Records of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. by David Allen Lambert.

 The Civil War Letters of Alfred Edward Waldo (1844-1864) of Stoughton, Mass. who served with Co. E. 35th Mass. Inf. and died during the Civil War.


 A short article about Stoughton's Civil War History written by George W. Pratt for the 50th Anniversary of beginning of the Civil War. Published in The Stoughton Sentinel April 15 and 22, 1911.

 Civil War Veteran George W. Pratt and his twelve children - an article which appeared in 1903.

 The 19th Century Members of the Stoughton Grenadier Association (1822 to 1898)

 The story of the Civil War Flag of Co. I. 12th Massachusetts Infantry.

 The 35th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (Infantry) muster roll for Stoughton soldier's in Co. E.   Including images of their gravestones, and additional genealogical data.

 History of the 4th Massachusetts Volunteer Militia (Infantry) and muster roll for Stoughton soldier's in Co. A.   Stoughton's Minute Men of 1861 - who answered Lincoln's first call to arms during the Civil War. Including images of their gravestones, and additional genealogical data.

 Short history 9th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and muster roll for Stoughton soldier's in Co. K.

 Website for Stoughton's 12th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Civil War Re-enactment group and the muster roll for the original Co. I. 12th Mass. Vol. Inf. with soldiers from Stoughton. Including images of the soldiers, their gravestones, and additional genealogical data.

 Stoughton and Avon Civil War Veterans from the 1905 Massachusetts  State Census  

 Stoughton and Avon Civil War Veterans from the 1915 Massachusetts State Census : also including hyperlinks to histories of their regiments and vessels they served on during the war.

 Muster roll of Stoughton's World War I Veterans. 

 Stoughton Veteran Oral History Project on the local Comcast cable (Channel 9). on the local Comcast cable (Channel 9). 

 Beyond the Blew-Hills by John E. Flynn (reproduced with permission from the Stoughton Historical Society). And an every name index to John E. Flynn's (1976) Beyond the Blew-Hills.

 Daniel T. V. Huntoon's, History of the Town of Canton  - Much of Stoughton's early history is contained in the pages of the History of Canton by Huntoon. The following chapters from Huntoon's, History of the Town of Canton are now available to read online on this website:  Chapters included - The New Grant,  History of Ponkapoag Plantation,

First Settlers, Ancient Deeds and Grants, The Gathering of the Church, The First Minister, Roads and Ways, Schools, Burying Grounds, Early Mills & Incorporation of Stoughton, Taverns, Civil History, 1726-1750, Some Old Customs, The Third Meeting-House, The English Church, The Neutral French, Music, War of the Revolution (part 1 & 2). Lemuel W. Standish, The Old Stoughton Musical Society. An historical and informative record of the Oldest Choral Society in America.  Together with interesting data of its organization, meetings, reunions and outings, and a complete list of past and present officers and members.  Illustrated, compiled and published in accordance with a vote of the society January 1, 1928. (Published in 1929)

 First Annual Report of the Stoughton Branch Railroad Corporation from 1845.

 Description of Stoughton published in 1849.

 Some Stoughton Doctors before the year 1853.

 A History of Stoughton until 1884 from D. Hamilton Hurd's, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. (Philadelphia, Pa., J. W. Lewis & Co., 1884).

 Description of Stoughton, Sharon, Canton and Avon published in 1890.

-History of the Stoughton Town Seal designed by Edwin A. Jones.

 Booklet from the  Dedication of the Monument Marking the Location of the First House in Stoughton, April 19, 1899. This also contains a small genealogy and history of the family of Isaac Stearns (1665-1741) who settled on what is now West Street in Stoughton.

-Description of a trolley tour through Mattapan, Milton, Canton and Sharon in 1904.

 Illustrated article  from May 1910 - New England Magazine about Stoughton.

 Stoughton chapter from Louis A. Cook, History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918. 

 Avon (East Stoughton) chapter from Louis A. Cook, History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918

 A History of the first two Drake School Houses the site of the First Stoughton  High School  Building

 Residents of the Stoughton Poor Farm 1850-1880. 

A transcription and image of the 1754 Massachusetts Slave Census return from the town of Stoughton.

 A list of names from an autograph Album of Stoughton High School Students 1882-1884 owned by Frank I. Capen from Stoughton.

 Naturalized Voters from Stoughton from the 1865 Massachusetts  State Census. This transcription lists the name, age, place of birth, and occupation. 

-Biography of Frank Monk the well know Dairy Farmer from of Dry Pond.

 Photos and history of the Gridley Cemetery / Smallpox Cemetery site on Kinsley Street, Canton (formerly an 18th century Stoughton  Cemetery). Guide to Stoughton Cemeteries (including those in Sharon, Canton and Avon pre-dating their incorporation as separate towns).

 Updated webpage on Francis Mortimer Lamb - Now including all the paintings of  at the Stoughton Public Library.

 Short history of Avon (formerly East Stoughton) from the History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918 (published in 1918).

 Stoughton Probate Transcriptions 1726-1900 - Looking for volunteers!

 Stoughton vs. Canton Thanksgiving Day Football Game history since 1926.


Calendar of Upcoming Events

 September 10 - Harvest Supper at Wales French Room in Library

October 16 - (tentative)  Yard Sale featuring Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas items.


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