Stoughton Historical Society Newsletter Online
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VOLUME XLI NO. 1 JULY-AUG-SEPT- 2011
September 12 - 6:00 P.M. Harvest Dinner at the Wales French Room of the Stoughton Public Library. We will announce this year's recipients of the Jack Sidebottom Service Award and hope to have on display, the Lamb painting, "The Last of the Snow" which has been restored by the Library's Monk Trust Fund. Please reserve your place by mailing in the form at the end of this newsletter
September 18 — 2:00 P. M. — Program for Dedication of the StoughtonHistory Time Line. We have extended invitations to many Town officials to help us dedicate our two colorful, illustrated panels, which cover the history of our Town and related areas from 1637 to the founding of the Stoughton Historical Society in 1895. David Lambert and other speakers to be announced will give presentations on several topics including Native-Americans in our history, "the New Grant," early industries, the first Town Meetings, and Town Hall with its post office, police and fire stations, and Great Hall.
October 16-2 P.M. "Letters from Stoughton" Sandee LeMasters will give a presentation on her book, which the Stoughton Historical Society will publish with the help of a Grant from the Stoughton Cultural Council. Sandee, a Drake descendant, has transcribed the letters sent from Stoughton to Strongsville, Ohio by members of the Drake Family, and has also done extensive research on many matters relating to the Drake family in Stoughton, Sharon, and Easton. President's Report
In May, we held another successful yard sale. Many thanks to Yard Sale CEO Denise Peterson, John and Barbara Anzivino, Maureen Gibbons and family, Joe and Jeanne De Vito, David Lambert, Evelyn and Joanne Callanan, Richard and Ruth Fitzpatrick, Brian Daley, Joan and Jacob Bryant, Gerry and Patrick Mac Donald, Bob Viola, Tony Alfano, and Hank Herbowy. If I have missed anyone, my apologies. We also thank all who donated items, especially the Bryant Women's Avon Breast Cancer Yard Sale, which provided several large carloads.
On May 23, almost fifty people attended our dinner at the Backstreet Grille for the installation of the Stoughton Historical Society's Officers for 2011-2012; President —Dwight Mac Kerron, Vice President - David Lambert, Treasurer -Joan Bryant, Secretary - Evelyn Callanan. Archivist - Richard Fitzpatrick, Curator - Brian Daley, Historian - Howard Hansen. Thank you Hank Herbowy for taking over on the Nominating Committee, to assist Mary Kelleher and Millie Foss, who are recovering from broken bones.
We have had a number of young people working with us at the Society this summer. Intern Dahlia Kulchinsky, a Stoughton High School senior, picked up our Past Perfect Museum Computer cataloguing system after only one tutorial from Shelly Obelsky, but has spent most of her time transcribing the 1858-59 "Journal number 13" of an as-yet unidentified, but fervently religious, female school teacher. Her journal has many references to local places and people, and I suspect the
woman may have been a resident of the Dry Pond neighborhood. She has a brother named James, about whose religious feelings, or lack thereof, she worries, and she alternately frets or exults over her religious outreach, and her students. We hope to have determined the identity of the writer by the time Dahlia completes her work. The following is an excerpt: (May 27, 1858,) "Thursday afternoon) "Since Saturday have spoken to Mrs. J. Gay + Miss Shaw about the female -prayer meeting. It was arranged to be here this afternoon. It is stormy- + uncertain whether any one will come.
Have felt very happy in trying in God's strength to bring about this result but God only knows whether it will prosper, the ladies will some of them be afraid to come for fear they shall have to pray?
May God give them such an anxiety for their unconverted friends and such an interest in the things of religion that they will love to recite their prayers.
It be nearly three-no one has come- but I must go down. I mean to observe the time if mother is disposed in prayer with her.
5 o'clock. Oh unbelief! We have had a meeting and there were more than two or three- there were five Miss Shaw, Miss Lydia Gay + Mrs. Pierce. And the "form of the fourth" was with us. All prayed + conversed freely - another meeting is appointed for next week.
(Written in margins) Spent yesterday at Mr. L. Clapp's + Tues. afternoon at Mr. Josiah Gay's. Went to Canton Monday. Purchased a berage dress for 25 cts yd. James seemed quite pleased to see us. Called at Capt Morses' + Mr. Shephard's to see some pictures. Saw some wax fruit + some leather work + cone(?) "what-not"s. (The Gays, Pierces, and Clapps all lived in the Dry Pond neighborhood.) June 4 '58 Fri eve, Our fifteenth term of school commenced this week. Have had all grades of feeling. The first day we had but eight scholars.- these things seemed discouraging. Emma Parish came and took her books for her sister was sick she said- there I feared Mary A.R. would be lonely- left alone in her classes.
In the afternoon, however Christene + her brother came, + Wednes another boy came, so that now we have eleven scholars- five of them are boys- and I have been almost silly enough to fear that I could not govern them. - oh! Foolish fear! They are all willing to study, + will obey.
I don't know what some of these five boys are destined to-perhaps to fill a Presidential Chair -perhaps to labor in heathen lands. God help me to labor earnestly in hope."
Speaking of young men, Bob Viola's twin grandsons, Michael and Kevin Viola, who were visiting from Houston, Texas, accompanied Bob and me to help clean off our historical signs in the Bird St. Conservation Area. They also began transcriptions from the Civil War journal of Stoughton soldier Charles Eaton. Joshua Williams, an eighth grade student at the O'Donnell Middle School transcribed our complete email list into an easier-to-check, hard copy format and downloaded materials which we can use to store video taken with a hand-held Canon camera. His triplet sister Mikayla Williams is creating an historical coloring book for younger students; (more on her work in the Archivists Report.) Last year's intern, Missy Petersille, who received the John Flynn Award, continues to work on the last Ezra Tilden Journal.
In the beginning of May in consecutive weeks, we gave presentations focusing on Stoughton's industrial past to Middle School History teacher Joseph Danforth's classes. Howard Hansen came in for the second presentation to help out our regular crew. Howard, Joan Bryant, and I have taken several classes at SMAC with an eye toward producing a local cable television show for the Historical Society, which would feature a variety of past and newly created materials, possibly in conjunction with neighboring historical societies.
Greg Stahl of the Wrentham Historical Commission sent us a packet of materials on Wrentham history, which we have partially digested. It has helped us identify "the wandering precincts" of Foxborough. The westernmost parts/tip of the New Grant, as mentioned on our timeline, went over to Wrentham in 1724, and another section to the east "a wandering precinct" in 1753, but only for 25 years, after which the people who petitioned and left Stoughton for Wrentham in 1753, "came back" to be part of Foxborough in 1778. Apparently, before 1753 the Stoughton boundary went to western limits of the current Foxborough. It receded eastward several miles to the line which ran through the current center in 1753, and became the western boundary of the new District of Stoughtonham in 1765... until 1778, when most of that land went to the new Town of Foxborough, minus the lots of a number of E. Foxborough individuals who asked to stay with Stoughtonham, although they all me over to Foxborough in less than a century. This following rough map, demonstrates that both "halves" of generally triangular Foxborough were connected to FOUR different towns between 1720 and 1778. Stoughton has only changed once.
With some difficulty, I managed to locate it on my second attempt (after some helpful directions from Sarah Dixon) and was shocked to find how it now immediately abuts one of the beautiful McMansions, which have been built off Indian Lane. The plot is set off by four simple rectangular concrete markers in a fifty-yard square; one of the markers now finds itself less than ten yards from a children's swing and slide play-station. Fortunately, I had to retreat only a few yards back into the site and face away from the house for the seclusion and tranquility appropriate for a burial ground to return. The plot and a piece of land abutting it to the south of it is owned by the Canton Historical Society.
On the first Sunday afternoon in June, several of our members visited the Historical Society to share memories and opinions on Glen Echo and Indian Lane. Earlier in the day, my neighbor Charlie Shaw had shared memories of Robert Hallet, an Indian who lived with his mother next to the old Sportsman's club. Brian Daley got out the Drum Rock medal given to Frankie Albrecht, and we completed a posterboard, which the "working" 1855 Canton map of the area, the 1953 aerial views, and some of our own post card images. The next day, (no connection implied) Town Meeting voted 93-30 to purchase the Glen Echo property, and despite some bumps in the road, negotiations appear to have progressed successfully.
In June, former Stoughton resident James Barber visited the Society and gave several of us proofs of October Stories, his soon-to-be-published memoirs of growing up in Stoughton. Barber's portrayals of Stoughton characters including Lennie "Skunk" Whitten, J. W. Wood, Quack Quack Car on, Pete McGarvey, Carlos Silva, and a number of young men with whom Jimmy Barber played basketball, plus town businesses such as Panther Rubber, Town Spa, and the Harris Brothers Barber Shop edified and entertained us sufficiently so that we agreed to have him hold a book reading and signing on June 30th at the Society. More than 50 people showed up, many of them Barber's friends or classmates, who enjoyed his presentation and bought many copies of his book. Jim acknowledges that he has changed a few events for purposes of story-telling, leading the reader to see the past in a slightly more idealized light. Whatever his changes, they seem to work ,and many people are enjoying the book. We have copies of October Stories on sale for $13 at the Society or $17 by mail.
In October Stories, the odor emanating from the Panther Rubber Factory is an integral part of the setting, as he describes it mixing in with the smells of baking pizza at the original Town Spa. This reference, along with our current exhibit on Stoughton businesses, and other recent references to Stoughton having been "the rubber town" all contributed to the decision to feature significant pieces of Stoughton's past rubber and shoe industry in this year's Community Calendar. It will have on its cover the complex of buildings of the Stoughton Rubber Company, which later housed the Joseph F Corcoran's Shoe Company. The most conspicuous of these buildings, the reinforced concrete, three story building at 2 Canton St. was being built exactly 100 years ago this year.
We learn from the "Sentry Box Notes" of the Stoughton Sentinel of November 25, 1911: "The Stoughton Rubber Company have placed a large gold sign on the outside of their new factory building on Canton St. which reads "Stoughton Rubber Co.," in letters that he who runs may read. It is one of the most beautiful and elegant signs in the town and will make a most pleasing impression on the passer by on the cars as well as letting them know that they are in Stoughton. On one side of the train is the Stoughton Rubber Co. sign and on the other side is the Sentinel sign both bearing the word Stoughton in a way to serve as a guide board to the town." In that era, of course, trains passed THROUGH Stoughton, as it was not the end of the line, but one stop on a railroad line which extended all the way to Fall River, a scenario, which the South Coastal Rail Project plans to re-create.
As part of the research, I visited the Stoughton Center Business Park/Trackside Plaza, got a tour of the premises from owner Stephen Kelley and reconnected with old friend Sarah Feragen, who
several years ago painted the historical mural at the entrance to 2 Canton Street. She occupies one of the artists' lofts in the building and has produced a number of paintings of the view from her windows in different seasons, portraying the monitored roofs of the inner buildings of the complex. Under these roofs, hundreds of tons of rubber products and hundreds of thousands of pairs of boots and shoes were once manufactured, not only by the previously mentioned companies, but also Mystic Rubber from 1877-1889 and Acme Boot Company from 1967-1989.
In July, Jeff Pickette from the Stoughton Patch stopped by the Society and took stills and video, which he featured in an online article within the next week. David Lambert, Christine Iacabucci, and Mark Snyder also write regularly for the Patch and some of Hank Herbowy's pictures appear there. Those of you who are online may want to check it out as a source of local news and features.
Since our last Newsletter, we have lost Past President of our Society Phyllis Batchelder and long-time members Phyllis Hanna and Paul Bishop. I did not have the privilege of knowing Phyllis Hanna, but I got to meet Phyllis Batchelder once at her grandchildren's home on West Street, not far from the Lucius Clapp-Carl Libby (her father) house, where she grew up. She spoke of having explored the area with Lenny Whitten, who had showed her sites where Indians would have been most likely to camp, which were also the best places to look for arrowheads. Phyllis was convinced that there had been a glass factory on West Street, but David Lambert, who also lives nearby, has never been able to document such a factory.
A Newsletter from 1970 informs us that President Batchelder told the Society that the six years before the 250th Anniversary would pass quickly, and preparations should begin. That same year, the Society made a Pilgrimage during which they planned to visit the old Indian Burial Ground, mentioned earlier, but apparently they could not find it. During that Pilgrimage, members did hear a presentation from Frank Reynolds at his house and then after a "short drive and leisurely walk" visited the stone marking the corners of the old Ponkapoag Plantation. Later they visited the Isaac Stearns home-site on West Street, the site of the mysterious bottle factory, the Libby place, and finally the Myron Gilbert Quarry. "A fine cook-out prepared by Mr. and Mrs. Warren Batchelder and Mr and Mrs. Carl Libby was thoroughly enjoyed...and well-earned after much traipsing about town," concludes Newsletter-writer Ed Meserve. Phyllis Batchelder's painting of William Stoughton occupies a prominent place in the Pierce Room at the Society, and we recently had her painting of Lennie Whitten on display for the James Barber program.
Paul Bishop would often stop by the Society just after lunch and this friendly, and gregarious man would fascinate us with the stories and scars of his youth on Sumner Street, working on various farms, swimming in C. W. Welch Pond or in the quarries to cool off from his work at one of the nearby pig farms. He loved to tell the story of being among a number of volunteer, local carpenters and masons who built Girl Scout Camp Walihiyu and of the Cape Verdean builder, who arrived late, but was given the "honor" of laying the last block. I believe that Paul said that his own palm prints are also in one of the buildings at the Stoughton Fish and Game. He remembered cutting cedars near Stoughton Junction and knew the location of Connie Sullivan's ("we kids thought that Connie Sullivan was mean") bog; aut, alas, he had never seen "the Great tree." During his last visit, he was sharing stories of and seeking more information on Highland Park in Avon and an auditorium on Page St. where the Veterans Parade had stopped. Paul Bishop and his friendly manner, along with his memories of our fields, farms, woods, ponds, and barbed wire fences will be missed.
We thank Chris Peduto for her donation in memory of Phyllis and Joanne Marden Bussey of Alexandria, VA for hers in memory of Paul.
Joe De Vito has been providing information to the Town and Library necessary for the restoration of the Lamb painting and has also been consulting with the Town Building Inspector regarding the upcoming repairs to the back stairwell and the rusting water pipes near our gas furnace.
Archivist's Report - Our whole team has done considerable work performing research for individuals seeking information on a variety of topics: Debra Sampson Gannet for a movie being made for the Sharon Historical Society, the Isaac Stearns lineage, an inquiry on the history of 166 Morton St., the Briggs family, the John Hill Family of Early Dorchester, the Bryden-Beaumont families of Stoughton and Canton, the Goldthwaite house on Sumner St., the Capen-Standish family, and the extensive religious affiliations of the Drakes of Stoughton.
Acquisitions: Celebrity Softball Team Program Stoughton Firefighters Union vs. Boston Bruins July 1, 1993; Telephone Book Cover with Stoughton Ads 2004; 1986 Calendar Di Nolo & Angelo's Plumbing & Heating - Gas Fittings; History of Moxie c. 1967-70. Pamphlet; "Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Honors the Fourth of July Committee Members 1993, Fred Diamond, William McGlaughlin, Earl McMann,Joe De Vito,John O'Meara" "Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Honors Ray Leonard as Person of the Year 1992" all from Evelyn Callanan.
Permits for Oil Storage @ 295 Lincoln St. - 1936, issued to Maurice L. Burt, Signed by Frederick Pye, Fire Chief; oil burner installation notes (Diary) 1923; 22 cards re: oil in tank, fuel consumption, 1932-1951. Some include kw hours as well donated by Joe De Vito.
Two School Registers 1. Atherton School 1891-2, Etta May teacher. 2. Adams School 1898-1899, Florence M. Walker, Teacher. Found and donated by Stoughton High School. Mary Baker Eddy and the Stoughton Years (1868-1870), donated by Ruth Fitzpatrick.
Ruthie Fitzpatrick has been putting together more archivally appropriate photo albums and catalogued the contents of two boxes of items, one each from the Belcher and Hodges families. They date from the 1880's to the 1990's and include diplomas from Stoughton High School, receipts from local businesses, land deeds, wills, check registers, and many items relating to the Stoughton Police Department. She is now working with Mikayla Williams, an artist and eighth grade student at the O'Donnell Middle School, who is creating a coloring book on Stoughton history. They have chosen important dates and places and found various phptos and drawings, which Mikayla is using as models for her images. The final product will be available for young, Stoughton elementary school students, to help them learn Stoughton's history in a concrete manner. - Richard Fitzpatrick Curator's Report -Acquisitions: China doll with clothes made by Janet Clough from Ruth Fitzpatrick; Revere Eye-matic movie camera from Donna Hodges; combination can and bottle opener from Evelyn Callanan; patch from Girl Scout Camp Walihiyu from Barbara De Vito; film strip projector, various film strips, a chalk board compass and parallel line drawer, all from the South School from Mary Reese- Brian Daley
Clothing Curator's Report- This past month we have received gifts of clothing from Evelyn Devote Callanan. One outfit is her "going away" clothing from her 1952 wedding, consisting of a shantung suit, blouse, straw hat and a Corde purse; all in excellent condition. The second outfit is one that Evelyn made in tailoring classes in 1949-50 at BU-PAL retailing class at the Gordon School on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston. The workmanship in the three-piece ensemble is excellent. The coat and suit are a gray tweed wool. Along with this outfit, Evelyn had a hat made to match at the Windsor Button Store in Boston. All of these are very welcome and much appreciated additions to our collection.
We are still in need of help in the Clothing Area. Our boxes of stored materials need to be reviewed in order to determine that they remain in good condition. Prior to the installation of the dehumidifying system in our building, some dampness had worked its way into some of the boxes. Some items are in need of cleaning and refreshing before being put back into the storage boxes We also need help in moving the boxes from and returning them to the shelves I can be available on Tuesdays or
Thursdays if I have someone to work with. Please consider what you can do to help and let me know at cloughjrverizon.net. Thank you in advance. .. - Janet Clough
Welcome to New members: Michael Horan, Chuck and Suzie Sabolis, Sonia Bonfim, and Diane Grindle McLaughlin,
Consider giving a gift of Stoughton History:
Historical Maps of the 12 (1695) and 25 (1726) Divisions - each map $15 (non-member) / $10 (member) (a ten page booklet of commentary, free, when you buy both of these beautiful colored maps.)
October Stories by James Barber - $13.00
The Drake Letters from Stoughton to Strongsville by Sandee LeMasters - $20 (non-member) /M15
"Exult O Americans and Rejoice": The Revolutionary War Diaries of Ezra Tilden - $15.00 (non-member) / $ 10.00 (member)
A Stoughton Sampler: 1895-1995. $15.00 (non-member) / $10.00 (members)
The Civil War Diary of Stoughton Private Alfred Waldo - $20.00 (non-members) / $15.00 (members)
Images of Stoughton or Postcard Images of Stoughton both by David Allen Lambert. $22.00 (non-members) / $20 (members)
Booklets: Price for each copy: $ 3.00 (non-members) / $2.00 members
Updated color-coded trail/topo maps of the Bird St. Conservation Area - $2.00
Large topo map of Bird St Conservation Area, showing stone walls and lot lines - $10.00
If you wish to order by mail, add $5.00 to your total purchase. For the large maps, add $8.
Address all requests to: The Stoughton Historical Society, Box 542, Stoughton, MA 02072
Please pay your dues for 2011, and 2010 if you have not already done so.
Those who have not paid for 2009, will not be receiving this Newsletter nor the email with it attached. Mail dues to Stoughton Historical Society, Box 542, Stoughton, MA 02072
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