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STOUGHTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY FOUNDED 1895

(Regular meetings third Monday at 7:30 PM) 

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Volume V1, Number 2  - March  1975

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AND A GOOD TIME was had by one and all ... At the February meeting we were entertained and enlightened by a delightful travelog presented by Margaret Fitzpatrick and Grace Roach. They shared with us some interesting scenes in Spain, Africa, the Scandinavian countries, and Alaska. The excellent slide views and movies were taken by the ladies en recent vacation journeys. The story of two Yankee ladies traveling abroad naturally presented some moments of wit and humor, especially scenes of camel-riding and dancing to native drums. Mrs. Roach was dressed in authentic costume from Tangiers.

ANNOUNCEMENT . . . In March the membership will vote on the question of increasing annual dues to $3.00 for an individual and offering a $5.00 family membership (husband and wife only). The increase will, if voted, become effective and payable September, 1975. DUES FOR SENIOR CITIZENS 65 YEARS AND MORE WILL REMAIN AT $ 1.00 PER YEAR.

SPEAKING OF DUES . . . are you paid up for the current year? Is your membership card light green and dated 1974-75? Paid-up members are eligible for Society benefits on the annual pilgrimage in May . . . these include all admissions and bus fare paid by your Society. Our membership secretary is Mrs. Frances Podgurski, 168 West Street.

AFGHAN TICKETS are going well. Do you have yours yet? One dollar gives you an excellsnt chance to be a winner. Only 500 tickets are being sold and there will be ten awards at our regular March meeting. Call Ruth Burnham at 344-2306 or bring your dollar to the March 17 meeting. Don't be left out.

GERANIUMS WILL BE SOLD again this year, sales.

Watch for an order blank for prepaid

ADV.: WANTED Large sunny room by gentleman with large bay window.

IT'S BACK TO STOUGHTON in the program for March now being prepared by Hank Herbowy and John Stiles. This is another in a series of illustrated talks. Come and nay your respects to Cur Town on March 17 at 7:30.

TN THE BEGINNING ... 200 YEARS AGO, the U.S.S. "Constitution" sailed from Boston on the 23rd of August, carrying its regular cargo and a crew of 475 It also carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water and 79,000 gallons of rum. In Jamaica, on October 6, she took on 68,300 gallons of rum. On November 12 she took on 64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine in the Azores. She defeated five British men-of-war and scuttled 12 English merchantmen during the next few days, salvaging only the rum. On the 27th of January, during a night raid, her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons aboard. The U.S.S. "Constitution" arrived at Boston on the 20th of February with no cannon, no shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 48,600 gallons of stagnant water.

WE HAVE ADDED to our small but nice collection of commemorative dishes a gift from the First Methodist Church through the courtesy of Ruth (Parent) Fitzpatrick.

LET US REMEMBER 1938 with John Flynn (a former president of the Society and Our Town's only historian). In 1950 he wrote, reminiscing: "Nature on the rampage created an experience of terror that looms like a dark cloud in the horizon of our lives. September 2, 1938, who can ever forget it? A strange hush prevailed over Boston that day. Ominous reports were spreading of delayed trains and high seas. Fitful gusts of wind alternated with a yellow, greasy calm. People were hurrying to get home, crowding early trains which made small progress once they cleared Boston. By four o'clock the wind was whipping up into a furious gale; shop keepers were boarding up as windows swayed and gave way. There was no rain but the air was alive with wind-borne fragments of wood, leaves, dirt and grit. It took three hours to make the trip to Stoughton. When I got off the train here I wondered if the church steeple was gone. By dint of great effort I reached a bush beyond the station and hung on with both hands looking to see the steeple. It was still there swaying so far that the bell tolled a feeble protest at such savage onslaught. It was like a fighter taking the count. Going home several of us had to hold hands and run like mad past the trees lest they fall on us. Everywhere the streets were blocked, hundreds of trees were down and the ground torn up. There was a strong pungent smell in the air, the smell of nature's death. An acrid smell of torn bark, of the heart of twisted oak and elm, the sweet aromatic smell of pine and cedar, and the dank, cold smell of uncovered earth, protesting this profanation. It was one of the worst hurricanes in the country's history, extending from the Carolinas to New Hampshire and parts of Maine. The loss to property was in the millions and in lives more than five hundred." (Mr. Flynn kept a rather detailed account of his life and that of his family for an extended period. His diaries, which include many of his personal comments on events of the day, are a prized possession of the Historical Society.)

IN THE BEGINNING . . . 200 YEARS AGO, each community was a life unto itself. There were no railroads and sailboat travel was very uncertain and inconvenient. The chief alternative was to travel by horseback or stagecoach, both offering hardships and discomfort and involving much time. The first stage making regular trips between New York and Philadelphia required three days for the journey; four more days were required to reach Boston, Each day, the tired passengers were called at four in the morning to prepare for another long day's ride in rickety coaches drawn by ill-fed horses. At steep hills and mudholes the passengers were required to alight and assist in getting the heavy vehicle over. The dangers of crossing rivers in unsafe ferryboats often deterred many from traveling; other inherent dangers meant that only the most urgent business could induce many Americans to undertake a journey.

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